Australian news, and some related international items

Renewable energy and carbon price are financial winners for Tasmania

map-tasmania-wind.1Tasmania wins from pollution price 21 March 14,  Since the government made big businesses pay for their greenhouse pollution, Tasmanians have come out ahead because the money raised is used to help low-income earners, and invest in clean energy.

Tasmanians who earned $80,000 or less got a permanent tax cut, and the amount you earn before you pay tax was increased from $6,900 to $18,200.

More than 295,000 Tasmanians had permanent rises in their Age Pension, Disability Pension, Carer Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy payments, special benefits and Family Tax Benefit A and B.

Tasmanian businesses received $13 million in grants to help their energy efficiency, and $14.9 million went to farmers and landcare groups to protect our soil, wildlife and bush from the effects of climate change.

Part of the funding raised by the price on pollution is also being used to fund investment in more clean renewable energy and energy efficiency, including projects in Tasmania. Tasmania produces more renewable energy than any other Australian state. Selling our renewable energy to other states earns about $70 million for Tasmania every year.

This money is used to pay for our hospitals, schools and other important services. Producing renewable energy fits with Tasmania’s clean, green and creative brand which so many businesses rely on.

March 21, 2014 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

The appalling hidden history of what British settlement did to Tasmania’s Aborigines

censorship-blackInvasion, Theft, Rape, Murder: The Aboriginal Holocaust in Tasmania Atlanta Black Star, March 19, 2014 by id  DEDICATED TO TRUGANINI  “……..The first people of Tasmania, known as Palawa, were marked by tightly curled hair, with skin complexions ranging from black to reddish-brown.  They had broad noses, wide mouths, and deep-set brown eyes.  They were relatively short in stature with little body fat. They were the indigenous people of Tasmania and their arrival there began at least 35,000 years ago. With the passage of time, the gradual rising of the sea level submerged the Australian-Tasmanian land bridge and the Black aborigines of Tasmania experienced more than 10,000 years of solitude and physical isolation from the rest of the world……..

On January 28, 1777, the British landed on the island. Following coastal New South Wales in Australia, Tasmania was established as a British convict settlement in 1803. These convicts had been harshly traumatized and were exceptionally brutal. In addition to soldiers, administrators, and missionaries, eventually more than 65,000 men and women convicts were settled in Tasmania.

As early as 1804 the British began to slaughter, kidnap and enslave the Black people of Tasmania. Continue reading

March 21, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Liberal leader in Tasmania will fight Abbott govt’s push to remove Renewable Energy Target

Parkinson-Report-As Rare as Tassie Tiger: Coalition leader advocates renewable energy REneweconomy By  on 5 March 2014 Last weekend was an exciting one for the Australian renewable energy industry: a sighting as rare as the Tasmanian Tiger, an Australian conservative political leader willing to talk out in support of renewables. They were thought to be extinct.

Tasmania’s Liberal leader Will Hodgman, seeking to get elected in a state poll on March 15, told The Australian on the weekend that he would fight Tony Abbott’s attempts to dilute or remove the renewable energy target.

He planned a “strong” push to ensure RET changes did not stymie the state’s key wind and hydro energy sectors.

Naturally, his position was welcomed by the Clean Energy Council, which pointed out that renewables will be a useful hedge against surging gas prices, and the current review is causing uncertainty for investors that want to back major solar, wind, bioenergy, hydro and other projects.

“Mr Hodgman clearly recognises the benefits renewable energy has brought to Tasmania,” CEC CEO David Green said in a statement. “The Apple Isle sources the majority of its power from renewables such as hydro, wind and solar.”

That Hodgman’s position is at odds with his colleagues on the mainland could be explained by the fact that, unlike other states such as Victoria, NSW, Queensland, and Western Australia, Tasmania is not beholden to a powerful domestic fossil fuel industry. It is no accident that the areas with the most progressive renewables policy, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT, are those where the fossil fuel industry is non existent or not powerful……….

March 5, 2014 Posted by | energy, politics, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Renewable Energy Target enabled Musselroe Wind Farm

the jobs and investment in Tasmania would not have been possible without the Renewable Energy Target, which is supporting the development of new clean energy projects right across Australia.

This year sees yet another review of the RET, with initial signals from Prime Minister Abbott being less than encouraging – a situation that is negatively affecting investment in new major renewable energy projects in Australia.

wind-turb-smTasmania’s Musselroe Wind Farm Opens, Renewable Energy News, 20 Jan 14 Tasmania’s largest wind farm was officially opened on Wednesday by Premier Lara Giddings. The 168-megawatt Musselroe Wind Farm consists of 56 Vestas wind turbines and is joint venture operated by Shenhua Clean Energy and Hydro Tasmania.

According to Hydro Tasmania, the wind farm is generating enough energy to supply the needs of up to 50,000 homes; equivalent to the residential power needs of Burnie and Devonport combined…..Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green  -

“The $394 million Musselroe Wind Farm has employed Tasmanians in construction jobs since 2011, and the steel towers for the project were manufactured locally in Launceston,” he said. Continue reading

January 20, 2014 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Australia’s tortuous political struggle over Aboriginal Land Rights

text-historyCabinet Papers 1986-87: The struggle for indigenous land rights, SMH, Damien Murphy, 28 Dec 13, The Hawke Government continued to grapple with the sensitive issue of indigenous land rights. In March 1986 Aboriginal Affairs Minister Clyde Holding told Cabinet that NSW, Queensland and South Australia had enacted legislation and Victoria was preparing to do so, but that Tasmania and Western Australia rejected the concept of land rights legislation in principle…….

Cabinet again endorsed its 1985 Preferred National Land Rights Model, but agreed to negotiate with Western Australia on non-legislative measures such as community funding and the granting of long leases to Aboriginal reserves.

The Tasmanian and Victorian governments presented the Commonwealth with conflicting challenges. In December 1986 Mr Holding told Cabinet that Tasmania refused to recognise that Aboriginal people had any legitimate claim to land.

……….The government was concerned that the parlous state of the Aboriginal community might become an issue of moral and political embarrassment during the 1988 bicentennial celebrations……….

January 1, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Tasmania on track for 100% renewable energy

map-Tasmania-solarTasmania aims for 100 pc renewable energy use in seven years BY LUCY SHANNON -November 26, 2013 The Tasmanian Government has released a climate change strategy aimed at 100 percent renewable power usage by 2020.

The Climate Smart Tasmania plan includes energy reduction targets across government, land use, infrastructure, transport and waste systems. The Climate Change Minister, Cassy O’Connor, says its the most comprehensive plan by any Australian Government to reduce carbon emissions as well as adapt to a changing climate.

The strategy sets a new interim 2020 target to reduce carbon emissions to 35 percent below 1990 levels. Ms O’Connor says its about showing leadership on climate change. “We now have in Australia a climate denialist Government that is taking us backwards on climate change” she said.

“Tasmania here has extraordinary advantages with our Hydro power, with the carbon in our forests and we do need to show leadership; it’s also the economically sensible thing to do.”

November 26, 2013 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Tasmania’s electricity fully supplied by renewable energy

Renewables completely supply Tasmania’s electricity  According to the latest Carbon Emissions Index (Cedex) released by pitt&sherry, Tasmania’s electricity is now virtually 100% provided from renewable sources.

Prior to July, hydro was already producing the majority of the state’s electricity at about 11TWh, followed by gas and wind, both around 1TWh. However, the state’s major gas fired generator – the Tamar Valley Power Station – was shut down for an indefinite period in July. Hydro output is now at its highest ever annual level and wind is growing, while gas output has fallen essentially to zero.

Dr Hugh Saddler, principal consultant, energy strategies at pitt&sherry said: “There are striking changes in Tasmanian generation. Prior to the commissioning of BassLink in 2005, hydro output was constrained to the level of demand within the state. While energy regularly flows in both directions across BassLink, the net flow is now strongly from Tasmania to Victoria.”

In addition, there is evidence the impact of higher wholesale gas prices, triggered by the linkage of eastern Australia gas markets to international prices through the LNG export projects in Queensland, is beginning to be felt in the national electricity market. The decline in gas fired generation appears to be accelerating throughout Australia, Saddler added, and is particularly marked in South Australia and Tasmania.

As has been the case for some months, all growth in the national energy market generation came from hydro, wind and other renewables; their combined share of total energy send out generation was over 17% in October, and for the year to October was approaching 14%.

The report is a monthly benchmark for Australia’s carbon emissions from the energy sectors based on electricity, petroleum and natural gas data.   The report is available here.

November 24, 2013 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | 1 Comment

Anti wind farm group’s ‘sprawling and inarticulate’ tactics to try to delay King Island wind project

judge-1wind-turb-smJudge labels King Island wind farm legal challenge ‘sprawling and inarticulate’  1 Nov 2013 A legal challenge against Hydro Tasmania’s King Island wind farm proposal has been described as “sprawling” and liable to create additional costs.

The No TasWind Farm group has appeared in the Federal Court in a bid to stop Hydro proceeding with its $2 billion project. Lawyers representing the group say Hydro did not have broad community support for the wind farm and it should not proceed.

Justice Duncan Kerr described the application as massively sprawling, inarticulate and likely to result in significant costs to Hydro Tasmania, without concluding anything. He has ordered the two parties to meet and narrow down the claim before returning to court later this month. Hydro wants to build 200-turbines on the island, creating the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere.

It said the project would not proceed to the feasibility study without the backing of most of the residents. The survey in June found just under 59 per cent support, which Hydro described as sufficient. The close vote prompted the opponents to launch a legal challenge to stop the project. In a statement,

Hydro says a decision on the project’s future will only be made after a feasibility study. Several studies are underway looking at whether the TasWind project is commercially and technically feasible. Hydro says the court challenge will not affect the timing of this phase.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | legal, Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Tasmania’s Labor and Liberal vote down Greens’ plan for moratorium on fracking

greensSmGreens lose vote to introduce a moratorium on fracking  MATT SMITH MERCURY AUGUST 29, 2013THE Tasmanian Greens’ push for a moratorium on the mining practice of fracking has been voted down by Labor and the Liberals. Greens MP Tim Morris said his party would continue to work with concerned landowners, businesses and communities to protect the best interests of Tasmania’s environmental and economic future……  HTTP://WWW.THEMERCURY.COM.AU/NEWS/TASMANIA/GREENS-LOSE-VOTE-TO-INTRODUCE-A-MORATORIUM-ON-FRACKING/STORY-FNJ4F7K1-1226706169520

August 30, 2013 Posted by | politics, Tasmania | Leave a comment

New obstacles to Tasmania’s solar industry

New Building Codes Threaten Tasmania’s Solar Industry  12 Aug 13 Additional and pointless red tape threatens the solar industry in Tasmania say the Greens. The Tasmanian Greens have called for the Minister for Workplace Standards to review proposed new building codes for solar installations that it says would increase the cost of installing solar – and ultimately lead to job losses in the industry.

Greens Energy Spokesperson Kim Booth MP says the proposed new regulations will see Councils requiring planning fees and an accredited builder to install a solar panel system – even though solar installations are already required to be engineered, installed and inspected according to Australian Standards.
The additional costs could add 25% – 100% on to the contracted value of solar installation.
Mr. Booth says the industry is concerned only accredited builders will be legally permitted to perform installs, while suitably accredited solar installation experts are “driven off the site.”
“Ultimately, pointless red tape drives the price up for consumers and potentially drives companies out of business, something that the Property Council and the HIA should reflect on given their role in wrapping the building industry up in worthless over regulation.” The solar industry in Tasmania is facing a number challenges; including an uncertain future for the state’s feed in tariff. However, for households that install solar  power systems before January 1, 2014, Tasmania’s government has proposed to keep the state’s 1:1 feed in tariff in place until 2017 – making the best time to go solar in Tasmania likely right now.
According to solar solutions provider Energy Matters, a good quality 3kW solar panel system installed in the Apple Isle can return a financial benefit of approximately $890 a year.
More than 12,500 households in Tasmania have already installed solar PV systems. In doing so, these households have not only slashed their own power bills, but have also generated employment, diversified electricity generation and allowed increased export of the state’s hydropower to mainland states; providing additional revenue for Tasmania.

August 11, 2013 Posted by | politics, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Aboriginal Cultural Landscape Rangers for Tasmania

Federal funds secure Tasmanian Aboriginal rangers to care for land Aug 9, 2013  The Federal Government has allocated almost one million dollars funding for Tasmanian indigenous rangers.

The $980,000 would be provided over three years to the Environment Department to help traditional custodians care for their land.

The money comes from an existing program. The Federal Environment Minister, Mark Butler, says the new Aboriginal Cultural Landscape Rangers would hit the ground next year.

“To ensure that there are indigenous employment opportunities connected to those values but also that there is the maximum opportunity possible to have those values explained to the broader Australian opportunity,” he said.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Tasmania | Leave a comment

King Island shows the way towards 100% renewable energy


“The way these technologies are being used and integrated is world-leading and another example of the clever solutions to real-world problems that have been developed in Tasmania and can be exported globally.

