Australian news, and some related international items

Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel report – boost renewables, No to nuclear

map solar south-australiaLow Carbon Economy Expert Panel report recommends South Australia move quickly to 100 per cent green energy productionSheradyn Holderhead Political Reporter The Advertiser November 25, 2015 SOUTH Australia should produce 100 per cent green energy “relatively quickly” using a mix of solar, wind and other sources but not a nuclear power station, a report recommends.

On releasing the Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel report today, Premier Jay Weatherill said the State Government would adopt a target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

But Mr Weatherill is yet to map out exactly how the state will reach that target, as the Government is still to respond to more detailed recommendations in the report.

They include:

SET a goal of 100 per cent renewable electricity within, a timeframe to be decided, that could be done relatively quickly, capitalising on the abundance of solar, wind, oceanic, geothermal and bioenergy resources.

EXPAND the state’s renewable energy generation to the point where a significant amount is exported interstate.

DEVELOP and manufacture cost-effective energy storage technology, which is critical for a stable renewable electricity supply and could also become a new industry for the state.

SIGN the Under 2 memorandum of understanding, making SA a part of the growing group of sub-national governments making a commitment to contribute to limiting global warming to 2°C.

CONSIDER implementing a state-based emissions trading scheme linked to California’s ETS, which could be politically and economically attractive to California and provide significant benefits for SA.

INTEGRATE curriculum in schools, universities and TAFE colleges about carbon pollution, green energy and related technologies.

The report also noted that nuclear power stations generally need to be of a certain size to be cost effective and should not be considered for use in smaller states such as SA.

Former Federal Liberal leader John Hewson headed the panel, which also included Anna Skarbek of ClimateWorks and Australian National University’s Frank Jotzo……

November 27, 2015 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Economics stack up well for the Greens’ renewable energy plans

greensThe Greens’ plan for 90% renewables by 2030 sounds hard, but it stacks up, The Conversation,  Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSES) , Australian National University, November 24, 2015 The Australian Greens this weekend announced a target of 90% renewable electricity by 2030 – pledging to go further than Labor, which has already backed a target of 50%. How hard is it to reach these targets?

The Abbott government made plain its dislike of renewable energy by reducing the renewable electricity target (RET) for 2020 to 33 terawatt hours (TWh) of new renewable electricity.

Under this target, about 24% of electricity will come from renewable sources in 2020, comprising existing renewables (mostly hydro-electricity with some biomass) and new renewables (mostly wind energy and photovoltaic (PV) solar energy). It’s straightforward to calculate the annual additions (gigawatts, GW) of wind and PV required to hit a 50% or 90% RET in 2030……..

The corresponding figures for Labor’s target of 50% by 2030 are 1.2 GW of PV and 0.8 GW of wind per year.

An achievable prospect

Labor’s target is a straightforward prospect. In years gone by, Australia has installed this much PV and wind in a year, and can readily do so again. It is not much more than the installation rate needed to meet the 2020 RET.

The Greens’ target, meanwhile, is about 2.5 times more challenging than Labor’s, but still readily achievable. The Australian Capital Territory and South Australia have shown the way by adding new renewable electricity capacity equivalent to 90% and 40% respectively of their annual electricity consumption – mostly over a period of about 5 years. There are no practical constraints in terms of land because of Australia’s vast solar and wind resources.

Australia’s electricity system is becoming increasingly renewable. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

South Australian govt has already ruled out nuclear power

arclight-Smfrom “Adelaide Arclight”, 25 Nov 15 ,  There is barely  a mention of nuclear power in the 53 page  Panel’s final report  from the South Australia  Low Carbon Economy Experts Panel. You have to hunt to find:

on page 22:

“In the high-level analysis for South Australia undertaken for the Panel, the CCS and nuclear scenarios were not considered, and all data was derived from the 100% renewable scenario.”

“Given South Australia’s abundance of wind and high solar rating (DNI), South Australia has the capacity to move to 100% renewable energy more quickly than other States and has already made significant progress in decarbonising its electricity supply utilising these advantages.”

On page 24 it states:

“The modelling for the Panel did not include consideration of whether the nuclear and carbon capture and storage scenarios modelled at the national level are a cost-effective means to move to low carbon electricity for South Australia. The Deep Decarbonisation Pathways modelling found that nuclear power stations generally need to be of a certain size to be cost effective and thus precluded their consideration for use in smaller States such as South Australia.”

Can we take it from this that the nuclear scenario is already off the table entirely? The Premier’s and Minister Hunter’s joint press release is vague talking about “zero net emissions” and “low carbon economy”, but in context their endorsement of the report would seem to undercut any push for nuclear energy, leaving the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission with just an expansion of uranium mining and nuclear waste dumps to consider.

Given that the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission is in progress and that one of the report’s authors gave evidence at a public hearing, it can hardly be an oversight that nuclear was not considered.

Renewable  energy is the star – throughout the report:

map solar south-australia“…….South Australia can greatly expand its renewable energy generation, to theMap-South-Australia-wind point where on balance over the year all of the State’s electricity comes from renewables and a significant amount is exported interstate. According to the Panel’s preliminary analysis, this could occur relatively quickly. South Australia can therefore set an indicative goal of 100% renewable electricity with the timeframe to be decided. The timeframe will depend on expansion of interconnectors, costs of renewables and extent of support for renewable energy federally. The share of renewables in South Australia is expected to be double that in the National Electricity Market at any point in time up to 100%. Action….”

November 25, 2015 Posted by | energy, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment


2015   November 2015  With an economy in transition, changes in the national and international policy environment, and key strengths in renewable energy, South Australia has the opportunity to transition to a low carbon economy.

To maximise this opportunity, the South Australian Government appointed a panel of experts to provide independent advice about climate change targets and objectives for the State to 2050. The Panel was also asked to recommend key strategies to meet these objectives and ensure that the SA economy is best placed to adjust to a carbon constrained future. The Panel members were Dr John Hewson, Anna Skarbek and Frank Jotzo.

The Panel’s final report was released on 25 November 2015. The Panel found that it is feasible for South Australia to achieve a target of net zero emissions by 2050 and that a commitment to this target will position South Australia well in a low carbon world.


November 25, 2015 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia to aim for zero emissions by 2050

South-Aust-govtPremier Jay Weatherill   Minister Ian Hunter Minister for Climate Change , 24 November, 2015

South Australia will adopt a target of zero net emissions by 2050, as recommended in a report by the Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel released today. The Panel consisting of John Hewson, Anna Skarbek of ClimateWorks and Frank Jotzo of the Australian National University recommends that South Australia:

SIGNALS the transition to a zero net emissions economy by 2050

SUPPORTS the community and industry to transition to a zero net emissions economy

IMPLEMENTS the transition by taking action now

PremierJay Weatherill said being the first to signal this intention to Australian and overseas investors will give South Australia a competitive advantage. “As we head towards the Paris Climate Change Conference, South Australia has an opportunity to place itself at the forefront as a leader in transitioning to a low carbon economy,” Mr Weatherill said. “The Expert Panel’s report is a roadmap for our State to reduce emissions in a way that supports job growth in new and emerging green technologies. “

One example is the potential for South Australia to be a low carbon electricity powerhouse and a net exporter of renewable energy. “The state’s abundant renewable electricity combined with its rich resource base and existing manufacturing expertise mean that the state could be a natural base for energy intensive mining and manufacturing industries in a low carbon world.”

Minister for Climate Change Ian Hunter said the Expert Panel also identified the state’s strengths in education and the potential for these to be applied to developing the skills and workforce for a carbon constrained future. “This means providing assistance for workers moving from industries in decline into new opportunities is critical as is support for communities affected by rapid change,” Mr Hunter said.

map solar south-australia“There are also significant innovative market opportunities for energy storage solutions from the state’s high penetration of solar PV, with the potential to attract and develop technology suppliers and expertise in the state.” Minister Hunter said the Government would not seek to implement a State based emissions trading scheme – favouring a national scheme

“Consensus for global action on climate change should be a trigger for the Federal Government to revisit the important issue of a nationwide ETS,” Mr Hunter said. “We believe this is the most practical approach to this question and will not seek to implement an ETS at the State level.” Further details of South Australia’s efforts to tackle climate change, including responses to the other recommendations, will be detailed in the soon to be released new Climate Change Strategy for the State. The South Australian Low Carbon Experts Panel report is available at

November 25, 2015 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Greens spell out their policy for 90% renewable energy target

greensGreens unveil push for 90% target for renewable energy by 2030

Policy proposes new authority to oversee $5bn of construction in clean energy generation and a 15-year pipeline of projects through direct investment. The Greens will seek to build momentum for more ambitious action on climate change by calling for the creation of a new government authority to help Australia reach a 90% target for renewable energy by 2030.

