Australian news, and some related international items

News This Week: South Australia Nuclear Waste Plan, and Big Corporations go for Renewable Energy

a-cat-CANOn Monday February 15, the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain (sorry “Cycle’) Royal Commission will announce its “tentative findings” . They’re most likely to concentrate on importing nuclear wastes. The pretense may be kept up, that this is only a South Australian matter. But it’s possible that the Australian media will notice it, and no doubt commend it, too?

In this week’s news I single out two significant themes – 1. the analysis of Senator Sean Edwards’ plan for importing nuclear wastes, and 2. the fact that big corporations are investing in renewable energy. Now, isn’t Australia’s Liberal Coalition government supposed to be on the side of business? Are they aware that Telstra and AGL Energy are not, in fact, tree-hugging hippies out to destroy Australia’s economy?


2.    Telstra to rollout solar and battery storage technologies. Companies like AGL waiting for government clarity on renewable energy policy. Australia’s Biggest Electricity Company AGL launches $3b renewable energy fundAdani going for solar energy project in Australia.

South Australia  decision on nuclear expansion at end of 2016.


Hunt for site to dump LucasHeights radioactive trash. Friends of Omanama: A local community’s perspective on national nuclear waste storage. Senator Scott Ludlam backs 6 Australian communities opposing nuclear waste dump. Strong opposition to Hill End nuclear waste plan- petition

A big mistake to gut CSIRO climate change research.

They meant Environment Minister  Greg Hunt won World’s Best Milliner (not Minister).

Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency In bushfire season, Solar microgrids and batteries are safer than conventional grid.South Australia Riverland farmers get new crop – harvesting the sun. Clean Energy Finance Corporation funds Energy-efficient housing.


February 12, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Inescapable conclusion – nuclear waste dump plan for South Australia is areal dud

thumbs-downEdwards,-Sean-trashThe impossible dream Free electricity sounds too good to be true. It is. A plan to produce free electricity for South Australia by embracing nuclear waste sounds like a wonderful idea. But it won’t work.  The Australia Institute Briefing paper Dan Gilchrist February 2016 
“……Conclusion There are no magical solutions in the real world. When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
 Even setting aside the technological and economic problems of the Edwards plan, its impossibility can be deduced by a simple observation: it only works if no-one else does it. It is a Catch-22. If the plan is a technological success it will open up competition, which would make it an economic failure.
There is also the question of popular will: perhaps Australia’s edge would be in a unique willingness to implement such a plan? However, Australia has historically had a great deal of hostility toward the nuclear industry. If Australians could be convinced to embrace PRISMs and boreholes, surely some countries with an existing nuclear industry – countries which have, therefore, shown a much greater willingness to accept it – would also be willing to implement those solutions.
It makes far more economic sense to pay for your own boreholes, or PRISMs, or reprocessing, than it does to pay up to ten times the cost for Australia to do it for you – you would save on shipping and port costs, at least.
 Not every country would or could implement this solution, but it would take just one other nation on earth to provide competition. If the deal really is as attractive as Senator Edwards claims, surely at least one other nation would be tempted to take a share of such a wildly profitable business. Assuming that Australia will somehow maintain a monopoly in technologies it does not own is naïve.
 Deploying new technologies is inherently risky. PRISMs and boreholes may turn out to be massive white elephants financially, and leave us with thousands of tonnes of nuclear waste to deal with. But even if these technologies worked, some other countries would surely be in a position to implement them, and at a reduced risk, once Australia had piloted its development.
It is a plan which creates its own competition.
 In reality, there is no reason to think any country would pay what the Edwards plan assumes they will. With no mature nuclear power or waste industry, holding no monopoly on the technologies needed, and far from potential markets, there is no reason to think that Australia would have a competitive advantage. There is no reason to think that Australians will accept 56,000 tonnes of waste with no costed long-term solution.
No other country will line up to take advantage of this amazing opportunity, because it does not exist. Sadly, Senator Edwards’ dream is impossible.

February 12, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, wastes | 1 Comment

Australia Institute Analyses Senator Sean Edwards’ Nuclear Plan For South Australia

The impossible dream Free electricity sounds too good to be true. It is. A plan to produce free electricity for South Australia by embracing nuclear waste sounds like a wonderful idea. But it won’t work.  The Australia Institute Briefing paper Dan Gilchrist February 2016 


South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was established on 19 March 2015 and is due to report on its findings in May 2016. It is inquiring into the risks and opportunities to the economy, environment and community of the expansion or development of the nuclear fuel cycle.
Perhaps the most prominent plan has been the one championed by South Australian Senator Sean Edwards.1 He claims to be able to bring tremendous economic prosperity to South Australia, with the almost incredible by-product of providing free electricity to the state, and with money left over to reduce state taxes.
The plan involves being paid to take spent fuel from other countries and store it in Australia. The state can then use that old fuel to power a new generation of reactors, producing tiny quantities of easily handled waste. With money earned from taking troublesome radioactive materials off the hands of countries struggling with stocks of nuclear waste, South Australia can fund next-generation reactors.
The plan sounds perfect. The reality is far from it.
The Edwards plan ignores the cost of shipping the waste to Australia, and relies on technology that has never before been deployed commercially. It hopes that unjustified and unrealistic amounts of money will be paid for the disposal of waste.
Furthermore, although the plan includes the acceptance of 60,000 tonnes of waste, only 4,000 tonnes, at most, would be reprocessed for fuel. The remaining 56,000 tonnes would remain in temporary storage, with no funds left for future generations to deal with the problem.
 Even if the world fell into line just as Senator Edwards hopes, the plan fails to consider the obvious question: if Australia can generate free electricity from this spent fuel, wouldn’t other countries want to do the same? The plan makes no allowances for competition.

 Even if the countries of origin chose not to implement the miraculous technology proposed for South Australia, other countries could compete with Australia to provide this service. A plan predicated on monopoly profits of over 400 percent is, therefore, unrealistic.

The idea that an expanded nuclear industry in Australia will produce thousands of jobs and generate so much money that South Australians will be provided with free electricity is a wonderful dream. But like so many dreams, it is an impossible one.
The first section of this report outlines the key elements of the Edwards plan. 
The second section of the report provides a reality check. It shows that the plan fails to deal with over 90% of the imported waste, and then exposes the chief technological and economic risks in the scheme.
 The third section will consider a world in which the assumptions contained in the Edwards plan come true, and explores the possibility that other countries might go on to use the same technologies as Australia.
This paper will analyse the mid-scenario modelled in the Edwards plan – that is, 60,000 tonnes of spent fuel to be taken by Australia, with payments received of $1,370,000 per tonne – and follow the convention of using Australian dollars at their 2015 value, except where otherwise noted. Similarly, costings and claims are taken directly from the Edwards paper, except where otherwise noted. ………..

February 12, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | Leave a comment

Greens ready for #NuclearCommissionSAust report “all about waste dumping”

greens“It’s all about the dump”: Greens gear up for nuclear war, IN Daily, 12 Feb 16 The South Australian Greens are preparing for a sustained public relations assault from next week, in the assumption that the Royal Commission into the state’s nuclear fuel cycle will recommend the viability of a nuclear waste dump. The commission, headed by former Governor Kevin Scarce, will detail its “tentative findings” on Monday morning, preceding another round on consultation.

Greens MLC Mark Parnell told InDaily the party had prepared a variety of options for leaflets and online material, with staff “putting out a call to Greens members for volunteers to hand out flyers”.

“What we’re doing is trying to anticipate what the Royal Commission might come up with, so there will be no surprises that the waste dump is front and foremost in our thinking,” Parnell said.

