Decision on controversial Tableland wind farm due mid-March http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/decision-on-controversial-tableland-wind-farm-due-mid-march/story-fnjpusyw-1227242229621 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
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.
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! http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/02/05/comment-its-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
Election 2015 – Policy Platforms PAINTING FAKES, 28 Jan 15 “……..Of all the minor parties, the Greens are the ones who have taken policy issues most seriously. The Greens grew out of the conservation movement and are still often perceived as an environmental party. However, over the years they have evolved into a more rounded progressive party. Despite never having had a member elected to the Queensland parliament – and this is not likely to change on Saturday – they have a specific Queensland policy platform that runs to over one hundred pages. This is not developed specifically with this election in mind, but has been put together over a number of years to clarify what the Greens stand for.
It covers a wide range of issues under five headings – Natural Environment, covering biodiversity, water quality, food and agriculture, animal welfare and fishing; Social and Democracy, which includes policies about political accountability, criminal justice, ageing and disability, gambling and gender identity; Economics and Energy, which includes climate change, policies about various industries and policies on government finance; Built Environment with policies about transport and planning; and Human Services which includes education, health, social housing and reproductive rights. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that their policies are fairly consistently progressive or “left” – on environmental issues in favour of conservation, on economic issues in favour of better regulation and more equity and sustainability, on social issues in favour of better services and more public provision, and on “moral” issues in favour of gay marriage, abortion and euthanasia……..
If you were to compare the two major parties solely on the basis of their election promises, you would probably end up feeling depressed at the quality of the alternatives. Most of the policies on both sides are very specific, playing to a particular region or interest group. There is a lot of “rollback” in the Labor policies, a lot of items funded by assets sales (sorry, “leases”) in the LNP’s.
Beyond the question of quality and vision, you have a choice between a moderate, centrist party interested in a notion of balance between economy, equity and environment, and a party that sees government as about economic development, delivering specific items of infrastrucute and a narrow range of mainstream services. Neither really has any kind of focus beyond the next three-year electoral cycle……..http://paintingfakes.blogspot.com.au/
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources Andrew Cripps has refused to rule out the export of uranium across the Great Barrier Reef.
The ALP and the Greens have clear policies supporting the reinstatement of the ban on uranium mining in Queensland, a position recently reaffirmed at the ALP State conference. The positions of the minor parties have been less clear, but we know the Katter Party and PUP have also voiced concerns about the resumption of uranium mining.
Campbell Newman’s nuclear lies and Queensland’s radioactive future, https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/campbell-newmans-radioactive-queensland,7309 Independent Australia Dave Sweeney 29 January 2015 Queensland Premier Campbell Newman broke his 2012 election promise and overturned a longstanding ban on uranium mining in Queensland, and is now looking at exporting the radioactive material across the Great Barrier Reef.
THE LEGACY of uranium mining lasts longer than the promises of politicians. This lesson has particular resonance today as it wasn’t so long ago Premier Campbell Newman wrote to the Australian Conservation Foundation with a promise that only lasted a matter of weeks.
On 11 October 2012, Campbell Newman wrote(see letter below):
“I take this opportunity to reaffirm my statements, made before the last election, that the State Government has no plans to approve the development of uranium in Queensland.”
But on October 22, less than two weeks later, Cambell Newman moved quickly to overturn Queensland’s longstanding, popular and prudent ban on uranium mining.
So much for politicians’ promises. Unfortunately the legacy of uranium mining is much more consistent and long standing.
Fast forward to 2015 and the LNP’s uranium backflip remains, despite the fact no mandate has ever been sought or granted from Queensland voters on the issue.
The mismanagement of the site drew such community ire that it is often recognised as sparking the growth of the Queensland anti-nuclear movement.
The entire project was a case study in poor management and neglect. Continue reading
Queensland Labor talks bold, promises little on renewable energy TRISTAN EDIS Business Spectator, 27 JAN, The Queensland Labor Party released a policy statement on renewable energy last Friday full of platitudes with so much wriggle room that Treasury officials should have no difficulty hacking them apart if Labor ever manage to make it into government in the Queensland state election.
Of course Labor didn’t face much competition from Premier Campbell ‘We’re in the Coal Business’ Newman, who is yet to release any policy on reducing carbon emissions or promoting clean energy.
Framing the entire policy is a target of 50% renewable energy by 2030 – not to achieve it, but rather to study it. And in case you might have actually taken them seriously, they’ve also said that as part of achieving such a goal they’ll be establishing an auction to acquire 40 megawatts of renewable energy. Given the state already has 12,000 megawatts of scheduled power generating already installed, you can get a sense of just how serious they are about cracking that 50% target.
By the way, Queensland householders and businesses themselves managed to install 250MW of solar last year so you can imagine what a huge difference Labor’s auction will make. …….http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/1/27/renewable-energy/queensland-labor-talks-bold-promises-little-renewable-energy
Queensland Labor Promises Solar Support http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/queensland-labor-solar-em4657/ January 26, 2015 Queensland Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has committed Labor to boosting the state’s renewable energy sector if it wins the election.
“In office Labor will call for proposals to generate 40-megawatts of base-load renewable energy including solar power. This will be used as a trial for more renewable power plants,” said Ms. Palaszczuk.
Labor would also investigate introducing competition in the power sector by enabling remote area councils to generate electricity from renewables to be sold at a lower cost to consumers.
“We will also initiate a renewable energy study to investigate measures to create an export-orientated renewable energy economy here in Queensland,” said Ms. Palaszczuk; who additionally promised an independent review to determine a fair price for a solar feed-in tariff based on all the benefits it provides, “rather than the requirements of large companies.”
Ms. Palaszczuk accused the LNP of being stuck in the past and pointed out after the last election Campbell Newman reneged on promises on renewable energy; cutting $660 million in related programs.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said while Queensland has seen a huge number of households install solar power systems, the state trails behind others when it comes to new large-scale renewable energy developments.
“The Queensland Opposition’s plan to generate 40 megawatts of power from solar and other renewable sources is a welcome move, particularly in light of the ongoing review of the federal Renewable Energy Target – which has caused investment in the sector to collapse,” said Mr Thornton.
The Australian Solar Council also welcomed Labor’s announcement.
“Labor has released a solar plan for the Sunshine State, which is responsible and affordable and will restore confidence in a battered solar industry,” said Australian Solar Council CEO John Grimes.
“Labor’s solar policy stands in stark contrast to the contempt shown by the Newman and Abbott Governments towards solar families and workers.”
If the Council’s Save Solar Community Forum in Townsville last week is anything to go by, the LNP should be very worried – it was a standing room only event. The next forum is at Springwood on Thursday, January 29.
Last week the Greens also unveiled their solar policy, which would ensure all Queensland solar households are paid a fair price for their electricity exports. The policy would also provide 100,000 extra households the opportunity to control their power bills by installing solar.
Jeff Seeney said climate change ‘semi-religious belief': Queensland mayor signs statutory declaration stating Deputy Premier made comment ABC News, By the National Reporting Team’s Mark Willacy and Mark Solomons 24 Jan 15 The mayor of a major Queensland council has signed a statutory declaration stating Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney dismissed climate change as “a semi-religious belief” during a tense meeting in his office.
On Thursday, Mr Seeney publicly denied he made the remark.
Allan Sutherland, of the Moreton Bay Regional Council north of Brisbane, stated Mr Seeney made the comment during a discussion about the council’s regional plan in October. The meeting was also attended by four council officials.
A participant in the meeting confirmed the mayor’s version of events to the ABC.
As revealed by the ABC in December, Mr Seeney intervened to have all references to a predicted 0.8-metre sea rise removed from Moreton Bay’s regional plan, a move that upset the council and Councillor Sutherland……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-23/jeff-seeney-denies-he-said-climate-change-was-a-semi-religious-/6041710
McKinlay Shire solar levy to help businesses cut power bills ABC News, By Kate Stephens 22 Jan 2015, A north-west Queensland council says it is moving ahead with an innovate plan to help local businesses reduce their power bills.
The McKinlay Shire has put out an expression of interest for a renewable energy company to install solar panels on 14 local businesses and some council building…..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-22/outback-qld-council-sheds-light-on-solar-panels/6034296
“I think the key thing is that the Greens are the only political party standing in Queensland, giving Queenslanders the opportunity to vote against the expansion of coal seam gas and against the expansion of coal mines and coal ports,” Ms Milne said.
Queensland election: World looking at ‘fossil-fuel free existence’ Brisbane Times 12 Jan 15 Tony Moore brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter The world is beginning to consider a “fossil-fuel free” existence as soon as 2050, according to Australian Greens leader Senator Christine Milne.
Ms Milne will join the Queensland state election campaign on Monday having recently returned from a climate summit in Lima, Peru. In the negotiating texts – for the (future) Paris agreement, one of the options is for a fossil-fuel free world by 2050,” Ms Milne said.
The United Nations climate change conference – also attended by Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop – was held in Lima from December 1-12.
The long-serving Greens senator agreed it was “still early days” and the text would most likely be opposed by Australia, Saudi Arabia and other countries before the final United Nations talks in December 2015.
“But the fact that you even have in a negotiating text at this point one of the options being a fossil-fuel free world by 2050 shows you the recognition it is getting,” she said.
