Australian news, and some related international items

France’s ambitious goals for renewable energy contrast with Abbott’s plans to crush renewable energy development

France, Australia take diverging paths to renewable energy   November 19, 2014 | By  While France has set ambitious goals to increase the share of renewables in its energy portfolio, Australia has taken a completely opposite approach — repealing its 2011 Clean Energy Act, which established a carbon pricing mechanism, according
to an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

solar-farm-Hanwha-FranceFrance’s lower house of parliament recently set a target of 32 percent energy generation from renewable sources by 2030, as part of the approval of the country’s energy transition law. The law also aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels and cut fossil fuel use by 30 percent.  (at left, France’s Hanwha solar farm)


In contrast, since Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott assumed power in September 2013, he has made radical changes to the country’s energy policy, including abolishing the carbon tax and reducing a goal to install one million solar roofs. “France is committed to increasing its share of renewable energy, with Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) and tradable green certificates being the main types of support. The country also has plans to decrease its nuclear power share from the current 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025,” said Pranav Srivastava, power analyst, GlobalData. “Meanwhile, Australia’s renewable energy targets that are currently under review may be significantly reduced, although the opposition Australian Labor Party is refusing to accept the level of reductions proposed. The country’s renewable policy review has severely affected the industry, as investments in the sector were low in the first half of 2014, lower than since the first half of 2001.”

Effective from July 2014, Australia’s minimum retailer FiT price has been cut from $0.076 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to $0.06/kWh, according to the analyst.

While Australia’s alternative energy space has been hit hard, France is pressing forward with plans to promote the industry.

“France plans to invest about €10 billion ($13.41 billion) in renewable energy to cut the country’s oil and gas bill and reduce its reliance upon nuclear energy,” Srivastava said. “The development of renewable power plants will help the country to create more jobs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.”

For more:
– see this report 

November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Senator Christine Milne calls for a gradual, planned, phaseout of Victoria’s coal power

Milne,-Christine-13Greens call for an end to Vic coal power, Herald Sun  AAP NOVEMBER 20, 2014  GREENS leader Christine Milne has called for a phase out of coal-fired power in Victoria but says it doesn’t have to affect jobs.

THE Greens are leading a push to close Victoria’s coal-fired generators and rehabilitate the sites in a gradual phase-out that they say will leave communities better off.

        “There are 485 jobs that could be created straight away from the rehabilitation and decommissioning of mines,” Australian Greens leader Christine Milne told reporters on Thursday.”A lot of the jobs of people working in electricity generation are transferable to constructing and maintaining renewable energy systems as well.”The Greens have pinpointed the closure of the Hazelwood and Anglesea power stations, which they say are among the dirtiest in Victoria.Senator Milne said there was already an oversupply on the Victorian grid and the phase-out would have no effect on supply.”The Australian Energy Market Operators are saying that there is too much energy in the system,” Senator Milne said.”My question for Denis Napthine is: is AEMO wrong when they say there is 2200 megawatts excess capacity in the system?”…….
          Senator Milne said the closure of coal-fired power was inevitable and it should be a gradual phase-out rather than a rapid closure when the sites are no longer viable.”With huge excess power supply and last century technology they will become junk assets,” Senator Milne said.”After the fires in Morwell, Denis Napthine really needs to look at the impact of coal-fired power not just on the atmosphere but on the health of people.”


    November 22, 2014 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment

    Did you know? Australia is a supporter of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL)

    No to Nukes: Australia’s Stand Lunes, Novembre 17, 2014
    “………Fukushima met its unfortunate fate due to nature’s indescribable and immeasurable force. Now, we must return to its cradle in order to survive the next thirty or so years. Other renewable resources Australia is currently harnessing are bioenergy, hydro, and geothermal. It seems the country is one of the supporters of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) program launched on September 2011by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    SE4ALL has three objectives, one of which is “doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix” by 2030. Renewable energy is eco-friendly and cheap compared to fossil fuels that contribute to air pollution worldwide. This global initiative is same as “hitting two birds with one stone” approach. It doesn’t only solve the problem of energy or electricity shortage in the future. This may also lessen the impact of climate change that we are experiencing right now.

    In this way, we don’t have to resort on desperate actions such as extracting electricity from nuclear power plants. As always, nature has everything we need in terms of natural resources and all we have to do is search for it and seize it. In return, we must be responsible ambassadors of our planet so it could still be available for the future generations.  Article Written By:

    November 19, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics international | Leave a comment

    ACT and South Australia winning the renewables race

    renewable-energy-pictureThe ACT has the country’s most ambitious emissions reductions and renewable energy targets Climate Council report reveals, Canberra Times November 18, 2014     The ACT is “punching above its weight” compared to other jurisdictions with the most ambitious emissions reduction and renewable energy targets in the country, the Climate Council’s latest report reveals.

    Along with South Australia, the ACT is “winning the Australian renewable energy race” putting it in the “best position to reap the benefits of the global shift to cleaner energy”, the report comparing the renewable energy policies of all states and territories said.

    The ACT aims to source 90 per cent of its electricity supply from renewables by 2020; currently it’s at 20 per cent.

    In comparison, South Australia has a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2025 but is already sourcing around 33 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources.

    ………The report said Australia’s states and territories could act as leaders tackling climate change and growing Australia’s renewable energy industry, mirroring the US where state-based targets and incentives had made the country second in the world for installed renewable energy capacity.

    November 19, 2014 Posted by | ACT, energy | Leave a comment

    Australia under Abbott government is missing huge job opportunities in renewable energy

    Does this government like creating jobs? The huge opportunities we’re missing in renewable energy, Perth Now,  ANTHONY SHARWOOD NEWS.COM.AU NOVEMBER 17, 2014

    THIS is a story about thousands of jobs the Abbott government could be helping to create, but which may never come into being. It is not a story about climate change, or any other issue which divides people along ideological lines, despite the divide between Australia and the the rest of the world becoming much clearer over the weekend.Quite simply, it is about something we all believe in — Australia’s prosperity.


    Let’s break this thing down into 25 quick, easily digestible points.

    1. Two Aussie employers spoke exclusively this week to about their extreme dissatisfaction with the Abbott government’s stance on renewable energy. They want to create jobs and wealth in the renewable energy industry. They say the government is making it virtually impossible for them.

    2. First a little background. The renewable energy industry is by any measure is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. Other countries understand this. For example, China this year for the first time installed more renewable energy capacity than fossil fuels.

    3. But the Australian government is scaling back its commitment to renewable energy. Up until recently, Australia had a bipartisan agreement to a 20 per cent renewable energy target (RET) by the year 2020.

    Seems we once understood that the holy trinity of jobs, investment and a cleaner environment was well worth chasing. But the Abbott government no longer buys this. It says we should be working towards a new target of 26,000 gigawatt hours of green power instead of the agreed 41,000. This massive reduction has created an environment of great uncertainty for investors. Many of these investors come from overseas and would sink money into Australian projects. But they are now worried the industry has no future here. Continue reading

    November 17, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

    Australia’s deadlock over Renewable Energy Target *RET)

    RET fate deadlocked, Stock & Land  DANNIKA BONSER 13 Nov, 2014 AUSTRALIA’S future in sustainable energy is on shaky ground as the federal government remains in a stand-off with Labor over proposed cuts to the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

    The Abbott government is pushing to slash the RET from 41 terawatt hours per year by 2030 to 26tW hours/year but needs support from Labor or the Palmer United Party to get the change through the Senate.

    Labor was willing to bargain the RET down slightly but walked away from talks with cabinet ministers after a compromise could not be reached. Continue reading

    November 15, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

    New South Wales govt backs community renewable energy projects

    text-community-energyNSW Government throws its support behind renewable energy projects for regions like the Mid North Coast ABC News   10 Nov 2014,   State government grants totalling $700,000 are now available for new renewable energy projects in areas like the Mid North Coast.

    Community-based renewable projects can apply for grants of up to $70,000, to help with set-up costs.
    So that may mean providing financial help with feasibility studies, to engage with the community about the project and do some planning

    Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams, said the projects will not be industrial-scale in size, and will be entirely owned by community members…….

    November 12, 2014 Posted by | energy, New South Wales | Leave a comment

    New design to make wave energy commercially attractive

    waveResearchers making waves in bid to harness renewable energy, ABC News 10 Nov 14 By Damian McIntyre A team of researchers in Tasmania is testing equipment designed to capture an endless supply of clean energy generated by waves.

    The Australian Maritime College in Launceston and a West Australian company have joined forces to test the commercial viability of the wave energy converter.

    The director of Bombora Wave Power, Shawn Ryan, was optimistic the design would eventually lead to a commercial venture.”We think we’ve solved the issues of the predecessors that have gone before us,” he said. “The key criteria we looked at was survivability, so you’ve got to survive those large storm events that have highly energetic sea states and cost of electricity is the dominant consideration.

    “It’s seabed mounted so that we can potentially survive those larger storm events that others have had difficulty trying to get through.

    “With a number of different design features, we think that we’ve cracked the kernel.” here are several trials underway in Australia but so far there are no large scale operations.

    The company believes the market for wave power will be substantial. “There could be up to 500 gigawatts of wave energy installed by 2050,” Mr Ryan said………

    November 12, 2014 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

    Australia well out of the race, as renewable energy investment goes to China and USA

    piggy-ban-renewablesAustralia losing renewable energy business to China and the USA     Investment in renewable energy has dropped by 70 per cent as Australia loses green business overseas, a report has found.

    The slide in investment has seen China consolidate its position as the world’s renewable energy powerhouse, according to the Climate Council Report, Lagging Behind: Australia and the Global Response to Climate Change.

    “Investment that could be coming to Australia is instead going overseas to countries that are moving to a renewables energy future,” report’s co-author, Professor Tim Flannery said. “Unfortunately the lack of federal government commitment to renewable energy is hurting the industry.”

    Australia has come under pressure to cut its carbon emissions deeper after the European Union last week agreed on a new target of 40 per cent by 2030.

    The agreement, labelled by the EU as a new global standard, also includes a 27 per cent target for renewable energy by 2030. The coalition government has said it will consider a new post-2020 target in early 2015 before a United Nations conference in Paris, where a new commitment will be discussed and possibly settled.

    Prof Flannery said over the past year investment in Australian renewable energy projects dropped 70 per cent, while China installed more renewable energy capacity than fossil fuels in 2013. Continue reading

    November 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy | Leave a comment

    Business Council of Australia offers dodgy bribe to Australian Renewable Energy Agency

    a-cat-CANI see this deal as a very dodgy one for  the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, (ARENA)   ARENA is fighting for its life –  no guarantee that it will survive beyond 2014.  The Business Council of Australia (BCA) is bribing it to include the wasteful and useless Carbon Capture and Storage project to be included in ARENA’s brief.  And that’s not all.  Look out for those weasel words “low emissions technologies”.  For the BCA, tied as it is to nuclear lobby enthusiasts, “low emissions technologies” include nuclear power. Matthew Franklin reported, in  The Australian  March 01, 2011  on a BCA report arguing  that “the nation must consider all power sources to meet rising energy needs, including nuclear power”
    Renewable Energy Agency will back CCS if reform redrawn  THE AUSTRALIAN  NOVEMBER 10, 2014  National Business Correspondent Sydney
    clean-coal. THE taxpayer-funded Australian Renewable Energy Agency — the body given a stay of execution following a deal struck with Clive Palmer — will support projects including Carbon Capture and Storage and other low-emission technologies if a new reform blueprint is adopted.

    The Business Council of Australia proposals for ARENA are contained in a paper that also urges a swift bipartisan deal on the renewable energy target.

    Under a deal that the government struck with the crossbenchers in order to get the $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund through the Senate, the government promised that it would not reintroduce bills to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the ARENA in the spring sitting ­period — which guarantees it would not be abolished before the end of 2014.

    In its report on energy policy, the BCA calls for the ARENA’s mandate to be expanded so that as well as overseeing the renewable energy sector it supported “emerging low-emission technology and systems”……….

    Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told the Senate on ­October 30 that the “government’s position is that we are committed to the abolition” of the ARENA and the CEFC………

    On the RET, the paper says that, unless a compromise deal is reached on the target, ­investment in wind energy could stall.

    “Unless a compromise deal can be reached on the RET, ­investment in wind is unlikely to occur, creating the risk of higher electricity prices for consumers,” the paper says.

    The Coalition is pushing Labor MPs to agree to cut the large-scale target.

    November 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

    South Australia’s largest wind farm now fully operational

    Map-South-Australia-wind“This plant confirms South Australia’s commitment to being the nation’s leader when it comes to providing efficient renewable wind energy programs. It is a key platform in our plan for renewable energy to supply 50 per cent of the state’s annual power by 2025,”

    South Australia’s 270MW Snowtown takes wind energy to new highs B on 3 November 2014

    South Australia’s largest wind farm – and Australia’s second largest – is now fully operational, after the launch on the weekend of phase 2 of the massive Snowtown Wind Farm development by New Zealand gentailer Trustpower. The plant will mean that 40 per cent of the state’s electricity needs will now come from wind and solar.

    Continue reading

    November 8, 2014 Posted by | South Australia, wind | Leave a comment

    Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funds business case for grid-connected renewable energy storage

    logo-ARENAARENA funds business case for grid-connected renewable energy storage

    Willow | 5 November 2014 Agency announcing $445,000 funding for AGL to develop a business case for grid-connected energy storage in partnership with WorleyParsons and ElectraNet.

    “Commercial scale storage is especially important for enabling higher penetrations of renewables where less base load energy is provided by fossil fuels,” ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said.

    The project will look at feeding the energy produced by AGL’s South Australian wind farms overnight back into the grid during daytime peak demand periods. Mr Frischknecht said the project would set out a clear pathway for establishing commercial scale, grid integrated electricity storage in Australia.

    “In the long term it could potentially become the norm for new renewable energy installations, increasing their competitiveness and leading to more renewables in Australia,” Mr Frischknecht said.

    The study is scheduled for completion in September 2015.

    November 5, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

    AUDIO: Sweden’s biomass energy system could be applied in Australia

    Hear-This-wayAUDIO The Swedish renewable energy model, ABC Radio National Ockham’s Razor 3 November 2014  Andrew Lang While discussion of renewable energy in Australia has largely focused on wind, solar and hydro for electricity generation, Sweden has opted for an economy-wide biomass-based system. Farmer Andrew Lang takes a look at the Swedish model and how it could be applied here. …….. Continue reading

    November 4, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

    Casltlemaine’s remarkable launch of a solar energy revolution

    text-community-energyRenewable energy: power to the people, SMH, November 3, 2014 Michael Green Chewton’s primary school, student population 40, perches on a hill above the houses of the small central Victorian town, which borders Castlemaine. Before the year is out, its red tin roof will be home to solar panels facing east and west, positioned to best offset its demand. The school is crowdfunding for a renewable energy system, by way of a new scheme called the People’s Solar.

    “Our savings won’t go back into the big bucket,” says principal Julie Holden. “They won’t be used for staffing and books.” She’s promising to fund environmental initiatives by students around the town instead, as well as more energy efficiency improvements for the buildings.

    Modest though its goal sounds, Chewton Primary is one front in a revolution. Continue reading

    November 4, 2014 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

    Wind power surging ahead in South Australia

    Wind power surge as SA govt flicks switch 2 November 2014 South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill and Environment Minister Ian Hunter have switched on the second stage of the Snowtown wind farm project, tripling its capacity.

    The $450 million addition of 90 turbines increases the farm’s capacity from Sunday by 1350 gigawatt hours a year, enough to power 230,000 homes.

    The wind farm in the state’s mid-north is now the largest in the state, the government says.

    The Premier has also warned projects such as the Snowtown wind farm are at risk if the federal government scaled back the Renewable Energy Target.

    Mr Weatherill told media the project is creating ‘a new future for this region in South Australia’, but a scaling back of the RET would see large scale renewable initiatives become unviable.

    November 4, 2014 Posted by | South Australia, wind | Leave a comment


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