Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Pro nuclear shills bring nonsense promises about Generation IV nuclear reactors to Australia

There isn’t the slightest chance that SMRs will fulfil the ambition of making nuclear power “radically cheaper” unless and until a manufacturing supply chain is mass producing SMRs for a mass market.

As things stand, no country, company or utility has any intention of betting billions on building an SMR supply chain.  In the absence of a mass supply chain, SMRs will be expensive curiosities. 

Ben Heard thinks Australia should take the lead building his preferred version of Generation IV fast neutron reactors.

So Australia ‒ a country with virtually no relevant expertise and even less experience ‒ should take the lead developing Generation IV reactors despite the fact that global nuclear industry giants face crippling debts and possible bankruptcy due to cost overruns building a handful of conventional reactors?

That proposition is beyond stupid and it was even rejected by the (stridently pro-nuclear) SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission last year.

New nuclear push digs deep into vault of alternative facts, Jim Green, 31 May 2017, RenewEconomy   http://reneweconomy.com.au/new-nuclear-push-digs-deep-vault-alternative-facts-90295/

Australia’s nuclear energy debate reaches Peak Idiocy this week with the visit of Jessica Lovering from the U.S. Breakthrough Institute. Lovering has and will be speaking at public events alongside Australian university student Ben Heard.

Both the Breakthrough Institute and Heard’s ‘Bright New World’ present themselves as progressive environment groups but they are single-issue, pro-nuclear lobby groups with little interest in broader environmental issues. Australia’s environment groups ‒ i.e. real environment groups ‒ are united in our opposition to nuclear power.

Real environment groups celebrate the spectacular growth of renewables and the spectacular cost reductions whereas pro-nuclear lobby groups, including Lovering’s Breakthrough Institute and Heard’s Bright New World, are on a never-ending campaign against renewables. Global renewable energy capacity has doubled over the past decade and current renewable capacity of 2,006 gigawatts (GW) is 5.1 times greater than nuclear power capacity of 392 GW (including idle reactors in Japan). Actual electricity generation from renewables (23.5% of global generation) is more than double that from nuclear power (10.7%) and the gap is widening every day.

Lovering’s opinion piece in The Australian on Monday fails to note that her speaking trip is sponsored by the Minerals Council of Australia. Likewise, Heard has also been paid as a uranium industry consultant.

Lovering brings a suitcase full of alternative facts to Australia. The most egregious is that the nuclear industry is in the middle of some sort of renaissance. Even her own institute contradicts this, Continue reading

May 31, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear lobby keen to have new submarines transformed to NUCLEAR submarines

Did you wonder why the Australian government chose to buy the much more expensive French submarines, rather than the cheaper and probably more suitable German ones?

Well, what’s $50 billion from the public purse matter, if your government, kow-towing as always, to ANSTO  and the nuclear lobby, can arrange to buy submarines that are designed as nuclear submarines, but have them “not nuclear” at the start, and then later transforfm them back to nuclear.

Not too late to fit nuclear power into Australian submarines, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/not-too-late-to-fit-nuclear-power-into-australian-submarines/news-story/00cb486799368120ae592e737701beb9 THE AUSTRALIAN, Malcolm Davis, 15 May 17,  Is it time to begin a discussion on nuclear-powered submarines (known as SSNs) for the Royal Australian Navy? Continue reading

May 31, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The end of growth?

Reading: ‘Energy, finance and the end of growth.’ A prescient 2013 analysis predicts Trump’s rise—and explains why his promises of endless growth can’t happen. http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2017/may/economics-growth-trump, May 30, 2017 By Pete Myers
Environmental Health News I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how economics and environmental issues are so intertwined. And I’ve been thinking particularly hard about the conflict between our desire for boundless economic growth and the realities of our planet’s finite resources. Continue reading

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Karla Way-McPhail, Annabelle Chaplain, – involved in coal industry , but on the Board to decide about Adani mine?

Adani: director on board that will consider $900m loan says project is ‘vital’
Karla Way-McPhail, who runs mining labour and equipment companies, will not say whether she will recuse herself from Carmichael decision,
Guardian, Joshua Robertson, 31 May 17, A director of the independent board due to provide recommendations regarding a $900m taxpayer loan to Adani publicly declared she was “very supportive” of its “vital” coal project, a day after she was accused of allowing a perceived conflict of interest to develop.

Karla Way-McPhail, who runs mining labour and equipment hire companies, last week told a central Queensland newspaper that Adani’s Carmichael mine project would be “a huge boost” for the region.

“We’re very supportive and have been in the industry over 20 years and think it’s vital to the economic platform of central Queensland and we think we really need to see the Galilee [basin] opened,” she told the Morning Bulletin in Rockhampton in a story published last Friday.

Way-McPhail sits on the independent board of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif), which will make investment recommendations, including whether to grant the loan to Adani.

She is the chief executive of the coalmine labour and machinery supplier Undamine Industries, which says on its website it is well-placed to work with miners in the Galilee. The Adani proposal would open up the Galilee for development.

“Our Central Queensland base allows us to effectively serve areas such as the Galilee Basin and beyond,” it says.

Final approval for a Naif loan rests with the minister for Northern Australia, Matthew Canavan, and Naif has said its board members are aware of their conflict-of-interest obligations. It is unclear whether Way-McPhail plans to recuse herself from any decisions.

The Morning Bulletin article did not refer to Way-McPhail’s $56,150-a-year role on the board.

A day before the article appeared, Environmental Justice Australia had written to Naif raising questions about Way-McPhail’s alleged conflict of interest as the chief executive of Undamine and Coal Train Australia, a mining training company.

“There is a perception that Ms Way-McPhail could gain an advantage if either project were to proceed,” EJA said.

Asked by Guardian Australia if her public support for the Adani mine compromised perceptions of her independence, Way-McPhail said: “Due to confidentiality and privacy obligations I am unable to make comment or respond.”

A Naif official did not answer EJA questions about whether Way-McPhail had received any internal information about the Adani proposal, whether she had been present for board discussions or had been included in other correspondence about them. The same was true for questions about Aurizon, which has also approached Naif with a loan proposal to support the construction of a rail line to open up thermal coalmining in the Galilee basin.

 Adani’s proposed $900m Naif loan is to build a line connecting its Abbot Point coal port, near Bowen, to its Carmichael mine, hundreds of kilometres inland. The terms of both proposed loans are unknown.

Naif would not say whether Way-McPhail planned to recuse herself from any decision on Adani or Aurizon.

EJA also raised questions around Annabelle Chaplain, who sits on the board of the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), which advises Naif. Chaplain also sits on the board of and owns shares in Downer EDI, which has provisional contracts worth up to $2bn with Adani, including to build its mine……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/31/adani-director-on-board-that-will-consider-900m-loan-says-project-is-vital

May 31, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Uncertainty about future of existing Indigenous Protected Areas

Ranger groups in the dark about future of existing Indigenous Protected Areas http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-05-30/future-of-existing-indigenous-protected-areas-uncertain/8557532 Weeks after the federal budget was handed down there is still uncertainty about future funding for existing Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs).

Many ranger groups welcomed the $15 million towards new IPAs, but it left a question in the air about the funding for existing IPAs.

Patrick O’Leary, from the Pew Charitable Trust, one of the key supporting organisations for the Country Needs People campaign, told local radio that he still had no information about potential funding for existing IPAs.

“What is going to happen to the existing Indigenous Protected Area network of 67 million hectares, 75 of them across the country, and about 20 or 30 million hectares worth in the NT?” he said.

“Because in June next year those contracts for IPAs reach the end of their five-year term.”

Detail about where these new IPAs might be has also not been given.

Groups seek commitment

Continue reading

May 31, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Dispelling the myth that the Queensland economy actually needs the Adani coal mine

The myth that Adani coal is boom or bust for Queensland economy, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 29 May 2017 There are a whole bunch of reasons why the Adani coal mine does not make sense: for the environment, the climate and on basic economics.

The latest results from Adani Power, revealing over the weekend a $US954 million loss ($A1.3 billion) for the last financial year, its fifth loss in a row, and a growing preference for domestic over imported coal, not to mention the endless delays and requests for government support, underline the fact that the project makes no financial sense.

And we know that on environmental and climate grounds, it makes no sense either. Rescuers minister Matt Canavan counts Adani’s benefits on the basis that the mine will last 60 years. That timeframe assumes that the world will not act on climate change.

Another myth that refuses to go away, and seems to be prosecuted by everyone from the Coalition, to the state Labor government and to the local councils, is that the Queensland economy depends on Adani and its Carmichael mine for jobs and investment, and that the region’s economy would be devastated if the mine didn’t go ahead.

It is simply not true. For a start, the inflated figures being pedalled by those state and federal politicians – the claim of 10,000 jobs – have been debunked by Adani itself, and its more modest investment plans now suggest maybe one-tenth of that, at best.

And perhaps those politicians should have a look around and see what else is happening in the region. It is really quite stunning: some 4,200MW of large-scale wind and solar projects, all of them in central to northern Queensland, and billions of dollars worth of other projects in the pipeline, including biofuels and even a battery gigafactory in Townsville.

The list of already committed projects, compiled by a private consortium known as Future North, include world leading solar resources, world leading solar and storage projects, a world-leading solar-wind-storage hybrid project, and a unique solar and pumped hydro plant proposed for the old Kidston gold mine.

Together, they represent investment of more than $7 billion and jobs of more than 3,200. And as a bonus, they will deliver electricity at an average cost of around $80/MWh, possibly less. Already, it is cheaper than the price of the Queensland grid in the first half of the year – and the low price will be locked in for 25 years.

Some are already going ahead, courtesy of some targeted support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corp, or in the case of Sun Metals’ 116MW solar plant near Townsville, in a bid to cut electricity costs and underpin the expansion of the local zinc refinery.

Another 3,000 jobs and $4 billion of investment are on the cards from half a dozen of biofuel projects that are also in the pipeline, and another 2,000 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs could emerge if the consortium led by Boston Energy and Innovation, and supported by US giant Eastman Kodak, goes ahead with a battery storage gigafactory in Queensland.

“Townsville and the region are sitting on a gold mine of opportunities,” Oliver Yates, the former head of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and a spokesman for Future North, told RenewEconomy on Friday in our Energy Insiders podcast.

Yates says the mixture of solar, wind, storage, hydro, biofuels and manufacturing makes the region ideally placed to be “the centre of action” in Australia’s energy transition.

“The opportunities that they have dwarf anything that they could get  (from coal) … tese are sunrise industries. That town gets subject to a lot of pork barreling and nothing ever happens. And no one talked much about solar and wind  …. and yet it is happening.

“They are siting in the land of opportunity. It’s the only place in Queensland that has got wind, it’s the got best solar resources, and best water resources. Townsville should be the centre of action.”

The projects include the soon-to-be completed Lakeland solar and storage facility, the massive wind, solar and storage facility at the Kennedy Energy park, the Kidston solar and hydro hybrid plant, large wind farms such as Emerald and Forsyth and others, and a host of large-scale solar farms proposed by Pacific Hydro, Esco Pacific, Eco Energy World, FRV, Windlab, Overland, Edify and others.

Future North is proposing a North Queensland Company should be created – with a minimal amount of government seed funding – to ensure that these projects come to pass.

“We believe there is a massive opportunity for North Queensland to become an economic powerhouse across a range of industries,” a new document says, adding that it is not a choice between new and old industries, but recognises the abundant land, water and sun it has for the many future sunrise industries.

Still, many in the Coalition are locked into those sunset industries. …….

as the Adani results over the weekend reveal, the company is now looking at using domestic coal supplies for its massive Mundra mega-coal plant. India is focused on reducing imports of coal, and also encouraging a domestic solar manufacturing base as part of its ambitious renewable energy targets.

Little wonder that Adani is looking for third parties, including governments, to underwrite the cost, and bear the risk, of long-dated infrastructure such as rails and ports.

“It is an admission that (Adani Power) can’t afford expensive imported coal from Carmichael,” IEEFA’s Tim Buckley wrote in an analysis of the results on Monday.

And there are yet more developments that point to a bleak picture for coal in Asia, including the cancellation of 14 coal projects in India, and the announced closure of coal plants in South Korea.

And that is why Future North wants to jump in now, to ensure that the pipeline of wind and solar projects gets the finance from the private sector it is looking for…..http://reneweconomy.com.au/the-myth-that-adani-coal-is-boom-or-bust-for-queensland-economy-39757/

May 31, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Australia could learn from Sweden how to involve the public in nuclear waste decisions

How can civil society influence nuclear waste decisions? Nuclear Transparency Watch Johan Swahn, ENEF May 23 2017 I have worked with radioactive waste issues for many years, first at university and since 12 years for the Swedish environmental movement.

In Sweden the systems set up for access to information, consultation and public information are very favourable for dialogue. It is not always easy to interest the general public or politicians in the
complexity of radioactive waste issues, but the interactions between the industry (SKB), the regulator (SSM), the nuclear communities (Östhammar and Oskarshamn), the Swedish Council for Nuclear Waste (the Government’s scientific advisory board), academia, the environmental movement and other
actors are well developed.  http://www.nuclear-transparency-watch.eu/activities/presentation-of-johan-swahn-during-the-enef-on-may-23-2017-panel-on-radioactive-waste-management.html

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s government beholden to the fossil fuel industries, now want carbon capture and storage to be subsidised as “clean” energy

Coalition tries to push CEFC into carbon capture and storage,REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 30 May 2017

In its latest attempt to prop up Australia’s fossil fuel industry, the Turnbull government says it will seek to remove restrictions that prevent the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation from supporting investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

The move was announced by energy minister Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday, in what he painted as a “technology-neutral, non ideological” approach to national energy policy.

In a statement, Frydenberg said that CCS was cited by both the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as critically important for the world to meet its emission reductions targets.

But both those citations carry heavy caveats – only if the technology works, and only if the costs fall significantly. So far, there has been little evidence of either, with less than a handful of CCS projects actually capturing emissions from power generators and at great expense, despite years of investment.

The Coalition has waged a war against renewable energy since its election in 2013, canning the carbon price, seeking to abolish and then cut the 2020 renewable energy target, and seeking at various points to close both the CEFC and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, before slashing ARENA’s funding. Continue reading

May 31, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, politics | Leave a comment

US Senator John McCain too late in now wanting action on climate change

 Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday night, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called the death of the Great Barrier Reef “one of the great tragedies of our lives

This year, McCain voted to confirm Trump’s most anti-climate nominees, supporting Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Politicians who oppose climate action are now sad about the consequences https://thinkprogress.org/great-barrier-reef-john-mccain-5ee85af47a93, 30 May 17, 

If only the senator from Arizona had a job where he could do something about climate change. The Great Barrier Reef, which in 2016 experienced the largest die-off of coral in its history, cannot be saved in its current form, a panel of Australian experts warned over the weekend.

The culprit, according to the panel, is climate change — specifically, the rapid warming of the oceans. Last year, record-high ocean temperatures triggered a bleaching event that affected 93 percent of the reef. Almost half of the reef’s coral has died since.

The panel, which is made up of scientists and environmental experts, conceded that the best that can be hoped for is “maintaining ecological function over the coming decades.” It also argued that any response aimed at helping the Great Barrier Reef must include policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Members agreed that in our lifetime and on our watch, substantial areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding ecosystems are experiencing major long-term damage which may be irreversible unless action is taken now,” the panel’s official statement read. Continue reading

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian States lead in move towards renewable energy boom

Australian renewables head for “boom-time” – led by states, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 30 May 2017 [good graphs]  Australia’s renewable energy industry is shaping up for a “boom-time” 2017, powered by a rebound in hydro-power generation, ambitious and motivated state and territory governments, the plunging cost of big solar, and a burgeoning national commercial solar sector.

In its latest annual Clean Energy Australia report, the Clean Energy Council says that an “unprecedented program” of renewable energy projects was set to go to construction across course of thise year, totalling 3150MW of new generation capacity – approximately half what is needed to meet theå remainder of RET.

“At least 30 renewable energy projects will be under construction during 2017, in what is shaping up to be the biggest year for the industry since the iconic Snowy Hydro Scheme was built more than half a century ago,” the report says.

The projects are also expected to deliver more than $6.9 billion in investment and create 3725 jobs, much of them in regional Australia.

The CEC said the “ambitious scope” of renewable energy development in 2017 was largely due to the bipartisan support returned to the RET in 2015, continued falls in the cost of RE and strong support from state and territory governments, as well as from ARENA and CEFC – the latter two are credited with pushing the price of large-scale solar down to almost half what it was just a couple of years ago.

The report was particularly keen to note the influence of state and territory policies and targets, which it said had returned stability to a market “badly shaken” by the previous Coalition Abbott government’s extended RET Review, while also acting to “fill the void of robust national energy and climate policy” beyond 2020…….http://reneweconomy.com.au/australian-renewables-head-for-boom-time-led-by-states-85762/

May 31, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

South Africa’s anti nuclear movement gaining strength, following High Court ruling

Group that ended Eskom’s nuclear bid plans next move  http://www.fin24.com/Economy/Eskom/group-that-ended-eskoms-nuclear-bid-plans-next-move-20170528   Matthew le Cordeur   May 28 2017 Cape Town – The Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (Safcei) has moved on from its court victory over government and Eskom in April, which set aside the nuclear procurement programme.

High court ruling on nuclear was a victory for SA – Liziwe McDaid

A month after winning the court bid, Safcei spokesperson Liz McDaid said the victory opened space for other civil society organisations to come together to keep the nuclear programme from moving forward.

McDaid, who was engaging with stakeholders in Khayelitsha last week, told Fin24 that the court victory was a major boost in bringing other stakeholders together.

“For civil society, this has opened a space,” she said. “It has meant that organisations involved in child care, youth work (and) social justice have realised what the impact of such a deal could have on their work.

“Right now, it’s up to civil society to consolidate that gain, to spread that message and to mobilise going forward.”

McDaid said Safcei would focus its attention on the Department of Energy’s draft integrated resource plan and energy plan, which is currently undergoing stakeholder engagement and public hearings.

“One of our critical areas is the electricity plan, which was five years out of date,” she said. “We want to make sure that process runs properly and that renewable energy is given its proper place, because we want to see South Africa move into the future.

“The future energy is definitely renewable and not nuclear,” she said. Continue reading

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Telstra funding construction of $100 million solar farm in northern Queensland

Telstra’s solar contract part of bigger power play, AFR,  Angela Macdonald-Smith 30 May 17 Telstra has lifted the veil on its highly anticipated new energy strategy, revealing it will underpin the construction of a $100 million solar farm in northern Queensland as part of a wider play to protect itself from soaring power prices. Under a deal struck with renewable energy giant RES Group, Telstra will buy all the power generated by a 70 megawatt solar project to be built near Emerald over “multiple” years.

Head of Telstra’s new energy division Ben Burge also said the telco was gearing up to use its hundreds of megawatts of backup power at exchanges around the country to offer electricity into the wholesale market when ultra-high demand causes prices to surge.

“It’s a highly distributed, highly responsive source of energy which over the coming years we will look to make better use of in order to improve our resilience but also to address extreme wholesale prices in the market,” Mr Burge, the former head of Meridian Energy’s Australian business, said.

 He said Telstra, which accounts for about 1 per cent of the country’s power demand, was looking to protect itself from movements in power prices the way large corporates did for exchange and interest rates…….. http://www.afr.com/business/energy/solar-energy/telstras-solar-contract-part-of-bigger-power-

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

The first hybrid wind power storage plant in Spain using batteries

Battery storage paired with wind farm in ground-breaking Spanish trial, REneweconomy By Sophie Vorrath on 30 May 2017


The first hybrid wind power storage plant in Spain using batteries

A world first hybrid renewables trial, pairing a grid-connected wind farm with lithium-ion battery storage and energy management software, has been switched on in Spain, in a bid to boost the integration of variable-generation renewables into electricity networks around the world.

The project, led by Spanish wind energy giant Acciona, will use in-house developed “simulation” software to control the battery storage systems at a specially developed hybrid power plant, which is located next to Acciona’s experimental wind farm at Barasoain (Navarra)…..http://reneweconomy.com.au/battery-storage-paired-with-wind-farm-in-ground-breaking-spanish-trial-69731/

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adani coal mine dispute: it’s not only about money, and climate: there’s also black lung disease for miners

Does Queensland really want Adani’s dirty, black lung inducing jobs? Independent Australia  David Shearman 30 May 2017On top of ecological destruction and $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies, will the re-emergence of black lung disease, due to government regulatory incompetence, be the final nail in Adani’s Carmichael mine coffin? Dr David Shearman reports.

ON A DAY WHEN a Queensland Parliamentary Inquiry finds catastrophic administrative failures resulted in the reappearance in pneumoconiosis (black lung disease) – a serious but preventable disease – Queenslanders should be asking themselves some important questions.

In particular, whether their State and Federal governments have the competence to deliver the Adani Carmichael mine with its ephemeral jobs and riches or whether the collateral damage to them and to Queensland is likely to be too great.

The reappearance of black lung disease in our wealthy, advanced country is an indictment of health monitoring in the coal industry, for which the Queensland Government has the ultimate responsibility to set health standards. The Parliamentary ‘Inquiry into the re-identification of Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis in Queensland’ identified “major system failures at virtually all levels” and this includes the medical assessments.

Parliamentarians who fondle coal and spruik it as “cheap” need to recognise the true cost of coal lies in the suffering of workers, and the community from air pollution from its mining and combustion. Coal is heavily subsidised by the health services for the cost of care of a significant proportion of the 3,000 Australians who die each year from air pollution.

In promoting this mine, the Queensland and Federal governments have already dismissed the likely demise of the Great Barrier Reef, the significant impact on world greenhouse emissions and the climate of Australia, the increasingly poor image depicted in the international media of Queensland and the concerns of our Pacific Island neighbours about new coal mines. In the face of black lung, the competence of the Queensland Government to regulate and monitor the development and running of this vast mine has to be questioned. It will be difficult to find any reassurance.

Imposed on the Adani mine development are 270 conditions that will need monitoring and supervision by the Queensland Government. Many of these relate to water security, because inland Queensland with its probable drying climate has human and agricultural demands on its water. Unlimited use of water from the Great Artesian Basin is to be allowed in the face of concerns expressed by an eminent scientific committee. These included the impact from possible pressure reduction in bores and impacts on existing settlements.

The possible health consequences of the Adani mine have been detailed by Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) in a fact sheet with a foreword by Professor Fiona Stanley.

Let us look at the record of successive Queensland governments…..https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/does-queensland-really-want-adanis-dirty-black-lung-inducing-jobs,10348

May 31, 2017 Posted by | health, Queensland | Leave a comment

If Glencore wants cheap energy for Mt Isa, it should go solar

 REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 30 May 2017 International mining giant Glencore is apparently threatening to close its huge copper operations in Mt Isa – with the loss of at least 2,000 jobs – because of the soaring cost of energy, amongst other things.

According to an article in the Australian Financial Review on Tuesday , Glencore’s copper chief Aristotelis Mistakidis has written a letter to the state and federal governments complaining that the price of power has risen 100 per cent in three years and will continue to escalate.

But it only has itself to blame.

Glencore is the biggest miner of coal in the world following its merger with Xstrata, and the biggest mineral commodities trading business.

Back in 2011, Xstrata had a choice of which energy it should choose for the future supply of Mt Isa – between the Copperstring transmission line from Townsville that would deliver wind, solar, biomass and maybe geothermal, or a gas plant supplied by AGL.

It went for the latter, and it has turned out to be be a mighty stupid decision. Gas prices have soared, as many predicted, and the cost of gas generation has likely more than doubled.

The cost of solar and wind, meanwhile, has halved, as many predicted. Glencore would likely be paying half of what it is now had it chosen the renewable energy option……..

If Glencore is really serious about the operations at Mt Isa and reducing energy costs, it would have no hesitation in building a large solar plant to meet at least some of its energy needs. That can be easily incorporated into the gas plant, particularly with the help of storage and smart controls.

Mt Isa has excellent solar resources. It would likely deliver electricity at a cost of $70-$80/MWh, perhaps even less. If it had acted quickly enough, Glencore could have cashed in on the high price of renewable energy certificates.

That would have meant that the cost of electricity would have been free for at least a few years (LGC prices have been trading around $80/MWh).

At the very least, a large portion of its energy costs would be largely hedged for 25 years. It would have guaranteed its earnings and the jobs of 2,000 people, and the future of a major regional city. http://reneweconomy.com.au/if-glencore-wants-cheap-energy-for-mt-isa-it-should-go-solar-25999/

May 31, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment