Kalbarri to host what could be Australia’s largest renewable energy grid http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/kalbarri-to-host-what-could-be-australias-largest-renewable-energy-grid-20161128-gsz4n5.html A $10 million renewable energy-powered microgrid which has the potential to be the largest in the country will be developed in Western Australia’s Midwest.
The coastal town of Kalbarri is currently supplied by a 140 kilometre long rural feeder line, which experiences outages due to environmental factors.
The microgrid will combine wind and solar power with a large-scale battery and Energy Minister Mike Nahan said the project will be closely looked at to see how the technology could benefit other towns in WA.
“This is a game changer for regional communities who rely on power from a long feeder line, which is subject to environmental factors that can cause outages,” Dr Nahan said.
“The project, which has the potential to be Australia’s biggest renewable microgrid, will consider all generation options and take into account the community’s desire for a renewable solution.””
Western Power will seek expressions of interest from next month with construction expected to begin in 2017.
Kalgoorlie Miner (print only 23rd Nov 2016)
The David-versus-Goliath battle of two Leonora women against uranium mining has been recognised, with the pair becoming the first Aboriginal recipients of the State’s top conservation award. Shirley and Elizabeth Wonyabong received the Bessie Rischbieth Conservation Award at a Conservation Council of WA ceremony in West Perth at the weekend.
Shirley and Elizabeth had, during 46 years of resisting uranium mining proposals, displayed “outstanding qualities of courage, integrity, perseverance and commitment” in challenging government and non-government decision-makers, Conservation Council of WA executive director Piers Verstegen said. For the past six years they had been leading people through country on Walkatjura Walkabout to stop a mine being started at Yeelirrie.
WA must embrace dawn of renewable energy era or risk being left behind https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/oct/27/wa-must-embrace-dawn-of-renewable-energy-era-or-risk-being-left-behind Michael Lord
Western Australia could become a renewable energy superpower – if the government halts LNG expansion plans and creates an innovation fund
Last year the world’s governments finally got their act together on climate change, agreeing to limit global warming to well under two degrees. To meet this commitment, we need a rapid global transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The fossil fuel age is over.
The new era, powered by renewable energy, will be swept in on a massive wave of investment. According to Beyond Zero Emissions’ report, Renewable Energy Superpower, the world will invest $US28tn in renewable energy and energy efficiency in the next 20 years.
But Western Australia risks being left behind. Here investors have poured more than $100bn into liquefied natural gas (LNG) over the past decade yet the state has little to show for it. Another $60bn is slated for LNG development, but with current low gas prices, the sense of that investment is questionable. Energy consumers fork out for coal-fired power that goes unused and endure endless debate about grid privatisation. Meanwhile Western Australia’s electricity-related emissions are rising, just as almost all other states are managing to reduce them.
The irony is that Western Australia should welcome the dawn of the renewable energy era. The state’s enormous resources of sunshine, wind and wave mean it could become a renewable energy superpower of the future. Our report shows how Australia’s world-beating renewable energy resources represent a huge economic opportunity. Incredibly the report shows that in Western Australia alone, there is enough wind and solar, available at competitive prices, to provide almost 9% of the world’s energy every year. In other words Western Australia has more renewable energy than fossil energy. Continue reading
Kimberley representatives head to Morocco to share traditional fire management techniques ABC Kimberley By Leah McLennan, Matt Bamford and Fi Poole, Representatives from the Kimberley region of Western Australia will travel to climate talks in Morocco to discuss their strategic burning methods.
Traditional fire management techniques have generated more than $85 million for Indigenous groups across northern Australia.
Kimberley Land Council chief executive Nolan Hunter will deliver a presentation on Indigenous fire management in Australia at the UNESCO Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Change conference in Marrakech next month.
