Australian news, and some related international items

Turnbull’s dishonest spin about his Snowy Hydro energy plan

Turnbull fibbed about Snowy Hydro 2.0,10235  Mark Hipgrave 26 April 2017Far from being the solution to Australia’s energy crisis, bureaucrats have confirmed the upgrade to Snowy Hydro may never even go ahead, reports Mark Hipgrave.

RECENT TURNBULL GOVERNMENT announcements about renaming the 457 Visa system, toughening the citizenship test, and the one from Fiona Nash about decentralising Govt Departments, made me think about last month’s big announcement – the Snowy Hydro Scheme Expansion.

You will recall that, on March 16, the PM announced plans for a $2 billion expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme that could add up to 50% to its capacity.

In his media statement, Turnbull outlined the basics of the project — a plan to ‘supercharge the Snowy Hydro precinct’, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), charged to

‘… examine several sites, which could support large scale pumped hydroelectric energy storage in the precinct.  These sites would involve new tunnels and power stations, connecting existing storages.’

In a speech in front of the penstocks feeding the Tumut 3 Power Station, he sounded positively Churchillian puffing out his chest, malsplaining to us all that the new Snowy Hydro scheme was the

‘… result of the vision and the courage of the generation that won the Second World War … they defended our freedoms …. and they came home and built this …. these are big dreams in these mountains, real courage…’

(He ignored the reality that around two thirds of the workforce employed in the construction of the scheme were immigrant workers, originating from over 30 countries. Not the winners of WWII, they were mostly the losers — displaced persons from Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia and other parts of Eastern Europe. They came with little English and no knowledge at all of Australian values. The work was largely managed by U.S. engineering contractors and, while an engineering triumph, it was achieved with what we would now regard as a shocking safety record). Continue reading

April 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Turnbull government wants to subsidise fossil fuel transport

Turnbull wants to subsidise coal AND gas transport, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 27 April 2017  Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has again declared his support for all things fossil fuel, after suggesting his government could use public money to sponsor both new coal and gas production facilities in Australia, via the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.

In his latest concession to the nation’s powerful fossil fuel lobby, Turnbull told Brisbane Radio that the fund could be used both to subsidise gas pipelines in northern Australia and to underwrite the plans of Indian coal giant Adani to build a rail line from its proposed Carmichael mine………

Activist group GetUp said Turnbull’s plan to use public monies to underwrite gas pipelines was “another white elephant”.

“Not content with handing over a billion dollars to prop up Adani’s doomed coal project, Turnbull now wants to spend public money on an expensive and unviable gas pipeline as well.” said GetUp’s Miriam Lyons.

“Spending public money on white elephants in waiting is a betrayal of everyday Australians who pay their taxes to fund public services and public-interest infrastructure.

“As with Adani’s doomed Carmichael project, a gas pipeline from the Northern Territory to Queensland doesn’t stack up economically,” Lyons said.

“It will also do nothing to stop price-gouging by greedy gas generators who have a stranglehold on the market for supplying power to meet demand spikes caused by heatwaves and cold snaps.

“The best thing we can do to break the power of greedy gas companies is to back the competition: cleaner, cheaper, fracking-free energy from solar and storage, as well as energy efficiency,” she said.

April 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment