Australian news, and some related international items

Wind energy company calls for inquiry into wind energy and health

Pacific Hydro supports calls for wind farm health probe June 14, 2012  A wind energy company, Pacific Hydro, has backed calls for a study into the health effects of wind farms and power generation. The company’s general manager, Lane Crockett, backed the suggestion during a meeting on wind farms in Portland on Tuesday.

A Senate inquiry last year recommended the Government should fund a health assessment. Mr Crockett says the Government should launch a broad-ranging inquiry into the claimed health problems caused by power generation.
“If you really want to have a broad conversation about what forms of power generation are appropriate to power Australia, then you should do a health review of all forms of power generation,” he said.

June 14, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | | Leave a comment

The week in nuclear news – Australia

Nuclear propaganda booming, even if nuclear industry is declining. Barry Brook comes out with magical prospects for Australia’s nuclear future.  Martin Ferguson spruiks for uranium mining in Queensland, but Premier Newman will stick to his electoral promise to keep uranium mining ban in Queensland.

BHP Billiton – interesting times, as its former wonder boy, CEO Marius Kloppers is at odds with investors, who are justifiably worried about BHP’s plan for big new Olympic Damn uranium mine, – its economic viability not looking good. But Tony Abbott pledges his troth to it.

Giant cuttlefish.  Australian Greens call for  a halt to industrial development, especially desalination plant, at Point Lowly, because of danger of extinction of this unique animal.

Carbon tax. As Minister Greg Combet points out, Australia is one of 30+ countries with carbon pricing, dispelling the claims made by Tony Abbott, as the start date for the tax, July 1, grows near.

Nuclear spin.  Apparently getting more desperate to convince Australians, the nuclear lobby touts the idea of small nuclear reactors to power  rural mining sites.

Western Australia  Conservation Council of WA  and Aborignal elder Glen Cooke lodge separate appeals against the EPA’s approval of Toro Energy’s planned uranium mine at Wiluna

Solar power- Giant solar energy project due to be operational near Broken Hill, by 2015. Solar PV on rooftops going ahead – and the electricity grids can cope with plenty more.

Wind power  Victorian and NSW governments out of step with community.  Clean Energy Council’s survey finds that 80% of Australians regard wind energy as not harmful to health.

June 14, 2012 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Demand for solar PV can only grow in Australia: get used to it!

An increase in electricity costs will increase demand for PV. Reading through AEMO’s report again (which we helped model), they define their “rapid uptake scenario” as being driven by “relatively large” increases in electricity price, “rapid system price reductions” and a “clear incentive” from Government. Under this scenario, they predict 18GW of rooftop PV by 2030.

We now have two out of three and arguably, the Carbon tax is the clear incentive.

get on board with PV or get out of the way. Its coming whether you like it or not. 

NSW power price rises underscore case for solar REneweconomy, By    13 June 2012, The Independent Regulatory and Pricing Tribunal (IPART) today released its final price determination for 2012-2013 electricity prices. Continue reading

June 14, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment

Queensland Premier Newman will retain Queensland’s ban on uranium mining

Newman resists calls to lift uranium ban, Brisbane Times, June 13, 2012 Queensland will take note of calls to change its stance on uranium if the prime minister takes up the cause, Premier Campbell Newman says. Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson today urged Queensland to lift its mining ban..

…. But Mr Newman intends to keep his promise to the electorate not to mine uranium. “Our position hasn’t changed, we have no plans to mine uranium,” he told reporters in Brisbane. But the premier says he’d be interested in hearing the view of the wider federal government. “I’m interested particularly on what the prime minister’s position is, will she support it as well?” he said…..
Australian Conservation Foundation uranium campaigner Dave Sweeney says Mr Ferguson is out of touch with community opinion, and that of Mr Newman.
“During the campaign Mr Newman said, ‘the LNP has made it crystal clear that we have no plans to approve the development of uranium in Queensland’,” he said. Mr Sweeney called on Mr Ferguson to focus on reviewing and improving
the performance of the existing Australian uranium industry.

June 14, 2012 Posted by | politics, Queensland | 1 Comment

Big Solar is NOT more beautiful than Small Solar energy

“Solar Flagships is an idea full of good intentions, but it is grandiose and cumbersome,” says Giles Parkinson, pointing out the project won’t be up and running until 2015; whereas the ACT Solar Auction will have projects up and running well before then.”

 the Australian solar PV industry installed over 800 megawatts in the prior calendar year alone using a market-based policy mechanism which entirely avoided the need for government to get involved in picking a winning project

Solar Flagships – ‘Grandiose And Cumbersome’  by Energy Matters, 14 June 12,   Seeing large scale solar getting a bit of a helping hand in Australia certainly isn’t a bad thing per se; but just how good a deal is it for the battling Aussie taxpayer?

AGL Energy and USA-based First Solar were recently announced the successful grantees in the Australian Government’s troubled Solar Flagships Program.

The $450 million project will see two solar panel based facilities established – one in Broken Hill and another in Nyngan. Together, the facilities will boast 159 megawatts capacity, enough to supply the electricity needs of approximately 30,000 homes. The Federal government is kicking in $129.7 million and the NSW Government has committed to provide $64.9 million to the projects; totalling $194.6 million in grants – or  $1.22 per watt of capacity.

While AGL (and its shareholders), First Solar (and its shareholders) and Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson may be rejoicing, some industry commentators haven’t shared the exuberance. Continue reading

June 14, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment

First solar shares jump with news of large solar projects

First Solar Shares up over 21%  : Investor Guide  ,  June 13th, 2012 Shares of First Solar Inc.   the world’s number two provider of solar cells, rose +2.62 per share, or +21.25 percent on Tuesday, after the company announced plans to ramp up its production at its plant in Germany, which was slated for closure in October of this year.

Furthermore, First Solar disclosed late Monday that it had signed contracts for the construction of two large utility
projects for Australian energy provider AGL Energy….. Furthermore, First Solar announced late Monday that it was selected to design, construct and maintain two utility scale solar photovoltaic power projects which would total 159 megawatts for Australian energy company, AGL Energy Limited. The project is part of Australia’s Solar Flagships Program, a government project providing state and federal funding for Australia’s commitment to investment in renewable energy

June 14, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Albert Einstein’s Warning and the Ominous Fate of Fukushima Daiichi

There is every reason to suspect that the vital information about the full extent of the nuclear disaster in Japan is still being kept from the public; that the life-threatening damage to Japan’s nuclear infrastructure does not end with Fukushima #1. 

The Fukushima Debacle is Only in Its Infancy     The growing realization that the worst of the Fukushima debacle lies in the future rather than in the past puts in sharp relief the pertinence of Einstein’s observation.

Fukushima Daiichi: From Nuclear Power Plant to Nuclear Weapon Global Research, by Prof. Anthony Hall , 13 June 12, “Our world is faced with a crisis that has never before been envisaged in its whole existence… The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.” Albert Einstein, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May, 1946

Albert Einstein’s Warning and the Ominous Fate of Fukushima Daiichi
As the bad news gradually spreads that the debacle at Fukushima nuclear power plant #1 is becoming more perilous rather than less so, the words of Albert Einstein come to mind. Recall that the legendary physicist, Einstein, helped to set in motion the Manhattan Project whose personnel designed and built the first atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945…..
Albert Einstein worried that human ways of thinking could not be made to adapt to the changes brought to the world by the tapping the enormous energy sources emanating from the molecular constitution of inner space.

Japan as Laboratory Continue reading

June 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global solar power investment up 52% in 2011 – Australia has great opportunity

If you go back two or three years ago, solar was very much a potential technology. Now it’s a reality, and grid parity is rapidly approaching.”

“Solar resources in Australia are huge and world-leading… The case for solar makes a lot of sense in Australia.”

Global investment in solar power jumped 52% in 2011: Report Startup Smart, By Michelle Hammond, 13 June 2012 Global investment in the renewable energy sector surged by 17% to a record $257 billion in 2011, a new report reveals, while total investment in solar power jumped by a whopping 52%. Continue reading

June 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Inspirational New Book – “Loving This Planet”

Together with some of the most brilliant thinkers and inspiring advocates of our time, including Maude Barlow, Bill McKibben, Daniel Ellsberg, Lily Tomlin, and many others, Caldicott—whom Meryl Streep has called “my inspiration to speak out”—scrutinizes our unsustainable dependence on nuclear energy and the absurdity of nuclear arms and seeks to raise awareness about other planetary issues, including deforestation, sea-level rise, and privatization of water reserves.

Loving This Planet Leading Thinkers Talk About How to Make a Better World HELEN CALDICOTT paperback $17.95

God bless Helen Caldicott. LOS ANGELES TIMES  Ever since quitting her job as a pediatrician at Harvard Medical School in 1980, Helen Caldicott has worke d tirelessly for a safe, sustainable, nuclear-free planet, most recently by hosting a weekly radio show featuring environmentalists and leading activists from around the globe.

Together with some of the most brilliant thinkers and inspiring advocates of our time, including Maude Barlow, Bill McKibben, and many others, Caldicott—whom Meryl Streep has called “my inspiration to speak out”—scrutinizes our unsustainable dependence on nuclear energy and the absurdity of nuclear arms and seeks to raise awareness about other planetary issues, including deforestation, sea-level rise, and privatization of water reserves.

In these stirring conversations, we hear from Martin Sheen on the power of grassroots movements and the ability of unionized labor to influence politicians; Jonathan Schell, bestselling author and contributing editor to The Nation and Harper’s Magazine, on key environmental and economic fallacies; and award-winning nuclear engineer Arjun Makhijani on transitioning to a society based completely on renewable energy, omitting the need for fossil fuels or nuclear power. Continue reading

June 14, 2012 Posted by | Resources | Leave a comment

Latest renewable energy news video

Energy Matters Video News – Episode 68 – June 13, 2012, by Energy Matters, Presented by Energy Matters team member Virginia, we take a look at some of the stories from Australia and around the world recently added to ou rrenewable energy news section.

Virginia reports on REC enhancing performance of its award-winning Peak Energy solar panels, one of the tricks and traps when buying solar, renewables accounting for half of all new power generation globally and solar panels being developed to work underwater…..

June 14, 2012 Posted by | Audiovisual | Leave a comment

Australia’s electricity networks can cope with plenty more Solar PV power

Networks Should Have Nothing To Fear From Solar PV, Energy Matters, by Giles Parkinson, editor of, 14 June 12A new study led by the CSIRO has questioned the validity of fears that widespread deployment of solar PV could not be supported by the electricity grid, and says Australia could support a lot more solar PV with minimum fuss.
The integration of intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar has been a major issue in discussions about the deployment of clean energy, but the CSIRO study says fears about solar have been overblown, in much the same way as they were about wind energy.

Glenn Platt, the head of CSIRO’s local energy systems division, who oversaw the team that wrote the detailed report, says it was commonly thought that the maximum amount of solar PV that could be supported by the grid without significant upgrades was 20 per cent.

“That’s a very common statement, but I’m not sure we have found much evidence to support that. The analysis shows we can have a heck of a lot more than 20 per cent,” Platt told RenewEconomy .

Indeed, modeling done by the study over four scenarios showed that there was negligible impact on either strong urban or weak remote grids at 10 per cent penetration, and even at 40 per cent penetration there was hardly any impact on strong urban grids – variations in voltage at that level were minimal and would most likely go un-noticed by consumers……..
The important issue for Australia, the CSIRO said, was the need for a highly flexible electricity grid, and one that is designed or adapted for renewable energy sources – a conclusion that will no doubt reinforce fears that much of the current build out of $45 billion of additional grid infrastructure is ill-suited to meeting the challenges ahead, as well as imposing a massive cost on consumers.

June 14, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment