Renew 151: energy transition special out now

Broken Hill October 2015
Image: Powering Australia Renewables Fund

Renewable energy can be beautiful: majestic wind turbines dwarfing the wind technician who scales them for maintenance as on our cover, or solar panels sprouting in the desert among a vibrant red crop of Sturt’s desert pea as shown above. Or it can involve a practical reuse of existing facilities, as with pumped hydro plants converting old mines into water reservoirs.

Beauty and practicality aside, how is the renewable energy transition progressing in Australia? In the last few years, we’ve seen a satisfying flurry of wind and solar projects. But more recently, some headwinds have hit those projects—output curtailment, planning delays, extra costs—and we haven’t yet seen the large-scale energy storage we need being built or incentivised.

In our feature article this issue, Renew’s Andrew Reddaway looks at AEMO’s recent blueprint for a high-renewable electricity grid—yet another affirmation of the viability of renewables—but then considers the roadblocks holding up such a transition. What’s needed to scale up and get pumped hydro and large-scale battery projects happening here?

In our other energy transition feature, Tim Forcey explains why a gas shortfall is predicted and why we need to talk about it—as he says, if we don’t, the response will surely be more drilling, as demonstrated in the recent decision to open up onshore exploration in Victoria. Instead, can we make this the impetus to move more homes and industries off gas?

This issue we have not one but two buyers guides. The first is an update to our popular efficient hot water buyers guide. When a hot water system breaks down, it usually happens suddenly and requires urgent replacement, so it’s a good idea to do your research now so you’re ready. Our second buyers guide is on electric bikes, the wonder machines that have been hitting our streets in ever greater numbers over the last few years. Apart from the guide to types, features and FAQs, we talk to four e-bike riders who are keen proponents—for one it was “love at first sight”; another says, “why would you commute any other way?”

Plus we look at “what is ethical investing?”, the benefits of Indigenous-owned renewable energy projects, an experiment measuring smoke infiltration in airtight homes—and much more besides.

Renew 151 is out now! Buy it online and get free shipping, find it on news stands, or become a subscriber to get every issue delivered.

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