Climate Change General Ride The Talk

A vision for the future

I want to try to get the idea out there that we can do better than merely providing renewable energy for our own needs. Australia has renewable energy resources that are the envy of nearly every other country on earth and, at present, we are using only a small fraction of what is possible.

Desertec has done calculations that shows that an area of land 300km x 300km (90,000 km2 – a fairly sizeable block of land) was capable in 2005 of providing the electricity needs of THE WORLD! This area is shown in orange on the map below for illustration purposes. BTW, this is using technology that is available TODAY, not some pie-in-the-sky unproven technology – concentrated solar thermal with molten salt storage of the kind promoted by beyondZeroEmissions.

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Handy winter warmer

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted but, now that the cooler weather has arrived (at least here in Melbourne) it is timely to post about ways of harnessing the free energy available from the sun to supplement your home heating requirements.

The following article is from Mother Earth News – a great resource. Please note that they talk about attaching this to south-facing windows – the article is Northern Hemisphere specific, in Australia (and other Southern Hemisphere locations) substitute north-facing instead.  🙂

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Support for a price on pollution

There has been a lot of talk in the mass media lately about the proposed carbon tax in Australia.

I believe that a lot of it has been said with a view to selling newspapers and getting viewers/listeners than to honestly informing the public.

  • Does it concern you that climate scientists have been telling us for DECADES that we need to reduce the amount of carbon we put into the air and yet that amount is still rising!
  • Has the recent unprecedented extreme flooding in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales & Tasmania made you stop and wonder what’s going on?
  • Does it worry you that just last year Australia was into the tenth year of drought (and that Western Australia is still in it)?
  • Does the severity of Cyclone Yasi make you quiver?
Energy efficiency General Ride The Talk

…and, finally, homeward bound. The end…or maybe not??

I was again introduced by the mayor, at my Kingston talk, and the audience was well engaged. My host, John, and I headed home afterwards and the next morning I left bound for my next stop 4km from Oyster Cove and my talk at the Kettering Community Hall.

The directions given by Mark [the Spark] were explicit and accurate and I arrived at their place just after noon. Mark and Narelle live a low impact life in the hills west of the highway. I was to be in the cottage they have and the afternoon was spent assisting Mark and a friend Dan replace some rotten stumps under the workshop – grunt work but satisfying nonetheless. The talk went well to a great audience and I returned home with Mark and went straight to bed. The next day was a ‘biggy’ from there to Oatlands – a distance of some 120kms!

Presentations Ride The Talk The RIDE

…the east coast and on to Hobart & beyond…

I bid Michelle and Jo adieu and headed off on Monday morning bright and early. Well, the journey to Swansea was the first time I have managed to get my average above 20km/h for the day! Only just, mind you, but I’m not going to quibble about degrees. I did 108.7km today rolling down the east coast with what felt like a bit of a tailwind. The sun was shining and all was well with the world. What a great part of the country this is – [small] rolling hills and great views of the Tasman Sea until I reached Bicheno when the road headed inland. I stopped there for some grapes and a drink before continuing on my way.

General Ride The Talk

…and over to the east coast…

Hi all,
My talk in Devonport went well and, afterwards, I looked up a friend-of-a-friend who had some dinner prepared for me [thanks Caroline] and we chatted together until way too late [sorry about that Caroline!]. I then retired back to the caravan park on the Bluff at Devonport and woke up way later than I had wanted. Launceston was a 100km+ journey and I had wanted to get an early start but, hey….

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Welcome to sunny Tasmania

Well, I’m back on the bike and am just about to do my third presentation in as many nights. It’s good to be back on the bike and engaging with people again. Tasmania is due to be my last leg of my formal journey though I have a “gig” in Swan Hill the day after I get back.
I got to Tasmania on Sunday evening after an uneventful crossing of Bass Strait on the Spirit of Tasmania. We arrived at about 7pm and I immediately got on my bike bound for Heybridge where some wonderful people (thanks Nick & Michelle) had offered me accommodation. It was dark by the time I got to Penguin about 10kms from Heybridge but I was not on the main drag so I continued and got in at about 10pm. My hosts greeted me like kindred spirits and I was soon in bed and asleep. Michelle and I had a great chat the next morning before I had to reluctantly bid her goodbye and head off. [They have a 9 month old boy, Oliver, who is just amazing – if only I had known what Michelle informed me when our kids were babies, we may have managed to toilet train them earlier. If you’re interested, google “elimination communication”.]
So far I haven’t done a huge amount of riding – ~195km but some of this [~45km] was a “jolly” [unladen] to Table Cape during the day yesterday – I even had company in the form of my host from Somerset, Pam, which was great. it is unusual for me to do this kind of thing as there normally isn’t enough time…..and so it will be even more so with this leg as well as I am riding almost every day, instead of 5/7.
I talked on Monday night to a great audience in Wynyard and then again last night in Burnie. Pam & Phil live midway between in a wonderful spot called Somerset.
I am now back in Devonport and due to perform again in about half an hour, so I will need to make this quick. The weather has been wonderful, the winds not too bad and the hills endurable – I hope this continues. I even managed to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in well over a decade – hi Daryl – while I came through Penguin this morning. I expect the riding to get more difficult from here on in and the hills longer. I have had luck in having someone (thanks Michelle) arrange for me to speak on Saturday & Sunday over in St Helens/St Marys.
Gotta go – ciao for now!

Climate Change Energy efficiency

Coal fired power & base-load

Currently, most of our power generation in Australia comes from coal.

One of the problems with coal (and why off-peak power is cheaper than peak power) is that they require a long period of time to heat up to operating temperature and so they cannot be started and stopped quickly.

From the Climate Spectator (Giles Parkinson) comes: “The biggest challenge is how to manage the growth in peak demand, which is growing at a phenomenally faster rate than baseload power. It will come as something of a shock to most consumers that their soaring power bills are not the fault of green energy subsidies, but mostly because of the neighbour’s newly installed air conditioning unit. Or their own.”