Episode 336. Some Good News!

This is The ChangeUnderground for the 8th of May 2023.

I’m your host, Jon Moore

Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!

From a piece on Agriland by Aisling O’Brien on the 4th of May 2023:


Irish wind farms provided 35% of the country’s electricity last month, according to figures from Wind Energy Ireland.

This is the best ever performance by wind farms for the month of April.

The amount of electricity produced by wind energy last month was up 8% against April 2022 while the share of demand met rose from 32% to 35% as demand for power continued to rise.

Wind energy has met 38% of the country’s power demand for the first four months of 2023.

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And from ANTONIA ZIMMERMANN on politico.eu dated 27th April 2023:


FELDHEIM, Germany — The village of Feldheim has no local shop, but counts 55 wind turbines.

An otherwise nondescript hamlet of just 130 people an hour’s drive southwest of Berlin, Feldheim’s claim to fame is its huge investment in energy infrastructure. As well as the wind turbines, the village also has its own biogas plant, a wood-chip burner, a battery storage system and a solar power plant.

All of the electricity and heat it consumes is produced locally, which the village says makes it self-sufficient and carbon neutral. That’s made it a tourist attraction for those interested in how to go green.

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And from Totally Renewable Yackandandah:


A 100% volunteer run community group with the lofty goal of powering this small Victorian town with 100% renewable energy, giving resilience, savings, lower emissions and showing that it can be done.

A 100% volunteer run community group with the lofty goal of powering this small Victorian town with 100% renewable energy, giving resilience, savings, lower emissions and showing that it can be done.

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This last example is from rural Victoria, Australia. The community has set up their own energy company, purchased batteries, PV cells and a mini-grid.

What all these stories tell us is the change, the transition, the future is on its way.


From a 20,000 metre view, the Germans have been all in on the transition long before most of the rest of us. With schemes to pay coal miners the same salary as they received mining but to perform mine site rehabilitation work, a re-greening of the mine sites, in effect. The German government, despite their reliance on Russian gas and oil, have been driving their replacement.


In Australia, the Yackandandah example, has been developed with community support, buy in, literally, and against the prevailing policy position of a federal government beholden to the mining industry. There’s a drive, now we’ve changed governments, to build an electric vehicle market. Apart from the better off buying vehicles directly, the incentives are aimed at fleet buyers to create within a decade, an actual second hand market for such vehicles. The missing piece is the need for an emissions limit on vehicles sold here in Aus. We are one of the few countries in the world without this legislation so we tend to have the less efficient fossil fuel vehicles dumped on our market and electric vehicles are unnecessarily expensive.


From what I’ve seen from afar and from close up in 2018, the Irish situation is somewhere in between. Plenty of wind turbines and Ireland is at least as windy as Tasmania but not much government support. It is only recently possible to generate electricity at home, PV cells say, and send the excess to the grid. This system allows lots of small producers to generate locally and use the grid as a battery. Now those of you who have the image of Ireland as a permanently wet place, it is to some extent but I have a memory of a business, chocolate, biscuit, I can’t be sure but in Dublin and it was providing most if not all of the power requirements of the building. If any of you can remember the story I’m thinking of, please let me know.


On the other side of the equation, the emissions side, another piece from Agriland also dated the 4th of May and from Stella Meehan entitled: Ministers announce scientific breakthrough on cattle emissions.


Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State with special responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon, have today (Thursday, May 4) announced a world-first scientific breakthrough that can enable the reduction of methane from the Irish cattle herd through animal genetics. 

According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), this will be possible because of the publication of methane evaluations which will enable breeding programmes to reduce daily methane emissions in beef cattle. 

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Speeding Up the Genetics

This might seem a longer term response but it need not be so. Embryo flushing, artificial insemination and attention to detail can have a change in genetics propagated quite quickly. It occurs reasonably regularly here when new breeds are brought into the country. This might seem odd but with the strict biosecurity regulations we have all this occurs in agricultural quarantine stations at huge expense to the importers so the ability to build up numbers quickly helps to cover the costs for new breeds. It can be done so this story is good news. In parallel to this approach is the currently in the market approach of adding a variety of red seaweed to cattle feed which has shown a drop in methane production of up to 98%. Combine the two methods and we’re well on the way.


Autumn is a dangerous period of time for me. I love the weather, the changes and settling down for winter but it can also trigger periods of downness, not quite clinical depression but a lowness of feelings. Normally I just need to leave the lights on later than most people and that does the trick. However I’ve realised the last few episodes have been heading into the “We’ll all be ruined.” view of life. Hopefully this episode has turned a corner. We really can get the changes implemented in time. I’m coming to the conclusion we actually will. Things will not return to the weather patterns and temperatures of a century ago, they will take time to ease back, they will probably continue to deteriorate in the short term  but our grandkids and theirs will have a habitable planet. So let’s get on with it shall we?

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!

Thank you all for listening and I’ll be back next week.



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email: jon@worldorganicnews.com

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The German village that says it’s gone green


Wind energy provides 35% of Ireland’s electricity in April


Totally Renewable Yackandandah


Ministers announce scientific breakthrough on cattle emissions


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