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In “100%” Renewable Canberra people are queuing to hang out in warm libraries, and the air is more polluted

Kill trees, pollute the air, punish the poor and protect coal underground

Just another day in Green heaven.

Canberra Wood Smoke

Wood smoke over Canberra   |   Photo from Clean Air Canberra

The Australian capital city Canberra in midwinter is often minus 1 to 5 degrees C in the morning. Australian homes can get very cold and with heating bills rocketing, things are defacto becoming like life in Berlin, which is in a pre-War energy crisis. No one labeled Canberra public halls as “warm spaces” and they definitely aren’t open at night (it’s the public service!), but crowds are arriving at libraries just to escape the cold.

The ACT Government are a Labor-Green alliance, and are proudly, exuberantly “100% Renewable”, but won’t dare cut the cord to the coal plants that keep the lights on, making the claims of being 100% renewable a form of 100% false advertising. Even the ABC admits that the ACT itself only generates 5% of its own power, and 80% of the energy coming to the ACT through the wires is from fossil fuels. They pay off some distant wind farms to balance the theoretical gigawatt-hour tallies, and sponge off the states around for cheaper backup and stability that the coal plants provide.

But as electricity prices rises 14% of Canberrans are heating their homes with wood. This has predictably increased actual air pollution. So now there is a movement to ban wood fires.

If only there was a 300 year supply of cheap fuel to burn at centralized clean power stations…

Like all Green policies putting fashion before facts, they get the opposite of what they aim for.


Canberra: where electricity is a luxury the poor can’t afford

Tina Faulk, The Spectator

Public libraries in the National Capital are now considered, by staff and patrons alike, to be ‘community centres’ where people come to read, use the computers, charge their phones, and use the toilets. It’s where clients of the NDIS, escorted by carers, are brought and propped up in their wheelchairs in front of computers or seated in deep armchairs by the magazine stands. Some, abandoned by their carers, shout incoherently for attention. Newly arrived migrants – Somalis, Iraqis, Syrians – jostle for attention of the library staff, asking for translation assistance with various forms and declarations.

Our libraries, warm and welcoming, have a crowd at their doors before the 10 am opening.

Groups of women discuss where they go to get warm:

One [woman] who recently ‘VR-ed’ (Voluntary Retired) still goes back to her old workplace, usually late morning, when the security guard who remembers her gives a nod and a smile as she settles into one of the comfortable settees in the reception area.

How sad is that — going back to her old workplace foyer just to stay warm?

Wood heaters in the firing line as temps drop and pollution rises

Lottie Twyford, Riotact

A recent report showed woodfire heater smoke is the largest source of winter air pollution in Canberra. Currently, around 14 per cent of people in the ACT use a woodfire heater as their main source of heating.

Analysis of air quality shows the impacts of smoke are worse down south because the shape of the valley and temperature inversions hold pollutants closer to the ground. In 2020, there were 37 days in Tuggeranong when pollution levels were above acceptable levels; of those, 13 can be attributed to woodfire heater emissions, Mr Davis told the ACT Legislative Assembly.

The local newspaper is running stories about the “right temperature” to heat homes to. They suggest 18°C (colder than the public buildings in Germany which are now set down to 20°C). A few years ago I stayed with a friend in Canberra and the room was 11°C (and it was only May!).

9.7 out of 10 based on 72 ratings

51 comments to In “100%” Renewable Canberra people are queuing to hang out in warm libraries, and the air is more polluted

  • #
    David Maddison

    A high proportion of employed people in the ACT are public serpents. It is better that this happens to them rather than ordinary folk although it’s sad for the ordinary folk that do live there. Public serpents helped create and implement the very policies they now suffer from, although because of their high salaries, they can afford to pay more for energy than most others.


  • #

    The ACT was supplied with 2,851 GWh of electricity from the grid for calendar year 2021. Their contracted variable renewable energy suppliers provided 1,847 GWh into the east coast bucket, making the ACT 64.8% renewable for the year from this power source. I’m not sure where the other 1,004 GWh is sourced to make up their 100% renewables claim.

    Its been a cold winter in the bubble and gas, up until about 5 years ago, was the heating method of choice. Natural gas is now being phased out to be replaced by electrical heating. This will require another 2,274 GWh (2018 estimate) of power to be sourced, mostly in the colder months. The ACT Govt. has its work cut out to maintain its 100% renewable claim.


    • #

      “The ACT achieved 100% renewable electricity in 2020.”


      “The ACT guarantees the wind and solar farms will receive a given price for every MWh of electricity that they generate, through a contract for difference (CfD) scheme.”
      Prices listed for the CfD contracts in 2019 were $81 – $92 for Wind and $186 for solar per MWH.

      Full charts demand/supply at the link. Though three years old.


      • #

        I wonder how many times the same MWh of electricity is sold to the needy governments ….


      • #
        Kalm Keith

        “through a contract for difference (CfD) scheme.”

        Amazing: they admit to taking out insurance, but it’s hard to imagine where they could get these CfDs.

        The best traditions of the Wall Street gang are being upheld: complexification wins again!


        • #
          • #
            Kalm Keith

            Insanity rules on high.
            It would have been cheaper to take the money directly from the bucket marked “Taxpayers Contributions”, but we normals forget that somebody’s brother/sisperson has to skim the commission for the CfD illusion.

            That’s the best sleight of hand trick we’ve sees in a long time, but it still doesn’t compare with the volume of cash liberated by government approval of “Very Fast Trading” on the Australian stock market to “provide liquidity” hah hah.

            Deceit knows no bounds.


          • #
            Kalm Keith

            Everything in ,,,,,


            • #
              Kalm Keith


              Ins,, rules on high.
              It would have been cheaper to take the money directly from the bucket marked “Taxpayers Contributions”, but we normals forget that somebody’s brother,,, has to skim the commission for the CfD illusion.

              That’s the best slyght of hand trick we’ve seen in a long time, but it still doesn’t compare with the volume of cash liberated by government approval of “Very Fast Trading” on the Australian stock market to “provide liquidity” hah hah.

              Deeseat knows no bounds.


      • #

        Thanks for the link Jo – their methodology now becomes clearer.

        From the ACT’s 2019-2020 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report:

        Nationally, 2020 is the year in which the Large Renewable Energy Target (LRET) scheme reaches its target level, which is 33,000 GWh of accredited renewable generation. Because, the scheme works off calendar rather than financial years, that will mean a small increase in the ACT’s share of the national target in 2020-21, and thereafter no further increase in the LRET component of ACT renewable electricity supply.

        So the ACT’s LRET component is fixed at 540 GWh for the moment. Their Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) strategy is as follows:

        By voluntarily surrendering some of the stock of Renewable Energy Certificates acquired under its contracts with wind and solar farms, starting in 2014-15, the ACT has been able to offset all emissions related to its consumption of electricity, and will be able to do so for every year into the future, provided that expiring contracts with renewable generators are either rolled over or replaced as required.

        So they dip into their stock of REC’s as needed.

        For FY2020-2021, their contracted VER generators underperformed, and only supplied 1,924.5 GWh. They needed 2,109 GWh’s to zero off their FY2020-2021 greenhouse reporting statistics, so had to dip into their bucket of REC’s for another 184.5 GWh.

        The performance of their VER suppliers has been a bit down for FY2021-22, at 1,847 GWh. It appears that they may have to dip into the REC bucket again to remain 100% renewable.


        • #
          robert rosicka

          Question about the REC’s , my solar system was supposedly 5kw when installed and as part of the subsidy discount etc the installer company take possession of the recs for a further reduction in the install price . So my question is these certificates are they based on installed capacity or actual capacity ? Because if the certificate for my roof was worth 5000 points there’s a lot of imaginary certificates floating around out there .


          • #

            Look up “capacity factor”.
            For any energy generation facility..
            You might be surprised at the numbers for coal fired plants….
            And most certainly for solar panels


  • #

    For the ACT Guv’ment to state that their electricity consumption is generated by ‘Renewables’ when it is only around 5% is simply breathtaking. Next they will be saying that pigs can fly.


    • #

      They are Public Servants


    • #

      From memory I think those “renewables” aren’t even local to Canberra. In fact, I think the contracts are linked to wind installations in Western Victoria. Could even be the newish wind install just north of Horsham.


  • #
    paul courtney

    /sarc alert/ Hey, nobody said supporting democracy/Ukraine wouldn’t require sacrifice. On the part of the masses.


    • #

      Fooling people into sacrificing for the greater good is the means behind the push for globalism. The UN globalists can’t take over until the free world fails and controlling energy is the best way to accelerate this. Of course, China will get the last laugh as they will fill the vacuum left by the collapse of the free world and anyone who thinks they will cede power to the UN globalists must be smoking some really good stuff.


      • #
        David Maddison

        Using the false claim that our way of life is “unsustainable” is an important part of the propaganda.

        How often do you hear Leftoids say that word?

        Sadly, unlike conservatives and fellow rational thinkers, Leftoids are masters of propaganda and the use or misuse of language to promote said propaganda.


        • #

          The IPCC’s broken science is unsustainable, as the scientific truth will inevitably prevail, otherwise the Earth would still be flat and in the center of the Universe. Other unsustainable positions include uncontrolled illegal immigration, uncontrolled spending and uncontrolled crime. Unfortunately, uncontrolled political insanity seems to have no end.

          The lefts misuse of language goes far beyond propaganda misrepresenting the truth. It’s also about projection where they’re trying to deflect their own malfeasance by accusing the other side of what they’re guilty of.


  • #
    William x

    The cold temperatures in Canberra will soon be solved. Our Federal Parliament is back in session.

    Rest assured my friends,

    Our politicians are brilliant at blowing out hot air. They are experts in that field.

    No problem to be seen here… I’m told..


  • #
    David Maddison

    Can’t they be held to account for telling an obvious lie?

    Since 2020, 100% of electricity in the ACT has come from renewable sources.

    We source our electricity from renewable generators, such as solar and wind. These don’t produce any greenhouse gas emissions.


    • #

      Technically, it appears that the ACT Govt are correct as they have found a way to take advantage of a loose system. It reminds me of social occasions where some guests brought along cheap bottles of wine and then proceeded to drink the good drops that others had brought along. Then, at the end of the night, if their bottle was untouched they took it back.

      They are gaming the system by adding unreliable power into the bucket and using the good stuff generated by others at peak times and claiming the high moral ground.


    • #
      Kalm Keith

      The big lye;

      “These don’t produce any greenhouse gas emissions”.

      The required appendage to that comment;
      “at the point of installation”.

      Unfortunately they leave a massive trail of Very Real pollution and CO2 (irrelevant in the real world) from mining, manufacture and all too soon the decommissioning.

      It’s called Planned Obsolescence.


    • #

      DM. Nope. They are politicians after all and words just mean what they want them to mean so they cannot lie. They learned this from reading “Alice in Wonderland”. If he were alive now Lewis Carroll could have written many of the university papers relating to climate. They are equally fanciful.


  • #

    Canberra is bad enough but Greens leader Adam Bandt seems to think he is the Prime Minister of Australia now – making increasingly delusional demands. And what exactly has public housing policy got to do with the environment? They should rename themselves the Australian Communist Party so I can take them seriously.


  • #
    Graeme M

    I don’t completely understand the arrangements, but Canberra sources its electricity from some small solar farms in the territory and from the east coast grid. However, it pays contracted renewable generators for a supply equivalent to its usage. So it claims to be 100% renewable and in the sense that it pays for sufficient renewable energy to be added to the grid to cover its use, it is. As far as I am aware, those contracts are delivering lower prices so for the time being, we are not supposedly being affected by rises in prices likely to occur presently. I don’t think there is an issue with people not being able to pay for electricity but many people do use gas and woodfire heating. I think it is the case that the government wants to phase these out though I’m not sure when. Personally I use gas for heating and have no plans to change that any time soon.

    One thing I don’t get is that if we (the ACT) are mostly powered by supply from the grid but aren’t paying the market price due to our contracts, we are getting the benefit of stable supply without the cost. The ACT government’s own website pointed out that reliable supply was guaranteed by being grid connected (though the website has now been changed and it doesn’t quite make that so clear now). If this is the case, as it appears to be, then it seems to me that while we can claim to be 100% renewable, the reliability of our supply is underwritten by customers paying the market price for FF generators to keep the grid running.


  • #

    I recall reading over at Reneweconomy once “..that it would take a special kind of stupid to be pounding away on a computer in Canberra powered by “100% renewable power” saying that “renewables” don’t work.

    This is how deluded they are; a) they believe it and then b) amazingly call others stupid who point out its an obvious nonsense. Its a cult.


  • #
    robert rosicka

    Canberra the coldest place I’ve ever had the misfortune to live and work in .


  • #

    Interesting beat up piece.

    1. No comparison with previous years (before covid). has this happened before to the same scale or not? Public buildings have long been a way to escape the heat and cold in Canberra. I’m not saying this is good and I would have hoped that services would be provided to give new citizens a leg up. Companion house though does a great job.

    2. The smoke is a long standing issue as you know Jo.


  • #

    I’m all in for wood fired warming (WFW). I’m just trying to find a combustion stove that will fit in my brick fireplace. The closest so far is a $4000 US model, but it still is not a perfect fit; still, advertised to be able to warm the whole house.
    Or, to avoid local pollution, the pollies could join the Sensible party and ramp up gas, cut the cross subsidising by the average person of the indulgences of the wealthy and wear pads instead of wetting their duds about the looming climate mirage.


  • #

    In 2016 the A.C.T Environment Minister said we are going 100% renewable by 2020, electricity prices would rise by $290 until 2020, then electricity prices would fall.

    The A.C.T. was declared 100% renewable in October 2019, now they pay the highest electricity prices in Australia.


  • #
    Ed Zuiderwijk

    That is a description of a third-world country.

    Outlawing woodburners? Do they really want a revolution?.


  • #

    When I was a child we didn’t have electricity in our area and I ain’t going back to those low emissions days.
    I have had my house wired so I can switch over to my generator.I love carbon dioxide, it’s the gas of life.


    • #
      robert rosicka

      Where I live it’s a greenie hornets nest but virtually every house has a wood heater .


  • #

    I still live here and have a wood heater which my wife will never let go. My neighbour only uses firewood.
    Wood is renewable 🙂 It’s not particularly cheap anymore, but probably cheaper than gas, which I also have, and r/c. ~ $1K for firewood each year.
    Apparently it is illegal to forage for firewood or even pick up storm felled tree limbs. Go figure.
    That said, I will retire to sunnier climes, hopefully onto a block with a stand of timber that I can fell.