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.
Renewable energy: NSW to be ‘Australia’s answer to California’, SMH, July 22, 2014 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald New South Wales aims to be “Australia’s answer to California”, accelerating the use of renewable energy and finding new ways to curb waste, in a push that puts it at odds with Coalition counterparts in other states and at the federal level.
The Baird government says it plans to adorn as many of its buildings with solar panels as possible and ease the way for more wind farms.
The announcement comes days after the Abbott government secured its almost five-year quest to axe the carbon price and amid ongoing signs it will weaken the national renewable energy target (RET), “We are making NSW number one in energy and environmental policy,” Environment Minister Rob Stokes told the Clean Energy Week gathering in Sydney……….
Mr Stokes said NSW was committed to the 41,000 GW-h goal – a target that was the federal Coalition’s pre-election commitment. Maverick MP Clive Palmer has said his party will use its balance of power in the Senate to block any effort by the Abbott government to cut the renewable energy target.
The NSW Resource Efficiency Policy will take advantage of the government’s scale – with more than half a billion dollars spent on energy, water and waste each year – to demand savings.
Investment over the next decade is likely to reach $290 million and deliver savings to energy bills of $55 million a year by then, Mr Stokes said.“We are the country’s largest employer,” he said of the NSW government. “We purchase 1 per cent of all new cars in Australia and we own half of all the land in the state – around 400,000 square kilometres.”
All new electrical equipment bought by the state will have to meet at least the average energy efficiency star rating for each appliance. For dishwashers that means 4 stars or higher and 3.5 stars for small air conditioners.
The Energy Efficiency Council said it applauded NSW’s leadership.
“Other governments around Australia should watch what NSW is doing and follow its lead,” said chief executive Rob Murray-Leach.
Improving energy performance was “a no-brainer”, strengthening the budget, as well as forcing through higher standards that build industry capacity, benefiting other parts of the economy, Mr Murray-Leach said. Mr Stokes told Fairfax Media: “It’s never been anyone’s job in the Department of Health or Department of Education to go and look at these efficiency opportunities.
“It’s a big opportunity, we’ve got a vast building stock, and there’s been nothing to activate it.”
As part of the policy, the Health Department will be required to audit energy use for 55 per cent of their power bills by June 2018; other departments will have to audit 40 per cent of their bills. The rate will rise to 90 per cent by 2024.
In a separate nod to the renewable energy sector, Mr Stokes said he has recommended that the Environment Protection Authority treat noise from wind farms as it would noise from other mining and resources projects.
“I’ve asked the NSW EPA to consider the inclusion of the draft noise standards for wind energy projects into the Industrial Noise Policy, which is due to be finalised by December,” Mr Stokes said.
“This will provide clarity and certainty for wind farm operators, and will facilitate appropriate and responsible siting of wind farms in regional and rural areas,” he said……. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/renewable-energy-nsw-to-be-australias-answer-to-california-20140722-zvl60.html#ixzz38YKi2HqG
Photon to build solar plus storage unit for NSW broadcast tower REneweconmy, By Giles Parkinson on 15 July 2014 German-based solar group Photon Energy is to install a large scale solar plus battery storage hybrid power system at a telecommunications tower in New South Wales that it says could be the fore-runner of thousands of such installations across the country.
The system, to be installed at a broadcast tower operated by BAI near Muswellbrook, will provide 24/7 power through a 39kW solar array and a 215kWh battery storage installation. An 8kW diesel generator will provide standby in emergencies.
Photon Energy says once successfully tested the concept could be implemented on thousands of sites across Australia.
Michael Gartner, the head of Photon Energy‘s Australian operations, said the project was a great step forward“ for solar power to provide clean and economically viable power supply for remote sites.
“The potential for solar PV in the replacement of conventional energy sources is substantial and will bring cost benefits and emissions savings for Australia in the coming years and decades.“
“… We can show how to incorporate solar PV into any given energy system and prove that using abundant sunlight for your own power consumption is the way forward.”……..http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/photon-build-solar-plus-storage-nsw-broadcast-tower-37262
World’s first building-integrated solar system built in Australia http://ecomento.com/2014/07/08/worlds-first-building-integrated-solar-system-built-in-australia/ July 8, 2014 – NextPremium.co Many people looking to go (at least partially) off the grid install rooftop solar panels, but a house purpose-built for solar power is another matter entirely.
The first building-integrated solar energy system was recently installed in a house in suburban Sydney, Australia, CleanTechnica reports.
The house’s rooftop array thin-film photovoltaic panels with a solar-thermal duct system that warms and cools the air. While the top layer produces electricity like any other solar panel, heat trapped between the layers is also used by the house.
Australian steel manufacturer Bluescope produced the $5 million system with government assistance in the form of a $3.2 million loan grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Government money is often an important factor in getting projects like this off the ground (no pun intended).
Whether integrated solar catches on remains to be seen, but at least the public will now get a chance to see what this technology can do. This post appeared first on NextPremium.com
Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council did what the O’Farrell and Baird Governments were averse to doing – it stopped the proposed Wallarah 2 longwall coal mine in its tracks, North Coast Voices, 13 June 14 Early in 2014 the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council took Wyong Coal Pty Ltd (First Respondent), Minister for Planning and Infrastructure (Second Respondent),Planning Assessment Commission NSW (Third Respondent) and NSW Aboriginal Land Council (Fourth Respondent) to the NSW Land & Environment Court.
The judgment does not appear to have been published yet.
However, The Daily Telegraph reported on 13 June 2014:
THE controversial Wallarah 2 coal mine, which ICAC target Nick Di Girolamo lobbied for on behalf of Korean mining company Kores, has been put on hold and may never go ahead after a Land and Environment Court decision.
The decision was a win for the local Aboriginal Land Council, which had fought the mine on its land.
Planning Minister Pru Goward made clear last night she would not intervene in the matter, releasing a statement saying: “I have considered the judgment and I accept the decision of the court.”….
The proposed Wallarah 2 longwall coal mine put forward by the Korean-owned mining company Kores Australia Pty Ltd and, its joint venture partners Catherine Hill Resources Pty Ltd, Kyungdong Australia Pty Ltd, SK Networks Resources Australia (Wyong) Pty Ltd, SK Networks Resources Pty Ltd and progressed by Wyong Coal Pty Ltd (T/A Wyong Areas Coal Joint Venture), had already failed basic environmental and risk management standards as the 4 June 2014 NSW Planning and Assessment Commission Final Report summary indicates:…..http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/darkinjung-local-aboriginal-land.html
Supercritical Solar Steam Could Rival Fossil Fuels http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4338 10 June 14 A breakthrough by CSIRO scientists could see solar energy replace fossil fuels in the most advanced power stations in the world. A research program at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle focused on using solar power to create supercritical steam – super-hot, pressurised steam – to drive electric turbines in large-scale power plant.
The CSIRO team broke a world record for heating and pressurising steam using only solar thermal power in May. The work has been hailed as a coup for the renewable energy industry. Previously, only coal or gas-fired plants could achieve temperatures high enough generate supercritical steam.
Conventional solar thermal power plants currently generate subcritical steam – but CSIRO believes if these plants could be converted to supercritical steam power, the overall cost of solar electricity would be significantly lowered. “It’s like breaking the sound barrier; this step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources,” said CSIRO Energy Director, Dr Alex Wonhas.
“Instead of relying on burning fossil fuels to produce supercritical steam, this breakthrough demonstrates that the power plants of the future could instead be using the free, zero emission energy of the sun to achieve the same result.”
Researchers used CSIRO’s test solar thermal plant in Newcastle to break the world record for solar steam, reaching temperatures of 570 degrees Celsius, at a pressure of 23.5 megapascals (a measure of force per unit area). It is this combination of enormous pressure and heat that makes the breakthrough such an important milestone for solar technology.
The CSIRO says the breakthrough was made possible through a $5.68 million research program supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and collaboration with researchers from solar thermal giant, Abengoa Solar.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said that while work remained before supercritical solar steam technology would rival fossil fuels, “This breakthrough brings solar thermal energy a step closer to cost competitiveness with fossil fuel generated power.”
Moree solar on track for Commonwealth funding http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-04/moree-solar-on-track/5500668 By Tim Lamacraft 4 Jun 2014,The Federal Coalition is confident the Moree Solar Farm will secure Commonwealth funding despite plans to axe its finance source.
The Government is looking to axe the Australian Renewable Energy Association, which has expressed interest in providing finance to the Moree Solar Farm, a joint initiative of Pacific Hydro and Fotowatio.
The two companies are nervous that tens-of-millions of dollars in funding is in jeopardy.
But Federal Parkes MP Mark Coulton recently met with Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane on the issue.
He says the Moree Solar Farm is on track to meet Commonwealth funding approvals.
“I’ve been reassured by the Minister and his Department that there’s nothing with this project that’s ringing alarm bells and they’re very happy with it the way it is,” he said.
“Certainly the Moree Solar Farm has no reason at this stage to be fearful that the ARENA funding wont be there.”
It’s not yet clear when the Coalition will approach the Senate in an attempt to repeal the Arena Act, but projects that do not already have agreements in place will not be funded.
Aboriginal elders paint pre-mine tragedy GINA FAIRLEY Visual Arts Hub, 3 JUNE, 2014
A new exhibition from remote mining country provides a ‘prequel’ tale that goes back to colonial frontier massacres Jacky Green’s potent pictures of the environmental impact of the Macarthur River Mine’s (MRM) on the remote Gulf Country of Borroloola recently offered a powerful example of the way art tells an important contemporary story.
But the region, which sits just below the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Northern Territory, has an equally charged story of land and dispossession from colonial times which is now the subject of a matching exhibition Flow of Voices 2: Stewart Hoosan and Nancy McDinny……….in this unrecognised frontier war about one-sixth of the population lost their lives in lawless massacres and violence (600 men, women and children in official records),’ said Cross Arts Projects director Jo Holder.
‘Nancy McDinny and Stewart Hoosan insist that the settlement of Australia wasn’t a simple story of Aboriginal people acquiescing to the occupation of their land, but one of resistance where many people fought back against violence, sexual abuse and dispossession’, Holder added in a statement.
‘When they were powerful old people, didn’t know how to speak English but used to talk in language, saying, “We not going to give away our land. This is our land. It belong here. This is our history, our story and our dreaming”,’ said McDinny.
The old people who set up Waralungku art centre – including McDinny, Hoosan and the late Ginger Riley (from Ngukkur) – wanted to make history paintings to account for their peoples’ agency and overwhelming belief in their just claim on their land. Renowned for their colour and realism, ‘many paintings from the Gulf are unique conceptual and analytic documents about history and contemporary issues,’ explained Holder………The partner exhibitions ‘argue for proper consultation, environmental monitoring, restoration and community benefit in exchange for resource extraction. Without proper respect for people and country racial hierarchies and “imperial” attitudes persist,’ said gallery director Jo Holder.
Green’s work captures that sentiment: ‘I want to show people what is happening to our country and to Aboriginal people. No one is listening to us. What we want. How we want to live. What we want in the future for our children. It’s for these reasons that I started to paint. I want government to listen to Aboriginal people. I want people in the cities to know what’s happening to us and our country.’
The artists and Waralungku Arts are proud to announce their plan to found a Yanyuwa, Garrwa, Marra and Gudanji People’s Keeping Place and Knowledge Centre at Borroloola.
Flow of Voices 2:
Cross Art Projects, Kings Cross
22 May – 28 June 2, 2014
CSIRO Newcastle solar breakthrough for supercritical steam ABC News 3 June 14 The CSIRO is describing research at its Newcastle energy centre as a game-changer for the renewable energy industry. The CSIRO is describing research at its Newcastle energy centre as a game-changer for the renewable energy industry.
Researchers have used solar energy to generate hot and pressurised ‘supercritical’ steam at the highest temperatures ever achieved outside of fossil sources.
Supercritical solar steam is water pressurised at enormous force and heated using solar radiation.
Around 90 per cent of Australia’s electricity is generated using fossil fuel, but only a small number of power stations are based on the more advanced supercritical steam.
The world record set at the CSIRO’s Energy Centre in Newcastle this month, was at a pressure of 23.5 megapascals and temperatures up to 570 degrees Celsius.
Project leader, Robbie McNaughton says it is the combination of pressure and temperature demonstrated at scale, that makes it such a breakthrough for solar power…… CSIRO’s Energy Director, Dr Alex Wonhas says the milestone is a game-changer for the industry.
“It’s like breaking the sound barrier,” he said.
“This step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources.”
The $9.7 million research program is supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht says although more work is needed before the technology is ready for commercialisation, it is an important breakthrough and demonstrates the importance of research and development.
Mr Frischknecht says it brings solar thermal energy a step closer to cost competitiveness with fossil fuel generated power.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-03/csiro-newcastle-solar-breakthrough-for-supercritical-steam/5495744?§ion=news