New book: Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change
Posted January 2014
Mark Diesendorf's new book, Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change, has been published in Australia and New Zealand by UNSW Press. It will be published in the rest of the world by Earthscan in April 2014.
Interview with Philip Adams, Radio National, Late Night Live 5th February 2014
It is time to undertake the Great Transition from energy systems based on fossil fuels to ecologically sustainable systems. Fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – initially served us well, providing the basis for industrial society. However, we are now well beyond the point where their adverse environmental, social and economic impacts exceeded their benefits. Fossil fuels are the major cause of global climate change and are also responsible for much air and water pollution and land degradation. Furthermore, our dependence on finite resources of fossil fuels fosters insecurity about the future availability and affordability of energy.
Fortunately we now have the technologies to replace fossil fuels with sustainable energy systems based on the efficient use of renewable energy. The key sustainable energy technologies we need are commercially available today and include hydro-electricity, wind power, solar photovoltaic power, concentrated solar thermal power with thermal storage, and energy efficient buildings, appliances and equipment. Costs have fallen dramatically and continue to fall. Most sustainable energy technologies are either economically competitive now or close to being so. All they need are effective government policies to give investors confidence to expand the markets for these products.
In an apparent attempt to slow the spread of renewable energy and energy efficiency, vested interests are disseminating false and misleading myths. The principal myth is that renewable energy is too unreliable to supply base-load electricity demand and hence, it is alleged, cannot power an industrial society. However, a team of researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has busted this myth by simulating electricity demand and supply from 100 per cent renewable energy for each hour over a whole year, using actual data on demand, wind and sunshine. They have shown that different mixes of commercially available renewable energy technologies could supply Australia’s National Electricity Market with the same reliability as the existing polluting fossil-fuelled system. Similar results have been published independently by the Australian Energy Market Operator and by several research groups in Europe and the USA. Some of these studies have simulated up to 10 years of electricity supply and demand.
Another myth is the claim that a 100 per cent renewable electricity system would be unaffordable. To the contrary, the UNSW studies have shown that by 2030 a renewable energy system is likely to be less expensive than any low carbon electricity system based on fossil fuels, including gas power and coal power with carbon capture and storage. It may even be cheaper in the long run than continuing with business-as-usual.
Scenarios for the Great Transition have been published by research groups in several countries. Some of them explain in detail why nuclear energy is not the answer to the climate crisis. Some address sustainable transport and planning for better cities. Most examine the strategies and policies for mitigating climate change.
The barriers to a renewable energy world are no longer technological or economic, but rather are ideological and political. They can and must be overcome by a growing social movement.
11 Feb: Addressing Australian Solar Council & Alternative Technology Association in Sydney city, 6:00 pm.
12 Feb: Gleebooks book launch, 6:00 pm, join in on Facebook
25 Feb: UNSW Kensington O-week panel, 2:00 pm, Quad G034
26 Feb: Australian Solar Council, Canberra, 7:30 pm: Seminar Room, Ian Ross Bldg, ANU
1 Mar: Addressing Ryde-Hunters Hill Flora and Fauna Preservation Society at 3:00 pm, Environmental Education Centre, Field of Mars Wildlife Refuge, East Ryde, Sydney.
18 Mar: Addressing Climate Action Blue Mountains, public meeting?
22 Mar: Speaker at 'Hooked on Growth' symposium, Sydney city, 1-5 pm, Mitchell theatre, Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt St.
27 Mar: Invited public lecture at Griffith Uni, Brisbane, 18:00-19:30, details TBA.
3 Apr: Bermagui Institute public dinner address, Bermagui Hotel, 6:00 for 7:00 pm
4 Apr: Moruya?
8 Apr: University of Melbourne, public lecture, 18:00-19:00, Theatre 1, 207 Bouverie St.
15 Apr: Renewable energy symposium at UNSW, 9:00-13:00, Leighton Hall, Scientia Blg
30 April: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, Perth W.A.
1 May: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, Margaret River Campus, W.A..
9 May: Solar 2014 national conference, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, 2:10 pm
11 June:Transition Towns Bondi
14 June: Environmental Film Festival at Swanpool Vic.
22 June: Sustainability Magic festival at Katoomba
5 July: Alternative Technology Association at UWS Richmond
9 July: Sustainability Drinks at the Slip Inn, Sydney
6 Aug: Balmain Library
26 August: University of the Third Age (U3A) seminar in Canberra
28 August: UNSW Inter-College Sustainability Awareness Event
2 Sept: UTS Living Data exhibition launch
26 Sept: Energy Forum at Shepparton Vic.
More about the book
shortlisted for the APA Educational Publishing Awards. 2014
Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change brings together the science, technology, economics and policy issues to provide a
unique and truly interdisciplinary approach. It details the enormous recent changes in the energy sector and profiles the renewable energy
technologies that can transform our fossil-fuelled energy systems into ecologically sustainable ones. The book provides in-depth analysis of:
• scenarios for transitioning our polluting energy system to one based on the efficient use of renewable energy
• sustainable transport and planning for better cities
• why nuclear energy is not the answer
• the politics and policies of climate change mitigation
• myths about wind and solar energy and energy efficiency
• what people can do to overcome vested interests and push reluctant governments to take effective action.
'A compelling call to action from Professor Mark Diesendorf -- a leading voice of reason, careful analysis, keen insight, and common sense on energy. Read, enjoy, adopt, and prosper!'
AMORY B. LOVINS, Co-founder and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
'This book shows that a better future is possible.'
IAN LOWE, Emeritus Professor and President, Australian Conservation Foundation