100% renewables: The King Island example, Business Spectator   9 Aug 13, Halfway between Tasmania and mainland Australia, in the heart of the Bass Strait, is rugged, windswept King Island. With a population of just under 2,000 and an area of just over 400 square miles, tiny King Island is becoming a big leader in electricity generation, demonstrating that a high-renewables future is possible.

King Island, and especially greater Tasmania, face many challenges due to climate change including water availability, flooding of coastal settlements, a rise of bushfires, and decreased agriculture and aquaculture industries. Although Australia’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is small – and Tasmania’s even smaller, largely due to singificant amounts of hydro – the island has a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 60 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050.

Tasmania is on track to meet that target, thanks in part to lessons learned and the success at King Island. King Island is providing a significant demonstration of the potential opportunities for Tasmania through its King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP). Initiated by the government-owned electricity provider,Hydro Tasmania, KIREIP’s goal is to not only reduce dependence on fossil fuels, but also to help constrain power prices on the island. Continue reading

August 9, 2013 Posted by | climate change - global warming, energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Wind energy company wins award, but still faces problems on King Island

WIND-FARMHydro Tasmania wins engagement award
Shannon Twomey |  July 26, 2013 HYDRO Tasmania has won the Community Engagement Award at the Clean Energy Council Awards.
The awards are hosted by the Clean Energy Council as part of Clean Energy Week.
Hydro Tasmania won the award for their community engagement on the Musselroe Wind Farm Project in the north east of Tasmania.
The Musselroe Wind Farm is a 56-turbine, 168-megawatt wind farm that provides power to 50,000 homes and prevents the emission of 450,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Project director Andrew Hickman said from the start Hydro Tasmania have worked closely with communities in the area.
“Many members of the project team have lived and worked in the north east region over the entire construction period and have become a real part of that community,” Mr Hickman said.
“Hydro Tasmania have engaged with local schools, tourists bodies, indigenous elders and business groups to build the relationships that have resulted in genuine community ownership of this project.”
Friends of the Earth and Yes 2 Renewables spokesperson Leigh Ewbank said Hydro Tasmania have a good reputation for strong community engagement.
Hydro Tasmania are currently working on another wind farm development, the TasWind Project, on King Island.  Continue reading

July 26, 2013 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

100% Renewable Energy Supply From Off-grid achieved by King Island

renewable-energy-pictureAustralia’s King Island Achieves 100% Renewable Energy Supply From Off-grid System July 24, 2013 

Hydro Tasmania’s off-grid power system in King Island has achieved a remarkable achievement that could have significant ramifications for off-grid power systems across the world. King Island achieved 100% renewable energy supply for ‘sustained periods’ last month thanks to a power supply backup system that uses renewable energy to ensure an uninterrupted supply.

The island, which otherwise would be dependent on imported electricity and fuel, now seems well equipped to generate its usual as well as back up electricity through renewable energy sources.

Hydro Tasmania used its own automated power control systems and flywheel technology to supply uninterrupted power last month. For the first time, the company did not use diesel backup systems to keep the power supply going. Of course, the ample availability of wind and solar energy resources on the small island to the north of Australia’s island state helped the company achieve this milestone.

Currently, according to the company, the backup system could be diesel free when there is sufficient wind and solar energy available or during the off-peak demand hours (night and dawn). But Hydro Tasmania is working to make this system foolproof.

Demand side management and energy storage solutions are being planned to make the backup system completely diesel free at all times.

The automated diesel-free system, accompanied with demand side management and energy storage, could prove to be a blessing for small island nations and remote regions across the world. Island nations in the South Pacific cannot afford to be dependent on imported diesel nor can they have extensive transmission systems spanning hundreds of kilometres across open seas.

Hydro Tasmania is implementing these systems under the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP).

Among the many renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage solutions implemented under this project is a 100 kW solar PV project. This project was installed in 2008 and uses dual-axis tracking, making it more efficient than conventional solar PV projects. The project will soon see increased use of biodiesel produced from recycled cooking oil and tallow and installation of Australia’s largest energy storage battery system.

July 25, 2013 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Tasmanian government acting on UV radiation danger of solariums

Tasmania to outlaw use of solariums  Examiner By Alex Druce July 7, 2013, WIDELY publicised cancer risks and strict operating laws have seen tanning beds almost phased out of Tasmania.  And in 18 months, they will be outlawed completely.

Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne said Tasmania would join New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia in banning solariums from commercial use by December 2014.The move comes four years after the government slapped heavy restrictions on solarium owners, including bans for customers aged under 18, bans for people with very fair skin, and mandatory training for all operators. Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | health, Tasmania | Leave a comment


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