Greens urges Hodgman Government to ‘utterly reject’ RET review recommendations http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-31/tasmania-energy-minister-canberra-ret-renewable-energy-target/5708488 31 Aug 14, By Ellen Coulter Greens leader Christine Milne has urged the Hodgman Government to stand up for renewable energy and “utterly reject” the Warburton report’s recommendations.
The review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET), chaired by Dick Warburton, has recommended the scheme be drastically cut back.
The prospect that the findings will be adopted by the Abbott Government has cast a pall over the renewable energy industry Australia wide.
In Tasmania, Hydro Tasmania has warned any winding back would threaten billions of dollars in investment and doubt prevails over proposals such as the Granville Harbour wind farm on Tasmania’s west coast.
Liberal Premier Will Hodgman says he is worried about the Commonwealth’s response to the review, which is expected in about a fortnight.
State Energy Minister Matthew Groom is planning to fly to Canberra this week to urge the Federal Government against scrapping the RET. “We’re very anxious about any decision that the Federal Government might make to this scheme that could disadvantage the state,” Mr Hodgman said.
“I urge the Federal Government to look very carefully at Tasmania, consider our investment and also further opportunities in the future.”
Mr Hodgman said he has been arguing Tasmania’s case for months and that Mr Groom would again be pushing the cause to his federal counterparts.
But Ms Milne said the Tasmanian Liberals were not doing enough.
She maintained that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was determined to “destroy renewable energy”.
“It was his idea to abolish the Renewable Energy Target altogether,” she said.
She said the Tasmanian Government was “attacking the Federal Government with a wet lettuce leaf” and needed to present a strong rejection of the Warburton review.
“I think it is time that if Matthew Green supports a clean energy future, supports renewable energy, that he stands up and really condemns the direction of the Abbott Government and rejects utterly the Warburton report on renewable energy,” Ms Milne said.
“Frankly, it is pathetic. If they are going to make a stand they need to stand with the jobs, with the university [UTAS], with the renewable energy future and against Eric Abetz.”
From a commercial point of view the fossil fuels sector seems to have the most to gain if the RET is scrapped or scaled back.
The Climate Institute, Australian Conservation Foundation and WWF Australia commissioned independent modelling that found weakening the RET could result in $8 billion in additional profit to coal and $2 billion to gas generators.
Renewable Energy Target: Who benefits from scaling back the scheme?NEWS.COM.AU AUGUST 30, 2014 THE renewable energy sector is powering along but not everyone seems to be happy with how successful it has been.
title=”2014-08-30T11:48:00+10:00″>So far the Federal Government has pumped $9.4 billion into supporting the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and, since 2001, the amount of electricity produced by clean energy has almost doubled.
In July, South Australia got nearly half its electricity from wind and solar, and Australians’ take-up of small-scale systems such as home solar panels, has already exceeded levels anticipated for 2020………
title=”2014-08-30T11:48:00+10:00″>There are widely differing predictions about whether electricity bills will go down or increase if the RET is scaled back. It may just stay the same.
Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne has criticised the review, headed by climate sceptic Caltex Australia chairman Dick Warburton, who has rejected suggestions his personal views coloured his work.
Senator Milne suggested the review’s recommendations reflected the fact that “clean energy is proving way too good at making coal obsolete”.
“The RET review is part of the dinosaur protection racket – an $8 billion favour for Tony Abbott’s mates in the fossil fuels sector, at the expense of clean technology,” Senator Milne said.
“To protect his big-business mates Tony Abbott got rid of the carbon price, making it free to pollute, and now he’s destroying the market for renewable energy.”
WHO BENEFITS? Continue reading
In March 2011 people all around the world held our breath as the Fukushima nuclear disaster played out on our screens.Later as the headlines, albeit not the radiation levels faded, it was confirmed that Australian uranium directly fuelled Fukushima. Rocks dug in Kakadu and northern South Australia were the source of the radioactive fallout threatening Japan and well beyond.
The line of connection was made clearly from a failed reactor complex on Japan’s East coast to the back of a big yellow truck at an Australian mine-site.
This week the man who steered Japan through the critical early days of the continuing crisis is touring Australia with a simple message: there can be no nuclear ‘business as usual’ in the shadow of Fukushima.
Mr Naoto Kan was the Japanese Prime Minister at the time the Fukushima nuclear crisis started in March 2011 after a powerful earthquake and tsunami caused chaos across Japan……..
Against a context of domestic nuclear promotion with Bob Hawke urging Australia to become the world’s radioactive waste dump and PM Abbott cutting treaty corners and hawking uranium sales to India on a visit there early next month, Mr Kans cautionary tale is timely.
Mr Kan has already spoken in Darwin and visited the embattled Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu where he met with the regions Mirarr Traditional Owners. The Mirarr have the longest lived experience of uranium mining of any Aboriginal people in Australia.
This experience was previously summed up by Mirarr leader Yvonne Margarula with the potent phrase, ‘None of the promises last – but the problems always do.”
Following the Fukushima meltdown the Mirarr leader wrote a powerful note to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stating, “Given the long history between Japanese nuclear companies and Australian uranium miners, it is likely that the radiation problems at Fukushima are, at least in part, fuelled by uranium derived from our traditional lands. This makes us feel very sad”.
Along with the sadness was a desire for scrutiny, a view shared by Ban Ki Moon when he formally called in September 2011 for Australia to conduct ‘an in-depth assessment of the net cost impact of the impacts of mining fissionable material (uranium) on local communities and ecosystems’.
Sadly, and culpably, to date there has been no meaningful response from any Australian government, uranium company, uranium industry body or regulator to the fact that Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima…….Let’s hope that this week Mr Kan’s clear message is heard and heeded: Fukushima is a game changer with Australian fingerprints and our shared energy future must be renewable, not radioactive.https://newmatilda.com/2014/08/29/fukushima-australia%E2%80%99s-radioactive-rocks-and-responsibility
Greg Hunt explodes over solar industry’s anti-LNP marginal seat campaign Independent Australia Sophie Vorrath 26 August 2014, Environment Minister Greg Hunt is furious about the Australian Solar Council launching a marginal seat campaign against the Government over its attacks on the renewables industry, writes Sophie Vorrath (via Renew Economy).
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has launched an extraordinary attack on the head of the Australian Solar Council (ASC), John Grimes, after comments the ASC chief made on ABC radio, criticising the Coalition’s“broken promises” on support for renewable energy.
Hunt described Grimes as a “total failure of an industry leader” on Brisbane ABC 612 Mornings program last Thursday, and said he should be “utterly ashamed” of comments he made suggesting the environment minister had been “sidelined” in a government that was firmly anti-renewables.
The comments by Hunt come just a few weeks after he accused the left of “being against electricity”, and comes as polling shows that Government is under severe pressure over its renewables policy and the outcome of its controversial RET Review panel.
Grimes, speaking ahead of last Thursday’s launch of the “Save Solar” campaign – a campaign that will target marginal federal seats across Australia – accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of personally leading a push to curtail renewables growth in Australia…….http://www.independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/greg-hunt-explodes-about-solar-councils-anti-coalition-marginal-seat-campaign,6815
Naoto Kan tells Australia risk with nuclear is too great, Toowomba Chronicle Rae Wilson | 29th Aug 2014 AS Queensland prepares for a return to export uranium mining, a former Japanese prime minister caught in the Fukushima nuclear disaster warned about the dangers of nuclear power.
Naoto Kan was prime minister in 2011 when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake trigged a tsunami that caused a triple nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.
Mr Kan concluded nuclear power could never be considered safe, switching off all of Japan’s nuclear power plants…….Mr Kan, a guest of Australian anti-nuclear action groups, said on Thursday there were issues related to storing and disposing of the waste from uranium mining, particularly radioactive contamination concerns.
But he said, speaking through a translator, he was most concerned about how the uranium would be used.
“Of course the uranium that would be mined is used as fuel in nuclear power plants and if asked on the issue of the safety of nuclear power plants my experience in the Fukushima nuclear disaster has taught me that the issue is not when or where an accident might occur but an accident is certain to occur if this risk is faced and the risk is enormous,” he said……….
Mr Kan said while nuclear power was once considered cheap, the disaster had taught him otherwise. – APN Newsdesk http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/for-print-can-go-online-fridayrae-wilsonas-queensl/2368001/
I have a dream: A world free of nuclear weapons Aljazeera, Karipbek Kuyukov 28 Aug 2014 China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the US are still to sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Thyroid cancer diagnosed in 104 young people in Fukushima, Asahi Shimbun August 24, 2014 By YURI OIWA/ Staff Writer The number of young people in Fukushima Prefecture who have been diagnosed with definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer, a disease often caused by radiation exposure, now totals 104, according to prefectural officials.
The 104 are among 300,000 young people who were aged 18 or under at the time of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and whose results of thyroid gland tests have been made available as of June 30. They were eligible for the tests administered by the prefectural government.
Of these 104, including 68 women, the number of definitive cases is 57, and one has been diagnosed with a benign tumor. The size of the tumors varies from 5 to 41 millimeters and averages 14 mm.
The average age of those diagnosed was 14.8 when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011……..
The figure can be extrapolated for comparison purposes to an average of more than 30 people per population of 100,000 having definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer.
The figure is much higher than, for example, the development rate of thyroid cancer of 1.7 people per 100,000 among late teens based on the cancer patients’ registration in Miyagi Prefecture…….http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201408240011
Costs of Australia’s renewable energy target ‘not justifiable': review, SMH, August 28, 2014 – Lisa Cox National political reporter Tony Abbott has been given cover to break an election promise not to touch Australia’s renewable energy target after his hand-picked review panel recommended the scheme be dramatically cut back.
Clean energy industry leaders said the findings of the review, headed by businessman and climate sceptic Dick Warburton, represented the “worst case scenario” and would cost thousands of jobs and more than $10 billion in investment if the government adopted its recommendations. Clean Energy Council acting chief executive Kane Thornton said the proposals would “shut down the future of the industry” in Australia………
The panel recommended two options for Australia’s renewable energy target, which is currently set at 41,000 gigawatt hours of electricity from large-scale renewable energy by 2020 – now equivalent to about 27 per cent of expected generation.
Under the first option, the scheme would be closed to new investment beyond those under construction or winning full financial commitment within a month of the change. This scenario would slash the target to about 15 per cent.
Under the second option, the target would be set at 20 per cent. The target would be reset each year and new renewable energy power stations be given approval only if electricity demand increased. The target was one of the few climate change-related measures to enjoy bipartisan support before last year’s election………
Any change proposed by the government will set the scene for another parliamentary fight, with Labor, the Greens and Palmer United Party all opposed.
Analysis conducted for the report found coal-fired power stations would be the biggest beneficiaries of a cut in the target. The review acknowledged that the scheme had lowered wholesale electricity prices and that its impact on household bills over time would be “relatively small”. But the panel found the cost for emissions-intensive companies was not justifiable, and called on the government to find lower cost alternatives to cut carbon emissions.
The Greens said it was no surprise that a review led by a climate sceptic had “trashed” the target. Greens leader Christine Milne said both options put forward would destroy the renewable energy sector. “I’m glad this dangerous and ignorant report is finally public so everyone can see it for the climate denier drivel it is,” she said.
It is expected to be at least a fortnight before the government responds. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/costs-of-australias-renewable-energy-target-not-justifiable-review-20140828-109m04.html#ixzz3BoVhIvbL.
Review of Renewable Energy Target helps fossil fuel lobby, aims to close large scale renewable energy schemes
RET Review panel calls for large-scale, solar schemes to close REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 28 August 2014 The RET Review panel appointed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott has effectively rubber stamped the lobbying of the fossil fuel industry and called for the closure of Australia’s renewable energy target to new entrants as one of two options it is recommending to the government.
It is also calling for the immediate closure, or rapid wind back, of the small-scale renewable energy scheme, which supports rooftop solar and solar hot water. It says this scheme should either close now, or by 2020 at the latest. It also says it should be restricted to installations of less than 10kW – effectively cutting out the commercial-scale solar market. (It was previously open to 100kW systems).
As for the large-scale scheme, the panel says the two options are effective closure to new entrants, or a form of modification to restrict it to a “real” 20 per cent of demand.
If the government accepts either of the recommendations, Australia would become the first country to either ditch a renewable energy target, or wind it back – in much the same way as it was the first to scrap a carbon price.
Abbott is said to be in favour of the most drastic action, which is effective closure to new entrants. He personally appointed the panel, rather than follow the statutory requirements to have the review done by the Climate Change Authority, which just 18 months ago rejected the same arguments that the new panel has now accepted.
Although any legislative changes will be resisted and probably stopped in the Senate, the uncertainty will be enough to kill investment in large scale renewables. Changes to the small scale target could be done without the need for parliamentary approval……..
Here is the full list of recommendations:……..
Johnson’s Russia List, jackmatlock.com – Jack Matlock – August 26, 2014 “……Neither Russia nor the United States has any right, under what is generally accepted as international law, to be involved in selecting a government in Ukraine. Russia, however, has an infinitely greater stake in that government’s orientation than has the United States and a much greater ability to affect what happens on the ground…….
We are not in a new cold war, but the participation of our political leaders in public accusations, demands, and threats has helped recreate much of that atmosphere. This acrimonious public dialogue, at times descending to little more than name calling, set off destabilizing vibrations that become amplified by feedback at each exchange……..
The spate of official name-calling seems to be abating, and that is encouraging, for only quiet, realistic diplomacy is going to steer the warring parties in Ukraine away from the disastrous course they have chosen………
The planned meetings this week by Russian and Ukrainian representatives with European and, in some instances, American diplomats provide opportunities to nudge the warring parties to end the violence and to negotiate their differences………http://russialist.org/ukraine-cool-the-rhetoric-focus-on-the-outcome/
“The cost of renewables will drop like a rock once they reach economies of scale,”
With renewable energy growing and coal shrinking, what’s the future of nuclear plants like Palisades? Michigan Live, By Julie Mack | firstname.lastname@example.org on August 28, 2014 KALAMAZOO, MI “…..The jury is still very much out on how nuclear power fits into the picture, which leaves the long-term viability of Palisades Nuclear Plant near South Haven in question……. very possible the supply glut of natural gas and the increasing focus on renewables means those sectors will edge out nuclear as the go-to options for new power production.
Mark Cooper, an analyst for the Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School, maintains the proposed federal clean-energy standards won’t help the financial viability of the U.S. nuclear industry, which last opened a plant in 1989……
“Old nuclear reactors suffer from the fact that they’re not particularly efficient,” he said. “The day after the (clean-energy) announcement, those old plants were just as inefficient as the day before.
“In the dynamic state of the energy markets, if you’re not growing, you’re dying,” Cooper said. “And nuclear is not growing. … It’s going extinct.”…..
Meanwhile, renewable energy in Michigan is getting a boost from a 2008 state law that requires Michigan-based utilities to have renewables as 10 percent of their power production by the end of 2015.
“The cost of renewables will drop like a rock once they reach economies of scale,” Cooper said. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy is projecting that wind-generated power will be more cost-efficient than coal and nuclear and even some types of natural gas plants by 2019……..
While solar power remains on the high end, wind is more economical than coal and nuclear, and some types of natural-gas plants.
Wind provided 2.4 percent of Michigan’s electricity in 2013, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That’s up from 1 percent in 2012, and is enough electricity to power 300,000 Michigan households, the AWEA says.
The AWEA estimates Michigan has the potential to produce about 59,000 megawatt hours of electricity through wind power. That’s more than half of the state’s current consumption of electricity.
Shift at Consumers Energy
Consumers Energy, the dominant provider of electrical power in Southwest Michigan, seems to be casting its lot with natural gas and renewables…….. http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2014/08/pros_and_cons_of_electrical_po.html
Better Market Your Uranium Someplace Else, Japan Appetite No Longer Huge as Before – Former PM Tells Australia Queensland Premier Campbell Newman International Business Times, By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | August 28, 2014 Campbell Newman, premier of Australia‘s Queensland state, has gotten an advice from former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and that is to market the country’s uranium to someplace else. This, as a new study said the bill of damages from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown will zoom to over $105 billion, double than the earlier estimates released by authorities in 2011.
While Japan may restart some of its 54 idled nuclear power plants, Kan said Japan’s appetite for the yellow cake uranium won’t be “anywhere the same levels of uranium it has in the past.”
Kan was in Australia last week on a trip sponsored by the Australian Conservation Foundation. A previous staunch supporter of nuclear power, Kan is now against uranium mining, having seen the effects of the Fukushima Daiichinuclear power plant meltdowns in March 2011.
Kan was Japan’s prime minister at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster three years ago.
“Even if some did restart it would be practically impossible to return to the kind of levels of operation that were in place before the March 2011 disaster,” Brisbane Times quoted Kan………
He also stressed the appeal of the yellow cake to fuel nuclear power plants had simmered down, and thus Queensland has China as the only potential country it can export its primary product.
“The trends we are seeing in the United States and Europe – and also because of the very high costs of nuclear power – we are not seeing a growth in this market,” he said………http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/564339/20140828/uranium-japan-appetite-kan-australia-queensland-newman.htm#.VADXudJdUnk
He calls for a treaty with Australia’s Indigenous people….. All the advances of the latter 20th century – “Mabo, native title, Wik and so on” – have been distractions, he adds. A treaty is the main game.
“Until that happens then Australia will be, even compared with other colonial states, quite primitive. Compared with New Zealand, the United States and Canada, where there are many problems, in Australia there isn’t even the will or the goodwill to recognise these problems. There’s an indifference that easily becomes cynicism.”
John Pilger: Australia is a land of excuses, not the land of the fair go
In the leadup to his appearance at Sydney’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas, the film-maker and journalist renews his call for a treaty between Australia and its Indigenous peoples
Tony Abbott’s government has declared a “civil war of rich against poor” with the Indigenous population at the coalface as the country’s “people most denied”, the film-maker and journalist John Pilger has warned.
This year’s Australian federal budget was “a copy of the kind of declaration Margaret Thatcher made when she came to power”, says Pilger on the line from Britain before his return to Australia to appear at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House.
“It’s going to involve attacks on people’s working rights, social rights, right throughout the country, in a country that has declared itself – or [its] mythology has – as the land of a fair go.”
In his 2013 film Utopia, Pilger brought attention back to the Indigenous disadvantage in remote Australian communities, dismantling the Howard government’s basis for its Northern Territory intervention (the claim of widespread child abuse by Aboriginal men) and arguing that a new “stolen generation” of Indigenous children is emerging.
Clean energy industry calls for inquiry into renewable energy target review, SMH, August 27, 2014 Lisa Cox National political reporter “……the clean energy industry demanded an investigation into the conduct of the inquiry and Greens senators called for the full contents of the report.
The review, led by climate sceptic Dick Warburton, considered a number of scenarios but is expected to settle on two recommendations. The first would suggest the renewable energy target be wound up for all but current participants in the scheme.
The second option recommends a scaling back from the current target of 41,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy production annually by 2020 to about 27,000 GwH.
The government’s response to the report is still some weeks away………
The clean energy industry has warned moves to abolish the target threaten more than $10 billion in investment, 5000 existing jobs and 18,000 jobs into the future.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has previously said the RET puts “significant” pressure on electricity prices but government commissioned modelling for the review showed that consumers would be $56 better off, on average, a year from 2021 if the target was kept in place.
Lane Crockett, executive general manager at Pacific Hydro, said a wind back of the RET would mean “a transfer of about $8 billion to existing gas and coal generators”.
“This is a bizarre situation to be in – it was a promise by this government before the election to keep the RET,” Mr Crockett said. “Frankly, if they do this, I would call for a Senate inquiry into what’s gone on.
“There’s certainly the numbers in the Senate to get an inquiry up.”
Labor, the Greens and the Palmer United Party have all said they will block attempts to change the RET during this Parliament, meaning the government currently does not have support in the Senate if it wants to change the target.
On Wednesday, Greens leader Christine Milne said that attempts to change the target would be “economic vandalism” after the Senate passed her motion calling for the Warburton review to be released in full after weeks of speculation about its contents.
“They have caused such investment uncertainty and sovereign risk for the renewable energy industry that it is absolutely outrageous that they are sitting on this report,” Senator Milne said.
“This is incredible that we have a government that says Australia is open for business and does everything it can to destroy an industry and the jobs associated with it.” http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/clean-energy-industry-calls-for-inquiry-into-renewable-energy-target-review-20140827-10974m.html#ixzz3BoqyUPrE
Success. The Renewable Energy Target’s greatest failing, SMH, August 29, 2014 – Peter Martin Economics Editor, The Age The good news is the Renewable Energy Target has been a success. It’s built up a wind and solar power generation industry at a very low cost to electricity users. In six years’ time it’ll start to push power prices down. The bad news is the panel doesn’t like it.
It thinks it’s been too successful.
Originally intended to snare 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity generation industry by the end of the decade, it’s on track to grab 28 per cent, all the while having an impact on prices the panel says “appears to be small”. What’s not to like?
It’s killing the coal-fired power generation industry. The panel doesn’t put it that crudely. It refers instead to a “transfer of wealth among participants in the electricity market”. If by 2020 retailers are required to buy 41,000 gigawatt hours from new pollution-free suppliers, the old polluting suppliers are going to sell 41,000 gigawatt hours less.
It would have hurt in any event, but a time when electricity use is sliding (thanks largely to the carbon tax) it means what was to have been 20 per cent is on track to become 28 per cent.
The abolition of the carbon tax gave coal-fired power generators a windfall. Kneecapping the Renewable Energy Target will give them a second helping…………..: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/success-the-renewable-energy-targets-greatest-failing-20140828-109m7t.html#ixzz3Bore9HGW