Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

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

For Tasmania, Renewables rapidly proving a cheaper option

map-tasmania-wind.1 Renewables rapidly proving a cheaper option JACK GILDING, Mercury

Bloomberg New Energy Finance says renewables are already cheaper than new fossil fuel plants in Australia. The conservative predictions of the Australian Government’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics say they will be within a decade.

Of particular interest for Tasmania is the relative costs of electricity from wind and solar. Solar is getting cheaper faster than wind. Again, opinions vary on when the crossover will be. Recent statements by major Australian players suggest it will not be long……

Tasmania rightly prides itself on its potential for renewable energy development, but the unfortunate reality is that no large projects have commenced since the opening of the Musselroe Wind Farm in 2014.

Tasmania may only have a limited time to garner its rightful share of the $280 billion being invested globally in renewable energy each year.

Right now windy Tasmania has an advantage, but as the cost of solar drops, investors will look to sunnier locations. Continue reading

October 1, 2016 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

2016 Earth getting hotter. CO2 levels above 400 ppm

Confirmed: Southern hemisphere CO2 level rises above symbolic 400 ppm milestone, [Excellent pictures, graphs, diagrams]  The Age May 15, 2016 – Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald

NASA | A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2

A significant marker of rising global greenhouse gas emissions has been passed, with a key monitoring site on Tasmania’s north-west tip recording atmospheric carbon-dioxide exceeding 400 parts per million for the first time.

As foreshadowed by Fairfax Media last week, a baseline reading at the Cape Grim station that exceeded the 400-ppm mark of the primary gas driving global warming was imminent.

As it turned out, “the unfortunate milestone” was reached on Tuesday May 10 at 8am, local time, said Peter Krummel, who heads the CSIRO team analysing data from the most important site in the southern hemisphere.

Atmospheric readings from Cape Grim, along with two stations in Hawaii and Alaska, are closely watched as they date back decades and closely track a range of pollutants from ozone-depleting chemicals to the various greenhouse gases resulting from burning fossil fuels and clearing forests.

Mr Krummel said that while mostly symbolic, the 400-ppm reading “highlights the problem of rising emissions, which are increasing more rapidly than they used to be”.

A report out earlier this year from the World Meteorological Organization noted atmospheric readings of CO2 at the Mauna Loa site in Hawaii rose 3.05 ppm in 2015 alone – the biggest increase in the 56 years of research……

Climate scientists, such as David Karoly at Melbourne University, note that when other greenhouse gases, such as methane, are included, the situation is even bleaker.

The so-called carbon dioxide-equivalent level that takes in the full global warming impact is now about 485 ppm.

Both 2014 and 2015 were record hot years globally in data going back about 130 years. With the effect of a strong El Nino overlaying long-term trends, this year is likely to be even hotter after a scorching start.

http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/confirmed-southern-hemisphere-co2-level-rises-above-symbolic-400-ppm-milestone-20160515-govfq7.html#ixzz48llBSOAT

May 16, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Wind and hydro providing 100% renewable energy to Tasmania

Tasmania completely powered by renewable energy as rainfall boosts hydro dams  ABC News 12 May 16Tasmania is being completely powered by renewable energy for the first time this year, Hydro Tasmania says.

Key points:

  • Sustained rainfall fills dams by more than 3 per cent over 10 days
  • All diesel generators and gas power stations have been turned off
  • Rough weather hampers repairs to Basslink cable

The state has been in crisis for several months with dam levels at record lows after unprecedented dry weather…….

Hydro Tasmania CEO Stephen Davy said the state’s emergency diesel generators had been switched off through the week and the gas fired Tamar Valley Power Station was turned off yesterday.

“The past 10 days have been very positive,” he said.

“We’ve had more rain than predicted and our storages have risen strongly.

“There’s currently enough hydro and wind energy available to meet all Tasmanian demand.

“For the first time in months, our island is being powered solely by renewable energy.”…..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-12/tasmania-completely-powered-by-renewable-energy/7408148

May 13, 2016 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

More research needed into climate change – bushfire links

bushfireSenate inquiry told of need for more research into bushfire-climate change links   May 3, 2016  BLAIR RICHARDS State Political Reporter Mercury CALLS for more research into the links between climate change and bushfires and for greater national firefighting capacity have emerged from a Senate inquiry into the Tasmanian Wilderness fires.

The Senate’s environment and communications reference committee is examining the response to the fires that blazed through more than 20,000ha of the state’s Wilderness World Heritage Area in January and February.

The inquiry has received 24 submissions from stakeholders including scientific and conservation organisations, government agencies and individuals.

Some submissions called for more research into the impact of climate change on fire risk:…….

THE Australian Conservation Foundation said the fires should be a “wake-up call” for Australian governments to act on climate change.

 THE Department of Environment said 20,100ha (1.3 per cent) of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area was affected by fire……..

However, the Tasmanian Government’s submission said the forecast outlook for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area was classified as “normal”.

The Senate committee is due to report by May 30. http://www.themercury.com.au/news/politics/senate-inquiry-told-of-need-for-more-research-into-bushfireclimate-change-links/news-story/4ab57529e85c2a55a9ec82fbd64a2f0e

May 4, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Ocean temperatures on Tasmania’s East Coast are among the fastest-rising in the world

OCEAN temperatures on Tasmania’s East Coast are now among the most rapidly warming in the world, with oyster, salmon, rock lobster and abalone industries feeling the impact.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/ocean-temperatures-on-tasmanias-east-coast-are-among-the-fastestrising-in-the-world/news-story/70e83dcbe51376aa439a53cd2d8d32f7

April 30, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Tasmania’s Bruny Island residents to sell solar power to the grid

Residents onmap-Tasmania-solarafter $2.9m renewable energy grant  http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/residents-on-bruny-island-to-sell-solar-power-after-29m-renewable-energy-grant/news-story/945d59a87250bbfc2d533e8ff9009ace   April 14, 2016 RESIDENTS  of Bruny Island have the chance to turn their homes into mini-power ­stations and trade on the national electricity grid to boost the island’s energy security and offset their power costs at the same time.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency yesterday announced $2.9 million to help a project to help fund solar panels and batteries for up to 40 households on the island.

Harnessing the surplus power they generate is hoped to help take pressure off Bruny Island’s power system during peak times.

The systems will include software that allows homeowners to sell their power back to the grid during times of peak demand — and hence prices — on the National Electricity Market.

 Dean Spaccavento from Rep­osit Power, which created the software that underpins the system, said the project was a smart response to the power supply issues the island faces.

“The reason Bruny Island was chosen was because of the constraints they have from their undersea cables,” he said. “A battery with a solar panel can be converted into a remarkable power stat­ion. It’s fast and can both produce and consume power in an instant — it’s the type of power station the future needs.”

He said the benefit for households was they could sell their power into the market at a price of about $1 per kilowatt hour — compared to the much lower 5.5c per kilowatt hour feed-in tariffs available at present.

TasNetworks will begin consulting Bruny Island residents about the project over the coming months and seeking expressions of interest via public forums on the island this year.

April 15, 2016 Posted by | solar, Tasmania | Leave a comment

High Court challenge to Tasmania’s controversial anti-protester laws

here are environment ministers Groom and Hunt backing the arrest and punishment of Australians who make a modest stand for threatened species that they, the ministers, should be protecting.

In an age of the accelerating and irreversible destruction of our Earth’s biosphere, the untoward and often unseen influence of its exploiters is eroding Australia’s time-honoured rights to peaceful protest.

It was inevitable that somewhere, some time, some citizens would face the repressive Tasmanian laws. That stand has now been made among the stately ferns of Lapoinya and will move to the High Court of Australia where the consequences are enormous for every environmental, social, cultural and Indigenous issue in Australia’s future

Bob Brown’s arrest in Lapoinya under new anti-protestor laws, The Saturday Paper, BOB BROWN, 19 Mar 16  A Brown,Bob follows their use to arrest conservationists in the Lapoinya forest. “…….The logging at Lapoinya torpedoed any hope Forestry Tasmania had of winning Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, the internationally recognised green accreditation increasingly sought by global markets. FSC depends on respectful relationships with local communities………

Through all of this, the nation’s most powerful potential guardians of Australia’s forests and threatened species, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the federal minister for the environment, Greg Hunt, failed to lift a finger.

The right to protest under threat

In Australia, the option of choice for setting back conservation is the strangling of environmental protest. As the resource-extraction industries come under fire for increasing encroachments on farmland and places of high natural or cultural heritage value, a key strategy is to have governments outlaw effective political protest…….. Continue reading

March 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, Tasmania | Leave a comment