April 28, 2017: Doing the Dirty Work

Replacing the sewer lines down the west side of the house next to the Greeny Flat.

Replacing the sewer lines down the west side of the house next to the Greeny Flat.

It’s been a busy week here at the Greeny Flat. We’ve been replacing the sewer lines as part of the energy retrofit of the old fibro cottage on the property. For new readers, you can catch up on the progress of this project via a series of short YouTube videos we’ve made over the last seven months. CLICK HERE for links to all the videos.

I’ll try to find time to make a new video next week with an update. We’ve now got our Solar Air Heater up and running, we’ve added paving down the south side of the house to help deal with moisture issues, and we’re getting ready to build a deck and awning on the west side to help keep the house cool in summer. This is what led to the sewer line replacement, because the deck will be built over the top of where the 70-year-old earthenware sewer pipes were buried. This would make it quite difficult to fix them later in the future so we thought it would be wise to upgrade them now while we can get them relatively easily.

As you can see from the photo above, it was a dirty day’s work but it all went well and we’ve now got the yard back into reasonable shape and ready to start work on the new deck. More on that soon. The good thing was I got to drive the excavator for the day. I haven’t done that for a while and it’s always fun. And I only bumped into the house once.

Ban The Bag Update

Following on from last week’s Newsletter in which we encouraged our readers to sign a no-brainer of a petition to ban single-use plastic bags, I just received the following update from the campaign. So far 120,000 people have signed, including our local legend, Jimmy Barnes which you can read about (and sign the petition if you haven’t already) by Clicking Here.

Wind and Water Power

The Waterlily portable Wind and Water Turbine

The Waterlily portable Wind and Water Turbine (Image source: NewAtlas.com)

I don’t know why it never occurred to me before and it seems pretty obvious when you think about it…. a turbine that can generate power from wind could also be capable of making power from flowing water. And that’s just what this new gadget called the Waterlily is designed to do according to this NewAtlas article. It is designed for camping and can deliver 25W of power from either a 7.2km/h flow of water or a 72km/h wind.

Personally I’d rather go camping in a place where the sun is shining and you can make 25W from a small solar panel than somewhere it’s blowing 72km/h. But for those rugged types who like to do it tough (while still being able to power their devices) this could be just the thing you’re looking for.

Australia Needs an Energy Policy

My lovely Cintia forwarded me the link to this story from The Guardian which claims that Australians could save $100bn if we had a clear and comprehensive national energy policy.

The report’s estimated $100bn in cost savings is a function of governments rolling out nationally consistent policies that would encourage the two parts of the system to work harmoniously together – the current poles and wires of the national market, and the virtual grids in homes and businesses. Allowing efficient co-optimisation would prevent overinvestment in poles and wires.

Photo by Andy Leman

A Corella inspecting the poles and wires near our house. Photo by Andy Lemann

The same policy could facilitate the transition to a clean energy future.

The report suggests by 2030, around 40% of generation could come from renewable technologies in Victoria and Western Australia, with an increasing share in New South Wales and Queensland as coal generators are retired.

But the report points out that the massive technological transformation is rolling out in a policy vacuum.

“There is currently no enduring, clear long-term climate policy. There is also a lack of integration between electricity sector planning processes and climate policy,” the ENA report says.

And even more remarkably, the article reports a major swing, across a wide spectrum of industries, back to the idea of some sort of market mechanism to reduce carbon emissions.

A string of peak bodies have used the review to call for the adoption of a market mechanism, including the National Farmers’ Federation, the Investor Group on Climate Change and the Business Council of Australia, which explicitly called for an emissions intensity scheme.

The current industry consensus around carbon pricing is a major turnaround in a very short period of time.

Three years ago some of the same groups urged the parliament to get out of the way so that Tony Abbott could repeal the Gillard government’s “carbon tax”.

Another Blow to the Adani Mine

The final piece of good news for today is that Westpac has finally ruled out the possibility of providing funding to India’s Adani Coal Company to build Australia’s largest coal mine in the Galilee basin in Queensland.

In our Newsletter two weeks ago I wrote about Malcolm Turncoat’s offer to provide a billion dollars of taxpayer money to help Adani build a railway line from the mine directly to the Barrier Reef where the current coal stockpile recently contaminated a sensitive wetland during cyclone Debbie.

The other three big banks had previously ruled out funding the mine but Westpac were dragging their feet. So it’s good to know that ‘the world’s most sustainable company‘ (that’s Westpac by the way, no joke) is now unwilling to back this massive fossil-fuel project. Hopefully no-one else will either.

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