Australian news, and some related international items

USA out to get Julian Assange, and Australian govt not helping him,

Foreign Minister Bob Carr… claimed last week that there was “not the remotest evidence” of any US government desire to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder.

Fresh call on Assange ‘espionage’ SMH Philip Dorling July 2, 2012 THE head of the United States Senate’s powerful intelligence oversight committee has renewed calls for Julian Assange to be prosecuted for espionage. The US Justice Department has also confirmed WikiLeaks remains the target of a criminal investigation, calling into question Australian government claims the US has no interest in extraditing Mr Assange. Continue reading

July 2, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

A warning about the nuclear lobby’s latest gimmick – Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)

The mini-reactors – also dubbed small modular reactors or SMRs – have been hailed as the nuclear technology of the future.

 waste is the problem……  waste could be shipped into the state from other areas…. South Carolina once again could become the nuclear dumping ground for the nation.

Mini-nuclear reactors Herald Online, 1 July 12, South Carolina might benefit in many ways from being the site of the nation’s first mini-nuclear reactors. But the resulting nuclear waste is a big concern.

The U.S. Department of Energy gave the go-ahead in April for three companies to partner with the Savannah River Site in Aiken County to possibly develop the nation’s first mini-reactors there. The three companies are competing with other design companies across the nation – as well as among themselves – for a federal matching grant totaling as much as $452 million to support engineering, certification and licensing for up to two mini-reactor designs. Continue reading

July 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Queensland’s anti solar energy government swings into action

Campbell Newman Government axes Queensland solar energy scheme, nation’s largest by: Darrell Giles  The Courier-Mail July 02, 2012 AUSTRALIA’S biggest solar energy scheme is dead in the water, torpedoed by the withdrawal of funding by the Newman Government. The State Government is pulling $75 million out of a renewable energy power project, effectively killing off up to 400 jobs.

Regional Queensland was set to be home to one of the biggest combination solar and gas power plants in the world under a $1.2 billion scheme, a joint Federal-State Government and private partnership.

The Solar Dawn project would have used Australian-pioneered technology and transformed Chinchilla and the western Darling Downs into the nation’s mixed-energy capital.  But the Liberal National Party has found a way to back out of an earlier Bligh government agreement and halt its contribution.

Premier Campbell Newman signalled soon after winning the March state election that he would look at pulling the plug on the $75 million investment if he could do it without risk to taxpayers. Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark McArdle wrote to federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson last week to confirm he had cut the Queensland contribution. Mr McArdle was understood to have told Mr Ferguson Solar Dawn was unable to meet the State Government’s funding agreement.

As a result, the agreement between the two governments was “terminated”…… Prime Minister Julia Gillard had committed $464 million, saying the project would support Labor’s carbon tax and keep the environment clean……

July 2, 2012 Posted by | politics, Queensland, solar | | Leave a comment

Australia’s economy will continue to grow, with carbon price in place

 Australia’s clean energy future, 4 Traders 1 July 12  “…….Today we take the next steps the country needs to make to keep our economy competitive, to protect our environment and to provide a cleaner Australia for future generations.
The scientific advice is that the planet is warming and it is imperative that we cut greenhouse gas emissions. The economic advice is that a carbon price is the cheapest and most efficient way to reduce carbon pollution.

A carbon price will create incentives for large emitters to reduce carbon pollution. It will start transforming our economy to clean energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal and natural gas…

.. The Government is also supporting jobs and competitiveness in industries with high emissions and strong international competition. The most emissions-intensive and trade-exposed industry activities are shielded from 94.5 per cent of the carbon price – meaning their effective carbon price is less than $1.30 a tonne.

This will preserve international competitiveness while maintaining incentives to invest in cleaner technologies. A carbon price is a responsible economic reform. Treasury modelling shows the economy will continue to grow with a carbon price in place – 1.6 million new jobs will be created to 2020 and new industries in clean technology and renewable energy will be created.

Today also marks the commencement of the Climate Change Authority and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
The Climate Change Authority will make recommendations on pollution caps to apply when the carbon price moves to a flexible priced emissions trading scheme in 2015.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide grants and financial assistance for projects with a focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to make them more cost competitive.

ARENA will administer $3.2 billion in existing Government support for research and development, demonstration and commercialisation of renewable energy technologies.–14394467/

July 2, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Japan’s protests grow, with nuclear power restart

“We are against the restart,” protestors chanted to the beat of drums as they faced a line of riot police.

On Friday, tens of thousands of people gathered on streets outside the premier’s residence in central Tokyo with organisers estimating the turnout at up to 180,000.

Protesters try to block Japan nuclear switch-onRadio Australia 1 July 2012, Engineers in Japan have begun refiring an atomic reactor, despite growing public protests in the aftermath of meltdowns at Fukushima.

Local media reported that the process to restart Unit No. 3 at Oi in western Japan began around 9:00 pm (1200 GMT).
It had earlier been reported that control rods that have prevented an atomic reaction would be removed and fission would begin. The reactor was expected to reach criticality early Monday morning.

A noisy demonstration near the power station that had begun earlier in the day was continuing, live streamed footage showed. Continue reading

July 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar energy park opens in Kyoto, Japan – many more to come

JAPAN OPENS SOLAR ENERGY PARKS 7 News, July 2, 2012 TOKYO (AFP) – Japan opened several solar energy
parks on Sunday as a new law came into force requiring companies to purchase renewable energy at a fixed price in a push for alternatives to nuclear power…. A new solar centre opened in Kyoto in western Japan, while various municipalities also started up installations able to provide energy for hundreds of thousands of households.

Japanese telecommunications Softbank chief Masayoshi Son, opposed to nuclear energy since a powerful earthquake and tsunami last year that crippled reactor cooling systems, said it had plans for 11 solar or windpower centres in Japan.

The push to invest in renewable energy resources is a mark of Japan’s search for alternatives to nuclear power, as 49 reactors out of 50 in the country have been shut down for safety checks and amid growing public protests. The new law that took effect on Sunday requiring power companies to purchase all renewable energy at a fixed tariff is aimed at encouraging firms to pursue sustainable initiatives. The government estimates the power provided by renewable energy this
year in Japan will attain 2,500 megawatts, the equivalent of two medium-sized nuclear reactors.

July 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian Renewable Energy Agency Board – $3.2 billion to develop renewable energy

Get energetic on wind, solar    1 July 12,    IT’S time for Australians to start taking renewable energy such as solar and wind more seriously, says Hobart engineer Jane Sargison. Dr Sargison has been appointed to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Board which, from today, will oversee $3.2 billion in Federal Government funding for renewable energy research and development. Continue reading

July 2, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Carbon tax can kickstart move to a profitable renewable energy economy

Once the purchase price of renewable energy generators is paid off (in a few years) for the rest of its life the plant provides essentially free energy!

Imagine the competitive advantage to Australian businesses in those few years when their energy costs are small compared to competitors relying on carbon-heavy energy.

A carbon tax provides the incentive for these business to reject the existing, inefficient energy supply, which is distorted by subsidies, has limited local control and pays profits to far-away shareholders.

Renewable energy a proven alternative, Central Western Daily BY ASHLEY BLAND 02 Jul, 2012   The carbon tax is not just about carbon; it’s also about challenging the level of consumerism that, combined with world population growth, is eroding the stability and resilience of our environment.

If it didn’t involve so much money for the biggest corporations on the planet I suspect we would have made much more
progress than we have. As individuals we tend not to like change. As organisations we strongly resist it.

More than 97 per cent of scientists and hence most nations accept that it would be wise to limit carbon emissions. The question is, how do we fairly distribute the wealth that our carbon-built economy creates? Continue reading

July 2, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment