Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Adnyamantha Aboriginal elder considering legal action against federal government’s proposed nuclear waste dump

Aboriginal Elder Tony Clark concerned with nuclear waste facility, Transcontinental, Matt Carcich@MattCarcich 23 Mar 2017, Adnyamantha and Kujani Traditional Elder Tony Clark says if the federal government’s proposed nuclear waste facility at Barndioota continues to the next stage, a federal court legal intervention may take place.

Mr Clark has previously led the charge of the Kujani people’s Federal Court win against the federal government’s proposed nuclear waste facility for Woomera in 2004.

The potential intervention would come from a group of Adnyamantha and Kujani people who are concerned the proposed facility holds a significant risk to the survival of the Pungu Purrungha song line.

The songline travels across a body of water more than 70 kilometres in length from Hawker to Lake Torrens, and is an important piece of local Aboriginal history.

It’s also believed to be at least 85,000 years old.

Mr Clark said he’s opposed to the facility and that he and others are not afraid of taking potential legal action. “If they proceed to the next step on our country … then we would look towards seeking legal intervention in the federal courts,” he said.

The proposed site,130 kilometres north of Port Augusta, will store low-level and some intermediate-level nuclear waste. The low level purpose-built repository would be about the size of four Olympic size swimming pools with a 100 hectare buffer on the 25,000 hectare property.

Designs have not been prepared for the national repository but it will be modelled on above-ground storage and disposal facilities overseas……

Mr Clark said the ‘cultural and spiritual well-being’ of the Adnyamantha people is at risk if the facility proceeds, and he believes section 47 of the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act (1989) plays an important role in the facility’s future.

The act states an Aboriginal person may enter, travel across or stay on pastoral land for the purpose of following the traditional pursuits of the Aboriginal people.

Mr Clark said the Adnyamantha people’s cultural and spiritual well-being may be at risk if they can’t access the Pungu Purrungha song line and that this section shows no Pastoralist can stop Aboriginal people accessing a traditional site like the Pungu Purrungha song line.

“Our cultural and spiritual well-being is at risk, along with our physical contact to the land under various acts of parliament, including section 47 of the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act (1989).”

A Spokesperson for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said the (federal) government has said it will deliver a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in a centralised, purpose-built repository.

“The government has not formed a view that it should be located in Barndioota,” the spokesperson said…..http://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/4547617/nuclear-proposal-may-go-to-courts/ 

March 24, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Rooftop solar the unsung hero in recent South Australia blackouts.

 Regional home and business owners driving Australia’s solar energy boom, ABC PM By Angela Lavoipierre , 23 Mar 17 

“……….Rooftop solar panels do not necessarily power the buildings they are attached to.Most of the time, the power generated by those panels is sold straight back to the energy market.

Generous state-based schemes designed to tempt people into the market paid handsomely for that energy in the past, but those deals all but disappeared.

At another time in Australian history, that change might have had a chilling effect on solar uptake, but soaring energy prices have made sure that is not the case. To those who own their own homes, with mounting power bills, solar still looks pretty tempting, even if it is just for your own personal use. The rapid pace of growth in rooftop solar has slowed.

But Hugh Saddler, an energy analyst based at the Australian National University, said Australia could expect to see an ongoing boom in the uptake of small-scale solar for businesses.

“The steady or in more case rapid increase in the commercial sector is being driven to a significant degree by the steadily falling cost of installing a solar system,” Dr Saddler said.

There are currently industry-based schemes, paid for by consumers, to encourage businesses to go solar.

Dr Saddler predicts those schemes, once they end, could prove to be a hiccup in the growth of Australia’s solar industry, but little more. “I suppose one challenge will be whether it will still be an attractive investment when the small renewable energy scheme comes to an end and I’m sure that it will be because the prices are coming down all the time,” he said.

If 2.8 per cent does not sound like much, Dr Saddler makes the case that rooftop solar was the unsung hero in recent SA black outs. “If it hadn’t been for the rooftop solar making a very large contribution at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon … then that peak would have been about 7 per cent higher than the peak demand on the grid two hours later,” he said.

“And that would have roughly doubled the number of consumers that had to be cut off for load shedding.”  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-23/regional-australia-drives-solar-boom/8377670

March 23, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Victoria and South Australia embrace grid-scale storage for power reliability

Two Australian states embrace grid-scale storage for power reliability, http://www.utilitydive.com/news/two-australian-states-embrace-grid-scale-storage-for-power-reliability/438073/ Dive Brief:

  • Two Australian states are ramping up energy storage to address rising electricity costs and rolling blackouts, according to media reports.
  • In South Australia, the government says it will hold a competitive solicitation for a 100 MW battery storage installation and construct a 250 MW gas plant, according to Energy Storage News reports.
  • The state of Victoria is also investing $20 million in an effort to boost energy storage to 100 MW by the end of next year, ABC News reports.
Dive Insight:The government announcements come days after Tesla told South Australia officials that it could install a 100 MW battery system in 100 days that would solve the state’s power problems.

South Australia has been suffering from rolling blackouts brought about by high heat and a lack of baseload power. The situation has attracted developers like ZEN Energy and Tesla, who say that battery storage could go a long way toward integrating renewables into the state’s grid and solving grid instability problems.

South Australia officials also announced plans for a 250 MW gas-fired generator to act as backup for intermittent renewables.

Officials said the gas plant would be turned on only when power shortfalls are forecasted, according to ABC. A bill is reportedly in the works to give the state energy minister more control over power dispatch, after criticisms of the Australian grid operator stemming from the power outages.

Victoria, meanwhile, is looking at a range of energy storage solutions, including batteries, pumped hydro storage and solar thermal technology. The $20 million investment will come on top of a separate $5 million solicitation for a 20 MW energy storage system issued last month.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage, Victoria | Leave a comment

Radioactive Repeat: federal radioactive waste Groundhog Day increases uncertainty

A small town on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is again in the frame as a site for Australia’s nuclear waste despite being ruled out of consideration less than one year ago because of deep community concern and opposition to the plan.

Yesterday federal Resource Minister Matt Canavan formally accepted two revised site nominations and initiated a 90 day process to measure community views on a planned facility for the disposal of low level and extended storage of higher level radioactive wastes. Last April two previously nominated sites in the region were ruled out of federal consideration.

“This plan is simply not the best way to advance responsible radioactive waste management in Australia”, said ACF nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Revisiting a community that has already made its view clear looks more like Canberra’s frustration than community consultation.

“Less than a year ago Minister Canavan’s predecessor Josh Frydenberg ruled the Kimba region out, now it is back on the table. This radioactive waste is a direct hazard for many thousands of years – far longer than any politician’s promise.  Short term thinking about long term waste is not good policy or practise.”

ACF joined other environment and public health representatives in the Kimba area last week in a visit that included a public meeting, stakeholder meetings and a regional tour. There is clear and continuing community concern and opposition to the waste plan.

The plan will put further pressure on an already stressed community and further highlights the continued uncertainty in the governments wider approach given it is also exploring a controversial site in the Flinders Ranges at the same.

“There has never been an independent assessment of long-term management options in Australia, rather just a decades long search for a postcode,” said Dave Sweeney. “It is time to stop repeating past mistakes and adopt a new and better approach”.

ACF supports a wide civil society and stakeholder call for Australia’s radioactive waste to be managed in improved storage facilities at existing federal sites to allow for a credible, comprehensive and open exploration of the full range of future management options.

March 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Federal Government running amok in SA communities over nuclear waste

The Federal Government’s decision to advance two sites at Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula for assessment to house Australia’s nuclear waste will cause stress, division and uncertainty for SA communities.

Less than a year ago two proposed sites near Kimba were removed from a national shortlist because of community opposition.

“The Federal Government is toying with the lives of South Australian communities,” said Conservation SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins.

“Kimba’s original nominations were scrapped due to a lack of broad community support and that opposition remains. This process is damaging and dividing our towns. It is thoughtless, inconsiderate and inconsistent.”

The planned national facility would store intermediate level radioactive waste currently at Lucas Heights in Sydney and dispose of low level waste and contaminated soil from Woomera.

Wallerberdina, a highly contested site in the Flinders Ranges, has been the focus of the federal site search to date and remains on the table despite community opposition.

“The expansion of the site search to Kimba is also a federal vote of no confidence in the Wallerberdina site,” said Mr Wilkins.

“Instead of causing more division and stress across our regional communities the Federal Government should take all the sites off the table. We need a responsible and inclusive approach to radioactive waste management where a proper process is prioritised over our key farming and tourist postcodes.”

South Australia has a history of resistance to radioactive waste projects, from defeat of a plan to establish a facility in the north of the state under the Howard Government to widespread public backlash over the recent push to import and store international nuclear waste.

“We have long-standing state legislation that prevents the establishment of radioactive waste dumps. We will use this and more in our work to support regional communities and keep South Australia free of nuclear waste dumps,” concluded Mr Wilkins.

March 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Virtual power plant achievable within 5 years – AGL Energy’s Andy Vesey

‘Virtual power plant’ is here, says AGL Energy’s Andy Vesey, AFR, 17 Mar 17 Home storage batteries will be cheap enough within five years to make the “virtual power plant” achievable, revolutionising energy and making investment in traditional plant harder to justify, AGL Energy chief executive Andy Vesey says.

Mr Vesey said that batteries would be about the same $3500 price that AGL is charging 1000 Adelaide householders for its virtual power plant trial, a fraction of the $16,000 full price of the Sunverge batteries used in the trial. They could pay themselves off in about five years.

“It’s coming,” he told an American Chamber of Commerce lunch. He said grid scale batteries proposed by Tesla and others already offer value in the right circumstances.

Virtual power plants – “behind the meter” energy resources such as batteries, solar panels, software and smart thermometers managing power-hungry appliances – are one way to ease pressure on the grid and help prevent blackouts such as those plaguing South Australia. ….

Mr Vesey said on Friday that adding storage to solar homes was like adding refrigeration to agriculture, changing the way consumers interact with the power grid and the investment equation for energy companies….

He said when you put 1000 rooftop solar households with batteries together and control them in the cloud “you fundamentally have a 5 megawatt peaking plant on the edge of the grid. It changes everything”. …… http://www.afr.com/news/economy/virtual-power-plant-is-here-says-agl-energys-andy-vesey-20170316-gv0564

March 18, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Seawater pumped hydro could help South Australia

Snowy Hydro gets a boost, but seawater hydro could help South Australia, ABC News, 17 Mar 17 The Conversation  By Roger Dargaville, University of Melbourne “………could this technology help to ease South Australia’s energy crisis?

The Melbourne Energy Institute (MEI) report on Pumped Hydro Opportunities identifies several potential seawater PHES locations in South Australia.

This includes a very promising site at the northern end of the Spencer Gulf, with significant elevation close to the coast and close to high-capacity transmission lines.

The Department of Defence manages this land, and discussions are ongoing as to how the project might be designed to not interfere with the department’s operations on the site. A win–win development is the primary design aim.

The MEI study suggests that PHES could be delivered at around $250 per kWh of storage.

This compares well with utility-scale lithium ion battery storage, which currently costs of the order of $800 per kWh, although recent announcements on Twitter from Elon Musk suggest this might be coming down towards $500 per kWh.

The Spencer Gulf site has the potential to provide at least 100 megawatts of dispatchable generation, effectively making the wind and solar generation in South Australia significantly more reliable.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will help fund a feasibility study into the technology, working with partners Energy Australia, Arup and MEI.

If the facility is ultimately built, it could become a key element in SA’s bid to avoid future power blackouts.

Dr Roger Dargaville is the Deputy Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute. He is an expert in energy systems and climate change.

Originally published in The Conversation     http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-17/how-seawater-hydro-could-help-south-australia/8363054

March 18, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s energy policy

Instead of the gas plant, Saddler wants to see the government back solar thermal with storage, even if existing proposals sit at a significantly higher price bracket, such as the $1.2 billion 170MW solar thermal tower proposal for Port Augusta

Renewables and South Australia’s power policy, The Saturday Paper, Max Opray , 18 Mar 17 “……Weatherill said the Frydenberg announcement of a reinvigorated Snowy Mountains hydro scheme showed the federal government was in a “white-knuckled panic” about energy policy. “It is a $2 billion admission that the national energy market has broken and there needs to be public investments to actually fix it up.”

And later, in the same answer: “It is a disgrace the way in which your government has treated our state.”

The showdown came after a week in which the Weatherill government had broken ranks with the National Electricity Market in declaring a “South Australia first” energy policy.

The state has endured a cursed run when it comes to keeping the lights on……

Most of these issues were not the fault of the South Australian energy grid’s high level of renewable energy penetration, but that hasn’t stopped the Turnbull government and other clean coal cheerleaders using the state as a cautionary tale about green energy.  Continue reading

March 18, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

At least in the State of South Australia there is a plan for energy self sufficiency

At least there is a plan in South Australia, albeit one that will place its drive for self-sufficiency in conflict with the operation of the National Electricity Market.  

Provided there is decent backup power generation there shouldn’t be an issue with developing VPPs and new forms of energy storage so that they can be refined and more affordable in time. 

Role of batteries provides aspirational charge to energy debate , The Australian, 16 Mar 17  Technology reporter Sydney @chris_griffith Call it battery fetishism if you must, but batteries are going to play an even bigger role in power sources being tested in Australia. Take for example the virtual power plant concept which has gone live in South Australia.

A VPP comprises hundreds, maybe thousands, of homes each with solar panels where excess energy is stored in batteries. Instead of operating as separate entities, energy stored in those batteries is made available in unison to the grid at times of peak load or an outage.

An outside body such as an energy retailer co-ordinates the flow of battery power back to the grid. For the rest of the time, consumers self-manage their stored solar power. Continue reading

March 17, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

South Australian govt calls for battery storage offers within two weeks

S.A. wants first round battery storage offers within two weeks http://reneweconomy.com.au/s-a-wants-first-round-battery-storage-offers-within-two-weeks-92337/ By  on 15 March 2017

The South Australia government has pressed the fast-forward button on its 100MW battery storage tender, announcing that expressions of interest for the country’s biggest battery storage installation are now open, and will close within two weeks. Continue reading

March 17, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

‘World’s largest virtual power plant’ now working in West Lakes in Adelaide

SA power: ‘World’s largest virtual power plant’ switched on at West Lakes in Adelaide, ABC News By Matt Coleman, 16 Mar 17, What is being called the world’s largest residential virtual power plant (VPP) has gone live in suburban Adelaide, where reliability of power supply is the dominant public policy issue.

The VPP is an initiative of power company AGL and involves solar panels and battery storage at hundreds of properties being linked together to form a five-megawatt virtual solar power station.”Our South Australian VPP demonstration is a practical example of the new energy future,” AGL’s managing director and CEO Andy Vesey said.

“We believe the VPP will deliver benefits … .by providing another source of generation to deploy into the network.”

He said the environment would also benefit from reduced emissions.

AGL said the Federal Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), was providing up to $5 million to support the $20 million project.

The project is different to standard home battery storage because the batteries’ operation can be directed remotely.

As well as being used to help power the home they are in, they can also be directed — all at once — to service the grid when overall system stability or reliability is under pressure…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-16/virtual-power-plant/8358894

March 17, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

The Consultation and Response Agency (CARA) about nuclear policy closing. Will its report be made public?

Dear Mr Weatherill,

Re: CARA final advice to Government report
The Department of Premier and Cabinet’s 10 March 2017 email edition of ‘Nuclear News’ (‘Next steps on nuclear discussion’) states:

‘The Consultation and Response Agency (CARA), which delivered the state’s largest engagement program on record last year, and the CARA Advisory Board, have now provided their final advice to Government and will be closed.’

Given the importance for transparency in these key public policy issues, could you please advise us when and where this final CARA and CARA Board advice will be made public?

March 15, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australian govt releases new plan for reliable, affordable and clean power.

South Australia’s new energy plan released http://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/4529329/south-australias-new-energy-plan-released/?cs=4180 A $550 million energy plan unveiled by the South Australian government will aim to improve the reliability of statewide power.Premier Jay Weatherill released details of the plan on Tuesday, March 14, saying the goal was delivering “reliable, affordable and clean” power.

The state government expects the plan to create 630 new jobs in South Australia. South Australian Power for South Australians will ensure more of the State’s power is sourced, generated and controlled in South Australia.

The plan will include:

  • Building Australia’s largest battery to store energy from the wind and sun, part of a new Renewable Technology Fund that supports clean, dispatchable and affordable power
  • Building a government-owned 250MW gas-fired power plant to provide emergency back-up power and system stability services for South Australians, in the meantime procuring temporary back-up generation if necessary
  • Introducing new Ministerial powers to direct the market to operate in the interests of South Australians
  • Incentivising increased gas production to ensure more of our State’s gas is sourced and used in South Australia
  • Introducing an Energy Security Target to ensure our power system uses more clean, secure energy generated in South Australia
  • Using the Government’s purchasing power through its own electricity contract to attract a new power generator, increasing competition in the marketThe new gas-fired power plant is budgeted to cost $360 million, $150 million will be committed to the SA Renewable Technology Fund and new PACE grants are worth $24 million.

    Commenting on the plan, Mr Weatherill said coal-fired power stations closing across Australia, no “coherent” national energy policy and “ideological attacks on renewable energy” had led to under-investment in new energy sources.

    “The privatisation of our state’s energy assets has placed an enormous amount of power in the hands of a few energy companies,” he said. “These factors, together, have led to too little competition in our national energy market. It is a market that benefits the owners of the privatised assets, rather than the people and businesses who depend on this essential service.” He said the plan’s goal is to make the state more self-reliant. “Our plan will make our power supply more reliable, put downward pressure on prices and create jobs,”

    “In the longer term, South Australia will become more self-reliant for its power supply. “As a state that has built its reputation on its clean green environment, this plan recognises that clean energy is our future.”

    The South Australian Liberal party has not responded to the plan yet.

    Visit the SA energy plan website for more details.

    Victor Harbor Times

March 15, 2017 Posted by | energy, politics, South Australia | 2 Comments

A cutting edge, dual-fuel power station ould be operating in the Upper Spencer Gulf region within months.

ZEN Energy and Santos push new solar, gas power station in Upper Spencer Gulf Daniel Wills, State Political Editor, The Advertiser March 13, 2017 CLEAN solar power would be backed up by reliable gas energy in a cutting edge, dual-fuel power station for SA that could be operating in the Upper Spencer Gulf region within months.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Clinton Pryor’s Walk for Justice from Perth – through Port Augusta

Clinton Pryor’s Walk for Justice comes through Port Augusta http://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/4516323/big-crowd-for-justice-walk/ Matt Carcich @MattCarcich 8 Mar 2017  The Joy Baluch Bridge and parts of Port Augusta were shaking under the loud voice of Clinton Pryor’s Walk for Justice on Wednesday March 8. Starting outside the Standpipe Motel at 10am, the walk went up the Augusta Highway and across the Joy Baluch Bridge. The group then travelled down Mackay and Young Street, before finalising with speeches and a community barbecue on the Port Augusta foreshore.

The crowd included kids under 10 to retirees, all of whom were supportive of achieving justice for Aboriginal people.  Chants heard during the walk included, ‘When your rights are under attack, stand up, fight back!’ and ‘Always was, and always will be Aboriginal land!’.

It left Clinton speechless, and thankful for all the help and support he’s received from Port AugustIt was amazing to see the community backing me up in this walk I did over the bridge– Aboriginal Activist Clinton Pryor“It was unbelievable and I’m really proud of Port Augusta and seeing everyone together in one group is really good,” he said.

In September 2016, Clinton left from Matargarup, near Perth, to Uluru, Coober Pedy, on his way to Canberra.Along the way he’s spent time in Aboriginal communities; meeting with elders, hearing their stories, talking with school kids and community groups.

The walk centres around holding governments to account over their treatment of Aboriginal communities around Australia and bringing justice for non-Aboriginal Australians too. Port Augusta Barngarla man Stephen Atkinson was part of the walk across the bridge and said he, and many others in Port Augusta, are proud of Clinton’s efforts. “Hopefully we’re all equally proud of walking across the bridge with Clinton as you should be, we should be really proud of ourselves,” he said. “Port Augusta, we all know is the crossroads of the country, we got that many different mobs here, and 30 odd different languages spoken in this town.

“We’re all different tribes, we’re all different language groups, we’re from all different parts of the country, but when something like this is on we all come together and we’re one people.”

For more information and photos taken during Clinton’s Walk for Justice, make sure to visit his website, www.clintonswalkforjustice.org.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia | Leave a comment