Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Tasmanian renewable energy projects tipped to pour $6.5 billion in state’s economy

Tasmanian renewable energy projects tipped to pour $6.5 billion in state’s economy, Examiner, Matt Maloney and Rob Inglis   6 Oct 19,

Premier Will Hodgman says the state will benefit from an economic injection of $6.5 billion through two key renewable energy projects.

The cash windfall was announced during Mr Hodgman’s keynote address to delegates at the Tasmanian Liberal Party state conference on Sunday.

Mr Hodgman said the business case for a second interconnector was stronger after new analysis from TasNetworks showed the Marinus Link project would be able to transport a higher amount of energy to the mainland as previously anticipated……. https://www.examiner.com.au/story/6423824/states-energy-potential-better-than-anticipated/?cs=95

October 6, 2019 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

We’ve always had floods and bushfires, but climate change is making them worse

Queensland floods: Townsville reels under record water levels as more rain arrives, There are several more days to go in this flood event, Bureau of Meteorology warns, Guardian, 2 Feb 2019

Queensland authorities have said the state’s north was entering “unprecedented territory” as monsoon rains battered the city of Townsville, setting record flood levels and destroying homes.

……..The worst of the conditions were expected over the next two days, and authorities described the next 48 hours as “crucial”. On Friday, Palaszczuk had described the incoming monsoon as a “once in a 100-year” event and Townsville was declared a disaster zone.
……..Schools and businesses in Townsville were to remain shut and thousands of residents had been evacuated to higher ground, AAP reported.

Homes and businesses have been destroyed as flash floods washed through streets, sweeping away cars, equipment and livestock……..https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/02/queensland-floods-townsville-reels-under-record-water-levels-as-more-rain-arrives

Bushfires threaten homes across Victoria , The Age, By Nicole Precel, 3 February 2019,Out-of-control bushfires threatened homes and lives on Sunday as more than 1000 firefighters battled major blazes across Victoria.Firefighters were stretched to the limit, fighting several large fires throughout the state.

A fire in Hepburn, in central Victoria was the major focus for the day with residents warned at daybreak to evacuate the town.

Two firefighters who were fighting the Hepburn fires were treated for heat exhaustion and over-exertion and were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Elsewhere, as almost 50 new fires sparked, emergency warnings were issued at various times for fires including days-old blazes in Timbarra in Gippsland and Grantville on the Bass Coast……..

As of Sunday afternoon, there were 69 aircraft working “very, very hard” and “effectively”.

The fires were fanned by soaring temperatures, hitting 43.3 degrees in the Mallee, 43.1 degrees in Hopetoun, 42.2 in Mildura, 41.1 at Melbourne Airport and 38.2 in Melbourne’s CBD.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Richard Russell said high winds and thunderstorms were expected throughout the night……….. https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/bushfires-threaten-homes-across-victoria-20190203-p50vf8.html

Tasmania’s fire disaster revealed in satellite images showing the extent of the damage

It’s easy to get warning fatigue, and, with only a handful or properties impacted so far, dismiss the fires as all bark and no bite.

But satellite images reveal the scale of the destruction so far.

The Gell River blaze, in the state’s south-west, was the first to start, ignited by a dry lightning strike in late December.

“It seems really like ancient history,” professor of pyrogeography and fire service at the University of Tasmania David Bowman said.

“It started at the end of last year and escalated in early January, so we’re looking at a fire situation that’s now gone for a full calendar month.”

Images taken by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite on January 3 show what seems, relative to the lakes around it, like a small blackened patch of wilderness……..

“There are multiple major fire events occurring simultaneously, which is extremely challenging for firefighters and fire managers because of the requirement to spread resources and make very difficult prioritising decisions.” …….

“This is definitely a historic event, it’s unprecedented,” Professor Bowman said.

“The area burnt is very substantial, I can barely keep up with the numbers.”

This week the fire service did put a number on it — 187,000 hectares.

At the same time as the Central Plateau fire ramped up, the Tahune fire was also burning out of control.

