South Australia commits to 50pc renewable energy target by 2025 (includes AUDIO), ABC News 23 Sep 2014, The South Australian Government says it will increase its Renewable Energy Target (RET) and aim for 50 per cent of the state’s power to be generated by renewables by 2025.
Premier Jay Weatherill said figures from last financial year showed 31.5 per cent of energy produced in the state came from renewable sources.
He said updated figures were expected to show SA had since exceeded its current target of 33 per cent by 2020.
“Modelling shows that the RET has underpinned $5.5 billion of expenditure to date,” he said.
“[It is] forecast to support a further $4.5 billion by 2025. “This new target of half of the state’s power to be generated by renewable sources will create jobs and drive capital investment and advanced manufacturing industries.”
Mr Weatherill said SA had demonstrated that with appropriate policies and incentives, highly ambitious targets were achievable.
This new target of half of the state’s power to be generated by renewable sources will create jobs and drive capital investment and advanced manufacturing industries.Jay Weatherill
He said the Federal Government needed to heed that message.
“The sovereign risk created by the Federal Government’s unnecessary and unexplained review into the national RET has caused a number of projects to be placed on hold, putting many construction projects and ongoing jobs at risk,” he said.
“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of SA jobs in the renewable energy sector and these are the growth areas we should be supporting, not undermining.”…..
Conservation Council CEO Craig Wilkins urged the SA Government to keep fighting the federal move to downgrade the RET.
“We have reaped the benefits of the Commonwealth Renewable Energy Target over the last decade with enormous investment in wind and solar infrastructure, particularly in regional SA,” he said
“This new state target of 50 per cent renewable energy generation by 2025 will be extremely difficult to achieve if the federal RET is dismantled.”
Andrew Bray from the Australian Wind Alliance said South Australia had proved itself a wind power success story.
“While more wind and solar power in SA is being fed into the grid, the wholesale cost of power has stayed the same,” he said.
“South Australians are paying the same for wholesale power as they were eight years ago, even accounting for the cost of renewable energy certificates.
“This decision to increase the target shows that with the rise of renewable energy is inevitable and beneficial to Australians’ costs and standard of living.”http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-23/sa-commits-to-50-per-cent-renewable-energy-target/5763640
Abbott’s Olympic dodge on environmental protections The Australian Greens say the Abbott Government is shirking responsibility by waiving a new environmental impact statement for the proposed expansion of Olympic Dam.
“The Federal Government needs to do its job and stop putting the private profits of the big mining companies ahead of the environment,” said South Australian Greens Senator Penny Wright. “This is a short-sighted measure, which shows how little the Government cares about environmental protection.”
Senator Wright said BHP’s original environmental impact statement did not mention acid leaching but there were serious concerns around about this process in South Australia, with previous leaching in a copper mine near Copely resulting in leaks and contamination.
“We need to be sure that chemical pollution from BHP’s trial will be contained. If the Federal Government is cutting corners, what’s to stop BHP from skimping on environmental protections?
Senator Wright urged the Weatherill Government to guarantee environmental safety, but said their record was not cause for optimism.
“Just because the Commonwealth doesn’t care about the environment, doesn’t let the State Government off the hook. They should demand a full environmental impact statement before taking any further steps,” she added.
Suzanne Haseldine email@example.com 22 Aug 14, After an amazing life fighting for country and culture Kokatha Elder Mrs Wingfield passed away at her home in Port Augusta on August 8,2014.
Mrs Wingfield experienced first hand the impacts of the nuclear testing in the South Australian desert. She dedicated her life to protecting her desert country and future generations from the effects of the nuclear industry. At Cane Grass Swamp in the early 1980s she lay in front of bulldozers to try and stop the construction of the Olympic Dam uranium mine. Her tireless work continued in the 1990s with the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a senior women’s council based in Coober Pedy who led and won a successful campaign against the federal government’s plan for a nuclear waste dump in SA.
Mrs Wingfield worked with people and groups of many backgrounds, she traveled extensively to attend forums and events and lobby politicians. In 2009 she was made honorary president of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance in recognition of her significant involvement. Mrs Wingfield will be widely remembered and acknowledged for her contribution to the nuclear free and peace movements in Australia and worldwide. Her resilience, passion and dedication remains an inspiration to everyone that met her.
May she Rest in Peace.
Funeral details: Friday August 29, 2014. 11am at the Lutheran Church, cnr of Dartmouth and Fern St, Port Augusta. The family have asked that everyone feel welcome to attend.
You can send a message to Mrs Wingfield family: 2 Cain Street, Port Augusta SA 5700.
Memories or photos to be passed on to the family when appropriate, can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial contributions towards Mrs Wingfield’s wake would also be greatly appreciated by her family and friends. Donate to:
Janice Wingfield Commonwealth Bank SAV BSB: 065507 AC: 10213429
Sundrop Farms gets the green light Sundrop Farms’ innovative greenhouse expansion project has been given the green light with the support of Port Augusta City Council.
Provisional development approval was granted at Tuesday night’s Development Assessment Panel meeting.
Sundrop Farms will now start making detailed designs for the 20 hectare expansion before getting a final construction price from a selected contractor. This process is expected to take two months when the final decision on whether the development will go ahead will be made.
If the expansion does go ahead it is expected to create 200 ongoing jobs for the city and a major economic boost.
Sundrop Farms chief technology officer Reinier Wolterbeek said the provisional approval was one of the major boxes that needed to be ticked to get the expansion underway. “It’s a major milestone, we’ve worked a long time to get to this stage,” he said. We’ve worked with the .2 hectares here [inPort Augusta] for about four years…with ups and downs but we’ve achieved the yields we are after.”
Sundrop Farms uses cutting-edge solar thermal technology to desalinateseawater for irrigation and to heat and cool greenhouses.The expansion would involve the building of a 20 hectare, four greenhouse facility which will produce more than 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes a year for metropolitan markets across Australia.
Solar energy will be harnessed using a power tower which absorbs heat reflected from a field of mirrors………http://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/2484815/sundrop-farms-greenhouse-expansion-project-approved-by-council-photos/?cs=1286
Growing Food In The Desert With Solar Power http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3488 by Energy Matters, 27 Nov 12,
Australia is home to a food production revolution – Sundrop Farms near Port Augusta is successfully growing high-value crops using seawater and sunlight in what would be considered extremely hostile conditions for horticulture.
With energy and water costs responsible for up to 70% of total farm expenses in some regions and irrigation accounting for 70 percent of the 3,240 cubic kilometres of water withdrawn for human use, Sundrop Farms’ progress is being keenly monitored.
The Sundrop Farms System uses solar power to desalinate seawater to produce freshwater for irrigation and to generate electricity to power its climate-controlled greenhouse.
The seawater based greenhouse ventilation also cleans and sterilises the air, making it possible to grow crops without chemical pesticides.
The Sundrop Farms System allows land normally not deemed suitable for agriculture or horticulture to produce large quantities of food. The company claims its hydroponics based greenhouse growing methods yield 15-30 times more produce per hectare than conventional field production. Each hectare of Sundrop Farms greenhouses also directly employs between 5-7 people
Even the salt by-product of desalination has value – it’s mostly sold to third parties and some of the minerals are at times re-used in Sundrop Farms’ greenhouse as plant nutrients.
In addition to horticultural applications, the system can also be used for floriculture and aquaculture.
With modern food systems sometimes resulting in production occurring thousands of kilometres away from the point of consumption, Sundrop Farms type systems can also play a role in substantially reducing food miles; which can significantly add to the carbon footprint of food.
A planned 8 hectare expansion of the Port Augusta facility aims to produce 2.8 million kg of tomatoes and 1.2 million kg of peppers annually while saving the equivalent of approximately 4.6 million barrels of oil equivalent and 280 million litres of fresh water per year compared to a standard greenhouse in a similar location.
A new wind generated power benchmark for July was also set across the entire National Electricity Market (NEM) according to the Clean Energy Council (CEC) – around 6 percent.
“Australia’s wind farms were working overtime in the cold conditions during July. South Australia comfortably powered ahead to set a new wind power record, helped by a bit of extra renewable grunt from the new Snowtown II wind farm,” said CEC Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton.
“With more than 40 per cent of the state’s power demand provided by wind energy for the entire month, it is clear that large amounts of renewable energy can be added to the system without the need for extra backup generation to be built.”
Mr. Thornton stated more than $5 billion of wind power investment had poured into South Australia in the last decade, creating hundreds of greatly-needed jobs and providing the state with a low-cost, cleaner power supply……… http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4439
Bill backing pastoral lands renewable energy projects passes Legislative Council http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-06/bill-backing-pastoral-lands-renewable-energy/5652118 6 Aug 2014, A bill supporting renewable energy developments on South Australian pastoral lands will go to State Parliament’s House of Assembly, after passing the Upper House.
The Government says the Pastoral Land Management Bill is the first of its kind in Australia.
It aims to make it easier to establish wind farms or solar energy projects on pastoral properties.
Environment Minister Ian Hunter says it would allow a wind farm developer to apply for a licence to build and operate a wind farm on Crown land subject to a pastoral lease and for the wind farm to co-exist with a pastoral leaseholder’s activities.
He says the views of affected pastoralists will be taken into account. Ninety-five per cent of wind farm licence payments would go to lessees and native title holders.
The Radiation That Makes People Invisible: A Global Hibakusha Perspective Robert Jacobs The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 30, No. 1, August 3, 2014.
“…….Loss of traditional knowledge– In some remote places survival is dependent on centuries old understandings of the land. In Maralinga, Australia the areas where the British conducted nuclear tests between 1956 and 1963 are very difficult places to live. Traditional communities in these areas often have songs that hold and transmit essential knowledge about how to survive in such a harsh environment, such as where to find water, when to hunt specific animals, when to move to various locations. But can knowledge gathered over millennia be effectively applied to radiation disasters?
When the British relocated entire communities to areas hundreds of kilometers from their homes, the local knowledge chain was broken. It became impossible for the refugees to sustain a traditional life in areas where they had no knowledge of the rhythms of the land and animals. This removal from their lands led to ever increasing dependence on governmental assistance and severed what had been millennia of self-reliance. While self-reliance had been dramatically impacted by the brutal rule of the Australian government and its policies towards aboriginal peoples, the people living near the test site were still living on the land in the 1950s. Relocation led to the further erosion of community, familial and personal wellbeing………….http://japanfocus.org/-Robert-Jacobs/4157
Renewable Energy Projects at Risk Across Australia http://www.businessreviewaustralia.com/finance/1209/Renewable-Energy-Projects-at-Risk-Across-Australia Laura Close – Finance – Jul 20, 2014 With the uncertainty over the Renewable Energy Target renewal, several project meant to add hundreds of jobs and millions of investment dollars for South Australia are on hold or at risk of getting shut down. The Renewable Energy Target’s goal was to increase renewable energy generation to 20 percent by 2020. This included energy produced from sources like wind, solar or geothermal.
Companies involved in the renewable energy game have been reconsidering their plans eversince the Federal Government decided to review the RET. The review is expected to be completed soon – sometime by the middle of this year – but it has left several companies with an unsure future.
Pacific Hydro, a clean power firm has made it clear that shelving their 42-turbine, $240 million project near Keyneton is having a negative effect on several players. With the ability to power 68,000 homes a year and provide 500 construction jobs, the hit to the region is noticeable.
In a letter to Premier Jay Weatherill, the company says it has $550 million in South Australian projects “ready to go if the current renewable energy target is retained.” “These projects could provide hundreds of jobs in construction and deliver around $260,000 annually through community fund grants,” the letter says. “While the RET review uncertainty continues these projects will remain on the shelf, depriving the state of potential jobs and investment.”
Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis has been lobbying for the RET to remain, but to instead make changes like extending the timeline and cutting compliance costs. He has also made the request that the scheme should not be reviewed more than once every four years.
A decision is expected in the next couple months, but until then several companies are left waiting to move forward with millions of dollars worth of projects.
Coober Pedy Converts to Renewable Energy http://sourceable.net/coober-pedy-converts-to-renewable-energy/ Marc Howe 31 July 14 A new renewable energy project in outback South Australia is set to prove the viability of solar and wind power for remote locations.The project calls for the widespread deployment of solar and wind power in the outback town of Coober Pedy and promises to radically increase the community’s usage of renewable energy, thus reducing its dependence upon costly fossil fuels trucked in from afar.
It is being developed by Clean Energy Council member Energy Developments Limited with funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and is expected to supply as much as 70 per cent of Coober Pedy’s electricity needs.
The EDL project will see the construction of a two-megawatt solar photovoltaic installation and three megawatts in wind power installation, as well as a short-term energy storage facility. These extensive renewable energy facilities provide will take significant pressure off of Coober Pedy’s 3.9-megawatt diesel power station, which is currently the mining town’s chief source of electricity.
According to Clean Energy Council acting chief executive Kane Thornton, Coober Pedy’s sustainability experiment will prove the viability of solar and wind power for outback communities and mining operations in remote areas.
Thornton hailed the project for providing “clean and reliable power to an outback opal mining community which has to weather the constant challenges of extreme heat and dust.”
He pointed in particular to reduction in dependence on diesel fuels, which must be trucked in from elsewhere at significant cost, as a major advantage of renewable energy in remote locations.
“Reducing the amount of expensive diesel that needs to be used is a big win for these communities,” he said. “It will also show other outback towns and remote mining operations what is now possible using renewable energy.”
Thornton said the EDL project is part of a rising trend of mixed energy portfolios which make use of multiple supply sources.
“As renewable energy gets cheaper and fossil fuels such as diesel become more expensive, these kinds of hybrid renewable-diesel projects start to make more and more sense,” he said.
Coober Pedy’s EDL project arrives just as leading figures in the mining industry advocate the increased usage of renewable energy to deal with the remote and power-intensive nature of many operations in the resources sector.
Olympic expansion years away, says BHP THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 29, 2014 by Matt Chambers and Barry Fitzgerald BHP Billiton is unlikely to approve a long awaited expansion of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in South Australia’s outback this decade, with the miner revealing it will take four years to trial a processing method it hopes will help make the project profitable.
- The application is only to study processing the ore, with no mention of how BHP would access the deep orebody…………
Under previous government-approved plans, BHP had been planning a staged increase in annual production to a world-class 750,000 tonnes of copper and 19,000 tonnes of uranium, the latter being problematic given the collapse in prices and demand for the nuclear material in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The big-bang approach to expansion was abandoned by BHP in August 2012 in line with the new era of capital austerity that swept the industry in response to weaker commodity prices. It involved the development of a super pit which would have taken more than five years to complete, with the Olympic Dam orebody sitting under 400m of overburden. The lack of cash flow during the time it would take to develop the open-cut mine spooked both BHP and the market, where agitation for greater shareholder returns over more big expansions has been become the new mantra. South Australia had been banking on the original $30bn plan to underpin an economic surge for the struggling state. Mr Mackenzie undertook in September to update the state on the way forward for Olympic Dam inside of a year. The investigation of the heap-leach option has been an open secret, with laboratory test work at Wingfield in suburban Adelaide under way since the expansion was canned….. In order to test the processing method at a larger and more integrated scale, BHP has lodged an application for assessment by the federal and South Australian governments to build and operate a demonstration plant on the existing mining lease at Olympic Dam. “Should approval be granted, and subject to BHP approvals, construction of the demonstration plant is expected to commence in the second half of (calendar) 2015, with a projected trial period of 36 months which is expected to commence in late 2016,’’ the company said. The heap-leach trial is only part of the thought process BHP has to go through to determine the best, and lowest-cost, way to maximise returns from Olympic Dam, one of the world’s biggest deposits of copper and uranium. The initial plan was supported by a mine-life capability from the underlying resource base of more than 40 years. BHP has yet to elaborate on what the move towards a heap-leach operation would mean for the end products produced at Olympic Dam. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/olympic-expansion-years-away-says-bhp/story-e6frg8zx-1227004910155
Toxic sites in Adelaide’s suburbs number in their thousands BRAD CROUCH THE ADVERTISER JULY 22, 2014 THE Opposition has demanded a statewide audit of contaminated sites, as it emerges the dangers of trichloroethene entering groundwater was suspected as far back as the 1940s.
The call for an audit comes after Environmental Protection Authority chief executive Tony Circelli confirmed that “thousands” of sites were contaminated with various chemicals and the EPA received about 100 new notifications each year.
The State Government and Environment Minister Ian Hunter are under increasing pressure over the contamination scandal in Clovelly Park , where dozens of people have been forced to leave their homes because of health risks from the vapours of trichloroethene (TCE) rising up through the soil from industrially poisoned groundwater.
Mr Circelli, was responding to a claim by UniSA Professor Ravi Naidu, the managing director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation, that there are about 4000 contaminated sites in SA.
Mr Circelli said that claim was incorrect, but conceded the number “is in the thousands”.
Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said an audit was needed to clarify the exact number of contaminated sites and their locations. “The purpose of conducting a statewide audit would be to establish a hierarchy of sites based on potential public health risks,” he said.
“As well as playing an important community awareness role, the audit could also provide a benchmark for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of contaminated sites for the EPA and assist with any future contamination investigations………http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/toxic-sites-in-adelaides-suburbs-number-in-their-thousands/story-fni6uo1m-1226998071395?nk=38b4e03626cff750bb726e65c1a3e9f4
The nuclear war against Australia’s Aboriginal people, Ecologist Jim Green 14th July 2014 Dumping on South Australia “……….The failed attempt to establish a dump at Muckaty followed the failed attempt to establish a dump in South Australia. In 1998, the Howard government announced its intention to build a nuclear waste dump near Woomera in South Australia.
Leading the battle against the dump were the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a council of senior Aboriginal women from northern SA. Many of the Kungkas personally suffered the impacts of the British nuclear bomb tests at Maralinga and Emu in the 1950s.
The proposed dump generated such controversy in SA that the federal government hired a public relations company. Correspondence between the company and the government was released under Freedom of Information laws.
In one exchange, a government official asked the PR company to remove sand-dunes from a photo to be used in a brochure. The explanation provided by the government official was that: “Dunes are a sensitive area with respect to Aboriginal Heritage”.
The sand-dunes were removed from the photo, only for the government official to ask if the horizon could be straightened up as well. ‘Terra nullius’!
In 2003, the federal government used the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 to seize land for the dump. Native Title rights and interests were extinguished with the stroke of a pen. This took place with no forewarning and no consultation with Aboriginal people.
Victory in the Federal Court
The Kungkas continued to implore the federal government to ‘get their ears out of their pockets’, and after six years the government did just that.
In the lead-up to the 2004 federal election – after a Federal Court ruling that the federal government had acted illegally in stripping Traditional Owners of their native title rights, and with the dump issue biting politically in SA – the Howard government decided to cut its losses and abandon the dump plan.
The Kungkas wrote in an open letter: “People said that you can’t win against the Government. Just a few women. We just kept talking and telling them to get their ears out of their pockets and listen. We never said we were going to give up. Government has big money to buy their way out but we never gave up.”
The Kungkas victory had broader ramifications – it was a set-back for everyone who likes the idea of stripping Aboriginal people of their land and their land rights, and it was a set-back for the nuclear power lobby.
Senator Nick Minchin, one of the Howard government ministers in charge of the failed attempt to impose a nuclear dump in SA, said in 2005:
“My experience with dealing with just low-level radioactive waste from our research reactor tells me it would be impossible to get any sort of consensus in this country around the management of the high-level waste a nuclear [power] reactor would produce.”
Minchin told a Liberal Party council meeting that “we must avoid being lumbered as the party that favours nuclear energy in this country” and that “we would be political mugs if we got sucked into this”…….. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2476704/the_nuclear_war_against_australias_aboriginal_people.html
Dennis Matthews 18 July 14 Electricity retailers in SA are required by law to pay domestic solar electricity generators only 7.6c a kWh (the minimum retailer payment) and this will automatically decrease to 6c/kWh now that the carbon pricing legislation has been repealed by the Abbott government. Yes, no ifs or buts, automatically!
Given the grossly unequal lobbying and market power of electricity retailers versus domestic solar generators then this can only be described as a travesty. And things are only going to get worse for the household consumer with price increases already flagged by retailers and the monopoly network provider.
Whilst we wait with bated breath to see what happens to what retailers are going to charge us, thanks to Essential Services Commission (ESCOSA), retailers already know that they will pay 20% less to domestic solar generators.
The nuclear war against Australia’s Aboriginal people, Ecologist Jim Green 14th July 2014 Australia’s nuclear industry has a shameful history of ‘radioactive racism’ that dates from the British bomb tests in the 1950s, writes Jim Green. The same attitudes have been evident in recent debates over uranium mines and nuclear waste, but Aboriginal peoples are fighting back! The British government conducted 12 nuclear bomb tests in Australia in the 1950s, most of them at Maralinga in South Australia.
Permission was not sought from affected Aboriginal groups such as the Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, Tjarutja and Kokatha.
Thousands of people were adversely affected and the impact on Aboriginal people was particularly profound.
Many Aboriginal people suffered from radiological poisoning. There are tragic accounts of families sleeping in the bomb craters. So-called ‘Native Patrol Officers’ patrolled thousands of square kilometres to try to ensure that Aboriginal people were removed before nuclear tests took place – with little success.
‘Ignorance, incompetence and cynicism’
The 1985 Royal Commission found that regard for Aboriginal safety was characterised by“ignorance, incompetence and cynicism”. Many Aboriginal people were forcibly removed from their homelands and taken to places such as the Yalata mission in South Australia, which was effectively a prison camp.
In the late-1990s, the Australian government carried out a clean-up of the Maralinga nuclear test site. It was done on the cheap and many tonnes of debris contaminated with kilograms of plutonium remain buried in shallow, unlined pits in totally unsuitable geology.
As nuclear engineer and whistleblower Alan Parkinson said of the ‘clean-up’ on ABC radio in August 2002: “What was done at Maralinga was a cheap and nasty solution that wouldn’t be adopted on white-fellas land.”
Barely a decade after the ‘clean-up’, a survey revealed that 19 of the 85 contaminated debris pits had been subject to erosion or subsidence. The half-life of plutonium-239 is 24,100 years.
Despite the residual contamination, the Australian government off-loaded responsibility for the land onto the Maralinga Tjarutja Traditional Owners.
The government portrayed this land transfer as an act of reconciliation, but the real agenda was spelt out in a 1996 government document which states that the ‘clean-up’ was “aimed at reducing Commonwealth liability arising from residual contamination.” ………..http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2476704/the_nuclear_war_against_australias_aboriginal_people.html