Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Capital Territory’s energy policy could be damaged by Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee

A National Energy Guarantee could be bad news for the ACT, Canberra Times, Katie Burgess , 24 Nov 17,  A National Energy Guarantee could risk years of ACT energy policy and force Canberrans to pay more, ACT climate change minister Shane Rattenbury has warned.

The Greens minister met with his state and federal counterparts at the COAG Energy Council meeting in Hobart on Thursday and Friday.

Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg had intended to ask state and territory leaders to give in-principle support to the energy guarantee, but instead sought approval to undertake further analysis of the proposal.

But Mr Rattenbury said he was concerned that the guarantee would “stymie” new sources of renewable energy, the emission targets were too low, the agreement too short and the modelling was tailored to “inflate the apparent cost-savings”.

He also said an “artificially suppressed” wholesale price would impact on the contract-for-difference model the ACT used as part of its plan to go 100 per cent renewable by 2020.

 Through its reverse auctions, ActewAGL pays each large-scale renewable energy generator the difference between their feed-in tariff and the current wholesale price per megawatt hour.

However when wholesale prices are higher than the feed-in tariff, the generator pays ActewAGL and the savings are passed onto customers.

That model has insulated Canberra customers from future price rises.

But if the wholesale price was pushed down, Mr Rattebury said the ACT could pay more.

“We are concerned it will suppress artificially prices in the wholesale market and we believe the wholesale market is an effective means of driving good energy outcomes so the transition across to a certificate-based approach we think distorts the price signalling effect the labour wholesale market is designed to operate,” Mr Rattenbury told a stakeholder meeting.

“As a jurisdiction it’s particularly problematic for us because we have set ourselves on a pathway that’s premised on having an effective wholesale price. For our consumers it’s going to represent a potentially significant cost increase because of the way our electricity contracts are set for the next 20 years.”………

The federal government chose not to adopt the Clean Energy Target recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, instead opting for a National Energy Agreement which would require energy retailers to meet a reliability and emissions guarantee.

The reliability guarantee compels retailers to make a proportion of electricity available from “dispatchable” sources like batteries, hydro or gas, that can be switched on when demand is high.

The emissions guarantee requires retailers to cut their greenhouse emissions by 26 per cent on 2005 by 2030.

The energy guarantee won’t apply to Western Australia and the Northern Territory, meaning those two jurisdictions will have no federal emissions reduction policy after the Renewable Energy Target is scrapped in 2020.

The ACT and South Australia called on the federal government to model the cost of a Clean Energy Target and a Renewable Energy Target as well but they refused.

Mr Rattenbury that was “deeply concerning”.

“We know the National Energy Guarantee is the fourth or fifth best choice because that’s what the backbench watered it down to.

“[The refusal to model other options] says to me it’s not going to stack up.” http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/a-national-energy-guarantee-could-be-bad-news-for-the-act-20171123-gzryin.html

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November 24, 2017 Posted by | ACT, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Canberra stood out at Bonn climate talks as a progressive city, adopting renewable energy

Canberra climate action on show at UN talks in Germany, Canberra Times, 19 Nov 17, Tom McIlroy   The role of cities like Canberra in affecting progress against global warming has been considered in the latest United Nations climate talks, with experts welcoming “a groundswell” of innovation.

World leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and environment advocates gathered in the former German capital of Bonn last week for the 23rd conference for signatories to the UN Convention on Climate Change.

University of Canberra chair of Urban and Regional Planning Barbara Norman said a key message from the talks had been how mayors, governors and regional leaders could work together to create large-scale change, boosting wider efforts on a national and international basis.

Professor Norman said powering cities with 100 per cent renewable electricity, building integrated transport systems, designing green precincts and environmentally sustainable developments were key to meaningful progress……….

Chair of the ACT Climate Change Council, she said Canberra stood out among cities involved in an international cooperation network, including because the territory was on track to achieve its target of 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020……..http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-climate-action-on-show-at-un-talks-in-germany-20171118-gzoam8.html

November 20, 2017 Posted by | ACT, energy | Leave a comment

Community energy in Canberra – backing a solar energy future

Investing in a brighter energy future for Australia http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4860382/investing-in-a-brighter-energy-future-for-australia/?cs=97, 20 Aug 2017, We’re backers, not bystanders. Like many, we’re concerned about climate change – and want to play our part. That’s why we’re among the 867 people who invested in what will be Australia’s largest, community-owned solar farm.

SolarShare is building its flagship project, a one-megawatt solar farm that shares land with a vineyard, in the Majura Valley in Canberra.

It’s the first of hopefully many solar farms and projects owned by the community.

SolarShare has been funded by people like us, who will receive a good return on our initial investment as the electricity it generates from the sun is sold. At the same time, the farm will power 260 homes, reducing our reliance on polluting fossil fuels.

While governments can be slow to act, individuals, communities and businesses across Australia are finding their own solutions.

The transition to renewable energy has started – and it’s exciting. But it needs to happen faster if we are to leave this place better, cleaner and safer for our grandchildren. None of us can do everything, but we can all do something.

As soon as we could, we put solar panels on our roof making our house somewhat of a novelty in the neighbourhood. These days, solar covers 21 per cent of Australia’s suitable rooftops.

A couple months ago we bought an electric car, which we fuel for free with the rooftop panels. We were amazed to see that India, Britain, France and Norway have announced plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

Until governments pick up the pace, individuals will have to work together. Being part of a larger project, like a community solar farm, is a great way to be part of an exciting new vision.   David and Lainie Shorthouse are SolarShare investors, and Canberra residents.

August 21, 2017 Posted by | ACT, storage | Leave a comment

Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and the ACT defy Turnbull, will “go it alone” on Clean Energy Target

States harden threat to got it alone on clean energy target, THE AUSTRALIAN, 15 July 17  ROSIE LEWIS, Reporter, Canberra @rosieslewis and SID MAHER, NSW Editor, Sydney@sidmaher

Labor states have ramped up pressure on the Turnbull government to adopt a clean energy target but refused to lift bans on gas exploration, triggering warnings from industry leaders that time was running out for a national ­approach to lowering electricity costs and securing supply.

A crucial meeting of the ­nation’s state and federal energy ministers yesterday signed 49 of the 50 recommendations handed down by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, but Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT stuck to their threat to “go it alone” on a target and moved to “immediately develop and ­de­sign” options for implementing the mechanism………

The Australian Energy Council, representing major gas and electricity businesses, said brokering a national and bipartisan CET was fundamental to overcoming the energy crisis.

“Successful reform and lower energy bills will only come from bipartisan support and national implementation. Investment behind this reform will run for decades, so we need to find broad and enduring agreement to give it the confidence to proceed.’’

Key Finkel recommendations agreed to at the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council meeting in Brisbane include an obligation on intermittent sources of generation such as wind and solar to provide appropriate levels of backup power to guard against blackouts; a requirement for large generators to give at least three years’ notice before closing; and the establishment of an energy security board to scrutinise the National Electricity Market’s health, security and reliability.

The states also backed the federal government’s decision to abolish the Limited Merits Review — a tool the government says has been used by power companies to increase electricity ­prices — and accelerate the timetable for gas pipelines reform.

The price and availability of long-term electricity retail contracts will be published so big consumers can understand the market they are competing in.

Grattan Institute energy director Tony Wood said the only factors likely to drive any easing of prices were a decision by the Queensland government to order its generators to lower their ­returns, and the final commissioning of the Gladstone LNG export facilities, which could see more gas made available for domestic use and ease gas prices……

The Australian Pipelines and Gas Association was dismayed that energy ministers had brought forward reforms to pipeline operations by a month. Information disclosure and arbitration rules will now begin on August 1.http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/states-harden-threat-to-got-it-alone-on-clean-energy-target/news-story/2cd2a87bd563c1e940aeeee83a831cc2

July 15, 2017 Posted by | ACT, energy, politics, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria | Leave a comment

New South Wales wind farm to power 49,000 ACT homes

NSW’s Sapphire Wind Farm to power 49,000 ACT homes, Canberra Times, Georgina Connery, 27 Apr 17, It is a regional NSW project closer to the Queensland border than to Canberra, but within months the Sapphire Wind Farm will generate power for around 49,000 ACT homes. After a flight to Armidale and long car ride west of Glen Innes, climate change minster Shane Rattenbury toured the facility on Thursday.

The wind farm will be NSW’s largest once it is completed.

It is owned by CWP Renewables, a joint venture between two European renewable energy companies, and was one of two successful projects in the ACT’s 2015 second wind auction.

The farm entered into a 20 year contract to supply 100 megawatts of its 270 megawatt output to the ACT government and by mid next year 32 wind turbines will come online to supply energy for the territory.

“Construction commenced in January 2017 on the 100 megawatt Sapphire 1 wind farm, which is another significant step in progress towards the ACT’s 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020 target,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The ACT supported part of the wind farm will generate 349,703 megawatt-hours per year.”

The ACT government’s reverse auctions have secured generating capacities of 40 megawatts from large-scale solar and 600 megawatts from wind farms over the past few years…… http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/nsws-sapphire-wind-farm-to-power-49000-act-homes-20170426-gvtejh.html

April 28, 2017 Posted by | ACT, New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment

Victoria’s Ararat Wind Farm now supplying power to Victoria and ACT

Ararat Wind Farm fully commissioned, supplying power to Victoria and ACT http://reneweconomy.com.au/ararat-wind-farm-fully-commissioned-supplying-power-to-victoria-and-act-51770/ By Sophie Vorrath on 19 April 2017  The recently completed 240MW Ararat Wind Farm in south-western Victoria is now operating at full capacity, feeding enough renewable energy into the grid to power 120,000 homes, 37,000 of them in Canberra.

The wind farm, which is operated and managed by Canberra-based company Windlab, was fully commissioned on Wednesday this week, after several years in the works. It first began sending power to the grid in Victoria in August 2016. This graph below, from the Energy and Climate College, shows how it has expanded production.

The project gained significance as the first wind farm to be contracted after the reinstatement of a bipartisan federal renewable energy target – that is, after the Coalition and Labor agreed to cut the RET to 33,000GWh from 41,000GWh).

In Ararat’s case, the go-ahead was buoyed by the signing of a power purchase agreement with the ACT government, which guaranteed the purchase of approximately 40 per cent of its annual output – a contract it is now delivering on.

“The ACT’s agreement with the Ararat Wind Farm provided certainty for investors and enabled construction to commence in late 2015,” ACT climate minister Shane Rattenbury said on Wednesday.

“This is good news for consumers as well as climate change mitigation, as the ACT government has locked-in a set price for the renewable electricity produced by 10 wind and solar projects, including Ararat, for the next 20 years.”

Rattenbury – whose predecessor, Simon Corbell, is widely regarded as the mastermind of the nation-leading renewables policy – said that the Capital was showing the federal government how to deliver on clean energy.

“If the generators make more money than the set price for the electricity they sell into the national electricity market, they pay the difference back to the ACT,” Rattenbury said.

Ararat Mayor, Paul Hooper, described the wind farm as a “really significant” project for the city, bringing $450 million of investment, 350 jobs at its construction peak, and more than $40 million into the local economy during construction, which lasted about 18 months.

“It was completed on time and to a very high standard,” Hooper said, adding that project developer RES Australia had been “…very, very good corporate citizens” throughout the development.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | ACT, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Canberra’s shining example of renewable energy development

Renewables roadshow: how Canberra took lead in renewable energy race In the latest in our series on Australian green energy projects, we find out how the ACT is transitioning to 100% renewable energy, aided by the country’s largest community-owned solar farm

• How the ‘nonna effect’ got Darebin’s pensioners signing up to solar
• How Daylesford’s windfarm took back the power,
Guardian, , 30 Mar 17, As Australia remains mired in a broken debate about the supposed dangers of renewable energy, some states and territories are ignoring the controversy and steaming ahead.

While Australia is far from the renewable capital of the world, the Australian Capital Territory may soon be among the world’s top renewable energy regions. And as it transitions, the ACT is demonstrating the benefits of the renewables boom to the rest of the country. Continue reading

March 31, 2017 Posted by | ACT, energy | Leave a comment

World-first digital energy marketplace for rooftop solar launched by Australian consortium

text-community-energy

The consortium is launching two pilot projects in the ACT and on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, each involving around 5,000 households. The projects are also being overseen by a reference group that includes the Australian Energy Market Operator, the Australian Energy Market Commission and Energy Consumers Australia.

Australian consortium launches world-first digital energy marketplace for rooftop solar https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/feb/23/australian-consortium-launches-world-first-digital-energy-marketplace-for-rooftop-solar

Pilot program will allow homeowners to tap into a network of ‘virtual’ power stations made up of smart grids of rooftop solar and batteries, Guardian, , 24 Feb 17, With that challenge in mind, in 2016, GreenSync got together with electricity network operators United Energy and ActewAGL, energy tech startup Reposit Power, and energy retailer Mojo under the auspices of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s A-Lab; an initiative that the Arena chief executive, Ivor Frischknecht, describes as an “innovation sandbox”. Arena contributed $450,000 towards the total project cost of $930,000.

What they came up with has yet to be done anywhere in the world: a network of “virtual” power stations made up smart grids of rooftop solar panels and batteries. Continue reading

February 24, 2017 Posted by | ACT, solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory prepares for role as clean energy hub and exporter of renewable technology

text-relevantFunding boost for renewable sector to prepare ACT for green future http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/funding-boost-for-renewable-sector-to-prepare-act-for-green-future-20170110-gtp8vm.html  Clare Sibthorp  11 Jan 17 

The ACT government hopes a funding boost to the local renewable sector will take the territory one step closer to a green future.

Two new grant programs launched by Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Shane Rattenbury aim to shape the ACT as an export-oriented hub for renewable energy innovation and investment.

The new Direct Grants Stream will provide grants of more than $30,000 to businesses developing renewable technologies.

The Innovation Connect Renewables Stream will feed extra cash into the ACT government’s existing Innovation Connect grants program, allocating $120,000 to the development of innovative products and services in the renewable sector in 2017.

Mr Rattenbury said the programs would be financed from the $12 million industry-funded Renewable Energy Innovation Fund.

He said the ACT was on track to be fully powered by renewables by 2020. “The grants announced today are designed to grow the renewable energy industry, help organisations take the next step in commercialising their technology and reduce deployment costs of renewable energy and energy storage,” he said.

Jobs growth in the ACT renewable energy sector in the past six years was 12 times faster than the national average, a report into the territory government’s action on climate change revealed.

The Minister’s Report into Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction also showed the rate of job growth in the ACT’s renewables sector was six times higher than any other state and territory, as the government invested $12 million into a renewable energy industry development strategy.

January 12, 2017 Posted by | ACT, business, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Solar energy park is seeking co-operative venture with sheep farming!

solar and sheep
ACT solar farm announces new tender ….. for sheep, REneweconomy By  on 16 December 2016

The owners of the Mugga Lane Solar Park in the ACT are looking for one more addition to their almost complete 13MW power station – and it’s not battery storage.

Maoneng Group, who started building the solar farm in March after winning a tender in the ACT government’s first large-scale renewables reverse auction, has this week launched its own, rather unusual, tender – for a flock of sheep.  The company is seeking expressions of interest for a farmer or community group to graze 100-150 head of sheep within the Mugga Lane Solar Park – an area of around 46 hectares at the intersection of Mugga Lane and Monaro Highway in the ACT.

“Applicants must maintain the livestock inclusive of drenching, crutching, shearing, veterinarian costs and portable pens,” the tender says, adding that “weathers or non-lambing ewes are preferred.”

The owners of the solar park, which began generating power in mid-November, will provide and maintain fencing, two water troughs and a small holding paddock with all-weather accessibility.

Maoneng’s Shaun Curran said the deal, which would be a quid pro quo “cost neutral” affair, would provide a local farmer or community group with free and secure grazing, while for the Solar Farm, it would provide free lawn mowing and reduce the site’s fire risk…….

Curran also noted that sheep, while preferred, were possibly not the only livestock option.

“There was a large mob of kangaroos on site when it was first being developed,” he said. “So they could work too. They’re similar to sheep; not too destructive. They don’t want to rub up against the panels.”…… http://reneweconomy.com.au/act-solar-farm-announces-new-tender-sheep-19044/

December 16, 2016 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – jobs growth with renewable energy

green-collarRenewable jobs grow as ACT drives down emissions from government operations by 17 per cent in three years, Canberra Times, Katie Burgess, 13 Dec 16,  Jobs growth in the ACT renewable energy sector in the past six years was 12 times faster than the national average, a report into the territory government’s action on climate change has revealed.

The Minister’s Report into Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction also showed the rate of job growth in the ACT’s renewables sector was six times higher than any other state and territory, as the government invested $12 million into a renewable energy industry development strategy.

Ahead of the COAG Energy Council meeting on Wednesday, climate change minister Shane Rattenbury said he would push other states and territories to take up their own renewable energy targets.

“We must not allow the federal government’s inaction to limit what we can achieve at a state and territory level. The ACT is a great example of what subnational governments can achieve. We are on track to meet our 100 per cent renewable electricity target by 2020 and to become Australia’s first zero emission jurisdiction by 2050,” Mr Rattenbury said.

Emissions from government operations have fallen 17 per cent since 2012-2013, the report also revealed. The ACT government is aiming to be carbon neutral in its own operations by 2020……http://www.canberratimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/renewable-jobs-grow-as-act-drives-down-emissions-from-government-operations-by-17-per-cent-in-three-years-20161213-gta1ha.html

December 14, 2016 Posted by | ACT, employment, energy | Leave a comment

Canberra shows off its renewable energy success

renewable-energy-pictureCanberra’s renewable energy facilities host open day, Canberra Times, Stephen Jeffery , 5 Dec 16  Canberra’s renewable energy providers threw their doors open on Saturday to showcase the ways the ACT and southern NSW are helping to reduce carbon emissions.

The Renewable Energy Trail, celebrating 2016 Renewable Energy Day, took Canberrans and tourists to sites across the ACT and surrounding areas of NSW. The day kicked off, under appropriately sunny skies, at the Mount Majura Solar Farm, which began operations this year.

A bus took visitors to Canberra Institute of Technology’s Renewable Energy Skills Centre of Excellence and Renewables Battery Test Centre, before moving on to the “Big Dish” at the Australian National University, a display of electric vehicles in Tuggeranong, and Googong Dam’s mini hydroelectric facility.

A separate bus ventured into NSW, touring the Woodlawn Bioreactor and wind farm.

ACT Environment Minister Mick Gentleman and Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury officially opened the event…..The Renewable Energy Trail was held in the same week a report found the ACT well ahead of other Australian states and territories in emission reduction targets.

The ACT also won the Carbon Disclosure Project’s award for “Best Renewable Target” during the week. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-life/canberras-renewable-energy-facilities-host-open-day-20161203-gt39xt.html

December 4, 2016 Posted by | ACT, energy | Leave a comment

Public submissions on renewed call for ACT Jupiter wind farm

Wind turbines in Azerbaijan. Second time lucky? Jupiter wind farm application lodged again, Canberra Times, 4 Dec 16 Katie Burgess 

The company behind the controversial Jupiter wind farm has taken another swing at getting the green light to build 88 wind turbines near Canberra, a year after NSW officials sent them back to the drawing board.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment struck out EPYC’s application to build the wind farm five kilometres out of the Tarago township last October, after it found the company had not sufficiently addressed environmental and community concerns.

But the joint Australian-Spanish venture has come back to the NSW Department of Environment and Planning with a revised proposal, which has now opened for public consultation.

While the original Jupiter wind farm proposal was to build 100 turbines across 25 rural properties, the new one outlines plans to build 88 turbines across 23 rural properties.

EPYC project manager Ibrahim Eid said the revised environmental impact statement included consultation with community members up to three kilometres away.

But residents of the surrounding regions have vowed to once again fight the proposal, which EPYC has been trying to get off the ground since 2014………

The wind farm will be within 15 kilometres of two operational wind farms, one approved wind farm and a solar farm.

The environmental impact statement acknowledged there could be wind turbines within two kilometres of properties not part of the farm.

It also stated there were 43 threatened fauna species, including the glossy black cockatoo and the spotted-tail quoll, however the turbines, substations and other ancillary buildings would be built on cleared paddocks.

The company will carry out targeted ecological surveys to determine where each wind turbine will sit.

Public submissions on the proposed wind farm close in February. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/second-time-lucky-jupiter-wind-farm-application-lodged-again-20161130-gt1f9j.html

December 4, 2016 Posted by | ACT, wind | Leave a comment

Canberra’s renewable energy leadership at risk, as Federal govt demonises renewables.

The solar industry already employs more people than coal-fired generation across the country. In 2014 the solar industry employed more than 13,000 people and even with the uncertainty and watering down of the renewable energy target this is likely to have grown. By comparison, according to the 2011 census 8,000 people worked in fossil fuel electricity generation.

A clean energy transition is already happening, but it is at risk, Guardian, Alexander White, 11 Oct 16  The transition to a low carbon economy is already happening, but is at risk when residents of Australia’s capital go to the polls in local elections.

The transition to a low carbon economy is already happening … in theAustralian Capital Territory, where the local Labor government has legislated for a 100% renewable energy target by the year 2020.

But this major achievement is at risk on Saturday when residents of Canberra go to the polls for territory elections. Continue reading

October 11, 2016 Posted by | ACT, politics, solar | Leave a comment

Australia’s first sun-tracking solar farm opens at Majura, Canberra

Majura solar farm set to power more than 600 homes after four years of planning, The Age, Clare Sibthorpe, 6 Oct 16, Hundreds of Canberra homes are set to be powered by one of Australia’s first sun-tracking solar farms which opened in Majura on Thursday.The 2.3MW solar farm adjacent to the Mount Majura winery will generate 4,300 MW per hour within a year, which equals about 600 houses.

 Four years since planning began, the 5000 panels at the $6.5 million farm are finally helping the ACT reach its 100 per cent renewable energy target.
Solar-Farm-Canberra

The farm has one of the first self-powered and single axis tracking technology to be used in Australia, which increases output by up to 40 per cent…..

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the completion of Canberra’s fourth solar farm – with the others in Mugga Lane, Williamsdale and Royalla – helped ensure Canberra’s future renewable power supply was guaranteed…….

He said the ACT government had contracted 640 megawatts of power which exceeded the amount needed to make the territory entirely renewable by 2020.http://www.theage.com.au/business/energy/majura-solar-farm-set-to-power-more-than-600-homes-after-four-years-of-planning-20161006-grw501.html

October 7, 2016 Posted by | ACT, solar | 1 Comment