Climate change

July 23, 2010

Barry Brooks’ community analysis of the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Report

Filed under: Climate Change, Emissions Reduction, Renewable Energy — Barry Brook @ 12:18 pm


A new report, Zero Carbon Australia 2020, has been released. Its aim is to “show how Australia can reach 100% renewable energy within a decade, using technology that is commercially available right now“. From their website:

The guiding principles of ZCA 2020 include:

  • Australia’s energy is provided entirely from renewable sources at the end of the transition period.
  • All technological solutions employed are from proven, reliable technology which is commercially available.
  • The security and reliability of Australia’s energy supply is maintained or enhanced by the transition.
  • Food and water security are maintained or enhanced by the transition.
  • Australians continue to enjoy a high standard of living.
  • Social equity is maintained or enhanced by the transition.
  • Other environmental indices are maintained or enhanced by the transition.

The download is an 8.6 MB colour PDF, 194 pages long (including appendices). But it’s a nicely presented document, so it not a difficult read and can be done in parts.

Here, I throw a challenge down to this community — analyse and critique! [I will also participate, of course]. Some guiding principles, in the spirit of TCASE:

1. Be fair — acknowledge what is good and useful about this effort. [From my first skim, I would say 50% is good to excellent, 15% is so-so, 15% is highly dubious and 20% is unmitigated nonsense]

2. Focus on key assumptions — how sensitive are the outcomes to these, and how grounded in reality are they? [Cost for CSP is a good example]

3. What are the gaps? This will help — print out and have it to hand: “A checklist for renewable energy plans

4. What are the biases? Are there examples of cherry picking? What important details have been glazed over?

5. Are the estimates of system reliability, build time and cost, acceptable? [Monthly averages…?]

6. What are the environmental impacts of this plan, compared to alternatives?

And so on. Perhaps the comments can also help me build up this list of guiding principles better aid later commenters.

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