“That’s on the basis that nuclear power is incredibly expensive and slow [so] they might recommend it but I always thought that was less likely. The processing and value-adding stuff – my understanding is economically it doesn’t stack up [and] of all the different things they’re looking at, it keeps coming back to the dump.”

He said insiders he had spoken to insist “it’s all about the dump”.

“That’s the impression that we’ve had since about a week after the Royal Commission was announced, once the terms of reference were announced… but we’re preparing for a few different scenarios so we can respond on Monday,” he said.

“We have several different versions ready to go.”

He said his party’s position on nuclear waste storage “hasn’t really changed over the past many years”, and suggested Labor should maintain the position it took in 2004, when it went to the High Court to kill off a federal proposal to establish a repository at Woomera. Continue reading

February 12, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Friends of Omanama: A local community’s perspective on national nuclear waste storage

                                   Public Meeting: Friday 12th February 6:30pm McIntyre Sports Centre Chilcott Street, Inglewood

  Presenters include:

Dr. Colin Owen – a local GP

Local speakers on the social, psychological, environmental impacts…

Video on nuclear medical waste & ANSTO’s safety record (Dr. Peter Karamoskos, MAPW)

 Members of the Inglewood/Omanama community have voiced their overwhelming support for a chance to hear the ‘Other Side of the Story’ when ‘Friends of Omanama’ host an open function in the MacIntyre Sports Centre Inglewood tonight.

The function is designed to give a balanced presentation of facts about the Regional and National consequences if Omanama (21 kms east of Inglewood) is chosen as the site for Australia’s National Nuclear Waste Management Facility.

In November 2015 Omanama was announced as one of six sites short listed to accommodate the facility. Since then, the community has been bombarded with Government press releases, Radio and TV interviews and Government-convened public meetings, consultations and meetings with individual local organisations. As a result many locals have said they feel confused, intimidated and anxious about the future. They have said they need to know more about the other side of the story.

‘Friends of Omanama’ Co-0rdinator Dr Colin Owen said the function was designed to inform the community about the Nuclear waste Dilemma and for everyone to hear a Community perspective on concerns, as opposed to the Government agenda.

Regardless of their views on the subject every member of the community is welcome to attend the function. The evening will conclude with a free sausage sizzle.


February 12, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Traditional Owners vow to fight nuclear proposals ahead of the Royal Commission’s draft report

logo ANFA

 Ahead of Monday’s release of the draft report of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, SA Traditional Owners are once again voicing strong opposition to proposals for expanded uranium mining and proposals for nuclear waste dumps and other nuclear projects.

Sue Coleman-Haseldine, co-chair of the Aboriginal-led Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, is a Kokatha-Mula woman from Ceduna and winner of the 2007 Premier’s Award for excellence for indigenous leadership in natural resource management.   Ms Coleman-Haseldine said: “I was born on Koonibba Aboriginal Mission in 1951. Atomic bomb tests began in the desert areas north of my birthplace in 1953 when I was two years old. First at Emu Fields and then Maralinga. I grew up under the Maralinga nuclear cloud. Do I want to see my state known worldwide as a nuclear waste dump? No. Do I have the right to subject our future generations to a life of nuclear fear? No. Accidents happen, be it at a uranium mine or on a nuclear freeway or at a nuclear reactor or a dump site.”

Kevin Buzzacott, Arabunna elder and President of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance said:  “We will fight this industry across the country, whether it be the expansion of uranium mining or a nuclear waste dump. It is our cultural obligation and responsibility to care for our land.  It’s time the government and nuclear industry acknowledge and listen to us.  There are and have been so many sick people as a result of this industry.  Why has there not been a Royal Commission into the intergenerational health impacts of this industry? How will this Royal Commission measure the risks and impacts on culture and country? You cannot put a number on these things.”

Copied below is a statement from SA Traditional Owners.



handsoffSouth Australian Traditional Owners say NO!

 Statement from a community meeting held in Port Augusta on Saturday 16 May, 2015 to discuss the Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.
We oppose plans for uranium mining, nuclear reactors and nuclear waste dumps on our land.
We call on the SA Royal Commission to recommend against any uranium mining and nuclear projects on our lands.
We call on the Australian population to support us in our campaign to prevent dirty and dangerous nuclear projects being imposed on our lands and our lives and future generations.
Endorsed by members from the following groups, Kokatha, Kokatha-Mirning, Arabunna, Adnyamathanha, Yankunytjatjara-Pitjanjatjara, Antikirinya-Yunkunytjatjara, Kuyani, Aranda, Western Aranda, Dieri, Larrakia, Wiradjuri


February 12, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia | Leave a comment

Senator Scott Ludlam backs 6 Australian communities opposing nuclear waste dump

Ludlam-in-SenateGreens senator wants towns off shortlist for waste dump site    A Greens senator has backed six Australian communities campaigning to stop a nuclear waste dump being established in their areas. The Weekly, Mudgee, NSW, 10 Feb 

Scott Ludlam addressed the Upper House on Thursday, drawing his colleagues’ attention to the strong opposition to the proposed waste dumps in Hill End; at Omanama in Queensland; Hale in the Northern Territory; and Cortlinye, Pinkawillinie and Barndioota in South Australia. e
 He moved that the Senate calls on the federal government to:
  • Acknowledge the opposition and lack of community support at all six sites, respect previous commitments on non-imposition and the importance of community consent, and remove all six sites from further consideration.
  • Initiate a genuinely independent inquiry to investigate long-term stewardship options for spent fuel, reprocessing waste, and other categories of radioactive waste, including drawing on international examples and experience.
  • Investigate options for active waste minimisation, including increased use of non-reactor based methods for radioisotope production.
  •  Clearly reaffirm policy and legislative prohibitions on the importation and disposal of international radioactive waste.
 Mr Ludlam’s call came just days after Calare MP John Cobb spoke in the House of Representatives about the level of opposition to the proposed waste dump in his own electorate. “The Hill End community … are, and will remain, united against the establishment of such a facility,” Mr Cobb said in parliament. “Hill End have requested that they be immediately ruled out and not have to wait until March for the government’s response as to which communities might continue dialogue over the placement of the facility.
“Minister Frydenberg has stated that those communities that the government will continue discussions with will be announced some time after March 11. I ask for the voices of Hill End to be listened to.”
Bathurst Regional Council also took a stand against the proposed dump last week, calling on the government to remove Hill End from the short list of sites before the March 11 deadline.

February 12, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Strong opposition to Hill End nuclear waste plan- petition

Protest-No!sign-thisPetition calls to halt Hill End waste plans  By ELLE WATSON , The Weekly, Mudgee, NSW, 10 Feb 16 Campaigners against a proposed nuclear waste dump at Hill End have taken to the streets of Mudgee to gather support for a petition to be presented to parliament later this month.
No Central Waste Nuclear Dump chairwoman Robyn Rayner collected signatures on Monday afternoon and will return before her February 29 deadline.  Since a public meeting at Hill End less than two weeks ago she has collected 15 pages of signatures.
 “We can’t say no any more or any stronger than what we’ve already done and yet when they [government representatives] were asked what their next step was they said that they were going to do a phone survey or pay for an independent survey and then they were going to come back and visit the directly affected neighbours one on one,” Mrs Rayner said.
“How much more of our time are they going to waste? Because we’re all farmers and when you’re dealing with animals there’s always something you have to be doing especially this time of year.
“They say it’s a process but why are they continually wasting money. Ok if they can’t make a decision until after the 120 days why are they still going about what they are doing … when it is 100 per cent unanimous against it and not one person has come out in favour of it other than the landowner.”
 Mrs Rayner said all direct neighbours attended the January 30 meeting bar one and all gave a show of hands objecting to the proposal.  The one neighbour who did not attend the meeting due to business commitment sent an email confirming his objection.
 A spokesperson from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said “with 120 days set for a formal public consultation period, the department will continue to run its consultation with the Hill End and the other sites until the close of the consultation period on March 11”.
 “The department is sending information on the project to all sites in February, including to the Hill End, Mudgee and Bathurst communities and stands ready to answer any questions to ensure communities are fully informed.   “At the end of this initial consultation period an independent survey company will survey the views of the community and provide this input to the department.”
Mid-Western Regional Council, Bathurst and Lithgow City Councils have all opposed the proposal.
 At a meeting last week Mudgee Chamber of Commerce members were unanimous in their opposition to the facility.
Submissions on the project can still be made by sending an email to

February 12, 2016 Posted by | New South Wales, Opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Senator Edwards’ fantasy of free nuclear electricity for South Australia

Free nuclear power is a fantasy: Report new report from The Australia Institute shows that a proposal to establish a global nuclear waste industry in South Australia would fail to secure 90% of the imported waste, leaving an expensive and risky legacy for the state.

The report was commissioned by the Conservation Council of South Australia to analyse the submission to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission by Liberal Senator Sean Edwards. The Royal Commission is due to release tentative results next week.

“The Edwards plan is deeply flawed. It is a plan funded by taking thousands of tonnes of nuclear waste, but would fail to process over 90% of that waste, leaving it to future generations to deal with,” said report author, The Australia Institute’s Dan Gilchrist.

Senator Edwards is proposing that South Australia imports 60,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel from other countries, and then leaves most of it, 56,000 tonnes, in dry cask storage which is designed for temporary use.


Report: The impossible dream: Free electricity sounds too good to be true. It is.

“The plan relies on technology that has never been deployed commercially – not with all the expertise in France or Germany or Japan or the United States.

“Indeed, logically, if a viable solution emerges, other countries will no longer pay Australia billions to hand over the waste.

“The plan fails to consider a basic economic principle: if Australia can generate free electricity – why wouldn’t other countries?

“Nothing in the plan explains what our great-great grandchildren are meant to do with this legacy. Indeed, the plan never mentions the leftover waste, as if it was not worth worrying about. Worse, all the money is spent in the first 50-60 years. Nothing is left to deal with the leftover waste.

“In many ways it is like a vastly complex loan. Australia will ‘borrow’ many billions of dollars, spend the lot, and leave it to future generations to pay it back. Indeed, a loan would be better, since it would not require South Australia to store tens of thousands of tonnes of radioactive material in the meantime.

“It is no wonder that Senator Edwards has been able to promise free electricity and reduced taxes. He is spending someone else’s money. Eventually, however, the piper must be paid.”

February 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Sean Edwards proposal for nuclear pot of gold – a myth, says South Australia’s Conservation Council

Nuclear Pot of Gold is a Myth Conservation Council of South Australia, 11 Feb 16  The state’s peak environment body has welcomed today’s release of a new report that questions grandiose claims of an economic bonanza arising from the creation of a global nuclear industry in South Australia.

The report The impossible dream. Free electricity sounds too good to be true – it is was prepared by leading economic think-tank The Australia Institute.  The Conservation Council of South Australia commissioned The Australia Institute to analyse the submission of Senator Sean Edwards to the SA Nuclear Royal Commission.

Conservation SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins said the analysis presented a much-needed dose of reality.

“There’s been a lot of grandiose claims made about a nuclear waste-led economic boom for our state, including free power and the scrapping of all state taxes,” Mr Wilkins said.

“The reality is there is no magic pot of gold.

“The Edwards proposal manages to ignore basic economic laws of supply and demand while leaving tens of thousands of tonnes of highly radioactive nuclear waste for future generations to deal with.

“Either way you look at it the Edwards proposal contains high risk and fuzzy logic.

“Either South Australia solves the problem of long-term safe storage of toxic nuclear waste – a problem that no other country has yet been able to fix despite decades of research and failed proposals – in which case other countries will simply follow our lead and we quickly lose our monopoly position that underpins the economic case Senator Edwards is making, or we don’t solve it and are left with a social, economic and environmental nightmare for our state.

“This is not a legacy we should be leaving for our children.”

The Royal Commission is due to release tentative results Monday morning at 11am.

The Australia Institute Report can be found here and attached below. The Edwards submission can be found here. The Conservation SA submission to the Royal Commission can be found here. A critique of the Royal Commission can be found here.

February 11, 2016 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Even Adelaide newspaper aware of unrealism of Sen Edwards nuclear fantasy

Edwards,-Sean-trashSA senator’s nuclear waste ‘dream’ slammed Adelaide Now 11 Feb 16 A South Australian senator’s claim that establishing a nuclear waste processing industry could help deliver free energy and reduce state taxes is an “impossible dream”, a think-tank says.

Liberal Senator Sean Edwards last year told the state’s nuclear fuel cycle royal commission that SA should recycle other countries’ spent fuel rods and use the money earned to install generators.

 But a report by The Australia Institute, commissioned by the Conservation Council SA, says while the plan “sounds perfect, the reality is far from it”.

“The Edwards plan ignores the cost of shipping waste to Australia and relies on technology that has never before been deployed commercially,” the report said.

“It hopes that unjustified and unrealistic amounts of money will be paid for the disposal of waste.”

February 11, 2016 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Senator Sean Edwards’ Impossible Nuclear Dream

Edwards,-Sean-trashThe impossible dream: Free electricity sounds too good to be true. It is. A new report from The Australia Institute shows that a proposal to establish a global nuclear waste industry in South Australia would fail to secure 90% of the imported waste, leaving an expensive and risky legacy for the state.

The report was commissioned by the Conservation Council of South Australia to analyse the submission to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission by Liberal Senator Sean Edwards. The Royal Commission is due to release tentative results next week.

Senator Edwards is proposing that South Australia imports 60,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel from other countries, and then leaves most of it, 56,000 tonnes, in dry cask storage which is designed for temporary use.

February 11, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Telstra to rollout solar and battery storage technologies

Aust-sunTelstra takes on energy utilities with home solar and storage plan, Independent Australia Giles Parkinson 11 February 2016  Telstra’s rollout of solar and battery storage looks to be a game-changer in the home energy market. RenewEconomy‘sGiles Parkinson reports. 

AUSTRALIA TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant Telstra plans to accelerate the rollout of solar and battery storage technologies, and is looking to offer home energy services to millions of consumers in the first sign it will take on the major energy utilities.

Telstra has established a dedicated project team to be led by Ben Burge, the feisty CEO of Powershop and Meridian Energy Australia,which has made major inroads into the Australian energy oligopoly, and which has been a keen proponent of wireless technology and smart-phone apps.

The arrival of a giant corporation such as Telstra into the home energy market signals massive change in the industry, as new technologies such as solar and battery storage, and the “internet of things” offer new avenues to the consumer market.

Telstra is flagging the possibility of offering home energy services – including solar and battery storage – as part of its bundled services that includes internet and telephone.

Telstra’s head of new business, Cynthia Whelan says in her corporate blog:

We see energy as relevant to our Connected Home strategy, where more and more machines are connected in what is called the Internet of Things.

We are looking at the opportunities to help customers monitor and manage many different aspects of the home, including energy……..

Analysts have predicted for several years now that the traditional energy industry would come under attack from new players such as telcos, and IT giants such as Google.

Mark Coughlin, the head of utilities at PwC, says electricity utilities, are facing their “Kodak moment” as the emergence of rooftop solar, in combination with battery storage and smart software, shift the power from the utility to the customer.

And, he says, telcos such as Telstra are better at consumer service than energy utilities, which will struggle to maintain their right to survive. …….,8666

February 11, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, solar, storage | Leave a comment

Companies like AGL waiting for government clarity on renewable energy policy

highly-recommendedAGL puts an each-way bet on renewable energy, The Age February 11, Turnbull climate 2 faced2016  AGL:Environmental terrorist or evangelist? Take your pick but financial pragmatist is probably the best description.

The fact is that this company makes most of its earnings off the back of carbon producing coal-fired energy production and is using the proceeds to seed a $3 billion renewable energy fund that will invest in clean sources of power like solar and wind.

There is nothing new age environmentally conscious in this. Like any corporation that is looking to maximise returns, AGL (like several others) understands that the writing is on the wall for the the production of dirty energy – in the longer term. Thus it is making an each-way bet on the future.

Make no mistake, companies like AGL make investment decisions primarily with reference to investment returns rather than environmental outcomes – regardless of the rhetoric. This is the company that last week announced it was winding down its interest in the coal seam gas industry.

Once again it was influenced by community uproar and protests about fracking in their back yards but the decision was one centred on the the gas supply/demand equation and the capital costs of firming up an unreliable coal seam gas resource……..

Renewables tipped to pay off

Longer term it is clear that AGL is taking a punt that the balance will ultimately move between clean renewable energy and the dirty stuff which earns its healthy profits today – hence this week’s creations of the renewables fund.

One of its existing clean energy assets will be effectively vended into this new renewables fund…….

To really move the dial towards producing cleaner energy, companies like AGL need stronger support from the government which under the Abbott government gave them little certainty about how much support and financial incentive would be given to green policies.

And AGL is the first to admit that the changes in government policies over the past 4 -5 years has made investment decisions difficult.

Ultimately AGL, which is the country’s largest generator, its largest emitter of greenhouse gases and the largest builder and operator of renewable energy is a particularly important part of the conversation about Australia’s energy use and generation.

And as such the allocation of its investment should exert some influence on government policy. But it is limited in how fulsome any commitment to investment in clean energy can be until it can be secure with the level and the timing it will receive from legislators. :

February 11, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Big Electricity Company AGL launches $3b renewable energy fund

Aust-sunAGL Energy going greener with launch of $3b renewable energy fund, SMH February 10, 2016 Angela Macdonald-Smith  Electricity major AGL Energy has taken its most decisive steps yet to reposition itself for a lower-carbon future, launching a $3 billion renewable energy project fund and investing $US20 million ($28.4 million) in a Californian solar and battery storage developer.

The latest moves come less than a week after the country’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases announced it would quit natural gas production and caps what chief executive Andy Vesey describes as a “very significant strategic pivot” during his first 12 months in the role.

The new unlisted fund will hold AGL’s recently completed solar power projects in western NSW and will be partly owned by AGL, which will contribute $200 million in equity, alongside partners which are likely to be local infrastructure funds.

AGL’s exit from gas production incurred a $640 million after-tax write-down, as flagged last week, which drove the company into the red in the first half……..

Mr Vesey said the strong performance of AGL’s core business “highlights that we are well positioned to capitalise on the evolution occurring in the energy sector”, leading to the launch of the Powering Australian Renewables Fund, which he had hinted at late last year.

The fund will aim to develop at least 1000 megawatts of large-scale renewables projects, about 20 per cent of capacity needed to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target, at a cost of $2 billion to $3 billion.

Feedback from “soft soundings” among potential co-investors has been positive, with the line-up of partners likely to be finalised towards the end of June, Mr Vesey said. Australia’s large banks are likely to contribute senior debt, while mezzanine financing could also be involved, said chief financial officer Brett Redman.

Green welcomeGreen groups welcomed news of the fund, with Clean Energy Council head Kane Thornton describing it as the sort of move that is “crucial to unlocking the many thousands of megawatts of renewable energy projects that are ready and waiting to be built around Australia.”

February 11, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy | Leave a comment


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