Australian news, and some related international items

Olympic Dam uranium uneconomic? might not proceed, but they will try to blame Australian government

the talk in the market is how big a write-down the company will have to make on these two acquisitions in the next 12 months, how much longer Kloppers will remain CEO, and what will happen to BHP’s pipeline of mega-growth projects. 

Miners review plans as tax bites, The Age,  Adele Ferguson, May 7, 2012  IN THE countdown to the federal budget miners have made a lot of noise about cost blowouts threatening tens of billions of dollars of projects due for final investment approval this year……..the budget may try and save itself billions of dollars a year by removing the diesel fuel excise rebate…..

The problem facing the government is a two-speed economy in which manufacturing, retail and tourism are being battered, while the mining sector and associated industries continue to do well but at a slowing pace.

This means if the government goes too far taxing the miners, it may give the miners the excuse they are looking for to pull the pin on some projects that are on the borderline of being uneconomic. Continue reading

May 7, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Despite police harrassment 500 women joined Koodankulam anti nuclear fast

Indefinite hunger strike against KKNPP gains momentum Chennai Online Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, May 4 : The ongoing fourth round of indefinite hunger strike against controversial Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) by the activists of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), a civil group spearheading the struggle against the nuclear project, gained momentum, with more number of women activists joining the fasting agitation today.

Nearly 500 women from the coastal hamlets around KKNPP joined the fast with 24 activists who were observing the fast-unto-death stir since May 1 last. The anti-nuclear protesters, including women and children, were assembling in large numbers in the protest venue. Talking to newsmen, M Pushparayan, a key activist of PMANE, claimed though more
number of women activists were willing to join the fast, they were being prevented and intimidated by the police.

The women from different villages had enrolled their names to participate in the indefinite fast but did not visit the venue due to possible police harassment, he said. “Police have blocked the entrance of the villages and threaten the hired vehicle drivers not to transport people to Idinthakarai village. Even if they dared, police threaten them to cancel their vehicle licenses. So, the drivers are not willing to come to Idinthakarai.

The police have deployed anti-riot vehicles Vajra and Varun at the entrances of the villages,” he said. Meanwhile, health condition of the 25 activists who were on fast since May 1, had started deteriorating and their pulse rates were going down. One of the activists, Vinoth was admitted to the hospital today, he added.

May 7, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

North Korea’s problem – nuclear missiles as phallic symbols

North Korea’s Performance Anxiety, NYT, By WILLIAM J. BROAD, May 5, 2012 “IT’S a boy,” Edward Teller exulted after the world’s first hydrogen bomb exploded in 1952 with a force 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

From the start, the nuclear era seethed with sexual allusions. Military officers joked about the phallic symbolism of their big missiles and warheads — and of emasculating the enemy. “Dr. Strangelove” mocked the idea with big cigars and an excited man riding into the thermonuclear sunset with a bomb tucked between his legs.

Helen Caldicott, the antinuclear activist, argued in the 1980s that male insecurity accounted for the cold war’s perilous spiral of arms. Her book? “Missile Envy.” Today, the psychosexual lens helps explain why North Korea, in addition to dire poverty and other crippling woes, faces international giggles over its inability to “get it up” — a popular turn of phrase among bloggers and some headline writers.

“Things like this never go away,” Spencer R. Weart, an atomic historian and director emeritus of the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics, said in an interview. “There’s little doubt that missiles are phallic symbols. Everybody agrees on that.”

On Friday, April 13, North Korea fired a big rocket on a mission to loft the nation’s first satellite into orbit. But it fell back to Earth with a splash……. The phallic symbolism once centered on success. Nowadays, at least with North Korea, it seems as if it’s more about dysfunction.

May 7, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

As Japan’s last nuclear reactor shuts, thousands cheer in Tokyo

Electricity shortages are expected only at peak periods, such as the middle of the day in hot weather, and critics of nuclear power say proponents are exaggerating the consequences to win public approval to restart reactors.

Japanese cheer as nuclear reactor shut for checkup SF Gate, Associated Press, May 6, 2012 Thousands of Japanese celebrated the switching off of the last of their nation’s 50 nuclear reactors Saturday, waving banners shaped like giant fish that have become a potent antinuclear symbol. Continue reading

May 7, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Member for Northern Victoria Donna Petrovich called to account on her claims against wind power

there is an onus on Ms Petrovich to come clean on her research if she is to stand by her claim that communities right across the Macedon and McHarg Ranges and big chunks of Central Victoria are “not appreciative” of this form of green and sustainable energy.

Yes to renewables did the ‘No Go’ zones come from?  May 7, 2012 by Cam Walker The following is a letter from last weeks Macedon Ranges Weekly
Where did the ‘No Go’ zones come from? Last year, the state government created a series of ‘No Go’ zones, which block wind energy developments across much of Victoria, including the Macedon – McHarg Ranges. The government seems to think these ranges extend almost as far north as Bendigo.

Member for Northern Victoria Donna Petrovich has said in state parliament that the No Go zones were “carefully” selected where communities “on the whole have told us that they are not appreciative of wind farms”.

Given the controversial nature of the No Go zones, and the widespread support for the Macedon and Castlemaine community wind proposals, it would be useful to understand how Ms Petrovich consulted the community
to reach her conclusion that wind power is unpopular. Continue reading

May 7, 2012 Posted by | politics, Victoria, wind | | Leave a comment

Mass media and State govt policies damaging Australia’s wind farm industry

Economics taking the wind out of farm’s sails, Canberra Times,  Graham Downie.May 7, 2012  “……. Infigen Energy, the largest wind farm owner in Australia, owns Capital Wind Farm, between Bungendore and Tarago, east of Canberra, which has 67 turbines.

The company has approval to almost double this. Only the present economics prevent the extension going ahead.

Mr Upson said about 20 new wind farms had been approved in Victoria and about six in NSW. These projects had been delayed by the ”small-scale screw up”. That had now been fixed by separating the small-scale and large-scale schemes but the glut of certificates remained.

Mr Upson said some elements of the media spread a lot of misinformation about wind energy. Certainly, turbines killed a small number of birds, but this was infinitesimal compared to the number of birds killed by power lines, motor vehicles, cats and pesticides.

He also dismissed concerns that wind farms caused illness. ”There is no independent, regulatory, scientific or medical body in the world that thinks wind turbines make people sick.”

With wind energy worldwide doubling every three years, there would be an epidemic of biblical proportions if wind turbines made people sick. ”There are wind turbines everywhere in Europe and no one is getting sick.”

Mr Upson said the wind industry worldwide had grown by more than 25 per cent each year for the past 15 years. ”I challenge you to think of another industry that has had this sustained and long-term growth.”

Wind produced less than 2 per cent of the total electricity demand in NSW and the ACT, but in South Australia, with a greater wind resource and less demand for electricity, wind produced about 25 per cent of that state’s total demand. At times, it reached about 70 per cent.

Though generation from wind turbines was variable, the Australian Energy Market Operator could now forecast wind energy throughout the grid with 98 per cent accuracy an hour ahead. This meant other generators were turned on or off as required.

Wind farms were expensive to build but were very cheap to run. So they could under bid coal and gas generators given suitable wind.

Infigen had plans to develop solar generation and would be pleased to be selected in the Solar Flagships program, he said. ”In which case we would build three large-scale solar facilities.” One would be at the Capital Wind Farm, one at Nyngan and one at Manildra. At present, generating electricity from even large-scale solar plants was about twice as expensive as from wind.

”May be by the middle of the decade it might be more competitive … to build a large-scale solar facility we need some sort of grant or subsidy.” 20120506-1y7bt.html#ixzz1uDQDJkG

May 7, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, wind | | Leave a comment

Australian company selling award-winning solar panels to Bulgaria

REC Inks 20MW Bulgarian Solar Panel Deals, by Energy Matters, 7 May 12, Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) has signed agreements to supply 20 MW of its award-winning solar panels for facilities throughout Bulgaria.

The company says it signed a deal for 10 MW with ALMA-D Ltd. to provide its 240 watt Peak Energy series modules to a 6 MW solar farm in Kamenar and a 4 MW plant in Kameno – both near the Black Sea in Bulgaria.

REC also signed three separate contracts with local Bulgarian partner Elektro-Solar Systems Ltd.  for 2, 3 and 5 MW solar electric generation plants; all of which will be constructed this year.

The company says the latest deals bring the total amount of REC modules installed in Bulgaria to 50 MW; boosting REC’s share in Bulgaria’s solar market to 15%.

n other recent REC news, the company sold a 6 MW solar farm in Bitterfeld, Germany to two investment companies in the Chorus Group. The facility consists of 27,096 REC modules installed on 13 hectares.
Earlier this year, the results of ongoing field testing of 46 solar module brands conducted by Photon Magazine during 2011 found REC solar panels to be the standout performer; generating 6 percent more electricity on average than the other polycrystalline, monocrystalline and thin film panels tested.

Among the other accolades for REC – a nomination for 2010’s prestigious Intersolar Photovoltaics Award and a Solar Industry Award for Module Innovation, also in 2010.

REC’s Peak Energy solar modules have become a common sight on the rooftops of Australian homes after Melbourne-based Energy Matters introduced the panels to the local home solar power market in June 2010.

Energy Matters is a REC Platinum Partner – the only company in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve that standing. The company was also Australia’s first accredited REC Solar Professional and is able to offer an extra 2 years product warranty on REC solar panels the firm installs.

May 7, 2012 Posted by | business, Victoria | Leave a comment