Australian news, and some related international items

Greens want Victoria to have a Clean Energy fund to help businesses and homes

Milne,-Christine-1Greens call for state clean energy fund, 13 April 14,  The Greens want the Victorian government to establish a state-based clean energy fund to make solar panels more affordable.

Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne call for the creation of a Victorian Solar Fund to help homes and businesses deal with the upfront costs of solar panels.

Senator Milne said the fund would make money for the state and reduce power bills. “Australia is a leader in solar science but is underinvested in solar power, depriving us of jobs that the community is calling out for,” she said on Sunday.

“We can create the financial incentives to put solar panels on roofs, for no money down, delivering immediate savings on electricity bills.”

April 14, 2014 Posted by | energy, Victoria | 1 Comment

Victoria’s govt joins Abbott’s war on green energy schemes – to axe Energy Efficiency Target

energy-efficiency-manVictorian Energy Efficiency Target Threatened 18 March 14 The war on green schemes relating to energy is continuing – the latest victim could be the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target  (VEET).

The VEET scheme is designed to make energy efficiency improvements more affordable. It commenced on 1 January 2009 and was legislated to continue in three-year phases until 1 January 2030.

However, it may meet a very premature end. On Sunday, the Herald Sun published a story on a “secret government report” into the scheme that recommended it be abolished and replaced by 2015. Among the reasons reportedly stated is the scheme has been labeled inefficient and a burden to other electricity users.

The Clean Energy Council says claims axing the scheme would provide substantial power bill relief are wrong; as is the conclusion it is ineffective. “The program is getting through to those that need it most and previous studies have shown that it is working well at a low cost,” said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green.

“Two out of every five households in the program have below-average incomes and a third are on some form of welfare.”

Among the products covered under the scheme are selected solar hot water systems and heat pumps. Water heating represents one of the most greenhouse gas and energy intensive activities in a household. This is particularly so in Victoria given much of the state’s electricity generation is through the burning of brown coal – one of the filthiest fossil fuels.

Mr Green said the ‘secret’ modelling released to select media outlets should be fully released for public scrutiny and is confident that scrutiny will reveal VEET is continuing to deliver, both in terms of household savings and the economic activity it creates.
According to the Clean Energy Council, VEET  has slashed energy costs for approximately 1.3 million households and businesses; plus has supported thousands of jobs in Victoria’s economy.

March 18, 2014 Posted by | efficiency, Victoria | Leave a comment

Thorium mining illegal in Victoria – but watch this space, and watch Dr John White

White,-JohnThe Liberal Party’s nuclear dreams: The strange case of Dr John White and Ignite, Independent Australia Sandi Keane 12 March 2014,   

Why were Ignite Energy so desparate to dissociate their director Dr John White from both the nuclear industry and the Liberal Party? Deputy editor Sandi Keaneinvestigates.

IS THE nuclear fantasy that has taken hold in South Australia poised to slip under Victoria’s ‘no nukes‘ radar?

More to the point, is the iconic Ninety Mile Beach region of Gippsland being eyed off as a future source of thorium – uranium’s young sister – the substance hailed by nuclear proponents as the green energy source of the future?………

Enquiries to both the Sydney and Melbourne offices of Ignite confirmed that, yes, Dr White was still one of its key people — manager, government and community liaison. Less than five months ago, he was introduced as Ignite’s “executive director” in an interview with the ABC’s The World Today on 17 October 2013. Indeed, the receptionist at Ignite thought that the ‘executive director’ title was still listed on Dr White’s CV.

So, why delete it from the website and have conniptions over us publishing his connections to the Uranium Industry Framework? Also, what did Megan Davison mean by ‘casting aspersions’? Was it the reference to his being ‘a key Liberal Party adviser in the Howard-era’?

As chair of Howard’s Uranium Industry Framework and mastermind of the business plan for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (now renamed the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Co-operation), ‘key adviser’ hardly seems to do him justice.

Is this a reaction to the claims by members of the Gippsland community that Ignite is getting favourable treatment because of John White’s special relationship with the Liberal Party?

ELA4968’s thorium prospects Continue reading

March 12, 2014 Posted by | reference, secrets and lies, uranium, Victoria | 1 Comment

Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) Scheme saved Victoria from power blackouts

energy-efficiency-manMixed Greens: Climate youth want 100% renewables in 10 years, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 10 February 2014″……Power outages, sparked by the periods of extreme heat that have characterised Victoria’s 2013-14 summer, would have been much more common but for the contributions of energy efficiency, a new report has found. The report, released today by the Energy Efficiency Certificate Creators Association (EECCA), found that the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) Scheme helped reduce peak demand by 187MM over the January heat wave. “Without the contribution from the VEET, the demand at 4pm on 16th January would have been 10,427 MW exceeding the previous electricity peak of 10,415 MW on 29 January 2009 in the lead up to the Black Saturday bushfires,” the report says. As well as saving over $500 million in the reduction of Victorian household and business energy bills, the report says the energy efficiency scheme reduced stress on infrastructure during the hot spell and likely reduced the prevalence of system black outs. Continue reading

February 12, 2014 Posted by | efficiency, Victoria | Leave a comment

Community ownership of wind farms in Australia

Consultation is the key to curing wind turbine syndrome, KETAN JOSHI ABC Environment 3 Feb 14 “…….In Australia, community ownership is gaining traction. My employer, InfigenEnergy, is looking to enable community ownership of one of the wind turbines at the Flyer’s Creek development in NSW, through theCentral NSW Renewable Energy Cooperative (CENREC).

The Hepburn Wind Farm, a two-turbine community-owned wind farm in Victoria, has generated 27,809 megawatt-hours since commencement — enough to power an average Australian home for 4,209 years, and the proposed Fremantle Co-operative wind farm project in WA recently hit a $10,000 crowd-funding target to produce myth-busting videos on wind energy. The Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm development utilises a community benefit model that is the first of its kind, and has been welcomed by locals.

These initiatives are, simply, the circuit-breakers needed to lessen the influence of lobby groups working against the integration of renewable technology into our energy system, and empower communities. Abbott’s research will likely be ineffective in lessening the spread of wind energy health fears in communities.

The deployment of clean technology across Australia as a means of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will be stewarded by tight-knit Australian communities. The companies that develop, operate and maintain large-scale generation assets fuelled by renewable resources can only benefit from community ownership and engagement.

It seems the only ones who will lose out from this shift will be those who professionally stoke anger and feed fear. The demand for their resource will run swiftly dry.

February 3, 2014 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Solar energy microgrid viable for rural towns in Victoria

Australia’s micro-grid opportunity, Business Spectator, Tristan Edis, 21 Jan 14 A new report released today suggests that the improving economics of solar and battery technology mean that by 2020 it would be cost-effective for greenfield housing

 What’s highly surprising is that the authors of the report suggest that it could be economically viable for some Victorian regional towns to move to self-contained solar micro-grids today.

solar microgrid

The study was prepared by the Alternative Technology Association and the organisation Energy for the People, which is focused on developing community clean-energy power projects. It looked at three alternative Victorian locations for assessing the viability of stand-alone power solutions: the regional town of Bendigo; Werribee – a fringe suburb of Melbourne experiencing rapid greenfield housing estate growth; and inner urban Melbourne. Continue reading

January 22, 2014 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australian Renewable Energy Agency, (ARENA) funding offshore wind energy

wind-turbine-oceanOcean Power Technologies forms new offshore wind power funding agreement With Australian Government 16 January 2014

A$66.5 million grant will be used towards the cost of building and deploying a 62.5MW peak-rated wave power station off the coast of Portland, Victoria. The agreement with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, or “ARENA”, is a Deed of Variation to the original Funding Deed, through which a A$66.5 million grant was previously awarded by the Commonwealth.

Among the important changes included in the new agreement are:

The incorporation of milestones for each of the three stages of the project
Acceleration of reimbursement of eligible expenses for stages one and two
An increase in the number of milestones to better support project cash flow requirements The agreement also recognizes the role of Lockheed Martin as the lead for systems integration of the PowerBuoys and overall program management.

According to Charles F. Dunleavy, CEO of Ocean Power Technologies, the new agreement significantly improves the ability to attract investors during the early stages of the project. It also raises the prospect of manufacturing, engineering and maritime jobs in Victoria, he added.
The planned Portland wave power station has a total project value of AU $232 million and, at completion, would be the largest of its kind in the world, according to Dunleavy. With twenty-eight PowerBuoys connected to the grid by an underwater substation and a submarine cable, the plant would be capable of providing power for up to 10,000 homes.
The project is being developed by Victorian Wave Partners (VWP), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ocean Power Technologies Australasia Pty Ltd (“OPTA”), an Australian company owned by Ocean Power Technologies (88%) and Woodside Energy Ltd (12%), Australia’s largest independent oil and gas company. VWP was awarded the grant by the Commonwealth ofAustralia through a competitive process undertaken as part of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program, which is administered by ARENA.

January 17, 2014 Posted by | Victoria, 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

Victorians now being won over to wind energy?

WIND-FARMTwo weeks after the forum in Seymour, VCAT finally approved Cherry Tree. It is now only the second wind farm to win planning permission in Victoria since August 2011.

Against the wind  The Age, December 19, 2013 Michael Green Planning restrictions and health fears have left Victorians reluctant to embrace wind power. But this may be changing. Gwenda Allgood is a no-nonsense local councillor, five times a mayor, from Ararat. In mid-November she travelled east to Seymour to speak about wind farms at a forum on energy held in the bowls club hall.

“We did not have one objection,” she told the audience, explaining the benefits of the Challicum Hills wind farm, built in 2003. “I can only speak as I find: there is no noise [from the turbines]. I don’t know why, but there isn’t. And they’re our best ratepayer – they pay well, they really do.” Continue reading

December 19, 2013 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Victorian Aged Care Facility to get grid-connected solar power

Yingli Green Energy Hold. Co. Ltd. (ADR) : EnviroGroup Installs Australia’s Largest Grid-Connected Enphase Microinverter Project in Conjunction with Yingli Solar, 4 Traders Group, 12/11/2013 |Glenlyn Aged Care Facility to power 50 percent of its energy needs with solar power

Enphase Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENPH), today announced that EnviroGroup, a specialist provider of renewable energy products and systems for commercial applications, government clients and residential home owners, has successfully installed Australia’s largest grid-connected solar power system with Enphase microinverters, in conjunction with Yingli Green Energy, known as “Yingli Solar”, at the Glenlyn Aged Care Facility in Glenroy, Victoria.

Below – Brisbane’s solar powered nursing home

solar Casa D'Amore nursing home, Brisbane

This 100kW installation is expected to generate over 392kWh of solar energy daily – which is approximately 50 percent of Glenlyn’s electricity requirements – to power the center’s operational and cooling facilities, particularly in periods of peak daytime demand……….–EnviroGroup-Installs-Australias-Largest-Grid-Connected-E-17603508/

December 12, 2013 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

A win for local communities as Tribunal finds wind farms are not harmful to health

windmills-and-hayWind farm ruling a win for communities: Clean energy group ABC Rural  By Babs McHugh The Clean Energy Council says the latest rejection of claims of negative health effects of wind farms is adding more certainty to the future of the industry for investors.

The Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has approved a 16-turbine wind farm at Trawool, north of Melbourne, after finding there’s no evidence they have adverse effects on health and well being. Director of policy with the Clean Energy Council, Russell Marsh, says he wasn’t surprised by the findings. “Pretty much every wind farm that’s been proposed in recent years has been opposed on grounds of adverse health effects.

“What we’ve seen in the last 24 hours is that there’s yet more evidence to show that those claims are unfounded. “New South Wales and Victorian state health bodies, and federal departments also, have found there’s no scientific evidence to back up claims of ill- health effects, physical and psychological.

“And this is backed up by a noise study for the Waterloo wind farm released yesterday by the South Australian Environmental Protection Agency. “That found the noise from the wind farm fell below the thresholds set under the planning conditions.

“Also, the rumbling noise that some residents complained about (in diaries they were asked to keep) was present at times when the wind farm was switched off.” Mr Marsh says it’s not only wind farm operators who these findings benefit. “It is a significant win for the industry, but also for communities who live near wind farms. “Yet again, this is showing that when these adverse health (claims) are tested, they don’t stack up.

“So communities shouldn’t be concerned about a wind farm being located near them.”

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Victorian Wind Farm gets the All Clear to Go Ahead

wind-turbines-and-sheepCherry Tree wind farm gets go ahead in Victoria ABC Rural   By Babs McHugh  27 Nov 2013,  The Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has approved a wind farm after finding there’s no evidence wind farms have adverse effects on health and wellbeing. Infigen Energy’s proposal for a 16-turbine wind farm near Seymour, north of Melbourne, was rejected by the Mitchell Shire Council, which said there were widespread health concerns.

The council said it had received more than 100 objections to the project in the Trawool Valley, which also raised concerns about disruption to the landscape.

Infigen appealed the decision to the VCAT, and the Cherry Tree Wind Farm is now the first to be given the go-ahead under the Victorian Government’s new planning laws for wind farms which were introduced in 2011.

The Tribunal used information from the New South Wales and the Victorian health departments that shows there’s no scientific evidence to link wind turbines with adverse health effects or support claims that inaudible sound can have psychological effects…….

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Waubra residents dissociate themselves from anti wind farm group

astroturf-windWaubra Wednesday #9 – Community demands its name back from anti-wind farm group On 1 November  2013,  the Waubra community ramped up its campaign to reclaim its name from an anti-wind farm campaign group known as the Waubra Foundation. Yes 2 Renewables   November 6, 2013 by     Fed up with the town’s name being tarnished by claims of a ‘Waubra disease‘, community leaders have sent a petition with 316 signatures to the anti-wind farm organisation asking them to stop using town’s name. Yes 2 Renewables applaud the community’s effort on the issue.

“Waubra is associated with wind towers. We don’t mind that,” Waubra wind farmer Doug Hobson told The Courier. “With the turbines people actually take more notice of our town as they pass through.

“But when you Google ‘Waubra’ the first thing that comes up is something negative about our town. People would think that everyone in Waubra doesn’t like wind farms, and that is not the case,” Hobson added.

The petition was sent to the Waubra Foundation just days after they announced more anti-wind farm campaigners to positions in the organisation, such as retired Liberal MP Alby Schultz who is slated to lobby the Abbott government. Yes 2 Renewables commented on the appointments at Climate Spectator.

It’s clear the Waubra Foundation has no credible claim to use the town’s name. Yet will the Foundation heed the wishes of community members or will it ignore them? Time will tell. For now, Yes 2 Renewables will keep an eye on the situation…….

Petition Text……

Cover Letter sent with the petition….

November 6, 2013 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Australian company Silex in solar and nuclear developments


enriched uranium demand would remain depressed in the next two to three years due to the shutdown of nuclear plants after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster i

China solar backers sought in Australia, South China Morning Post  Silex, claiming a technology edge, is talking to state-backed power generators for investment in an expansion of a major solar farm project Eric Ng   05 November, 2013 Silex Systems, an Australian solar energy and nuclear fuel enrichment technology firm, is in talks with Chinese state-backed power generators to invest in its major solar farm project in Australia and buy its equipment to develop projects in China.

The company, listed in Australia and the United States, commissioned a 1.5 megawatts solar farm in Victoria in July, and plans to build a 100MW expansion project on the same site late next year.

Its 1.5MW plant is Australia’s first grid-connected solar farm based on so-called concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology.

Silex chief executive Michael Goldsworthy said the company had started talks with two of the mainland’s five state-owned power generation groups about investing in the proposed 100MW project, and for them to buy equipment from Silex to develop solar farms on the mainland. Continue reading

November 5, 2013 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Farmers and householders can benefit from Mildura area’s renewable energy developments

Hear-This-wayNorth west Victoria tapping into renewable energy Country Hour  By Brett Worthington  Nov 2013,   Victoria’s north west is quickly developing a reputation as the state’s clean energy heartland.

Near Mildura, there are plans to build a power plant that uses waste from almond, grape and grain growing. Just meters away is a victoria-solarone of Australia’s largest solar electricity plants, which features satellite dishes covered in mirrors.

Melbourne University researcher David Coote says agricultural communities can slash their bills if they embrace renewable technology. “Somewhere like Mildura could easily target going 100 per cent renewable,” he said. Continue reading

November 5, 2013 Posted by | Audiovisual, solar, Victoria | Leave a comment


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