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IndyWatch Australian Economic News Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.

Thursday, 18 February

15:33

Cost-reflective tariffs will do little to reduce network costs Renew Economy

So called ‘cost-reflective’ tariffs proposed by networks may accelerate uptake of battery storage. But they are targeting household peaks and not network peaks, so may not be cost refletive at all, and may not cut network spending.

15:17

Graph of the Day: Another emissions reality check Renew Economy

New government report illustrates how little Coalition's Direct Action will cut emissions, and importance of incentives for electric vehicles and energy efficiency.

15:17

Interview: Origin’s Grant King on big solar, small solar, plunging fossil fuels Renew Economy

Origin Energy CEO talks plunging cost of big solar, growth in rooftop solar, battery storage, and some key ongoing industry issues.

15:15

Origin: World moving quickly to renewables as solar costs plunge Renew Economy

Origin Energy says large-scale solar projects now at $80/MWh in Australia; plans several big projects and aims to be No 1 in rooftop solar. Says it's well placed for shift to renewables because it has no "legacy assets" to protect. But falling oil price still a concern for LNG.

15:14

Australia says it leads R&D on renewables grid integration Renew Economy

Latest stocktake on projects investigating distributed renewables' impact on centralised electricity grids shows Australia leading the way.

13:03

Burn, baby, burn – even when the sun shines Renew Economy

Queensland, our Sunshine State, is using gas to produce around 2GW of electricity on sunny days. So why is this resource being squandered when renewables fit the bill and could help us reach our climate targets?

12:56

First-time buyers are dominating corporate renewable purchasing Renew Economy

First-time corporate buyers are entering the renewables market in droves and now account for the majority of both deal announcements and contracted MW of wind and solar.

12:55

Sonnen ships 10,000th battery, putting pressure on Tesla and utilities Renew Economy

German startup Sonnen claims leading position in global smart energy storage market as it takes on Tesla and shakes up the traditional electricity business model.

12:53

Energy star ratings for homes? Good idea, but it needs some real estate flair Renew Economy

The idea that real estate sellers should disclose a home's energy efficiency has been around for a while. But how can this be done in a way that will make a real difference to prospective home buyers?

12:50

Video of the Day: 7.5MW wind turbine construction Renew Economy

Wind turbine fans might enjoy this 3m42s video showing a huge 7.58MW Enercon E126 being assembled, featuring some pretty impressive camera work by drones.

12:35

See The Big Short, talk about The Big Short Prosper Australia

Based on Michael Lewis’s 2010 book, The Big Short is a critically acclaimed film about Wall Street in the lead-up to the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. “This business kills the part of life that is essential, the part that has nothing to do with business” – The Big Short Join Prosper President Catherine Cashmore, Don’t […]

12:20

Peak paper John Quiggin

I’ve recently published a piece in Aeon, looking at the peak in global paper use, which occurred a couple of years ago, and arguing that this is an indication of a less resource-intensive future. Over the fold, a longer draft – I’ll add hyperlinks back in if I get a free moment.

Since the dawn of history (literally, of written records), civilisation has depended critically on paper. As living standards have risen, so has the volume of paper produced, printed and read. The more knowledge we have and the wider its distribution, the more paper is needed.

At least, that was true until the end of the 20th century. With the rise of the Internet, the correlation between paper and information broke down. Increasingly, information is created and manipulated in electronic form, with paper serving mainly as an official record of the process.

In 2013, the world reached Peak Paper. World production and consumption of paper reached its maximum, flattened out, and is now falling. In fact, the peak in the traditional use of paper, for writing and printing, took place a few years earlier, but was offset for a while by continued growth in other uses, such as packaging and tissues.

China, by virtue of its size, rapid growth and middle-income status is the bellwether here; as China goes, so goes the world. Unsurprisingly in this light, China’s own peak year for paper use also occurred in 2013. Poorer countries, where universal literacy is only just arriving, are still increasing their use of paper, but even in these countries the peak is not far away.

The arrival of Peak Paper is of interest for a number of reasons.

* First, it is, in large measure, the realisation of a prediction that was over-hyped in 20th century, and then derided in the early 2000s, namely, that of the Paperless Office....

11:52

This Farmer Wants Us to Rekindle Our Relationship with Food Sustainable Living Armidale

Joel Salatin has been called “America’s Most Innovative Farmer” by TIME Magazine. “Polyfaces,” directed by Isaebella Doherty & Lisa Heenan, is a portrait of Salatin’s family farm and his singular vision to get people involved in the food process and foster community through agriculture. full article »

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Wednesday, 17 February

11:55

The Big Short: The Hong Kong Peg Is Not for Turning The Diplomat » Pacific Money

This is not a George Soros moment. At least not yet.

Monday, 15 February

14:01

No nuclear reactor for South Australia John Quiggin

That, for me at any rate, is the crucial element of the Tentative Findings of the South Australian Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (here. The media releasee summarises

aking account of future demand and anticipated costs of nuclear power under the existing electricity market structure, it would not be commercially viable to generate electricity from a nuclear power plant in South Australia in the foreseeable future.

However, Australia’s electricity system will require low-carbon generation sources to meet future global emissions reduction targets. Nuclear power may be necessary, along with other low carbon generation technologies. It would be wise to plan now to ensure that nuclear power would be available should it be required.

The detailed findings are sensible (that is to say, largely in line with my submission and evidence. A crucial para:

If nuclear power were to be developed in South Australia, a proven design should be used that has been constructed elsewhere, preferably on multiple occasions, and should incorporate the most advanced active and passive safety features. This is likely to include consideration of small modular reactor (SMR) designs, but exclude for the foreseeable future fast reactors

Given that Barry Brook, a leading enthusiast for fast reactors was part of the Commission’s Expert Advisory Panel, this finding should make it clear that fast reactors are an option for the distant (beyond foreseeable) future.

The finding is striking because South Australia is, or ought to be a test case for those arguing that a carbon-free electricity system must rely...

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