Australian news, and some related international items

Adelaide Advertiser (!) applauds decision for Port Augusta solar thermal power plant

The Advertiser Editorial, August 15, 2017: Solar plant can take heat off our power


August 16, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Michelle and Brett Rayner blissfully unaware of the toxicity of the nuclear waste they’re inviting

 L-R ANSTO’s Chief Nuclear Officer Hef Griffiths; Michelle Rayner; Brett Rayner   with the most radioactive waste on site at ANSTO:
Steve Dale Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA    The container pictured contains 15 Petabecquerels of radioactivity. If the walls weren’t 20cm thick solid steel it would kill any who stood too close for too long. Estimates are around 20 Petabecquerels of Cesium-137 contaminated the land and sea around Fukushima. There’s enough radioactivity in that high level waste container to Fukushima all the farmland, fisheries and tourism around Kimba.

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

John Grimes – on South Australia’s energy storage revolution

SA’s energy revolution – what it means for Australia 23 Jul 2017 The energy storage revolution has arrived with a bang. The recent announcement by the South Australian government that it will partner with Elon Musk’s Tesla to build the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery was a lightning bolt moment with profound implications for regional communities. The 100MW battery will provide stability for a wind farm, and emergency backup power. It will also provide badly needed jobs for regional towns in construction, operation and maintenance, as well as tourism from those flocking to see this technological wonder.

This project marks just the beginning. Both Victoria and Queensland are planning similar large-scale battery projects, and storage is also being rolled out in homes, businesses and regional communities across the country.

Australia has the highest rate of household solar use in the world, so it makes sense that families would look to batteries to store excess electricity (created during the day) to be used when they need it most (when returning home from work or school).

Around 20,000 families have solar batteries now, but as prices keep plummeting it’s not unreasonable to expect 500,000 Australians will have them by 2020.

Many companies offer mouth-watering financial packages that combine solar and storage. German battery storage company Sonnen is offering Aussies free electricity – paying customers’ power bills in return for accessing the battery storage capacity to provide grid balancing services for network operators.

Storage has arrived and it will give you control of your energy use, and slash your power bills. With power prices set to rise by up to 20 per cent, now is the time to shop around and see how solar and storage can work for you.

John Grimes is the Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council and Australian Energy Storage Council.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Clear opposition to nuclear development in South Australia: no further tax-payer money should be wasted on it

“…….Mr Parnell said the laws — changed last year to allow public consultation on the issue — must be reinstated now Premier Jay Weatherill said the nuclear debate was dead.

“The Government has already wasted over $13 million of taxpayers’ money on this dump proposal and I want to make sure that any future public relations exercises for harebrained schemes like this won’t be funded without Parliament’s approval,” Mr Parnell said.

“There are still too many diehard nuclear dump supporters inside both the old parties for us to trust them with public money.”

Mr Weatherill last year said the Government was still committed to a referendum on the issue, but would not do so until there was bipartisan support.

But he went further in June, saying he would not revisit the nuclear debate even if he wins the 2018 election.

The Liberal Party said it was opposed to a nuclear facility in SA after the Government’s citizens’ jury process overwhelmingly rejected it.

Two thirds of the 350-member panel said they did not wish to pursue nuclear storage under any circumstances….” The Advertiser, 19 July 17 

July 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Australia | 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.

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

South Australia, Victoria, to “go it alone” on renewable energy policies, as Federal Govt tries to stall renewables

What Elon Musk’s investment tells us about our energy crisis, The Age, Perry Williams and Jason Scott JULY 14 2017 –  Elon Musk’s intervention in Australia’s energy crisis is widening a divide over the future of coal.

The billionaire Tesla founder, who’s promised to help solve South Australia’s clean energy obstacles, sees no place for the fossil fuel. That conflicts with the federal government’s push for it remaining a mainstay source of electricity generation, as well as the “clean, beautiful coal” technologies that US President Donald Trump sees helping to save American mining jobs.

“Coal doesn’t have a long-term future,” Musk told reporters in Adelaide last week during a short trip to Australia. “The writing’s on the wall.” His declaration in energy-strapped South Australia, where the 46-year-old entrepreneur announced plans to build the world’s biggest battery to support the state’s blackout-plagued power grid, has rankled politicians.

Energy minister Josh Frydenberg, 45, accused the state of tapping a celebrity to paper over its patchy clean energy record. Tesla’s battery plan “is a lot of sizzle for very little sausage”, Frydenberg, a member of the conservative Liberal-led federal government, said on Monday. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, 50, said Musk’s plan “doesn’t make a hell of a lot of difference” to the nation’s struggles over energy security.

Most of Australia’s states and territories – free to determine their own energy and climate policies independent of the national government – beg to differ. Just hours after Musk’s announcement, the neighbouring state of Victoria closed the door on new coal-fired power stations, saying energy companies would rather invest in renewables.

Adani project

Queensland, where India’s Adani Group is planning to develop the $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine, expects a move to clean energy will completely wipe out its carbon emissions by 2050.

Energy policy is a fraught subject with a push by the majority of Australians for more renewable power sources from the Australian majority is clashing with the government’s political imperative to keep a lid on soaring power prices. Currently, some 76 per cent of Australia’s electricity is drawn from coal-fired power stations which, while a cheap supply source, are at odds with a commitment to lower climate emissions……

The economics of building new coal plants don’t stack up and increasingly renewables will dominate base-load power, AGL chairman Jeremy Maycock said last week. Australians overwhelmingly want the government to focus on clean energy, according to a June poll by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute.

‘Highly improbable’

“It’s highly improbable that AGL will be constructing new coal-fired power stations because we don’t think the economics are likely to favour that,” Maycock said in a phone interview. “As the largest generator, we want to play our fair share in the country’s emissions reduction targets.”

For Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, banging the drum on coal is proving a treacherous task…….

the existing and perceived political and environmental costs attached to coal are deterring lenders.

“The high risk and cost associated with new coal plants make investors and financiers run a million miles from it in Australia,” said Ali Asghar, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Sydney. “The only way new coal could get built is if the government funds it and indemnifies any private entity against all future carbon risks.”

And doing so makes little sense, given that the cost of building cleaner, so-called high-efficiency, low-emission coal plants in Australia exceeds that of new projects relying on solar, wind, or gas, Asghar said.

“As solar and wind become cheaper and continue to undermine the economics of operating coal, investment in new coal plants become an even riskier proposition.”

July 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, South Australia, Victoria | Leave a comment

100%. Transitioning to renewable energy: The South Australian case

The power of renewables and the South Australian example, Independent Australia   12 July 2017 While the Turnbull Government persists in spruiking “clean coal”, renewables continue to be the quiet achievers in energy generationJade Manson reports.

THE FUTURE of Australia’s energy generation has been a topic of impassioned debate in recent years.

This has been spurred on by sharp reductions in the installation price of renewable energy.

Solar and wind energy have now in many cases reached parity with installation prices for coal, and gas and is cheaper in the long-term. In December 2016, the World Economic Forum reported that solar and wind had the same installation price as fossil fuel companies in more than 30 countries. In 2016, clean energy investment grew by almost 50% in Australia. We have reached a tipping point, where investment in renewable energy will continue to rise, while investment in fossil fuels will fall.

Lazard’s energy analysis shows that the levellised cost of energy for wind and solar now outperforms fossil fuel sources of power. Levellised cost represents every cost component – installation, operations and maintenance and fuel costs – divided by the total energy generated during the plant’s lifetime.

Discussions comparing renewable and fossil fuel electricity generation usually centre around the up-front costs and do not consider the generation costs, or the social and environmental consequences of different energy sources. Renewable energy has significantly lower generation costs and does not require continued fuel supply. With installation costs now being similar – and likely to decrease significantly over the next decade – renewable energy is a tremendously worthwhile investment that will break even rapidly and continue to provide returns indefinitely.

This economic competition is making fossil fuel companies nervous and contributing to the heated debate around the issue. Fossil fuel companies still hold a significant amount of power and influence after decades of being at the top of the economic food-chain. Companies such as China National PetroleumSinopec GroupShell Global and ExxonMobil are all in the top ten largest businesses globally, with over $100 billion in annual revenue. These companies are using the wealth they have accumulated since the beginning of the industrial revolution to influence politics and the global market toward their own interests.

This can be seen clearly in the fact that, despite the economic, health and social benefits of renewable energy, those in Parliament continue to support fossil fuel companies……..

Increasing renewable energy investment will also create more jobs and will allow Australians to capitalise on the renewable energy investment boom. While the Coalition declares “coal is good for humanity“, solar jobs are rising and in 2016, made up 665 of open energy job postings. According to Solar Citizensrenewable jobs increased by 34% in the first quarter of 2016. Indeed, data showed that solar positions made up 66% of open energy job postings, against oil with a 21% share and coal with 10%.

Transitioning to renewable energy: The South Australian case

South Australia has sped past its renewable energy target of 50% renewable generation eight years in advance, putting it on track to reach 100% renewable generation by 2030. This should be achieved more easily than in the previous 15 years due to the falling cost of renewable energy.

A deal has recently been made between the South Australian Government and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, to install the world’s largest battery in South Australia………

Electricity prices in South Australia are very high compared to the Eastern States. The Eastern States are part of a highly interconnected grid, while South Australia only connects to Victoria via two locations. Typically 90% of energy prices in South Australia come down to generation (45%) and distribution (45%). The generation component is made up of several power sources, including gas, diesel and renewable energy sources. These suppliers bid into the market, and the lowest bids are accepted by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) until demand is reached. When renewable energy is in the mix, the market price for generation is very low.

The distribution component is a duopoly run by the companies ElectraNet (owned by State Grid Corporation of ChinaYTL Corporation Malaysia and Hastings Funds Management) and SAPN (owned by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Hong Kong). This international ownership of South Australia’s electricity grid has raised security concerns, as these companies may not act in South Australia’s best interests. A bid by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings to buy the NSW electricity grid was knocked back in 2016, on national security grounds.

Due to lack of competition, there is the potential for unnecessary price increases by the power distribution companies. As renewable energy becomes more prevalent, power distribution will make up a larger share of energy costs and these problems will need to be addressed. Renewable energy infrastructure should lead to reduced electricity prices, due to their significantly decreased running costs. If this is not the case, then it calls into question the pricing by the power suppliers and distribution companies. If pricing becomes disproportionate to the service provided, then the government may need to introduce increased regulation or buy back the grid from private distribution companies.

You can follow Jade Manson on Twitter @JadeAlanaM,10495

July 14, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s big energy storage battery

Tesla to supply world’s biggest battery for SA, but what is it and how will it work? ABC By political reporter Nick Harmsen and Alle McMahon, 7 July 17 The “world’s biggest” lithium ion battery is to be built in South Australia by Tesla and French company Neoen.

It is to be close to the French renewable energy company’s wind farm near Jamestown and ready by the start of summer.

What is it?

An array of lithium ion batteries will be connected to the Hornsdale wind farm, which is currently under construction in SA. It will look like a field of boxes, each housing Tesla commercial-scale Powerpack batteries.

The array will be capable of an output of 100 megawatts (MW) of power at a time and the huge battery will be able to store 129 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy so, if used at full capacity, it would be able to provide its maximum output for more than an hour.

It will be a modular network, with each Powerpack about the size of a large fridge at 2.1 metres tall, 1.3m long and 0.8m wide. They weigh in at 1,200 kilograms each.

How will it stack up against the next biggest?

It will have just slightly more storage than the next biggest lithium battery, built by AES this year in southern California. But Tesla’s 100 MW output would be more than three times larger than the AES battery and five times larger than anything Tesla has built previously.

The largest lithium ion battery storage system that Tesla has built to date sits on a 0.6-hectare site at Mira Loma in southern California.

American electricity company Southern California Edison was also involved. It has a storage capacity of 20 MW, or 80 MWh, and is said to be capable of powering 15,000 homes.

The California array took three months to build. Tesla says the lithium ion batteries in the Jamestown array will have a life of about 15 years, depending on their usage and how aggressively they are recharged.

The company says the battery components are replaceable and the circuitry should last 20 to 30 years……..

How will it be used?

Neoen said the battery would primarily provide stability for the power grid, something traditionally the domain of coal, gas and hydro, rather than wind or solar………

July 8, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Elon Musk to build South Australia’s big storage battery, as he promised earlier thisyear

Billionaire Elon Musk to build SA battery, –  on July 7, 2017 Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk will build the world’s biggest battery in South Australia and if it’s not finished in 100 days, it’s free. Mr Musk first made the bold promise in a Twitter exchange earlier this year, as debate raged over South Australia’s energy woes.

On Friday he said he will stand by the pledge, which has been written into the contract to construct the 100 megawatt lithium ion battery. It will be more than three times larger than any storage station anywhere in the world. “That’s what we said publicly, that’s what we’re going to do,” he told reporters in Adelaide.

Mr Musk’s company Tesla will partner with French renewable energy group Neoen to build the battery near Jamestown in South Australia’s mid-north.

It will be paired with Neoen’s existing Hornsdale Wind Farm to store energy, stabilise and bring added security to SA’s electricity grid, and put downward pressure on prices.

It forms a key part of the state government’s $550 million energy plan which was developed in response to last year’s statewide blackout.

The clock will start ticking on Mr Musk’s 100-day commitment once regulators approve the project, clearing it for grid connection. He said he was confident he could deliver on his promise but admitted the project was not without risk.

“This is not like a minor foray into the frontier. This is going three times further than anyone has gone before,” he said. “The technical challenges are those that come with scale. When you make something three times as big, does it still work as well?” the Tesla boss said. “We think it will, but there is some risk in that.”

Mr Musk said a failure to deliver the project on time would cost his group about $50 million, though the details of the contract have not been revealed.

Premier Jay Weatherill said both Tesla and Neoen were experts in energy security and the project would place SA as a world leader in the integration of renewable energy.

He expects the battery to be up and running in time for next summer. “Battery storage is the future of our national energy market and the eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space,” he said.

Clean Energy Council spokeswoman Natalie Collard said the pioneering project would set a benchmark for the rest of Australia and the world to follow. “The South Australian government has again cemented its place as a world leader in renewable energy and we look forward to other states following their lead,” she said.”These kinds of projects have a huge role to play in modernising Australia’s energy system and enabling much higher levels of renewable energy.”

July 7, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Desert Fireball Network (DFN), captures video of fireball across South Australia

Video emerges of fireball streaking across South Australia sky   Jul 5, 2017 New video has emerged of the moment a fireball streaked across the sky in South Australia last week.

The fireball, which was captured on CCTV by a business in Port Lincoln, was seen by hundreds of residents around midnight last Friday.

The Desert Fireball Network (DFN), which said in a statement it was tracking the fireball, said it was one of the brightest it had witnessed.

 “It originated from within the solar system, having an orbit around the sun and that it went out almost as far as Mars,” DFN’s spokewoman Eleanor Sansom said.

The DFN said its Mount Ives observatory, which is located south of Lake Gairdner, captured an image of the fireball four minutes before midnight.

Hundreds of people took to social media after witnessing the bright light.

“What I can only guess was a meteor passed over Henley Beach,” one wrote on Reddit. “Saw it from the city, fast moving bright light, green trail, bright flash.”

Earlier this year, stargazers in Queensland were treated to the spectacular sight of a meteor blazing across the night sky from Bundaberg to the Gold Coast.

Experts said that meteor could have been travelling as fast as 10km per second.


July 7, 2017 Posted by | - incidents, South Australia | Leave a comment

Mystery of fireball seen in sky near Port Lincoln

South Aussies mystified as blazing fireball tears through sky  on July 1, 2017, 

Experts are not sure if it’s a meteor or a piece of space junk.

Nor are they sure where, or if, it landed.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

Karina Lester: the Anangu story, and the Aboriginal fight against nuclear waste dumping

Karina Lester: Aboriginal people do not want a nuclear waste dump in South Australia Karina Lester, The Advertiser June 28, 2017 IT was a huge honour to travel to New York for United Nations negotiations on a historic treaty to ban nuclear weapons — a long journey from Walatina in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in far north west South Australia.

June 30, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, personal stories, South Australia | Leave a comment


NO RADIOACTIVE WASTE ON AGRICULTURAL LAND  IN KIMBA OR SA, President, Peter Woolford, Secretary Toni Scott, 28 June 17, It is impossible to find words to properly describe how utterly disappointed we are that Minister Canavan has seen fit to progress the two current sites nominated in Kimba to house the National Radioactive Waste Facility to phase two of the selection process.

We trusted the Minister’s promise that he would not progress the sites without proof that broad community support existed, which he had numerous times referred to as needing to be in the vicinity of 65%, a figured which we firmly believed should be the lowest possible definition of “broad’.

Last weeks community ballot returned a result of 57% Yes – 42% No. This result clearly indicated what those of us living in Kimba already know all too well, that our community is completely divided over this issue. The Ministers decision shows a complete lack of understanding and consideration of the impact that this proposal has had on our community over the past two years, and that this division will now continue to escalate.

Minister Canavan has repeatedly promised that he will not impose this facility on a community that doesn’t want it, yet has progressed nominations in Kimba where it is proven that 42.2 % of us do not. Our Community has been lied to. more


June 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | 1 Comment

Minister For Nuclear and Coal, Matt Canavan pushes forward with Kimba radioactive trash dump plan

SENATOR THE HON MATTHEW CANAVAN,Minister for Resources and Northern Australia 27 June 2017  KIMBA SITES TO PROCEED FOR CONSIDERATION FOR NATIONAL RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITY Two proposed sites for a radioactive waste management facility at Kimba will proceed to the next phase of assessment.

The Government has accepted the nominations of land at Napandee and Lyndhurst under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012.

 This decision was made after considering direct representations, the results of an independent postal ballot, and submissions in a more than 90-day consultation process.

Kimba voters were asked, in a poll conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission on behalf of the Kimba District Council, Do you support a nomination for a site being progressed to Phase 2 for further consultation for a National Radioactive Low/Intermediate Level Waste Management Facility?

The AEC declaration reported that of the 690 formal votes, there were 396 ‘Yes’ votes and 294 ‘No’ votes, giving a total in favour of proceeding of 57.4 per cent. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science community consultation found widespread support from the direct neighbours of the nominated properties, with all but one direct neighbour supporting the assessment moving to the next phase.

In-depth consultation and technical assessments of the Kimba sites will now be undertaken.

Phase Two will engage people with all views.  The Kimba community will have another chance to express their views before a decision is made about the suitability of either of the sites to host a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

This does not change the Phase Two consultation that continues at Wallerberdina Station in South Australia after the community earlier demonstrated broad support for the discussion.

This next phase in Kimba will include:

  • Progression of a $2 million Community Benefit Package to fund local projects;
  • Employment of a Local Community Liaison Officer who will act as a conduit between the Government and community;
  • Creation of a Kimba Consultative Committee who will gather views about the project; and
  • The extension of the local project office, with staff continuing to be onsite regularly to answer questions as the site process progresses.

“Nuclear medicine is needed by one in two Australians on average, for diagnosis and treatment of heart, lung and skeletal conditions and a variety of cancers, and along with that comes radioactive waste,” Minister Canavan said.

“Radioactive waste is currently stored in more than 100 locations around the country, and international best practice is that it be consolidated into a single, safe and national facility.

“Progression to Phase Two does not constitute a final decision, rather, we now know that across the community there is broad support for continuing this conversation, and that is what we will do.

“I would like to thank everyone in Kimba for their involvement in this nationally significant discussion.”

At Wallerberdina Station, a process including a heritage assessment, technical studies and community consultation is continuing.

In line with the relevant legislation, the Federal Government can continue to accept and assess any new nominations until a final decision is made on the location of the facility.

For more information on the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility and site selection process, go to

June 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear lobby ramps up its propaganda

Surely it is no coincidence that, as the federal government – Resources Minister Matt Canavan –  touts a further stage in the plan to park radioactive trash in rural South Australia, and the Liberals introduce a Bill to expand Australian Nuclear Science and Technology’s activities –   our favourite pro nuclear shill, Ben Heard, joins others to promote the nu clear industry  – in Adelaide Thurs 29 June 

  • Ben Heard, Founder & Executive Director, Bright New World  Ben is recognised as a leading voice for the use of nuclear technologies to address our most pressing global challenges
  • Nick Byrne, Chief Financial Officer, Heathgate Resources, – Uranium mining company, owned by USA weapons maker General Atomics
  • Kyra Reznikov, Special Council, Finlaysons Lawyers,  part in a study tour in the footsteps of the Royal Commission to visit nuclear sites in Finland, France and the UK

June 28, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment