Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s ski industry faces continuing problems due to climate change

Snowy retreat: Climate change puts Australia’s ski industry on a downhill slope, SMH, Peter Hannam, 8 Aug 17 Australia’s ski resorts face the prospect of a long downhill run as a warming climate reduces snow depth, cover and duration. The industry’s ability to create artificial snow will also be challenged, scientists say.

Resorts are also going to become more reliant on big snow dumps such as this weekend’s blizzard – after a poor start to the season – as the frequency of smaller, top-up snowfalls diminish.

A snow retreat has been observed for half a century, with rising temperatures rather than reduced precipitation to blame, according to a major CSIRO-Bureau of Meteorology report. Under high greenhouse gas emissions pathway, snow at lower-elevation sites such as Mt Buffalo could all but disappear by 2050.

Warming springs have led to stark impacts at the end of the ski season. Early October snow depths fell 30 per cent during the 2000-13 period compared with 1954-99, a separate study in 2015 found.

Snow is a “threshold variable”. A slight temperature rise can turn snowflakes into rain that washes away, rather than adds to, snow cover.

That’s why all climate projections point in one direction, says Tom Remenyi, a researcher at the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. It’s both “encouraging and terrifying” that observations have matched models, giving researchers confidence about their bleak predictions, he said…….

Snow guns are becoming less efficient as humidity rises, reduce output of artificial snow by as much as 70 per cent as they ice up, Dr Remenyi said.

New “snow factories” have been introduced to Mt Buller and Mt Selwyn in Victoria, and more are likely. They create ice shavings with longer durability than gun-fired snow.

But warming temperatures will raise costs to maintain artificial snow cover, Dr Remenyi said. A study he helped write on the potential impact of climate change on Victoria’s resorts found that “by 2020- 2030 conditions suitable for snowmaking are projected to decline substantially”………..

‘Fragile ecology’

And as the NSW Nature Conservation Council notes in a new study on the effects of a warming planet, impacts in alpine regions aren’t restricted to humans’ winter pastimes.

The endangered pygmy possum, for instance, has had its range shrunk to a little as 10 square kilometres.

“The wildlife that lives in the Australia snowfields are at the front line of global warming because they are so sensitive to rising temperatures and changed snowfall patterns,” Kate Smolski, council chief executive, said.

“If deep, long-lasting snow cover disappears, the fragile ecology of snowfields will unravel because the plants and animals that live there have nowhere else to go.”   http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/snowy-retreat-climate-change-puts-australias-ski-industry-on-a-downhill-slope-20170804-gxp74h.html

August 9, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australian ski resorts relying on machine-made snow: climate change is making this worse

Heading to the slopes this winter? Why much of the snow you’ll see comes from a machine, not the sky, ABC Rural , By Catherine McAloon, 5 Aug 17, With below average rain and warmer than usual temperatures, this Australian winter has produced conditions that would have once spelled disaster for the local ski industry.

August 5, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | 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.http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/states-harden-threat-to-got-it-alone-on-clean-energy-target/news-story/2cd2a87bd563c1e940aeeee83a831cc2

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.” http://www.theage.com.au/business/energy/what-elon-musks-investment-tells-us-about-our-energy-crisis-20170714-gxb3i7.html

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

Victoria’s ambitious renewable energy plan launched by Al Gore

Gore power to you: former vice-president launches Victoria’s green energy plan http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/gore-power-to-you-former-vicepresident-launches-victorias-green-energy-plan-20170713-gxaggu.html, Adam Carey, 13 July 17, 

New battery storages that can deliver four hours of power to two regional Victorian towns of 100,000 people, and a solar farm that would power more than 400 trams are key projects in Victoria’s new plan to increase renewable energy supply and reduce reliance on burning coal.

The battery will be up and running by this summer, the state government says, and will provide at least 40 megawatts of power in western Victoria, where the electricity network is relatively weak, boosting reliability in towns including Bendigo, Horsham, Ararat, Red Cliffs and Kerang.

Proposals that Bendigo or Ballarat lose electricity during a record-breaking east coast heatwave in February to guarantee power to NSW were angrily rejected by Victoria’s energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio, who told the Australian Energy Market Operator “it was absolutely not appropriate that Victoria had to pay consequences for failures in New South Wales”.

Victoria’s roll-out of renewable energy supply has gained extra urgency since the April closure of the Hazelwood coal-fuelled generator, which provided 20 per cent of the state’s baseload power supply.

Tenders for the $25 million project are being evaluated by the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning, and is part of a nationwide embrace of battery energy, including Tesla founder Elon Musk’s commitment this month to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia.

Grid-scale batteries can store renewable energy to be used at times of peak demand, improving energy security and shielding consumers from severe price spikes.

The Andrews Government announced on Thursday its plan to spend $146 million on a series of renewable energy initiatives in a bid to meet its target of 40 per cent green energy for the state by 2025.

The renewable energy action plan, launched by former US vice-president Al Gore, will underpin the state’s attempt to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

It includes $48.1 million for the purchase of renewable energy certificates, much of which will go towards solar power for Melbourne’s trams.

A 75mw solar farm that will power Melbourne’s 410 trams is due to open in the state’s north-west late next year. The powering of Melbourne’s tram network with solar energy is notional. Electricity from the solar farm will flow into the general power supply and the government will purchase renewable energy certificates for 35mw of power, which is enough to operate the city’s tram system.

The plan also features $8 million for small-scale “micro-grid” initiatives to create power at a local level, independent of the energy grid.

Mr Gore said the renewable energy plan was a “highly impressive” example of a state taking the initiative to create jobs through projects that will cut carbon emissions.

“All over the world there has been a dramatic change in the marketplace, with electricity generated with renewable sources falling below the cost of electricity generated by fossil fuels,” Mr Gore said.

Before taking a short ride on an E-Class tram, Mr Gore predicted Melbourne’s solar-powered trams “will become a symbol of the renewable energy revolution worldwide”.

Energy and Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the renewable energy plan “represents the most significant government investment in renewable energy in Victoria’s history”.

She said the plan would also drive down power prices for Victorians, who face a 15 to 20 per cent hike in their power bills from January 1.

Ms D’Ambrosio said the global economy was moving away from coal-generated power and Victoria had no option but to head in the same direction.

“When we stand still at a national level we are actually taking Australians backwards,” she said.

“The only investment that is occurring globally in new generation is around renewable energy.”

The government’s launch of a new renewable energy plan follows recent comments by Ms D’Ambrosio that Victoria might work with other states and set a renewable energy target to the exclusion of the Turnbull government.

The Turnbull government has not committed to a renewable energy target, despite it being one of the recommendations of the Finkel review it commissioned into Australia’s energy needs.

State energy ministers are due to meet with federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg this week, however, Mr Frydenberg has signalled there will be no resolution on a clean energy target for Australia at the meeting, because the federal cabinet is still debating the issue.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment

Solar hot-water panels, split, burst in cold, leave people with huge bills

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbournes-frosty-winter-blast-sees-solar-hot-water-panels-burst-around-the-city-20170703-gx3dfd.html

July 5, 2017 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Melbourne Water’s network of “mini-hydro” electric plants

Inside Melbourne’s secret suburban hydro power system, The Age, Darren Gray, 29 June 17 From the outside, it looks like a green shipping container on an industrial block in the suburbs. But on the inside, there’s plenty going on.

The box is part of a little-known but growing Melbourne Water network of “mini-hydro” electric plants generating electricity in suburban Melbourne, and in the hills beyond. With the addition of Melbourne Water’s 14th hydroelectric plant, a “mini-hydro” to be turned on on Thursday in Mt Waverley, Melbourne Water’s hydroelectric system generates enough power to supply more than 14,100 homes. Eleven of the plants are “mini-hydro” plants.

It’s a system that the water company hopes to expand further. “We are looking at up to 10 sites in our stage three program, which is in feasibility study now,” said Melbourne Water senior project manager Ian Royston, during a visit to the new Dandenong North “mini-hydro”.

This plant, which sits between two huge water storage tanks and EastLink, and about 40 metres away from the closest house, started operating in April. It is one of five new “mini-hydro” plants commissioned since December……

The hydroelectric power generated earns a decent return for Melbourne Water, which is paid by a power company for feeding electricity into the grid. Melbourne Water also earns money from trading LRECs, which currently trade on the spot market at about $76 per megawatt hour and are bought by companies to satisfy requirements under the renewable energy target. On current prices LRECs could generate about $3.3 million a year for Melbourne Water, given that most of the power it produces qualifies for the scheme…….

Melbourne Water’s counterparts in New South Wales, at Sydney Water, also have a range of plants producing energy. It has three mini-hydro systems on its network, at Prospect, Woronora and North Head.
“We also have eight co-generation systems in wastewater treatment plants, which take biogas from wastewater treatment and use it to create heat and electricity,” said Paul Plowman from Sydney Water.

“Sydney Water produces enough energy to power over 11,000 homes each year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 70,000 tonnes a year, which is the equivalent of keeping 17,500 cars off the road for a year,” he said……http://www.theage.com.au/business/inside-melbournes-secret-suburban-hydro-power-system-20170626-gwyv5e.html

June 30, 2017 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment

Victoria’s grid could be dominated by wind and solar

Network owner Ausnet sees grid dominated by wind and solar http://reneweconomy.com.au/network-owner-ausnet-sees-grid-dominated-by-wind-and-solar-19103/ By Giles Parkinson on 16 May 2017

Ausnet Services, the largest operator of electricity and gas networks in Victoria, has given its vision of what the grid of the future might look like in that state – and it is one dominated by wind and solar.

That is probably not surprising, given that the state government is likely to have its target of 40 per cent renewable energy generation by 2025 locked into legislation in the next few months. But it does reflect how quickly the nature of generation in the state most dependent on brown coal will change. Continue reading

May 16, 2017 Posted by | solar, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Solar and battery storage mini-grid trial takes part of Melbourne suburb off-grid

AusNet trial successfully takes part of Melbourne suburb off-grid http://reneweconomy.com.au/ausnet-trial-successfully-takes-part-melbourne-suburb-off-grid-21015/ By Sophie Vorrath on 11 May 2017  A solar and battery storage mini-grid trial by Victorian network operator AusNet Services has succeeded in taking part of a Melbourne suburb completely off grid, demonstrating how utilities can use solar, battery storage and the internet of things to boost energy security and reliability in the future.

AusNet said on Wednesday that eight homes had been successfully separated from Victoria’s main electricity grid and operated together as a stand-alone solar and battery storage powered mini grid, as part of the company’s Mooroolbark Mini Grid trial.

The homes, including two that had neither solar or batteries, were able to maintain power by sharing electricity via AusNet’s powerlines that connect the mini grid, before being successfully re-integrated with the main grid.

AusNet said the cloud-based mini grid control system – which has been provided by locally-based energy technology company GreenSync – and the stabiliser took the mini grid through a sequence of stages to test the stability of the mini grid as an independent, unified renewable energy system.

The stabiliser, developed by Power Technology Engineered Solutions, is essentially a smart battery storage system that smooths renewable energy supply and consumption across the mini grid by either delivering or absorbing power when needed.

Parker, speaking at Energy Network Australia’s Welcome to the Grid Edge conference on Wednesday, said that the achievement was a “major milestone” on the road to a future grid with high penetration of solar and storage.

“The electricity network will continue to play an important role in our energy future, but we need to make sure it is able to support technology such as solar panels and battery storage for the benefit of all customers,” he said.

“In the future, we may be able to use this technology to keep homes powered during major storm events.

“We could also use (it) to smooth peak demand on our network, helping to reduce the need to build expensive power stations and therefore reducing costs to customers.”

The next step for the trial is to test additional control functionality to manage peak loads and generation on the network, as well as further testing of the stand-alone supply scenario involving additional customers being integrated into the stand-alone mini grid.

May 12, 2017 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australian renewable energy news

Victoria
Origin stuns industry with record low price for 530MW wind farm
Origin to buy output from 530MW Stockyard Hill wind farm at less than $60/MWh in price that will stun Australian industry. Following numerous solar deals, it expects renewables to account for more than 25% of its supply by 2020.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/origin-stuns-industry-with-record-low-price-for-530mw-wind-farm-70946/

Contract signed for new two-turbine wind farm in Victoria
Giles Parkinson Construction on the two-turbine Maroona wind farm to begin soon after contract signed and financing in place.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/contract-signed-new-two-turbine-wind-farm-victoria-62657/


Origin stuns industry with record low price for 530MW wind farm
Origin to buy output from 530MW Stockyard Hill wind farm at less than $60/MWh in price that will stun Australian industry. Following numerous solar deals, it expects renewables to account for more than 25% of its supply by 2020.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/origin-stuns-industry-with-record-low-price-for-530mw-wind-farm-70946/

Western Australia
Wesfarmers’ energy retailing unit signs up for W.A.’s biggest solar farm
Wesfarmers unit signs 10 year deal for 30MW solar farm, which will be the largest in WA and first in Australia to be built in
http://reneweconomy.com.au/wesfarmers-energy-retailing-unit-signs-w-s-biggest-solar-farm-45040/

May 10, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Victoria aims for two 20MW large scale batteries to be installed by January,

Victoria seeks two 20MW large scale batteries to be installed by January, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 27 April 2017  Victoria has announced that it is seeking two 20MW battery storage installations – with a total of 100MWH of storage – to be located in the western part of the state where network strength is low.

The announcement came following an exceptionally strong market response to its call for expressions of interest – that attracted more than 100 enquiries – and as it prepares to ramp up its state-based target of reaching 40 per cent renewable energy by 2025.

Earlier this year the Andrews Labor Government announced $25 million to support large-scale energy storage, and a total of 100MW of battery storage, to enhance the reliability of its grid and unlock economic growth in areas experiencing network constraints.

It ran two expressions of interest processes – one specifically for a 20MW/80MWh facility in western Victoria and another more general one for up to 100MW of energy storage.

It has now refined its needs and is now formally looking for two large scale battery storage installations – both of 20MW, with a total of 100MWh – to be in place by January next year, when the summer peak is expected……..

Acting minister for energy, environment and climate change Lisa Neville said the government was looking to support projects that integrated both existing and new renewable energy generation, with storage, distribution and management technologies.

“Large scale energy battery storage will improve the reliability of Victoria’s energy grid and enhance energy security. We are encouraging significant local and international investment opportunities for businesses to work together in modernising our energy system.”

Full guidelines for applicants will be available on 1 May 2017 here. http://reneweconomy.com.au/victoria-seeks-two-20mw-large-scale-batteries-installed-january-79103/

April 28, 2017 Posted by | storage, Victoria | Leave a comment

Mini hydro electric scheme could revive historic hydro power in Warburton, Victoria

Push for a mini hydro-electric scheme in Yarra Valley town of Warburton, The Age Darren Gray, 25 Apr 17, Up to 120 homes could be powered by a mini hydro-electric scheme that’s been proposed by locals for Warburton, in the upper reaches of the Yarra Valley.

The hydro project, which would involve using water from the fast-flowing Ythan Creek as it flows through the local golf course, would produce year-round power to be fed into the electricity grid.

The proposed scheme would also restore some of the picturesque town’s early 20th century heritage, by reviving hydro power at the site of an old hydro scheme that operated at the property from 1919 onwards.

The historic hydro plant powered the old Parbury Timber Mill during the daytime, while at night it powered local street lights and part of the town for years, before Warburton was connected to the electricity grid.

The modern hydro project, expected to cost close to $1 million, is the brainchild of Warburton residents Luke Whiteside and Nick Killey…….http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/push-for-a-mini-hydroelectric-scheme-in-yarra-valley-town-of-warburton-20170424-gvrf2d.html

April 26, 2017 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment

Victoria’s 132MW Mt Gellibrand wind farm set to be developed

Construction underway on Victoria’s 132MW Mt Gellibrand wind farm http://reneweconomy.com.au/construction-underway-on-victorias-132mw-mt-gellibrand-wind-farm-88672/ By Sophie Vorrath on 19 April 2017 Acciona Energy has broken ground on its 132MW Mt Gellibrand wind farm, a $258 million project in Victoria’s western plains that was fast-tracked after winning a state government tender designed to reboot renewables investment in the state, and side-step a capital strike by major utilities.

At a turning of the sod ceremony at the wind farm’s site, 25km east of Colac, Acciona managing director Andrew Thomson said the company expected to see Mt Gellibrand “pouring” clean energy into the grid within about 15 months – at a time when the nation would be seeking to increase its capacity for renewable power generation.

Thomson said the new wind farm would be a “massive economic driver” for the region over the next 25 years, creating 100 local jobs in the construction phase, and up to 10 operations and maintenance roles continuing for decades ahead.

Of course, generating local jobs and investment was a key aim of the Andrews government tender, alongside meeting its legislated target of 25 per cent renewables by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025. Continue reading

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Victoria’s Ararat Wind Farm now supplying power to Victoria and ACT

Ararat Wind Farm fully commissioned, supplying power to Victoria and ACT http://reneweconomy.com.au/ararat-wind-farm-fully-commissioned-supplying-power-to-victoria-and-act-51770/ By Sophie Vorrath on 19 April 2017  The recently completed 240MW Ararat Wind Farm in south-western Victoria is now operating at full capacity, feeding enough renewable energy into the grid to power 120,000 homes, 37,000 of them in Canberra.

The wind farm, which is operated and managed by Canberra-based company Windlab, was fully commissioned on Wednesday this week, after several years in the works. It first began sending power to the grid in Victoria in August 2016. This graph below, from the Energy and Climate College, shows how it has expanded production.

The project gained significance as the first wind farm to be contracted after the reinstatement of a bipartisan federal renewable energy target – that is, after the Coalition and Labor agreed to cut the RET to 33,000GWh from 41,000GWh).

In Ararat’s case, the go-ahead was buoyed by the signing of a power purchase agreement with the ACT government, which guaranteed the purchase of approximately 40 per cent of its annual output – a contract it is now delivering on.

“The ACT’s agreement with the Ararat Wind Farm provided certainty for investors and enabled construction to commence in late 2015,” ACT climate minister Shane Rattenbury said on Wednesday.

“This is good news for consumers as well as climate change mitigation, as the ACT government has locked-in a set price for the renewable electricity produced by 10 wind and solar projects, including Ararat, for the next 20 years.”

Rattenbury – whose predecessor, Simon Corbell, is widely regarded as the mastermind of the nation-leading renewables policy – said that the Capital was showing the federal government how to deliver on clean energy.

“If the generators make more money than the set price for the electricity they sell into the national electricity market, they pay the difference back to the ACT,” Rattenbury said.

Ararat Mayor, Paul Hooper, described the wind farm as a “really significant” project for the city, bringing $450 million of investment, 350 jobs at its construction peak, and more than $40 million into the local economy during construction, which lasted about 18 months.

“It was completed on time and to a very high standard,” Hooper said, adding that project developer RES Australia had been “…very, very good corporate citizens” throughout the development.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | ACT, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Energy watchdog warns Victorians against misleading gas and electricity deals

Households being lured into misleading electricity and gas deals: energy watchdog, The Age, 15 Apr 17  Adam Morton  The head of Victoria’s energy watchdog has warned that households are being lured into deals with the promise of large discounts unaware that companies can ratchet up prices at any time.

Ron Ben-David, the chairman of the Essential Services Commission, says discounts of up to 40 per cent offered by electricity and gas retailers are rarely locked in, and called for a dramatic rethink to make power bills fairer for consumers…….

With Victoria holding a bipartisan review of the retail electricity and gas markets headed by former Labor deputy premier John Thwaites and ex-Liberal cabinet minister Terry Mulder, Dr Ben-David is urging reforms to force more effective competition between companies.

Should those steps fail, he says Parliament should consider the “nuclear option” – starting to re-regulate electricity pricing – just eight years after the state became the first in the country to fully de-regulate.

Power bills have increased dramatically in recent years, with retail margins playing a significant part in the rise in Victoria in particular. Several submissions to the review suggest retailers are making large profits and vulnerable households are paying the highest prices.

Last month, think tank the Grattan Institute found up to 43 per cent of household power bills goes into the pockets of electricity retailers as profits.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ordered an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry, and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews appointed himself chair of a new cabinet taskforce on energy and promised to keep the state’s electricity supply “as affordable, resilient and secure” as possible……..

The energy review is due to report to the government by May 31. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/households-being-lured-into-misleading-electricity-and-gas-deals-energy-watchdog-20170415-gvlgyw.html

April 17, 2017 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment