Australian news, and some related international items

Adani going for solar energy project in Australia

Adani pursuing solar energy project  February 10, 2016  Indian mining giant Adani is pursuing a solar power project in Australia after years of delays in building a mega coalmine in central Queensland.

The company has confirmed it is chasing investment opportunities in Australia’s solar generation sector, saying it is focusing on potential opportunities in Queensland and South Australia…….


    February 11, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

    Queensland government rejects any nuclear waste dump plan

    Queensland--antinukeQueensland says ‘no’ to national radioactive dump plan February 3, 2016 senior reporter The Palaszczuk government has ruled out supporting any plan to build a national radioactive waste storage facility anywhere in Queensland.

    That includes Oman Ama, the small town on the Cunningham Highway between Inglewood and Warwick, where a private landowner had put forward his property as a potential radioactive waste site.

    Information from the Australian government project confirms intermediate-level radioactive waste would be “temporarily” stored at the chosen facility for many years, while the majority of radioactive waste would be low-level.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency says intermediate-level radioactive waste “contains higher radioactivity levels than low level waste. It requires shielding when handled. Intermediate level waste – generated during operation of a nuclear power plant – consists mostly of ion exchange resins used to clean the water circulating through the reactor.”

    Queensland has now written to the Australian government and asked that all potential Queensland radioactive waste storage sites be removed from the Australian government’s shortlist of six potential sites.

    This was revealed in a letter on January 25, 2016, written on behalf of State Development Minister Anthony Lynham, to one of the opponents of the proposed radioactive waste dump.

    Private land holder Gordon Donovan – who owns land at Oman Oma, suggested his property as a radioactive dump. The federal government has offered $10 million for the community which is eventually chosen to accept the waste.

    The January 25 2016 letter, from Dr Lynham’s policy advisor, says the Queensland government will not support “in any circumstances” a radioactive waste storage facility in Queensland.

    I wish to advise that the Queensland government does not support, in any circumstances, anywhere in Queensland being utilised for radioactive waste storage,” the letter says.

    “Minister Lynham has specifically written to the Honourable Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, asking that he remove Queensland sites from the Australian government’s shortlist for the storage of radioactive waste.”

    The decision was welcomed by Bob Morrish, from the lobby group Friends of Oman Ama which is effectively southern Darling Downs grazing land with a single service station.

    “It is very heartening to us to see that the state government will back their legislation dating back to 2007; that’s their Prohibition of Nuclear Facilities Act,” Mr Morrish said……..

    February 5, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, Queensland, wastes | Leave a comment

    Massive Adani coal mine halted indefinitely due to poor coal market

    Parkinson-Report-Adani puts Galilee coal mine on hold pending recovery in coal price, REneweconomy, By  on 4 February 2016 The Indian mining and energy giant Adani Enterprises appears to have put development of its massive and controversial $16 billion Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin on hold – until coal prices show signs of a solid rebound. Which could be never.

    A report from brooking house Axis Capital in India this week quotes Adani management as saying that no capital expenditure is planned by the company for the project until there is “visibility” of a rebound in the coal price.

    Given that international coal prices are at record lows, and most analysts predict further falls as the commodity faces increased competition from renewables, and major economies turn away from coal due to environmental and climate impacts, it suggests that Adani accepts that the Galilee Basin may not get developed……

    February 5, 2016 Posted by | General News, Queensland | Leave a comment

    Queensland govt faces outrage after approving Adani coal project

    Environmental groups outraged over Adani approval    Queensland political editor Environment advocates have been quick to express their disappointment following the news the state government has granted an environmental authority for the controversial Adani coal mine project in the Galilee Basin.

    While the environmental approval is still one less hurdle the India-based company has to overcome, it is still to secure funding for the $16 billion project and receive a mining licence from the state.

    But the authority has drawn criticism from green groups, including the Environmental Defenders Office, with Queensland principal solicitor Sean Ryan announcing the group’s “disappointment” with the decision.

    “The EA, granted by Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, authorises the environmental harms of the project subject to conditions but the project still requires mining leases to proceed,” he said.

    “These leases are under the cloud of an appeal currently in the Queensland Supreme Court regarding native title issues.

    “The lawfulness of federal approval of this project, re-issued by the Environment Minister on 14 October 2015, is also being questioned by our client Australian Conservation Foundation in the Federal Court. ACF’s challenge includes whether the minister had sufficient regard to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef required by international convention.”

    Last year, the Queensland Land Court found Adani had exaggerated the benefits the project would bring, agreeing it was most likely to create just under 1500 net jobs a year, rather than the 10,000 it had been promoting and that Adani’s modelling had “probably overstated the selling price of the coal and therefore the royalties generated by the project and the corporate tax payable”.

    But it rejected testimony that the mine would not be financially viable.

    Greenpeace Australia’s Shani Tager said the government had “sold out” the Queensland environment.

    “This environmental authority waves through a project that threatens the health of the Great Barrier Reef, which is already suffering from climate change and pollution,” she said in a statement.

    “As Australia’s largest coal mine, Carmichael will add to the global warming that is threatening the reef. It will mean expanding Abbot Point port, dredging in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and sending more ships through this delicate ecosystem.”

    Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said the foundation, which was challenging the federal government approval of the mine in court “could not understand the decision”.

    February 3, 2016 Posted by | Queensland | Leave a comment

    Queensland disused coal power site could be solar station this year

    Solar power station in Collinsville could be under construction this year, ABC News map-solar-Queensland(includes Audio) 2 Feb 16  QLD Country Hour  By David Sparkes Construction of a $100 million solar power station in Collinsville, North Queensland, could begin this year if a deal is struck for selling the electricity.

    Ratch Australia plans to build the station on the site of the disused coal power station it purchased in 2011.

    Business development executive general manager Anthony Yeates said the company had been short-listed in an tender process with Ergon Energy and, failing that, there were other potential clients for an off-take agreement.

    “The bulk of the development activities are all completed, so it’s a fairly advanced project and it’s really just awaiting us to close out some of the important commercial arrangements,” he said………

    February 3, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, solar | 1 Comment

    Campaign against Oman Ama nuclear dump site is gaining momentum

    Protest-No!Group steps up campaign against Oman Ama nuclear dump  21st Jan 2016 THE Friends of Oman Ama are continuing to grow their grassroots campaign against the nuclear waste facility proposed for their community.

    From hitting the streets of Inglewood to reaching thousands of people online, the group is doing what it can to get its message across. Placards, banners and signs have been displayed across the area, while leaflets have been distributed to every home in Inglewood. The group’s information street stall in Inglewood is also gathering momentum.

    Information street stall group members Vanessa Grady and Rechelle Privitera said they believed the overwhelming mood on the street was people did not want the nuclear waste facility. While some were hesitant about signing the petition, street stall members claimed people were happy to sign once they read the information available.

    So far the Friends of Oman Ama’s petition has gathered several hundred signatures. The group is encouraging people to have their say on the issue as the consultation continues.

    Resident Sue Campbell said the proposal had challenged the community. “I feel we need to come together as a community and determine our own future,” she said. “We need to decide what we want this community to look like in 10, 20 or 30 years time.”

    Community consultation on the issue ends on Friday, March 11, at 5pm.

    To have your say visit

    People directly involved in the Oman Ama proposal will be given an opportunity to take a tour of the proposed property tomorrow afternoon.

    January 22, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Queensland | 1 Comment

    Queensland launches solar storage battery trial

    battey TeslaQueensland installs Australia’s first Powerwall battery for solar trial, map-solar-QueenslandGuardian, , 18 Jan 16 Energex, which is owned by the state government, launches a 12-month trial of solar batteries to investigate ways to integrate them into electricity supply

    Queensland government-owned power company has installed the country’s first solar battery storage system from Tesla as it begins a year-long trial into how it can reward consumers who cut their reliance on the electricity grid.

    Energex, which has installed a Tesla Powerwall and another storage system from Californian company Sunverge at its Brisbane training facility, will collect data to work out how to integrate solar batteries into the network with financial incentives for customers.

    The trial, which will extend monitoring of systems in Energex employees’ homes to those in outside consumers’ in coming months, follows lobbying by the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, of Tesla executives in the US six months ago.

    Queensland boasts one of the highest rates of household solar panel systems in the world, although uptake in recent years has been inhibited by a dramatic cut in the rate consumers are paid for power that they return to the grid.

    The commercial release of the Powerwall this year is widely expected to drive popular take-up of a system that at best would supply about seven hours of nightly power for televisions, air-conditioning and other appliances……..

    Terry Effeney, the chief executive of Energex, said information about the effect of solar batteries on peak demand could allow power network operators to defer costly infrastructure investments or reduce generation where possible.

    Contrary to the idea of consumers being able to quit the grid, Effeney said the 12-month trial would “demonstrate that in fact the best way to use batteries and solar is to integrate them into the grid to deliver the best possible outcome to the customers”.

    January 19, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, storage | 1 Comment

    Queensland moves to solar energy in a planned way

    map-solar-QueenslandQueensland searches for a solar fix, THE AUSTRALIAN,  JANUARY 18, The acid test for governments, here and everywhere, in the post-Parisian energy environment is turning talk in to meaningful action……Annastacia Palaszczuk’s regime in Brisbane is embarking on a year in which it must put its policies where its mouth was in January 2015, when it scored an upset win in the state elections.

    Committed to being the nation’s standard bearer on advancing solar power, the government has sensibly thrown the ball to its new Productivity Commission before it acts…..

    The commission’s official role is to come up with a “fair price for solar exports” — that is, the surplus power from householders’ rooftop PV arrays flowing in to the southeastern Queensland grid.

    The commission’s draft report is due next month and the final version in May.

    Its impact will be felt beyond Queensland’s borders as policymakers elsewhere also have a keen interest in riding the wave of solar enthusiasm that sees the number of Australian homes with PV on their rooftops creeping up towards 1.5 million, a penetration rate of 16 per cent nationally…….

    January 19, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

    What if a nuclear waste train is derailed?

    Derailed train in Queensland spills 200,000l sulphuric acid and diesel, Logistics Business Review  28 December 2015 Approximately 200,000l of sulphuric acid and diesel was spilled when all 26 carriages of a freight train derailed in Quarrells, 20km east of Julia Creek in mid-northern Queensland, Australia.

    train derailment Qld Dec 15

    Emergency crews have started clean-up operation in heavy rain and three train staff sustained minor injuries in the accident. Following the incident on Sunday, Queensland Police declared an emergency situation covering a 2km exclusion zone around the crash site.

    Queensland Rail said: “Emergency services attended the scene, however, Queensland Rail crews have been unable to access the site as the Flinders highway is currently cut off due to flooding in the region…….

    Inland passenger services and freight trains have been affected in the region……

    Train derailment sparks uranium transport fears  By Emma Masters 28 Dec 2011  An environment group says the derailment of a train carrying hazardous substances raises concerns about the transport of uranium through the Northern Territory.

    A freight train transporting containers of copper concentrate was derailed yesterday after flash floods damaged the railway track north of Katherine yesterday.

    The Environment Department is investigating reports that containers may have spilled and washed into the Edith River.

    Environment Centre NT director Stuart Blanch says the incident is a worrying sign. “This spill highlights a lack of due diligence by the owners of the railway and the people transporting this product,” he said.

    “What would have happened to the Edith if there was a spill of uranium oxide into the Edith River?

    “That is a real concern, with a lot more uranium coming up from South Australia in the years ahead.”

    Meanwhile, Chief Minister Paul Henderson says he is satisfied that copper concentrate was the only toxic substance being carried by the train.

    Mr Henderson says it is not radioactive material from a uranium mine in South Australia. “What the environmental impacts may be, I have not been briefed as to what they may be,” he said.He says government officials are on site to carry out a monitoring program.

    January 13, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory, Queensland, safety | Leave a comment

    South Australian launch for Aboriginal owned solar energy storage system

    The products are being launched at Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural centre in Adelaide on Wednesday 2 September. Ms Oberon said Adelaide was chosen for the launch because of the council’s Sustainable City Incentive Scheme, which provides up to $5000 towards the cost in installing solar PV storage across the residential, business, education and community sectors. Funding for the program also has financial support from the South Australian government.

    “We felt it was important to acknowledge the South Australian government and the City of Adelaide for such a forward-looking and innovative scheme,” Ms Oberon said.

    The company is also hoping other state governments and councils will be encouraged to take up the idea of supporting the uptake of renewable energy storage.

    The company’s core mission is based on the fundamental Aboriginal approach of stewardship of the earth and its resources. This means needing to shift out of high-emissions fossil-fuel derived energy.

    Aboriginal-owned energy company one-upping Tesla By Willow Aliento, The Fifth Estate Friday 8 January 2016 The renewable energy storage game is about to be disrupted, with Australian Aboriginal-owned company AllGrid Energy announcing the launch of WattGrid, a new 10kWh solar energy storage system it says is around 30 per cent cheaper than the Tesla Powerwall.

    Customers also don’t have to wait until 2016. Spokeswoman for AllGrid, Deborah Oberon, said the company expected to be making its first deliveries in the next two to three months.

    portable solar system AllGrid

    The $11,999 WattGrid unit comprises an aluminium cabinet containing tubular lead acid gel batteries, and a hybrid 5kW solar inverter with battery management system that has load share capability with the grid and uninterrupted power supply capability.

    The unit is also accompanied by a software app, WattsHappening, that allows users to view real-time information and interface with the system.

    Beta testing has shown the unit can help solar owners maintain an energy supply profile that can be matched to the demand profile, potentially rendering drawing grid power unnecessary.

    The Queensland-based company is also releasing another product it has developed, the PortaGrid. This is an independent unit comprising solar panels, storage, UPS, inverter and outlets that is suitable for remote and off-grid locations, as well as emergency situations.

    The units can be supplied with an inbuilt weather station that will automatically close up the panels in the event of a severe weather hazard such as a cyclone. Continue reading

    January 11, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland, solar, South Australia | 2 Comments

    MP Bruce Scott now has “deep reservations” for Oman Ama as nuclear waste site

    politicianMP reveals “deep reservations” for nuclear waste sit  | 6th Jan 2016 MARANOA MP Bruce Scott has weighed in on the proposed nuclear waste facility at Oman Ama, admitting he has “deep reservations” about the issue.

    The outgoing Federal MP has been neutral on the issue since the small community, west of Warwick, was announced as one of six sites shortlisted for a nuclear waste dump.

    Mr Scott has vowed to make sure the Oman Ama site does not go ahead if that is the wish of the community. “I believe a decision of this magnitude needs to be made by the local community, giving consideration to the impacts the proposed facility may have on the region’s farming potential,” he said.

    “The proposed nuclear waste facility is dependent on broad community support. “If local residents and concerned neighbours do not support the proposed location, I will work with my ministerial colleagues to ensure the Oman Ama site does not go ahead.”

    The comments come as Senate candidate Belinda Marriage called on both Mr Scott and Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg to represent the views of the community.

    A vocal opponent of the facility, Ms Marriage said she had attempted to contact Mr Scott several times to express the feelings of the community, to no avail.

    Ms Marriage, who runs a free-range pork property at Karara, said it was clear the people of Oman Ama had spoken.

    “Mr Springborg, the Queensland state representative, needs to represent this community,” she said.”The overwhelming majority of the community are saying no to the dump. “How much clearer do they have to make it?”

    Mr Springborg was unavailable for comment yesterday, however, in the past he has declared he had an “open mind” on the issue.

    For those opposed to the facility though, the case is already closed. Ms Marriage said it was time to bury the Oman Ama proposal. “With the strong support against having a nuclear dump in our agricultural region, I urge the ministers to listen to our wishes and desist in trying to bully us into having a dump built in our rich agricultural history,” she said.

    “The community wants to go back to doing what they do best, raising families and growing clean food, crops and fibres for the people of Australia.”

    Mr Scott is encouraging concerned community members to have their say before the consultation period ends on Friday, March 11, at 5pm. Visit http://www.radioactivewaste.

    January 6, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, wastes | Leave a comment

    Queensland’s Oman Ama residents reject nuclear waste dump

    Queensland--antinukeOman Ama residents reject proposal for nuclear waste disposal site  January 4, 2016 – Drew Creighton A group of residents of the tiny Darling Downs hamlet of Oman Ama has banded together in a bid to prevent Australia’s first permanent nuclear waste disposal facility from being built near their town.

    Oman Ama was one of six sites shortlisted by the Federal Government and announced in November as a possible location for the facility.

    The group has written to federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg ’emphatically’ rejecting the proposed nuclear waste dump.

    The proposed site is roughly 90 kilometres from Warwick on Bennets Gully.

    Friends of Oman Ama member and local doctor Dr Colin Owen said in a statement he was not convinced the proposal was risk free.”Mishaps have occurred in such facilities around the world, including at Lucas Heights in Sydney,” Dr Owen said.

    The facility he referred to is the Lucas Heights reactor that produces nuclear medicine. Dr Owen is convinced there have been mishaps in the past 10 years at the reactor.

    In 2010 a whistleblower alleged there had been a series of safety breaches at Lucas Heights.

    Dr Owen said the proposed site was just a few kilometres north of Murray-Darling tributaries such as the Condamine. “The big concern is that if it leaks into there, the whole murray darling water way will be compromised,” he said.

    Safety is not the only concern the residents have. Mental health nurse Susan Campbell had a list of worries including devaluation of land, risk to tourism initiatives and anxiety levels in locals.

    Not all locals are against the proposal and one resident has offered their property as a potential site for the facility.

    Another medical practitioner from Oman Ama, Dr Bob Morrish, is concerned with what has been called ‘obfuscation’ by the government. “The Government people have not been clear about the difference between storage and disposal, particularly in relation to the so called ‘interim’ storage of intermediate level radioactive waste,” Dr Morrish said. “They have refused to define ‘interim’ but suggested it could be as long as 30 years.”

    The group is also pressuring the landholder to withdraw his application for the proposed site of the nuclear facility.

    The other five sites on the shortlist are Sallys Flat in NSW, Hale in the Northern Territory and Cortlinye, Pinkawillinie and Barndioota in South Australia.

    The government’s consultation process is expected to take until March, with a final shortlist of three sites announced later this year. A final determination of the site will not be announced until after this year’s federal election.

    January 4, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Queensland, wastes | Leave a comment

    Coal giant Adani in a financial pickle

    dollar 2Adani’s finances go from bad to worse, Independent Australia  Lachlan Barker 3 January 2016, Federal and State Governments continue to approve it but the Adani Carmichael project will never eventuate unless an investor with “a financial death wish” can be found, writes Lachlan Barker.

    IN OCTOBER 2015, the new Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia,Josh Frydenberg, made a death knellpronouncement on Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, indicating that the rail line to the Galilee Basin to serve the mine:

    “… wouldn’t be a priority project.”

    He added that Adani’s project was:

    “… a commercial operation and it needs to stand on its own two feet.”

    This makes it pretty clear that the federal government have, at last, recognised that this Adani coal mine has not a chance in hell of making a red cent and federal funding through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (named by opponents as the ”Dirty Energy Finance Corporation”) will not be provided.

    Additionally, the banks have indicated that they will not touch this project and the one bank that Adani has constantly pointed to as a source of finance, the State Bank of India (SBI), has not actually said “yes” to the project. The SBI has simply received an application from Adani for financing.

    Currently, the SBI are reviewing Adani’s application – as they do with any application – and will, presumably, announce their decision soon.

    So, with no banks and now without the Australian Government, Adani were left with the solitary hope that the Queensland Government might come to the “white elephant” party.

    If that was indeed their main source of hope, they must have been chagrined when, over the Christmas break, a tiny story appeared on the SBS website, headlined, ‘Adani must fund mine: Qld premier’.

    The link takes us to a brief story reprinted here:

    Queensland’s government has warned Indian mining giant Adani it must finance the controversial Carmichael coal mine on its own.

    The federal government on Tuesday approved the expansion of Abbot Point port, which is intended to service the proposed Carmichael mine, prompting Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to sternly tell Adani not to expect any financial assistance from the state.

    “There will be no taxpayers’ money going towards this project,” she said.

    At the time of writing, the only entity on the planet prepared to fund the Carmichael mine project – rated as a A$16 billion project (US$11 billion) – is Adani itself.

    IEEFA tells us that Adani has already borrowed A$3 billion for the initial investment in the mine and now need to raise the remaining A$13-14 billion (US$9-10 billion). That being the case, the mine looks as likely to be built as environment minister Greg Hunt’s chances of getting an invitation to the Greenpeace Christmas party — for Adani’s financial situation has got worse………,8539

    January 3, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

    Queensland’s Fraser Coast Region could bloom with solar farm, says Councillor

    map-solar-QueenslandSolar Farm ‘Common Sense’ For Queensland’s Fraser Coast December 30, 2015 Energy Matters “There are many issues on the Fraser Coast Region; none of which are more important than rising energy prices,” says Cr. Loft; who also points to issues with unreliable delivery of electricity.

    The councillor states the construction of a solar farm within the region’s boundaries could provide savings for Council of around 15%, freeing up hundreds of thousands of dollars in working capital that could be redirected to other community needs.

    In addition to savings, creating jobs and a more robust electricity supply, Cr. Loft says benefits for the region would include “the ability to portray the Fraser Coast Council as an environmentally friendly and green community, compatible with our magnificent natural environment.”

    The Fraser Coast sits within the Great Sandy Biosphere, which is part of a world network of Biosphere Reserves.

    The proposed feasibility study would include profiling the electricity consumption of Council and major consumers of electricity in the Shire; determining total Shire electricity consumption, potential locations for the facility and the most appropriate technology, e.g. solar panels, CPV or solar thermal + storage.

    Cr. Loft believes now is a good time for a major solar power project……..

    The Fraser Coast Council incorporates Fraser Island – the world’s largest sand island – and towns including MaryboroughBurrum HeadsHervey Bay and Brooweena.

    Queensland is Australia’s leading state in terms of total solar capacity and it also has the highest number of small scale solar power systems – more than 460,000 installations.

    December 30, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

    Queensland Premier says “focused on solar and wind’ but also ‘committed to coal’

    questionQueensland to boost renewable energy target in wake of Paris climate agreement, Palaszczuk says, ABC News 13 Dec 15  By Jessica van Vonderen Queensland will look to lift its renewable energy target in the wake of the Paris agreement to tackle climate change.

    Envoys from 195 nations agreed on the weekend to transform the world’s fossil fuel-driven economy within decades and slow the pace of global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government was focused on wind and solar farms, while maintaining a commitment to coal……

    University of Queensland’s Matt McDonald, a reader in international relations who attended the negotiations in Paris, told 612 ABC Brisbane there were lots of discussions about mining, in particular the proposed $16 billion Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland.

    “It does raise a series of questions about whether Australia and businesses really want to commit to that scale of investment into fossil fuel, given all the signals that are pushing in the other direction,” Mr McDonald said.

    “So there’s a lot of concern about a future of that type of mining program.”

    December 14, 2015 Posted by | energy, Queensland | Leave a comment


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