Australian news, and some related international items

Mark Parnell on South Australia’s budget

Mark Parnell MLC, Parliamentary Leader, Greens, 22 June 17 
The Government is spending two thirds of their $550 million energy security fund on fossil fuels.  This includes a $360 million gas fired power station and $48 million to gas companies for exploration, including in high value farm land in the South East.  These priorities are all wrong.  We need to phase out fossil fuels and move to a more reliable and affordable renewable energy future with battery storage, such as the proposed solar thermal plant at Port Augusta.
Every budget in the last decade has cut funding to the Environment Department. This budget is no exception, cutting 43 full-time jobs at a time when the urgency of climate change requires even more attention than ever.
The Greens will be ever vigilant in holding the Government to account and will continue to push for a better and brighter future for all South Australians.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Seven stories from REneweconomy today

  • IPART bumps up benchmark range for NSW solar tariffs
    Regulator further lifts benchmark for NSW solar tariffs – well above AGL’s proposed tariff – but rejects notion rooftop solar and storage have network benefits.
  • $9 million to begin hydrogen roadmap
    The South Australian Government is continuing to support the transition to a low- carbon economy through a $9 million commitment to begin hydrogen roadmap.
  • Battery storage “gigafactory” planned for Darwin for 2018
    Energy Renaissance, backed by engineering group UGL, plans a gigawatt-scale battery storage factory in Darwin, that it says will begin production in late 2018.
  • NSW follows Victoria, South Australia in major push to demand management
    Households and businesses in NSW will get paid for reducing loads during critical peaks, as governments and institutions decide to circumvent objections by fossil fuel lobby with smarter, cleaner and cheaper alternatives.
  • Trump bashes wind energy in state that gets a third of its power from wind
    Trump rants against wind energy, warning of lights going out and “birds falling to the ground”.
  • $53.8 million for Stanwell Power Station
    $53.8 million will be invested for a series of major projects at Stanwell Power Station west of Rockhampton, over the next year.
  • We don’t need as much inertia in the power system as many think, and with a few simple changes we won’t need to mandate inertia limits either. Here’s why.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Kimba vote to investigate nuclear waste facility, but opposition to this is strong

Kimba votes to investigate nuclear waste facility on Eyre Peninsula, The Australian, June 23, 2017,  MEREDITH BOOTH, Reporter, Adelaide, @MeredithBooth

The thought of having a nuclear waste ­dump in your backyard would be a step too far for many.

But for wheat farmer Andrew Baldock and the majority of his fellow residents in the shrinking rural South Australian town of Kimba, the promise of a $10 million community fund and better internet was enough to convince them that the positives outweighed the negatives.

Mr Baldock, a father of two, hopes Kimba’s “yes” vote for a nuclear waste dump on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula will kickstart the town’s shrinking rural economy, which has seen a steady exit of businesses and people over the past two decades.

Kimba’s 700 residents have for years been divided on whether to allow a waste dump near the town, but this week voted 396 to 294 in favour of advancing consultation on building a low- and medium-level facility on the town’s edge.

Mr Baldock and his brother stand to inherit from their parents one of the two farms nominated to house the nuclear waste dump……..

A series of rejected sites was put forward between 1991 and 2004 and the Northern Land Council put forward Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory in 2005. But nine years of opposition, including a Federal Court challenge, saw the NLC withdraw its nomination in 2014 and a fresh search began.

The result of the Kimba vote, reported by the Australian Electoral Commission yesterday, is in line with the opinion polls that have pitted neighbour against neighbour in the rural service centre over the past two years.

Farmer Peter Woolford, part of opposition group No Radio­active Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA, said the vote had not changed anything and he expected continued railing against the project. “The opposition is still strong,” he said. “The results of the vote showed the community was still divided.”

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Matt Canavan calls for taxpayers to fund corporate gas exploration

Matt Canavan now wants public money for gas exploration in South East Australia as well as $1 billion taxpayer leg-up for Adani.,10428

June 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Today’s Renewable Energy News

Get in on the ground floor: how apartments can join the solar boom
Bjorn Sturmberg
While there are now more solar panels in Australia than people, the many Australians who live in apartments have largely been locked out of this solar revolution by a minefield of red tape and potentially uninformed strata committees.

Turnbull and Trump both demonising renewables for no reason
Giles Parkinson
Turnbull’s pursuit of “baseload dispatchable” power has all the hallmarks of the Trump administration’s campaign against renewables. But data shows that countries with lots of wind and solar have better energy security.
New South Wales
How apartments can join the solar boom
Do you live in an apartment and wish that you could join the solar power revolution? Here’s how one co-operative housing block in Sydney transformed their building and became one of the first apartment blocks to become equipped with solar and batteries.

Foley pledges to ‘increase’ rooftop solar if elected


Idea for solar on dam left in dark
A FLOATING solar farm proposed for Copperlode Dam was shot down before ever being considered by Cairns Regional Council, and at least one city official is not impressed.
South Australia
Uncertainty powers battery surge
Blackout fears in South Australia have led to a surge in interest in solar battery technology.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Australian Parliamentary Treaties Committee nuclear fast-track cuts corners and lacks evidence

The federal parliament’s Joint Standing committee on Treaties (JSCOT) has today signed off on the use of public funds to support research into so-called Generation IV nuclear reactors. 

“This reckless decision follows a rushed process with no public hearings. It lacks evidence and justification and flies in the face of a clear and sustained global trend away from nuclear energy options,” said Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney.

ACF joined Friends of the Earth Australia in making a detailed critique of the nuclear plan to JSCOT (attached).

The submission highlighted that the various Generation IV nuclear systems share many of the same risks and constraints as the wider nuclear industry, including prohibitive costs and safety, waste and proliferation concerns. 

“Australia’s involvement with Generation IV promotion is a distraction from the real energy challenges and solutions,” said Dave Sweeney. 

“Propping up nuclear research is not consistent with clear action to address nuclear non-proliferation, energy transition or climate change. It’s also inconsistent with both Australian prohibitions and community expectations on nuclear power.”

These concerns have been noted in both the Greens’ dissenting report and federal Labor’s additional comments, however they are not reflected in the final report.

“Committing public funds to a risky, divisive and under-performing industry deserves the highest scrutiny and justification, not an under the radar rubber-stamp,” Mr Sweeney said. 

Further context or comment:

Dave Sweeney – ACF nuclear free campaigner – 0408 317 812

Dr Jim Green – Friends of the Earth Australia national nuclear campaigner – 0417 318 368

Committee Report:

June 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Labor’s broken uranium promise a kick in the guts for communities and the environment. Uranium mine plans will be challenged

Leading environment groups have said the fight to keep Western Australia nuclear free was not over despite a serious broken promise by the McGowan Government on the key environmental issue.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said the decision to allow WA uranium mines to proceed on Aboriginal lands was a clear broken promise and a kick in the guts for communities and the environment.

“Should these mines go ahead they would cause permanent damage to our environment and communities and also export WA uranium to countries where it will inevitably result in radioactive waste and risk.

“This terrible decision is a betrayal of the many people, communities, Traditional Owners, trade unions, churches and environment groups who placed their faith in Labor to keep WA uranium free.

“Environmental standards went out the window under the Barnett Government and the approvals that were granted for these uranium mines are some of the most compromised decisions that government made.

“The decision by the McGowan Government to allow those approvals to stand without so much as an inquiry to investigate them, and without even consulting the local communities, workers and Traditional Owners who voted for them in good faith, sends a very bad message about the Government’s commitment to protecting our environment.

“The McGowan Government may think it is OK to let some of the worst decisions in the state’s history stand, but communities, environment groups, workers and Traditional Owners certainly won’t be backing down in our fight to prevent this bad decision turning into a series of toxic and polluting uranium mines.

“We believe there are serious legal flaws in the way these approvals were granted by the Barnett Government and we will continue to contest them at every stage of the process, including through pursuing legal options to protect our communities and environment from this toxic and unwanted industry.

“There will be a lot of members of the Labor Party, a lot of Traditional Owners, and a lot of voters who will be extremely disappointed by this decision which is a direct breach of long-standing state Labor policy and the trust that Western Australians placed in the McGowan Labor Party when they were elected.

“We have worked closely with local communities and Traditional Owners who would be affected by each of these proposals and we certainly won’t be abandoning them in the same way that the McGowan Government appears to be doing.”

National environment group the Australian Conservation Foundation has called the move a retreat from responsibility and will increase its efforts to end plans for uranium mining in WA.

ACF’s Nuclear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney said “Premier McGowan went to the election saying that uranium mines would not be allowed to proceed unless they had final approval or were in construction.

“None of the four uranium proposal has final approval, none has begun construction and none of the companies have even made a final investment decision.”

“This decision is far from a done deal for uranium mining in WA. No uranium was mined or exported under the pro-nuclear Barnett Government and we will continue to do what is necessary to keep WA’s uranium in the ground.”

June 21, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Disappointment over Labor’s broken promise on uranium mining in Western Australia

The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance, an Indigenous alliance opposed to uranium mining, have expressed their deep disappointment by the announcement from Labor that will allow four uranium mines to proceed, that have been contested by Traditional Owners

Janice Scott, Spinifex Pilgi Woman “The Labor Government, we thought they would stand up for us be strong, and all that we’re fighting for – be different from the other Government. They told us lies. We believed that Labor they would help us to stop uranium mining, they got our trust and that’s why we voted for them.”

Mr Glen Cooke Ngaanyatjarra elder “we will be stepping up the fight talking to our countrymen. This impacts our lands and stories all over not just the mine sites. Tribal people are saying we don’t want uranium. Enough is enough. We will take this further, this country is beautiful and we have to look after it for our children and grandchildren and all future generations.”

“What is so disappointing is that the Labor Government did not sit down and talk with us about this decision which affects our country. Today’s decision Labor has not made one friend but has lost them many.” Concluded Mr Cooke.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Strong calls to have Kimba nuclear dump plan dumped

Groups call for nuclear dump to be dropped  Conservation and anti-nuclear groups have petitioned the federal government to scrap plans for a low-level nuclear waste dump on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

The groups, including Conservation SA, Friends of the Earth and the Australian Conservation Foundation have lodged a submission with the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science calling on the government to abandon any plans for a dump at Kimba.

Farming land near Kimba is one of two sites being targeted for the dump, the other near Hawker in SA’s Flinders Ranges.

 Friends of the Earth campaigner Jim Green says the process to find a dump site has been flawed and divisive.

He says most of the waste is located at the Lucas Heights reactor site south of Sydney and that is where it should stay.

Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney said radioactive waste was a national issue that demanded the highest level of inclusion and scrutiny.

“All Australians have a right to be involved to help make sure that this difficult issue is given the best possible consideration,” he said.

“What is planned is a national radioactive waste facility so while local community consultation is useful, an evidence based, national conversation is essential.”

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Report shows how Australia is underestimating security threats from climate chnage

Australia warned it has radically underestimated climate change security threat
Senate inquiry starts as report into political, military and humanitarian risks of climate change across Asia Pacific released,
Guardian, Ben Doherty 21 June 17, As the Senate launches an inquiry into the national security ramifications of climate change, a new report has warned global warming will cause increasingly regular and severe humanitarian crises across the Asia-Pacific.

Disaster Alley, written by the Breakthrough Centre for Climate Restoration, forecasts climate change could potentially displace tens of millions from swamped cities, drive fragile states to failure, cause intractable political instability, and spark military conflict.

Report co-author Ian Dunlop argues Australia’s political and corporate leaders, by refusing to accept the need for urgent climate action now, are “putting the Australian community in extreme danger”. Continue reading

June 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

9 Renewable Energy Stories From

  • Batteries vs pumped storage hydropower – a place for both?
    Two very different storage technologies – one old, one new; one that takes years to build, one that can be built ‘within 100 days (or it’s free)’. How else do they differ, and is there a place for both?
  • Finkel: Investors prefer wind, solar because they cheaper than coal
    Finkel says it clear investors prefer wind and solar because they are cheaper to build than traditional generation such as hydro and coal.
  • Turnbull and Trump both demonising renewables for no reason
    Turnbull’s pursuit of “baseload dispatchable” power has all the hallmarks of the Trump administration’s campaign against renewables. But data shows that countries with lots of wind and solar have better energy security.
  • Australian company Vivid Technology enters MoU with Honeywell to become its preferred partner for IoT industrial-scale smart LED lighting in Australia
    Major strategic partnership opens the possibility of integrating Vivid Technology and Honeywell products to create complete smart buildings solutions.
  • Investing trillions in electricity’s sunny future
    NNEF has just published its fourth annual New Energy Outlook with electricity’s future looking sunny — and windy, too — to the tune of trillions of dollars of new investment.
  • AGL ridicules Coalition push for new “baseload” coal plants, saying that the only new “baseload” would be renewables, with gas or storage. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” says CEO Andy Vesey.
  • WA national park taken off-grid by local network
    Horizon Power’s stand-alone power project taking Fitzgerald River National Park off-grid with solar, battery storage and back-up diesel.
  • Queensland rejects battery swap, but restricts use of storage with premium tariffs
    Queensland decides against proposed voluntary “buy out” of premium solar feed in tariffs in exchange for battery storage, but announces new rules to stop premium tariffs being rorted by batteries.
  • Rooftop solar’s new boom – when installing PV becomes a no-brainer
    Falling technology costs and yet another hike in electricity prices are combining to make rooftop solar an economic no-brainer for most Australian households and businesses. Just ask Cory Bernardi.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Liberal Senator challenges Tony Abbott on his climate ;policy u-turn

Tony Abbott: Concetta Fierravanti-Wells challenges former PM on climate policy ‘about-face’ ABC News, PM  20 June 17 By political reporter Tom Iggulden, Former prime minister Tony Abbott is being accused of damaging Australia’s international reputation and his own political credibility in another outbreak of internal coalition infighting.

Key points:

  • Prime ministers are judged on what they’ve done when in government, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says
  • Criticism follows Tony Abbott’s comment his Paris Agreement targets were “aspirational”
  • She calls on Mr Abbott to reflect on his actions for the good of the party

International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, once seen as an ally of Mr Abbott’s, says he has performed a “total about-face” on climate policy that is threatening to turn off investors.

“Credibility is a very important commodity in politics,” she told PM.

“Any former prime minister will be judged on what they’ve actually done when they were in government, not on what they say they should have done or could have done subsequently.”

The criticism follows Mr Abbott’s assertion last week that the Paris Climate Agreement targets he devised as prime minister in 2015 were “aspirational”.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells pointed to “categoric” comments Mr Abbott made in 2015 when he announced the “pledge” to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030…….

June 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia kicked off the Global Womens’ March To Ban The Bomb

In Melbourne today the march was not huge, but for Melbourne, quite substantial, enthusiastic and made up of people (men and children included) from all area, and from a variety of different organisations.  There was a great band – “The Riff Raff” I think is their name, and speakers representing indigenous women, Pacific Island people, ICAN, and one brave Australian Senator, Janet Rice, of The Greens.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Crikey names and shames the Liberal Neanderthals opposing Clean Energy Target

Who are the Liberal MPs worried about Turnbull’s Clean Energy Target?,, 16 June 17 Crikey intern Will Ziebell looks back over past public comments to work out which MPs could end up dissenting. Various media outlets reported this week that at least 22 Coalition MPs spent Tuesday’s joint party room meeting voicing their concern about the proposed Clean Energy Target.

With the numbers supposedly evenly divided between the Liberals and the Nationals, it’s worth taking note of exactly who among the Liberals is on the record as being BFFs with coal. So here are the defenders of coal, in their own words:

Tony Abbott   The former PM is still ardently attached to the rock he’s described as good for humanity…….Kevin Andrews……Ian Macdonald…….Craig Kelly……Andrew Hastie……Chris Back…..Rowan Ramsey…….Russell Broadbent……Angus Taylor……Tony Pasin……

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Future jobs in Far North Queensland threatened by Adani coal mine

Claims that Adani Coal Mine will threaten future tourism jobs in Far North, Tom Volling, The Cairns Post, June 19, 2017 A GROUP of scientists, doctors and reef conservationists claim a controversial coal mine destined for Central Queensland will negatively impact the Cairns economy.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | employment, Queensland | Leave a comment