Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

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

Western Australia’s Premier (like South Australia’s) risks political oblivion in promoting nuclear power

text politicsWith a state election around the corner it is time for all candidates to understand that support for clean renewable power will increasingly be a community pre-condition for access to political power.

Premier’s nuclear push is proof of a government in meltdown,  http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18719 By Mia Pepper . 12 December 2016 “…..At the recent COAG meeting our Premier has gone out on a glowing limb in a bid to revive the debate on nuclear power. Now there’s nothing wrong with a healthy debate, but this debate has been had repeatedly and the answer is always the same. It is time to put this tired talking point to bed and get on with the energy transition we can no longer ignore.

In 2016 the SA Government’s Royal Commission into the Nuclear industry found that “it would not be commercially viable to develop a nuclear power plant in South Australia…”

A decade earlier in 2006 the Switkowski Report found that “Nuclear power is likely to be between 20 and 50 per cent more costly to produce” than existing power sources and acknowledged that the reality that disposal of “high-level waste including spent nuclear fuel remains an issue in most nuclear power countries.”

Both these reports were initiated with a pro-nuclear agenda. Both sought to progress the contested nuclear industry within Australia. Both found insurmountable barriers including cost, time, contest and the complexity of nuclear waste.

None of these key factors have changed and they are not likely to. Many in the community remain deeply sceptical of nuclear power – and in the shadow of the Australian uranium fuelled and continuing Fukushima nuclear crisis – this too is unlikely to change.

A mystery akin to whale beachings is why do conservative politicians periodically wash up demanding that ‘we should include nuclear in the debate’ when we all know that the numbers simply do not add up?

Well, in short it is not a real proposal rather a headline grabbing convenient distraction from the very real issue of the need to rapidly transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The reality is that we do not have the decades that nuclear reactors take to build, license and start. Our emissions are rising alongside global temperatures and the global climate clock is ticking loud.

The Premier’s latest foray into the nuclear space shows how little he understands about the risks – both nuclear and climatic. In 2015 when there was talk of West Australia possibly hosting Australia’s nuclear waste his reaction was effectively ‘don’t worry about it as it’s just a couple of X-rays’. The national nuclear waste problem in Australia has zero to do with x-rays and everything to do with spent nuclear fuel from the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney – material that is far more serious and long  Continue reading

December 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Toro Energy, uranium miner, CEO Vanessa Guthrie chucks away the poisoned uranium chalice

Guthrie poisoned-chalice-3Toro Energy rings in the changes at the top as Dr Vanessa Guthrie departs http://www.proactiveinvestors.com.au/companies/news/169921/toro-energy-rings-in-the-changes-at-the-top-as-dr-vanessa-guthrie-departs-169921.html

 05 Dec 2016 Toro Energy (ASX:TOE) has outlined this morning that long-serving managing director, Dr Vanessa Guthrie, will depart the company immediately. Toro’s flagship asset is the Wiluna Uranium Project.

The Centipede and Lake Way deposits being the first Western Australian uranium deposits to secure state and federal government environmental approvals and agreement with the Traditional Owners, the Wiluna People.

Toro Energy Ltd valued at A$0.07 per share by broker   [Doesn’t sound too good, does it?]01 Sep 2016 Dundee Capital Markets noted: “We recommend Toro Energy as a NEUTRAL and maintain our target price at A$0.07, based on a 0.8x multiple applied to our 10% DCF estimate.”…..http://www.proactiveinvestors.com.au/companies/news/165280/toro-energy-ltd-valued-at-a007-per-share-by-broker-70782.html

December 5, 2016 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australian town to host large renewable energy grid

solar-wind-hybrid-windlab-qldKalbarri 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.

November 30, 2016 Posted by | solar, Western Australia, wind | Leave a comment

Anti-uranium crusaders win top conservation award 

Kalgoorlie Miner (print only 23rd Nov 2016) 
handsoffThe 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.

November 23, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | Leave a comment