Australian news, and some related international items

Bundaberg – Queensland’s solar capital.

map-solar-QueenslandSolar power: Queensland city Bundaberg has more solar energy systems installed than any other place DARYL PASSMORE THE SUNDAY MAIL (QLD) JUNE 07, 2015 

Bundaberg now has a new claim to fame — as Queensland’s solar capital. The subtropical city has more rooftop photovoltaic solar energy systems installed than any other city or town in the state.

Data from the Clean Energy Regulator reveals that 9400 houses with the postcode 4670 — which includes Bundaberg and Bargara — now have solar systems with a combined output capacity of more than 28 megawatts. “There’s huge demand,’’ Bundaberg Solar managing director Ashley Clark said.

More than 330 days of sunshine a year makes the central Queensland city a perfect place for solar power. “I would put it down to the fact that this is an area with a lot more retirees who are a bit more cautious about where their money goes,’’ Mr Clark said.

It is a trait Bundaberg shares with Hervey Bay and Caloundra, which fill the second and third spots on the list. Mr Clark said demand was now so strong that residents were having trouble getting approval from Ergon to connect to the electricity network….

      The regional feed-in tariff is now 6.5¢ , while householders in the Energex area have to negotiate a rate with power companies. The Palaszczuk Government says a new Queensland Productivity Commission will set a fair feed-in rate……

Australian Greens Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters said the state’s residents were collectively saving $214 million on electricity bills a year by embracing solar.

Queensland leads the country with 433,770 of the 1,393,526 solar installations nationwide. A quarter of houses in the state now have rooftop solar panels. Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey says the state has a target of one million homes having rooftop solar panels by 2020.

June 8, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Queensland’s Millmerran solar farm to go ahead – biggest in Australia?

map-solar-QueenslandMillmerran solar farm plans move ahead despite disappointment over lower Renewable Energy Target By Fidelis Rego, 4 June 15  A solar company says it is disappointing the Federal Government wants to reduce the Renewable Energy Target (RET) but it is still forging ahead with plans for a solar farm on the Darling Downs in southern Queensland.

The Government and Opposition have agreed to reduce the amount of power produced from renewable energy sources to 33,000 gigawatt hours by 2020.

Angus Gemmel from Solar Choice said it had not jeopardised its plans to build what could be the country’s biggest solar farm at Millmerran.

He said construction was expected to begin later next year.

“It’ll certainly have an impact, it is sad to see Australia is the first country to go backwards on a renewable energy target rather than forwards, so I guess it’s with a mixture of disappointment but also relief that we can finally get some first major stages underway,” he said.

“We’re still very confident that even in the medium to longer term this project will be built.

“We’re at an excellent site with optimal conditions for large-scale solar farming long-term and once our first stage is in the ground that’s going to make it so much easier and cost-effective to make stages two and three and subsequent away as well.”

June 6, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Senator moves to punish Greenpeace for its international Great Barrier Reef campaign

censorshipTHE campaign over the Great Barrier Reef has erupted into all-out war between the Federal Government and Greenpeace,

Coalition Senator Matt Canavan yesterday moved for punitive action to be taken against Greenpeace over its Reef campaign in which it sought to have the World Heritage area listed by UNESCO as “in danger”.

Senator Canavan has written to Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, urging him to investigate whether Greenpeace’s registration as a tax-deductible organisation can be withdrawn.

May 31, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

50% renewable energy by 2030 – Queensland government pledge

map-solar-QueenslandQueensland government pledges to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030 Australian states are finally taking action, Science Alert  MYLES GOUGH 15 MAY 2015 Queensland’s newly elected Labor government plans to generate 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable energy by 2030, and wants one million homes to have rooftop solar systems within five years.

The 50 percent renewable energy target was outlined in the party’s pre-election policy, and the new energy minister recently confirmed that the government is determined to make it happen, and will establish a productivity commission to come up with the right policy pathway to get them there. The government also has a plan to see the number of households with rooftop solar more than double by 2020, growing from 400,000 to one million.

“Renewable energy has long since stopped being a fringe issue, now is the time for Queensland to make this happen,” said energy minister Mark Bailey, before a speech at the Australian Solar Conference in Melbourne. As Giles Parkinson points out for RenewEconomy, there was some speculation that the ambitious target represented “the aspirations of a party that expected to remain in Opposition.”……..

the political tide has turned in Queensland, and with this commitment, all three Labor states – including Victoria and South Australia – are planning ambitious renewable energy targets. South Australia, which is already at 40 percent renewables, wants to make the jump to 50 percent by 2025. And Victoria is looking to sidestep recent legislation, which prevents it from having a state-based scheme, to try and install a similar target.

The federal government, by comparison, seems to be going in the wrong direction. It’s looking to cut the national target for large-scale renewables from a planned 41,000 GWh by 2020, to 33,000GWh. This has already caused the renewable energy industry a lot of grief, as investment in large-scale projects has virtually stalled over the uncertainty……

Still,several large-scale solar plants have been proposed in the state, along with a large wind farm in the north near Mount Emerald, Parkinson reports……

May 16, 2015 Posted by | energy, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland’s Newman government gutted the renewable energy industry

Newman-destroys-renewablesCampbell Newman’s LNP government ‘gutted’ renewable energy industry RENEWABLE energy jobs in Queensland fell by over a third under the Liberal National Party government, Energy Minister Mark Bailey says., Courier Mail, 15 Apr 15 

Mr Bailey said new Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed a third of jobs in the sector vanished under the previous state government.

He said actions such as the former government’s cuts to the renewable energy target had caused the loss of 1300 jobs.

“No wonder jobs were vanishing under the LNP when they were removing any incentive for businesses to look at industries of the future like renewables,” Mr Bailey said………

Mr Bailey said the current Labor Government’s commitment to the solar sector, a renewable energy target and a renewable energy auction would grow jobs for the sector.

But the deputy opposition leader said he was yet to see any detailed government plan to create jobs.

April 15, 2015 Posted by | energy, Queensland | Leave a comment

Big investment banks walk away from Queensland’s Galilee Basin coal projects

thumbs-downBig Banks Closing The Vault On Big Coal, Adding To Adani’s Woes, New Matilda, By Thom Mitchell 11 Apr 15 Plans to build one of the world’s largest coal mines in Queensland have hit yet another roadblock, with international investment banks refusing to back the project. Thom Mitchell reports.

Big investment banks continue to walk away from the massive new coal field proposed for the Galilee Basin in Queensland, with three French Banks – Société Générale, Crédit Agricole and BNP Paribas – yesterday joining nine others in not banking on the project’s success.

It is “due to the number and magnitude of issues linked to the planned coal development projects in the Galilee Basin,” that Credit Agricole SA, one of the three French banks, advised company Market Forces it “does not intend to finance these projects or their associated facilities”. Continue reading

April 11, 2015 Posted by | business, Queensland | Leave a comment

Griffith University’s promising battery energy storage system


According to the research from Griffith’s School of Engineering and published in the journal Applied Energy, a forecast-based, three-phase battery energy storage scheduling and operation system provides benefits such as reduced peak demand, more efficient load balancing and better management of supply from solar photovoltaics (PV).

Researcher Mr Chris Bennett, working under the supervision of Associate Professor Rodney Stewart and Professor Jun Wei Lu, has developed and applied an intelligent scheduling system to a South-East Queensland-based LV distribution network servicing 128 residential customers.

“The low voltage network is a typical suburb of a few hundred homes where there is a single area transformer and recently there has been a substantial increase in the number of homes with installed residential solar PV in these settings,” says Mr Bennett.

“Daily peak demand in residential networks typically occurs in the evenings in summer and both late morning and evening in winter. But because solar PV generation is dependent on incoming solar radiation, peak generation occurs during the middle of the day, typically when demand in the residential distribution network is low.”

“This means there is an incongruity between when energy is generated and when it is required, which can lead to power supply and quality issues.

“However, with a battery energy storage (BES) system comprising Lithium Ion battery banks coupled with smart power control systems, such as STATCOMS, and featuring embedded intelligent forecasting software, we can better manage the LV network.”……..


April 4, 2015 Posted by | efficiency, Queensland, solar | 1 Comment

Unprecedented Aboriginal stand to stop $16bn Carmichael coalmine, Australia’s largest

Queensland lawyer Stephen Keim, who is not acting in the case, said the complete rejection of the mine was the first of its kind and sets up a “significant event in the history of native title”.

“This is the first case with such a strong impasse, where the native title party has said ‘well we don’t want to negotiate compensation, we don’t want the action to go ahead,’” he said. “The native title act doesn’t give the right of veto, you’ve just got to keep working until you get an agreement.

“This situation does allow the arbitration process to say no, so perhaps for the first time we’ll see that happen. The impression has been that the arbiter has always seen mining as very important, but maybe this is the one.

highly-recommendedAboriginal group fights to stop $16bn Carmichael coalmine, Australia’s largest  Indian firm Adani has appealed to the native title tribunal to bypass the traditional owners’ rejection of the Queensland mine. Guardian, , 26 Mar 15 An Aboriginal group in central Queensland is attempting to prevent Australia’s largest mine from being established on its ancestral land, in what is shaping up to be an unprecedented test of the country’s native title laws.

Representatives for the Wangan and Jagalingou people have formally rejected an Indigenous land use agreement that would see Indian mining firm Adani develop its huge $16bn Carmichael mine in the coal-rich Galilee basin region.

However, Adani has turned to the national native title tribunal to override this objection, which would allow the state government to issue a lease for the mine.

Wangan and Jagalingou elder Adrian Burragubba has written to the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, to uphold what he sees as the clan’s native title rights, warning that the mine would “tear the heart out of our country”. Continue reading

March 28, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Queensland | Leave a comment

Poor uranium market, and Labor policy – French nuclear giant AREVA not to explore in Queensland

graph-down-uraniumFrench abandon Far North uranium prospects DANIEL BATEMAN THE CAIRNS POST MARCH 18, 2015 ONE of the world’s largest uranium producers is pulling out of the Far North following the State Government’s renewed ban on uranium mining.

Areva Resources Australia has confirmed it is in the process of relinquishing its AREVA-Medusa1exploration projects in Queensland on “technical” grounds.

Minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham has said a statewide prohibition will once again be put in place over uranium mining, forcing several companies to shelve development plans.

Areva had been exploring in the Karumba and Carpentaria basins since about 2012.

Areva Resources Australia managing director Joe Potter said the company would not be applying for new exploration tenements in Queensland in the near future, in light of the recent state policy changes and general downturn in the uranium market…….

Australian Conservation Foundation Northern Australia program officer Andrew Picone welcomed the return of a ban and the departure of Areva.

“The fact that Areva have pulled up stumps in Queensland’s Gulf only illustrates the market’s global contraction,’’ he said.

March 18, 2015 Posted by | business, politics, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby putting pressure on Queensland government

nuke-spruikersSmLobby groups asks for consultation on uranium ban, Brisbane Times March 15, 2015  Queensland state political reporter Fairfax Media revealed on Saturday that Labor intended on sticking to its long-held policy on uranium mining and would reverse the 2012 decision by the Newman government to lift it.

But the Queensland Resources Council, which originally had declined to comment on the measure, was moved to issue a statement on Sunday, asking for consultation.

“Before rushing to a decision, we would ask the government to consult the QRC and companies with uranium interests on its intentions concerning uranium,” it said in its statement……

March 16, 2015 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland Labor says NO to uranium mining

text-NoLabor says no to uranium mining in Queensland, Brisbane Times, Amy Remeikis Queensland state political reporter 14 Mar 15  Labor plans on scuttling a Queensland industry before it even begins.

The Newman Government announced it would overturn the long-time ban on uranium mining in 2012 and opened applications in August 2014.

Queensland’s Mary Kathleen Mine, near Mount Isa, closed in 1982, seven years before uranium mining was banned in the state……..

a spokesman for the new government said uranium mining would once again be kiboshed in Queensland.

Andrew Cripps  (  Mines Minister  in the previous Liberal government) said it would not have any impact.

“The Department of Natural Resources and Mines has not received one single application for a uranium mining lease since the previous LNP government’s regulatory framework for uranium mining started on 31 July 2014,” he said……………

March 14, 2015 Posted by | politics, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Queensland wind farm decision due this month, but anti-wind lobby is active

wind-nuclear-Decision on controversial Tableland wind farm due mid-March DANIEL BATEMAN THE CAIRNS POST FEBRUARY 28, 2015

A CONTROVERSIAL wind farm planned for the Tableland could be approved within the next two weeks. The Palaszczuk Government is expected to make a decision about the Mt Emerald wind farm, four years after the project was first tabled.

A spokeswoman for Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the Minister’s call-in of the development application was due in mid-March.

Developers for the $380 million project gave the Government until the end of February to approve the wind farm, which was awaiting a ministerial decision before the election was called. The development, to be built near Walkamin, between Atherton and Mareeba, is to include up to 63 turbines on towers about 80m-90m tall, with about 50m blades.

The farm, a joint venture between Ratch Australia and Port Bajool, has the potential to generate enough electricity to power at least 75,000 homes.

It is estimated 158 jobs could be created during the ­development’s two-year construction phase.

Ratch Australia spokesman Geoff Dutton said representatives from the company’s Brisbane office had recently met with the newly elected Government to brief it on the project.“I think Ratch would be delighted in getting an answer after four years of hard work,’’ he said.

“We’re very hopeful the wind farm will be approved. Continue reading

March 1, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, wind | Leave a comment

Queensland’s new Labor government acts to save the Great barrier Reef

beautiful-underwater-world-Great Barrier Reef polluters face tougher action under Queensland’s new government Labor government appoints state’s first ever reef minister as it steps up plan to avoid the UN listing the ecosystem as ‘in danger’ Guardian, , 18 Feb 15 The Queensland government may adopt tough new regulations to tackle the amount of pollution flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef, with the state’s first ever reef minister vowing to strengthen protections to avoid the ecosystem being listed as “in danger” by the UN.

Continue reading

February 20, 2015 Posted by | environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

$1 billion solar farm for Toowoomba, Queensland

map-solar-QueenslandToowoomba council approves $1bn solar farm STAFF WRITERS, JOHN CONROY FEBRUARY 12, 2015  APPROVAL has been given for the largest solar farm in the country — and possibly the largest proposed in the world — to be built in Queensland.

Construction on the 13,000-acre Bulli Creek site near Powerlink’s substation near Millmerran, southwest of Toowoomba, is expected to start next year. It will be on cleared, flat cattle grazing land.

Developer Solar Choice has received approval from Toowoomba Regional Council for a total footprint of up to 2 gigawatts over the next eight years.

The solar farm will be built in stages of multiple 100MW-plus phases, within a total planning approved envelope of 2GW.

“The Bulli Creek project is attracting attention from a range of global investors prepared to take a medium- and long-term view,” Solar Choice said, stating it remained open to a large-scale investor.

“The Bulli Creek Solar Farm is one of a very small and select number of mega-scale solar projects that Solar Choice has strategically located at transmission nodes on broad-acre lands with high solar irradiation.”

Solar Choice said the approval of the potential 2GW farm shows claims the 2020 Renewable Energy Target can’t be met are false.

Managing director Angus Gemmell said if the farm reached its full potential it would take Australia 25 per cent closer to achieving the mandated 41,000GWh target by 2020.

“There are a lot of people saying there’s not enough of a pipeline to reach the target. This project shows it could absolutely be reached,” Mr Gemmell said.

“We need 8GW by 2020 to reach the target and this project could represent one quarter of that.”

Mr Gemmell called on the Federal Government to end the uncertainty around the large-scale RET, saying that ‘big solar’ had strong support among regional communities.

“The (Toowoomba) council decision is an exciting milestone, we’re a third of the way there,” he said.

February 12, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Queensland voters show that environment matters to Australians

Politicians need to realise that it was never just the economy, stupid. The environment matters to Australians, and they’re prepared to make it known at the ballot box.

It’s the environment, stupid!   In the fallout of the Queensland election, one thing is clear: Australians don’t just care about their hip pocket. Paul Sinclair   In the 1992 US election, Bill Clinton’s Chief Strategist James Carville coined the phrase “it’s the economy, stupid”. The phrase morphed into a form of conventional wisdom; the idea that the economy is the only thing really matters to voters.

But in 2015, this conventional wisdom is myopic. Just as the economy wasn’t the only thing that mattered to voters in 1992, last week’s Queensland election suggests that in 2015, voters are still thinking about wider than simply their hip pocket.

And in this era where all our leading scientific bodies including NASA and Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology are warning us of the tangible and atmosphere altering impacts of climate change – the environment is looming larger than Federal politicians seem able or willing to acknowledge. Continue reading

February 6, 2015 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment


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