Of all the fires burning across Tasmania, this one has caused the most displacement, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate from communities in the Huon Valley south of Hobart.

Since last week, firefighters have issued almost daily warnings to residents, cautioning that only those prepared to defend their properties should stay behind.

A satellite image taken on January 30 shows how the fire, having burnt through more than 56,000 hectares, was still sending smoke over towns to its east. …..https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-02/tasmanian-bushfires-from-the-air-satellite-images/10771528

February 3, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria | Leave a comment

Hobart mayoral candidate Anna Reynolds offers a practical and economic solar plan

Climate right for solar plan: Reynolds, HOBART residents and businesses would be able to install solar energy systems with no upfront costs under an initiative proposed by mayoral candidate Anna Reynolds. HELEN KEMPTON, news.com.au   Sunday Tasmanian  OCTOBER 14, 2018

HOBART residents and businesses would be able to install solar energy systems with no upfront costs under an initiative proposed by mayoral candidate Anna Reynolds.

Ald Reynolds says the city should strive to double solar installations over the next five years.

Hobart is a poor performer compared with other Tasmanian local government areas with Sustainable Living Tasmania figures placing it 16th in terms of solar installations per capita.

“Council has taken action to install solar panels on its own buildings but there is so much more we can do,” Ald Reynolds said.

“I will advocate for a solar saver program to help Hobart residents, businesses and organisations install solar panels.

“Council will pay the upfront cost for the system and you, or your landlord, pay it off over 10 years, interest free.

“The savings made on energy bills will more than outweigh the payments to council, leaving you better off.”

The independent candidate’s push is backed by the chief strategist of climate advocacy group 350 Australia……..https://www.news.com.au/national/tasmania/climate-right-for-solar-plan-reynolds/news-story/1aa9c5761666dbbb411a35f424b0c8a0

October 15, 2018 Posted by | solar, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Computer modelling is valuable for fire prevention: prescribed burning is inadequate

Unfortunately, due to climate change, we are going to see a lot more catastrophic days in the future in Tasmania and indeed globally.

To fight the catastrophic fires of the future, we need to look beyond prescribed burning California is burning – a sentence we’ve heard far too often this year. Sydney is currently on bushfire alert, as firefighters battle a fire in the Hunter Valley region and temperatures are set to top 40℃.

A cocktail of factors, from climate change to centuries of ignoring indigenous burning practises, means that catastrophic fires are likely to become more common.

One of Australia’s favourite fire prevention measures is prescribed burning – using carefully controlled fires to clear out flammable materials. We’re almost obsessed with it. Indeed, it seems the outcome of every major inquiry is that we need to do more of it.

The Royal Commission inquiry that followed Victoria’s 2009 Black Saturday fires recommended that 5% of all public land in Victoria be treated per year – a doctrine that was subsequently dropped due to impracticality.

Yet our research, published today in the International Journal of Wildland Fire, modelled thousands of fires in Tasmania and found that nearly a third of the state would have to be burned to effectively lower the risk of bushfires.

The question of how much to burn and where is a puzzle we must solve, especially given the inherent risk, issues caused by smoke smoke and shrinking weather windows for safe burning due to climate change.

Why use computer simulations?

The major problem fire science faces is gathering data. Landscape-scale experiments involving extreme fire are rare, for obvious reasons of risk and cost. When a major bushfire happens, all the resources go into putting it out and protecting people. Nobody has the time to painstakingly collect data on how fast it is moving and what it is burning. We are therefore restricted to a few limited data sources to reconstruct the behaviour and impact of fire: we can analyse the scar on the landscape after a fire, look at case studies, or run simulations of computer models. Continue reading

December 16, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Decentralised energy solutions looking better than centralised

Will Tasmania be the ‘battery of the nation’? http://reneweconomy.com.au/will-tasmania-battery-nation-43911/  By Jack Gilding on 7 November 2017 Lately we have been subjected to Prime-ministerial statements on energy policy that jump from Snowy 2.0 to propping up aged coal-fired power stations in NSW, to government support for a new “clean” coal power station in Queensland and back to pumped hydro in Tasmania. Long term strategy seems to have gone missing.

