Australian news, and some related international items

Renewable energy future for Tasmania

map-tasmania-wind.1“The absolute beauty of Tasmania’s situation is that anything you do with solar or wind, we don’t need to worry too much about the intermittent nature of it,” he said.

“We’ve got the hydro which can generate a lot of electricity but it can’t do it all the time.

“Any time of the day that you generate electricity with solar or wind is saving running water out of the dams and then that gives you energy security.” 

The expansion of renewable energy in Tasmania, text-relevantExaminer, Michelle Wisbey  @MichelleWisbey1 29 Jan 2017 Tasmania has the potential to become the envy of the world when it comes to renewable energy, according to our leaders. 

There is no doubt energy was a hot topic in 2016.  This time last year, Tasmania had a broken Basslink cable and it would not be fixed for another five months.  Hydro Tasmania’s water storage levels were down to 19 per cent, but had dipped lower in previous months.

Not long before the Basslink cable broke, the government had given approval for Hydro Tasmania to decommission and sell the combined cycle gas turbine at the Tamar Valley Power Station, which would later become an essential piece of infrastructure.

As the crisis unfolded, the importance of the power station became clear, it was not sold, and was eventually up and running again.

This crisis led to the establishment of an Energy Security Taskforce which, in its interim report, found the state had a deficit of renewable energy generation and that more on-island hydro-electric and wind generation was needed.

“A more secure setting would be created if this deficit was reduced or eliminated by new entrant renewable energy developments,” the report said.

Already, renewable energy is meeting an average of 80 per cent of Tasmania’s energy demands.

But questions have been raised over whether enough is being done to attract further renewable energy investment into the state.  Continue reading

January 29, 2017 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Toshiba to abandon nuclear power construction, chairman to quit

fearToshiba to withdraw from nuclear plant construction, chairman to quit  . – KYODO — JAN 29
Toshiba Corp. will take no new orders related to the construction of nuclear power stations, with the company’s chairman expected to resign over the massive write-down that has doomed the company’s U.S. nuclear business, sources said Saturday.
The company’s decision to cease taking orders effectively marks its withdrawal from the nuclear plant construction business.

Toshiba said Friday it will review nuclear operations and spin off its chip business to raise funds by selling a stake in the new chip company, covering the expected write-down in the nuclear business which could reach 700 billion yen ($6.08 billion)

January 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In message to Trump, EU says will remain top investor against climate change

flag-EUclimate-change BFrancesco Guarascio | BRUSSELS, 29 Jan 17 

The European Investment Bank, the EU’s lending institution, will maintain a target of investing around 20 billion dollars a year to fight climate change over the next five years, it said on Tuesday, sending a warning to climate skeptics.

Climate investment is already about a quarter of EIB total loans. Last year the bank lent 83.8 billion euros ($90 billion), of which 19 billion went to projects to counter climate change.

“We, Europeans, must lead the free world against climate skeptics,” the EIB president Werner Hoyer said at a news conference in Brussels.

While he did not mention Donald Trump directly, the new U.S. president has promised to bolster the U.S. oil, gas and coal industries, in part by undoing federal regulations curbing carbon dioxide emissions. He has also suggested pulling out of a global climate change pact signed in Paris in 2015, calling it expensive for U.S. industry.

World temperatures hit a record high for the third year in a row in 2016, the World Meteorological Organisation said last week.

Hoyer said the bank would maintain ambitious targets against global warming. “We aim to provide $100 billion for climate action over the next five years, the largest contribution of any single multilateral institution,” he said.

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is adding to EIB’s concerns, as it is one of the four main shareholders of the bank, holding about 16 percent of its shares.

Only EU member states can be EIB shareholders. Hoyer said the Brexit impact on the bank “is completely unclear” but he did not rule out the possibility of changing rules to allow Britain to remain a shareholder even after Brexit – an option that would need approval from London and the other 27 EU capitals.

Hoyer said in the two years of Brexit negotiations, expected to start in March, the bank will remain in “limbo”.

“We will be missed in the UK if we had to reduce our business there or disappear completely,” Hoyer added. Last year, the bank lent to Britain more than 7 billion euros.

He said that, contrary to other large EU states, Britain has no national promotional bank and “relies heavily” on EIB funding for certain investments in infrastructure and other projects. The EIB already now invests outside the EU, but its lending is mostly concentrated on Europe. Hoyer said Britain could remain a recipient of EIB lending after leaving the EU, but “it is a question of dimension”.

He urged negotiators to be constructive and avoid “further damage” to existing projects funded by the bank in Britain.

($1 = 0.9312 euros)   (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Alison Williams)

January 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trump’s advisers warn him against meeting Prince Charles- risk of climate argument

Trump and Charles in climate row.  President ‘won’t take lecture’ from prince Tim Shipman and Roya Nikkhah January 29 2017, The Sunday Times Donald Trump is engaged in an extraordinary diplomatic row with the Prince of Wales over climate change that threatens to disrupt his state visit to the UK.

January 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment