Archive for the ‘energy’ Category

Critique of Preliminary Report SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SEPARATION EVENT, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

December 19, 2016

electricity-interconnector

Dennis Matthews, 18 Dec 16 , 1 DECEMBER 2016. 

The “separation event” was the disconnection of the Heywood interconnector into South Australia.

The following uses the same headings as the AEMO preliminary report.

1. Overview

A short-circuit in a Victorian 500 kV (kilovolt), alternating current (AC) transmission line connected to the Heywood Victorian-SA interconnector resulted in the SA electricity network being disconnected from the Heywood interconnector.

At the time of the “incident” the Victorian electricity network was highly vulnerable to disruption. One of the two circuits served by the Heywood interconnector had been taken out of operation for maintenance. To make matters worse, one of the circuits supplying the Alcoa aluminium smelter at Portland was also out of service. Like all aluminium smelters, the Portland smelter had a very heavy electricity demand (about 480 MW).

The vulnerability of the Victorian electricity network meant that the SA network was also vulnerable to an abrupt loss of 230 MW. Nevertheless, no measures had been put in place to immediately replace power supply from Victoria in the event of disconnection from the Haywood interconnector. As with the SA state-wide blackout two months earlier, there was more than sufficient generating capacity available in SA but it was not on standby.

A short circuit in the remaining transmission line in Victoria to the Heywood interconnector resulted in SA and the Portland smelter being disconnected and the shutdown of two wind farms in Victoria.

The “incident” in Victoria, together with inadequate contingency plans resulted in the loss of 230 MW to SA, BHP’s Olympic Dam project losing 100 of its 170 MW for 3 hours, Portland smelter being disconnected for 4½ hours and disconnection of two wind farms (Portland generating 3MW, and Macarthur generating 4MW) in Victoria.

2. Pre-event Conditions

“Immediately prior to the incident there were two planned outages.”

Use of terms such as “incident” and “event” is reminiscent of the nuclear industry’s avoidance of terms such as “failure” , “accident”, and “meltdown”.

“Planned outage” refers to deliberate disconnection of parts of the system for maintenance or repairs. Such deliberate disconnections should be permitted only if they do not expose the system to serious disruption and only if there is sufficient backup in case of a fault developing in the remaining parts of the system. For SA no backup was put on standby in the case of SA being disconnected to the Heywood interconnector.

One of the “outages” referred to was that one half of the Heywood supply to SA (a 500 kV busbar) was out of service. This left SA and Victoria vulnerable to a fault developing in the remaining half of the Heywood supply. The other “outage” was the Heywood to Portland 500 kV transmission line servicing the Alcoa aluminium smelter.

Both outages were given permission by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

These two decisions left the aluminium smelter vulnerable to a fault developing in the remaining half of the Heywood transmission line in Victoria. There was no backup plan for maintaining supply to the smelter in this contingency.

At the time, SA was importing about 240 MW from Heywood in Victoria.

3. Event

“A single phase to earth fault occurred on the Morabool-Tarrone 500 kV transmission line causing the line to trip out of service.” In other words, there was a short circuit in the only remaining transmission line in Victoria to the Heywood interconnector.

“It is believed that the line tripped as a normal response to this type of fault”. The short circuit caused the transmission line to Heywood to be disconnected (trip).

The short circuit was caused by the breaking of an electrical cable. The reason for the cable breaking was not known to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

The “trip” of the transmission line left the Portland smelter still connected to SA, the power flow reversed so that instead of 240 MW into SA from Victoria there was 480 MW from SA to Victoria to supply the Portland smelter. A control scheme then disconnected the smelter from SA.

5 Operation of SA when Islanded

Islanded means that SA was on its own as far as power supply was concerned, in particular, it means that it was not receiving power from Victoria. In fact, SA was still receiving about 220 MW through the high voltage, direct current (DC), Victoria-SA, Murraylink interconnector.

Critique of ‘BLACK SYSTEM, SOUTH AUSTRALIA’ Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) Report

December 19, 2016

electricity-interconnector

Soon after the state-wide blackout, people in SA were subjected to unedifying performances from Federal politicians who tried to blame the blackout on the renewable energy industry, wind energy in particular. Months later, and in the face of factual evidence supplied by AEMO, these politicians still show no sign of repenting.

Dennis Matthews, December 2016 BLACK SYSTEM, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, 28 SEPTEMBER 2016.
3rd Preliminary Report, December 2016 Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

Introduction

The “Black System” referred to by AEMO is what is more commonly known as the South Australian state-wide blackout. AEMO also refers to it as “the event”. The AEMO report contains considerable technical jargon and use of acronyms. Constant referral to a list of terms and abbreviations at the beginning of the report is necessary.

AEMO Executive Summary

According to the executive summary, the SA blackout was “initiated by the loss of three transmission lines involving a sequence of faults in quick succession”. These electricity transmission lines are the high voltage power lines that feed into the low voltage distribution system that services homes and many small to medium businesses.

The damaged transmission lines were in the mid-north of SA.

The sequence of faults led to many wind turbine electricity generators in the mid-north initially trying to continue to generate. Within 7 seconds, these initial attempts to “ride through” the problems caused by transmission line damage were followed by wind turbines deliberately shutting down (tripping), or decreasing their output, in order to protect them from serious damage. This caused a decrease of power generation by about 460 megawatts (MW). Prior to the transmission line damage, the total generated grid power available to SA was about 1830 MW. Domestic, off-grid, solar photovoltaic power was about 50 MW.

Although it seems reasonable that wind turbines should have an ability to shut down to protect against serious damage, according to the report “AEMO was not aware of the protective feature of these generating units”. Consequently, AEMO had not taken steps to replace the lost power in such a situation.

The loss of about 460 MW of generating capacity resulted in an attempt to import extra power through the Heywood, high voltage, alternating current (AC), connector with Victoria. Such connectors between states are essential for the operating of an electricity market. Without interconnectors there would be no National Electricity Market (NEM).

The Heywood interconnector was already supplying about 610 MW to SA and was unable to supply an extra 460 MW. The Heywood interconnector then also “tripped” in order to protect the interconnector from serious damage. This resulted in a loss of about 900 MW from Victoria to SA leaving only 330 MW of gas-fired (thermal) generation to cope with a demand for about 1830 MW. This thermal power was being produced at three power stations at Torrens Island and a 40 MW thermal power station at Ladbroke Grove in the south-east of SA.

Corrective measures such as disconnecting major demand (load shedding) at places like Roxby Downs (170 MW demand) were too slow to stop the remaining power stations from “tripping” to protect them from serious damage. This resulted in a state-wide blackout.

SA had considerably more thermal power than was on-line at the time of the blackout but they were not on standby or ready to take up shortfalls in power supply. Some thermal power stations, such as one of the relatively new Pelican Point power stations, have been mothballed because of low wholesale electricity prices.

The cause of the loss of the electricity transmission lines appears to have been two widely separated (170 km apart), 190-260 km/h, tornados which brought down more than 20 towers supporting the transmission lines. The report makes no mention of actual sightings of the towers being brought down by the tornados. There is an unanswered question as to whether the collapse of a tower brought down other towers in a domino-like effect or whether is was just the tornados.

In the late 1900’s almost all of SA’s electrical power came from fossil fuel (coal and gas) thermal power stations that produced “synchronous” alternating current (AC) flow. According to the report, the increasing proportion of generators (solar and wind) producing “non-synchronous” direct current (DC) is leading to a “lower resilience” of the electricity networks in SA.

Considering the performance of the electricity transmission grid, the Heywood interconnector, thermal power stations in SA, and AEMO, it would seem that “low resilience” is not a characteristic peculiar to solar and wind power.

Soon after the state-wide blackout, people in SA were subjected to unedifying performances from Federal politicians who tried to blame the blackout on the renewable energy industry, wind energy in particular. Months later, and in the face of factual evidence supplied by AEMO, these politicians still show no sign of repenting.

The following is a more detailed discussion of relevant chapters in the report.

2. Pre-event

AEMO procedures depend very heavily on the distinction between “credible contingencies” and “non-credible contingencies”. For credible contingencies, plans are put in place to take corrective measures, whilst for non-credible contingencies no corrective measures are considered necessary. A contingency may be switched from credible to non-credible as circumstances change but if the switch is left too late then any corrective plans may be too slow to be effective.

The loss of certain groups of wind farms is considered a credible contingency if they are “connected to the grid by a single transmission line” and the disconnection of a single transmission line “is always treated as a credible contingency event” but the loss of both Heywood interconnector lines “was considered a non-credible contingency”. Consequently, AEMO was unprepared for either the loss of multiple transmission lines in SA or for the total loss of interconnection through the Heywood interconnector.

AEMO had also assumed that all wind farms were capable of riding through multiple faults “provided the faults were within the size and duration specified in the generator performance standards”. AEMO did not know that some wind farms had limits on the number of successive faults that they could ride through.

The loss of “any single element (generator, transmission, etc)” is considered a credible contingency, but the “coincident loss of multiple generating units or transmission lines, are termed non-credible contingency events”.

The above classifications may be changed if circumstances change but no changes were made during the events leading up to the state-wide blackout. Bureau of Meteorology wind speed forecasts were upgraded during the day of the blackout but AEMO did not see the need to change its classifications or procedures.

3 Events Resulting in Black System

The loss of three transmission lines resulted in low voltage being experienced at wind turbines. The wind turbines responded as designed by remaining connected to the network and helping to restore the voltage. This “ride-through” response varied according to the turbine settings. Ten of the thirteen on-line wind farms activated their ride-through response three to six times.

“All wind turbines successfully rode-through faults until the pre-set protection limit applied to most on-line wind turbines was reached or exceeded.”

“If the pre-set limit was exceeded in the event, each wind turbine either disconnected from the network, stopped operating (remained connected with zero output), or reduced its output.”

“Five wind farms successfully rode through the faults, they did not recover to the pre-disturbance level immediately and took several hundred milliseconds to recover.” “All wind turbines that exhibited this behaviour remained connected and operational until the SA power system was fully lost”.

In regards to the shutting down and separation and of the Heywood connector from SA the report notes “unforseen separation and complete loss of the Heywood Interconnector has occurred five times in the 17 years since 1999”. Prior to the SA blackout, this amounts to an average of once every 4 years. Since the SA blackout there has been another instance of disconnection of the Heywood Interconnector on 1st December which means there were two disconnections in two months. Disconnection of the Heywood interconnector in 2016 has occurred at a rate 24 times the average in the 16 years up to 2016. The latest disconnection occurred as a result of a transmission cable breaking in Victoria plus a Victorian transmission system made vulnerable by simultaneous maintenance work on transmission lines and power stations in the vicinity of Heywood and Portland.

The report states that the key difference between the SA blackout and previous Heywood disconnections was the lower number of on-line thermal generators prior to the SA blackout. As mentioned earlier, there was sufficient thermal generation available at the time of the SA blackout, but it was not operating.

It is not commonly known that there are two SA-Victoria interconnectors, The Heywood, high voltage, alternating current (AC) interconnector and the Murraylink, high voltage direct current (DC) interconnector. The Murraylink DC connector is much more resilient than the Heywood AC interconnector.

There was negligible effect of the SA transmission line failures and subsequent loss of wind generator output on transmission through the Murraylink DC connector, which continued to transmit 114 MW until the SA system collapsed. The eventual disconnection of the Murraylink interconnector occurred because of AC connections at both the SA and Victorian ends of the interconnector.

In regards to preventing overloading of thermal generators in SA by disconnecting large electricity users (load shedding) the report states 1150 MW could have been disconnected but the disconnection mechanism was too slow; “the amount of load shed and the timing at which these loads were disconnected was not sufficient to avoid system collapse”.

There was “practically no changes in the overall operational demand for the last 10 seconds before the event” including the initial loss of the transmission towers in the SA mid-north.

7. Preliminary Recommendations

“During extreme weather conditions, more rigorous processes to be put in place to monitor weather warnings for changes in order to trigger reassessment of reclassification decisions where necessary.”

Reclassification refers to change from a non-credible to credible event. Such a change, if initiated several hours before the blackout, would have led to more SA thermal power stations being on-line, preventing overloading of the Heywood interconnector.

As with many of the recommendations, classification as a credible event involves a trade-off between maintaining integrity of the system and short term financial benefits to power producers. It would appear that the classification system was too heavily weighted towards the latter. If so, given the financial losses caused by the blackout, then it was very short-sighted.

The report also noted “the level of risks associated with wind turbine over-speed protection, while not a major issue in this event, needs to be considered more closely.” Over-speed protection refers to the well-known dependence of wind turbine output on the wind speed and to the fact that they may have to shut down if the wind speeds are too high or too erratic. The wind turbines rode through the extreme weather as well as faults in the transmission lines. Multiple faults eventually caused large changes in wind farm output.

The report also looked at the possibility of “constraining flows through the Heywood Interconnector”. Importation of electricity from Victoria is usually maximised for short term economic gain, due to the relatively inexpensive nature of electricity from coal-fired power stations. This may change after the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station in Victoria. In any event, over-reliance on importing power through the Heywood interconnector has proved to be short-sighted and costly, not just during the SA blackout but also with the recent power disruption caused by transmission line failure in Victoria.

It is noteworthy that SA’s biggest electricity user BHP has flagged that it is negotiating a wholesale electricity contract to purchase electricity from one of the thermal power stations (Pelican Point) that was not on-line during the events leading up to the SA blackout. This may decrease the dependence of SA on imported electricity, provided existing power stations stay on-line.

The extraordinary ignorance of Barnaby Joyce, about renewable energy

March 7, 2016

Joyce, Barnaby

Memo to Barnaby: If you want cheap electricity, nuclear is not the answer, REneweconomy, By  on 4 March 2016 [good graphs]  There’s right, and there’s wrong… and then there’s Barnaby Joyce. Joyce – Australia’s LNP minister for agriculture who was recently sworn in as deputy leader of the entire country – was right when he declared the cost of electricity bills to be one of the uppermost issues for Australian consumers, in an interview with the Adelaide Advertiser on Thursday.

He was wrong, however, when he suggested that the answer to the issue of electricity prices was not renewable energy, but nuclear, what he described as the “the ultimate renewable energy”.

Joyce, as we learned in our piece last year, “Barnaby Joyce’s renewable energy target: 100% ignorance” is one of the biggest opponents of wind farms in the Coalition, and it’s a little ironic to see that his electorate is about to became a major renewable energy hub, with two large wind farms and solar farms to be built near Glen Innes.

So it’s not necessarily surprising that he took another pot shot at renewables in the Murdoch media today……….

Back in 2013, he made his feelings clear, when he lamented to the Senate the “insane lemming-like desire to go to renewables” in Australia, and questioned what it would do to the national economy.

What is a little surprising is his endorsement of nuclear as a suitable and cheap alternative for new electricity generation in South Australia, as old coal-fired power is retired, when this is precisely the opposite finding arrived at by various recent and significant studies on the subject, not least of all the SA Royal Commission into nuclear power for Australia.

To be fair to Joyce, the Commission’s findings were a little confusing, in that they ruled out nuclear power as a viable alternative for Australia, but urged authorities to consider it anyway. But on the subject of nuclear generation for South Australia, the conclusion was clear: it wasn’t viable in the state for the foreseeable future (2030), even with a significant carbon price and a sharp reduction in the cost of capital.

Another major report from November 2015 – this time based on research undertaken by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Worley Parsons in Australia and Ernst and Young, and peer reviewed by the Australian Government Bureau of Resource Research Economics (BREE) – came to a similar conclusion.

The 362-page Australian Power Generation Technology Report essentially ruled out nuclear power for the whole of Australia, revealing that the technology was becoming more and more prohibitively expensive, at around double the capital cost estimated three years ago – and double the cost of competing technologies.

The collaborative research effort from more than 40 organisations, including the CSIRO, ARENA, the federal government’s Department of Industry and Science and the Office of the Chief Economist clearly showed, in fact, that solar and wind would be the cheapest low carbon technologies in Australia……http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/memo-to-barnaby-if-you-want-cheap-electricity-nuclear-is-not-the-answer-60837

Success of renewable energy and energy efficiency

March 7, 2016

energy-efficiency
solar,-wind-aghastIt seems impossible for petrol heads coal and gas heads, and especially nuke-heads to get their heads around this – BUT – renewable energy and energy effiiciency ARE HAPPENING  – world -wide, in both big ways, and small ways.

It must be tough, when you’re addicted to such a complex , complicated, and expensive technology as nuclear power – as well as addicted to the money you get from being involved in this business –  it must be tough to consider the reality that the fuels for solar and wind energy are FREE, and so is the energy conservation from good design in energy efficiency.

As Dr Helen Caldicott pointed out, long ago, if they could put a blanket around the sun and sell holes, they would.

The out-dated energy systems of the past – nuclear,coal, gas, are looking more
and more like unwieldy and costly dinosaurs, as the world wakes up to the diversity and flexibility of 21st Century clean energy systems.

The nuclear lobby now tries its last ditch promotional pipe-dream – Small Nuclear Reactors – that in fact would rely on the continuation of the old big ones.

 

Wind solar energy project considered by Port Augusta Council, South Australia

February 3, 2016

solar,-wind-aghast

DP Energy seeks approval for big solar/wind project near Port Augusta as public urged to have say ABC News2 Feb 16  Port Augusta’s council is encouraging the public to share their views on a renewable energy park proposed to the south of the city, along the Augusta Highway.

DP Energy has submitted an application to the state Development Assessment Committee for the project, which contains up to 59 wind turbines and 1.6 million solar panels, to be built in stages south of Port Augusta.

Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson said the project fits in well in the region, which aims to be a centre for renewable energy.

“It’s been demonstrated in Port Augusta through Sundrop Farms using the technology which they’re using, in this case yes we know that wind turbines do exist around the world and around the countryside and in South Australia as well as solar PV [photovoltaic], but this one is the first of its kind in linking the two together,” he said.

The proposal is now out for public consultation and councillor Johnson is encouraging people to have a say……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-02/dp-energy-seeks-nod-for-solar-wind-project-near-port-augusta/7133076

Nuclear Issues for 2016 – Australia’s role in them

January 6, 2016

skull nuclear world

Five big nuclear issues for 2016 — and Australia’s role in them, Independent Australia  Noel Wauchope 5 January 2016Nuclear issues got next to no discussion in Australia in 2015. That is sure to change in 2016 from five explosive factors, writesNoel Wauchope.

#1: Nuclear weapons  “……….. In the event of nuclear war, Pine Gap makes Australia both a participant and a target.

What the experts call a “limited nuclear war” between India and Pakistan is always on the cards as both nations ramp up their nuclear weaponry. What does Australia do about this? The Turnbull Government, ignoring the advice of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) and pro nuclear power expert Dr John Carlson, goes ahead with insecure uranium sales to India, thus contributing to that India-Pakistan arms race.

All these considerations will matter to Australia in a number of ways in 2016. An obvious example is in the diplomatic tightrope that our Government must walk in its relations with China — Australia’s largest export market.

#2: Indigenous rights……. For 2016, governments must have learned that Indigenous Australians are a force to be reckoned with and that non-Indigenous might join in that anti nuclear struggle. State governments, particularly Western Australia, have sought to strengthen the resources industries’ power to fight Aboriginal land rights. This has to be an issue for uranium mining in 2016 — whether mining developments can continue to ride roughshod over traditional Indigenous traditional land.

#3: Energy technologies Renewable energy is here to stay. ….. Australia leads the world in rooftop solar, with the highest portion of residential buildings with rooftop photovoltaic power. Despite government policy uncertainty, important solar research continues, community solar projects are developing, large scale solar projects are taking off, for example, in New South Wales. Wind power is now also taking off and has long shown its success in South Australia.…….. The nuclear lobby would have everyone believe that nuclear energy is the answer. But even they know that this is not a practical choice for Australia. In February, the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission will be announcing its recommendations. Its chief, Kevin Scarce, has already indicated that it is not likely to recommend nuclear power.

In 2016, Australia still has the opportunity to become a leader in truly clean renewable energy technologies, as energy storage systems become a reality…….With 2016 as an election year and with the ALP’s policy of a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, renewable energy developments form a challenging issue.

#4: Australia as the world’s nuclear waste dump…..  the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission and all that will ensue from its recommendations. Commission head, Kevin Scarce, will no doubt cover his back with worthy statements about proceeding only if there is a social licence, but we can be pretty sure that this expensive year-long Royal Commission is not going to turn its back on its central idea — importing nuclear wastes. Meanwhile, in 2016, the ALP will have to face the push within its ranks to change its existing anti nuclear policy.

#5: The propaganda war….. there will be pressure on Australia’s academic and health authorities, as well, of course, on the mainstream media……. https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/five-nuclear-issues-for-2016–and-australias-role-in-them,8544

South Australian govt seems to have ditched any idea for nuclear power

November 25, 2015

map solar south-australia

There is barely  a mention of nuclear power in the 53 page  Panel’s final report  from the South Australia  Low Carbon Economy Experts Panel. You have to hunt to find:

on page 22:

“In the high-level analysis for South Australia undertaken for the Panel, the CCS and nuclear scenarios were not considered, and all data was derived from the 100% renewable scenario.”

“Given South Australia’s abundance of wind and high solar rating (DNI), South Australia has the capacity to move to 100% renewable energy more quickly than other States and has already made significant progress in decarbonising its electricity supply utilising these advantages.”

On page 24 it states:

“The modelling for the Panel did not include consideration of whether the nuclear and carbon capture and storage scenarios modelled at the national level are a cost-effective means to move to low carbon electricity for South Australia. The Deep Decarbonisation Pathways modelling found that nuclear power stations generally need to be of a certain size to be cost effective and thus precluded their consideration for use in smaller States such as South Australia.”

Can we take it from this that the nuclear scenario is already off the table entirely? The Premier’s and Minister Hunter’s joint press release is vague talking about “zero net emissions” and “low carbon economy”, but in context their endorsement of the report would seem to undercut any push for nuclear energy, leaving the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission with just an expansion of uranium mining and nuclear waste dumps to consider.

Given that the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission is in progress and that one of the report’s authors gave evidence at a public hearing, it can hardly be an oversight that nuclear was not considered.

Renewable  energy is the star – throughout the report:

“…….South Australia can greatly expand its renewable energy generation, to the
point where on balance over the year all of the State’s electricity comes from renewables and a significant amount is exported interstate. According to the Panel’s preliminary analysis, this could occur relatively quickly. South Australia can therefore set an indicative goal of 100% renewable electricity with the timeframe to be decided. The timeframe will depend on expansion of interconnectors, costs of renewables and extent of support for renewable energy federally. The share of renewables in South Australia is expected to be double that in the National Electricity Market at any point in time up to 100%. Action….”

100% renewable energy power for Australia’s Parliament House

November 14, 2015

Tom Swann says ACT government will have last laugh at climate sceptics,Canberra Times, November 13, 2015   Reporter for The Canberra Times. “…..researcher and campaigner Tom Swann says whether the former treasurer or prime minister or anyone else in Federal Parliament likes it or not, the Australian Parliament House will soon be 100 per cent renewably powered.

This is one of the implications of the ACT government’s clean energy policies, the most ambitious in Australia, which Mr Swann will explain at the Progressive Canberra Summit on Saturday morning, at a gathering of people discussing energy, housing, social justice and sustainability in this city and globally.

Mr Swann will point out the ACT government plans to completely decarbonise the territory’s electricity system and its moves to decarbonise its investments, by starting to divest from fossil fuels.

He will ask a group of people how can Canberra make the most of this leadership? “How do we ensure this transition engages all of Canberra, using local energy and expertise and providing options to those on lower incomes?” Mr Swann said.