“If you are serious about climate science – serious about addressing global warming – then a rapid transition to a renewable energy-powered world is on.”……..
Ms Milne said many people had noticed the decision by several major financial bodies to no longer back more marginal coal projects.
“The rapid growth in the divestment movement has surprised everybody around the world,” Ms Milne said. Continue reading
Renewable energy ‘fad’ is our best bet for saving the planet MIKE BRUCE THE COURIER-MAIL JANUARY 11, 2015″…….. those impressionable and impetuous Chinese are spending billions to create the world’s largest renewable power capacity (388GW), dwarfing the US (172GW) and renewables-sector darling Germany (84GW). Those crazy and irrational Germans are now producing almost 30 per cent of their electricity needs with renewable energy.
Excuse the sarcasm, but I couldn’t help it after reading an opinion piece by Matt Canavan, a Nationals senator for Queensland, in which he argues for the abolition of the renewable energy target (RET) in Australia……..
While he is careful not to dismiss renewables per se – despite calling them a “fad” – Canavan strongly implies that Australia’s energy future, at least in the short to medium term, lies in fossil fuels, one of the world’s most heavily subsidised industries.
It’s a surprising position for a National, much of whose constituency is at war with coal and coal-seam interests eating into their land, livelihoods and sustainability.
But, then, this narrative does tally perfectly with the Abbott Government’s stunning reticence to act on climate change. Continue reading
Meridian Energy Australia announced on Friday it would not proceed with the Burdekin hydro power generation project, which was intended to “harness the otherwise wasted power of the largest dam in Australia at Burdekin falls”………… Burge said regulatory uncertainty over the RET was the reason for not proceeding with the Burdekin project.
The project would have improved energy security in north Queensland, meeting the growing needs of agricultural and mineral businesses, and provided about 150 jobs during development and construction, the company said.
“Sadly, the decision to undermine the long-term investment signals of the RET makes it more difficult to realise these benefits for Queensland businesses and households,” Burge said.
The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, and the environment spokesman, Mark Butler, said the Meridian decision showed the government’s stance on the RET was costing jobs. Shorten and Butler said Labor would reopen RET negotiations if the government moved away from its position.“Australian families will have Tony Abbott to thank when their power bills rise because of his ideologically destructive approach to renewable energy,” they said in a joint statement.
Meridian is not the first company to cite RET uncertainty as a reason for shelving or cancelling projects. Silex Systems announced in August it was suspending a project to construct a large solar power station in Mildura, Victoria.
Keppel Prince Engineering, a wind turbine manufacturer based in Portland, Victoria, notified workers in October that 100 staff would be made redundant.
Other renewables companies have said the uncertainty has stopped them making long-term investment decisions. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/12/burdekin-hydro-power-project-scrapped-over-renewable-energy-target-concerns
Will climate change denials sink the LNP? DES HOUGHTON THE COURIER-MAIL DECEMBER 20, 2014 IT’S a controversy that could not have come at a worse time for Campbell Newman. Cracks are appearing in LNP ranks over a State Government edict forcing Moreton Bay Regional Council to remove a theoretical climate change sea level rise of 0.8m when considering developments.
Inside the party there are waves of discontent. Continue reading
Olkola reclaim traditional Cape York land after three-decade struggle, Guardian, Joshua Robertson, 10 Dec 14 More than 6,300 square kilometres of former cattle grazing land in Queensland is formally handed back to Indigenous owners, spelling the end of uranium exploration in the area and the start of a quest to develop tourism opportunities One of the largest returns of land to traditional owners in Queensland’s history has killed off the prospect of uranium mining in a key part of Cape York.
The Olkola, who reclaimed more than 6,300 square kilometres of former cattle grazing land in a formal ceremony on Wednesday, are instead seeking business opportunities in adventure tourism.
Just over 1000 sq km of Olkola land is licensed for uranium exploration by French corporation Areva, which has spoken of north Queensland’s potential to match Kazakhstan as a source for nuclear fuel.
But the deal negotiated by the Olkola has forced Areva to give up its exploration licences in areas given over to a national park, and the clan has no intention of allowing mining elsewhere.
The traditional owners are instead in talks with a global adventure travel agency about a possible joint venture.
It comes just months after the Newman government began to accept uranium mining applications across the state with a view to ending a 25-year ban.
The Australian Conservation Foundation has praised the Olkola people’s move, along with their decision to give over almost a third of their land to a protected national park.
For Mike Ross, the chairman of the Olkola Aboriginal Corporation, the joy of reclaiming country after nearly 30 years of negotiations was tempered by the need to find viable ways for his people to make a living………http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/dec/10/olkola-reclaim-traditional-cape-york-land-after-three-decade-struggle