Greens want Barnett to make emergency nuclear plan for WA http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/greens-want-barnett-to-make-emergency-nuclear-plan-for-wa-20140919-10iutv.html September 18, 2014 Brendan Foster With Australia on the brink of new conflict with Iraq, Greens MP Lynn MacLaren says she can’t believe the Barnett government doesn’t have an emergency plan if a nuclear accident happened at Fremantle Port.
On Monday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia would send 600 troops, including SAS soldiers and eight FA18 Super Hornets, to the Middle East in preparation for military action against the Islamic State terror group.
And on Thursday, more than 800 police officers raided homes in Sydney in an attempt to foil a plot to “commit violent acts”, including plans to behead a member of the public.
Ms MacLaren asked Attorney-General Michael Mischin on Wednesday night in State Parliament if the Liberals had an action plan for workers and residents living near the port in the event of the nuclear reactor incident from a nuclear-powered warship. Mr Mischin said a nuclear detonation was not a defined hazard prescribed within the Emergency Management Act 2005.
“The state emergency management arrangements allow for a controlling agency to be appointed for any hazard not prescribed in the act,” Mr Mischin said.
Ms MacLaren said as Australia prepared to send troops to Iraq, “we cannot afford to have a head-in-the-sand approach to an emergency response”.
“Since nuclear-powered vessels visit our shores, we need to be ready in the event of an accident or incident. The report tabled in response to my question was last updated in 2010,” she said.
“Nuclear weapons have been a major threat to world peace for decades, how can the state government not have an emergency response to the risk of a nuclear weapon detonation or accident?
“The consequence of even a small incident would be catastrophic. Yet, we should have a plan which factors in health care facilities and staff to provide triage care in the event of a nuclear detonation or other nuclear incident.” Ms MacLaren said with the Mayors of Peace Conference in Fremantle next week, the call to prohibit nuclear weapons was more important than ever.
Junko Morimito who will describe her experience as a 13-year-old in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb went off is one of the guest speakers at the conference.
“I will be attending the Fremantle Peace Walk which will take place on International Peace Day, Sunday 21 September – celebrating the opening of Fremantle Peace Grove. Tthis issue must be kept as a priority for leaders and the community,” Ms MacLaren said.
Suppliers working on Australia’s renewable energy projects say many thousands of jobs will be lost – most of them in rural and regional areas – if the federal government slashes the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
Forty small and medium businesses from around Australia have jointly written to the government, urging it to retain the current policy, rejecting the recommendations of the recent Warburton review to shut down or severely reduce the RET.
“We are writing as suppliers to Australia’s renewable energy industry, which has now generated more than $10 billion worth of investment in large-scale renewable energy projects,” the companies said.
The companies (listed at bottom) between them operate across all Australian states and territories. “Our businesses build electrical infrastructure, roads and components for power stations in wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy, along with supplying safety equipment, cranes, trucks and cement.
“They provide catering, cleaning services, security, logistics and accommodation to construction teams, manage environmental and cultural heritage plans, and supply many other essential inputs to the renewable energy industry.
“While the industry directly employs 21,000 people, our companies collectively employ many thousands more as a result of the clean energy sector.”
The companies, whose sizes range from 1 to 2000 employees, said Australia’s 68 wind farms, 49 large-scale solar projects, 139 bioenergy projects, 123 hydro projects and trial marine and geothermal projects had provided the incentive to grow and employ more workers.
“Many of these jobs are in rural and regional areas where other job opportunities are scarce,” they said.
“We have hired and trained workers and invested in our businesses on the basis of the development of renewable energy in Australia. Maintaining the RET in its current form will help us continue to create jobs and opportunities for Australian workers,” they wrote.
The companies also referred to analysis undertaken by ACIL Allen for the Federal Government, which found that retail electricity prices will be lower over the long term if the RET is maintained, as it will help shield Australians from rising gas prices.
“This is beneficial to all Australians, consumers and businesses alike,” the companies said.
ARENA/ENA’s Renewable Energy Stocktake http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4500 18 Sep 14 The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Energy Networks Association (ENA) have created a partnership to create a database of renewable energy grid integration projects and findings.
Yesterday, ARENA released a stocktake of 176 Australian renewable energy grid integration projectsworth more than $4 billion; along with 60 key projects from countries including the US, Korea and Japan.
“This stocktake of relevant studies, trials and demonstration projects will provide the basis for further work and get the most out of existing information and investment,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.
“As well as being a valuable resource for the sector, the stocktake will help ARENA make better informed funding decisions about renewable energy grid integration projects.”
ENA will deliver the first two updates to ARENA’s initial stocktake late this year and next year.”Housing the latest research, studies, findings and projects in one place will make it easier for the sector to address challenges and capitalise on opportunities involved in integrating renewables into the network,” said ENA CEO John Bradley.
“The rapid increase in distributed renewable energy is upending the traditional supply system and driving an increasing need to revisit the energy network, which was originally designed for one-way delivery.”
In other ARENA related news, the Senate will likely vote on repealing ARENA in the upcoming parliamentary sitting, which begins next week. The ARENA Repeal Bill 2014l isn’t expected to pass; with Labor, the Greens and crossbench senators indicating they will vote against it. In the meantime, it’s business as usual for the body.
Of 132 public submissions to a recent Senate Economics Legislation Committee enquiry, 129 submissions opposed the repeal of the ARENA Act.
In the 2014 Budget, the Abbott Government announced it would pursue consolidating ARENA with the Department of Industry and return $1.3B to consolidated revenue. If such a scenario were to occur; recent comments fromIndustry Minister Ian McFarlane seem to indicate it would be merged into a departmental environment rather hostile to renewables.
ARENA’s two objectives are to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies, and to increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.
Sea level rises due to climate change could cost Australia $200b, Climate Council report finds ABC Lateline By Hamish Fitzsimmons 17 Sep 2014 Future sea level rises could put more than $200 billion of Australian infrastructure at risk, a report by the Climate Council has found.
The report, Counting the Costs: Climate Change and Coastal Flooding, showed sea levels were likely to rise by between 40 centimetres and one metre over the next century.
The report’s lead author, Professor Will Steffen, warned national income would suffer huge losses if action was not taken to protect against rising sea levels and extreme weather events……..
The Victorian coast, the south-east corner of Queensland and Sydney would be the hardest hit by rising sea levels, the report found.
With more than 75 per cent of Australians living near the coast, Professor Steffen said large swathes of infrastructure were at risk.
“Much of our road, rail, port facilities, airports and so on are on the coast,” he said.
“If you look at a 1.1 metre sea level rise – which is the high-end scenario for 2100 but that’s what we’re tracking towards – you’re looking at more than $200 billion worth of infrastructure that’s at risk.”
Professor Steffen said so-called once-in-a-lifetime natural events could become regular occurrences.
“If you look at some of our most vulnerable areas, and the Sydney region is one of those, you would say toward the end of this century that a one-in-100-year flood is going to be happening every few days,” he said.
“That’s an impossible situation to cope with.”……..
Climate change impacting insurance premiums
The Climate Council warned sea level rises would put pressure on home insurance premiums, as rising sea levels fed coastal erosion.
Australian Local Government Association president Felicity-Ann Lewis said erosion was already causing problems for home owners.
National infrastructure within 200 metres of the coastline:
- 120 ports
- five power stations/substations
- three water treatment plants
- 258 police, fire and ambulance stations
- 75 hospitals and health services
- 11 emergency services facilities
- 41 waste disposal facilities
“The insurance industry is very interested in this because some of the insurance premiums are becoming such that people can’t afford to take out insurance on their properties,” Dr Lewis said.
“This is a very big issue.”………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-17/sea-level-rises-will-cost-australia-billions-report/5748676
‘We are burning our trust’: Abbott’s climate denials winning Australia no friends CRIKEY, PADDY MANNING | SEP 17, 2014 WE ARE WELL PAST THE POINT WHERE MORE EVIDENCE WILL PERSUADE CLIMATE SCEPTICS OR THOSE VESTED INTERESTS OPPOSING CLIMATE ACTION TO CHANGE THEIR TUNE.
Particularly in Australia. Abbott just doesn’t want to talk about climate change at all. He wants climate off the G20 agenda. He won’t be going to the climate talks starting in New York next Tuesday, which will be attended by over 100 heads of state, including US President Barack Obama and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as momentum builds for agreement on a new post-Kyoto climate deal in Paris next year. Continue reading
Bill Shorten says Renewable Energy Target vital to Tasmania’s north-west Yahoo News September 17, 2014 Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has called on the Federal Government to support the Renewable Energy Target (RET) during a trip to Tasmania’s west coast……Mr Shorten said the Government needs to retain the RET to ensure the proposed wind farm at Granville Harbour goes ahead.
“It beggars belief that you have got up to 200 jobs just waiting to roll: 33 wind turbines, one of the windiest areas in Australia,” he said.
“The community want them, they don’t share Joe Hockey’s view that somehow wind farms are sick-making.
“They want the jobs, they want the wind farms but what they need is a government in Canberra who understands that renewable energy is not some green plot but part of the sustainable mix going forward.”
Liberal Senator David Bushby gave assurances the Federal Government had not yet decided what to do about the RET……….
projects such as the Granville Harbour wind farms remain in doubt.
In her meeting with Mr Shorten this morning, West Coast Mayor Robyn Gerrity stressed the importance of the RET to the region.
She told 91.7 ABC Northern Tasmania that while there was not much Mr Shorten could do for the region she wanted him to support the retention of the RET to ensure the Granville wind farm went ahead.
“They could employ within weeks about 30-odd men to start doing the roadworks for it,” she said.
“The problem being, for them to source and get the final tick-off regarding financing, they’re relying on the Renewable Energy Target.”…….https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25005137/bill-shorten-says-renewable-energy-target-vital-to-tasmanias-north-west/
Labor rules out making changes to scale down Renewable Energy Target 7 News, BY ENVIRONMENT AND SCIENCE REPORTER JAKE STURMER September 18, 2014 Labor has ruled out negotiating with the Federal Government to scale back the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
The Government is believed to be searching for a bipartisan compromise to scale back the green scheme, which was put in place by the Howard Government.
It was tweaked in 2010 to ensure that 20 per cent of Australia’s power would be generated by renewable resources by 2020.
It effectively gives industry support to renewables at the expense of established fossil fuel electricity generators.
A Government-commissioned review last month recommended closing the large scheme to new entrants and shutting it by 2030, or that it be ditched with the renewable sector limited to a 50 per cent share of new growth in electricity demand.
The Government is yet to reveal its position on the review but it is understood to be looking for a middle ground…………
The most recent meeting was held in the Liberal held seat of Barton in southern Sydney, which is held by just 489 votes.
Labor leader Bill Shorten used the opportunity to hose down talk that he would accept any negative change to the RET.
He was asked by one of the 200 audience members to promise that he would not negotiate down from what the current position is.
“We’re not about to abandon all the principles and the details of what you just said,” Mr Shorten said………Mr Shorten’s office later told the ABC that there would be no negotiation that would result in the scaling back of the RET.
The Palmer United Party also reiterated its position that it did not support any change to the scheme………https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25037753/labor-rules-out-making-changes-to-scale-down-renewable-energy-target/
Anti-uranium activists criticise NSW exploration program, Australian Mining 15 September, 2014 Vicky Validakis Anti-nuclear campaigners have criticised the NSW government for opening up the state to uranium exploration.
The move comes two years after NSW overturned a uranium exploration ban. Mining uranium is still restricted.
Three locations around NSW – near Broken Hill, near Cobar and south of Dubbo – have been earmarked for drilling activity.
Natalie Wasley, spokeswomen for the Beyond Nuclear Initiative, said the decision was disappointing, ABC reported.
“Uranium has very unique and dangerous properties and risks,” Wasley said. “It’s linked to the production of the world’s most toxic and long-lasting industrial waste, as well as proliferation of the world’s most destructive weapons, so it poses a risk to workers, to communities and the environment.”
Wasley said the sector will only create a small number of jobs, and claims the risks associated with uranium outweigh any economic benefits. “We know that in rural and regional areas there’s a much better opportunity for long-lasting sustainable jobs in the renewable sector.”
“We’d really encourage those local governments and the state governments to be putting money and resources into developing more creative, long-term and sustainable jobs for people.”……..
The six companies invited to apply for licenses are Australian Zirconia, Callabonna Resources, EJ Resources, Hartz Rare Earths, Iluka Resources and Marmota Energy. http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/anti-uranium-activists-criticise-nsw-exploration-p
Uranium exploration in western NSW – but mining is still prohibited NSW Country Hour Sally Bryant and Julie Clift 15 Sept 14, The New South Wales Government has invited six mining companies to put in expressions of interest to explore for uranium, but mining will remain prohibited, until deposits prove economically viable.
However not all of the mining companies who are involved in this process are actually interested in mining for uranium.
One of six companies invited to tender for an exploration licence, Alkane Resources, is developing a rare earth project near Dubbo, in the state’s central west.
Alkane say they’re not interested in uranium, that they are merely protecting their rare earth project from other resource companies applying for an exploration licence over the top of them
Managing Director Ian Chalmers says this is an insurance policy for his company……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-15/uranium-exploration-in-western-nsw/5743584
VCAT approves Berrimal Wind Farm changes http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-15/vcat-approves-berrimal-wind-farm-changes/5743290 15 Sep 2014,
Victoria’s planning tribunal has given the green light to changes to a renewable energy company’s plans for a 24-turbine wind farm in the Buloke Shire.
Acciona’s Berrimal Wind Farm had the support of the Buloke Shire but needed approval from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to make the amendments to its original planning permit.
The project is located between Wedderburn and St Arnaud and is expected to generate 72 megawatts of electricity.
Buloke Shire’s chief executive officer, John Hicks, says the $150 million project will benefit the municipality in a number of ways.
“That will provide six ongoing jobs for maintenance and looking after the turbines, plus the economic development that’s available to other people in the shire because of the added business,” he said.
“There’s also the benefits of rates coming into the shire which relieves the burden on other ratepayers.”
However, Acciona says all its projects, including the Berrimal Wind Farm, are on hold because of the uncertainty caused by the Federal Government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target.
WA farmer living amongst wind turbines backs keeping Renewable Energy Target 7 NEWS BY CLAIRE MOODIESeptember 14, 2014 Living amongst 15 massive wind turbines might not be everyone’s idea of paradise, but West Australian Mid West farmer Bruce Garratt believes he is investing in the future.
Eight years ago, he agreed to accommodate the turbines as part of WA’s first privately-built wind farm, south of Geraldton, and is still enjoying the serenity.
“People tell me how noisy they are, people tell me how they affect your health,” he said. “I’ve had lots of people tell me different things that honestly, unless they have lived on a wind farm, they don’t really know what they are talking about.”
Mr Garratt, who manages cattle and crops on his 2,000 acre property, said the turbines — part of the Alinta Walkaway Wind Farm — provided an additional passive income, as well as a sense of purpose.
“No-one in their right mind could put up an argument and say that wind turbines aren’t of benefit,” he said. “They’re not producing C02.”
Mr Garratt is critical of the recent Warburton review that recommended either closing the Renewable Energy Target (RET) to new entrants or scaling it back…….
Coal-fired generators the winners: wind farm owner
Rally in Uranium Prices Is Unlikely to Last, WSJ, 14 Sep 14 Gains Fueled by Ukraine Crisis, Mine Unrest Don’t Offset Oversupply SYDNEY—A multiweek rally in uranium prices fanned by the Ukraine conflict and labor unrest at a large mine in Canada looks unlikely to continue for long as the reality of oversupply and lackluster demand sinks in among buyers of the nuclear fuel.
Industry analysts and some uranium producers believe that even as supplies fall, a substantial increase in demand is needed to drive prices up to levels that would make new investments worthwhile, when many operations are running at a loss……..
Demand for the fuel hasn’t recovered since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant in 2011, which sparked nuclear-plant closures across the country and tarnished uranium’s image globally…….
state governments in resource-rich Australia have been encouraging the growth of the nation’s uranium industry. A decadeslong ban on uranium production in Queensland was lifted in July, opening the door to new applications to build mines in the state. The government of New South Wales this month said it would invite six companies to apply for exploration licenses.
Still, there is expected to be little investment in new projects until the market stages a more substantial comeback. Cameco said it would need to see much higher uranium prices before it started construction of its proposed Kintyre uranium mine in Western Australia.
“The nuclear industry is still in the midst of upheaval,” said Jonathan Hinze, senior vice president at nuclear-research firm Ux Consulting Co. …http://online.wsj.com/articles/rally-in-uranium-prices-is-unlikely-to-last-1410726782
Climate activism’s new frontier is targeting fossil fuel investors, The Age September 15, 2014 Michael Green In mid-July, the peak body of the Uniting Church in Australia voted to sell its investments in fossil fuels. The decision was available online for anyone who cared to peruse the church’s minutes, but it didn’t issue a media release until a month and a half later, on the last Friday afternoon in August.
“We didn’t think it was the most earth-shattering news, because it’s a pretty mainstream issue in the Uniting Church now,” explains the church’s president, Reverend Professor Andrew Dutney. Yet its resolution included a moral claim that may be confronting for most Australians, who, by way of their superannuation funds – at the very least – own a stake in coal, oil or gas projects.
“Further investment in the extraction of fossil fuels contributes to, and makes it more difficult to address climate change,” the church states. Given the harm climate change will cause, “further investment and extraction is unethical”. “A number of people have found that to be a strong statement,” Dutney says. “But it’s very hard to argue against.”……
There are dozens of campaigns targeting universities, churches, councils, superannuation funds and banks.
In Australia, there are campaigns at 19 universities, including Melbourne, Monash, Latrobe and RMIT, calling for the institutions to sell whatever investments they have in fossil fuel companies……..
In July, the World Council of Churches, an umbrella group representing over half a billion Christians, announced its plans to fully divest from fossil fuels. The same month, the Anglican Church of Australia passed a motion encouraging its diocese to divest. A global campaign for the Vatican to divest has just been launched…….
Nearly 30 city councils have pledged to divest, including San Francisco and Portland in the US and Dunedin in New Zealand, as well as 13 US universities and colleges. In May, Stanford University, in California, committed to divest from companies that mine coal for energy generation. Its endowment fund is worth about $US19 billion ($21 billion).
A fortnight ago, the University of Sydney announced it would suspend further investment in coal companies while it reviews its ethical investment policy. It is also assessing what to do with its existing $900,000 holding in Whitehaven Coal Limited, owner of the controversial Maules Creek mine in NSW. …..
One of the key divestment advocates is Market Forces, which is affiliated with Friends of the Earth. Its founder, Julien Vincent, argues that as well as an environmental imperative, there’s also a financial case for divestment, especially for long-term investors such as banks and superannuation funds……
Market Forces has just launched a website called Super Switch, which helps people compare various funds’ investments in fossil fuels………
Reverend Professor Dutney says the church’s decision was strongly influenced by the worries of its sister churches in the Pacific. “We’re already seeing the results of climate change across the globe and it affects the poorest people disproportionately badly,” he says.
“For us, the idea was simply to do the right thing, regardless of what anybody thought about it.” http://www.smh.com.au/national/climate-activisms-new-frontier-is-targeting-fossil-fuel-investors-20140912-10fxoc.html#ixzz3DRXmzQls
The Power Of The Press: CSIRO Installs Solar Panel Printer https://newmatilda.com/2014/09/11/power-press-csiro-installs-solar-panel-printer By Amy McQuire Solar technology In Australia took a step forward recently, with the installation of a machine that can print solar panels. Amy McQuire reports.
Printable solar panels could power our laptops and rooftops – even our skyscrapers – sooner than we think after a new solar-cell printer, the nation’s largest, was recently installed at the CSIRO.
The printer, worth $200,000 and funded by the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VOSCC), is able to print organic solar cells ten times the size of what was previously possible, and straight onto paper-thin plastic or steel.
It’s a faster and more cost-effective method than solar panels using traditional silicon cells (used to power objects like our calculators) because it uses organic polymers (a bonding of different materials) that absorb sunlight , generate charges and produce electricity.
Because these organic solar panels are more related to materials like cling wrap they are thin, flexible and printable.
The cells produce 10-50 watts of power per square metre (50 watts is enough to power a small laptop computer) and they can be printed fast, at speeds of up to ten metres per minute.
But the printer is not entirely new technology, the CSIRO says. It’s similar to what you would use to screen-print T-shirts. CSIRO materials scientist Dr Scott Watkins said the aim was to make the technology as accessible as possible.
“We’re developing the technologies to work with existing printing processes, so the printers that we’ve got are the same sort of printers that you could use for paper, or even things like t-shirts, and we’re developing our processes to be able to use these existing printing technologies so that the barrier to entry for manufacturing these new printed solar cells is as low as possible,” Dr Watkins said.
The printer represents a significant step forward for the VOSCC team, which is made up of a consortium of the CSIRO and the Melbourne and Monash Universities, who have been working on printing solar cells since 2007.
The size of the solar cells were increased to an A3 size sheet of paper from the size of a coin in only three years.
The CSIRO says the possibilities are growing and there are companies interested in taking the technology commercial.
“Eventually we see these being laminated to windows that line skyscrapers,” VICOSC project coordinator Dr David Jones said.
“By printing directly to materials like steel, we’ll also be able to embed cells onto roofing materials.”
Ludlam warns of job losses in wake of Renewable Energy Target review http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/ludlam-warns-of-job-losses-in-wake-of-renewable-energy-target-review-20140914-10gu11.html Liam Ducey WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has warned $800 million will be slashed from the WA renewable energy sector if the Abbott Government dumps the Renewable Energy Target.
The Warbuton Review into the RET, commissioned by the federal government in February, has recommended scrapping the target, which Senator Ludlam says will see up to $10.7 billion in renewable energy investment head overseas, threatening 21,000 jobs.
In WA, 16 per cent of households are solar-powered, and Mr Ludlam said the RET had benefited Perth’s poorer suburbs.
“A study by the Greens shows that WA’s poorer suburbs have the highest uptake in solar, which has collectively saved $87million a year or $560 per household,” he said. “WA is in a unique position to be the best investors in clean energy with our plentiful sunshine and independent energy market.
“WA now boasts 414 accredited solar installers and scrapping the RET would result in a loss of thousands of local jobs. The Greens has shown that if more investment into clean energy was supported, another 27,000 jobs could be created.”
A spokeswoman for State Environment minister Albert Jacob said the potential scrapping was federal government issue.
Comment is being sought from Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt.