Solar Citizens Officially Launches Today http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3736 by Energy Matters, 14 May 13 Solar Citizens aims to bring together existing and future solar owners in Australia and to help see solar installed on every suitable rooftop in the nation. The project is an offshoot of 100% Renewable; a non-partisan organisation established to help move Australia towards a renewable energy future.
While the solar revolution is well under way and millions of systems have been installed in Australia; there are some dark clouds on the horizon. ”But despite the many reasons to go solar, some big energy companies don’t want to see Australians take back control of their own energy needs. They want to make connecting to solar harder, not easier,” says part of a statement on the Solar Citizens web site.
According to Solar Citizens, Australians have invested $8 billion so far in small scale solar power systems.
Calculations performed by national solar provider Energy Matters estimate that collectively, the 1 million plus solar panel arrays in the nation will generate around $913 million worth of electricity (retail value) over the next 12 months – making these households a threat to Big Energy in Australia.
Solar Citizens says it will strive to protect the rights of solar households, lobbying to ensure they are treated with respect and paid a fair price for the power they contribute to the mains grid. With potentially nearly 2 million households as participants including solar hot water system owners; the group could become a powerful voice.
Solar Citizens’ first two campaigns focus on looming issues in Tasmania and Queensland. The Queensland campaign highlights concerns regarding a proposal from the Queensland Competition Authority to move solar power owners on to a different electricity billing system that could see increased charges for solar households.
The campaign for Tasmania is in relation to the privatising Aurora’s electricity retailer arm, to occur in January 2014. There are fears that as a result, solar feed-in tariffs could be slashed. Both campaigns involve petitions that will be presented to relevant authorities.
A Call To Save Solar In Tasmania http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3683 11 April 13, An alliance of householders, community groups and businesses including Energy Matters have called on the Tasmanian government to safeguard the state’s renewable energy future.
“The government is rushing headlong into arrangements for the privatisation of Aurora’s retailing of electricity, including putting legislation to Parliament this week, but has been conspicuously non-committal on the future of feed in tariffs,” said Jack Gilding, spokesperson for the group.
Earlier this week we reported Tasmania’s feed in tariff is one of the most generous active programs in the nation – a 1 for 1 arrangement – but it’s a program without a set duration. This has led to growing concern the incentive could be slashed when Aurora Energy is replaced by private companies in 2014.
Such a change could affect 10,000 households in Tasmania that have already installed solar PV systems and have a dramatic impact on the state’s renewable energy sector.
“It’s not just about solar panels on houses,” said Mr Gilding. “Tasmania has the potential to be the renewable energy powerhouse of Australia. Changes to the electricity market could be an opportunity to harness the potential for many Tasmanians to be producers, not just consumers of electricity. Households, communities, farmers and businesses are keen to invest in these opportunities, but the government needs to provide a supportive policy environment.”
The group is calling for a public consultation and review process that sets a fair price for solar and other small renewable energy technologies; with “fair” being more than the wholesale price of electricity as it does not take into account the many additional benefits of distributed generation.
The group is also seeking guarantees existing tariff arrangements will continue for people who have already installed solar PV systems and those who order before new arrangements are finalised.
Further details can be viewed and a petition signed on the Save Solar Tasmania web site.
Flinders Island’s windy future http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-16/flinders-island27s-windy-future/4430334 Dec 16, 2012 Flinders Island in Bass Strait plans to produce all its power from renewable energy sources.
The plan to put up three or four wind turbines and a mini hydro storage system would cost up to $25 million.
A privately-run turbine is already producing 25 per cent of the island’s energy.
Flinders Island Council general manager Raoul Harper said residents wanted to make that 100 per cent. ”Being in the top five wind resource areas on the planet the concept of continuing to burn diesel to power the island does seem absurdreally,” he said.
In the long run Mr Harper said the project would be cost effective because the government would no longer need to pay Hydro Tasmania $3 million a year to supply diesel. The council is seeking Federal Government funding through its new
renewable energy agency.
Australia’s largest battery-based renewable energy storage system to be built on Tasmanian island Process and Control Engineering 1 November, 2012 Kevin Gomez Australian energy storage company Ecoult has been awarded the Hydro Tasmania contract to supply the largest battery based renewable energy storage system in Australia for the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP).
Ecoult CEO John Wood said the UltraBattery storage system would shift and smooth renewable energy generated on King Island and will help maintain stability of the power grid.
“Ecoult’s UltraBattery solutions support the utilisation of renewable energy by storing energy in periods where there is excess generation and making it available when it is needed to better match demand,” Wood said…… http://www.pacetoday.com.au/news/australia-s-largest-battery-based-renewable-energy
Island communities targeted for wind plant BY:MATTHEW DENHOLM :The Australian October 29, 2012 AUSTRALIA is seeking to export an off-grid power plant – capable of providing 100 per cent renewable energy – to remote and island communities currently reliant on diesel throughout the Asia-Pacific.
A prototype of the plant has been developed by Hydro Tasmania on King Island and by the end of next year will be providing 65 per cent of the Bass Strait island’s energy needs from renewable sources, or 100 per cent on windy days.
By reducing reliance on diesel generators – previously the source of 100 per cent of the island’s power – the wind and solar plant will save $4.5m a year….. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/island-communities-targeted-for-wind-plant/story-e6frg8y6-1226504898547
Macklin booed at NAIDOC night 9 July 2012 Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has been booed at an official function in Hobart because of her support for the Northern Territory intervention…..
Citizen-owned energy is way of the future. Power Engineering, 17 June 12, AUSTRALIA’S carbon tax is just two weeks away. The cost of electricity is set to rise from July 1, with a national renewable energy target of 20 per cent by 2020.
Large-scale wind farms are increasing, solar energy is booming and hydro schemes are being adopted across the country.
But the real future of energy generation is in community- owned renewable energy projects, according to one of the men involved in setting up Australia’s first citizen-owned wind farm. Now he has his sights set on Tasmania. Read more »
Green flak for Howes, The Mercury JARRAD BEVAN | May 13, 2012 THE Greens have dismissed comments by Australian Workers Union secretary Paul Howes that the state’s future depends on standing up to the environmental movement. They say it is “populist grandstanding” from an old-school unionist stuck in a last-century economic mindset.
Greens leader Nick McKim said Tasmania instead needed to smarten its economy by transitioning away from an over-reliance on market-exposed heavy industries and bulk commodity exports.
“It’s the attitude of people like Mr Howes that put Tasmania’s economy in the vulnerable position it’s now in, and he has the temerity to fly in from the mainland and give us a lecture on economics,” he said.
Mr Howes said Tasmania’s main political parties had lost the public-relations battle to the environmental movement…..
Liberal MP Matthew Groom backed Mr Howes, saying Tasmanians were sick of being treated as the “plaything” for environmental groups or the inner-city constituency of the Labor Party in Sydney and Melbourne.
“They are sick of a Government that panders to green groups….. http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/05/13/327741_tasmania-news.html
TASMANIA needs to stand up to the environmental movement for the sake of its future, a Labor Party powerbroker says. T he Mercury Tassie told to toughen up MATT SMITH | May 12, 2012 Paul Howes, secretary of the powerful Australian Workers Union, said the Government needed to resist the environmental movement … Mr Howes said Tasmania’s main political parties had lost the public relations battle to the Greens and the environmental movement.
Wind farm has plenty of puff http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/05/04/325101_tasmania-news.html BRUCE MOUNSTER | May 04, 2012 YOU just have to look at the trees.. Then, says Hydro Tasmania chief executive Roy Adair, it’s easy to see why the Cape Portland property on Tasmania’s far north-east tip, is considered one of the best wind farm sites in Australia. ”The configuration of the trees and the way that they are heavily leaning to one side,” he said.
The 550ha beef, dairy and former woolgrowing property is home to the 56 turbine Musselroe wind farm, now under construction after an eight year gestation. Read more »
Carbon tax’s family dividends http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/04/14/318411_tasmania-news.html
DAVID KILLICK | April 14, 2012 HUNDREDS of thousands of Tasmanians will shortly benefit from increased welfare payments and tax cuts under the Federal Government’s new carbon tax regime. Increases in family payments, pensions and benefits will start with lump-sum payments next month, followed by benefit rises which take effect in the new year.
Tax cuts also kick in on July 1 and 14,000 Tasmanians will no longer have to pay tax at all, thanks to a tripling of the tax-free threshold. More than 100,000 Tasmanian pensioners will receive up to $510 a year more in benefits, 44,000 families will get $110 per child and self-funded retirees will be $380 a year better off. Around 17,000 jobseekers will be paid another $218 for singles and $390 for couples, the state’s 8500 single parents will receive $234
more a year and 7500 students will be $218 a year better off. And 179,000 Tasmanians on less than $80,000 a year will receive tax cuts. Read more »
Opportunities for Tasmania in the impacts of climate change, 1 March 2012 The Tasmanian Energy Forum was opened in Hobart today with an address from Minister for Climate Change and energy efficiency, Cassy O’Connor, outlining the opportunities that co-exist with the impacts of climate change.
“Tasmania has an opportunity like no other state in Australia to become a leader in renewable technology,” she said. “Through our early investment into renewable energy technology, Tasmania is perfectly positioned to become a green battery for mainland Australia and an economic powerhouse in a carbon constrained world.
“We have the Climate Futures work from the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC that tells us how rainfall patterns will change, what to expect in the way of extreme events like flooding and bushfire, and which parts of our state will suffer more severe frost, and longer dry spells.
“The change in rain patterns will affect flows into our hydro dams, investment in renewable energy production must happen now if we are to maintain our competitive advantage. “We have amazing opportunities in:
Renewable energy with excellent wind resources, and potential in solar, tidal and geothermal
Energy efficiency across industry, business and the community with big in roads into energy efficiency upgrades in public housing, and
Innovative and sustainable agriculture, and a sustainable forestry industry
“The time is now to act upon advice from the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Industry Development Board, to secure our clean, green, energy future.” http://www.media.tas.gov.au/release.php?id=34357
Solar funds for schools, THE MERCURY | January 25, 2012 FIFTEEN Tasmanian schools have won funding to install solar and other renewable-power systems to improve energy efficiency. The National Solar School Programs announced that more than $25 million would be distributed to 784 Australian schools for measures to tackle climate change.
Southern schools to receive grants are Bruny Island District ($50,000), Cygnet Primary ($45,333), Fahan ($47,687), Moonah Primary ($49,689), Peregrine, Nichols Rivulet ($42,197), Risdon Vale Primary ($49,975), St Paul’s Catholic School, Bridgewater ($39,440), Tasman District ($50,000) and Warrane Primary ($50,000).
The final round of applications for the grants will open on February 13. http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/01/25/295171_tasmania-news.html
Mutton bird radiation warning, ABC News, September 30, 2011 Tasmanians are being warned not to collect dead mutton birds for research. A recent Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association newsletter describes research into mutton bird exposure to radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. It says the birds will soon be migrating back to Australia after many spent winter in the Sea of Japan.
The article says people can help researchers by collecting freshly dead mutton birds, freezing them and handing them over to their local Parks and Wildlife office or museum. But the department says it is not seeking samples and discourages people unfamiliar with wildlife from collecting them. A spokeswoman says suggestions of radiation exposure in birds is being further investigated. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-30/20110930-muttonbird-radiation-warning/3193736?section=tas
Renewable energy push, The Mercury, DAVID KILLICK | August 30, 2011 TASMANIA should become Australia’s renewable energy state, producing 100 per cent of its own needs and selling clean power to rest of the nation by 2020, a report recommends. The state should also aim to become a proving ground for the new generation of electric and hybrid vehicles, the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Industry Development Board report says.
The board yesterday handed its advice to the State Government on a Tasmanian renewable energy strategy with recommendations including more funding for clean power projects on the Bass Strait islands…. Tasmania generates 86 per cent of its energy from renewable sources and last year was a net exporter of energy for the first time via the Basslink cable…http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2011/08/30/257231_tasmania-news.html
Mr McKim said “But what [Mr Ferguson] has now revealed is that if there was a Liberal education minister, they would be sending out directives to schools saying we are banning you from making decisions about who you invite into your school and what they can say.
Libs lash ‘green’ schools push, The Mercury, SUE NEALES | May 20, 2011 THE State Opposition has warned parents their children are at risk of being brainwashed by extremist environmental groups now Greens leader Nick McKim is Education Minister. Read more »