Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Aboriginal women’s long walk to stop uranium mining in Western Australia

‘Walkabout’ protesters get their day in court to fight uranium mining in WA http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/walkabout-protesters-get-their-day-in-court-to-fight-uranium-mining-in-wa-20170831-gy82w9.html, David Allan-Petale, 31 Aug 17, 

A group of indigenous women have completed a month long ‘walkabout protest’ against uranium mining in Western Australia that saw them travel on foot through remote lands being considered as mine sites.

The protest was kindled by the WA government’s move in June to allow four uranium projects previously granted environmental approval to proceed, whilst blocking any future mining bids.

Toro Energy’s Wiluna project, Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock project, and Cameco’s Kintyre and Yeelirrie projects all had the approval before Labor won the March election.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said Labor, which banned uranium mining when last in power between 2002 and 2008, had received advice it could not legally deny secondary approvals for the purpose of frustrating those already granted.

“In making this decision, the McGowan government has carefully considered the potential liability risk for WA taxpayers,” Mr Johnston said.

 But the government’s wider view is not shared by the Yeelirrie Traditional Owners group, whose lands they believe are under threat from any mine that’s pushed through.

The Conservation Council of WA is part of a legal challenge against a proposal by the Canadian uranium company Cameco to develop a uranium mine at Yeelirrie, 70 kilometres south-west of Wiluna in the northern Goldfields.

Shirley Wonyabong, Elizabeth Wonyabong, and Vicky Abdullah from the Walkatjurra Walkabout against uranium mining protest are part of this legal challenge, and they started their walking protest to highlight their struggle against it.

“Yeelirrie is important to my family. We have fought to protect this site for over 40 years and we won’t stop now,” Vicky Abdullah said.

“I grew up here, my ancestors were Traditional Owners of country, and I don’t want a toxic legacy here for my grandchildren.

“We have no choice but to defend our country, our culture, and the environment from the threat of uranium mining – not just for us but for everyone.

“The last government made a mistake approving the Yeelirrie mine – now we have a chance to make that right through the courts.”

The women were joined by fifty other people from around the world who wanted to join the protest, which saw the group walk through traditional lands, including Yeelirrie.

They finished the walkbout on Thursday, and were told by supporters that the Supreme Court will hear an application for Judicial Review of uranium mine proposal on November 14.

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September 1, 2017 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia Shire of Leonora keen to make money by hosting radioactive trash

Leonora lobbies for nuclear waste dump in its backyard     ABC Goldfields  By Jarrod Lucas  18 Aug 17 Leonora in WA’s northern Goldfields is putting together a bid for an outback repository to store radioactive waste.

The Federal Government’s decade-long search for a national radioactive waste management facility appears far from over.

This has provided a window of opportunity for the Shire of Leonora to press its case again to host a national repository for waste arising from medical, industrial and scientific use.

Leonora looked to have missed its chance in November 2015 when it was left off a short-list of six sites, five of which have since been ruled out by the government.

On that occasion, the Shire put together a last-minute bid, nominating about 81 hectares of freehold land owned by Councillor Glenn Baker.

An application for an exploration license for a new site, north-west of Leonora, is currently being assessed by multiple State Government departments.

Shire of Leonora president Peter Craig conceded there were no guarantees the new site would receive state approval.

But he said the Council believed the waste dump was an opportunity worth pursuing.

“It’s a long-term prospect – we’re certainly putting ourselves out there there’s no doubt about that,” Mr Craig said.  “We feel going forward there’s a lot of opportunities, money to be made.”

….He said the repository would be built underground and the Goldfields mining industry is perfectly placed to build it.

“We’re probably going to have some opposition from the State Government I would imagine, but at the end of the day, the Federal government would more than likely overrule it if the land is in a location which is suitable.”……   http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-18/remote-wa-town-wants-radioactive-waste-dump-in-its-backyard/8821240

August 25, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s boom in lithium mining

Car industry revolution fuels Western Australia’s lithium boom, ABC News, By Kathryn Diss, 29 July 17, Electric cars are driving rapid mining investment in WA, with the state supplying most of the lithium needed to manufacture batteries worldwide.

Most electric vehicles (EVs) use lithium-ion batteries, the same technology which powers smartphones, tablets and laptops.

As car makers around the globe race to meet new EV targets, demand for batteries has driven lithium exports from WA as the state now produces more than half of the world’s supply.

Global leaders have been behind the push, with new European emissions legislation forcing car markers to increase their targets and France recently announcing it wanted to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

It joins similar targets set by India (2030) and Norway (2025).

The British Government is also set to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 as part of a plan to clean up air pollution.

Growth in demand ‘surprised most analysts’

Batteries to store household solar power, which would allow consumers to disconnect from the electricity grid, are also driving demand to a lesser extent.

“The speed at which demand has grown for lithium carbonate equivalent has surprised most analysts, ourselves included,” Katana Asset Management’s Romano Sala Tenna said.

“Up until a few months ago the conventional thinking was by about 2025, we would need about 330,000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate, [but] based on recent announcements from larger automobile manufacturers, we are now thinking we will need at least double that — about 600,000 tonnes per annum.”

While that may sound small compared to the 800 million tonnes the state’s iron ore industry exports each year, the activity in the sector is already creating thousands of new jobs and generating millions in royalties for the cash-strapped WA Government.

The Greenbushes mine in the state’s South West, which is part owned by China’s Tianqi Lithium and America’s Albemarle, is one of the world’s largest lithium producers and is undergoing an expansion to double production.

The mine has seen both boom and bust since starting out as a tin operation in 1888, but is now on the cusp of another upswing — laying claim to what was considered the world’s highest grade lithium deposit.

“It is the longest continuously running mine in Western Australia and it’s on its third product. It just seems to keep producing new life,” Tianqi Lithium general manager Phil Thick said.

“Lithium is obviously a game changer for that mine. It’s been significant as a tin and tantalum mine, but lithium value is substantial.”

The joint venture is also building what it claims to be the biggest lithium processing plant in the world in Kwinana south of Perth. The project will cost $400 million and create 500 construction jobs.

‘More than just a mini-boom’

Growth in the sector has been rapid.

In January, the state had just one mine producing lithium — it now has four and exports have jumped six-fold.

Business observer Tim Treadgold has witnessed big changes in WA’s mining landscape during his 40 years commentating on the sector.

“This is more than just a mini-boom, this is the real McCoy, we could go from one [mine] two years ago to eight by this time next year. It really has been quite remarkable what’s going on,” he said.

Activity in the sector is attracting big names including Chilean major Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) which has inked a deal to bankroll a new deposit in the Goldfields with Kidman Resources.

It includes plans to build a $100 million refinery at either Bunbury, Perth or Kalgoorlie.

The deal was announced just days after Kidman won a Supreme Court battle against another miner to maintain control of the mine.

“The world has beaten a path to our door. The arrival of SQM was a real wakeup call that the world wants it and it’s coming here and it’s prepared to pay for it,” Mr Treadgold said……….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-29/car-industy-lithium-revolution-driving-next-mining-boom-in-wa/8748322

July 30, 2017 Posted by | rare earths, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Aboriginal group’s claim against Western Australia Conservation Council over uranium mining

Traditional owners hit out at WA Conservation Council for alleged misrepresentation over uranium campaign http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-28/traditional-owners-hit-out-wa-conservation-council-on-uranium/8751926  ABC Goldfields By Jarrod Lucas An Aboriginal corporation representing traditional owners in WA’s northern Goldfields claims an environmental group has misrepresented it by suggesting it supports legal action against a proposed uranium mine.

The Conservation Council of WA launched Supreme Court action earlier this month to challenge the Barnett Government’s decision to approve Cameco’s proposed mine at Yeelirrie, 1,079km north east of Perth.

The council maintains it has the support of members of the Tjiwarl people, the native title holders over the Yeelirrie area, in pursuing the action.

But the Tjiwarl Aboriginal Corporation said they do not speak for its 150-odd members or 10 directors, who represent each of the area’s different family groups.

A spokesman for the Tjiwarl group told the ABC it is yet to formally adopt a policy on uranium mining or the Yeelirriee court case — although that could change as soon as September when the directors meet in Leinster.

“Any decision about this project needs to be made by Tjiwarl (Aboriginal Corporation) in accordance with our traditional laws and customs,” the corporation said in a statement.

“Until such time, we ask that media outlets, and the Conservation Council of WA, refrain from referring to Tjiwarl (Aboriginal Corporation) as supporting this legal proceeding.”

The spokesman said the group had received significant backlash on social media, due to its perceived involvement in the action.

Conservation Council denies misrepresenting group

Conservation Council director Piers Verstegen denied they ever misrepresented the Aboriginal corporation.

“We haven’t linked them to the case, there’s certain members of that claim group that are part of the case, but we haven’t linked the body corporate to the case and I’m not sure where they’re getting that information from,” Mr Verstegen said.

“We haven’t made any linkage between their claim group and the case — it’s just individuals who are part of that claim group who are part of the case.”

Vicky Abdullah, whose family has opposed uranium mining at Yeelirrie for more than 40 years, is one of three traditional owners who are backing the Conservation Council’s legal action.

“Yeelirrie is important to my family; we have fought to protect this site and we won’t stop now,” Ms Abdullah said.

A crowdfunding page set up by the 47-year-old not-for-profit group seeking to raise $50,000 to fund the court case also mentions the traditional owners.

At last count the page had raised more than $9,800.

Uranium mine a challenging call for traditional owners

The Tjiwarl claim was officially recognised by the Federal Court in April, with the long legal fight seeing the group’s 13,000 square kilometres of land between the towns of Wiluna and Leonora officially acknowledged.

It has sparked a flurry of negotiations with Cameco and fellow mining giants BHP and Gold Fields, both of which have operating mines in the area.

But as WA’s biggest uranium deposit, Yeelirrie remains the area’s most controversial potential development.

Discovered by Western Mining Corporation in 1972, the deposit was sold to Cameco by BHP for $US430 million in 2012.

The mine takes its name from a nearby pastoral station, which in turn took its name from the traditional word for the area.

Opponents of the mine say the name translates to “place of death”, but others have suggested “lethargy” or “fatigue” are better translations.

The mine is one of four proposed uranium mines the McGowan Government will allow to proceed, despite reinstating a ban on any further development or exploration in Western Australia.

The Tjiwarl spokesman said the group would likely formalise its position on uranium mining when the corporation’s directors meet in September.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia Walkabout against uranium -month-long pilgrimage from Wiluna to Leonora

 https://thewest.com.au/news/kalgoorlie-miner/walkabout-against-uranium-ng-b88547279z, , 26 July 2017 A month-long pilgrimage from Wiluna to Leonora to campaign against uranium mining will begin next month in the wake of the State Government’s approval of four proposed uranium mines earlier this year.

Program co-ordinator Marcus Atkinson said the seventh annual Walkatjurra Walkabout will see 50 to 60 participants walk 10km to 15km a day while connecting with land and culture and supporting the sovereign rights of Aboriginal people to protect their lands and support a nuclear-free future.

Mr Atkinson said considering the Government’s recent decision, this year’s walk was particularly pertinent.

“We want to stop uranium mining and connect with country and culture,” he said.

“It is about supporting traditional owners to show that people from all over the country and the world are standing with them.”

One of the mines, the Yeelirrie uranium project, was approved against the recommendation of the Environmental Protection Authority which said mining would lead to the extinction of several unique species of subterranean fauna.

The Conservation Council of WA and members of the Tjiwarl native title group have taken Supreme Court action against the Yeerlirrie project.

CCWA director Piers Verstegen cited environmental, economic and social concerns over the approval of the mine.

He said environment groups could not allow any project that would knowingly cause the extinction of unique species to go unchallenged, given the precedent it would set.

Mr Atkinson said the walk, which is quite a significant undertaking, was the most effective way of acknowledging the importance of the land. “Often we bring traditional owners to Perth to speak about the significance of the land, but those words and stories are so much more powerful when you are out on the country,” he said.

“It emphasises the fact that this isn’t a place in the middle of nowhere and it is worth saving.

“We need to take a step back and make a decision which is best for WA, not a handful of multinational companies.”

The Walkatjurra Walkabout begins in Kalgoorlie on August 8.

To register to be a part of the walk or for more information, visit walkingforcountry.com.

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Energy news from REneweconomy

  • GTM predicts 27% drop In solar prices by 2022
    GTM highlights what is becoming an increasingly common refrain these days — solar prices continue to fall, and they’re not slowing down.
  • Coal on limited lifespan as CCS hopes go up in smoke
    Call for new coal generation to be stopped by 2020 comes as the industry’s flagship “clean coal” project terminated after $10 billion investment, and as Coalition considers new coal generator and threatens to turn financial screws on states that oppose fracking.
  • Stellata wins approval for 120MW solar farm, largest in W.A.
    Perth-based Stellata Energy has won approval for a 120MW solar plant near Merredin, in Western Australia’s wheatbelt, adding to the growing queue of large scale renewable projects lining up for construction after a near four-year investment drought. Stellata has teamed up with UK investment manager Ingenious investment to build the Merredin solar farm, which would be the largest in […]

June 30, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Strong union opposition to uranium mining in Western Australia

Union ‘showdown’ looming over U-deal, West Australian , , 21 June 2017, One of WA Labor’s most influential unions is promising a “showdown” at the party’s State conference over Mark McGowan’s decision to allow a raft of uranium mining projects to go ahead.

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union State secretary Steve McCartney yesterday condemned as “weak” and “disappointing” the Government’s announcement it would not block four uranium mining proposals.

The projects — Cameco’s Yeelirrie and Kintyre, Toro Energy’s Wiluna extension and Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock — were all granted environmental approval by the previous government.

Mr McCartney vowed the AMWU would draw up a motion against the decision for Labor’s State conference in August, the key policy-setting body for the party. He said it was unacceptable the Government would allow the exploitation of radioactive material and the union would be seeking to “support and stiffen” the party’s anti-uranium position.

“The last thing we want is to be the glowing State,” Mr McCartney said.

“We have the strongest policy in the country and we believe the general feedback and phone calls we’re getting is that there will be a showdown at conference about it.

“I know that people are very upset about the fact that we’re going to be out there saying ‘Hello, you can dig up uranium’.”

The warning from the AMWU came as the Conservation Council of WA flagged a court challenge to the validity of the four projects’ environmental approvals.

Conservation Council nuclear campaigner Mia Pepper said the group was “looking at all legal avenues and options”…..https://thewest.com.au/politics/state-politics/union-showdown-looming-over-u-deal-ng-b88513503z

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

# uranium mining companies in Western Australia could lose their licences

Uranium mining ultimatum in Western Australia sparks nuclear debate,  Xinhua Song Lifang, SYDNEY, June 22) — A nuclear debate is heating up in Western Australia on Thursday, after the state government informed three uranium mining companies that their approval licenses will expire if their sites are not operational within five years.

The newly formed State Government’s clarification on its policy has followed on from an election promise to ban uranium mining in the State for environmental concerns.

But prior to their victory in the vote, under the former State Government, three companies at four separate sites were given the go ahead to develop projects.

Vulnerable to legal action from the operators, the Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, on Wednesday told local media, “everyone knows our position is we are not very happy about these approvals, so the mining companies need to be aware that they have a potential deadline heading at them in five years from now.”

“Bear in mind five years is a long time, I mean they’ve already had eight years of getting a project approved and another five years to develop it, that’s a pretty reasonable length of time for them to get a project up,” McGowan said.

“If they can’t do that, then that’s not our problem, that’s their problem.”

In response to the ultimatum, chief executive of Vimy Resources, Mike Young, said, “We’re confident that we will start substantive works before 2021.” And Toro Energy general manager, Andrew Worland, stated, “Their policy statement is not surprising to us.”

The main reason for the delay in getting the mine-sites up and running has been due to the historically low trading price of the commodity……. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/22/c_136386192.htm

June 23, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

A Kimberley cattleman’s powerful argument for renewable energy

Arguments against renewable energy are rubbish, Harold Mitchell , The Age 23 June 17 “…….. More than 60 years later, I’m delighted to report that I have been free of power bills for some time at the cattle properties I’m involved with in the East Kimberley.

The three properties and the land controlled by our Aboriginal neighbours, whom we work with, cover 3.5 million acres. That’s an area almost half the size of Denmark.

Nine years ago, we installed a solar plant at a cost of $425,000, with the support of the Gillard government. This power generation system provides all the power for the homestead plus station hand accommodation. It also powers our sheds and workshops. It would cost just $90,000 to replace today. The new batteries are four times better than the original ones and give the property reliable supply 24/7.

The water is not hard to find in the East Kimberley. It’s no more than 20 metres underground. It’s one of the biggest groundwater supplies in Australia. But you need power to get it. In the old days we needed windmills augmented by diesel pumps. This entailed endless trips across a vast landscape to carry expensive fuel.

The case of our cattle properties proves we can live a modern life at a much lower cost and environmental impact.

Now it’s done by almost maintenance-free submersible pumps powered by solar panels. Five years ago, they cost $22,000; they now cost $7000.

And again, no electricity or fuel bill.

This modern approach to agriculture is made all the simpler because we don’t have to consult with a backbench to make things happen.

Our backbench is 45,000 head of cattle, which are happy with the current arrangements.

But in contrast, our hard-working Aboriginal neighbours are caught up in grossly out-of-date government policy. Their houses and farm operations get electrical power from huge diesel generators that cost the government $250,000 a year for fuel alone. If they had a solar system installed like ours, the government would get its money back in less than six months…….

The current gridlock of argument and political power plays is robbing our country of a sustainable future. We have to get beyond the election cycle and there are a few farmers in the East Kimberley who can show the way. http://www.theage.com.au/business/indigenous-australians-can-help-build-a-more-sustainable-future-20170622-gww3nj.html

June 23, 2017 Posted by | energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Labor’s broken uranium promise a kick in the guts for communities and the environment. Uranium mine plans will be challenged

Leading environment groups have said the fight to keep Western Australia nuclear free was not over despite a serious broken promise by the McGowan Government on the key environmental issue.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said the decision to allow WA uranium mines to proceed on Aboriginal lands was a clear broken promise and a kick in the guts for communities and the environment.

“Should these mines go ahead they would cause permanent damage to our environment and communities and also export WA uranium to countries where it will inevitably result in radioactive waste and risk.

“This terrible decision is a betrayal of the many people, communities, Traditional Owners, trade unions, churches and environment groups who placed their faith in Labor to keep WA uranium free.

“Environmental standards went out the window under the Barnett Government and the approvals that were granted for these uranium mines are some of the most compromised decisions that government made.

“The decision by the McGowan Government to allow those approvals to stand without so much as an inquiry to investigate them, and without even consulting the local communities, workers and Traditional Owners who voted for them in good faith, sends a very bad message about the Government’s commitment to protecting our environment.

“The McGowan Government may think it is OK to let some of the worst decisions in the state’s history stand, but communities, environment groups, workers and Traditional Owners certainly won’t be backing down in our fight to prevent this bad decision turning into a series of toxic and polluting uranium mines.

“We believe there are serious legal flaws in the way these approvals were granted by the Barnett Government and we will continue to contest them at every stage of the process, including through pursuing legal options to protect our communities and environment from this toxic and unwanted industry.

“There will be a lot of members of the Labor Party, a lot of Traditional Owners, and a lot of voters who will be extremely disappointed by this decision which is a direct breach of long-standing state Labor policy and the trust that Western Australians placed in the McGowan Labor Party when they were elected.

“We have worked closely with local communities and Traditional Owners who would be affected by each of these proposals and we certainly won’t be abandoning them in the same way that the McGowan Government appears to be doing.”

National environment group the Australian Conservation Foundation has called the move a retreat from responsibility and will increase its efforts to end plans for uranium mining in WA.

ACF’s Nuclear Free Campaigner Dave Sweeney said “Premier McGowan went to the election saying that uranium mines would not be allowed to proceed unless they had final approval or were in construction.

“None of the four uranium proposal has final approval, none has begun construction and none of the companies have even made a final investment decision.”

“This decision is far from a done deal for uranium mining in WA. No uranium was mined or exported under the pro-nuclear Barnett Government and we will continue to do what is necessary to keep WA’s uranium in the ground.”

June 21, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Disappointment over Labor’s broken promise on uranium mining in Western Australia

The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance, an Indigenous alliance opposed to uranium mining, have expressed their deep disappointment by the announcement from Labor that will allow four uranium mines to proceed, that have been contested by Traditional Owners

Janice Scott, Spinifex Pilgi Woman “The Labor Government, we thought they would stand up for us be strong, and all that we’re fighting for – be different from the other Government. They told us lies. We believed that Labor they would help us to stop uranium mining, they got our trust and that’s why we voted for them.”

Mr Glen Cooke Ngaanyatjarra elder “we will be stepping up the fight talking to our countrymen. This impacts our lands and stories all over not just the mine sites. Tribal people are saying we don’t want uranium. Enough is enough. We will take this further, this country is beautiful and we have to look after it for our children and grandchildren and all future generations.”

“What is so disappointing is that the Labor Government did not sit down and talk with us about this decision which affects our country. Today’s decision Labor has not made one friend but has lost them many.” Concluded Mr Cooke.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Drop in peak energy demand, as Western Australia goes for rooftop PV solar

Boom in rooftop PV shifting peaks, and taking market operator by surprise, http://reneweconomy.com.au/boom-in-rooftop-pv-shifting-peaks-and-taking-market-operator-by-surprise-46984/ [good graphs] By Giles Parkinson on 16 June 2017 The growth of rooftop solar PV in Western Australia has taken the market operator by surprise, but has resulted in a dramatic reduction in both the scale and the timing of peak demand in the state.

According to the latest statement of energy market opportunities for WA, the Australian Energy Market Operator says that rooftop solar PV – now on one in four homes and businesses in the state – reduced peak demand by 265MW, or 7.2 per cent in the last summer.

It says the uptake of rooftop solar in WA, which has been double expectations over the last two years – driven by falling costs of rooftop solar PV and the rise in grid prices – is “accelerating a paradigm shift” for the energy industry.

The biggest impact is on peak demand. The biggest peak in the state occurred on March 1, reaching 3,670MW in the 1700-1730 trading interval – the lowest since 2009.

 This was helped by the contribution of rooftop solar (265MW in that peak interval), and from demand response (124MW), a technology that AEMO wants to deploy more in the eastern states for the same reason.

“The rapid adoption of rooftop solar is not only slowing annual operational consumption growth but also eroding the mid-day grid demand and shifting peak demand to later in the day,” said AEMO’s Executive General Manager – Western Australia, Cameron Parrotte.

“With the strong growth in rooftop solar installations anticipated, AEMO expects demand in the middle of the day to shrink further, resulting in a rapid increase in demand in the lead up to the evening peak once the sun sets.” Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | storage, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Pipeline of solar farms across Australia to begin from Western Australia

WA, UK team announce $200m big solar pipeline for Australia, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 13 June 2017 Western Australian large-scale solar start-up Stellata Energy has joined forces with UK based renewables investment specialist, Ingenious, to build what they say is a $200 million pipeline of solar farms across Australia, starting with a flagship 120MW ground-mounted project in their home state.

The companies said in a join announcement on Tuesday that they were seeking approval to build a 120MW ground-mounted solar plant in the regional town of Merredin, roughly half way between Perth and Kalgoorlie.

The partnership signals the arrival of yet another European investor into the Australian market, in the rush to meet the remainder of the 2020 renewable energy target as technology costs continue to fall.

Stellata, which has been around for roughly one year, says it is well placed to deliver large-scale solar in Western Australia, with an executive team with extensive previous experience developing more than 600MW of ground-mounted and rooftop solar across Europe.

Ingenious, meanwhile, has raised and deployed more than £9 billion, including £500 million in renewables projects across the UK and Ireland, the companies said……http://reneweconomy.com.au/wa-uk-team-announce-200m-big-solar-pipeline-for-australia-58923/

June 14, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

In sunny Broome, residents are fed up with restrictions on accessing solar power

Broome residents tire of cap on solar power installations http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-03/broome-residents-tire-of-waiting-for-solar/8584060

Key points

  • Horizon Power only allows 10 per cent of the town’s power to come from solar due to issues with grid fluctuations
  • This leaves some residents unable to install a solar system that connects to the grid
  • Horizon is trialling battery storage technology in other WA towns and hopes to expand this to Broome

State-owned energy utility Horizon Power allows just 10 per cent of the town’s power to be generated from solar to protect the grid from fluctuations during periods of high and low light.

Small business owner Cameron White has been trying to switch to solar for two years in a bid to reduce his power bill but said he has been blocked at every turn.

“We’re in the sunniest place in Australia, probably, but we can’t use it,” he said.

Mr White said the high cost of electricity in regional areas, combined with the inability to access solar was putting added financial stress on homes and businesses already suffering in a post-mining boom era.

“Businesses in town are struggling at the moment, including myself, and you know these power bills [are] enough to tip people over the edge,” he said.

Horizon Power acknowledges the problem and is currently trialling battery-supported solar systems in the WA towns of Carnarvon and Onslow which can store the power to deal with the fluctuations in supply.

Spokesman Frank Tudor said Horizon ultimately wanted regional towns to generate half their energy from the sun. “Broome will be part of the trials that we are looking at across all of our different systems, if that proves worthwhile then we will gradually roll it out,” he said.

But Mr White said he was not going to wait any longer, opting instead to disconnect from the grid and rely solely on the sun. “I’m going it alone, I’m determined to do it myself,” he said.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s large-scale Greenough River solar farm to quadruple in size

Australia’s first large-scale solar farm to quadruple in size http://reneweconomy.com.au/australias-first-large-scale-solar-farm-to-quadruple-in-size-20618 By Giles Parkinson on 19 May 2017

The Greenough River solar farm in Western Australia, the first large-scale solar farm in the country, plans to quadruple in size from 10MW to 40MW.

The plans by co-owners Synergy, the government-owned generator and retailer, and US energy giant General Electric, were unveiled in a submission to WA’s Economic Regulation Authority, and reveal that two new 15MW arrays will be built either side of the existing facility, around 50km south-east of Geraldton.

The new arrays, will use First Solar modules, as did the first, but unlike the first installation these will deploy single axis tracking technology to improve the yield. More than 90 per cent of solar farms in Australia are now using tracking technology. SMA is providing the inverters.

Synergy and GE say that the solar farm will seek a power purchase agreement, but presumably that will come from Synergy itself, as it is it the biggest utility in the state and has yet to meet all its renewable energy target commitments.

Greenough River was built in 2012 and remains the only solar farm connected to the main grid in Western Australia, although several other projects have begun, or are about to begin, construction. These include the 30MW Byford solar farm south-east of Perth and a 10MWW solar farm planned near Northam by Carnegie Clean Energy.

Across Australia, however, the large-scale solar boom is accelerating. Eight grid-connected large-scale solar farms have now been completed and another 30 are under construction, or have reached financial closure and are about to begin.

The joint owners of Greenough River says the solar plant, located on a wheat farm, “has been extremely warmly welcomed by what is a very small remote community. No public complaints or opposition have been received.”

May 20, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment