Greens’ Clean, Renewable Energy Vision For NSW http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/greens-renewable-energy-em4699/ February 24, 2015
Coal and gas fired electricity generation in NSW generates 60 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually, making the state one of the most carbon-intensive economies in the world.
The Greens’ plan includes partnering with households to support the transition away from coal-fired electricity and gas to rooftop solar, energy efficient equipment and intelligent energy trading and management.
The plan would see the creation of public sector energy agencies to provide financial support and technical advice, investment in a “smart grid” and keeping the network in public hands.
“Transformation of the state’s energy industry is inevitable,” stated Greens NSW MP John Kaye, who said it was important this process begins as soon as possible. “Premier Mike Baird’s plans will to pass control of much of the electricity network to private hands would create political and financial barriers to the remaking of the network.”
The Greens say their energy vision would slash household power bills and break the stranglehold of big private-sector energy corporations. They envision an electricity sector where households and businesses would trade roof top solar electricity and other renewable sources across a publicly-owned network.
Pursuing a 100% renewable energy based New South Wales would also create a clean power jobs boom. While there are just 1,800 jobs in NSW’s coal-fired power stations and approximately 4,000 in mining the coal these facilities burn, more than 70,000 new jobs could be created in NSW in clean energy.
The Greens state much of the $17 billion investment in electricity transmission and distribution since 2009 in New South Wales has been in the wrong kind of technology, locking the state into a centralised and expensive supply based on coal and gas.
“A 100% renewable energy NSW is possible, affordable and essential. But it will not happen as long as the old parties remain committed to coal and gas and continue to frustrate and undermine wind and solar,” says the party.
NSW Greens would use mining tax to fund renewable energy http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/mining-tax-would-fund-renewable-energy/2535116/
The Greens’ latest policy involves taxing mining companies an extra $250 million a year and investing the money into renewable energy and recycling.
The “Renew Regional NSW Fund” would supply $1 billion over four years for energy and water saving projects, waste management, small-scale renewable energy, and agriculture research.
Mr Buckingham alongside local Greens candidates Adam Guise and Tamara Smith were called on to explain why the coal industry would be needed to bankroll the fund. “We don’t want to base our economy on fossil fuels but what we want to do is make sure that as we make a transition out of coal, that the state benefits,” Mr Buckingham explained.
“The state is getting very, very little; the vast majority of profits go overseas, and we want to see those returned to the whole state, not just the mining regions.”
The mining industry contributes about $1 billion a year to the NSW economy, more than 90% from coal.
The Greens would raise this to about $1.25 billion by lifting royalties on the coal industry by 2%, and 1% on all other minerals.
Mr Buckingham said it was about creating an “alternative economic model” so the state’s economy wouldn’t be shocked when coal inevitably ends, also adding the royalty plunder might hasten its decline.
Broken Hill solar plant on track to complete at end of 2015, change of community engagement approach ABC News By Gavin Coote The company developing the $200 million Broken Hill solar plant says the project is on track to be complete at the end of this year.
The 140 hectare development will be the second largest in Australia, trailing the sister project in Nyngan, and began construction last October.
AGL project manager Adam Mackett said it was set to employ 150 people in the peak phase of construction, and currently 60 per cent of the employees were local……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-03/broken-hill-solar-plant-on-track-for-completion-by-end-of-2015/6064714
Upper Hunter wind and solar farm operator undeterred by RET changes http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-31/upper-hunter-wind-and-solar-farm-operator-undeterred-by-ret-cha/6059566 The company behind a massive Upper Hunter wind and solar farm has not been deterred by renewable energy target changes, with work on its project now underway.
Pamada plans to have 34 wind turbines, along with its solar plant and associated substations, at its Kyoto energy Park near Scone. Access roads have been constructed, ahead of work starting on a site compound.
Reductions in the Renewable Energy Target (RET) have hampered the project, but project director Mark Sydney said he is determined to push ahead. “We’ve got a lot of support in the community, for a whole lot of reasons,” he said. “Yes we have started work.
“We have access happening, but we will then continue in a measured way to do everything we can until hopefully government policy changes a little bit better for investor outlook in renewables.”
Mr Sydney said his company is undeterred by the RET changes, mindful of the benefits the project could have. “With the new technology, if you just looked at the residences and businesses aside, probably the Upper Hunter, the Hunter and half of Newcastle would come from just the wind turbines themselves,” he said. “Most of the Hunter could easily be served by just the wind farm.”
NSW signs up to global climate group, SMH, Peter Hannam February 1, 2015 The Baird government has moved to burnish its climate change credentials, becoming Australia’s first conservative government to sign up to The Climate Group.
- NSW will join South Australia and Tasmania as the only Australian states to be members of the international non-profit organisation, which brings business, governments and communities together to promote renewable energy and cut carbon emissions blamed for global warming. Both SA and Tasmania signed up under Labor-led governments……….
- NSW has distanced itself over the past year from conservative counterparts, including the Abbott government, on climate and other issues. It backed leaving the Renewable Energy Target as it is, in contrast to the Abbott government’s efforts to cut the 2020 goal by as much as 40 per cent, and has spent $3 million preparing climate change studies for expected impacts to 2030 and 2070……..
- London-based The Climate Group shut its Australian offices in mid-2013, citing an “increasingly challenging political environment for action on climate change” at the time.
Its States & Regions members account for more than 300 million people and 13 per cent of global GDP, said Libby Ferguson, a group director.
NSW was “a forward-thinking state” with “progressive renewable policies”, Ms Ferguson said…..http://www.smh.com.au/environment/nsw-signs-up-to-global-climate-group-20150201-13301u.html
Gunnedah moves to solar power ABC News 19 Jan 2015, Gunnedah Shire Council is the latest in a string of local governments across the region to join a movement embracing solar energy to power public buildings.
The council is in the process of installing solar systems across a number of public buildings, including Council’s administration building, Gunnedah Shire Library and the works depot.
Mayor Owen Hasler said the buildings are historically high energy users and transitioning to solar is expected to save council thousands of dollars annually.
“We want to be seen as being proactive in reducing council’s carbon footprint, and secondly of course there’s also the financial implications,” he said.
“It reduces our operational costs and effectively makes savings for our ratepayers.
“For example in the depot, we’re expecting to save over $6,000 per annum and the administration building about $5,500.”……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-19/gunnedah-moves-to-solar-power/6025214
Nuclear waste returning to Sydney from France http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nuclear-waste-returning-to-sydney-from-france-20150117-12seco.html Kirsty Needham State Politics Editor, The Sun-Herald A shipment of radioactive waste being returned to Sydney from France by December has raised concerns Lucas Heights is becoming a “de facto” national store.
Federal government plans to build a national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory collapsed last year, and a new search for a site will begin in March.
With no permanent national repository, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has been forced to build an interim waste store at Lucas Heights for the French shipment. It will include 28 stainless steel canisters of reprocessed waste, and six cemented drums of technological waste, including gloves and protective clothing worn by French nuclear workers.
The waste will be shipped from La Hague from July, immobilised in glass in canisters and shielded inside a specially designed forged steel transport container with 20-centimetre thick walls.
Australia sent the radioactive material from its nuclear research reactor to France in the 1990s for reprocessing, but under legal agreements, it must be removed from France by December 2015. More waste will be returned from Britain in 2017. Continue reading
Controversial radioactive clean-up to go ahead,SMH January 18, 2015 Kirsty Needham State Politics Editor, The Sun-Herald A bitter fight over radioactive waste between Sydney’s western and northern suburbs is set to be reignited by the Baird Government on the eve of the state election.
The NSW government will push ahead this year with a $12.4 million clean-up of Hunters Hill land contaminated by a uranium smelter 100 years ago, a government report has revealed.
But the only site in Australia identified by a string of government studies as the best option to store the waste – Kemps Creek near Penrith – is in a marginal Liberal seat where sitting MP Tanya Davies campaigned against the dump while in opposition. Continue reading
Mining company with links to suspended firm first to apply for NSW uranium licence SMH, January 15, 2015 Sean Nicholls A Hong Kong businessman with ties to a company whose shares are suspended after rocketing to 40 times their value is seeking to explore for uranium in NSW after the government invited his firm to apply for a licence.
Chi Ho William Lo is a director of EJ Resources, one of six companies invited to apply by Resources Minister Anthony Roberts last September after the state government overturned a decades-old ban on uranium exploration in 2012.
It followed an expressions of interest process during which EJ Resources was assessed in February and March by a panel that recommended Mr Roberts grant the company consent to apply.
It lodged three exploration licence applications on December 19.
But company records reveal Mr Lo and a fellow director, Siu-Wing Selwyn Chan, are former directors of Fifth Element Resources, which gained notoriety soon after listing on the Australian Securities Exchange in May last year.
Fifth Element Resources astonished market watchers when its share price soared from $0.20 to $7.96 in two months.
This valued the company at more than $300 million, despite it not announcing any significant news in relation to four gold and copper exploration licences it holds around western NSW. The licences were bought from EJ Resources the previous January.
On July 15 the ASX announced shares in Fifth Element Resources would be suspended from trading while an inquiry was launched into whether it had satisfied the rules for listing……..http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/mining-company-with-links-to-suspended-firm-first-to-apply-for-nsw-uranium-licence-20150114-12myku.html
NSW Gov releases progress report on renewables http://ecogeneration.com.au/news/nsw_gov_releases_renewables_annual_report/090661/ Thu, 8 January 2015 The NSW Government has released its annual report, Progressing the Renewable Energy Action Plan for 2014, which confirmed approximately 13 per cent of the state’s energy generation came from renewables in 2013.
The Annual Report, which details the progress of the NSW Government’s Renewable EnergyAction Plan found that the share of renewable energy in NSW’s electricity generation mix has almost doubled in the past 5-6 years.
Other key findings include:
- There are currently estimated to be more than 13,000 jobs supported by renewable energy in NSW. This includes 4,400 direct renewable energy jobs.
- Over 2,900 megawatt (MW) of projects with an estimated investment value of $5.9 billion and the potential to support around 14,000 construction jobs and 1,000 operational jobs, currently have development approval. All of these projects are located in regional NSW (August 2014).
- Total investment in small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) in NSW has been $1.3 billion. 298,000 households have installed small-scale PV.
The report also identifies the key achievements from the period since implementing the Plan, which include construction commencing on AGL’s $450 million, 155 MW Solar Flagships project in Nyngan and Broken Hill, which the Government has played a key role in supporting and facilitating.
Sydney weather: Record warm year with few cold spells January 6, 2015 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald
If you thought Sydney had been warm over the past year or so, you’d be right.
Last year was the city’s equal warmest for overnight temperatures and its second-warmest for means and maximums in 156 years of record keeping at Observatory Hill.
For some temperature measures, such as for NSW heat, the previous record had been set only a year earlier.
Agata Imielska, senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology in Sydney, said it was “quite surprising” to see last year eclipse 2013 given the bar had been set so high.
“We just didn’t have the cool periods,” Ms Imielska said. “There was a real persistence in the warmth.”
Globally, 2014 was the hottest year on record, the Japan Meteorological Agency declared this week. Land and sea-surface temperatures were 0.27 degrees above the 1981-2010 average, easily eclipsing the previous highs set in 1998, 2010 and 2013.
“Global warming is contributing to these heat records, and it’s very unlikely that we would have seen the proliferation or the frequency of these heat records around the world without the influence of global warming,” Karl Braganza, head of climate monitoring at the bureau, said.
“The climate system we live in … that’s all about 1 degree warmer than it used to be,” Dr Braganza said.
Warm and dry
For NSW, 2014 was the hottest on record for mean temperatures and the equal warmest for maximums. Among the other states, only the Northern Territory failed to notch a year among the four warmest on record……….http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/sydney-weather-record-warm-year-with-few-cold-spells-20150106-12ikgr.html
As shepherds watched, it got hotter and hotter December 24, 2014 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Human health – and that of other animals and even plants – is likely to become an ever more pressing public issue as temperatures rise with global warming, cities grow and populations age………
Until recently, public health authorities would issue a warning whenever the temperature was likely to exceed a certain level.
However, heatwaves are also related to the conditions people are accustomed to. To reflect that, the Bureau of Meteorology last year pioneered a heatwave service that predicts the severity of coming heatwaves based on both how far temperatures are likely to deviate from historical averages but also taking into account the previous month’s weather.
In a further tweak, the bureau has added charts to assess the impact of each heatwave after it’s hit. That’s needed because people often don’t realise the damage to health can come from exposure to prolonged warmth rather than a particular temperature spike. Continue reading
No wonder that the Abbott government is keen to wreck the Renewable Energy Target. Clever renewable electricity suppliers like Powershop are providing cheaper electricity – threatening Abbott’s backers – the polluting industries
Burge said that Powershop’s service was challenging the view put forward by major energy retailers that renewable energy would drive power bills up.
Miles George chairman of the Clean Energy Council and managing director Infigen Energy said that second tier generators had captured a “healthy” share of the retail energy market by offering discounts
“If we didn’t have a [target] those businesses wouldn’t be operating the way they are now and likely
Ben Burge, the man hoping to re-ignite the electricity market http://www.theage.com.au/it-pro/business-it/ben-burge-the-man-hoping-to-reignite-the-electricity-market-20150101-12fojw.html January 2, 2015 Andrew Colley Meet Ben Burge, the math whiz trying to shake up the staid retail energy market with a smartphone app and a good dose of analytics.
When he is away with the family, his mother-in-law pops by discreetly to do a load of washing. Her only explanation for his seemingly clairvoyant ability to know when to send her thank-you flowers is strategically placed web cams.
It’s a powerful tool and one he wants to put in the hands every Australian in a bid to take on the major energy retailers with cheaper and cleaner electricity.
The truth is far more prosaic. Burge, chief executive of online retail energy challengerPowershop, knows when she’s there because the company’s app on his smartphone registers an unmistakeable spike in his home’s energy consumption. Burge, once Australia’s youngest CEO of a listed company, eMitch, at 25, and keen skateboarder, has already picked up 30,000 customers in Victoria whilst at the helm of what Powershop claims is the world’s first retail online energy market.
It lets consumers use a smartphone app (on iPhone and Android) or the web to monitor their energy consumption at home and choose the source of their electricity – from alternative energy projects including wind, solar or even sugarcane processing and landfill generation. A move that could help increase demand for renewable energy.
Some time early in 2015 the service will launch in NSW. Continue reading
Solar energy world first in Australia http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/solar-energy-world-first-in-australia-20141207-121w8n.html December 8, 2014 Peter Hannam
A team from the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (PV) at the University of NSW has achieved 40.4 per cent “conversion efficiency” by using commercially available solar cells combined with a mirror and filters that reduce wasted energy.
Martin Green, the centre’s director, said the independently verified breakthrough eclipsed previous records without resorting to special laboratory PV cells that “you’ve got no chance of buying commercially”. Other top-performing solar panels convert about 36 per cent of the sunlight that falls on them into electricity.
The advance involved two steps. Three solar panels were stacked to capture energy from different wave lengths of sunlight, and then excess light from the stacked panels was directed by a mirror and filters to a fourth PV cell, making use of energy previously discarded.
“This is our first re-emergence into the focused-sunlight area,” said Professor Green, who pioneered 20 per cent-efficiency levels in similar technology in 1989.
The institute was prompted to revisit the technology in part because of Australian companies’ efforts to develop large-scale solar towers using arrays of mirrors to focus sunlight on PV cells.
One of those firms, Melbourne-based RayGen, collaborated with UNSW on the project. It is building a plant in China with an solar conversion rate of about 28 per cent. “We’d take them to the mid-30s” for future projects with the technology jump, Professor Green said.
Professor Green was critical of the federal government’s efforts to scrap the Australian Renewable Energy Agency – which chipped in $550,000 to the $1.3 million Power Cube project – and for its ongoing attempts to reduce the Renewable Energy Target set for 2020.
“A positive attitude to renewables would boost all these initiatives, a negative attitude will suppress them,” he said. “Clamping down on deployment of renewables will make it more difficult for developments like this to see the light of day.”
The next goal is to raise efficiency levels to 42 per cent next year, about half way to the theoretical maximum level of 86 per cent.
“It’s horse and buggy days as far as solar is concerned at the moment. There’s just this enormous potential for improvement in efficiency,” Professor Green said.
“To turn your back on those types of developments doesn’t seem to me to be a very sensible strategy.”
The university’s Mark Keevers led the engineering work on the so-called high efficiency spectrum splitting prototype, and its results were confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at its outdoor test facility in the US.
Sydney gets international recognition for renewable energy plan http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/politics/local-government/sydney-gets-international-recognition-for-renewable-energy-plan/70135 2 December 2014
The City of Sydney’s Renewable Energy Master Plan has won the European Solar Prize 2014 award for excellence and innovation.
The award from not-for-profit organisation EUROSOLAR recognises outstanding commitment and contributions to the renewable energy sector.
“Our Renewable Energy Master Plan will help us transform Sydney into a city run entirely on renewable energy by 2030,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
“The City is Australia’s first carbon-neutral government with ambitious targets to reduce emissions by 70 per cent by 2030. We are delighted that our renewable energy master plan has received this prestigious recognition on a global scale.”
The City’s renewable energy master plan was nominated by renewable expert and president of EUROSOLAR Peter Droege.
“The City of Sydney’s renewable energy master plan demonstrates civic vision, technological leadership and political courage,” Mr Droege said.
“The plan demonstrates a commitment to a fully renewable energy based community and is a stellar model for other communities around the world to aspire to.”