Australian news, and some related international items

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

Queensland election – Party Policy Platforms

Election 2015 – Policy Platforms   PAINTING FAKES, 28 Jan 15   “……..Of all the minor parties, greensSmthe 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……..
TweedleDum-&-DeeIf 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……..

January 30, 2015 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Shameful hypocrisy of Campbell Newman on uranium mining for Queensland

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. 

ballot-boxCampbell Newman’s nuclear lies and Queensland’s radioactive future,,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.

In Townsville, uranium mining is a key issue for people who remember the debacle that occurred around the Ben Lomond (Harvey Range) uranium deposit back in 1975.

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

January 30, 2015 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland Labor’s feeble effort on renewable energy

ballot-boxQueensland 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.  …….

January 30, 2015 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment


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