Australian news, and some related international items

Major commercial shopping sites in NSW and South Australia to go solar

Four shopping centres to go behind the meter in major commercial solar deal, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 6 June 2017 One Step Off The GridOne of Australia’s biggest shopping centre owners, SCA Property Group, has joined the march to solar, after signing a deal to power four of its major commercial sites cross regional New South Wales and South Australia with a combined total of 2.9 MW of rooftop PV.

In an ASX announcement on late last week, Queensland-based solar supplier ReNu Energy said it had entered an agreement with SCA Property to own and operate solar PV and embedded network systems across four shopping centres, for a period of 10 years with an additional three, five year options……..

June 7, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Calls to cut support for coal mines after latest Great Barrier Reef report

June 5, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, South Australia | Leave a comment

Ross Garnaut – green energy will be win-win for South Australia

Ross Garnaut: SA has little choice over green energy and can be a low carbon superpower Ross Garnaut, The Advertiser June 1, 2017 OF the many challenges facing South Australia, it’s hard not to look past how the state plans to deal with a more secure electricity supply.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

IMPOSITION of ANSTO reactor nuclear wastes onto South Australian community

28 May 2017, Submission by David Noonan, B.Sc., M.Env.St.  To:Senator The Hon Matthew Canavan  RE: Proposed Federal government imposition onto community in South Australia of an illegal “100 year” Store for ANSTO’s “10 000 year” irradiated Nuclear Fuel Wastes.

Storage of nuclear wastes affects the rights, interests and safety of all South Australians and is prohibited in our State under the Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 2000.

Proposed imposition of ANSTO reactor nuclear wastes is a major public interest concern in SA and detracts from public trust and confidence in the Federal government, in ARPANSA and in ANSTO.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) comprises two co-located waste management facilities: an above ground 100 year Store for wastes that ARPANSA states require isolation for 10 000 years, AND a Disposal Facility for wastes requiring isolation for up to 300 years.

This submission focuses on the proposed imposition of the illegal Store & consequences thereof.

The Store is primarily for ANSTO irradiated Nuclear Fuel Wastes (NFW) and other existing and proposed reactor wastes, with only minor projected future arising’s of Intermediate Level Wastes (ILW) from States & Territories or from other Commonwealth agencies.

ARPANSA’s CEO (May 2015) has formally considered the proposed NRWMF Store and stated:

This plan will have the provision for ILW storage above ground for approximately 100 years.”

This indefinite storage plan compromises safety in importing nuclear waste to SA without a waste disposal capacity or even a requisite program for disposal of NFW and ILW.

ARPANSA’s Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council (April 2010) has provided formal advice which concluded: “that Australia’s current policy of indefinite storage for intermediate level waste does not appear to be consistent with International best practice.”

The import, transport, storage and disposal of ANSTO irradiated Nuclear Fuel Wastes is illegal in SA and was prohibited under the leadership of Liberal Premier John Olsen in 2000:

“The Objects of this Act are to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of South Australia and to protect the environment in which they live by prohibiting the establishment of certain nuclear waste storage facilities in this State”

Since April 2016 the NRWMF project has exclusively targeted community and environment in SA in an attempt to again impose an illegal Store for ANSTO’s irradiated Nuclear Fuel Waste in our State. 2

The Minister’s release “Kimba 90-day consultation begins”(20 March 2017) invited submissions on potential approval under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 of two nominated sites near Kimba for assessment as potential sites for the proposed NRWM Facility.

This is in-parallel with the Federal government targeting the iconic Flinders Ranges on the country of the Adnyamathanha people in a serious threat to their human rights and cultural interests.

These are fundamentally State level public interest issues and represent a multi-generational threat to community in SA: including intended Federal requisition of an as yet unnamed SA port for imposition of decades of irradiated Nuclear Fuel Wastes imports, along with affected stakeholders on transport routes, in addition to the rights & interests of community around a potential Store site.

The Federal government has unacceptably failed to take up the recent Advice of the ARPANSA Nuclear Safety Committee (4 Nov 2016) for transparency and for the essential “ongoing requirement to clearly and effectively engage all stakeholders, including those along transport routes”.

This Store also exposes SA to unresolved security and potential terrorist risks in shipping, transport and indefinite above ground storage of irradiated Nuclear Fuel Wastes and other reactor wastes.

However, Lucas Heights is Australia’s best placed institution and facility to responsibly manage ANSTO’s Nuclear Fuel Wastes and can do so through-out the operating period of the Opal reactor.

An “Interim Waste Store” built at Lucas Heights in 2015 has a design life of 40 years and an approved purpose to take both the Nuclear Fuel Waste from France (NFW received Dec. 2015) and NFW to be received from the UK in circa 2020. The ARPANSA license for this Store “is not time limited” and has Contingency options to retain these NFW’s at ANSTO “until the availability of a final disposal option”.

The policy agenda to impose a NFW Store in SA is a flawed, unnecessary, contested and unsafe plan.

A broad public interest campaign protected SA rights and interests from prior Federal government attempts to impose nuclear waste facilities onto our State over 1998 to 2004 – and can do so again.

That “National Store Project” was abandoned – just as this NRWMF Store will have to be set aside.

Further, the Federal government’s flawed policy agenda for imposition of nuclear waste effectively precludes a long term resolution to Australia’s “low level” radioactive waste responsibilities.

The Minister has an obligation to learn the lessons from experience in failure of prior projects in Australia and internationally and not to deny or override key public interest community concerns.

My background includes experience as an Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) Campaigner over 1996 to 2011 based in Adelaide.


May 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

The military connection to the push for advanced nuclear reactors in South Australia

With a nuclear waste dump in South Australia that accepts international shipments, the full range of the “nuclear industry” in the state would be complete, truly making it the “Defense State” that has become the state motto.[9]

SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S NUCLEAR MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: THE GLOBAL CONTEXT, Spirit of Eureka ,Talk by David Palmer at “SA  The Nuclear State” forum 03 May 2017   “……..If citizens – the people – whether they are in the Fukushima region of Japan or in Adelaide, South Australia – have a right to speak out on the dangers of the nuclear industry, then who are the elites promoting the nuclear industry? If we look at prominent figures in government the institutional linkages become all too clear. Consider the example of Kevin Scarce, Governor of South Australia until 2014, a Rear Admiral retired from the Royal Australian Navy, current Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, and Deputy Chairman of Seeley International, the largest air conditioning company in Australia that is known for energy-efficiency. Scarce led the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission and was the primary author of the report that recommended the South Australian government accept a nuclear waste dump. All the links are there in Scarce’s connections and positions: military, university, corporate, and government.

Furthermore, the Royal Commission did not focus solely on a nuclear waste dump. It considered possible expansion of nuclear industries in the state that encompassed mining, enrichment, and power generation. The Royal Commission report states that “The activity under consideration is the further processing of minerals, and the processing and manufacturing of materials containing radioactive and nuclear substances (but not for, or from, military uses) including conversion, enrichment, fabrication or reprocessing in South Australia.”[3]

But during the time this Royal Commission report was being prepared and finally delivered, Adelaide became the focal point for naval shipbuilding contracts, particularly submarines. Both Labor and Liberal politicians  sought to outdo each other in pushing for submarines to be built in Adelaide. They will be diesel powered, but the majority of submarines internationally use nuclear power propulsion. Potential overseas contractors also use designs geared for nuclear power. There are those in Australian naval circles who would like to see these Australian subs with nuclear, not diesel, power. And where will these submarines be used, and with what international interests? We know the answer to that question, as recent events in the Western Pacific have confirmed. The USS Carl Vinson, the nuclear powered air craft carrier, was on exercises in the Indian Ocean in early April with Australia’s HMAS Ballarat, when it was ordered to the Korean peninsula this month in response to the North Korean threat to explode a nuclear bomb.[4] This latest development is just one example of the escalating naval tensions on our side of the Pacific. Crises like this will potentially increase pressure for Australia to build submarines – and possibly other naval vessels – that are nuclear powered.

What does the corporate profile of the “nuclear industry” look like? Continue reading

May 13, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Citizens must get informed, and speak out against the dangerous nuclear industry

These women defy the illusion that you have to have a Ph.D. in nuclear physics or in nuclear engineering – that you must be a Ben Heard – to have a legitimate voice about nuclear power and the potential dangers of nuclear industry accidents. Our movement needs scientific experts, but all of us can gain basic knowledge and speak out
SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S NUCLEAR MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: THE GLOBAL CONTEXTSpirit of Eureka Talk by David Palmer at “SA  The Nuclear State” forum 03 May 2017   There are other speakers and participants here today who have more expertise in the scientific and engineering details of this controversy than I do. My comments are aimed, instead, at those powerful elite stakeholders who are at the core of what we know as the military-industrial complex – here in South Australia, our country, but also globally, with its centre in the United States.

Is this issue of a nuclear waste dump advocated for South Australia just about jobs and economic prosperity, as Premier Wetherill claims? Or is it far broader? The words of Ben Heard, former executive director of pro-nuclear power lobby group Bright New World, sum it up well: “We must be a full service provider to the nuclear back-end.”[1] Adelaide’s Advertiser reported last month that “a new open letter [has been sent] to state MPs, 42 influential people demand[ing] the State Government commits to completing first-stage investigations of the proposed high-level repository.”[2] Many of these “influential people” signed a similar letter back in December demanding the same thing, through Ben Heard’s pro-nuclear Bright New World.

But just what is this “nuclear back-end” – the back end of what? Nuclear materials have a wide range of uses, including medical and commercial ones that are distinct from their main uses for power generation and weapons. The vast majority of government expenditures related to nuclear materials goes toward nuclear weapons and military uses (such as naval propulsion systems), and nuclear power. In the United States, virtually all nuclear-related industries and products in the energy and military-application areas are joint operations involving private companies working under government contracts and regulations. The scientific and engineering knowledge required for the nuclear industry means that universities and university-linked research centres play a major role in bringing these two institutions – private companies and government – together. In South Australia, Ben Heard (who is connected to University of Adelaide) is symbolic of this key link connecting networked institutions and elites.  Continue reading

May 13, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

What is driving the nuclear industry to dump its nuclear waste in South Australia

By Annie McGovern. 23rd April 2017  (this is an extract from the Adelaide Forum held very recently, to discuss this question) “….ENDNOTE  These observations have been gleaned from a fairly random search for relevant information which was also confined by the time available to process and present these findings. These are offered at this time as an additional body of information that may help fill some of the gaps in the thrust to force further nuclear energy production and waste disposal on the people of S. A.

Amongst the many recommendations of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission there were 3 major points which raise concerns regarding the possible imminent changes to Legislation in S.A. The Royal Commission has urged the State Government to fast-track these Legislative changes, even though there are no current viable plans for any nuclear industry developments in S.A. at this time.

  1. Modification of the State Waste Dump Prohibition Laws. This Legislation was almost immediately amended following presentation of the Royal Commission’s findings, to allow Government spending on proposals for the Waste Dumps. The further question of approval of nuclear waste dumps in S.A. was put to the Labour State Conference and became a stalemate to which no decision could be made. Progress of changes to Legislation on this proposal was interrupted.
  1. Legislation that would allow contracts of Uranium sales to be tied to obligations on S.A. taking back the resultant waste. The Royal Commission sees this possibility as an enhancement to capture sales of Uranium, despite there being no approval for waste disposal in S. A. at this time, and, the fact that no such facility would be capable of fulfilling the contract until well into the future. The Royal Commission appears to be determined to place the people of S.A. into an intractable situation where industry is forcing obligation through contractual arrangements. However, a caveat might be placed on such contracts that are not plausible…an explicit caveat and the risk is borne by the signing parties. A letter of advice is provided to the signatory and the Annual AGM of companies involved informed of this unethical business practice.
  2. Legislative changes to allow Nuclear Power production. Despite there being no overt plans for these developments within the foreseeable future, the Royal Commission is encouraging making changes now for future development. The absence of a ready nuclear waste disposal dump has historically been a constraint on Australia and the world in the development of greater Nuclear ambitions. Reports of illegal dumping and covert placement of radioactive waste abound both here and across the world. Reports of French waste being held at Lucas Heights and American wasteat Pine Gap are recent additions to these claims.Despite peoples’ efforts over many generations to call for and act on Peaceful Principles in our World, Environmental Sustainability and Productivity based on Need rather than Greed, capitalism and its theory of perpetual growth continues to drive forward in an overtly destructive manner.

    The continued focus on South Australia to perpetuate the nuclear travesty on our planet is acknowledged through this Forum and collectively we stand against this invasion. We walk with the Protectors of Country with Respect for Life.

May 12, 2017 Posted by | legal, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Hawker schoolkids given tax-payer funded nuclear promotional trip to Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in Sydney.

Hawker School Students Visit ANSTO  Ten students aged 11 to 17 from Hawker School are travelling across the country, to explore some of Australia’s most significant science infrastructure at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in Sydney.

On Wednesday and Thursday next week, the students and two teachers from Hawker School will spend their days not in their science classrooms, but near Australia’s multi-purpose nuclear research reactor.

Their trip will start in the nearby Royal National Park, with Les Bursill, an elder of the Dharawal community, who will share with them the rich traditional heritage of the land surrounding ANSTO.

Les is the Elder in Residence at the University of Wollongong, and has worked closely with ANSTO to ensure that the many sites of indigenous importance around the Lucas Heights campus are protected.

The students will then head to the ANSTO Discovery Centre, which welcomes 15,000 visitors a year, to learn more about radiation and radioactivity through an interactive workshop.

The OPAL reactor will be the next stop, where students will see the reactor pool up-close, before they tour the wider ANSTO campus, seeing the advanced technology used and the low level and intermediate level waste stores.

On Thursday, engineering will be the subject of choice as the students find out more about all different types of engineering, and take part in hands-on activities as part of Discover Engineering Day.

“ANSTO is thrilled to be welcoming our young South Australian visitors next week,” said Discovery Centre Leader, Rod Dowler.

“Every week we have visits from students, from Kindergarten through to university students, but it is always an exciting time when we are welcoming out-of-state visitors.

“Bringing the kids out to Lucas Heights to see the facilities and to show them the work being done at ANSTO will let them know more about the front end of the nuclear cycle – the research, medicine and innovation that nuclear science enables.

“At ANSTO we produce nuclear medicines that are needed by approximately one in two Australians in their lifetime, for the diagnosis and treatment of cancers, and heart, lung, muscular, and skeletal conditions.

“Researchers also use nuclear research techniques to support research into improving human health, understanding our environment and supporting Australian industries.

“For example, nuclear research supports the agriculture industry through helping to understand the sustainability of Australia’s groundwater reservoirs, by determining their age and the ‘recharge rate’ of water, which helps farmers around the country.

“We’ll also talk to students about radiation, and how it is all around us in everyday household items like potting mix, kitty litter, bananas, granite benchtops and even bricks in houses – and, it also occurs in things we produce, like nuclear medicines and its by-products.

“We’ll be talking about all things nuclear from start to finish, so that the students get a really good understanding of all the steps, people, products and by-products generated by Australia’s nuclear industry.

“We are really looking forward to having the students from Hawker in Lucas Heights, and we can’t wait to show them around.”

May 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Port Augusta Mayor speaks at Parliament house rally for solar thermal power

Demonstrators rally for Port Augusta solar thermal power plant   April 30, 2017  MORE than 200 people turned out on the steps of Parliament House on Sunday, with their own makeshift solar panels, urging the State Government to back a solar thermal power plant at Port Augusta.

Decked with mirror panels to mimic solar panels, the demonstrators were led by Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson and former coal power station worker Gary Rowbottom.

The Federal Government has committed $110 million in funding through a loan for the project, but the State Government is yet to commit any money.

Mr Johnson said a power purchase plan from the government would make it viable and secure jobs for the Far North city. “Our community has pushed for solar thermal for years,” he said. “Now, it’s time for action from the State Government. Federal funding is now locked in for solar thermal in Port Augusta so it’s time for the Premier to make solar thermal a reality.

“Building solar thermal won’t just help Port Augusta, it will create manufacturing jobs for SA, regional jobs and balance our electricity grid with big storage.”

Mr Rowbottom said the project would provide much-needed stimulus for Port Augusta.  “This is Jay Weatherill and the SA Government’s chance to support our community for the long term, helping us build a new future and becoming the clean energy powerhouse of SA now the coal station has closed,” he said.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said solar thermal power was “absolutely in the mix” for the State Government going forward.

May 1, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s solar rooftop hotspot – South Australia

South Australian households and businesses are installing solar panels as rising electricity prices and blackouts take their toll Gailberger, The Advertiser, 26 Apr 17

SOLAR uptake has reached new records across the nation, as South Australian households and businesses put in solar installations at almost double the rate of last year.

Solar analysts say the industry has experienced one of its strongest quarters, driven by increased knowledge, high electricity prices, and fear the Federal Government will cut incentives in the future.There is now six gigawatts of solar power installed across Australia — enough to meet the needs of 1.3 million average households — figures released today by the Australian Photovoltaic Institute show.“Solar power now makes up 11 per cent of our country’s total electricity generation capacity,” Australian Photovoltaic Institute chair Dr Renate Egan said.

South Australia has the highest penetration among dwellings at 32 per cent, with Aberfoyle Park identified as the state’s “solar rooftop hotspot”. More than 22,618 new solar installations have been made in SA as of April — 7000 more than the same time last year.

SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston said small-scale residential and commercial solar installations will continue to grow because of an increased awareness of renewable energy.

“Particularly in SA given the context of all the blackouts that happened … people are moving towards being independent of the grid.”

He expects another 800MW will be installed across Australia this year, and said a boost from solar farm projects will equate to another gigawatt added to the grid. Continue reading

April 28, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s Minister for Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, backs Port Augusta solar thermal plan

Frydenberg backs Negev-style solar thermal plant for Port Augusta AFR 27 Apr 17

……..Mr Frydenberg, who is on a trip to Israel and visited the 121 megawatt Ashalim solar thermal power project in the Negev desert, said Australia could learn from the collaboration between the Californian-based BrightSource Energy, General Electric and NOY Infrastructure and Energy Investment Fund.

“The Ashalim solar plant is impressive in scope and scale. When it is operational it will be the tallest and fifth largest solar thermal plant in the world,” Mr Frydenberg said from Israel.

“With the solar potential of Port Augusta being similar to that of the Negev Desert, this project can provide a number of valuable lessons for ARENA as they consider proposals for Australia’s first solar thermal plant.” ARENA is evaluating a solar thermal plant in Port Augusta in SA to replace the closure of two coal-fired power stations in recent years……….

April 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Gas generators ordered on as South Australia’s wind production peaked

SA power: Gas generators ordered on as South Australia’s wind production peaked By political reporter Nick Harmsen The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) was forced to intervene in South Australia’s electricity market on Anzac Day to guarantee security of the grid as the state recorded record levels of wind energy production.

Wind power peaked at a new high of 1,540 megawatts close to midnight on Tuesday, more than meeting the state’s public holiday electricity demand.

The wind production was so high that earlier in the day AEMO took steps to ensure two gas generators remained on.

“A combination of high wind generation and low demand had resulted in the de-commitment of synchronous plants below the required levels,” an AEMO spokeswoman said.

AEMO would not confirm which gas generators were subject to AEMO’s directions, but the ABC understands they were AGL’s Hallett Power Station and one unit at Torrens Island.

A requirement for two large synchronous power stations to remain online at all times was put in place in the aftermath of the September 28 statewide blackout.

In that instance, when South Australia unexpectedly separated from the rest of the National Electricity Market, there were too few synchronous generators operating to keep the grid frequency in balance, forcing lights out across the state.

Synchronous generation is typically provided by gas, coal and hydro power plants. None of the wind farms currently operating in South Australia provide synchronous characteristics.

AEMO’s decision to order on two gas generators means their owners will be compensated under special rules, as opposed to taking the prevailing wholesale price for the electricity produced.

The direction for one of the generators remained in place until midday today.

The decision meant AEMO was also forced to constrain the output of two other generators to keep supply and demand in balance. The market operator would not reveal whether those constrained generators were wind farms.

April 28, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Renewable energy leader South Australia could lead some more, with pumped hydro storage

Could South Australia be the nation’s hydrogen state, too? REneweconomy, By Valdis Dunis on 24 April 2017 South Australia is already tops for solar and wind use in Australia, crossing over its 50 per cent generation goal from these clean renewable sources last year – eight years ahead of schedule.

Soon the state is will be Australia’s (and a world) leader in battery storage, led by its government’s new tender for a 100MW/100MWh battery system for the state’s grid, plus the other private initiatives from the Lyon Group, AGL’s 1,000 battery virtual power plant in Adelaide, and other companies building large storage systems in the state.

It also is likely to become a leader in new large scale pumped hydro storage thanks to Energy Australia’s detailed work now being done on the feasibility of building a 100MW version near Whyalla in the state’s North, thanks to support funding from ARENA.

Finally, the most high-profile and long-fought-for renewable project in the state – the 24/7 despatchable solar thermal plant near Port Augusta – will now hopefully get over the line, thanks to a new $110M low-cost loan that SA Senator Nick Xenophon was able to wrench out of the federal government last month.

However, South Australia might soon have a new clean feather to add to its cap:

Last Friday, the state’s Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis surprised most at a CEDA lunch to announce the state will also now go heavily in to implementing a hydrogen industry, leveraging the state’s increasing supply of clean and low cost- renewable energy to power the creation of this fuel from water.

Hydrogen is well known as a clean way to power transport – from cars to trucks to trains and eventually planes potentially, and for driving power turbines and other equipment needing large amounts of power quickly on demand.  Best of all is that it does it all without the pollution (assuming water vapour from the tailpipe noone considers pollution!).

The Minister presented a set of slides on this new goal, with the “aim to capitalise on our abundance of renewable resources to become the green hydrogen capital of Australia”.

The hydrogen fuel would not just be for local state use, but as a new export industry both to other states and internationally.  The Minister conceded Victoria was currently ahead of South Australia, but said the state will be able to leverage its existing strong engineering expertise in gas processing, pipelines and storage.  He also said Asia, in particular Korea and Japan, are large potential markets for hydrogen. …….

April 26, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

19 big South Australian industrial users join to buy electricity in bulk: a path to more wind and solar projects?

Industrial bulk-buy could open path for more wind and solar projects, REneweconomy

The South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) this week won approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for 19 big industrial users to band together to negotiate long-term electricity contracts, having grown tired of the soaring prices and short-term contracts being offered by the state’s retail oligopoly.

The companies – which include Nyrstar, Arrium, Oz Minerals, and a collection of high profile auto groups, food companies, retailers, wineries and universities (see full list below) – account for 15 per cent of the state’s electricity demand.

Most have been hit with electricity price rises of between 30 and 80 per cent in the last year, and are now paying between 8c/kWh and 15c/kWh for their electricity, and are unable to get any long-term contracts.

SACOME’s Rebecca Knol says the tender is not designed to favour one technology or another, and they would welcome either renewables or gas. “We are not predicting the outcome,” she told RenewEconomy. “We don’t have a preference.”

The move, she says, is more about challenging the pricing power of the retail oligopoly. “By aggregating their load, they will improve their individual bargaining position and be able to establish more cost-competitive supply contracts,” Knol said.

But a quick glance at prices for new wind and solar farms, and for gas generation, puts renewables in the driving seat.

Wind and solar farms are being delivered for around 7c/kWh, but even the short-run marginal cost of gas generators (i.e.. the fuel and maintenance cost) ranges from 7c/kWh to more than 12c/kWh………

The total load of 19 industrial users (19 companies, 24 installations) is 246MW at peak, and represents annual demand of 1,957GWh. Most interestingly for the wind and solar plants, the businesses are offering an 11 year contract – a length of contract that has been all but impossible to secure from large retailers.

“We are looking for opportunities to improve the electricity price so our businesses can stay competitive,” Knol says. “What we are hoping is that they do see this as opportunity to change the wholesale market. It could bring on a new generator, or it could be with an existing generator.”

Australian corporates have been slow to engage with renewable energy developers – possibly given the fact that the fall in wind and solar costs below the prevailing wholesale price of electricity is only very recent.

Queensland zinc refiner Sun Metals, that state’s largest single energy user, is one exception, having decided to build its own 116MW solar farm, rather than commission a third party. The Sunshine Coast Council is also building its own 15MW solar farm in south-east Queensland…..

The original application included: Nyrstar, Arrium, OZ Minerals, Hillgrove Resources, Rex Minerals, Seeley International, SMR Automotive, Thomas Foods and Intercast & Forge.

Since the application was made in January 2017, Peregrine Corporation, Foodland, Independent Grocers of Australia (IGA), Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Orora Glass, Brickworks, Flinders University and the University of South Australia have also come on board.

April 22, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Opposition in South Australia to $500 million solar and wind farm

Beetaloo Valley residents to fight against planned $500 million solar and wind farm by Neoen Erin Jones, Regional Reporter, The Advertiser April 17, 2017  SOUTHERN Flinders Ranges residents are vowing to stop a 50-turbine wind farm from ruining the landscape, fearing the project will be fast-tracked because of the state’s energy crisis.

April 19, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, wind | 1 Comment