Australian news, and some related international items

Distributed solar energy is transforming Australia’s electricity system

Energy myths exposed: King Coal or King Solar? “   The Conversation,  by Ray Wills, Adjunct Professor, School of Earth and Environment at University of Western Australia and Peter Newman Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University   16 June 2012, “…….. A new report was released by the Australian PV Association (APVA)… It reveals a total of 837 MW of PV was installed in Australia in 2011, capacity not considered in the BREE publication. Add 2668 MW from BREE to 837 MW from APVA and we find solar delivered an amazing 25% of new installed capacity in Australia in 2011. Revised proportions for the other generation is gas 29%, wind 33% and coal 14%. Renewables added a remarkable 58% of all electricity generation capacity in Australia in 2011.

King Coal is well and truly on the way out. What’s more, renewables now make up over half of all new power being generated in Australia.

There is a major challenge in Australia, and globally, to understand the rapidly changing scene of energy investment toward sustainable energy. The agencies responsible for reporting these metrics are not reporting the whole picture, because the conventional view of energy markets doesn’t consider you can generate a lot of electricity on homes……. Continue reading

June 16, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | | Leave a comment

All is not well with Australia’s uranium industry

for all the hype, uranium accounts for a lousy 0.3% of Australian export revenue and a negligible 0.02% of Australian jobs. The industry’s future depends on the nuclear power “renaissance”, but global nuclear power capacity has been stagnant for the past 20 years. 

The uranium price tanked after the Fukushima disaster and so far there is no sign of a bounce.

Australian uranium industry in trouble after Fukushima, June 2, 2012,Green Left, By Jim Green A protest walk from Wiluna to Perth took place last year against the proposed Wiluna uranium mine.

These are interesting times in the uranium sector. The mining companies have had a few wins in the 14 months since the Fukushima disaster, but they’ve had more losses.

Bill Repard, organiser of the Paydirt Uranium Conference held in Adelaide in February, put on a brave face with this claim: The sector’s hiccups in the wake of Fukushima are now over with, the global development of new nuclear power stations continues unabated, and the Australian sector has literally commenced a U-turn in every sense. Continue reading

June 16, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

New South Wales govt wants Aborigines to get into the uranium business

Land council looks to far west uranium exploration,  Margaret Paul,ABC News,  June 15, 2012   The State Government is encouraging the Broken Hill Aboriginal Land Council to apply for uranium exploration licences.
Applications for exploration licences open yesterday, after the government lifted a decades-old ban on uranium exploration earlier this year.

The Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher, says it is very likely large deposits of uranium exist around Broken Hill…… He says he has met with the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, and encouraged them to formally apply for an exploration licence. Continue reading

June 16, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, New South Wales | 1 Comment

Robots detect extremely high radiation above Fukushima nuclear reactor No.2

High Radiation Detected On Floor Above Crippled Fukushima Reactor 6/15/2012 (RTTNews) – Extremely high level of radiation has been detected on a floor just above the No.2 reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, the plant operator said on Thursday The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said a reading of 880 millisieverts per hour of radiation was detected on the fifth floor, which is 4.5 meters above the reactor containment vessel. The reading was taken by a robot
which the company deployed in the reactor building on Wednesday.

Tepco suspects that radioactive substances leaked from the No.2 reactor moved through the location. It could not find the exact route the radioactive substances moved even after analyzing the images taken by the robot, Japanese media reported.

The No.2 reactor is believed to have released the largest amount of radioactive substances during the Fukushima nuclear accident caused by the disastrous earthquake and the massive tsunami it unleashed on Japan’s north-east on March 11, 2011. But the overall route they took has not been determined. Residents in 20 kilometer radius of the stricken plant had been evacuated following the accident, the second biggest after Chernobil.

Tepco needs to find and repair the damaged parts of the reactor to recover melted nuclear fuel before starting to decommission the reactor. But it says high radiation often stops workers from entering the building.

June 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Indian govt brands anti nuclear protestors as seditious and mentally ill

NIMHANS psychiatrists, to their shame, are striving to help people “understand the importance of the nuclear power plant.” They treat opposition to nuclear power as a disorder like schizophrenia, paranoia, or craving for victimhood.

Demonising anti-nuclear protests, The Daily Star, Praful Bidwai, 15 June 12, So monumen-tally arrogant is India’s nuclear establishment that it brazenly brands its critics insane and in need of psychiatric treatment. It has asked the state-run National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) to “counsel” the tens of thousands protesting against the Koodankulam nuclear power station in Tamil Nadu that it’s perfectly safe.

This marks a new offensive to impose nuclear power upon people who have resisted Koodankulam’s Russian-made reactors since 1988. After Fukushima, the presumption that fears about nuclear hazards are irrational betrays delusional insensitivity.

The police have filed 107 First Information Reports against an incredible 55,795 people in Koodankulam, charging 6,800 of them with “sedition” and “waging war.” This sets a new record in harassment of popular protests anywhere. Leave alone sedition, there hasn’t been one violent incident during the seven-months-long Koodankulam protests. Continue reading

June 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Farming the winds can pump $17 billion into Australia’s economy

“Wind farming can help farmers generate significant extra funds for local suppliers, contactors, shopkeepers, community facilities and more,”.. can help farmers earn vital extra income, make better use of farming land and insure against downturns in key commodities.”

the construction of the “typical wind farm” of around 25 to 30 turbines can produce 48 direct building jobs and provide indirect employment of around 160 people locally, 504 state-wide and 795 nationwide.

Wind farms to create $17b – study, AAP June 15, 2012  WIND farms could pump more than $17 billion into
Australia’s economy if proposed projects were to go ahead, a new report says. Continue reading

June 16, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | | Leave a comment

Small Pacific Islands take a big lead in renewable eneergy

Pacific pledge to switch to renewable energy, June 15, 2012   Pacific Island nations have pledged to dump diesel and similar fuels they use to produce energy and replace them with renewable power sources.

Tuvalu, Tokelau and Cook Islands’ leaders outlined their renewable energy targets this week. The Deputy Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Kausa Natano has told Pacific Beat the implementation of renewable energy schemes in small island states is very important. “I think everyone’s supported the idea of energy efficiency as it will save a lot of funds from their budgets and could be used for other social developments in respective countries,” he said.

Their pledges came at a meeting of small island states in Barbados, West Indies. Their nations plan to rely on sources like coconut biofuel, solar energy and wind energy by the end of the decade.
Their declaration will be taken to the Rio Plus 20 Earth Summit in Brazil next month. Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, of the United Nations Development Program, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat  it was “tremendous leadership on the part of small island developing states.”

“They have stepped out, they have set themselves targets that they are willing to work towards to achieve,” she said.
“We had some donor partners – Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom – that actually also made the commitment to support these small island states as they move forward to try and support the transformation of their societies.”

He says donor partners – Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom – have committed to support the small island states in their transformation.

June 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Carbon Capture and Storage – a failed dream

”It was never going to be viable,” Greens leader Senator Christine …  the fact is it is not going to work … it’s too expensive, it’s last century and we don’t need it because we have got renewables … Why would you stick with the horse and buggy era when you can move on?”

 Australia will not be able to use carbon capture and storage as planned. That means it will need to rework the assumptions underpinning its crucial carbon tax reform – among them the role of coal-fired electricity generation in Australia, the cost of emission reductions, and the idea that we can be part of a global effort to limit global warming while continuing to export
billions of dollars worth of coal.

Climate strategy up in smoke, The Age, Lenore Taylor, June 16, 2012 IT WAS the technology that was going to help underpin the nation’s climate change strategy. In 2009, the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, pledged to ”lead the world” in carbon capture and storage technology, which traps carbon dioxide emissions, permanently storing them deep underground.
The Rudd and Gillard governments allocated almost $2.5 billion to push the idea, which would be used to ”clean up” coal-fired power stations in Australia and in the countries to which we will export $44 billion worth of coal this year.

But so far there is almost nothing to show for their effort. Instead, the fledgling technology is struggling. Continue reading

June 16, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | | Leave a comment

Malaysian government imposes two new “flimsy” conditions on Lynas rare earths project

“The two conditions are flimsy and general in nature. They are not specific enough and will in no way safeguard or appease the fears of residents living in the area,”

 The group plans to challenge the government decision in court …

.. The ministry said the refinery would only be allowed to operate once Lynas complies with all the requirements, including the two extra conditions…… the government review has blocked the company from bringing in raw material. 

Malaysia imposes 2 more conditions on controversial rare earth plant by Australian miner, Washington Post, By Associated Press, June 14, KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s government has imposed two new conditions on a rare earth refinery set up by Australian miner Lynas to assuage public fears of radioactive pollution. Continue reading

June 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian rare earths company Lynas backing out of its processing project in Africa

Lynas Likely To Give Up Rare Earths Project in Africa International Business Times,  By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | June 14, 2012  With its highly-controversial Malaysian rare earths processing plant an already ample source of headache, Lynas Corp. has been reported to be likely backing out from another rare earths project, this time in Africa.

Citing unidentified industry sources, The West Australian reported that Lynas Corp. is thinking of shunning the Kangankunde rare earths project in Malawi after a Malawi High Court questioned the authenticity of the Australian miner’s ownership over the project…..
With the recent development, the Australian rare earths miner deemed it might be better to give up the African project altogether, than suffer again the same fate as with its highly controversial rare earths processing plant in Malaysia, The West Australian reported…. Lynas Corp. “is reassessing the project’s risks in the context of Malawi’s present governance and institutional frameworks,” sources told The West Australian. …

June 16, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths, uranium | Leave a comment

Development of uranium mining in Western Australia is far from assured

Australian uranium industry in trouble after Fukushima, June 2, 2012, Green Left, By Jim Green “………As elsewhere, it has been a miserable year for the uranium mining wannabes in WA. At least two projects have been put on hold. Continue reading

June 16, 2012 Posted by | business, Western Australia | Leave a comment