The leader of the Greens, Richard Di Natale, said the policy to be released on Sunday showed the type of “real leadership” the country should display as world leaders prepared for climate negotiations in Paris next month.

The party has previously adopted a goal of ensuring Australia obtains 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, but the new policy document spells out how this could be achieved. Continue reading

November 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

We might need a Senate inquiry into ultrasound from trees etc


If the committee is sincere in its concerns about the health effects of infrasound, will we soon learn of a new inquiry about the pernicious and unappreciated dangers of living near the sea or trees, having air conditioners, stereos, ceiling fans, or travelling in motor vehicles?

What’s next, a Senate inquiry into infrasound from trees, waves or air conditioners?, The Conversation,  Professor of Public Health, University of Sydney November 18, 2015 At the centre of claims about wind farms allegedly causing health problems is the infrasound that wind turbines generate as they turn in the wind.

Infrasound is sound below 20Hz, which is generally inaudible. Wind turbines are just one source of artificial man-made infrasound. Others include power stations, industry generally, motor vehicle engines, compressors, aircraft, ventilation and air conditioning units, and loudspeaker systems. Everyone living in an urban environment is bathed in infrasound for most of their lives.

As I sit at my inner Sydney desk writing this I’m copping infrasound from the planes that pass some 200-300 metres over my house sometimes many times an hour, the sound of passing road traffic on a quite busy road 100 metres from our house, and the stereo system I listen to as I write. Don’t tell anyone, but I feel fine and I’ve lived here 25 years.

But infrasound is generated by natural phenomena too. These include rare occurrences such as volcanoes and earthquakes, but also sources like ocean waves and air turbulence (wind) that countless millions, if not billions, are exposed to on most days. Anyone living close to the sea is surrounded by constant infrasound from waves.

The inclusion of wind as a source of infrasound is of particular significance to claims made that wind turbine-generated infrasound is noxious. In a Polish research paper published in 2014, the authors set out to measure infrasound from wind turbines and to compare that with naturally occurring infrasound from wind in trees near houses and from the sound of the sea in and around a house near the seaside…….

Wind is, of course, a prerequisite for wind turbines to turn and generate their mechanical infrasound. Here, the Polish authors noted that:

natural noise sources … always accompany the work of wind turbines and in such cases they constitute an acoustic background, impossible to eliminate during noise measurement of wind turbines.

This is a fundamentally important insight: wherever there are wind turbines generating infrasound, there is also wind itself generating infrasound. And it is impossible to disentangle the two. Indeed, every time I’ve been near wind turbines, easily the most dominant sound has been that of the wind buffeting my ears. Continue reading

November 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

Moree solar farm operational by end of 2015

Odisha bets big on solar power, plans to set up 1,000-Mw parkEnergy generation expected at Moree Solar Farm by year’s end, ABC News, 17 Nov 15 
Work is nearly complete on the Moree Solar Farm with an expectation energy will be generated at the site by the end of the year. 
A spokesman for the company behind the project, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, said there’s just a few tasks left to do on site.

“The Moree Solar Farm is entering the final stages of construction,” Technical manager Tom Best said.

“We’ve finalised the installation of the PV modules and the tracking system and we’re currently undertaking commissioning of the PV plant with a view to start generating energy by the end of the year.”

The project is led by FRV and has been funded with assistance of a $102 million grant from Australian Renewable Energy Agency and $47 million in debt financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation…….

The solar farm is expected to supply 15,000 homes.

November 19, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Canberra researchers seek information from solar home-owners

Solar panels installed on homes across ACT needed by researchers for local power study 666 ABC Canberra  By Hannah Walmsley with Philip Clark, 19 Nov 15  Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) are calling for volunteers across the ACT who have solar panels on their house to take part in a new study. This project will allow us to predict what will be fed into the grid at a particular time. Dr Christfried Webers

ANU researchers are collaborating with Data61’s Machine Learning Research Group — formerly National ICT Australia (NICTA) — to develop methods of forecasting power output from rooftop solar energy systems.

Dr Christfried Webers from the ANU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science said that while total energy output could be measured over long periods, little was known about changing energy output across the day. “What we need is to be able to predict how much energy will be produced over five minutes to 60 minutes,” he said.

“That’s necessary information for the energy market operator — they need information on what’s coming from hour to hour. “It’s also important for the local utility providers because they have a spinning reserve running and if they can anticipate an energy drop, they can ramp that up when they need to.”

Close to 13 per cent of households in the ACT have solar panels generating power. “If that reaches 30 per cent, it will become vital to predict what energy will be produced to ensure the stability of the grid,” Dr Webers said. How the weather can impact

Dr Webers said he hoped the project would allow his team to develop software to forecast the solar output from each suburb using low-cost data-logging devices installed on individual homes…….Canberra residents interested in participating in the project can register their interest with NICTA.

November 19, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

King Islands’s world first renewable energy success

Renewable energy a power coup for island THE use of renewable energy to power King Island’s electricity supply for 33 successive hours has been hailed as a significant milestone. The latest achievement of the Hydro Tasmania’s King Island Renewable Integration project was an unprecedented milestone, project director Simon Gamble said.

“What makes this significant is that we’ve used renewable energy to support the needs of an entire community, which includes residential and industrial loads, for a full day,” Mr Gamble said.

“Our system has successfully managed the peaks in energy consumption that occur over the course of a full day, including early evening when demand is at its highest and there’s no solar contribution.

“It’s the first time anywhere that this has been achieved at a megawatt scale for such an extended period of time.”

King Island hybrid power

King Island mayor Duncan McFie said the progression of the project helped to support the image of the island, and Tasmania, as clean and green.

“That King Island is leading the way on this is a highly significant achievement,” he said. Australian Renewable Energy Agency chief executive officer Ivor Frischknecht said the project was an example of how renewable energy and enabling technologies could work together to provide stable, reliable power.

“Hydro Tasmania is using a unique combination of technologies to reduce King Island’s reliance on expensive shipped-in diesel and provide residents with a more secure and reliable energy source,” he said.  “This innovative energy solution could benefit off-grid communities on islands and in regional mainland Australia. “I look forward to seeing Hydro Tasmania continue to refine and commercialise its approach in other locations

November 18, 2015 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Total Environment Centre’s legal challenge to South Australia solar tariff proposal

Solar penalty tariff proposal for SA households subject of Federal Court challenge, ABC News  By Candice Marcus, 16 Nov 15, An environment group wants the Federal Court to uphold the energy regulator’s decision to reject a penalty tariff on South Australian households with solar power.

The Total Environment Centre has intervened in a court case in which SA Power Networks is challenging the Australian Energy Regulator.

The regulator rejected a pricing proposal for households to face a solar tariff and a social tariff, which SA Power Networks said would have been directed toward helping low-income earners facing hardship in paying their bills.

It was estimated the solar tariff could cost the average solar-powered household about $100 annually.

The Total Environment Centre lodged submissions with the Federal Court urging it uphold the regulator’s rejection of the penalty pricing proposal.

Extra tariffs would be solar ‘disincentive’

Mark Byrne from the environment group said imposing additional tariffs would be a disincentive for people to install and use solar power.

“We’ve got half a million people living under solar roofs in South Australia already though and it’s going to negatively impact on them as well as making it less advantageous for new customers to install solar,” he said.

“Obviously in the long run we want to see more solar because it helps reduce greenhouse emissions as well as household electricity bills.”

He said SA Power Networks had a flawed argument.

“Their argument effectively is that solar customers should be paying more because they use less energy and the network is entitled to a fixed amount of revenue,” he said.

“The unfortunate thing about that is it discriminates against solar customers and will result in them paying about another $100 a year.

“What the network should be doing is introducing a tariff that affects everyone equally and recovers more of their revenue during those peaks, when they’re worried about the impact on prices because they have to build more to meet peak demand.”……..

November 18, 2015 Posted by | legal, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australian Parliament House will soon be 100 per cent renewably powered.

renewable-energy-pictureTom Swann says ACT government will have last laugh at climate sceptics, Canberra Times, November 13, 2015   Reporter for The Canberra Times. “…..researcher and campaigner Tom Swann says whether the former treasurer or prime minister or anyone else in Federal Parliament likes it or not, the Australian Parliament House will soon be 100 per cent renewably powered.

This is one of the implications of the ACT government’s clean energy policies, the most ambitious in Australia, which Mr Swann will explain at the Progressive Canberra Summit on Saturday morning, at a gathering of people discussing energy, housing, social justice and sustainability in this city and globally.

Mr Swann will point out the ACT government plans to completely decarbonise the territory’s electricity system and its moves to decarbonise its investments, by starting to divest from fossil fuels.

He will ask a group of people how can Canberra make the most of this leadership? “How do we ensure this transition engages all of Canberra, using local energy and expertise and providing options to those on lower incomes?” Mr Swann said.

He will present research from public policy think tank Australian Institute which shows three in four Canberrans surveyed (78 per cent) support the 100 per cent renewables target, a majority strongly supporting it. The polling also found an interesting national perspective.

“Canberra’s leading position on renewables is the envy of the rest of the country,” Mr Swann said.

The research is based on two polls  in September, one by ReachTEL of 731 residents in Fraser electorate and 717 residents in Canberra electorate, while a separate poll by Research Now surveyed 1407 people across Australia.

Three in four Canberrans (75 per cent) said they were willing to pay more on their bills to achieve the 100 per cent renewables target and almost two in three (62 per cent) said they would be willing to pay at least $5 per week more on household electricity.

 Almost three in four Australians from outside of Canberra (72 per cent) said they wanted a similar policy in their own state……..

November 13, 2015 Posted by | ACT, energy | Leave a comment

Council approval for central Queensland solar farm near Baralaba

solar-farmingSolar farm proposal near Baralaba in central Queensland gets Banana Shire approval, ABC News, 2 Nov 15 By Jessica Lodge and Jacquie Mackay The Banana Shire Council has given approval to the solar energy company FRV to develop a solar farm near Baralaba in central Queensland. In September, the Central Highlands Regional Council gave the same company approval to develop solar operations at Tieri.

Banana Shire Mayor Ron Carige said the project could create up to 200 jobs during the construction phase.”It’s a great opportunity for not only for the shire but for the community around Baralaba itself,” he said.

“So it’s right near the substation at Baralaba and the total area is 730 hectares but the panels will take up approximately 660 hectares, so it’s quite a large project.”

Councillor Carige said it was a great opportunity for the region moving forward………..

November 4, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

The Balunu Foundation’s healing programme of green energy with Aboriginal people

Indigenous communities looking to go green  Penny Timms reported this story on Monday, November 2, 2015 
ELEANOR HALL: A charity that aims to break the cycle of Indigenous disadvantage says clean technology could revolutionise remote Australia. Continue reading

November 4, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, energy, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

For solar energy in Australia, the future is looking bright

Australia-solar-plughighly-recommendedHere comes the sun: funding for solar energy will fast-track Australia’s renewable future  Corrs Chambers Westgarth A global surge in solar investment is driving new growth in Australia’s solar sector. Costs are falling and storage technology is improving, making solar energy an emerging force in Australia’s clean energy future.

At a global level, energy experts are predicting large-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) to be the least-cost option for power generation almost universally by 2030.[1]

Locally, investment in Australia’s renewable energy industry is forecast to exceed A$40 billion over coming years. This translates to an estimated 30-50 major projects comprising at least 6000MW of new generating capacity to be built by 2020.[2]

Australia’s solar industry is also backed by a number of key funding initiatives. The result is a bankable investment environment that will enable investors and project proponents to harness Australia’s abundant solar resource.


November 4, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment


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