South Australia leading the Nation

Or Old Ideologies v’s the Future.  I’m starting this post with a fascinating live link to the energy sources powering Australia at the moment:

http://www.statedevelopment.sa.gov.au/resources/energy-supply/south-australias-electricity-supply-and-market

The next installment of the Perfect Storm II began earlier this week when our Premier, Jay Weatherill, announced South Australia was taking control of its own energy needs.  This came after constant sniping from the Federal Liberal National Government over our blackouts the last few months.

Some history to the blackouts

South Australia wasn’t the only state experiencing blackouts over summer, but the other states are powered mostly by coal.  The Federal Government has an unusual obsession with coal.  Against majority international scientific opinion, they regard coal as the future, and do everything they can to ensure Australia’s main energy source is coal.

After each blackout the Federal Government would blame our high uptake of renewable energy.  In every case, this wasn’t the cause.  In contrast there was silence when the other states experienced blackouts.

The last coal fired power station in South Australia and the Leigh Creek coal mine closed last year.  This was due to economic reasons.  The Victorian Hazelwood brown coal fired power station is also going to close this year.

In contrast, the Queensland Government with assistance from the Federal Government, is in the process of allowing Adani to open the biggest coal mine in Australia, and is attempting to push through amendments to the Native Title Act to over-ride any opposition from the First Nation peoples.  The Adani CEO was responsible for a major environmental disaster in South Africa, and here are some more reasons why the mine shouldn’t go ahead:

http://www.aycc.org.au/adani_is_back?

The Announcement

As part of our state taking control of its energy needs, our Premier announced we would install a 100mWh battery storage system, after visiting Tesla boss Elon Musk offered to solve our blackouts by installing a 100mWh system in 100 days or it would be free*.  Tesla has already installed a 80mWh system in California.  Germany is also aiming to increase their storage from 60mWh to 200mWh this year.

The announcement included increasing our gas extraction (we are assured it doesn’t including fracking) and also building a new government owned gas fired power station to ensure (cheaper?) reliable energy supply.

We are told gas is a bridge between coal and 100% renewable energy for our state.  Port Augusta is very keen on building a solar thermal plant, and the Government is due to make a decision on this by June.  Many renewables supporters think we should stop investing in gas and put all the money into renewable energy sources only.  As more money is invested, the cheaper renewable energy becomes.

The fact is, the power purchase solar panels on our roof have generated an average of 23kWhs/day from October to January, and with battery storage we could have easily powered our household and put energy back in the grid.  There are many roofs without solar panels in SA.

Like most other Australian states and territories, there is massive land space in South Australia for wind, solar thermal, and solar panels.  With battery storage, we have the weather to power South Australia and further afield.  Our Federal Government has removed incentives for renewable energy and recently talked about using the clean energy fund to finance a ‘clean coal’ power station, to the disgust of many.  it is extremely frustrating watching the Government bypass opportunities to support renewable energy based on old ideologies.

Our Premier’s announcement sparked a panicked policy announcement by Prime Minister Turnbull to increase the size of the Snowy Mountains hydro scheme by 50%.  Along with the newly elected Labor Government in Western Australia, hopefully this is the beginning of a turnaround towards renewable energy.

*The SA system is going out to tender so one or a multiple of companies can bid for the project.

I Love Eucalypts 2013 Calendar

A 2013 Calendar is now available of the eucalyptus dyed silk tableware.  Order direct through Redbubble and send to the address of your choice, available most countries.  Click on the calendar for a preview of the 12 months!

I Love Eucalypts 2013 Calendar

  • Stunningly sharp digital printing on 200gsm satin art paper with tougher cover
  • Start the year with the month of your choice
  • A3 size  29.7 x 42cm,  11.7 x 16.5″
  • Tough wire binding and hanger
  • Printed to order
  • Only $30 plus shipping

McLaren Vale to Mount Compass

The southern vales region of rural Adelaide is very pretty in the winter.  I stopped the car to photograph a huge kangaroo that hopped away as soon as it saw my camera.  So if you look closely at the dot in the left hand corner near the farmhouse…….

The first two images are the view from Ridge Road to McLaren Vale, and the rest are the cows coming in for milking at the Alexandrina Cheese factory just south of Mount Compass (mentioned in Best Adelaide Regional Food Platter).  The factory door sells delicious fresh jersey cream, milk and cheese.

View from Ridge Road, McLaren Vale Continue reading McLaren Vale to Mount Compass

Koala spotting

My studio is located on the edge of suburban Adelaide, South Australia.  The area is covered with gum trees, so we are lucky to have occasional visits by local koalas.  Koalas are solitary creatures so only seek out company during mating season.  Our koalas were introduced from Victoria, as the South Australian variety was hunted to extinction for its fur in the 1920s.

Out the front of our property are River Red Gums (eucalyptus camaldulensis) which supply most of the dye materials for Eucalypso.  The trees are also popular with parrots (food) and magpies (nesting) so during Spring and Summer the koalas are pestered by the birds and only stay a few hours.

River Red Gums, eucalyptus camaldulensis

During winter there is less competition for the trees so a visiting koala can stay for up to a few days.  This morning we found this on the ground, a sure sign a koala is visiting. Continue reading Koala spotting