Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

How federal govt changes to Clean Energy Finance Corporation will affect Australian househholds

solar-panels-localSolar panels: What do the federal government changes mean for households, SMH July 19, 2015  

Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has been told not to invest in rooftop solar. What does that mean for me?

The CEFC is the “green investment bank” set up by the Gillard Labor government that the Abbott government wants to scrap. It has been blocked in the Senate so instead it wants to narrow the CEFC’s mandate by blocking investment in “mature” technologies such as wind farms and solar panels.

The fund, though, exists mainly to find ways to boost the competitiveness of all renewable technologies, from large-scale solar plants to wave and geothermal sources, and energy-efficiency measures.

Earlier this month, for instance, the CEFC joined in a 12-year, $100 million venture with Origin. The energy giant will own, install and maintain solar PV systems for households and businesses. Customers get a fixed energy price for a longer term than would typically have been offered by banks.

 The fund is hoping to persuade Treasurer Joe Hockey to rescind the restrictions on its activities. According to Alan Pears, a senior industry fellow at RMIT University, the short-term impact of banning CEFC involvement in rooftop solar PV will be fewer creative financing options for getting solar power with no or low upfront costs. “In the longer term, it will slow the roll-out of more efficient, cheaper and smarter photovoltaicsystems and limit Australia’s potential to develop intellectual property for export.”

What is this large-scale solar we’re hearing about?……… http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/solar-panels-what-do-the-federal-government-changes-mean-for-households-20150718-giewy8.html#ixzz3gZupHfyv

July 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, solar | 1 Comment

Australia’s government not stopping Sydney IKEA’s renewable energy project

IKEA backs renewable energy targets despite government changes, SMH,  by Sue Mitchell, 17 July 15  Richard Wilson is looking forward to the day he can go off the grid – not at his Sydney home but at homewares chain IKEA. As sustainability manager for IKEA Australia, the 43 year old is spearheading arguably the nation’s most ambitious private sector renewable energy project.

The world’s biggest furniture retailer, which has annual sales of €30 billion ($44 billion), is aiming to be energy neutral by 2020, with 100 per cent of its energy needs coming from renewable sources.

IKEA’s Australian business took the first steps last year, installing 16,000 solar panels on the roofs of six stores, including almost 4000 panels at its flagship store at Tempe, near Sydney Airport.

 The panels are now generating just under five megawatts of energy a year – enough to power air conditioning systems and low-energy lighting in stores and distribution centres during the day.

“It’s really cool,” says Wilson, who gave up his job running Randwick Council’s Sustaining Our City program almost three years ago to join the Swedish retailer, attracted to the company by its ambitious long-term environmental targets.

“When they do have bold ambitions it makes things happen,” says Wilson. “It was the 100 per cent renewable energy targets that got me excited about working for IKEA – I want to be on that journey.”

It’s a journey that may not have got off the ground if not for Labor’s now defunct carbon tax. When electricity was cheap and solar panels expensive, the business case simply did not stack up.

 “But we just kept recalculating it,” says Wilson. “We managed to get it in with the carbon tax and panels kept coming down in price.”

The company pressed ahead after the carbon tax was scrapped by the Abbott government last year and now expects to achieve payback in less than 10 years, in line with its parent’s relatively generous return on investment hurdles……….http://www.afr.com/business/energy/solar-energy/ikea-backs-renewable-energy-targets-despite-government-changes-20150717-gid4gu

July 18, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | 1 Comment

South Australian government says wind and solar power are sources of jobs

text-relevantWind and solar a source of jobs in SA  http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/wind-and-solar-a-source-of-jobs-in-sa/story-fni0xqi4-1227439666671
JULY 13, 2015 THE South Australian government says a commonwealth ban on supporting solar and wind energy scheme will make it harder to create jobs.

THE commonwealth has directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to back any further wind energy projects as well as rooftop solar schemes.

But South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis says wind energy is a source of immediate and future jobs and putting barriers in the way of investment will make it more difficult to cut SA’s unemployment rate, which climbed to 8.2 per cent in June.

“South Australians are told by the commonwealth government that we are not allowed to build cars, we’re told we are not allowed to build submarines, now we are being told we shouldn’t build wind farms when we have investors ready to spend their money and create jobs now,” he said.

green-jobs

Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter will meet his interstate counterparts this week and says they will call on the federal government to end its ideological opposition to renewable energy.
“The message being sent to renewable energy investors by our federal government is `look elsewhere – don’t spend your money in Australia and don’t create jobs here’,” he said.

July 15, 2015 Posted by | politics, solar, South Australia, wind | 1 Comment

Concentrated Solar Power pre-feasibility study now being finalised at Port Augusta

text-relevantThe transition from fossil to renewable energy  The Fifth Estate, Graham Davies, Engineers Australia | 13 July 2015“…………It is encouraging that Alinta, with financial support from ARENA and the SA Government, is currently finalising a pre-feasibility study into concentrated solar thermal power at Port Augusta – a project that has the full support of the community. At present the capex of CSP is too high for a company to meet what is required for shareholder returns, but costs will decrease as the technology develops further. If government were to contribute an amount equivalent to saved externalities (such as adverse health effects associated with continuing the coal power station) it is probable that the project would be economically viable now.

concentrated solar Spain1

CSP is of particular value to a renewable grid, as it has the ability to efficiently store energy, be despatchable and provide synchronous generation and grid stability. These capabilities will circumvent the need for inflexible base load generators such as coal, CCGT and nuclear, with their many externalities. Port Augusta is an ideal location for CSP and presents a great opportunity for the future.

The closure of the Port Augusta Power Station may initially appear as bad news, but it may galvanise South Australia in becoming the iconic turning point for a new future – a future in which Australia again leads in solar development and export; where energy security is based on the sun and not the fossil reserves; where long-term thinking is built into economic analysis; and where prosperity is not measured by GDP but by net wealth and wellbeing.

Graham Davies is incoming chair of Engineers Australia’s Sustainable Engineering Society. http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/spinifex/the-transition-from-fossil-to-renewable-energy/75484

July 15, 2015 Posted by | solar, South Australia | 1 Comment

Poorer Western Australians will lose out from Abbott’s solar turnoff – Senator Scott Ludlam

Ludlam,-Scott-1

WA Greens senator says Abbott solar turn-off will hit battlers hardest, WA Today July 13, 2015   Reporter WA battlers will be hardest hit by the Abbott government’s decision to wind back investment into home solar, according to Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.

He said the state’s solar-driven homes were now producing as much electricity as two conventional coal-fueled power stations.

And he believes it is too soon for the Abbott Government to pull the plug on investments into the solar industry. “Retirees, people on lower incomes and people in outer metro and rural areas of the state will be hardest hit by this.

The federal government has recently directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to exclude household and small scale solar from further investment funding. Senator Ludlam said the government still needed to support the solar industry.

Some 180,000 WA households have installed rooftop solars and Senator Ludlam said they were now generating the equivalent of two typical coal fire power stations. “Solar powered WA homes have increased 19 per cent in just one year – overwhelmingly in outer suburbs and households with lower incomes,” he said.

WA now has four postcodes in Australia’s top 20 solar suburbs including Mandurah at number two, North east Wanneroo at eight, Canning Vale/Willeton at 12 and Cockburn at 19.

Home owners benefit from trading in small scale technology certificates at the time of installation and feed-in tariffs (selling power back into the grid). “Householders are streaking ahead of the state and federal government as they use rooftop solar to dramatically reduce their power bills, but Tony Abbott’s crusade against renewable energy is set to have a devastating effect. Continue reading

July 15, 2015 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Government’s attack on Clean Energy Finance Corporation threatens commercial solar projects in ACT

Federal directive on solar threatens commercial rooftop projects in the ACT, says Simon Corbell July 13, 2015  Chief Assembly reporter for The Canberra Times. The Abbott government’s directive against investment in small and medium-scale solar threatens commercial rooftop projects in Canberra, ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell said on Monday.

Mr Corbell attacked Prime Minister Tony Abbott as “public enemy No 1″ on renewable energy.

“He’s putting jobs at risk, he’s putting investment at risk and he’s putting the industry at risk, an industry that will need to grow considerably over the next decade if Australia is to meet its international greenhouse gas reduction commitments,” Mr Corbell said.

He was responding to news of a draft directive from the Abbott government to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to invest in small and medium-scale solar projects. The corporation was also ordered not to invest in new wind projects.

He was responding to news of a draft directive from the Abbott government to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to invest in small and medium-scale solar projects. The corporation was also ordered not to invest in new wind projects.

Mr Corbell said there was potential for major growth in solar on office blocks, shopping centres and warehouses, but it needed the certainty provided by the corporation’s backing.
The ACT government has signed 20-year contracts with three wind farms and three solar farms, with a guaranteed price for the energy they produce over 20 years, as part of its ambitious target of meeting 90 per cent of the city’s electricity needs from renewables by 2020. One of the solar farms is operational to date. Still to come is funding for “next-generation” solar, and more wind projects.

Mr Corbell said the ACT’s large-scale projects were not threatened by the decision, with the ACT government’s funding providing the certainty that companies and financiers needed.

Queensland, South Australia and Victoria were already looking at the ACT’s model, he said.  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/federal-directive-on-solar-threatens-commercial-rooftop-projects-in-the-act-says-simon-corbell-20150713-gib2e8.html#ixzz3ful17Caa

July 15, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott sabotages thousands of Australian jobs by ending wind and solar investment

green-collarRenewable energy investment: Government ‘sabotages’ thousands of jobs as it ends wind, solar power investment, Australian Solar Council warns, ABC News  By Katri Uibu 13 July 15 Thousands of Australians could lose their jobs because of the Federal Government’s latest “ideology-driven” decision not to invest in wind and small solar power projects, the head of the Australian Solar Council (ASC) says.

The Federal Government has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to stop financing wind and household solar energy and instead invest in “new and emerging technologies”.

But ASC chief executive John Grimes said small business owners would be most affected by the change, saying the “tragic” decision would compromise thousands of jobs.

“There are about 18,000 people in Australia directly employed in the solar industry,” he said.

“These are the jobs of rural and regional Australia and these are the jobs that we want to create. So, the Government is sabotaging the whole industry because of its ideology that we should burn more coal and we need to shut down the renewable sector.”

Mr Grimes said the Government was “completely out of touch with the people of Australia” on the issue and vowed to “campaign hard” for policy change.

Small-scale solar energy installers labelled the Government’s policy a “stupid” decision that was causing them to “move out of the solar industry”.

Installing solar panels has been Richard de Bruin’s livelihood for five years.

Because of the Government’s decision, Mr de Bruin — the owner of R&R Solar Installations — is facing an even “bigger drop” in his revenue. It is a predicament that has forced him to explore alternative business ideas and axe the job of his own son.

“The uncertainty that we’ve had for the last six to 12 months has just really hurt the business to the effect that now we’re moving to a new site, trying to find some more work,” he said……….

Policy change ‘stupidest thing’ Government could have done

Craig Balmanno, owner of Free Solar & Solar Farmers, said while his business was not exposed to solar energy funding cuts, the decision was destructive for the industry.

“Up till now the CEFC hasn’t provided any funding to our business,” he said.

“CEFC has funded larger organisations and now, before the CEFC has a chance to fund the smaller ones, the Government’s going to cut them off.

“It is a bad cut for the renewable energy industry as a whole, but for one particular company, in our circumstances, it’s not going to affect us in a huge way.”

He found the Government’s policy to stop investing in a system “that is making money” incomprehensible and named it “the stupidest thing they could have ever done”.

“They are worried about renewables removing revenue from the fossil fuel industry and tax receipts from the fossil fuel industry,” he said.

“As far as a finance corporation, it’s [the CEFC] an organisation that’s actually making money for them.

“Why would they want to cut back on how it’s investing and try and limit its investments only to emerging technologies?” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-13/government-sabotages-thousands-of-solar-energy-sector-jobs/6615778

July 15, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, solar, wind | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott now attacking rooftop solar power industry

Abbott-destroyer

“By knocking off wind and solar, the only thing that you leave there is the high-risk stuff,” he said. “They’re trying to make it as difficult as possible for the CEFC.” 

Abbott government extends renewable energy investment ban to solar power, Guardian,   12 July 15  Clean Energy Finance Corporation banned from investing in small-scale solar projects in move industry claims is ‘revenge politics’ that will strangle the sector A directive banning the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) from investing in existing wind technology will also apply to small-scale solar projects, a move that will effectively throttle the industry, the Australian Solar Council said.

The federal government on Sunday confirmed that the $10bn CEFC will no longer invest in wind power, instead focussing on “emerging technologies”.

“It is our policy to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation because we think that if the projects stack up economically, there’s no reason why they can’t be supported in the usual way,” Abbott told reporters in Darwin. “But while the CEFC exists, what we believe it should be doing is investing in new and emerging technologies – certainly not existing windfarms…..

it has emerged the government’s investment directive also applies to small-scale solar technology like rooftop panels that generate up to 100 kilowatts of power. Continue reading

July 13, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | 1 Comment

North Queensland’s Collinsville solar energy project going ahead

map-solar-QueenslandCollinsville solar power plant to go ahead thanks to Renewable Energy Target decision says Ratch http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-06/collinsville-solar-power-plant-a-goer/6597400 By Jonathan Hair

The company behind a proposed solar power project in north Queensland says it hopes to start construction next year. Ratch Australia is planning to build a $100 million solar plant in Collinsville. It will create up to 80 jobs in the construction phase and two to three once operational.

Ratch general manager of business management, Anil Nangia, said the recent Federal Government deadlock on the Renewable Energy Target put the project on hold. However, he said the recent agreement on a new target meant the project would go ahead.

“The other good thing about renewable energy is it produces jobs and investment in regional Australia,” he said.”The key aspect of this resolution is it was bipartisan support, with no additional reviews until 2020. “We believe there’s real certainty in this target and it will stay in place and we think it will be there for the long run, if not increased.”

He said it was disheartening when politicians expressed a lack of faith in renewables. It’s terrible when they talk like that, renewables are the way of the future,” he said. “They basically are going to produce the low cost power in the long-term and they produce power with no emissions, no side effects, it’s really sad when they talk … down the potential of renewable energy in Australia.”

July 11, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

GDF SUEZ Australian Energy, coal mine owner, investing big into solar energy

“Solar is becoming totally competitive,”  “Solar is an energy of the future. It is the energy with the biggest potential for development. It’s no longer a subsidized niche.”

the shift by Engie from centralised fossil fuel and nuclear capacity to one based around decentralised renewable energy generation is typical of the transformation going on around the world – with Europe’s E.ON, RWE and Vattenfall, and in the US, with generators such as NRG, and network operators in California, New York and elsewhere.

Parkinson-Report-Hazelwood owner makes big push into solar energy, REneweconomy, By  on 10 July 2015 The owner of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station, the dirtiest generator in Australia, has announced a major push into renewable energy, snapping up the international solar farm developer SolaireDirect for about $A300 million.

GDF Suez, now known as Engie under a massive re-branding campaign that signals its shift from fossil sun-championfuels and nuclear to renewable energy, will become the largest solar and wind developer in France after the purchase.

But its big focus is on the international scene. Gerard Mestrallet, the CEO of Engie, one of the biggest operators of nuclear plants in Europe, says new solar now beats new nuclear on price, with new solar parks costing between $US60 and $US90/MWh. Continue reading

July 11, 2015 Posted by | business, solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Telstra Business Award goes to Family-owned business Country Solar NT

solar-panels-localFamily-owned business Country Solar NT named 2015 Telstra Northern Territory Business of the Year CRAIG DUNLOP NT NEWS JULY 04, 2015

A FAMILY-owned business has taken out the Territory’s most prestigious business prize just five short years after opening its doors.

Country Solar NT, which is owned by husband and wife team Jeremy and Pam Hunt, was named 2015 Telstra Northern Territory Business of the Year at a gala ceremony at the Darwin Convention Centre last night.

The company, which began with the couple selling solar panels from the back of their ute, now has clients all across the Top End, including schools, supermarkets and remote communities.

Mr Hunt said the business was committed to providing a high quality local service.

“We’re local and we want to ensure that locals are getting the best renewable energy products available at the best prices to meet their energy needs,” he said.

“Amid the ever-changing rules about solar PV and the past performance of fly-in fly-out solar contractors, we have provided a stable alternative for the home, business and government markets.”

Mr Hunt said the business was committed to the local community and providing sustainable energy………http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/family-owned-business-country-solar-nt-named-2015-telstra-northern-territory-business-of-the-year/story-fnk2tq5v-1227428467238

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Northern Territory, solar | Leave a comment

Victoria, unlike USA, may slash solar tariff, rather than promote home solar

Parkinson-Report-

For intense, apart from avoided, line losses, there is no credit for network benefits, or environmental benefits. The contrast with some US states, where pricing regulators put the “fair” solar tariff at close to the retail price, is striking.

Regulator wants to slash Victoria solar tariff by 20 per cent http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/regulator-wants-to-slash-victoria-solar-tariff-by-20-per-cent-67417 By  on 2 July 2015 Victorian energy regulator the Essential Services Commission has recommended that the minimum feed-in-tariff paid for surplus rooftop solar output fed back into the grid be cut to 5c/kWh from the current level of 6.2c/kWh in 2016.

The recommendation, included in a report released this week, suggest that the falling cost of wholesale electricity prices – coincidentally the result of reduced demand and increased renewable energy – justifies the cut. [good graph here on original]  Continue reading

July 2, 2015 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Local community funds Repower Shoalhaven renewable energy investment scheme

Repower Shoalhaven renewable energy investment scheme funded by locals, SMH, June 29, 2015 Kieran Gair First, it was the local bowling club. Then the churches. In the Shoalhaven, community solar power is on the rise.

Renewable energy is expected to supply almost 60 per cent of Australian electricity by 2040, according to research by  Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which found the fall in renewable energy prices  would drive a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

One community in NSW has already reaped the benefits of an early move to community-owned renewable energy. Non-profit Repower Shoalhaven installed Australia’s first investor-owned community solar project on the roof of the Shoalhaven Heads Bowling Club last year.

solar Shoalhaven Heads Bowling Club

Repower raised $145,000 for the project in just two weeks, with 80 per cent of the cost coming from “mum and dad” investors.

The company has just completed its second community solar investment project in the Illawarra region on Figtree Anglican Church and Nowra City Church.

Head of Repower Shoalhaven Chris Cooper said demand for renewable energy is growing as it becomes cheaper. “People want clean energy and they want secure investments and previously there was no real opportunity to do that so we created a system where the community pays for the solar power system and the business repays community investors via a power purchase agreement.

The Repower solar financing model allows local businesses to purchase community-owned renewable energy at a cheaper rate than grid power.

Figtree Anglican Church member and University of Wollongong Sustainable Building Research Centre masters student Daniel Jones said community owned solar had significantly reduced the overall electricity costs associated with running the church…….http://www.smh.com.au/environment/repower-shoalhaven-renewable-energy-investment-scheme-funded-by-locals-20150629-ghwmmk.html

July 1, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | 1 Comment

All year round vegetable production from huge solar glasshouse in New South Wales

solar glasshouseMassive solar-powered glasshouse in NSW Hunter Valley to employ refugees, migrants , ABC News, By Jackson Vernon  21 June 15 Construction is underway on Australia’s biggest glasshouse, in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, which is solar powered and already providing employment opportunities for new migrants and refugees.

Excavators have started the groundwork on the vegetable growing facility at Fullerton Cove, about 40 minutes outside of Newcastle. At more than 16 hectares, it will cover the size of 20 rugby fields.Dutch investor Cor Disselkoen has developed glasshouses throughout the Netherlands and has brought in materials and labour for construction here.

highly-recommendedOnce operating, the facility will produce 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicums every year. “We are producing 14 times more per square metre so we have a huge production compared to open field growing,” Mr Disselkoen said.

“It’s year-round, reliable, independent from whatever climactic circumstances so we can guarantee year around delivery to our clients.” Continue reading

June 21, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Rooftop solar taking over in South Australia – the test State for Renewable Energy

Parkinson-Report-Rooftop solar to cut total grid demand to zero in South Australia, text-relevantREneweconomy  By  on 18 June 2015 See also Rooftop solar to overtake coal capacity before 2030

The Australian Energy Market Operator predicts that the growing uptake of rooftop solar by homes and businesses will reduce grid demand in South Australia on certain occasions to zero by 2023, highlighting the rapid change in the nature of energy markets, and the growing shift from centralised baseload generation.

The predictions from AEMO came in its 2015 National Electricity Forecasting Report, released on map solar south-australiaThursday. It says that the near 575MW of rooftop solar is already accounting for one-third of total grid demand on certain days in the state.

But within a decade this total could treble, pushing minimum demand required from the grid in the whole state to below 0MW (zero) on some occasions in 2023-24, and for several hours at a time by 2024/25 – when AEMO expects 1864MW of rooftop solar.

It says zero demand from the grid could last from 11.30am to 2.30pm local time on some days………..

South Australia will be a test case for Australia, and indeed the world, because of its high level of “variable renewables” such as wind and solar in its energy mix.  Continue reading

June 20, 2015 Posted by | solar, South Australia | 1 Comment

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