Australian news, and some related international items

See this short video explaining the South Australian nuclear waste dump proposal

see-this.wayTodayTonight Adelaide: Nuke Dump

SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Should SA accept 70,000 tonnes of radioactive waste from 37 countries?

(Video 4min 54sec)

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Audiovisual | Leave a comment

Comparing Britain’s accursed Hinkley nuclear project with South Australia’s nuclear waste dump plan

text Hinkley cancelledValdis Dunis‎ at  Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Watch 2 Apr 16  If the 14 year engineering delay and £5bn cost overruns were not bad enough for the latest nuclear project in the West (in Hinkley in UK), now the Chinese partner brought in last year to fund 30% of the costs has this week pulled out of investing in it anymore.
How sure could we be that those promising to pay SA in advance for storing nuclear waste will stay committed if there are big delays and cost blowouts?

April 1, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Radioactive Show on nuclear disarmament

radioactive-showjHear-This-wayLet us decipher the recent developments in disarmament diplomacy for you: tune into the Radioactive Show every Saturdaymorning at 10am on 3CR (855AM), or get the podcast at

Saturday 2nd April at 10am: UN talks to prohibit nuclear weapons #1

We delve deeper into the world of disarmament diplomacy, examining landmark United Nations talks that began in Geneva, Switzerland, in February. The new working group is gathering for three sessions this year to discuss how to take forward disarmament negotiations, and a ban treaty is front and centre. This is Part 1 in a two-part report, featuring an interview with Ray Acheson from Reaching Critical Will.

Saturday 9th April at 10am: UN talks to prohibit nuclear weapons #2

We continue exploring the landmark discussions in the UN working group, laying the groundwork to negotiate a new instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons. This process is challenging the nuclear weapons possessors and their faithful allies, like Australia. Listen in to what happens behind the UN’s doors. This is part 2 in a 2-part report, featuring an interview with Richard Lennane, Chief Inflammatory Officer with Wildfire. 

Produced by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, spoken by Tim Wright.

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Audiovisual | Leave a comment

Chinese nuclear corporation pulls out of Britain’s Hinkley project

text Hinkley cancelledflag-ChinaCGN Power’s dropped nuke deal in UK is a “sensible move”: analyst 28 Mar 16   It would’ve locked up a bulk of capital in the long-term.

Last October, China signed a deal with the UK to participate in three UK nuclear power projects, with CGNPC, the parent of CGN Power, owning a 20.0%-66.5% stake in each of the projects.

Under a non-competition deed granted by CGNPC, CGN Power has the option of investing in any UK nuclear project that is either being planned or constructed by the parent group. Thus far, the independent non-executive directors of CGN Power have elected not to pursue the UK projects.

According to CCB International’s Cathy Chan and Felix Lam, the decision by CGN Power’s independent non-executive directors not to get involved in the construction of the UK nuclear projects did not come as a surprise given the company’s strategy of refraining from involving itself in nuclear power projects that do not have at least one unit already in commercial operation.

The UK project does not yet meet this criterion as it is still at the initial stage of development and has several major hurdles to negotiate, not least of which is insufficient funding from other stakeholders, in particular Électricité de France (EDF FP, NR), a French power  company.

Here’s more from CCB International: Continue reading

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia wasting over $2.5 million investigating “wind turbine syndrome’ ?

wind-farm-evil-1True cost to taxpayers of investigating wind farm complaints tops $2.5 million, The Age April 2, 2016 – Environment and immigration correspondent  The price of the part-time wind farm commissioner created by the former Abbott government is three times more than first thought, costing taxpayers more than $2 million to monitor and investigate complaints against the wind industry.

It has also emerged that the Independent Scientific Committee on Wind Turbines, which advises the government on potential health and environmental effects of the industry, has held just two short teleconferences in five months and provided no advice, despite costing up to $174,000 a year.

The hefty bill has fuelled criticism over the commissioner and committee, which Environment Minister Greg Hunt agreed to establish as part of crossbench negotiations to pass the government’s revised Renewable Energy Target. Senators John Madigan and David Leyonhjelm were the key proponents of the policy.

Critics said the measures were a bid to thwart the roll-out of clean energy under Mr Abbott, who had called wind farms “visually awful”. Former treasurer Joe Hockey also decried them as “utterly offensive”.

As Fairfax Media reported last year, the part-time National Wind Farm Commissioner Andrew Dyer will be paid $205,000 annually over three years to monitor the wind industry and respond to community complaints about turbine noise and health effects.

However this sum is just a small proportion of the cost of establishing the role.

Official figures provided to a Senate committee show the wind farm commissioner’s office is expected to cost $2.03 million over four years, including $680,000 in 2017-18.

