It was recently revealed that the French nuclear corporation Areva has been exploring for uranium in the Carpentaria basin in south west Cape York and the north east of the Gulf country for uranium deposits. Areva state that Australia possesses one of the largest uranium reserves in the world and that tens of thousands of hectares are of exploration interest.
Areva already have a track record in Australia. They are the same company that Kakadu Traditional Owner Jeffrey Lee refused to allow to mine on his ancestral lands. As the senior Traditional Owner of the Djok clan and senior custodian of Koongarra where uranium was found, Lee decided to never allow mining in the culturally and ecologically sensitive area.
Despite this opposition, Jeffrey Lee endured years of pressure to allow mining in the former Koongarra Project Area, long excluded from the surrounding Kakadu National Park and World Heritage area.
Turning his back on personal wealth, Lee chose to prioritise country and culture over cash stating; “I could have been a rich man. Billions of dollars… You can offer me anything but my land is cultural land.”
Only last year did the threat of uranium mining on Jeffrey’s country get laid to rest with the area finally and formally added to Kakadu. With the right to veto mining afforded to Traditional Owners in the Northern Territory under the Land Rights (NT) Act 1976, Mr Lee had the legal power to say no. Fortunately for all Australian’s – now and in the future – he exercised this power.
Unfortunately, this opportunity is not afforded to Traditional Owners under Queensland’s Aboriginal Land Act 1992. On Cape York Peninsula Areva has largely flown under the radar, and have been exploring in the Mitchell, Coleman and Gilbert river basins and areas further south and south west. …….
Clearly, the health of the Mitchell River and its tributaries affects the health of the people who rely on its waters for food, culture and lifestyle. As a healthy functioning ecosystem, the Mitchell River floodplain region is part of the real northern food bowl.
When Campbell Newman went to the 2012 state election with a ‘crystal clear’ commitment not to overturn the ban on uranium mining, Areva were already were warming up their drill rigs. Uranium mining is a dirty game and we’ve already seen severe contamination from leaks at Rio Tinto’s Ranger mine in the Northern Territory. Given the amount of wet season flooding on the Mitchell River, there is no doubt of direct risk to the Cape’s rivers from any future uranium operation.
What’s more, it seems as though the public’s right to contest and object to mining proposals is being eroded. Regardless of whether you live next door, downstream or elsewhere, your rights to contest mining proposals was diminished with the passing of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 in Queensland’s parliament recently. When enacted this heavy handed law will take away our rights to contest around 90% of mining projects.
Our healthy rivers and waterways are more than just unallocated commodities for the resource sector to consume and then dispose of. Our quality of life, through culture and lifestyle, depend on the life-giving water of the regions spectacular and precious river systems.
In the Mitchel River basin we are already seeing in-stream mining, a massive increase in exploration and increased sediment loads in aquatic environments. Introducing the risk of uranium contamination into the Mitchell and other rivers would be a disaster for people and country. It makes no sense to threaten the resource that sustains life with the ill-conceived and fast-tracked digging of a mineral that threatens life. http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/acf-opinion/uranium-new-threat-cape-york%E2%80%99s-rivers
Margaret Hender from the Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia explains the citizen owned renewables funding mechanism and highlights what is needed to encourage uptake of the concept.
The Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia (CORENA) brings together people in the community who are keen to contribute to action on climate change and that technology by enabling people to help collectively fund practical renewable energy projects.
Passing on the benefits of renewables
At first glance there is nothing particularly unusual about the 7 kilowatt high quality solar photovoltaic (PV) system that was installed in November 2013 on the roof of Tulgeen Disability Services in Bega, New South Wales. It will provide 58 per cent of the electricity used by the Tulgeen cheese packaging facility, which employs people with disabilities, and 21 per cent of the usage at the Training and Education Services day programs centre.
The novel element is the mechanism used to fund the project. CORENA gave Tulgeen an interest free loan of $12,000, funded entirely by voluntary contributions from citizens across Australia. Tulgeen CEO Pete Gordon plans to repay the zero interest loan in three years from the savings in power bills, however, the system will be generating electricity for 25 years. This translates into reduced costs for Tulgeen’s clients and a greater range of services able to be offered by the centre.
This represents a win-win scenario. Tulgeen chose to cover part of the cost themselves, but typical solar PV installations funded by CORENA don’t cost community organisations a cent, and their loan repayments help to fund installations for other organisations.
How CORENA began………..
Quick Small Projects
CORENA’s donated seed funds allow us to pursue what is needed, rather than being bound by conventional financial constraints.
CORENA’s Quick Small Projects take the capital expense out of energy efficiency and solar installations for community serving organisations by using donated funds to give interest free loans. As the loans are repaid out of savings from power bills, the funds then revolve into the next project, and then the next. When approximately 120 projects are funded, there will be enough revolving seed money to fund one new project per month on an ongoing basis. Our Quick Small Projects will then essentially cost nothing. To reach this point, we will need around $2.4 million in seed funds, or $24 from each of 100,000 people.
Solar thermal: the Big Win Project
Similarly, all income generated by CORENA’s solar thermal Big Win Project will be paid forward to help build additional utility-scale projects…….http://ecogeneration.com.au/news/citizen_funded_renewable_energy_projects/089762/
Embark works to shift the community energy sector into the mainstream, as a proven and financially viable model capable of attracting large-scale investment and growing to meet its full potential.
Hepburn Wind (Aus)
Hepburn Wind is the owner and operator of Australia’s first community owned wind farm, at Leonards Hill, just south of Daylesford, Victoria. The 4.1 MW wind farm comprises two turbines and is approximately 100 km north-west of Melbourne.
The Community Power Agency (Aus)
The Community Power Agency was set up to support community groups in navigating the complex process of setting up a community owned renewable energy project.
Ranges Energy (Aus)
Ranges Energy is a community co-operative managed by a volunteer board of directors elected by shareholders. Ranges Energy grew out of a joint initiative of engineer Antony Howard of Sustainability Engineering and the Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association. The project was inspired by similar community energy projects around the world.
Denmark Community Wind Farm (WA, Aus)
Denmark Community Wind Farm Incorporated is a non-profit community group, incorporated in September 2003 to progress legal and financial structures for an organisation to own and operate Denmark’s community wind farm project in Denmark, Western Australia, as a local response to the global challenge of climate change.
Burger Windpark Gehlenberg GmbH and Co KG (Germany)
The Burger Windpark, located in Lower Saxony, Germany, includes 19 turbines each of 1.5 MW capacity and is a successful community owned wind farm. The project was initiated by the local farmers’ association and the manager of the local farmers’ bank, Raiffeisenbank.
RE-volv is building a citizens movement for solar energy by helping people to invest in solar, building solar projects in communities, and educating people about the benefits of solar in the US.http://ecogeneration.com.au/news/citizen_funded_renewable_energy_projects/089762/
Abbott government does deal with Clive Palmer to pass its “Direct Action” (so-called) Climate Policy
Direct Action set to pass Senate after Government strikes deal with Clive Palmer ABC News, By political correspondent Emma Griffiths, 29 Oct 14 Tony Abbott’s plan for a $2.5 billion Direct Action emissions reduction fund is set to pass the Senate after the Government made several concessions to win over the support of Palmer United Party and other crossbench senators.
PUP leader Clive Palmer won a Government commitment to salvage the Climate Change Authority and to ask it to conduct an 18-month review of the PUP plan to legislate an emissions trading scheme (ETS) at a zero rate.
“The authority will conduct a review examining whether there are emissions trading arrangements in other countries and what form they take,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt said………
Under the Direct Action plan, polluters would be paid to reduce emissions, in a scheme which has been estimated to cost more than $2.5 billion over four years……..
Greens leader Christine Milne has slammed the direct action policy as “embarrassing”.
“What we have here is no contribution to bringing down emissions, no modelling to backing up the claims, a government and Clive Palmer which tore down an emissions trading scheme which was bringing down emissions,” she said.
In July, the Coalition succeeded in scrapping the carbon tax with PUP support……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-29/direct-action-set-to-pass-senate/5851914
I switched to Powershop recently, I had several satisfactory years of fully renewable energy with AGL. But now I am especially glad about the switch. Apart from Powershop being cheaper and more efficient – it IS dedicated to renewable energy. And alas, looks as if AGL has now gone well and truly over to the dark side. (See the article further down this page.)
ETU branch urges members to back Powershop http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/breaking-news/etu-branch-urges-members-to-back-powershop/story-fnn9c0hb-1227105301934 JOHN CONROY OCTOBER 28, 2014
The Electrical Trades Union – Victorian Branch (ETU) has announced that it will be recommending an electricity offer with new Victorian market entrant and renewable energy backed electricity retailer Powershop to its members.
ETU State Secretary Troy Gray said: “We are urging our 20,000 strong membership in Victoria to switch to Powershop to show their support for the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and Australia’s renewable energy future.”
“For us it was a no brainer. Powershop has been ranked the greenest energy company in Australia by Greenpeace, they are backed by 100 percent renewable energy generator Meridian, they are the only energy company to put up a fight to defend the Renewable Energy Target and the jobs and investment it creates and they are 100 percent carbon neutral too.”
“Our research indicated that companies, like Powershop, who support the RET, are 20-30 per cent cheaper than those who oppose it. The Warburton Review of the RET failed to make the case that the RET drives up power prices and with Powershop we know that our members can back renewable energy and the RET and save money.
“Importantly, by encouraging our members to switch to Powershop, we can also help break the cycle of the big three energy companies (AGL, Origin and Energy Australia) ripping off our members with rapacious deals and self serving energy policies.”
“For too long, our members, and other consumers across Victoria, have been in the grip of an oligopoly that has kept them at arms length from their own energy usage data. The emergence of Powershop, enabled by the RET, has brought unprecedented levels of innovation and choice to a broken market.”
Powershop is backed by Australasia’s largest renewable energy company, NZ-based Meridian Energy. It launched on the Victorian market in February 2014 and has recruited over 20,000 customers to date. Powershop says it is a modern power company that’s designed from the ground up with the sole purpose of empowering consumers and saving them money.
The company has been working to make the case that renewable energy reduces the cost of electricity for consumers. When Renew Economy reviewed submissions to the RET review from energy companies in June 2014, Powershop was found to be “the only retailer to call unequivocally for the current (renewable energy) target to be retained.”
The ETU will not be receiving a payment from Powershop related to this offer to its members. ETU members switching to Powershop through this offer will each receive a sign up credit payment.
Cutting Renewable Energy Target brings risk of legal compensation action against Australian government
Compensation action shadows government proposal to cut renewable energy target: law report, October 28, 2014 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Lowering the renewable energy target is likely to undermine existing investments while freezing new ones, and open the federal government to demands for compensation, a leading law firm has said in a report.
International law group Baker & McKenzie, which has provided legal services to clean energy projects such as wind farms, said any reduction in the goal would increase the cost of capital “to make many existing and future projects financially unviable”.
Financing arrangements would be reviewed following any change in the target because the industry’s currency – renewable energy certificates – would fall by between 10 and 30 per cent, affecting the viability of even established ventures. “The vast majority of existing projects will be up for refinancing over the period 2016-2018,” Baker & McKenzie said in the report. “Existing projects might not be able to meet the minimum financing requirements based on the revised set of risks and parameters.”Kane Thornton, acting head of industry lobby group Clean Energy Council, said the report shows the risks of cutting the renewable energy target or RET.
“This report shows that a cut in the target of the scale proposed by the government would have far reaching and damaging consequences, and also that ensuring adequate compensation would be an extraordinarily complex and expensive task,” he said. Continue reading
AGL Energy – once the ‘greenest’ retailer in the country and now the largest producer of coal-fired energy – has called for the renewable energy target to be scrapped altogether.
As speculation increased in Canberra and media circles that the Abbott government and Labor would agree on a compromise that would result in a significant hair-cut to the current 41,000GWh target, AGL intervened in the debate by saying that was not good enough – the RET should be dumped completely.
Chief executive Michael Fraser, who has overseen the change in AGL Energy’s business model fromgreen to black, says the RET policy is broken. He endorses the controversial Warburton Review’s more extreme finding that the target should be dumped altogether.……..
There are a couple of issues with what Fraser has said. For a start, as all the inquiries to date have found, the RET has actually worked very well. It spurred billions of dollars of investment, thousands of jobs, and in states such as South Australia has caused dramatic falls in emissions.
What has caused the hiatus in the last two years is the uncertainty caused by the Abbott government’s review, and the inability of developers to get power purchase agreements from the likes of AGL Energy and others, and therefore to get finance. Still, the government likes to use the ‘target is impossible’ argument – despite its own modelling rejecting the idea. ……
AGL Energy has an interest in not having a carbon price, or a renewable energy target, particularly since its purchase of the 2.2GW Loy Yang A brown coal generator, and the 4.6GW Bayswater and Liddell coal-fired generators in NSW. That changed the colour of its revenues to $12 black for every $1 of green energy.
As it made clear in July, its long-term business interests now lie firmly in removing environmental policies such as the carbon price and renewables:
‘While the removal of the carbon tax and associated transitional assistance has a negative impact on the short-term earnings of the Loy Yang A power station, it has a materially positive impact on its long-term value. Any reduction in the Renewable Energy Target would also have a positive impact on the value of Loy Yang A.’ Ditto for Macquarie Generation.
AGL Energy, therefore, has an interest in ensuring that carbon and renewables do not trouble its business plan. ………http://www.echo.net.au/2014/10/agl-energy-calls-renewables-target-scrapped-completely/
Report finds renewable energy supply critical to Esperance future By JESSE McCARTHY-PRICEhttp://www.esperanceexpress.com.au/story/2645482/renewable-energy-key-to-esperance-development/?cs=1268 Oct. 23, 2014 ESPERANCE’S economic future would be bolstered by investment in renewable energy, according to a report Esperance Region Economic Development Strategy.
It identifies Esperance as a viable place for renewable energy generation opportunities due to an abundance of natural assets, available land and being close to infrastructure. “Esperance has a strong history of embracing renewable technology with the Ten Mile Lagoon wind farm one of the state’s first commercial-scale renewable projects,” the report said.
“Energy cost and access is currently a critical barrier to economic development for a significant proportion of the Esperance region. “Enabling reliable access to cost-effective energy will greatly enhance the viability of new and existing operations and make the region more competitive with alternative residential and investment destinations.”
Not being connected to the South West Interconnected System power grid prevented large scale energy generation and export for the region.
“However, the isolation of the region may make it attractive as a trial area for new renewable technologies given appropriate marketing, incentive and inducement,” it said.
“The isolation also makes the region ideal for localised, distributed generation.” Esperance Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Grant Shipp said lowering energy costs would benefit local business.
Germany’s renewable energy incentives and regulations attracting Australian companies Yahoo News, By Emily Stewart for The BusinessOctober 29, 2014, 1
An Australian company which invented a renewable energy electricity generator says it was forced to move its operation to Germany because of a lack of opportunities in Australia.
Ceramic Fuel Cells, a Melbourne-based CSIRO spin-off company, said its generator could cut electricity bills by up to 50 per cent for households and small businesses.
But the company moved its operations to Germany two years ago to benefit from generous German government subsidies not on offer in Australia.
“This is what we need right now,” the company’s Germany-based managing director, Frank Obertnitz said.
“We are at an early stage. We need to commercialise the product and the incentives in Europe are much better for that.”
Germany is in the middle of an energy transition it calls Energiewende, which aims to shut down nuclear plants, reduce carbon emissions and increase electricity produced from renewable sources.
“After Chernobyl, and then Fukushima, the German population said no to nuclear,” said Dr Patrick Graichen of the influential think-tank, Agora Energiewende.
The program was accelerated after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Before then, Germany was heavily reliant on nuclear and fossil fuels………..https://au.news.yahoo.com/vic/a/25372077/germanys-renewable-energy-incentives-and-regulations-attracting-australian-companies/
the Senator is the most qualified to represent through the ALP for this nation’s First Peoples. The Andrew Forrest and Professor Marcia Langton authored ‘Creating Parity’ report has been heavily criticised by Senator Peris. The real journey to ‘creating parity’ would have Senator Peris as the Opposition spokesperson on ‘Aboriginal Affairs’.
Nova Peris should be spokesperson for ‘Aboriginal Affairs’ The Stringer by Gerry Georgatos October 26th, 2014 White Australia still grips tightly its control over the nation’s agendas and cultural content despite a multicultural population that it continues to deride and where possible shun. The demography of this nation is not reflected in the parliaments and institutions of the nation. First People are under-represented, multicultural Australia is under-represented. White Australia – Anglo-Celtic-Saxon Australians – populate Government Cabinets, Shadow Cabinets, the party rooms of every political party. The Australian Labor Party had the opportunity to lead the way, but instead choose to let powerbrokers and the influence peddling stand in the way of the big picture message that should have been. Senator Nova Peris, not the Member for Blair’s Shayne Neumann, should be the Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
Senator Peris has been effectively a lone voice on First People issues for the Australian Labor Party since she was handpicked by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard as a lead candidate for the Senate from the Northern Territory for the 2013 federal elections. Senator Peris became the first Aboriginal woman into parliament – a double coup for the ALP, but more importantly for the national consciousness, and even more importantly for the continent’s First Peoples.
Mr Neumann has barely uttered a word on the myriad issues affecting First Peoples since he was handed the portfolio by Bill Shorten late last year. Continue reading
Australian Progressive Party bats for renewable energy, puts coal-fired power generation industry on notice
New Renewable Energy Policy seeks Industry Certainty http://www.newsmaker.com.au/news/32830/new-renewable-energy-policy-seeks-industry-certainty#.VE6nPCLF8nk October 27th, 2014 – Australian Progressive Party
The Australian Progressive Party has released a confident renewable energy policy that seeks to provide certainty for an industry that is currently suffering from the inconsistency and short-sightedness of successive Australian governments.
The policy commits to maintaining the current 41,000GWh National Renewable Energy Target currently at risk due to the Abbott government. At the same time, the party proposes Australia’s emissions reductions targets will increase to a 15% reduction on 2000 levels by 2020, compared with the current 5% commitment, and a cap and trade emissions trading system will be reintroduced. Continue reading
Industry minister Ian Macfarlane has told the ABC that cutting the renewable energy target from 41,000 gigawatt hour to 27,000 gigawatt hours is reflective of a fall in household energy consumption………
The Greens leader, Christine Milne, told Sky News that keeping the original 41,000 gigawatt target would drive down energy costs.
“Renewable energy is undermining the business case for the old fossil fuel generators,” she said………
The government can bypass negotiations with Palmer United on the RET if Labor agrees to the changes.
Negotiations on the policy are underway. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/26/ian-macfarlane-coalition-is-sticking-to-reduction-in-renewable-energy-target
The lease for Pine Gap was due for renewal in December 1975. On 10 November 1975, the day before Whitlam was sacked. Shackley sent an extraordinary cable from the CIA to ASIO’s director general, threatening to remove ASIO from the British-US intelligence agreement because he considered Whitlam a security threat.
Whitlam, the CIA and Nugan Hand http://nuganhand.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/whitlam-the-cia-and-nugan-hand/ November 11: Coup? What coup? [Green Left Weekly], November 21, 2010By John Jiggens “.……..Lest we forget.
Former Australian prime ministers Robert Menzies, Howard Holt, John Gorton, Bob Hawke and John Howard all compliantly sent Australian troops to fight US wars. But in the early 1970s, Whitlam’s government had the courage to bring Australian soldiers home from the US war in Vietnam.
For this audacious action, Labor would never be forgiven by then-US president Richard Nixon, the CIA, Rupert Murdoch, the CIA, and corrupt conservative premiers Bob Askin (NSW) and Joe Bjelke-Petersen (Queensland) — who all hated Whitlam as though he were Che Guevara.
Whitlam’s election in 1972 began a short-lived era in which the stated aims of the new Labor government were to promote equality and involve the people in decision-making processes. Continue reading
the government doesn’t need to change the laws to damage the renewables industry. The ongoing uncertainty of the policy environment, and the sheer hostility of the Abbott government to renewables of any kind, are already having an effect.
Undermining the Renewable Energy Target Is A Costly Mistake New Matilda, By Ben Eltham 26 Oct 14 Too popular to be dismantled entirely, the RET is being carefully undermined by the government. Aside from the environmental damage we’ll also take a hit to the hip pocket, writes Ben Eltham.
If there was any doubt that the Abbott government wants to destroy the renewable energy industry in Australia, this week’s announcement of its plans for the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has cleared things up. Continue reading
Abbott takes Australia to last place on global climate change leadership, Independent Australia 21 October 2014, Australia has plummeted alarmingly down Global Green Economy Index under the Abbott Government, reports Alan Austin. AUSTRALIA HAS BEEN EMBARRASSED ABROAD by the Abbott Government yet again on the environment.
This time on clean energy, by the annual survey from US-based green economy consultancy Dual Citizen.In its fourth Global Green Economy Index(GGEI) released yesterday, Dual Citizen places Australia at 37th out of 60 countries on clean energy performance. And last on global leadership………
Australia has the ignominy of being easily bettered by Colombia (ranked 14), Peru (16), Kenya (17), Zambia (24), Ethiopia (26), Rwanda (27) and the Philippines (32).
The previous GGEI released in 2012 showed Australia ranked 10th on performance, out of 27 nations then evaluated. …….
This latest humiliation for Australia follows more than nine earlier embarrassments on the world stage caused by inept decisions, actions or inactions by the Abbott Government on environmental issues.
- Obstructing the UN climate meeting in Warsaw last November with damaging ‘bad behaviour’.
- Allowing three million cubic metres of dredged seabed to be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to make way for the Abbot Point coal export facility.
- Logging Tasmania’s endangered forests.
- Repealing Australia’s modest carbon tax/price.
- Abbott’s call for an alliance with Canada and others in June to oppose the global climate initiatives of US President Obama. The Canadian Star ridiculed this folly with the heading,‘Climate disdainers Canada and Australia form Axis of Weasels’.
- Abbott’s refusal to attend UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon’s climate summit in New York in September.
- Recalcitrance at that UN climate summit in New York by the Australian representatives who did attend.
- Earning Australia the title ‘world’s dirtiest nation’ in The Slate. The influential US journal headlined its analysis: ‘The Saudi Arabia of the South Pacific: How Australia became the dirtiest polluter in the developed world’.
- Cutting the renewable energy targets.
Those episodes created the strong impression worldwide that the Abbott Government was failing Australia’s people, their local environment, the global community and the planet. This report shows with rigorous research that this highly negative impression is indeed sound.
This further undermines Australia’s once proud reputation as a good global citizen. The GGEI report has received prominent media coverage worldwide, including in Denmark, the USA, Brazil,Spain and Argentina…………http://www.independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/abbott-takes-australia-to-last-place-on-global-climate-change-leadership,7019