“We have been invited to go over there to present the work we have been doing with traditional owner groups in the north Kimberley on fire abatement and the role of Indigenous people in climate change and biodiversity,” Mr Hunter said……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-28/indigenous-fire-management-delegation-climate-change-conference/7972486
WA uranium mines: Race for environmental ticks in Goldfields before WA election, conservationists say http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-14/wa-uranium-mine-approvals-race-ahead-of-wa-election-cc-says/7931254 By David Weber, 14 Oct 16, Proponents of uranium mines in Western Australia are racing to gain environmental approvals ahead of the state election, in case Labor wins, according to the Conservation Council.
Three projects in the Goldfields are at various stages of assessment.
They include Vimy Resources’ proposed mine at Mulga Rock, Toro Energy’s proposal to mine near Wiluna, and Cameco’s nearby Yeelirrie project.
The Council’s anti-nuclear campaigner, Mia Pepper, said companies were seeking security for the projects. “Certainly we are getting the sense that [for] the three uranium projects that’re under assessment … they’re clearly seeking some level of approval before the state election,” she said.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended conditional approval for Toro Energy’s proposal, 30 kilometres south of Wiluna.
Cameco’s project at Yeelirrie, 70 kilometres south-west of the town, was knocked back after the EPA said there was too much risk to the subterranean fauna. However the EPA in August recommended the green light for Vimy’s project at Mulga Rock, 260 kilometres north-east of Kalgoorlie, and preliminary site works have been given the go-ahead.
Approvals could lead to ‘pressure’ on Labor Ms Pepper has met the EPA appeals convenor expressing concern about Mulga Rock. She said if a project cleared certain hurdles, it would be harder to wind it back. “An environmental approval is just one layer of approval that a uranium project requires,” she said.
“[It] is a long way from final approval, so it doesn’t lock in Labor to any of these projects, but … there would be seen to be that kind of pressure.
“It’s a political issue, it’s a very contentious issue and certainly the companies are doing everything they can.”
Even after a positive EPA assessment, uranium projects still required state and federal ministerial backing as well as other approvals and licences.
Cameco’s open cut mine at Kintyre, 270 kilometres north-east of Newman, has gone as far as gaining conditional approval from the Federal Government last year. Labor’s stated policy suggests mines that have been granted final state approval for construction will be permitted to operate and export in the same manner as other mining ventures.
Trading solar power: Retirees test way to beat shrinking feed-in tariffs http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-08/trading-solar-power:-retirees-‘plan-for-the-future’/7914736?section=environment By Kathryn Diss Retirees in the West Australian town of Busselton are trialling a new system which allows them to sell excess energy they have generated from their solar panels direct to their neighbours.
The system bypasses the state’s energy utility Synergy, saving consumers money and increasing returns for solar adopters. Continue reading
Desperate uranium miners switch to survival mode despite nuclear rebound, Reuters, 7 OCT 16 LONDON “……..BULGING INVENTORIES Mining executives partly blame the slump on their customers’ wait-and-see attitude, as utilities believe that the uranium market’s over-capacity will persist for years and see no need to rebuild their dwindling stockpiles.
Demand for uranium is determined by the number of nuclear plants in operation worldwide, but supply and demand are disjointed by huge stocks and uranium’s long production cycle……..
In the five years before Fukushima, utilities worldwide bought about 200 million pounds of uranium per year, he said. Although Japan’s consumption averaged only around 25 million pounds per year, when it closed its reactors demand was cut far further, falling by half. European and U.S. utilities saw that the market was over-supplied and reduced inventories, buying less.
Mining firm Energy Fuels estimates global uranium stocks held by utilities, miners and governments are now at around 1 billion pounds. That is down from a peak around 2.5 billion pounds in 1990, but still many years’ worth of consumption.
Despite the plunge in uranium prices after the 2008 financial crisis and again after Fukushima, uranium production has doubled from 80-90 million pounds in the mid-1990s to about 160 million pounds last year, according to Energy Fuels data……
With so much new supply, and demand sliding, prices have fallen to a level where most uranium miners operate at a loss.
“At today’s spot prices, the primary uranium mining industry is not sustainable,” US uranium producer Energy Fuels COO Mark Chalmers told the World Nuclear Association’s London conference last month.
He added that many legacy long-term supply contracts will expire in 2017-18, which will force many mines to close or throttle back even further than they already have.
Miners like Canada’s Cameco, France’s Areva and the uranium arms of global mining companies have closed or mothballed several mines and deferred new projects in order to cut back supply.
Paladin – the world’s second-largest independent pure-play uranium miner after Cameco and the seventh or eighth-largest globally – has production capacity of 8 million pounds of yellowcake uranium but produced just 4.9 million pounds last year at its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia.
Molyneux said the firm will produce about 4 million pounds this year and will cut output further to about 3.5 million pounds next year if prices do not recover.
Paladin suspended production at its 2.3 million pounds per year capacity Kayelekera mine in northern Malawi in 2014 but maintains equipment so it can resume when prices recover.
Meanwhile it is trying to further reduce its debt, which already fell from $1.2 billion five years ago to $362 million.
Paladin has agreed to sell 24 pct of Langer Heinrich to the China National Nuclear Company and plans to use the expected proceeds of 175 million dollars to further reduce debt.
Bigger peer Cameco in April suspended production at its Rabbit Lake, Canada mine while also curtailing output across its U.S. operations, saying market conditions could not support the operating and capital costs needed to sustain production.
Cameco marketing head Tim Gabruch told the WNA conference that “desperate times call for desperate measures”.
Supply adjustments and producer discipline had not yet been sufficient to counter the loss of demand, he said.”As difficult as those decisions have been, we recognize that those actions may not be enough.”(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Peter Graff) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-uranium-nuclearpower-idUSKCN1230EF
Carnegie Wave Energy up on Sri Lankan agreement https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/32773367/carnegie-wave-energy-up-on-sri-lankan-agreement/#page1 – on September 30, 2016
The wave energy firm will work with Lanka Energy Conservation to identify opportunities and development pathways for its technology on the island nation.
Specifically the two companies will examine opportunities to enable CETO wave farms to be integrated into the existing or new power infrastructure to supply clean power and freshwater.
Carnegie’s chief operating officer Greg Allen said the company had made significant progress in its entry into the “small island” market this year.
“The signing of this MOU provides us with another opportunity to provide services to explore the possibility of incorporating CETO, along with microgrid solutions, to enable high penetration of renewable energy, displacing imported diesel,” he said.
Mr Allen said island nations were assessing clean, cost effective, alternative energy solutions to remove their reliance on electricity generated using imported fossil fuels.
“These imported fossil fuels come at a high cost, do not provide energy security and have a significant environmental footprint,” he said.
“Carnegie presents an effective clean energy alternative that can provide a solution for island and fringe of grid communities globally.” Lanka Energy Conservation chairman and managing director Dammica Wickramaratne said Sri Lanka showed good potential for wave, solar and wind energy power.
WA firm’s world first wave/solar power grid https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/32755148/wa-power-firm-to-integrate-solar-wave-and-batteries/#page1 – on September 29, 2016,
The new features will be integrated with Carnegie’s CETO 6 wave technology which uses wave action to drive turbines and create electricity.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will kick in $2.5 million and construction will start by the end of the year.
The company is aiming to start commissioning in the first half of next year. “The Garden Island Microgrid Project will be the first time anywhere in the world that wave energy will be combined with solar and batteries in a microgrid configuration,” Carnegie’s managing director and chief executive Michael Ottaviano said.
“The demonstration of this microgrid project will help drive the commercialisation of CETO and will be a model we will roll out to island nations around the world.
“Island nations are desperate for an energy innovation to replace their current reliance on electricity generated using imported fossil fuels, which is extremely expensive and has a large environmental footprint.
“Now Carnegie presents an effective green alternative, with the GIMG project acting as a template for remote island and grid communities globally.”
Carnegie’s CETO technology is different from other wave energy devices as it operates under water.
http://www.robinchapple.com/crisis-confidence-over-epa-uranium-mine-push 27 September
WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and Robin Chapple MLC have today questioned the EPA’s approval for preparatory works at the proposed Mulga Rock uranium mine, which is yet to be approved and currently subject to an appeal.
“Today’s approval for preparatory works at Mulga Rocks exposes the sham of the assessment and appeals process; the EPAs decision today is at odds with the intention of the Environmental Protection Act 1986,” Mr Chapple said.
“There has been serious public backlash against the project reflected in numerous appeals being lodged against the project, including from Traditional Owners and people in the local community.
“There is a race on in WA to get uranium mines approved before the State election. This ambition is ridiculous given the widespread opposition to the industry and the market conditions which are prohibitive to new mines.”
“World-wide we’re seeing uranium mines close and others put in to care and maintenance. Vimy Resources may have some political influence and big benefactors like Andrew Forrest, but none of these things will make this mine profitable or socially acceptable,” Senator Ludlam said.
“The EPA’s response to Vimy’s aggressive approach to starting this mine is not just a demonstration of a poor and non-transparent process, it is a slap in the face for the public and local community that have engaged in good faith in a process which is in essence a fait accompli.
“While the process is broken, the resolve of communities to fight this project is very much alive and well.”
Why mine lithium?
Lithium is essential for wind turbines, as well as for so many 21st Century technologies. However, it is another potentially toxic extractive industry. There’s so much of it dumped in discarded devices. Design should be the answer, so that lithium can be recycled.
MinRes beats Galaxy in lithium export race Jarrod Lucas – The West Australian on September 16, 2016 The first shipment of spodumene concentrate from the Mt Marion mine, 40km south-west of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, is set to depart Fremantle next month bound for lithium processing plants in China.
The product, the equivalent of about 6 per cent lithium, will be delivered to Mt Marion co-owners Ganfeng Lithium (43.1 per cent), which builds batteries out of Jiangxi province and recently branched out into manufacturing electric cars.
Mt Marion, jointly owned by Chris Ellison’s Mineral Resources (43.1 per cent), and Neometals (13.8 per cent), will beat Galaxy Resources to market after its first shipment via Esperance from the revamped Mt Cattlin mine near Ravensthorpe was delayed until December.
It comes as Mt Marion’s neighbours Maximus Resources yesterday trumpeted a “new lithium discovery” on the doorstep of the mine……..https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/32629967/lithium-set-for-export/#page1
Appeal against WA Mulga Rock uranium mine Sky News, Tuesday, 30 August 2016 An appeal has been lodged against the Environmental Protection Authority’s recommendation to approve the proposed Mulga Rock uranium mine in Western Australia’s Goldfields region.
The appeal was lodged on Monday by the Conservation Council of WA, the Australian Conservation Foundation, The Wilderness Society, Friends of the Earth Australia and the Anti Nuclear Alliance of WA.
The grounds for appeal include environmental factors for flora and fauna, mine closure, tailings management and impacts to water……
Following the EPA’s recommendation with 14 conditions, including having environmental and Aboriginal heritage management plans in place, it is now up to state and federal environment ministers to decide if the project will go ahead.
But CCWA campaigner Mia Pepper says the proposed mine sits in the Yellow Sand Plain Priority Community, which supports rare and endangered species.
‘If this mine were to proceed it would take 15 million litres of water a day from the environment and clear over 3000 hectares of native bushland and important habitat for 93 reptile species, 28 bird species and 10 mammal/marsupial species,’ she said.
‘This uranium mine would leave behind a legacy of 30 million tonnes of radioactive tailings and mine waste that would pose a threat to the environment for thousands of years.’
Earlier this month, the EPA rejected Cameco’s plan to mine uranium at its Yeelirrie project, 70km southeast of Wiluna, because the project posed unacceptable risks to subterranean fauna. – See more at:http://www.skynews.com.au/business/business/company/2016/08/30/appeal-against-wa-mulga-rock-uranium-mine.html#sthash.qqOmAFyx.dpuf
Indigenous people living in the area have a bad history with uranium developments. It’s a few hundred kilometres from Cundalee, the mission where Spinifex people from the Great Victoria Desert were placed after being pushed off their traditional lands by the British government’s nuclear testing program in Maralinga, South Australia, in the 1950s and 60s
Pilanguru people to fight on as uranium mine gets environmental approval
Traditional owners say the Indigenous community has not been adequately consulted about Vimy Resources’ planned Mulga Rock open-pit mine, Guardian, Calla Wahlquist, 15 Aug 16, Traditional owners have vowed to fight a proposed uranium mine at Mulga Rock, about 240km west of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, which was given conditional environmental approval on Monday.
The Environmental Protection Authority of WA recommended the Barnett government approve construction of the open-pit mine and uranium processing plant, operated by Perth-based Vimy Resources Limited, after a three-month public environmental review. Continue reading
The winning argument against the mine A joint submission was provided to the Yeelirrie Public Environment Review by the Conservation Council of WA, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Friends of the Earth Australia, The Wilderness Society, the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA, the West Australia Nuclear Free
Alliance and the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance.
Amongst other points, they called for the project to be rejected “on the grounds that the Yeelirrie Subterranean Community, a Priority 1 Ecological Community (PEC) comprises a series of highly endemic, diverse stygofauna and troglofauna species within multiple calcrete habitats). The impacts of the proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine, predominantly the associated groundwater drawdown, pose an unacceptable risk that could see a number of subterranean species become extinct (particularly 15 species that are currently only known from the direct impact zone).”
The EPA decision was based on the impacts on subterranean fauna, and disregarded other points made in the submission.
The Wongutha Traditional Owners have been fighting this project for over 40 years.
WA EPA rejects proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine, Online Opinion, By Mara Bonacci – posted Tuesday, 16 August 2016 After nearly 3,000 people lodged submissions with the Western Australian EPA in opposition to the proposed uranium mine at Yeelirrie, on August 3 the EPA recommended that the project be rejected. Traditional Owners and environmentalists welcomed the decision, but remain wary……. Continue reading
Vimy Resources uranium mine east of Kalgoorlie given environmental approval, ABC News, By Laura Gartry , 16 Aug 16, A new uranium mine in Western Australia’s Goldfields has been recommended for approval by the state’s environmental watchdog, just weeks after a similar proposal in the area was knocked back.
The Environmental Protection Authority [EPA] granted the approval for Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock uranium project, which is 240 kilometres east-north-east of Kalgoorlie, subject to a range of conditions.
Final approval is still required from both the state and federal environment ministers…….
Earlier this month, the EPA rejected Cameco Australia’s Yeelirrie uranium project after it deemed there was too much risk to the area’s subterranean fauna.
The Canadian company had sought to mine up to 7,500 tonnes of UOC per year from the Yeelirrie deposit, about 420 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and 70 kilometres south-west of Wiluna.
The proposal had attracted protests, including from traditional owner and chair of WA nuclear free alliance Kado Muir, who argued there was no broad community support for uranium mining in WA…….
More than 1,000 submissions were received during the 12-week public review period…….
Two other WA uranium projects have received EPA and ministerial approval in recent years, including the Wiluna uranium mine and the Kintyre uranium project, 270 kilometres north east of Newman.
The Conservation Council of WA said it would appeal the proposed mine because it threatened a pristine environmentally and culturally-significant area.……
Vimy Resources faces many hurdles and road blocks and today’s EPA recommendation is a long way from a green light for mining yellow cake at Mulga Rock,” Council campaigner Mia Pepper said.
Pila Nguru Aboriginal Corporation chair Bruce Hogan said the site was culturally significant. “We don’t want that mine to go ahead. We will fight against that mine at Mulga Rock,” Mr Hogan said.
Spinifex Pilki elder Sandra Evans said traditional owners from the Great Victoria Desert area were not consulted properly. “There are a lot of women’s sites there – they didn’t come to talk to the tribal women from there about clearing the grass trees and other special places,” she said.
“Uranium is different to other minerals – it’s dangerous. If it leaves our country and goes somewhere else – that’s still our responsibility, we worry about that.”
The EPA’s report is open for a two-week public appeal period.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-15/epa-approves-uranium-mine-near-kalgoorlie/7734798