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NEWSFLASH : Renewable Energy Target Review Report Released


Renewable Energy Target Review Report
The Renewable Energy Target (RET) Review report is now publicly available - and with worst fears confirmed, the backlash has begun in earnest.
The report recommends the closure or rapid winding down of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). This component of the RET provides support for the purchase of small commercial and home solar power systems. Should the subsidy be scrapped, it could add thousands onto the cost of a system. 
It also recommends reducing system size eligibility - from 100kW down to 10kW maximum and also a reduction in the amount of subsidisation for solar hot water systems and heat pumps.
For the LRET (large scale), the report recommends barring new entrants or dropping the target to a "real" 20%.
The Clean Energy Council says the recommendations could cause massive financial damage to over $10 billion worth of investments already made and put 21,000 jobs at risk.
"It is inconceivable that the review could objectively recommend slashing the RET when its own economic modelling showed this would lead to higher power bills in the long run, while at the same time smashing billions of dollars of investment," said Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton.
John Grimes, CEO of the Australian Solar Council, was also scathing of the report; calling it the "most dangerous and extreme attack on solar and renewable energy in Australia's history". 
"The Warburton inquiry has been a complete sham from start to finish. It is Tony Abbott's love child," he said. 
Greenpeace called the report a "kick in the guts to renewable energy."
"The two options recommended by the Warburton panel would be a disaster for the renewables industry," said Ben Pearson, Head of Program for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. 
"The Dirty Three - Origin Energy, EnergyAustralia and AGL - have walked the wrong path in growing their investment in dirty fossil fuel generation assets at the expense of renewable energy. Designing policy to better the fortunes of The Dirty Three and save their dirty assets from further competition is a backward step."
The Australian Greens labelled the report "climate denier drivel"
"I'm glad this dangerous and ignorant report is finally public, so everyone can see it for the climate denier drivel it is. The outcome was determined long ago," said Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne.
"A strong Renewable Energy Target helps Australia ride the transition to sustainable energy. Without it, we risk falling off the back of the wave and being stuck in a quagmire of ever rising fossil fuel prices. Really, we don't need to wait and see how the government will respond to this report it commissioned, with a hand-picked climate sceptic at the helm. What we need to do is throw the RET report in the bin."
Solar advocacy group Solar Citizens says the report was out of step with the majority of Australians. Just yesterday the group presented Coalition MPs Sarah Henderson and Warren Entsch with a petition signed by more than 25,000 people demanding the Federal Government to retain or expand the Target.
"A Review Panel made up of individuals with strong links to the big energy companies was never going to deliver a reasonable report," said Solar Citizens Campaigns Director Claire O’Rourke.
"Tony Abbott hand picked an anti-solar panel and today they have delivered the anti-solar review he asked for. Solar Citizens supports industry calls for an inquiry into the handling of the review that has been flawed and compromised from the start."
- Full Report [PDF] 
- Executive Summary and Recommendations [PDF] 


No deposit solar


Australia's Solar Soldiers


Wearable solar panels
The Australian National University says it will seek to commercialise its design of a wearable solar panel system for soldiers after successful field tests demonstrated the technology could easily replace heavy battery packs normally used to power combat equipment.
The Soldier Integrated Power System (SIPS) was developed by scientists at the ANU Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems. SIPS will dramatically reduce the weight members of the Australian Defence Force must now carry in order to power an increasingly tech-heavy arsenal.
"Much of the equipment carried by Australian soldiers requires heavy battery packs, such as night-vision goggles, lights, GPS devices and communication systems. Currently, soldiers depend on conventional batteries to power these devices," said ANU Project Development Manager Dr Igor Skryabin.
Energy Matters reported on the ANU’s plan to integrate SLIVER cells into a solar vest for soldiers in 2011, when nations such as the USA and UK were fitting infantry with portable solar panels and inverters for use in combat missions. But the ANU team were primarily focused on designing a simple system that would ensure the mobility of Australian infantry. 
The solar panel system is based on the ANU’s SLIVER solar cell – flexible solar cells the thickness of a human hair but with a high power-to-weight ratio of more than 200 watts per kilogram. They are also bi-facial, allowing either side of the cell to convert light to energy. 
In a 72-hour field test under real mission conditions, the ANU flexible panels produced sufficient power to maintain battery charge. In sunny conditions the panels fully charged the batteries.
"The trials were performed by soldiers in a real mission environment with normal usage of power," Dr Skryabin said. "Based on the success of this demonstration, ANU will be commercialising the project outcomes with industrial partners."

The SIPS project was a collaboration between the ANU, CSIRO and Tectonica Australia, as part of a $2.3 million contract awarded under round 15 by the Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program managed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. 




No deposit solar


Turning Old Tyres Into Batteries


Turning tyres into batteries
The boffins at Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) have found a way to put old tyres to good use - as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.
Approximately 300 million tires are scrapped or dumped annually in the USA alone and around 25% wind up in landfills. Of the tyres reclaimed in the USA, almost half are burned as "Tire Derived Fuel" (TDF); alongside other polluting fuels such as coal.
There's a popular misconception that today's tires are made from rubber. More than 90% are made from synthetic materials; some of which are carcinogenic. When fires break out in piles of discarded tyres, they can be very difficult to put out and the burning spews toxic black, oily smoke into the atmosphere.
An ORNL team led by Parans Paranthaman and Amit Naskar is developing a better anode for lithium-ion batteries, using the carbon black from reclaimed tyres. The technique used involves a proprietary pretreatment to recover pyrolytic carbon black material. The researchers have produced a small, laboratory-scale battery demonstrating a reversible capacity that is higher than what is possible with commercially available graphite materials.
“Using waste tires for products such as energy storage is very attractive not only from the carbon materials recovery perspective but also for controlling environmental hazards caused by waste tire stock piles,” said Parans Paranthaman.
Amit Naskar says their team's development is an "inexpensive, environmentally benign carbon composite anode material with high-surface area, higher-rate capability and long-term stability".
ORNL states it plans to work with U.S. industry to license the technology and produce lithium-ion cells for transport and general energy storage applications. The materials market for lithium-ion batteries is expected to hit $11 billion in 2018
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the USA Department of Energy's largest multiprogram science and energy laboratory.
Earlier this week we reported on another type of toxic trash that can be used in the production of coatings for lithium-ion battery anodes - cigarette butts.


No deposit solar


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