The latest announcement is a feasibility study of pumped hydro in Tasmania supported by ARENA.

Is investing in Tasmania as the ‘battery of the nation’ likely to be a sensible idea?

Tasmania itself doesn’t need more centralised energy storage. At full capacity, our dams hold more than a year’s supply of electricity. Tasmania’s problem is lack of renewable generation, which leaves our energy security dependent on imports from Victoria and increasingly expensive gas fired electricity.

The mainland grid would certainly benefit from more large scale renewable generation backed by storage. Implementing this would require both a bipartisan consensus on closing down aged coal infrastructure and a long term policy in support of low emission renewable energy.

 Sensible, bipartisan, long term planning doesn’t appear likely to break out any time soon. Even if it did, the next questions are what is the best form of storage and where should it be located?

Pumped hydro is the most cost-effective form of large scale energy storage but it requires a stable investment climate, and in some locations, significant investment in transmission infrastructure.

Snowy 2.0 does have the advantage of being well connected to the NSW and Victorian grids. If the national battery is located in Tasmania it would require a billion dollar second interconnector to the mainland.

The sorts of big national project preferred by politicians are not the only solution. Our electricity system is rapidly moving from centralised energy generation to distributed generation and storage.

CSIRO and the Australian electricity network operators have developed one of the most credible scenarios for the future of the grid.

It anticipates that by 2050, 30-45% of our electricity would come from customer owned generators. The plan identifies the need for incentives to ensure that customer battery systems provide benefits to the network as well as to customers.

A recent ANU study has identified 22,000 potential sites for off-river pumped storage around Australia in a range of sizes. Only a few of these are likely to provide viable but they offer possible advantages in being smaller investments that can address local requirements and reduce rather than increase the need for network enhancements.

If there is a role for large scale pumped hydro storage, is Tasmania likely to be the most cost effective place to build it?

As Everett Dirksen never actually said, “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money”. At over $1bn for a second interconnector, $2bn for a 600 MW wind farm on King Island or over $1bn for the Robbins Island and Jim’s Plain wind farms, and Hydro Tasmania’s estimate of $5bn to build 2500 MW of pumped storage, we are talking ‘real money’.

And it is ultimately our money, whether the infrastructure is built as a regulated asset (added to our electricity bill), by government grant (our taxes) or by private investment (including our super).

Investments on this scale take the best part of a decade to plan, fund and build, and are paid for by users over a 40 year period or more.

We need to be very sure that this is the most cost effective way to meet our energy security in an electricity market where the significant trends are to increased energy efficiency, local generation and storage, and demand management.

The detailed analysis of pumped hydro funded by Hydro Tasmania and ARENA will be a welcome contribution to the public debate. But big schemes may well have had their day.

Hydro Tasmania dropped work on the King Island project and the Tamblyn report on the viability of a second interconnector was lukewarm on its viability to say the least.

My prediction is that the market will have provided decentralised solutions to the challenge of reliable, affordable clean electricity long before these big schemes see the light of day. The flurry of announcements and feasibility studies mainly serves to convince the public that the politicians are dealing with the problem.

Jack Gilding is the Executive Officer of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance but the views in this article are entirely personal. This article first appeared in The Mercury and is republished here with permission of the author,

November 8, 2017 Posted by | energy, storage, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Malcolm Turnbull in Tasmania – praising wind and solar power!

Turnbull trumpets Tasmania’s ability to lead the country in renewable energy, ETHAN JAMES, AAP, Mercury, August 18, 2017  Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has trumpeted Tasmania’s ability to lead the nation in renewable energy at the state’s Liberal Party council meeting.Mr Turnbull today addressed 250 delegates at the annual conference in Launceston, the party’s final gathering before a state election in March. He praised Liberal Premier Will Hodgman’s economic management in a speech that touched on energy, terrorism and mental health.

August 21, 2017 Posted by | energy, politics, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Space for more wind farms in Tassie

TASMANIA has the capacity to support two or three more wind farms before it needs to invest in its electricity transmission infrastructure, energy analysts say.
http://www.themercury.com.au/business/space-for-more-wind-farms-in-tasmania-before-infrastructure-investment-is-needed/news-story/2bfaec7ca841b5a2ca274aa0758984c3

June 9, 2017 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Tasmania’s energy efficiency loans scheme now open

Tasmanian households and small businesses can increase their energy efficiency through a new no-interest loan scheme, BLAIR RICHARDS, State Political Editor, Mercury

May 3, 2017 Posted by | efficiency, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Tasmania’s $3 billion hydro plans – some doubts, with Victoria’s renewable energy and batteries rising

Plunging battery costs raise doubts over Tasmania’s $3 billion hydro plans http://reneweconomy.com.au/plunging-battery-costs-raise-doubts-over-tasmanias-3-billion-hydro-plans-39326/  By Giles Parkinson on 21 April 2017

Tasmania’s plans for a $3 billion investment in new pumped hydro schemes and a new link to the mainland may turn out to be little more than damp squib, given concerns raised by two new studies in the proposal.

The idea of adding 2,500MW of pumped hydro into Tasmania’s existing hydro system – and using this and its considerable wind resources as a “renewable energy battery” for the mainland – was unveiled with much fanfare by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, premier Will Hodgman and Hydro Tasmania on Thursday.

But the crucial ingredient in the plan is the construction of a new $1 billion inter-connector to carry all that renewable power to the mainland. And a study by John Tamblyn released on the same day raises considerable doubts about the economic viability of such an investment.

In one “neutral” scenario, drawn up by the Australian Energy Market Operator, the benefits might outweigh costs over a 20 year period by just $20 million. And these benefits might be eroded if battery storage costs continue to fall and utility-scale batteries become widespread, as many predict.

Further complicating the matter is Victoria’s own renewable energy target, which will likely deliver 5,000MW of new capacity by 2025.

“That means that building new renewable generation in Tasmania (1,200MW of wind), timed to coincide with commissioning of the second Bass Strait inter-connector, would not increase projected market benefits,” the report says. Instead, it is likely to “lead to oversupply in the southern regions (Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia).” Continue reading

April 22, 2017 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Tasmania, with wind and hydro can be “energy battery” for Australia – says Turnbull

Turnbull says Tasmania wind, hydro can become “energy battery” for Australia, Reneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 20 April 2017 Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has extended his vision of large-scale pumped hydro and storage to Tasmania, outlining plans to expand the island’s existing hydropower system, and possibly add 2,500MW in pumped hydro, and describing the possibility that the state could become the “renewable energy battery” for Australia. Continue reading

April 21, 2017 Posted by | storage, Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Huge savings predicted from Tasmania’s largest solar rooftop farm.

Proponents predict big savings from 4000-panel solar farm http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/proponents-predict-big-savings-from-4000panel-solar-farm/news-story/d6d5333b757f4cc6f33fecad23dcdc20 NICK CLARK, Mercury March 23, 2017 A $2 million solar farm, Tasmania’s largest, will inject power into the state’s grid during summer and save thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases.

Proponent Nest Energy will place 4000 solar panels on the sawtooth roof of a former wool store in the Launceston suburb of Kings Meadows. Partner Mark Barnett said 15 people would be employed during construction with the project anticipated to be running by August. He said the privately funded project would produce about 1GWh of electricity a year – enough to fully power 200 homes.

It would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20,000 tonnes over the 35-year project life.

Mr Barnett said in winter the panels would produce enough for several businesses while in summer there would be 30 per cent excess electricity, which would be injected into the grid with the company receiving a feed-in tariff. “The building tenants will receive their power at a significant discount while the building owner will realise an improved building value so it’s a fabulous win/win” he said.

Mr Barnett said the project had been two years in the planning. He said a drop in the price of renewable components coinciding with a trend of rising power prices, meant there was plenty of opportunity for further projects, especially in agriculture. Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the project demonstrated an increased level of confidence in the northern Tasmanian economy.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | solar, Tasmania | Leave a comment

“Smart Houses” to save Australia’s farms from climate change?

climate-AustFarmers plant paddocks in smart houses to safeguard against climate change ABC 

March 5, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Renewable energy future for Tasmania

map-tasmania-wind.1“The absolute beauty of Tasmania’s situation is that anything you do with solar or wind, we don’t need to worry too much about the intermittent nature of it,” he said.

“We’ve got the hydro which can generate a lot of electricity but it can’t do it all the time.

“Any time of the day that you generate electricity with solar or wind is saving running water out of the dams and then that gives you energy security.” 

The expansion of renewable energy in Tasmania, text-relevantExaminer, Michelle Wisbey  @MichelleWisbey1 29 Jan 2017 Tasmania has the potential to become the envy of the world when it comes to renewable energy, according to our leaders. 

There is no doubt energy was a hot topic in 2016.  This time last year, Tasmania had a broken Basslink cable and it would not be fixed for another five months.  Hydro Tasmania’s water storage levels were down to 19 per cent, but had dipped lower in previous months.

Not long before the Basslink cable broke, the government had given approval for Hydro Tasmania to decommission and sell the combined cycle gas turbine at the Tamar Valley Power Station, which would later become an essential piece of infrastructure.

As the crisis unfolded, the importance of the power station became clear, it was not sold, and was eventually up and running again.

This crisis led to the establishment of an Energy Security Taskforce which, in its interim report, found the state had a deficit of renewable energy generation and that more on-island hydro-electric and wind generation was needed.

“A more secure setting would be created if this deficit was reduced or eliminated by new entrant renewable energy developments,” the report said.

Already, renewable energy is meeting an average of 80 per cent of Tasmania’s energy demands.

But questions have been raised over whether enough is being done to attract further renewable energy investment into the state.  Continue reading

January 29, 2017 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Senate inquiry into bushfires hears of climate change impacts

climate-AustClimate warning at bushfire inquiry, Examiner, Doug Dingwall@dougdingwall

November 3, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Tidal energy – Australian Maritime College launches new turbine in Tamar River

tidal-power-tasmaniaAustralian Maritime College launches new tidal turbine in Tamar River http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4230602/the-future-of-energy/?cs=5312 Michelle Wisbey   @MichelleWisbey1  16 Oct 2016 An emerging form of renewable energy has been met with overall positive reviews from the Tamar community. 

The Australian Maritime College and Sydney-based developers MAKO have come together to install and monitor a new tidal energy turbine in the Tamar estuary near Launceston. Field experiments at a site near Reid Rock, north of the Batman Bridge, of a 2.4 metre-wide prototype have already started.

The turbine is secured beneath a floating platform and will be connected to a mooring on the east side of the estuary.

AMC project lead Irene Penesis said tidal energy was particularly exciting as it was very predictable compared with solar and wind power because of its consistent and monitorable cycles. “Through the kinetic energy of the tidal flow, we generate mechanical power and we then convert that to electricity,” Associate Professor Penesis said.

“Because tides are extremely predictable and we can predict them two years in advance, we can predict how much power we’re going to get – when you transfer that power back into the grid you know how much you’re transferring back and you can monitor that.

“It’s absolutely essential to have the community behind these types of events because if there’s an opportunity to install tidal turbines in the Tamar River, we would want those community members to have access to that power being generated.”

Owner of the nearby Tamar River Retreat Ian Stewart said after a community meeting was held to discuss the turbines last week, there was positive interest from residents and businesses in the area.

“To use tidal power to generate electricity would be absolutely fantastic,” Mr Stewart said. “I spend about $5000 a year on electricity because of my business, it’s probably my single biggest business expense, and if I can get that down even lower that would be great. “I think that a lot of people in the community want to get behind this idea and want to support it.”

October 16, 2016 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment