Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Western Australia’s Wave Energy Project is a winner from Labor’s election victory

WA election delivers win for Carnegie 20MW Albany Wave Project http://reneweconomy.com.au/wa-election-delivers-win-for-carnegie-20mw-albany-wave-project-97139/ By  on 13 March 2017

The change of government in Western Australia over the weekend has been welcomed by one of the state’s most successful renewable energy companies, in a political shift that perhaps heralds a new era clean energy investment in the state.

ASX listed wave power and microgrid specialist Carnegie Clean Energy said on Monday that the election of the Labor McGowan government had confirmed the party’s $19.5 million funding commitment for Carnegie’s Albany Wave Energy Project.

The project, flagged by the company last month as contingent on a Labor Party win, aims to develop a 20MW wave energy farm off the coast of Albany, using its CETO 6 technology, pictured above.
According to Carnegie, Albany has one of the most consistent wave energy resources in the world, experiencing greater than 1 metre swell, 100 per cent of the time.

The project – which would likely have its beginning as a 1MW pilot – would be aligned with the regions existing infrastructure, including an existing wind farm.

At 20MW, the project would be Australia’s first commercial scale wave farm, demonstrating the potential to deliver 24/7 renewable energy into the grid. From there, Carnegie says, the 20MW farm could spin out to a 100MW facility.

All this is not new – Carnegie has been working on plans for a wave farm in Albany for nearly a decade and has spent over $1 million on studies, surveys and designs for the region, including site assessment, wave resource mapping, licensing and site design.

Now, it can also tick off a state government that is committed to back the project, after Western Australia’s Coalition government was convincingly beaten at the polls by the Labor party led by Premier elect, Mark McGowan.

Like other state Labor governments around the country, McGowan’s team promises to be more supportive of renewable energy development than its predecessor – although the party has recently backtracked plans to introduce a 50 per cent renewable energy target for the state.

Having revealed plans to draw at least half of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030 at a National Environmental Law Association conference in Perth in October, Labor energy spokesman Bill Johnston now says the party won’t introduce a target, but will have more ambition on renewables than the LNP.

“After the election, we will sit down with industry and the community to see what is achievable and affordable,” Johnston said in early February.

While many have criticised the party for its apparent backflip, Carnegie CEO Michael Ottaviano says his company is delighted to be working with the state’s newly elected government to deliver on the potential of wave energy at Albany.

“Wave energy justifiably demands the sort of investment that other power technologies, whether fossil fuel or renewable, have benefited from and the government’s $19.5million commitment is a strong step towards this,” he said.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Labour’s win in Western Australia means more gloom for the uranium industry

Uranium calls for approved projects to go ahead, The Australian, Mining & Energy,  March 13, 2017 Resources reporter Perth Labor’s emphatic victory in the West Australian election has cast a shadow over the state’s uranium sector, with the industry urging the incoming government to keep the door open for the most advanced uranium projects.

Labor went to the polls on a platform opposed to the development of uranium projects, with the exception of any proposal that had already received government approvals.
 
The WA uranium projects of ASX-listed duo Vimy Resources and Toro Energy, along with Canadian uranium heavyweight Cameco, were all ticked off by Colin Barnett’s government in the months leading up to the election.
 
But anti-nuclear campaigners argue that the ticks received by the projects to date fall far short of representing the full suite of approvals required before they can move into development.
 
Mia Pepper, a nuclear-free campaigner with the Conservation Council of WA, told The Australian she would be urging the new Labor government to block the proposed developments.
 
“Under Barnett, those companies tried to get as many approvals as possible to shore up their position under a Labor government and I think they’ve fallen well short. They’ve got conditional state approval, and in some cases conditional federal approval, but those aren’t final approvals,” Ms Pepper said…….http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/uranium-calls-for-approved-projects-to-go-ahead/news-story/dc304026a2aa4281a10cd9d367354a18

March 13, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

No such thing as ‘clean coal’: WA premier

No such thing as ‘clean coal’: WA premier http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/no-such-thing-as-clean-coal-wa-premier/news-story/024ed06c5553067ecbc2c68361d1b7ff Tom Rabe, Australian Associated Press March 7, 2017 

There’s no such thing as clean coal, says West Australian premier Colin Barnett, placing him at odds with his federal Liberal counterparts.

Mr Barnett dismissed the notion of clean coal when outlining the balance of energy production in WA, saying more than half of the state’s energy came from natural gas, which he described as a clean technology.

“I mean, all this stuff about clean coal, no such thing as clean coal,” Mr Barnett said. “Natural gas is cleaner, produces less than half of the emissions of a coal power station so it’s a good technology to use.”

Mr Barnett said if re-elected his Liberal government would move to balance energy production between gas, renewable and coal.

Mr Barnett’s comments on clean coal differ with those of his federal counterparts, who are working to finance new coal-fired power.

The federal government is exploring how it can allow the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in the so-called ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants and carbon capture and storage.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is currently in Indonesia, was unavailable for comment.

March 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Uranium scandal: Federal environment Minister sets a new low

The Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has given environmental approval to the Mulga Rock uranium mine in WA this week, just days ahead of the election, despite the lack of cross-party support for this toxic industry, the Australian Greens said.

Australian Greens Co-Deputy Leader and Nuclear Issues spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said, “This week’s federal environmental approval for the Mulga Rock uranium project is premature and deeply deficient.”

“This decision is a real departure from the norm with virtually no conditions for the environment, for mine closure and rehabilitation or for the management of radioactive mine waste.

“Frydenberg has set a dangerously low precedent for one of Australia’s most dangerous and toxic industries.

“The Mulga Rock uranium project is in a pristine environment, a Priority Ecological Community and home to many rare and endangered species. The project would use 15 million litres of water a day in one of Australia’s most arid regions, and turn that water into radioactive waste. The threat of radioactive mine waste in the environment will remain for thousands of years.

“With the uranium price sitting at $25 / lb, half the amount needed for the project to break even, there is certainly no immediate prospects for this mine to begin construction.

“This fast tracked approval seems to be driven by the politics of the WA State election rather than evidence and good process” concluded Senator Ludlam..

March 8, 2017 Posted by | uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australian Greens propose solar battery rebate scheme

greensSolar battery rebate scheme pushed by Greens in WA election pitch, ABC News , 9 Feb 17 By Laura Gartry More than 100,000 WA households could be entirely powered by their own solar energy using battery storage within five years under a 50 per cent tax rebate proposed by the Greens.

In one of first major election commitments by the party, Upper House candidate Tim Clifford said the cost of battery units were currently out of reach for a lot of people.

The Greens’ proposed rebate would allow individuals to get up to half the cost of their storage system covered to a maximum of $5,000 in the first year and tapering off to $1,500 in five years.

The $290 million scheme would also provide a $5,000 upfront grant to install solar for families earning less than $80,000. Households with solar panels in WA are looking to batteries as a way to offset the sharp fall in rebates Synergy pays them for their electricity.

It is hoped the scheme would kick-start the industry and drive down the cost of units and power bills.

Energy Minister Mike Nahan said a possible battery subsidy was discussed, but would not be implemented by the Government…..

Mr Clifford said up to 3,000 WA businesses could also benefit, allowing their battery storage assets to be depreciated over three years rather than 15, which could pay off their battery storage unit within 10 years.

The scheme would be co-funded from the removal of federal fossil fuel and mining subsidies……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-08/solar-rebates-mooted-by-greens-wa-election/8252706

February 10, 2017 Posted by | energy, politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Solar power now taking off in a big way in Western Australia

map-WA-solarWest Australians embrace solar panels at record rate http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-31/solar-power-embraced-by-west-australians-at-record-rate/8227194 By Kathryn Diss WA households and businesses are installing solar panels at a record rate, with installations up 33 per cent last year, driven by rising power prices and the falling cost of the technology, new research has found.

The data, compiled by solar industry consultancy SunWiz, also revealed ten of the nation’s top 20 solar-adopting suburbs were in WA, with Wanneroo, Mandurah and Armadale leading the way.

Sunwiz managing director Warwick Johnston said two factors were driving the uptake in WA.

“We’re seeing solar prices have come down to levels they’ve never been before — prices in Perth are at their lowest compared to the eastern states — and we’re also seeing the electricity price rises really kicking in in Western Australia”, he said.

“In Perth electricity prices started climbing again and [are] expected to do so for a number of years, so I think that’s in people’s minds, in people’s consciousness when they’re thinking about solar power.

“Those factors are really making solar something people are interested in.”

The huge uptake in solar panels during 2016 provided a boon for solar installers across the state.

Solargain WA sales manager James Baverstock has been selling solar panels since 2008 but 2016 was his best year yet, with unprecedented sales during the last three months of the year.

“Towards the end of 2016 we saw record numbers — we were 80 per cent up compared to the same time during the previous year,” he said.

“The average size of the system has also gone up, we’ve seen that go up a kilowatt to a kilowatt and a half. That’s been a steady increase and [it has] certainly accelerated a little bit more recently.

Leading change

The research came as more than 40 interest groups joined forces in WA to call for action on climate change. Headed by doctors, farmers and church groups, the coalition wants the government to commit to an ambitious renewable energy target of 100 per cent by 2030.

General practitioner Richard Yin spoke on behalf of the coalition and said a shift towards renewable energy was essential.  “We understand the target is ambitious but it’s been modelled as being possible and it’s been modelled in such a way we believe it can achieved,” he said.

“Everything has a cost. To not proceed down this line has an effect on our climate, to not proceed has a health impact, the combustion from coal kills many thousands of people in Australia each year and the estimated cost is about $2.6 billion in terms of our health cost.” Former WA doctor and surgeon Kingsley Faulkner is also behind the movement.

He now chairs Doctors for the Environment and said climate change was having a big impact on public health.

“In medicine we have a real responsibility to not only treat individual patients but to be involved with public health matters, and climate change and other environmental challenges are amongst the biggest of those matters,” he said.

Increasing use of solar panels has come at a time when, according to the state’s economic watchdog, households are increasingly struggling to pay their power bills on time.

February 1, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Aboriginal Traditional Owners speak out against Yeelirrie uranium mining approval

 logo WANFA
17 Jan 17  
The West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance and Traditional Owners of the Yeelirrie area have spoken out against the Environment Minister decision to approve the Yeelirrie uranium mine.

Kado Muir, Chairperson of the West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance said, “I’m disappointed, but it’s not over, we’ll keep fighting against the Yeelirrie uranium mine proposal. The project doesn’t add up and the risks for the environment as well cultural heritage are far too great.”

“The Ministers decision to make many species extinct against the advice of experts and the EPA shows how little our environmental laws mean to this Government.”

Richard Evan Koara Elder said “Cameco and the Government have no respect for our heritage or for life.”

“The Minister who gave approval to mine Yeelirrie, he does not own the land. He does not have the right to destroy our cultural heritage or the subterranean fauna. He’s supposed to protect the environment not approve its destruction.”

“This is our sovereign land and we do not want Cameco to mine here. We’ve fought against this mine for 40 years, our old people said not to touch that area, we have to listen to them. We will continue to say no to Yeelirrie. We will keep fighting, our country is too important.”  https://nuclearfree.wordpress.com/media/

January 20, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

YEELIRRIE URANIUM APPROVAL SETS DANGEROUS EXTINCTION PRECEDENT

State and national environment groups condemn yesterday’s decision by the Environment Minister to approve the Yeelirrie uranium mine, which the EPA recommended be rejected in August 2016.

Conservation Council of WA Director Piers Verstegen said, “The approval goes against the advice of the EPA, against the wishes of the local community, and against the economic reality that this project is not feasible.

“This decision sets a shocking new precedent for WA environmental law – a decision which clearly and knowingly breaches one of the core objectives of the Environmental Protection Act, the Precautionary Principle. This decision allows the extinction of multiple unique wildlife species which exist nowhere else on Earth, which raises some serious legal questions.

“The EPA has made it clear that this project threatens the extinction of unique wildlife. If the Minister allows wildlife of any sort to become extinct for the sake of an unwanted and uneconomic uranium mine, then all of our wildlife is at risk everywhere.

“Minister Jacob and the Barnett Government has long held an ideological position that uranium should be mined – against the wishes of the community, against market reality, and now against the recommendations of the State’s independent environment umpire and the future of unique species.

“In the last few months, the decision to go ahead with the Roe 8 project in known breach of environmental policy, and now to reject EPA advice for the sake of an unviable uranium mine, demonstrates that the Government is willing to put their ideology ahead of their responsibility to protect the environment, and ahead of public interest.”

CCWA Nuclear Free Campaigner Mia Pepper said, “Despite the Minister’s recent rush to see uranium mined in WA, and after two terms of a pro-uranium Government, not one of the WA uranium proposals will have final approvals granted before the State election in March – and none will be economically viable.

“This project and the Minister’s approval will continue to be strongly contested by state and national conservation groups and the local community, and will continue to struggle to attract investors.”

January 20, 2017 Posted by | environment, politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

In an act of ?religious faith, Western Australian govt backs uneconomic uranium industry

nuclear-elixir-17Yeelirrie uranium mine approval defended by Albert Jacob amid environmental fears, ABC News 18 JAN 17  By Briana Shepherd and Sam Tomlin Western Australia’s Environment Minister has defended his decision to back Canadian mining company Cameco’s Yeelirrie uranium project, despite the environmental watchdog advising against it. The Barnett Government has granted approval for the Yeelirrie mine in the Goldfields subject to 17 “strict conditions”, five months after the Environmental Protection Authority knocked back the proposal.

It is the third WA uranium mine proposal approved in the past month, and WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said it was a clear sign the Government was in a hurry.

“The Government obviously has an ideological addiction to uranium mining — they’re putting their approvals through now before the state election,” he said.

The EPA advised against the Yeelirrie project based on what it said was a risk to tiny stygofauna — a microscopic underground shrimp-like species……….

Uranium market soft, production unlikely anytime soon

Price remains the largest challenge for the state’s would-be uranium miners, with the global spot sitting at just over $US21 per pound.

The collapse from highs of $US137 per pound came in the wake of the Fukushima Nuclear disaster in 2011.

Minelife.com.au senior analyst Gavin Wendt said the historically low price meant progress would be challenging for any of WA’s four proposed mines.

“I think it’s highly unlikely Cameco will bring this mine on stream anytime soon,” Mr Wendt said.

“There’s a big difference between having environmental approval and the economics of the operation being clear and justified — I don’t think we have a situation like that at the present time.”

Mr Reilly conceded price remained the key concern for Cameco.

“The market is oversupplied, and like any commodity [uranium] goes through its cycles,” he said.

“We’re optimistic that down the track we will see better and stronger prices, but right now the uranium market is soft so we’re working with the objective to get the projects ready.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-17/yeelirrie-uranium-mine-approval-defended-by-albert-jacob/8189108

January 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation picks climate sceptic for Western Australian election

Climate sceptic a top Hanson pick, The West Australian, Gary Adshead and Daniel Mercer Thursday, January 19, 2017 Geologist and climate change sceptic David Archibald will be named as One Nation’s highest-profile candidate when Pauline Hanson launches the party’s WA election campaign in Perth today.

Mr Archibald, who has written many books and papers trying to debunk global warming science, will attempt to win the Nationals-held electorate of Kalgoorlie.

Mr Archibald and the names of more than 40 other Upper and Lower House candidates will be revealed by Senator Hanson at a campaign launch on the steps of Parliament House.

Claiming that the heating effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is minuscule forms part of his argument against scientists who say the planet is warming. Three years ago he wrote a paper arguing the world was actually cooling…….https://thewest.com.au/politics/state-politics/climate-sceptic-a-top-hanson-pick-ng-b88358823z

January 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

W.A. govt approves Toro Energy’s Wiluna uranium mine, as uranium prices continue to decrease

text-uranium-hypeToro Energy’s Wiluna uranium mine in Goldfields gets green light from WA Government, ABC News, By Jarrod Lucas, 9 Jan 17, Western Australia’s first uranium mine is a step closer after the state’s Environment Minister Albert Jacob granted approval for a project at Wiluna in the northern Goldfields.

The owners of the proposed mine, Toro Energy, still need the green light from Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg.

Toro told the stock market on Monday afternoon it hoped federal approval would be granted by March…..

, uranium miners rushing to get approvals in place before March’s state election were thwarted in their bid for a hat-trick when Canadian giant Cameco’s proposed Yeelirrie mine was knocked back on environmental grounds last year……

Drop in Australian uranium production predicted

Uranium prices remain near historic lows, depressed since the 2011 Japanese tsunami sent the Fukushima plant into multiple meltdowns.

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science today released its Resources and Energy Quarterly which forecast Australian uranium production to decrease by 6.8 per cent this financial year to 7,141 tonnes……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-09/toro-energy-wiluna-uranium-mine-approved-by-wa-government/8171398

January 11, 2017 Posted by | business, politics, uranium, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Heat records smashed in 2016 in many Western Australian towns

heatHydrate before reading: WA’s record-smashing hottest towns for 2016
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/hydrate-before-reading-was-recordsmashing-hottest-towns-for-2016-20170106-gtmxnw.html
If you complained about the heat in Perth earlier this week, spare a thought for our friends in the north of the state, who sweltered through their hottest year ever.

The Bureau of Meteorology has just released its annual climate updates and while cooler than normal temperatures in the south stopped WA’s overall annual numbers blowing out, towns up north broke records that make you uncomfortable just reading about them.

Wyndham Aerodrome set a new Australian record for annual average maximum: 37.5 degrees.

Kununurra broke its 1992 record of 36.4 to set a new one: 36.7.

Derby broke its 2015 record of 35.7 with 36.3.

Bureau of Meteorology liaison Glenn Cook said Broome equalled its record average of 33.3 for the first time since 1988.

Other Kimberley towns to break their own daytime records were Warmun Aboriginal community, Troughton Island, Cygnet Bay, Doongan Station and Argyle Aerodrome.

And residents got no relief at night, Mr Cook said, with sites across the Pilbara and Kimberley also breaking their records for highest annual mean minimums.

Troughton Island set a new Australian record of 27 degrees.

Broome, Port Hedland, Karratha and Derby all broke 2010 overnight temperature records with new highs of 23.5, 21.5, 22.0 and 23.5.

Overall for 2016, the region had its hottest average overnight temperatures ever, and its second-hottest average daytime temperatures.

They couldn’t even have the relief of saying “but it’s a dry heat”, as WA also had its wettest year since 2011……Troughton Island set a new Australian record of 27 degrees.

Broome, Port Hedland, Karratha and Derby all broke 2010 overnight temperature records with new highs of 23.5, 21.5, 22.0 and 23.5.

Overall for 2016, the region had its hottest average overnight temperatures ever, and its second-hottest average daytime temperatures.

They couldn’t even have the relief of saying “but it’s a dry heat”, as WA also had its wettest year since 2011.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Community involvement in Wesfarmers-owned solar energy project in Western Australia


map-WA-solarSolar switch for one of Australia’s biggest companies funded by community http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-22/wesfarmers-wa-company-switches-to-solar-on-community-investment/8143048 
By Ursula Malone Mum and dad investors are using their savings to fund a half-a-million-dollar solar energy project at the Wesfarmers-owned Blackwoods distribution depot at Canning Vale in Western Australia.

Blackwood is the country’s largest distributor of industrial and safety supplies and its Canning Vale depot will have 630 solar panels installed on its roof in the New Year. “Wesfarmers is an enormous company but it is also Australia’s largest private employer so there is an enormous connection [with the community] already,” said Wesfarmers sustainability lead Patrick Heagney.

“We have an internal target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, so this is something we’re very proud of.”

The 200-kilowatt system will supply a quarter of the business’s electricity needs.

Mr Heagney said it was the biggest single solar installation in the Wesfarmers group, and the first funded by community investors.

Investors expecting solid returns  The community funding model for solar projects was developed by solar innovator Huon Hoogesteger and Emeritus Professor of Economics at University of Technology Sydney, Warren Yeates. “Within 48 hours we had fully subscribed investors for that particular installation,” said Mr Hoogesteger. Continue reading

December 23, 2016 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

URANIUM PLANS AT MULGA FACE A ROCKY FUTURE

logo CCWA19 Dec 16, Environment groups and Aboriginal Community member will step up their efforts against Vimy Resources’ proposed Mulga Rock uranium mine, 240 kilometres north-east of Kalgoorlie, following the decision by the WA Environment Minister to provide conditional approval for the operation

“Like other uranium mining projects in WA, this proposal does not have bipartisan support” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney. “Environment groups will continue to work with local communities to fully explore all options to ensure this mine does not proceed. This task is made easier by the depressed uranium price and deep uncertainty surrounding the project’s viability”.

Concerns about lack of consultation as well as environmental impacts from the proposed operation are casting a shadow over the controversial plan.

“A particularly disappointing aspect of this decision is that Government agencies and the Minister have ignored the Anangu Spinifex people’s cultural and historical connection to this area,” said Conservation Council nuclear free campaigner Mia Pepper.

“This failure has unacceptably allowed Vimy Resources to avoid any consultation with this group.

The Mulga Rock area is also ecologically sensitive and part of the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community. This pristine desert environment is home to many threatened and endangered species,”

“Vimy plans to take 87,600 million litres of water a day and leave behind 32 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste. The long-term risks for the community far outweigh any inflated short-term rewards for the company” Ms Pepper said.

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia: Cameco’s Yeelirrie uranium project halted due to risk to 12 species of subterranean fauna.

text-No14 Dec 16 The Conservation Council of Western Australia appealed to the Minister for Environmnent against the EPA’s approval of Cameco’s planned  Yeelirrie uranium project.

The Appeals Convenor and the Minister for Environment have released the findings of the Appeals process. The Minister will continue to deliberate and make a decision soon. He has been clear to say that the EPA report will be considered along with economic considerations.

There is still every chance the Minister will approve the mine – but at this stage he has rejected Cameco’s appeal in regards to subterranean fauna:

In relation to subterranean fauna, the EPA’s report concluded that there remained too great a chance of a loss of 12 species that may be restricted to the impact area and therefore concluded that the proposal could not meet its objectives for this factor

December 14, 2016 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment