Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s future energy – clean renewables, not dirty nuclear or coal – theme for January 2017

Renewable energy transition is Australia’s future, whether Prime Minister Turnbull likes it or not.

Aust renewable energy

Fossil fuel industries tell the Turnbull government what to think, and what to do. That’s why the government plans to axe the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

However, renewable energy IS happening in Australia.  Renewables with energy storage, are hereAustralia can get to zero emissions, as rooftop solar booms. Report finds 100% renewable grid plan“reliable, robust and stable” Energy expert Giles Parkinson has exposed the  misinformation on rooftop solar and battery storage

While the Federal govt dithers, some States develop their own Renewable Energy Targets. Australia’s electricity industry strongly calls for a carbon price, and switch to clean energy. General Electric supports State-based renewable energy targets. EnergyAustralia is investing $1.5 billion in new wind and solar projects 

This website continues to follow developments – see the category Energy.  Here are some of the latest items:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Canberra shows off its renewable energy success. Australia’s first sun-tracking solar farm opens at Majura.

Victoria. A NEW wave of wind farm developments is sweeping this State. New 116-turbine wind farm for the Wimmera. Solar energy park is seeking co-operative venture with sheep farming! Solar cooling systems in Echuca and Ballarat.

South Australia. Port Augusta is attracting solar energy developers.  South Australia’s home solar batteries provided electricity throughout recent blackout.  Sundrop Farms – desert solar powered agriculture -now internationally applauded.

Western Australia. Western Australian town to host large renewable energy grid.  Retirees trading solar power. Solar switch for one of Australia’s biggest companies funded by community. Carnegie Wave Energy to build its first commercial wave plant in ENGLAND

Queensland. A month  ahead of schedule, Queensland’s huge new solar farm is up and running. Queensland govt’s push for solar power on all government buildings.

New South Wales. Sydney students pioneer a shared solar and battery system for apartment block.

Tasmania. Tidal energy – Australian Maritime College launches new turbine in Tamar River


December 26, 2016 - Posted by | Christina themes, energy


  1. The Editor
    The Advertiser

    Whatever you do don’t talk about privatisation!

    In calling for a “power plan” The Advertiser (31/12/16) doesn’t offer a single concrete idea , denigrates debate on privatisation as “a lazy response”, casts a shadow over solar and wind power, and introduces the hoary distraction “blame it on the public service”.

    Such negativity is a recipe for more of the same.

    Rather than too many public servants The Advertiser could be concentrating on too few electricity maintenance workers and equipment, and the lack of incentives for preventing repeated power failures.

    The SA business community (The Advertiser 31/12/16) seems to be well aware of the lack of incentives and of the futility of trying to impose them in a system that is heavily biased towards the supplier.

    In the present system, any penalties for poor service will simply be added to the electricity price.

    And if the supplier doesn’t get its way it can take the issue to court, thus increasing consumer costs both through Government lawyers and by adding supplier’s legal costs to electricity bills.

    Dennis Matthews

    Comment by Dennis Matthews | December 31, 2016 | Reply

  2. The Editor
    The Advertiser

    The latest electricity debacle (The Advertiser 29/12/16) should be a red alert for business leaders in SA.

    It is now glaringly obvious that the electricity industry in SA is not up to the task of delivering a safe, secure, affordable and reliable service.

    The ridiculously trivial compensation doled out for failure to provide an essential service does nothing to ensure that the failure will not be repeated.

    It is time for business leaders to put out-dated ideas behind them, to take off the shackles of 20th century economics and to work with the community in providing energy services that can withstand conditions such as those experienced in the last four months.

    Such action is decades overdue.

    Dennis Matthews

    Comment by Dennis Matthews | December 31, 2016 | Reply

  3. The Editor
    The Advertiser

    Out of the fog of misinformation and speculation concerning the privatised electricity industry in South Australia the bow of a corporate leviathan is emerging in the form of BHP-Billiton (The Advertiser 4/1/17).

    What BHP Billiton wants is security of electricity supply. Not much different from the rest of us really. But unlike the rest of us who have to wait for the four year election cycle to come around, BHP Billiton has instantaneous political clout.

    And how does BHP Billiton propose to solve the problem? It believes electricity security requirements must be established within the National Electricity Market. In other words, more red tape.

    BHP Billiton believes that, with more NEM regulation, market forces will “ensure that existing thermal generation in SA is encouraged to generate.”

    Clearly, if power stations are going to be required by the NEM to supply electricity then there is going to be a monetary cost to all on the electricity grid.

    It seems that a socially responsible privatised electricity industry comes at a price.

    Dennis Matthews

    Comment by Dennis Matthews | January 3, 2017 | Reply

  4. The Editor
    The Advertiser

    Business leaders such as Stephen Myatt are stuck between a rock and a Stobie pole (The Advertiser 5/1/17). On the one hand Mr Myatt has to support free markets and the privatisation of essential services but on the other he has to oppose more “red tape”.

    Nor as a supporter of free trade can he be critical of foreign ownership, even of essential services such as electricity and even when the foreign owners are government owned entities.

    The intrinsic contradiction between supporting our essential services being owned by a foreign government whilst opposing SA Government ownership of the same services doesn’t seem to bother business leaders in SA.

    It is not surprising therefore that Mr Myatt prefers to concentrate on proposals from Australia’s chief scientist and to offer only broad, unoriginal proposals for solving the SA electricity crisis.

    I wait in hope for real leadership on the electricity crisis from the SA business community.

    Dennis Matthews

    Comment by Dennis Matthews | January 5, 2017 | Reply

  5. The Editor
    The Advertiser

    Tim Llyod has asked an important electricity supply question, “Where can we get power” (The Advertiser, 7/1/17).

    As Tim pointed out, SA has no shortage of power stations, the problem is that frequently they are not operating and producing electricity. The last thing we want is another white elephant, moth-balled power station.

    Crucially, Tim’s question overlooks the electricity demand issue. A more precise question is how can we get the energy services that we take for granted? Some, but not all of these require electricity. Hot water, for example, can be provided by solar hot water panels, and keeping a building comfortable is just as much a construction issue as it is an electricity issue.

    Why do we have so little electricity conserving technology? The answer is not that conserving electricity costs more than using electricity but that, unlike power stations, the consumer has to pay up front for energy conservation technology. Remedying this impediment is the first step to more competitive energy supply/demand market.

    Dennis Matthews

    Comment by Dennis Matthews | January 7, 2017 | Reply

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