Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia needs a level playing field for rooftop solar

text-relevantDennis Matthews, 1 Jan 17 Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, has recentlymap solar south-australia drawn attention to a problem in adopting new energy technology.

When home owners consider installing rooftop photovoltaic (PV) electricity generators they are faced with up-front costs.

By comparison, electricity supplied through the grid by large scale electricity generators is provided at no up-front cost to the consumer. The consumer eventually pays the generators’ up-front costs (plus interest) through quarterly bills over a period of several years.

The solution to the problem has been known for several decades – provide a level playing field by having PV up-front costs financed by either an electricity service provider or government with the costs plus interest being recovered over time through the usual quarterly bill.

Such a simple arrangement would not only make rooftop PV competitive (including for rental properties) with grid electricity but would also make energy conservation measures, such as double glazing, more competitive.



January 1, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Battle Lines Drawn Over Indian Mega Mine

‘Murrawah Johnson, 21, of the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council, 
is among those standing in the way of the huge Carmichael coal mine project
in Australia’s Queensland state.’   Stephen de Tarczynski | MENAFN Press 30 December 2016:

“‘Our people are the unique people from that country,’ says Murrawah,  whose name means ‘rainbow’ in the indigenous Gubbi Gubbi language.
‘That is who we are in our identity, in our culture, in our song and in our dance,’ she adds.
The mine’s estimated average annual carbon emissions of 79 million tonnes are three times those of New Delhi, six times those of Amsterdam and double Tokyo’s average annual emissions.

“The Wangan and Jagalingou, numbering up to 500 people, regard the Carmichael coal mine
as a threat to their very existence and have repeatedly rejected the advances of Adani Mining,
the company behind the project.
The traditional owners argue the mine would destroy their land,  which ‘means that our story is then destroyed. And we as a people and our identity, as well,’
Murrawah, a spokesperson for her people’s Family Council, told IPS. … “

January 1, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

South Australia’s electricity service needs complete overhaul – work with the community

Dennis Matthews, 1 Jan 17 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.


January 1, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Forner Japan PM Koizumi calls for permanent shutdown of nuclear power stations

Ex-leader of Japan Turns nuclear foe, calls for shutdown of all 54 Japanese nuclear reactors December 31, 2016 News Santa Fe By Motoko Rich The New York Times TOKYO — William Zeller, a petty officer second class in the U.S. Navy, was one of hundreds of sailors who rushed to provide assistance to Japan after a giant earthquake and tsunami set off a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011. Not long after returning home, he began to feel sick.

Today, he has nerve damage and abnormal bone growths, and blames exposure to radiation during the humanitarian operation conducted by crew members of the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan. Neither his doctors nor the U.S. government has endorsed his claim or those of about 400 other sailors who attribute ailments including leukemia and thyroid disease to Fukushima and are suing Tokyo Electric, the operator of the plant.

 But one prominent figure is supporting the U.S. sailors: Junichiro Koizumi, former prime minister of Japan.

Koizumi, 74, visited a group of the sailors, including Zeller, in San Diego in May, breaking down in tears at a news conference. Over the past several months, he has barnstormed Japan to raise money to help defray some of their medical costs.

The unusual campaign is just the latest example of Koizumi’s transformation in retirement into Japan’s most outspoken opponent of nuclear power. Though he supported nuclear power when he served as prime minister from 2001-06, he is now dead set against it and calling for the permanent shutdown of all 54 of Japan’s nuclear reactors, which were taken offline after the Fukushima disaster.

“I want to work hard toward my goal that there will be zero nuclear power generation,” Koizumi said in an interview in a Tokyo conference room………

Some recent signs suggest the movement has gone local. In October, Ryuichi Yoneyama was elected governor in Niigata, the prefecture in central Japan that is home to the world’s largest nuclear plant, after campaigning on a promise to fight efforts by Tokyo Electric to restart reactors there.

Like Koizumi, he is an example of how the anti-nuclear movement has blurred political allegiances in Japan. Before running for governor, Yoneyama had run as a Liberal Democratic candidate for parliament.

Koizumi, a conservative and former leader of the Liberal Democrats, may have led the way.

“Originally, the nuclear issue was a point of dispute between conservatives and liberals,” said Yuichi Kaido, a lawyer and leading anti-nuclear activist. “But after Mr. Koizumi showed up and said he opposed nuclear power, other conservatives realized they could be against nuclear power.” ……..

January 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Arizona incentivizing use of solar energy – solar after dark

text-relevantNew Arizona Policy Would Mandate Solar After Dark, Clean Technica  December 30th, 2016 by  A way to incentivize the use of clean energy like solar after dark — instead of gas peakers — to cover peak loads has been proposed in a white paper commissioned by Arizona’s Residential Utility Consumer Office, through a revision of state Renewable Energy Standards (RES). Continue reading

January 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA Energy Dept funding new utility scale wave energy

text-relevantUS Doubles Down On Wave Energy, $40 Mil For New Test Bed, Clean Technica December 31st, 2016 by  It looks like the US is about to get much, much more serious about developing its vast wave energy potential. Researchers have been working at several relatively modest sites in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest, and now the Energy Department has announced funding for a new, $40 million utility scale test site in the waters of the continental US, off the coast of Oregon.

Why Wave Energy?

The new wave energy test site will be built and operated under the auspices of Oregon State University’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center.

In a press release announcing the plan to invest up to $40 million in the nation’s first utility scale wave energy test site, the Energy Department noted that more than half of the population of the US lives within 50 miles of a coastline.

All things being equal, coastal populations are expected to grow, but getting zero emission energy to coastal regions is becoming more complex and difficult. Aging coastal nuclear power plants will most likely not be replaced, and population density limits the potential for utility scale wind farms and solar arrays on land.

Another limitation for land-based renewable energy in coastal areas is the need for new long distance transmission lines. Plans have been in place for years to bring wind power from the wind rich midwest to points east, but the new lines have had to battle against fossil fuel interests as well as local stakeholders.

One solution is to tap the waters of the US coastlines.

That’s beginning to happen in the wind energy sector on the east coast, where the relatively shallow waters of the Continental Shelf are amenable to offshore wind turbine technology.

The nation’s first offshore wind farm just went online off the coast of Rhode Island, and the Obama Administration has mapped out an ambitious plan to harvest wind energy all along the eastern seaboard. It looks like New York State’s Long Island is next in line for development.

The west coast is a different kettle of fish. The Continental Shelf drops off quickly, and the waters are too deep for conventional offshore wind turbines to be set on the ocean floor.

As a solution, the Energy Department has been pumping some significant dollars into R&D to commercialize floating wind turbines.

With the new investment of $40 million the agency appears to be broadening its focus to accelerate wave energy development, too.

The payoff could be huge, so to speak: Recent studies estimate that America’s technically recoverable wave energy resource ranges between approximately 900–1,230 terawatt hours (TWh) per year…For context, approximately 90,000 homes can be powered by 1 TWh per year. This means that even if only a few percent of the potential is recovered, millions of homes could be powered by wave energy as the technology progresses.

The New Wave Energy Test Facility

The new facility will be called the Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site. Along with federal dollars, unspecified non-federal funding will go into the construction………

A Wave Energy Explainer………

January 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment