Tag Archives: climate change

Bound for South Australia – the Sun seems to Shine brighter?

Garry Baverstock AM, former President of the WA branch of the ISES and ANZSES, founder of solar-e.com.

The State of Western Australia has many attractions and in many ways provides a great lifestyle, though a little dull at times due mainly to a lack of population, business action and strategic placement of higher density living. 


It is changing for the better slowly in most cases, but in the non-mining sector many industries have gone to the wall, closed down or moved overseas. My father was a lead confectioner with Plaistowe and Co, a WA company which was renowned for their sugared almonds, chocolates and licorice products, many supplied to the East Coast as well as overseas. It didn’t survive the wage hikes of the 1970s and closed down in 1983 or so. Many other healthy WA industries in all fields seemed to have died on the vine since, due to wage costs, globalization, or a lack of WA government support for innovation.

WA Solar History

In the 1940s -1960s solar industry entrepreneurs such as Ron Brown of Sola-Ray, and Clarry Small of ‘Smalls Solaheeta’ were leaders establishing the industry concurrently with and eventual domination by Solahart, Edwards hot water systems. I was involved with copper systems for 2010 to 2012 an evolution of the Smalls systems. I started by investigating Sola-Kleen in detail and eventually involved as a joint owner before closing it down due to a lack of viability. It was an attempt to save the industry and keep solar water heaters being made in WA. Since then most WA based manufacturing for solar water heating has disappeared.

Federal Government Rebate Scheme

Thanks to the brilliant and very effective Commonwealth Tax rebate scheme we were able to reinvent the product for application to the PV industry. This was seen as the only way to keep the industry alive.  It meant greatly improving the performance and reducing manufacturing costs. While at this process we as a team invented a new solar air conditioning system that also runs on PV.

Due to a lack of interest in WA which I put down to an overly and unhealthy emphasis on mining innovation, I have had not been able to easily attract capital, nor any innovation grants for IP registration etc. Also there has been no obvious interest for manufacturing interest here. 


My colleague Em Prof Wasim Saman, head of R&D at the School of Engineering at UniSA saw merit in the inventions in built form and backed by physics, engineering calculations and data collected. In 2017 we contracted the university to do independent testing. Since then further improvements have followed. Since 2014 three peer reviewed papers were produced that analyzed the state of solar water heater industry in Australia. This information assisted with not only infirming the whole industry but help our R&D program with useful feedback on the state of the industry and consumer sentiment towards it.

Colleagues in SA including Prof Wasim Saman of UniSA centre, former world Solar energy Society President Monica Oliphant, plus Rick Carter of the Space centre and high ranking EPA officer Roscoe Shelton in May 2019 discussing Climate Change and solar energy

Patent Process

With Patent Cooperation Treaty approval for novelty, inventiveness and industrial applicability we have proceeded with registering our patents globally.

In January we will be meeting the UniSA again to progress with the commercialization phase for both products as well as meeting potential JV manufacturing partners in Adelaide and in Melbourne.

The use of thermal inertia storage is the key to both technologies and will avoid the current high costs of battery storage added to PV which will eventually come down to 15c/kWh once the long life Li – ion batteries come on stream and will be equal to of peak grid supply costs. Thermal inertia storage will be below 2 c/kWh so it will always be a precursor for determining when to use battery storage, even at the lowest life cycle cost as presented in my WREN Conference paper in 2016.

Turning Point for the Solar Industry

2020 looks like being a turning point or solar becoming more mainstream and more importantly much smarter.  There are issues such us quality which need to be addressed. But solar energy and wind has an unhindered path to be supplying 25 – 50% of global electrical energy.

We predict that the next generation of householders will finally adopt passive solar design principles for their houses and retrofitting existing plus use smart technologies such as ‘SolaTank’ hot water systems and ‘MassLinc’ air conditioning. This will save about 25% emissions in the total building sector by the end of the century, preferably sooner.  With adoption of solar powered cars and heavy transport it looks like another 15% could be added to possible emissions savings.

Climate Change Consequences

Prof. Ross Garnaut (in Australia) predicted 90% savings were needed by the end of this century, but the impacts of Climate Change is hitting harder and earlier than thought. Therefore we need to move much faster now. Achieving 40% savings for the total built environment is highly possible and easy actually (say by 2050). Of course so many other measures for farming, population growth, regenerating natural environments including the oceans should make the end of century target possible but much earlier.

Don’t blame the solar industries. We are the heavy hitters providing a clean energy future for the next generations. With entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk taking over it is time for old fogies, including, laggards, luddites, and Climate Action deniers to get out of the way and let smart industries take control and save life (including humanity) as we know it on planet earth. The Solar Council has a big job from hereon.

JV Vision

In 2020 a JV for manufacturing between WA and South Australia or Victoria is our goal. As they say 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. I am happy to be able to contribute 25% of the global solution using our technologies.

Coastal Planning Western Australia

Reading the draft State Coastal Planning Western Australia policy document it appears that the new policy for coastal planning in part seems to be based on some ‘convenient truths’ that support current government positions on coastal development.

Coastal Planning Western Australia Review by Garry Baverstock

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Limits on Building Heights

The first anomaly in the new draft policy document for coastal planning Western Australia, compared with the old document is the conditions covering “the maximum heights adjacent to coastal boundaries of 5-storey maximum. This limit to be less where community support for lower height is evident.’

This limit has disappeared from the new document, leaving the question of height completely open to interpretation.

Ambiguity Leads to Misinterpretation

The correct interpretation simply did not happen with Cottesloe Beach LPS3 proposed planning scheme. This omission to references to height limits appears to conveniently suit the current government’s stance.

Height Limits for Coastal Planning Western Australia

If credibility is to be achieved with this document height limits based on objective criteria must be clearly defined in scientific terms. The final writing of  the Coastal Planning Western Australia policy document represents a unique chance to protect our coastal environments for generations and reflect great credit on the Barnett Government.

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Australian Carbon Price will Reduce Carbon Pollution

With a new Australian carbon price voted in, irrespective of political positions Australia can no longer be accused of ‘dragging its feet’ or being a ‘climate change bludger‘.

Australian Carbon Price

Australian Carbon Price

Finally with this Australian carbon price decision, after four years of frustrating manoeuvring by lobby groups and destructive attempts by climate sceptics there is tangible action on the table. The volatility surrounding this legislation has made a mockery of democracy. In 2007 the Australian people clearly wanted something to happen and the establishment of a new economy that addressed climate change that would deliver leadership for our region in the world.

The Realities of an Australian Carbon Price

The price on carbon, as Malcolm Turnbull former Liberal Party leader correctly points out, will come at a cost. It is not a wasted cost and will be an investment with large returns in the future. Our lives and those of our children and our grandchildren will be more secure with an Australian Carbon Price strategy adapting effectively to and curtailing, extreme climate change.

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Ocean Level Rising

The reality of ocean level rising at Cottesloe Beach and its impacts, need to be accurately explained beyond just technical data and facts.  Geotechnical information needs to be comprehensive for the job to be done properly.

Implications of Ocean Level Rising

Many people do not understand full implications for ocean level rising. Many have real problems in visualizing three dimensions and therefore misunderstand the implications of heights and setbacks arguments and the threats to the amenity to beach goers.

It is often just as difficult for professionals to understand ocean level rising ramifications. This is why the general public must be fully informed of the implications of planning decisions in areas near to the beach

Not enough resources have been applied to communicating  the visual impact of ocean level rising and planning decisions.

Accuracy has to be an effective first step in the process.  Levels and alignments of the beach and promenade are critical components for an effective design process.

Ocean Level Rising Cottesloe

Ocean Level Rise Eliminates Beach

Beaches Eliminated As Oceans Rise

The reality is that  the ocean level rising will eliminate the current stretch of beach sand. The primary sand dunes will also be lost or greatly degraded over time.

We need to adapt and plan for that eventuality now, before any hugely expensive developments commence. With ocean level rising there could be 20 metres of beach lost over the next 20 – 30 years. .

Extra space must be reserved to accommodate moving the beach eastwards.

Beaches will eventually cease to exist due to ocean level rising and if current development plans continue unchanged, there will be no allowance for a future Cottesloe Beach, as the ocean naturally tries to move it eastwards.

Ocean Level Rising

Ocean Level Rising Moves Beach Eastwards

We as a community and electors of government simply need to intervene now before expensive developments begin to evolve.

This was recommended as early as 2004 and anticipation of ocean level rising was included in our original  report: Cottesloe Foreshore Plans carried out for the Town of Cottesloe. Climate change must be addressed. In other areas of this website we have written extensively on the problems created by lack of population control, by energy consumption growth and the need for improvement in our built environment to help greenhouse gas reduction.

Reposition Beach Developments

Apart from moving Cottesloe Beach eastwards we also need to extend a development zone eastwards, to make it possible for economically viable projects to proceed over time.This is a key element for creating a future beachfront of value.

We also need full morning sun to reach the promenade, key social areas and the beach along the waterline.

Cottesloe Foreshore Plans

Overshadowing the beach

If a wall of shade prevails, these areas will no longer be attractive to the public.

Oceans To Rise 1-1.5 Metres

It is obvious that inaction over ocean level rising due to climate change is ensuring that we can expect the full one metre rise.

In fact, it is more likely to be 1.5 metres due to the slow action in abating CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere by most of the developed world.

My suggestions regarding moving the beach eastwards should be considered simply as ‘damage control’.

Issues such as public parking,  attractive access to the beach by nearby residents and the maintenance of heritage views need to be considered in any integrated vision for the precinct.

Key issues needed for a 100-year plan: Cottesloe Beach

  1. Moving the beach stage-by-stage eastwards allowing 30 metre extra buffer zone
  2. Setbacks of 30m from Marine Parade for all new developments
  3. Identifying a development zone for commercial development expansion, subject to the proposed new 30 metre set back
  4. Establishing rear access to the central car park off Marine Parade, to reduce summer car congestion.
  5. Establishing low-key 2-storey height development as a front to a new 2 storey car park and reduce existing parking at the CBH/Indiana precinct.

Planning this beachfront is really a very complex task.  It should not be oversimplified.The issue of ocean level rising is a serious matter.