Audio: Renewable energy finally makes economic sense, ABC Radio National 3 March 2014 Critics says renewable energy cannot supply a reliable base-load of electricity, a claim rejected by author Mark Diesendorf. In this opinion piece, he argues that wind, solar and other technologies are not only better for the environment, they make economic and scientific sense as well.You may have recently heard the following common claim repeated by aproponent of nuclear power: renewable energy cannot supply ‘base-load’ electric power. This misleading claim is based on the false assumption that the only way to supply base-load electricity demand is via coal and nuclear power stations.
As Rare as Tassie Tiger: Coalition leader advocates renewable energy REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson on 5 March 2014 Last weekend was an exciting one for the Australian renewable energy industry: a sighting as rare as the Tasmanian Tiger, an Australian conservative political leader willing to talk out in support of renewables. They were thought to be extinct.
Tasmania’s Liberal leader Will Hodgman, seeking to get elected in a state poll on March 15, told The Australian on the weekend that he would fight Tony Abbott’s attempts to dilute or remove the renewable energy target.
He planned a “strong” push to ensure RET changes did not stymie the state’s key wind and hydro energy sectors.
Naturally, his position was welcomed by the Clean Energy Council, which pointed out that renewables will be a useful hedge against surging gas prices, and the current review is causing uncertainty for investors that want to back major solar, wind, bioenergy, hydro and other projects.
“Mr Hodgman clearly recognises the benefits renewable energy has brought to Tasmania,” CEC CEO David Green said in a statement. “The Apple Isle sources the majority of its power from renewables such as hydro, wind and solar.”
That Hodgman’s position is at odds with his colleagues on the mainland could be explained by the fact that, unlike other states such as Victoria, NSW, Queensland, and Western Australia, Tasmania is not beholden to a powerful domestic fossil fuel industry. It is no accident that the areas with the most progressive renewables policy, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT, are those where the fossil fuel industry is non existent or not powerful………. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/rare-tassie-tiger-coalition-leader-advocates-renewable-energy-28150
Dennis Matthews, 4 March 14 Business SA has clearly not been paying attention (The Advertiser,4/3/14). We have had debates on all manner of nuclear issues off and on for decades including uranium processing and enrichment, nuclear power and importing nuclear waste.
The resounding response has always been NO.
Or is it possible that Business SA is not happy with the answer and think that by badgering the public every election year that they will finally get their way?
As shown by recent debates on nuclear power and nuclear waste disposal the general public is well and truly a wakeup to the likes of Business SA. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Nuclear Information Centre, Conservation Council of South Australia INTRODUCTION The ways in which a country or state can contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons are many and varied. They include direct and indirect, overt and covert, subtle and not so subtle; the line between contributing and not contributing is fuzzy and elusive. What may be ignored at one time may later be seen to be highly significant.
We will concentrate on the obvious and widely acknowledged contributions.
A successful nuclear weapons program requires:
- A pool of knowledge
- A supply of highly trained specialists
- Research and development
- A source of fissionable material
- The facilities for converting the fissionable material into weapons grade
- Testing of guidance and delivery systems, firing mechanisms, various materials, and complete weapons.
We will limit this article to contributions made in the post-war period 1945 to 1965, which constitutes the first phase of South Australia’s contribution to nuclear weapons proliferation.
History will probably record that the second phase started with the discovery of uranium at Beverly east of Mt. Painter (1969), at Honeymoon about 75 km north-west of Broken Hill (1972), and at Olympic Dam on the Roxby Downs station (1975).
The Olympic Dam mine at Roxby Downs has been exporting to nuclear weapons states since it began production in 1988. Continue reading
Australian Government ‘Derailing’ Renewables -http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4200 1 March 14 The Australian Government’s approach towards renewable energy has been a major factor in Australia slipping in Ernst & Young’s (EY) latest renewable energy rankings.
According to the latest Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI), Australia has dropped two places to eighth position. The nation’s highest ranking was no.4.
“Government measures to scrap carbon pricing and clean energy funding are derailing the country’s progress to create an economically viable renewables market,” states the report.
“September’s Liberal/National Party Coalition election victory prompted a dramatic policy U-turn, with proposed legislation to abolish carbon pricing and the US$9b Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and increasing speculation over the scaling back of the national Renewable Energy Target. Australia’s attractiveness therefore remains in limbo.”
However, it also notes elsewhere in the report:
“Troubled markets such as Spain and Australia could see resurgence in project activity as solar and wind applications become economically viable without subsidization.”
Adjustments to the technology weightings that better reflect the increasing impact of solar power have created significant movement in the latest index. The top 10 countries are as follows – figures in brackets show previous rankings:
2. China (2)
3. Germany (3)
4. Japan (5)
5. UK (4)
6. Canada (8)
7. India (9)
8. Australia (6)
9. France (7)
10.South Korea (10)
Looking ahead, EY says with renewable energy now a truly global market; stakeholders must also think globally. It also believes continuous innovation in generation technologies and supporting infrastructure will drive cost efficiencies and provide significant opportunities in all markets.
While financing of renewable energy project is no longer the exclusive realm of banks and utilities and there are significant amounts of capital to be accessed, “creative solutions and new conduits must be identified to open up the finance markets once again.”
Established in 2003, the quarterly RECAI ranks 40 countries on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities.
The latest RECAI can be downloaded here.
What You Can Do About Australia’s Renewable Energy Target,Energy Collective, February 16, 2014 ”…….Step 8 is to repeatedly focus on this one, simple, crucial fact courtesy of the AEMC:
The SRES is virtually the only scheme that supports PV and in 2013/2014 adds around $0.005 to the average cost of electricity (assuming $0.27kWh ave) and is already declining. Therefore, removing or changing the SRES will have absolutely no meaningful impact on the price of electricity but will have an enormous impact on one of the fastest growth industries in the country.
Support your advocates.
The RET and SRES Fact Pack:
I have compiled all the great facts that many people and organisations have put together below Continue reading
How Aborigines could solve Australia’s bushfire problem, BBC News, By Jim Carey 1 March 14, Strong winds and soaring temperatures have led to dozens of bushfires in southern Australia. Could Aboriginal “gardening” techniques be used to control them in future? ”…..Having lived and evolved on the continent for millennia, Aborigines managed the land almost like a garden – effectively using expertly controlled fires to keep the flora in check.
The resulting grasslands not only attracted animals which the Aborigines could hunt, they also provided massive firebreaks preventing the kind of destructive fires Australia is increasingly suffering.
When the Europeans arrived they kicked the gardeners out of the garden. And the garden went wild…….
It is too late to reverse the clock back to 1788,” says Prof Gammage. “But the kind of damage we are looking at today could be lessened if we employed Aborigines to do something they spent tens of thousands of years perfecting.”….http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26174177
The Editor The Advertiser from Dennis Matthews, 2 March 14 John Patterson has the right idea (The Advertiser, 1/3/14), there is a lack of transparency in what happens to our vote in the Legislative Council.
However it is not as simple as requiring the minor parties and independents to let us know how their preferences are distributed. This is already done and the information can be found on the South Australian Electoral Commission’s website.
The problem is that some candidates participate in a preference fixing cartel, the members of which agree to give preferences to each other. On their own, none of the cartel members are likely to get a seat, but together they are assured of enough votes for at least one member of the cartel to get a seat.
You would think that preference fixing would be illegal, but it is not, and recent changes to the Electoral Act have not solved the problem but instead gave the Liberal-Labor duopoly an equally anti-competitive advantage in the House of Assembly.
Massive losses hit Energy Australia as demand falls, solar soars REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 28 February 2014 EnergyAustralia, one of the big three utilities in the country, has slumped to a loss of $350 million for calendar 2013 after slashing the value of its Yallourn brown coal generator, as well as some of its gas-fired generation assets.
The write-down came as the company, owned by Hong Kong based CLP Holdings, returned a profit of just $18 million (down from $236 million in 2012) for the year from its portfolio of coal and gas generation and its large retail customer base – a result it blamed mostly on an “unprecedented” fall in demand, and the popularity of solar PV. Continue reading
Clean energy boost stirs stalled wind farms, Canberra Times, March 1, 2014 Kirsten Lawson Chief Assembly reporter . The ACT government’s planned roll-out of large-scale clean energy projects is set to give new life to stalled wind farms near Canberra.
Infigen Energy, the company that runs the Capital 1 wind farm near Bungendore, already has approval for another 41 wind turbines at the site, generating about 100 megawatts of energy. General manager of development David Griffin confirmed his company hoped to take part in an auction expected later this year to win the right to supply the ACT with renewable energy for a guaranteed price over 20 years.
A second big project, near Collector, was approved last year for 55 wind turbines, generating 187 megawatts, and run by Ratch-Australia (80 per cent Thai owned, 20 per cent Transfield). Ratch could not be reached on Friday.
Environment Minister Simon Corbell announced a vast increase in the ACT’s commitment to renewable energy last week, more than doubling the cap on feed-in projects to 550 megawatts, with the bulk of the funded projects in wind farms around Canberra.
Solar would make up most of the rest, but it is undecided whether solar projects outside the ACT will qualify…….http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/clean-energy-boost-stirs-stalled-wind-farms-20140228-33rrx.html
The NT is no place for Sydney’s radioactive waste: Time for evidence, not expedience, Natalie Wasley, 28 Feb 14, A plan by the NSW Government to move large volumes of radioactive waste from suburban Sydney to a proposed but non-existent dump site at Muckaty north of Tennant Creek highlights the confused and short-term thinking surrounding radioactive waste management in Australia, according to national radioactive waste watchdog the Beyond Nuclear Initiative.
BNI has condemned the suggestion by NSW Finance Minister Andrew Constance that radioactive soil from Hunter’s Hill should be transported to the proposed national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty. “The NSW Liberals’ first plan to transport contaminated soil to politically vulnerable areas of Western Sydney was strongly challenged by the community, local councils and trade unions,” said BNI coordinator Natalie Wasley.
“The latest plan – calculated to move the waste out of the sight and mind of residents in the affluent suburb of Hunter’s Hill – shows extreme contempt for Muckaty Traditional Owners who have been campaigning for almost seven years against the NT dump plan.”
“A strong alliance between Traditional Owners, health and environment groups, trade unions and social justice organisations has stymied and delayed the Muckaty plan. The Muckaty site nomination is the subject of Federal Court action set for trial in June. Any attempts to move radioactive waste there from NSW would be actively challenged by the local community and their growing national network of supporters.”
“Mr Constance’s ‘viable option’ of a 3500km road trip for 5000 tonnes of waste is a long way from international standards that call for community participation in decision making on radioactive waste storage. Transporting radioactive materials long distances presents an unacceptable risk to transport and emergency workers as well as communities along the route.”
“The NSW government clearly does not have a strategy for responsible waste management beyond attempts to find a disenfranchised community to dump it on.”
“Instead of short term dump and run politics we urgently need an independent national commission into advancing responsible radioactive waste management. Minister Constance’s proposal highlights the pressing need for this inquiry to go ahead while the Muckaty site nomination is contested in court. Instead of political plans and toxic trucks we need a genuine and evidence based assessment.”
Tony Abbott’s scientific and business advisers at odds over climate change, Guardian 28 Feb 14, Chief scientist says it is not an illusion while head of PM’s business advisory group refers to ‘groupthink’ Tony Abbott’s top scientific and business advisers are at odds over the science of climate change with the chief scientist, Ian Chubb, strongly rejecting assertions that climate science is a “delusion” or a result of “groupthink”.
Chubb said the scientific evidence for human-induced global warming was so overwhelming that those who reject it are usually forced to “impugn the messenger” with “stupid expressions like ‘groupthink’” or “silly” arguments that global warming is a “delusion”.
Among those who have used the phrase “groupthink” in relation to the debate about climate science are the head of the prime minister’s business advisory group, Maurice Newman, and the man chosen by the prime minister to head the review of the renewable energy target, businessman Dick Warburton. Two months ago Newman wrote a newspaper article describing climate science as a “scientific delusion”.
Chubb, who as chief scientist is supposed to provide high-level independent advice to the prime minister and other ministers, was speaking at the launch of the final report on Australia’s greenhouse gas reduction efforts by the independent climate change authority, a body the Abbott government is seeking to abolish.
“Climate science is one of the most heavily scrutinised areas of science I have ever experienced,” said Chubb.
“The overwhelming bulk of it has stood the test of that scrutiny … I find a lot of the science compelling.”…
The chairman of the climate change authority, Bernie Fraser, a former governor of the Reserve Bank, said he agreed with Chubb’s assessment of the compelling nature of climate science and said he thought those who did not accept it were either “mavericks at the fringes” or “those who speak in the short-term interests of industry”.
And Fraser also took issue with the “uncivilised” nature of Australia’s climate debate, including “the wild assertions blaming every lost job on the carbon tax … assertions not based on any objective consideration of the evidence”. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/27/abbotts-advisers-at-odds-climate-change
Utopia: An Aboriginal perspective, Black Feminist Blogspot, BY TRACKER, JANUARY 7, 2014 Award winning investigative journalist John Pilger’s new film Utopia will be a powerful weapon to raise awareness about Aboriginal Australia, according to Arrente writer Celeste Liddle*. On flicking through the UK reviews of John Pilger’s new documentary film “Utopia”, one thing quickly becomes apparent: Pilger has created a hard-hitting film that is of extraordinary importance.
Move to limit ideological objections to Qld mining projects, ABC News, 28 Feb 14 By environment and science reporter Jake Sturmer The Queensland Government is looking to restrict who can object to mining applications, in a bid to crack down on what it calls philosophical opposition to projects.
Currently any group or person can object to applications, potentially sending the decision to the Land Court.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said it was “frustrating” for the Government.
“It’s obvious that the current process allows individuals or groups who are fundamentally opposed to the coal industry – for whatever reason – to use the objection process to frustrate and delay those projects,” he said. ”The people of Queensland have elected us as a Government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that.”
In the next few weeks, the State Government will release a discussion paper looking at who can object to applications….
“The people of Queensland have elected us as a Government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that.”
In the next few weeks, the State Government will release a discussion paper looking at who can object to applications……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-27/move-to-limit-ideological-objections-to-qld-mining-projects/5289246