Australian news, and some related international items

Deceptive spin in The Adelaide Advertiser, about electricity problems


Dennis Matthews, 12 Dec 16, Bright spark Rex Jory has oh-so-cleverly concluded that SA has an electricity supply problem (The Advertiser, 12/12/16). But, like his fellow journalists at sister newspapers The Australian and Sunday Mail, Jory has put 2 and 2 together and got – zilch? Funny about that.

Did the closure of Port Augusta cause the problem? Sorry, in every 2016 electricity crisis there was plenty of surplus generation capacity.

Did wind farms cause the problem? Sorry, it was electricity transmission that caused both the SA blackout and the sudden loss of supply from Victoria.

Was it reliance on supply from Victoria? Maybe, but then the National Electricity Market (NEM) and inter-connectors between states were set up to smooth out supply-demand problems not exacerbate them.

Fix electricity transmission, idle power station, and NEM problems and bingo! Jory and his fellow travelers will have to find some other excuse for pushing their outdated agenda.


December 11, 2016 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Prime Minister Turnbull’s lack of priniciple – kowtows to extreme right on climate change

Turnbull liarPM’s kowtowing serves no one, The Age, 11 Dec 16   Generals, it’s said, lose battles by fighting the last war, and it is increasingly clear Malcolm Turnbull is fighting the hard right of the Liberal party like it is still 2009.

Back then, Mr Turnbull lost the Liberal leadership after a revolt by arch conservatives in the party over attempts to introduce a carbon emissions trading scheme. Yet despite having since won back the top job – and then an election – Mr Turnbull appears to have learnt the wrong lesson. He has decided to kowtow to those same hardline forces instead of tackling the reality of climate change.

So it was last week, after Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg flagged the sensible suggestion that the government would consider – not commit, but explore – how an emissions intensity scheme would apply in Australia’s energy markets. This is a type of carbon price that a series of recent reports have considered to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Economic modelling for the Australian Electricity Market Commission suggests such a scheme would save households and businesses up to $15 billion in electricity costs over a decade.

But within 36 hours, after a petulant outburst from hyper-sceptics on the Coalition backbench, Mr Turnbull had abandoned any talk of a carbon intensity scheme. In doing so he not only embarrassed Mr Frydenberg, but again left people wondering: just what, exactly, does Malcolm Turnbull stands for?……..

December 11, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

While Barnaby Joyce trashes South Australia’s renewables, his electorate gets multi-million dollar loan for wind farm

Wind turbines in Azerbaijan. Windfarm in Barnaby Joyce’s NSW electorate gets $120m CEFC loan Clean Energy Finance Corporation loan comes three months after minister slammed SA’s over-reliance on wind power,  Guardian, , 12 Dec 16, The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has made a multi-million dollar loan for a new windfarm in Barnaby Joyce’s electorate.

December 11, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, politics, wind | Leave a comment

General Electric in support of State-based renewable energy targets

map solar south-australiaUS energy giant GE backs states going own way on renewables, The Age, Peter Hannam  11 Dec 16   Renewable energy can add resiliency to electricity grids and there’s no reason why individual states can’t set their own goals higher than a national target, says a US industry veteran.

Nick Miller, senior technology director of General Electric’s energy consultancy, said US states such as Texas now supplied as much as half their electricity from renewable sources.

“If Australia wants to try its own state by state [approach] that is not intrinsically a bad thing,” the 36-year GE veteran engineer told Fairfax Media during a visit.

“If some states want to move forward faster, they will reap the economic benefits first, and the states that stay behind — sort of embracing the past — are probably going to get left behind.”

Mr Miller’s comments will bolster the case made by governments in states such as Queensland, Victoria and South Australia, and the federal Opposition, all of which have set renewable energy targets beyond 2020 unlike the federal government.

They will also stoke debate over the best way to meet Australia’s climate goals. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week drew widespread criticism for ruling out a price on carbon even before his government begins a year-long review from early 2017.

Mr Miller said both Republicans and Democrats had managed to find common ground on clean energy in the US.

“It’s not ideologically driven, it’s business driven,” he said. “There are huge amounts of wind going into Oklahoma and Kansas, and that’s as red [Republican] as you get.”

GE is a supplier to both the thermal and renewable energy sectors. It’s found that, contrary to may public views, wind power  actually advances rather than undermines the resilience of the grid.

With modern electronic controls added, a wind plant is now “more tolerant of grid disturbances than the equivalent size synchronous [thermal] plant”, he said. “It is extremely agile, and finely and quickly controlled.”

While recent blackouts in South Australia show that state’s power sector to “very highly stressed”, the response should be to increase flexibility in the system by altering market rules and investment incentives…….

December 11, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | 2 Comments

Al Gore’s new climate change movie

Gore,-Al-climateAl Gore’s new climate change movie arrives just in time, WP  December 10 The Sundance Film Festival will open in January with a new climate change movie from Al Gore — and the timing, unfortunately, could not be better.

Paramount Pictures and Participant Media announced Friday that the follow-up to the 2006 Oscar-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” — in which filmmaker Davis Guggenheim documented Gore’s traveling slide show on global warming — will follow the former vice president as he travels around the world exploring advances and challenges in the fight against climate change.

In a statement, Gore said: “Now more than ever we must rededicate ourselves to solving the climate crisis.  But we have reason to be hopeful; the solutions to the crisis are at hand.”

So that’s good news, yes? Presumably, Gore said as much to President-Elect Donald Trump when the two met last week for a chat that Gore described, somewhat enigmatically, as an  “extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued.”

Not so fast. Three days after that meeting, Trump named Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general  — and a climate change skeptic, who is currently suing the Environmental Protection Agency — to head that agency, provoking outrage from environmentalists.

Perhaps Gore can reserve a couple of seats to the screening of his new film for Trump and Pruitt. The as-yet-unnamed documentary, directed by Bonnie Cohen and Jon Shenk (“Audrie & Daisy”), will premiere on opening night of the festival, which will have an environmental focus throughout its 11-day run (Jan. 19-29)…….

December 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Carnegie Wave Energy to build its first commercial wave plant in ENGLAND

waveWindfarm in Barnaby Joyce’s NSW electorate gets $120m CEFC loan, Guardian, , 11 Dec 16 “…..Australia’s chief scientist, Dr Alan Kinkel, warned last week that investment in the electricity sector had stalled because of “policy instability and uncertainty”.

Over the weekend, the Australian Financial Review reported the pioneering Australian wave-power company Carnegie Wave Energy was planning to build its first commercial wave plant in Cornwall, England, because the climate policy chaos in Australia was too much.

December 11, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Canada to Set Carbon Price, Marking Split with Trump

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR:  Canada is trying a little.

“Canada’s government and 10 provinces are set to agree a national carbon price, doubling down on a bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions just weeks before avowed climate change skeptic Donald Trump becomes U.S. president.

“Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the carbon price — the first of its kind in Canada — will help the country meet its targets under the 2015 Paris environmental accords and boost the Canadian clean technology sector.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Credit: REUTERS/Chris Wattie

“The price deal is another sign of Trudeau’s alignment on climate issues with U.S. President Barack Obama, who is pressing to curb greenhouse emissions, mainly from coal-fired power plants. Trump has said he wants to help the coal industry and would pull out of the Paris agreement as it was harmful to…

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December 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Svetlana Alexievich, a Voice for People’s Suffering

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarusian writer who won a Nobel Prize for her book on the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, visited evacuees in Fukushima Prefecture recently to hear about their experiences.

Alexievich was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2015 for her writing about human suffering through the testimonies of witnesses of the Chernobyl disaster. She has been highly praised for her oral history of that event.

Alexievich was invited to speak at a university in Tokyo.

“It may be impossible to stop nuclear power plants right away, but it’s important to consider what you can and should do,” she said at the event.

Alexievich’s books are written collages of testimonies by ordinary people. Her book, “Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future,” published in 1997, is representative of her work. It’s a collection of statements from the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster 30 years ago in the former Soviet…

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December 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment