Innovations in #renewable #energy keep coming while Australia descends into the #coal pit

The quest to find an optimal energy efficient means of splitting water, liberating hydrogen and using it as a fuel, has been pursued with alchemic zeal by many.  Reminiscent of the attempts at rendering gold from base metals in passion alone, in reality the efficient liberation of hydrogen is one step closer.

Water splitting combines sunlight and water in a chemical reaction in order to harvest clean hydrogen energy
Water splitting combines sunlight and water in a chemical reaction in order to harvest clean hydrogen energy.

ScienceDaily reports Boston College associate professor of chemistry Dunwei Wang, as saying that re-grown hematite has proven to be a better power generating anode, in the development of artificial photosynthesis. Prof Wang added that By simply smoothing the surface characteristics of hematite, this close cousin of rust can be improved to couple with silicon, which is derived from sand, to achieve complete water splitting for solar hydrogen generation

Further innovations in adoption of wind energy

Inhabitat reports on plans to build this remarkable circular apartment building in Rotterdam.  The Dutch Windwheel is a concept for a sustainable landmark that would be able to house 72 apartments within a circular steel and glass frame, while also serving as a silent, motionless wind turbine. In addition to harvesting energy from the wind, the structure would be equipped with facilities to capture rainwater, recycle tap water and also produce biogas from the residents’ organic waste.


Windlab’s proposed mega wind and solar project for north Queensland
The proposal involves construction of a 600MW wind farm combined with a 600MW solar PV farm in what it is calling the Kennedy Energy Park.

According to Windlab it would deliver up to 80% of local electricity demand – and at a capacity factor of around 70 per cent – at rates cheaper than a new coal plant.

The wind and solar project is planned for a location near Hughenden, around 300km inland for Townsville,

Roger Price, CEO of Windlab,  told RenewEconomy that “This is an absolutely world class resource,” Price said. “We believe we can deliver nearly baseload power for a price of around $100/MWh. You are not going to build a new coal-fired generator for that sort of price.”He went on to say “We believe we can deliver nearly base load power for a price of around $100/MWh. You are not going to build a new coal-fired generator for that sort of price.”

Australia’s curious energy environment

In the strange political landscape emerging in Australia the Abbott government wants to reduce the development of renewable energy generation and also wants to dismantle the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). an Australian government owned organisation which commenced investment in renewable energy in 2013.

According to RenewEconomy in a article The crazy push for new coal generation in Queensland

The Abbott government is supporting a proposal to spend $1.8 billion on a new coal-fired generator in the region. A $2.5 million study suggests that an 800MW generator using “low quality” coal in the Galilee Basin would deliver an economic “social cost benefit gain” of $836 million.

RenewEconomy also informs us that Abbott, said the coal project could qualify for loans from the new north Australia infrastructure fund created by his government. The $5 billion facility has been dubbed the “Dirty Energy Finance Corporation.”

IPCC Special Report Renewable Energy
Australia has among the largest renewable potentials worldwide. According to the IPCC Special Report Renewable Energy, Australia could deliver the country’s current demand more than 50 times over from renewable energy sources alone Solar and wind are the main renewable energy sources for growth, on top of the existing hydroelectricity and bioenergy, and the CEFC is key to this.

Sustainable development and energy
I’ve long been an advocate of sustainable approaches to development and given the reality of accelerated climate change triggered by the fossil fuel dependence of the anthropocene, further investment in coal seems scarily crazy.

Putting science aside for a moment, there are also sound theological grounds for extreme caution towards the Abbott government’s incautious approach to our future.

The earth as a sacrament of communion with God and neighbour
Patriarch Bartholomew, writes:

“Our original privilege and calling as human beings lies precisely in our ability to appreciate the world as God’s gift to us. And our original sin with regard to the natural environment lies, not in any legalistic transgression, but precisely in our refusal to accept the world as a sacrament of communion with God and neighbour”

“We have traditionally regarded sin as being merely what people do to other people. Yet, for human beings to destroy the biological diversity in God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by contributing to climate change, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, land and air – all of these are sins.”

“We are treating our planet in an inhuman, godless manner precisely because we fail to see it as a gift inherited from above. Our original sin with regard to the natural environment lies in our refusal to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and neighbor on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that divine and human meet in the slightest detail contained in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust.”

Psalm 103 (104) provides more insight.

The earth is filled with Thy creation.
The earth is filled with Thy creation.

O Lord, My God, You Are Very Great

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,

2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,

4 Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.

5 You who laid the foundations of the earth,
So that it should not be moved forever,

6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters stood above the mountains.

7 At Your rebuke they fled;
At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.

8 They went up over the mountains;
They went down into the valleys,
To the place which You founded for them.

9 You have set a boundary that they may not pass over,
That they may not return to cover the earth.

10 He sends the springs into the valleys;
They flow among the hills.

11 They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.

12 By them the birds of the heavens have their home;
They sing among the branches.

13 He waters the hills from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.

14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth,

15 And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man’s heart.

16 The trees of the Lord are full of sap,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,

17 Where the birds make their nests;
The stork has her home in the fir trees.

18 The high hills are for the wild goats;
The cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.

19 He appointed the moon for seasons;
The sun knows its going down.

20 You make darkness, and it is night,
In which all the beasts of the forest creep about.

21 The young lions roar after their prey,
And seek their food from God.

22 When the sun rises, they gather together
And lie down in their dens.

23 Man goes out to his work
And to his labor until the evening.

24 O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions—

25 This great and wide sea,
In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great.

26 There the ships sail about;
There is that Leviathan
Which You have made to play there.

27 These all wait for You,
That You may give
them their food in due season.

28 What You give them they gather in;
You open Your hand, they are filled with good.

29 You hide Your face, they are troubled;
You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

30 You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
May the Lord rejoice in His works.

32 He looks on the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the hills, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

34 May my meditation be sweet to Him;
I will be glad in the

35 May sinners be consumed from the earth,
And the wicked be no more.
Bless the
Lord, O my soul!
Praise the

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