This cost includes travel, IT, office accommodation and four staff as well as Mr Dyer’s part-time salary, which is more than an average full-time federal backbencher……

The figures also show the independent scientific committee is expected to cost $507,000 over four years, comprising administered and departmental expenses.

Late in March the Department of the Environment told Fairfax Media the committee had held “two short meetings” in December and February and “has not provided any advice to government at this stage”.

The meetings were held by teleconference or videoconference, and the committee is expected to meet about every two months.

Announcing the committee last October, Mr Hunt said it would “build on the work of the National Health and Medical Research Council”.

Reviews by a number of state and federal government health bodies including the NHMRC have so far found no clear evidence of a link between wind farms and medical conditions. The Australian Medical Association last year released a statement saying the available evidence did not support the concept that wind farm noise harmed humans.

Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler said it did not support the commissioner’s appointment and “it is ridiculous that the Turnbull Liberal government will waste money on this commissioner, but is happy to rip money out of the renewable energy sector”.

April 1, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

Urgent need to shift to zero carbon power – as soon as 2018

“If the time for halting investments into new fossil fuel infrastructure is 2017 for the world, that time has been 10 years ago for Australia – the highest per-capita emitter in the developed world.” 

renewable energy ventures are likely to meet any near-term need for additional large-scale capacity

fossil-fuel-industryShift to zero-carbon power must start by 2018 to avoid extra warming: study April 1, 2016  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald  The world must begin the shift to zero-carbon sources of electricity as soon as 2018 to avoid adding new fossil-fuel power plants that will lock in dangerous climate change, according to a team of Oxford University researchers.

Taking the average operating life of coal or gas-fired plants as 40 years, the world’s fleet of carbon-emitting power stations had already committed by 2014 a total of 87 per cent of the emissions required to ensure a 50-50 chance of reaching two degrees of warming compared with pre-industrial levels.

By 2017, the remaining stock of potential emissions will have been locked in, necessitating a transition to renewable or zero-emissions electricity from then on. Alternatively, radical technologies will be needed to sequester carbon dioxide or extract it from the atmosphere, the researchers including Australian Cameron Hepburn wrote in a paper published in Applied Energy journal.

“For policymakers who think of climate change as a long-term future issue, this should be a wake-up call,” the authors said in a statement. “Whether we succeed or fail in containing warming to 2 degrees is being determined by actions we are taking right now.”

The papers come in a week when environmental groups warned as many as 1500 coal-fired power plants are being planned or being built worldwide, scientists found coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef to be worse than first thought, and Antarctic ice sheets were declared to be melting faster than expected.

Electricity generation accounts for about one quarter of man-made greenhouse gas emissions and about one third of Australia’s total. The researchers assumed other emission sources, such as transport and agriculture, would track towards a 2-degree warming limit, an assumption “which may well be optimistic”, the paper notes.

Australia was one of almost 200 nations to sign up to limiting warming to a 1.5-2 degree range at the Paris climate summit late last year.

The lower end of that target has been well exceeded, the researchers argue: “Meeting a 1.5-degree target without [carbon capture and storage] or asset stranding would have required all additions to the electricity sector were zero carbon from 2006 onwards, at the latest”.

Malte Meinshausen, director of Melbourne University’s Climate & Energy College, said the research confirmed work by the International Energy Agency and others “that we now have enough fossil fuel infrastructure globally in place to emit a detrimental amount of carbon”.

“With the correct market signals in place – such as a price on carbon emissions – it will be more economical even for the utilities to abandon fossil fuel [plants] and switch to renewable investments instead,” Associate Professor Meinshausen said. “If the time for halting investments into new fossil fuel infrastructure is 2017 for the world, that time has been 10 years ago for Australia – the highest per-capita emitter in the developed world.”

As it happens, the combination of Australia’s flat or declining demand for grid-supplied electricity and the need to meet the mandated 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) means there is little likelihood of new coal or gas-fired power plants being built in this country for at least the next decade, said Dylan McConnell, a research fellow at Melbourne University’s Melbourne Energy Institute.

While there are several proposed gas projects and one black coal project in NSW at AGL’s Bayswater site, renewable energy ventures are likely to meet any near-term need for additional large-scale capacity, Mr McConnell said.

Some 14,000 megawatts (MW) of wind or solar plants are seeking approval, a tally that is “certainly much more than needed for the RET”, he said. “The cost curve for fossil fuel [plants] is going in the other direction.”

This week, Origin Energy  signed up for its first power purchase agreement for large-scale solar, taking output from a 56 MW solar farm in Moree in northern NSW.

“Ten years ago, 15 years ago the prospectors were in Queensland looking for [coal seam gas] resources,” Grant King, Origin’s chief executive, said last year. “I would think the next great round of investment in Queensland will be utility scale solar.”

Origin is among the prospectors, applying to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for funding to support a 106 MW solar farm of its own to be built on the Darling Downs next to its existing gas-fired plant.


April 1, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

China’s State Grid Eyes Australia

see-this.wayChina’s State Grid Eyes Australia (VIDEO) April 1, 2016
It has more than one billion customers and sales bigger than Apple’s and Boeing’s combined. But not many people have heard about State Grid. It’s a Chinese-owned power company with ambitious plans to expand, especially in Australia. Bloomberg’s James Paton reports on “First Up.” (Source: Bloomberg)

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

China’s plan for Global Electricity Network

China Unveils Proposal for $50 Trillion Global Electricity Network

BEIJING — China has unveiled a proposal for a $50 trillion global electricity network that would help fight pollution and the effects of climate change.

The plan envisions linking existing and future solar farms, wind turbines and electricity plants in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, according to the head of State Grid Corporation of China.

The proposal is in its initial stages and would require huge investment from around the world. If it goes ahead, it would be the world’s largest infrastructure project. It could be operational by 2050, according to backers.


R** China eyes export opportunities for global super grid

BEIJING, March 31. China’s biggest power transmission company has signed deals with three Asia-Pacific investors to help push its ambition to build a cross-border energy super grid that will help combat climate change, integrate renewable energy sources and boost exports.
R** China’s State Grid envisions $65 trillion world power network
Could a global network be the world’s best bet for overcoming resource scarcity, pollution and climate change?


April 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewable energy and China’s national electricity grid

Super Grid 1

Like the US, China wants a national electricity grid. Unlike the US, China’s just building it. Vox,  by  on March 30, 2016,   Wind and sunlight are often concentrated in sparsely populated, remote areas. Getting wind and solar power to the population centers where it’s needed involves building long-distance power lines. Lots of them.

Earlier this week I wrote about a new long-distance power line in the US and the long, slow path it took to win approval. It was proposed in 2009; construction is expected to begin next year and finish in 2020. Like everything involving electricity in the US, it had to navigate a skein of overlapping jurisdictions, multiple state and local authorities, and federal rules. Every landowner and stakeholder had their say.

 So I chuckled when I ran across this Reuters headline yesterday: “China pushes for mandatory integration of renewable power.” That’s the other way to do it!

Like the US, China aspires to build a comprehensive national grid that can carry energy from where it’s generated to where it’s needed. Unlike the US, China isn’t forcing each piece of that system to go through a Byzantine series of bespoke processes and reviews. It’s just building, building, building like crazy.

China’s renewable energy is bottled up

China has the same problem the US does: Its most concentrated wind and sunlight are found in remote areas (in the north and west), distant from the populous industrial cities where the power is needed (in eastern coastal regions).

For years, the government has pushed a rapid buildout of renewable energy; the country now boasts the highest renewable energy growth rates and the most wind and solar capacity of any country in the world.

But now it has, at least temporarily, overbuilt. In those energy-dense regions, there is more wind and solar capacity than there is transmission to carry it. So a lot of that power is going unused.

 The energy-nerd term for power plants being cut back or shut down, even when they are capable of producing energy, is “curtailment.” Grid operators curtail the incoming flood of wind and solar energy when they don’t have the grid capacity to handle it……….

China’s transmission lines will be big, and hooking up wind and solar will be mandatory

Because everything is bigger in China, the country is not building mere high-voltage transmission lines, like those being built (slowly) in the US. It’s building ultra high-voltage (UHV) lines.

By way of comparison: The US Plains & Eastern Clean Line, the high-voltage direct-current line from Oklahoma to Tennessee I wrote about the other day, will run at about 600 kilovolts, give or take. UHV lines run at 800kV, even up to 1000kV.

Building a countrywide grid is one of the government’s top priorities. According to Reuters, “China currently has 17 UHV transmission lines in operation or under construction.”…………

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Asian nations co-operate on super grid for renewable energy

Pakistan, China working to build interconnection power grid: Secy BEIJING – The Ministry of Water and Power and State Grid Corporation of China are working closely to build an interconnection power grid between Pakistan and China so that both the countries could tap each other’s energy potential, said Secretary, Ministry of Water and Power Muhammad Younus Dagha in Beijing on Thursday.
Speaking at the Global Energy Interconnection Conference, the secretary said once the grid was completed, Pakistan would be able to meet its energy demands as per its requirements.

‘Asia Super Grid’ eyed by Softbank boss takes embryonic step Softbank Group Corp.’s hopes of building a cross-border power grid in Northeast Asia got a welcome nod March 30 when a feasibility study was agreed in Beijing.

SBG, along with State Grid Corp. of China, Russia’s power transmission and distribution company PJSC Rosseti and Korea Electric Power Corp. of South Korea, hopes the grid fired by renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power will be operating by around 2020.

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory funding battery storage in homes

sunbattery storage in homes  A new ACT Government renewable energy auction will help pay for battery storage in thousands of Canberra homes.

The auction for 109 megawatts of renewable energy feed-in tariff capacity begins today.

Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Simon Corbell said it would complete the Territory’s investment to meet its commitment of using renewable sources to supply 90 per cent of Canberra’s electricity needs by 2020.

He said successful bidders would provide the money needed to establish a photovoltaic battery storage program in the ACT.

“We expect up to $25 million to be available to support about 26MW of battery storage to be rolled out in more than 5,000 Canberra homes and businesses over the next four years,” Mr Corbell said.

“This will represent the largest deployment outside of Germany.”

Mr Corbell said photovoltaic battery storage would put renewable energy on demand when it was needed and reduce the need for network investment.

“It is exciting to see the 90 per cent renewable energy target on track to be completed on time and with minimal flow-on cost for the Canberra community,” he said.

Mr Corbell said the request for proposals would close in May.

April 1, 2016 Posted by | ACT, storage | Leave a comment

Origin energy buys power from Moree solar farm

Origin Energy’s commitment to buy power from a large solar farm is a sign of the sector’s improving economics….. (subscribers only)

April 1, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Already, renewable energy is taking over the world

renewable-energy-world-SmHow green energy is already taking over the world, Independent Australia   31 March 2016 Investment in renewables galloped ahead of fossil fuels in 2015 with a majority of plants planned for developing countries. Professor Juan Cole reports.

IN 2015 energy companies invested more in new renewables power plants in 2015 than in fossil fuel plants for the first time in history. The majority of these plants were planned for the developing countries, which is a sign that the technology is viewed as now less expensive.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) press release said,

Coal and gas-fired electricity generation last year drew less than half the record investment made in solar, wind and other renewables capacity — one of several important firsts for green energy announced today in a UN-backed report. Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016 . . . says the annual global investment in new renewables capacity, at $266 billion, was more than double the estimated $130 billion invested in coal and gas power station s in 2015.

All investments in renewables, including early-stage technology and R&D as well as spending on new capacity, totalled $286 billion in 2015, some 3% higher than the previous record in 2011. Since 2004, the world has invested $ 2.3 trillion in renewable energy (unadjusted for inflation). (All figures for renewables in this release include wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy, biofuels, geothermal, marine and small hydro, but exclude large hydro-electric projects of more than 50 megawatts).

Just as significantly, developing world investments in renewables topped those of developed nations for the first time in 20 15. Helped by further falls in generating costs per megawatt-hour, particularly in solar photovoltaics, renewables excluding large hydro made up 54% of added gigawatt (GW) capacity of all technologies last year. It marks the first time new installed renewables have topped the capacity added from all conventional technologies.

The 134 gigawatts of renewable power added worldwide in 2015 compares to 106GW in 2014 and 87GW in 2013. Were it not for renewables excluding large hydro, annual global CO2 emissions would have been an estimated 1.5 gigatonnes higher in 2015……….,8830

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Aboriginal group opposes joint venture’s attempts to dump environmental projects

NPEX: Legal, Aboriginal groups criticise joint venture’s attempts to dump environmental projects ABC Newsby the National Reporting Team’s Kate Wild 1 Apr 16 

Legal and Aboriginal groups have lashed out at attempts by a $34 billion gas project in the Northern Territory to back out of environmental projects it promised the Federal Government it would complete.

Key points:

  • CEO of the Northern Land Council warns Ichthys is falling behind on environmental projects
  • INPEX asks Federal Government to release it from $30m of promised projects
  • INPEX says the requests were because the impact of its activities had been more benign than expected

The Ichthys joint venture, which will eventually pump natural gas from Western Australia to the Northern Territory for export, has asked the Federal Government to release it from $30 million worth of environmental projects, including reserves for the permanent protection of animals and habitat.

The news prompted Northern Land Council (NLC) chief executive Joe Morrison to warn Ichthys it was falling behind on another major project in its environmental brief.

Mr Morrison said an Aboriginal rangers project burning savannah grasslands in the Top End “hasn’t come to fruition” despite being celebrated at the time of its announcement.

The $37 million project was designed to compensate for the Ichthys venture’s CO2 emissions.

“That’s another area where I think both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community require clarification, in relation to that commitment,” Mr Morrison said……..,-aboriginal-groups/7293630

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lauren Kubiak: Report: Clean Energy Economy Employs More than 2.5 Million Americans, Poised for More Growth

green-collarMarch 30, 2016. More than 2.5 million Americans work in clean energy, according to a new study released yesterday from the national nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), an NRDC affiliate. These men and women install solar panels, manufacture electric vehicle parts, and retrofit our homes, schools and businesses to make them more energy efficient. They build wind turbine blades, invent battery technologies, and assemble the most energy-efficient appliances on the planet…….

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment