Australian news, and some related international items

New South Wales govt funds Byron Bay’s renewable energy trading plan.

piggy-ban-renewablesNSW Govt tips $15,000 into Byron renewable energy trading , Courier Mail, JOHN CONROY MARCH 25, 2015 The Baird Government in NSW has announced $15,000 in funding to back Byron Bay’s renewable energy trading plan.

The Byron Bay council trial in collaboration with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Institute of Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney and the NSW Renewable Energy Advocate, will allow the allow the local sports centre to sell renewable energy generated by their solar panel array to the council’s sewage treatment plant.

“This trial will mean we have two facilities using renewable energy from one site, allowing the sewage plant to run off clean, sustainable power and achieving greater use of energy generated by the sports centre’s solar panels,” Environment Minister Rob Stokes said……


    March 28, 2015 Posted by | energy, New South Wales | Leave a comment

    Australian Senate votes to back councils’ solar initiatives in western New South Wales.

    sunSenate shines a light on bright solar initiative in western NSW The Senate has passed a motion calling on all levels of government to back a solar powered initiative in western New South Wales.

    The Greens put forward the motion in the Upper House yesterday about the solar energy exchange initiative which involves 24 council areas throughout the state’s west.

    The program is also known as SEXI. Each council is installing photo-voltaic panels as part of the initiative.

    Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said the motion was a significant show of support in the project and its ambition to provide cleaner energy. “There is nothing binding on this motion on anybody,” the Senator said. “However it clearly carries weight when the national parliament of the country comes behind a project in one specific region.”

    Senator Rhiannon said the project set an example for other councils around the nation to follow.

    “To have the support of the Senate clearly adds weight to this important project for solar energy in western New South Wales,” she said.  The councils involved in the initiative include Balranald, Bourke, Mid-Western and Narrabri.

    March 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

    Companies not keen to take up New South Wales uranium exploration licenses

    Slow uptake of NSW uranium exploration licenses By Jacqueline Breen, 18 Mar 15,  Only one of the six companies invited by the State Government to apply for a uranium exploration license has done so. The ban on mining uranium in New South Wales remains in place, but the Coalition has lifted the ban on exploration.

    Last year the government invited six companies to apply for licenses to explore for deposits around Broken Hill, Cobar and Dubbo.

    Only EJ Resources has submitted an application, seeking three licenses to explore north of Broken Hill.

    The other companies–Australian Zirconia, Callabonna Resources, Hartz Rare Earths, Iluka Resources and Marmota Energy–did not apply before the government’s March deadline passed. When the government announced the shortlist last year Resources Minister Anthony Roberts said the state needed a “stock-take” of its uranium resources.

    “This will allow us to understand fully what the uranium reserves are in New South Wales,” he said.

    If EJ Resources’ license application is successful, the state government’s Division of Energy and Resources said only low impact monitoring that doesn’t disturb land can be carried out, unless further approval is sought.

    The division said a land access agreement with landholders must be in place before any exploration begins.

    March 18, 2015 Posted by | business, New South Wales, uranium | Leave a comment

    New South Wales’s Labor plans to turn Hunter Valley into a renewable energy hub

    ballot-boxNSW election 2015: Turning Hunter into a renewable energy hub  By MATTHEW KELLY March 18, 2015  THE Labor Party would invest $14 million to help the Hunter become a renewable energy hub, if elected to government.

    Labor leader Luke Foley said expanding the renewable energy sector was a key component of the party’s plan to combat climate change. Other components of the plan include keeping the state’s electricity network in public hands and legislating for a 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020.

    It would also invest $37.4 million to replace florescent and incandescent lighting with LED technology in hospitals.  It is estimated this would cut power bills by about $72.6 million over 15 years.

    ‘‘We will focus on obtaining a greater share of our energy needs from renewable sources, which will help address the threat to our environment,’’ Mr Foley said.

    ‘‘As a state, we must pursue greater energy efficiency and cleaner energy sources.’’


    March 18, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

    The Greens have a renewable energy vision for New South Wales

    ballot-boxSmgreensSmgreen-collarGreens’ Clean, Renewable Energy Vision For NSW February 24, 2015

    The New South Wales Greens have unveiled their vision of a secure and clean energy future for the state, one where households and small businesses would become active participants in the electricity industry.

    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.

    February 25, 2015 Posted by | energy, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

    New South Wales Greens propose using mining tax to fund renewables

    ballot-boxSmgreensSmNSW Greens would use mining tax to fund renewable energy

    6th Feb 2015 THE “DIRTY” mining industry still has its uses, according to Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

    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.

    February 7, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

    By the end of 2015, Broken Hill’s huge solar energy plant will be completed

    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……

    February 4, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | 1 Comment

    Massive Upper Hunter wind and solar farm underway, despite Abbott govt

    Upper Hunter wind and solar farm operator undeterred by RET changes 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.”

    February 2, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar, wind | 1 Comment

    New South Wales distances itself from Abbott govt on Climate Change

    climate-changeNSW 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…..

    February 2, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

    Gunnedah Shire Council takes the solar power plunge

    Australia-solar-plugGunnedah 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.”……..

    January 20, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

    Nowhere to put Lucas Heights nuclear waste – but they still keep making it!

    text-wise-owlNuclear waste returning to Sydney from France  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

    January 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

    Western Sydney residents again face threat of radioactive waste dump at Kemps Creek

    protestControversial radioactive clean-up to go ahead,SMH January 18, 2015  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

    January 19, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, Opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

    Questionable mining company applies to explore for uranium in NSW

    Mining company with links to suspended firm first to apply for NSW uranium licence SMH, January 15, 2015  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.

    questionBut 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……..

    January 17, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, uranium | Leave a comment

    News South Wales report on Renewable Energy progress in 2014

    renewable_energyNSW Gov releases progress report on renewables   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.

    January 10, 2015 Posted by | energy, New South Wales | Leave a comment

    Global warming contributed to Sydney’s record warm year

    heatSydney weather: Record warm year with few cold spells January 6, 2015  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.”

    ……….Nationally, mean temperatures in 2014 came in 0.91 degrees above the 1961-1990 average, behind only 2013 and 2005, the bureau said in its annual report. Rainfall was slightly above average, with the north unusually wet and the south largely drier than normal.

    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……….

    January 7, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment


    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 702 other followers