Graziers on alert as uranium exploration looms ABC News, By Jacqueline Breen 19 Oct 14 Graziers are watching closely as the state government prepares to grant uranium exploration licenses in the state’s far west.
Last month the government overturned the ban on uranium exploration and invited six companies to apply to explore for deposits near Broken Hill, Cobar and Dubbo.
The state’s Resources and Energy Division has since held a stakeholder meeting in Broken Hill, attended by the local council, New South Wales Farmers and the West Darling Pastoralists’ Association.
Association president Chris Wilhelm says landholders will be the first affected when exploration begins and he wants their rights protected……( Map below shows areas in New South Wales where uranium deposts exist, could be explored for))
The ban on uranium mining in New South Wales remains in place. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-20/graziers-watch-closely-as-uranium-exploration-looms/5825950
Why Australia should shut down the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, Independent Australia Last week’s fire on a nuclear waste ship off Scotland shows why Australia’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor should to be shut down, writes Noel Wauchope. 15 Oct 14, “……. The ship, the Parida, was carrying radioactive wastes that were being returned to Belgium……
In the case of Dounreay, there is now pressure on the countries where the wastes originated, because the Dounreay nuclear site is being decommissioned and demolished……
Transport of radioactive wastes to and from Lucas Heights is indeed a hazardous operation, requiring much expensive security. However, transport is not the only safety consideration. The previous HIFAR reactor ‒ and the present OPAL one ‒ have troubled safety records…….
Australia’s most notorious terrorist, Willie Brigitte was gaoled in France in 2007 for joining an al-Qaeda backed Pakistani terror cell that had conspired to blow up the Lucas Heights nuclear plant. …….
We should shut Lucan Heights down before we regret it. http://www.independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/why-australia-should-shut-down-the-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor,6999
“We already have solar panels powering our aged-care facilities and heating our swimming pool; our community is telling us they want more renewable initiatives and this could fit the bill,” Cr Pearce said yesterday.
Non-for-profit company Starfish Enterprises has secured a $105,000 state government grant to develop a blueprint for a zero net energy town, ideally located in the Northern Tablelands.
While more than 100 businesses have tendered to draw up the blueprint, the next step in the process is to find a suitable town willing to become the first to switch to 100 per cent green power.
Uralla, Walcha, Glen Innes, Inverell, Bingara and Manilla have all expressed an interest in becoming the model town. Cr Pearce said Uralla stood a good chance of becoming the selected town because there was substantial community support for the idea.
The move would follow several towns in the United States and Germany, all of which have shifted to zero net energy. This means the towns are powered by LED lighting, bio-gas plants, daytime solar panels and energy efficient pumping systems.
Starfish executive director Adam Blakester said expressions of interests from towns closed next Friday.
“An average town of 5000 people would spend up to $20 million a year on energy,” he said. “If we can produce that energy locally and competitively, we create a new industry.”
Energy company plans for region to go renewable http://www.echo.net.au/2014/10/energy-company-plans-region-go-renewable/ Simeon Michaels 8 Oct 14 Northern Rivers Energy (NRE), Australia’s first community-based renewable energy retailer in the northern rivers, plans for the region to become fossil free within years.
Mark Byrne of the Total Environment Centre, which teamed with the Office of Environment and Heritage to provide the grant, told The Echo, ‘We had several excellent tenders, but the NRE tender won because they had the most sophisticated and thorough understanding of the ways that the northern rivers community could be involved in the company.’
As reported in Echonetdaily last week, this is the first Australian attempt to adopt the community energy company model that has had dramatic effects in Hamburg (Germany) and Colorado (USA).
‘The potential is enormous,’ says NRE spokesperson Alison Crook. ‘The northern rivers already has a high level of take-up of solar PV.
‘We have a community that really understands what it means to support each other.
‘We are aware of the reality of climate change and want to do something constructive about it.
‘We can work with existing generators and there is plenty of scope for new projects.
Model for Australia
‘Our aim is to generate sufficient renewable energy to cover our use within the region – a long-term goal and a moving target, but a model for Australia.’ The $54,000 grant will assist NRE to develop its business plan, which is expected to focus on providing renewable energy at competitive rates while purchasing solar and other renewable energy at a fair price from existing residential, commercial and government system owners. Continue reading
Spanish renewable energy firm sets up Melbourne-based subsidiary, THE FIFTH ESTATE 23 September 2014 Spain’s Elecnor Group has ignored the current political climate in Australia’s renewable energy sector and launched an infrastructure subsidiary based in Melbourne. ……..
Elecnor Australia’s first project is the $164 million solar photovoltaic farm in Moree, New South Wales for the Moree Solar Farm Company Pty Ltd, part of Fotowatio Renewables Venture. The joint venture originally included Pacific Hydro, which announced in August it was withdrawing from the project due to the policy-driven uncertainties impacting the renewable energy industry.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has contributed $101.7 million towards construction and operation of the project, and $47 million has been provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Covering 191 hectares, the farm will comprise 232,960 panels with a forecast annual output of 150 gigawatt-hours direct into the main energy grid, enough to power about 15,000 homes. It is expected to be complete and commissioned by the second quarter of 2015.
In a media statement, Elecnor said Australia will be a base for it to expand operations in the Asia-Pacific region, focusing on developing business infrastructure and renewable energies………
The Moree project has already created a number of positions to be based at the town, with the firm earlier this month advertising for an assistant project manager (engineer), a construction manager, six technical engineers as sub-contract supervisors, mechanical and electrical engineers, a civil engineer, two draftpersons, accounts and administration, purchasing and logistics.http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/business/investment-deals/spanish-renewable-energy-firm-sets-up-melbourne-based-subsidiary/67877
Lucas Heights nuclear reactor’s security may be cut DANIEL MEERS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 THERE are fresh fears federal police numbers may be cut at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, the site of a security breach on Monday.
Just a day after police intercepted bushwalkers at the restricted site 31km southwest of Sydney, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union claimed Australian Federal Police numbers would be cut from 21 to six at the site next month and restructured. The union’s claims follow funding cuts for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) which the organisation says has led to a restructure in operations.
Safety supervisors would also be outsourced under the restructure.
A spokesman for ANSTO yesterday said the union figures on policing were wrong but conceded there had been changes to roles…..
AMWU NSW secretary Tim Ayres said he was concerned about security at the site. “In a climate of heightened security risks, we’re about to hand over security of a nuclear reactor to a contractor firm. How can this deliver better safety?
“The community expects our high-risk security targets are patrolled by professional federal police officers and a strong on-site safety culture. But ANSTO … has decided to go with the cheaper option.”….http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/lucas-heights-nuclear-reactors-security-may-be-cut/story-fni0cx12-1227068424540
Anti-uranium activists criticise NSW exploration program, Australian Mining 15 September, 2014 Vicky Validakis Anti-nuclear campaigners have criticised the NSW government for opening up the state to uranium exploration.
The move comes two years after NSW overturned a uranium exploration ban. Mining uranium is still restricted.
Three locations around NSW – near Broken Hill, near Cobar and south of Dubbo – have been earmarked for drilling activity.
Natalie Wasley, spokeswomen for the Beyond Nuclear Initiative, said the decision was disappointing, ABC reported.
“Uranium has very unique and dangerous properties and risks,” Wasley said. “It’s linked to the production of the world’s most toxic and long-lasting industrial waste, as well as proliferation of the world’s most destructive weapons, so it poses a risk to workers, to communities and the environment.”
Wasley said the sector will only create a small number of jobs, and claims the risks associated with uranium outweigh any economic benefits. “We know that in rural and regional areas there’s a much better opportunity for long-lasting sustainable jobs in the renewable sector.”
“We’d really encourage those local governments and the state governments to be putting money and resources into developing more creative, long-term and sustainable jobs for people.”……..
The six companies invited to apply for licenses are Australian Zirconia, Callabonna Resources, EJ Resources, Hartz Rare Earths, Iluka Resources and Marmota Energy. http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/anti-uranium-activists-criticise-nsw-exploration-p
Uranium exploration in western NSW – but mining is still prohibited NSW Country Hour Sally Bryant and Julie Clift 15 Sept 14, The New South Wales Government has invited six mining companies to put in expressions of interest to explore for uranium, but mining will remain prohibited, until deposits prove economically viable.
However not all of the mining companies who are involved in this process are actually interested in mining for uranium.
One of six companies invited to tender for an exploration licence, Alkane Resources, is developing a rare earth project near Dubbo, in the state’s central west.
Alkane say they’re not interested in uranium, that they are merely protecting their rare earth project from other resource companies applying for an exploration licence over the top of them
Managing Director Ian Chalmers says this is an insurance policy for his company……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-15/uranium-exploration-in-western-nsw/5743584
Australia’s solar installers face another boom and bust http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/australias-solar-installers-face-another-boom-and-bust-20140829-10a17h.html#ixzz3C28RqcIn Solar energy installers are expecting a boom then sharp contraction of their businesses as the Abbott government prepares to take an axe to renewable energy support. Continue reading
Australia: Tough new environmental enforcement measures under NSW Bill Mondaq Clayton Utz, 17 August 2014 A range of new and much higher penalties, and a new power for the EPA to require bank guarantees for remediation, are the key features of the Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, introduced into the New South Wales Parliament on Tuesday.
If passed, the Bill will amend
- the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997;
- the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997; and
- the Radiation Control Act 1990.
Bank guarantees for remediation work
The EPA will be able to require financial assurances, such as a bank guarantee or bond, as part of a management order under the Contaminated Land Management Act. The EPA can set the amount, but it cannot exceed the EPA’s reasonable estimate of the total cost of carrying out the relevant action (including EPA supervision costs).
If the person fails to carry out the required action, the EPA can then do the action itself or contract someone else to do it, and then make a claim on the financial assurance to cover its costs.
The Court can also use this mechanism in proceedings under the Contaminated Land Management Act if it orders an offender to carry out a specified work or program for the restoration or enhancement of the environment……….
New penalties, including restorative justice
For some offences under the Contaminated Land Management Act and Radiation Control Act, the Land & Environment Court will be able to order new penalties, including ordering the offender:
- to publicise the offence and its environmental and other consequences;
- to notify specified persons, such as shareholders of the offence, via the annual report or other methods;
- to carry out a specified project for the restoration or enhancement of the environment in a public place or for the public benefit; or
- to carry out any social or community activity for the benefit of the community or persons that are adversely affected by the offence (a restorative justice activity) that the offender has agreed to carry out………
It will now be an offence not to fit GPS tracking to waste transportation vehicles………http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/334704/Environmental+Law/Tough+new+environmental+enforcement+measures+under+NSW+Bill
Construction Set To Begin At Australia’s First Single-Axis Tracking Solar PV Project Clean Technica 12 Auh 14 While Australia’s carbon policy seems to have hit a dead-end, good news from the renewable energy sector continues to pour in. The country will soon see construction begin on its first solar photovoltaic power project with single-axis tracking feature.
The solar pv project owned by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) will have a generation capacity of 70 MW (DC) and located at near Moree, New South Wales. The project will be supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which has provided more than A$101 million……
A single-axis tracking panel equipped with horizontal axis trackers would partially rotate about the horizontal axis, and track the sun’s movement through the day in the north-south direction. Panels with vertical axis tracking will track sun’s movements through the day in the east-west direction. Horizontal single-axis tracking arrangement is simpler, easy to maintain, and cheaper than vertical axis tracking arrangement.
ARENA, established as part of the Clean Energy Future policy of the Labour government, has lost favor from the current Liberal government that has spared no effort to ban it. The fact that the agency has survived the axe till now is quite miraculous. But its future continues to hang in the balance. The ARENA repeal bill was tabled in the Australian lower House of Parliament in June, and was then referred to a Senate committee which is seeking stakeholders’ views. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/08/11/construction-set-begin-australias-first-single-axis-tracking-solar-pv-project/
Moree Solar Farm puts big solar in big sky country 4 Aug 14 The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced $101.7 million of support for Moree Solar Farm, which upon completion will be one of the largest solar plants in Australia.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht congratulated renewable energy company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) who are set to begin construction on the project shortly. “Moree Solar Farm will be the first large-scale solar plant in Australia to use a single-axis horizontal tracking system, where panels follow the sun across the sky to capturesunlight and maximise power output,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“The 56MWac (70MWp) farm will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 15,000 average New South Wales homes.”
Mr Frischknecht said the Moree community would benefit from the project and had been keen supporters, along with the Moree Plains Shire Council, for several years. “The $164 million Moree Solar Farm will benefit the local economy and will also deliver an estimated 130 local jobs during the construction phase over 2014–2016.
“More than 50 locations around Australia were investigated before the developers selected the site 10 kilometres out of Moree in NSW’s northern wheat belt, an area known as ‘big sky country’. “The location benefits from high levels of solar radiation and also allows the solar farm to connect to the national electricity grid.”
Mr Frischknecht said the project, which is also being supported by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, would aim to demonstrate that large-scale solar power plants can be constructed and operated within Australia’s major electricity grids.
“ARENA will work with FRV to share the valuable knowledge gained in delivering the Moree Solar Farm with the rest of the industry,” Mr Frischknecht said. “We recognise reducing early mover disadvantage and supporting the transfer ofinformation will help advance development of more utility scale solar plants in Australia.”
Moree Solar Farm is a solar flagship project ARENA inherited when it was established in July 2012. Last week, another former flagship project supported by ARENA, reached a major milestone when the first of approximately 1.35 million panels were installed at AGL’s large-scale solar plant in Nyngan, NSW.
Sydney and Melbourne going green despite uncertainty over future of Renewable Energy Target
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-26/sydney-and-melbourne-going-green-despite-ret-uncertainty/5625976 By Lisa Tucker Australia’s biggest cities are setting ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions despite signs the Federal Government will wind back the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
The review into the country’s RET is expected to make its recommendations next week.
But when it comes to going green, Melbourne and Sydney are on the same page and are determined to make it happen, whatever direction Canberra takes.
The cities are rolling out solar panels, installing LED light systems and designing energy efficient buildings.
Sydney plans to reduce its emissions by 70 per cent by 2030 while Melbourne aims to have zero net emissions in just five-and-a-half years.
City of Melbourne Councillor, Arron Wood, says environmental action is at the forefront of everything the council is doing.
“We’re certainly making big inroads, but to reach that goal by 2020, there’s some pretty big numbers,” he said.
“[But] I am absolutely vehemently opposed to any relaxing of the renewable energy target. It’s done wonderful things in terms of renewable energy investment.
“Interestingly enough we talk about the cost that renewable energy targets add to people’s bills, but when you look at the wholesale cost, it’s one of the only measures which is actually putting pressure on wholesale electricity prices.”
Renewable energy key factor in reducing emissions.
Sydney’s goal is to produce 70 per cent of its electricity needs from tri-generation, a more environmentally friendly, low-carbon production method with solar and wind power making up the rest.
Melbourne is aiming for a renewable energy contribution of 50 per cent.
“Really, you do have to have a large proportion of your energy mix coming from renewable to have a hope of reaching that target,” Cr Wood said.
“Even the Urban Forest Strategy, which is about cooling our city: we’ve got a target of doubling the canopy cover in the city by 2040.
“That’s really about decreasing ambient temperatures and meeting the urban heat effect. But what it does is, it also makes the city look good.”
Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore says any change to the target will make Sydney’s goal more difficult to achieve.
“It’s much better if the national Government is also committed to taking action on climate change,” Ms Moore said.
“We already know with the winding back of the carbon pricing that it’s making it harder to achieve our tri-generation precincts in Sydney. So that would have an effect.”
Ms Moore says the steps being taken have the community’s full support.
“We are the most urbanised country in the world and we know that our cities are where 70 per cent of emissions occur,” she said.
“I think it’s really incumbent upon city leaders to commit to taking this action and follow through on it.”
Fears for safety at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor: permanent supervisors to be dumped as part of cost-cutting GEOFF CHAMBERS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH JULY 25, 2014 PERMANENT frontline safety supervisors will be dumped and Australian Federal Police roles overhauled as part of cost-cutting measures at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor.
Workers at the facility in Sydney’s south have expressed concern about the removal of permanent safety inspectors.
The AFP will retain an armed presence but it is expected that light duties, including boom gate operation and CCTV monitoring, will be outsourced.
With 260 production, laboratory and technical staff on its books, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union has firmly opposed what it describes as a “cost-cutting exercise” by ANSTO.
The union’s state secretary, Tim Ayres, said that the reactor site was an important local employer and crucial for the innovation and manufacturing industry.
“This is in no way an improvement to safety at Sydney’s only nuclear facility, this is a decision to wind back the safety protections purely on the basis of costs,” he said.
Mr Ayres said having permanent safety inspectors on staff should be a priority for management.
The inspectors, many with years of experience, are the first point of contact at Lucas Heights during an emergency situation.
- “This sends a message that safety is a second-order issue. It will set the safety culture back,” he said………
Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funding Lord Howe Island’s hybrid renewable energy project
Lord Howe Island’s Clean, Renewable Energy Future http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4411 25 July 14 The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is helping to fund a hybrid renewable energy project on Lord Howe Island that will include energy storage.
ARENA will contribute $4.5 million in support for the 1 MW, $11.6 million wind, solar, storage and diesel hybrid system that will reduce the Island’s consumption of diesel by 70%.
“Lord Howe Island is 600 km off the east coast of Australia and, like other remote off-grid communities across the country, is heavily reliant on diesel generators that are costly to run and subject to volatile fuel prices,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknech.
“It is another significant project to come out of ARENA’s Regional Australia’s Renewables Initiative, which is focused on increasing the uptake of renewables in offgrid Australia.”
It’s been a long road to reach this point according to Lord Howe Island Board CEO Penny Holloway; who said said the community had been working towards a renewable energy future for more than ten years and ARENA’s support means it can now become a reality.
The Lord Howe Island Group is part of the state of New South Wales; administered by the Lord Howe Island Board.
NSW Environment and Heritage Minister Rob Stokes congratulated ARENA and the Lord Howe Island Board for their vision and commitment.
“Lord Howe Island was included on the World Heritage List because of its unique natural and heritage values and this initiative is a powerful way of protecting these into the future,” he said.
In other recent news from ARENA, the body announced it is also providing $500,000 to the Clean Energy Council (CEC) to support the execution of the first stage of a project to future-proof Australia’s energy system and improve the electricity grid to support the growth of clean energy.
The CEC will be working with industry, government, regulators and consumers and commissioning various related analyses; with the first stage of the future proofing project due to be completed by the middle of next year.