He will present research from public policy think tank Australian Institute which shows three in four Canberrans surveyed (78 per cent) support the 100 per cent renewables target, a majority strongly supporting it. The polling also found an interesting national perspective.

“Canberra’s leading position on renewables is the envy of the rest of the country,” Mr Swann said.

The research is based on two polls  in September, one by ReachTEL of 731 residents in Fraser electorate and 717 residents in Canberra electorate, while a separate poll by Research Now surveyed 1407 people across Australia.

Three in four Canberrans (75 per cent) said they were willing to pay more on their bills to achieve the 100 per cent renewables target and almost two in three (62 per cent) said they would be willing to pay at least $5 per week more on household electricity.

Almost three in four Australians from outside of Canberra (72 per cent) said they wanted a similar policy in their own state……..http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/tom-swann-says-act-government-will-have-last-laugh-at-climate-sceptics-20151113-gky8vd.html

Canning Byelection: Abbott’s solar policies could be Liberals’ undoing

August 26, 2015

The solar council is planning a nationwide marginal seats campaign at the next election.

The government has directed the CEFC – which it unsuccessfully tried to abolish – to stop investments in rooftop solar, but changes to the investment mandate remain under legal uncertainty.

ballot-boxSmCanning byelection: solar industry urges voters to reject Liberals ‘war on solar’, Guardian, , 25 Aug 15

Solar Council letterboxes all electors in Western Australia’s seat of Canning encouraging them to vote for Labor, the Greens or the Palmer United party The solar
industry is letterboxing all electors in the crucial West Australian Canning byelection urging them to logo-australian-solar-councvote against the Liberal party on 19 September in response to the Abbott government’s “war on solar”.

The Solar Council leaflet states: “Installing solar helps Western Australians cut a typical power bill by up to 65%. The federal government is targeting solar by slashing the renewable energy target. We will support any political party with a good solar policy.”

  It advocates a vote against the Liberals and for either Labor, the Greens or the Palmer United party.

The council has invited all party leaders and candidates to a public forum on 13 September

Canning Forum

– a week before the byelection that could affect Tony Abbott’s hold on the Liberal leadership – to explain their solar policies.

The byelection was prompted by the death of Liberal MP Don Randall, who held the seat by a healthy margin of almost 12%, but recent polls show a swing of 10% against the Liberals, taking their two-party-preferred lead to a much narrower 51%-49%.

The council’s chief executive, John Grimes, said his organisation was advocating a vote against the Liberals because “it is precisely people like the householders of Canning who will be hurt if the Liberal party is allowed to fully implement their anti-solar agenda”.

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The flyer organised by the Australian Solar Council urging votes for any party except the Liberals on 19 September. Photograph: Australian Solar Council

“This government commissioned the Warburton review which advocated the closure of the small-scale renewable energy target, which supports rooftop solar, and it has tried to ban the Clean Energy Finance Corporation [CEFC] from investing in rooftop solar projects,” Grimes said.

Almost half the houses in Canning have either rooftop solar or solar hot water, according to official figures, and the electorate has the 12th highest solar uptake in the country, according to calculations by the RenewEconomy website.

The deal eventually struck between the government and the Labor opposition left the small-scale solar scheme untouched, but Grimes said the council’s campaign was based on the government’s clear “intentions”.

“If this government were to get its way it would do whatever it took to close the solar industry altogether,” he said……..

The Liberal candidate for Canning is a former SAS officer, Andrew Hastie, up against a local lawyer, Matt Keogh, for Labor. The Greens candidate is small business owner and university lecturer, Vanessa Rauland. The Palmer United party is running the managing director of Palmer’s Mineralogy resources company, Vimal Sharma.

The solar council is planning a nationwide marginal seats campaign at the next election.

The government has directed the CEFC – which it unsuccessfully tried to abolish – to stop investments in rooftop solar, but changes to the investment mandate remain under legal uncertainty. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/25/canning-byelection-solar-industry-urges-voters-to-reject-liberals-war-on-solar

Revolutionary huge solar powered glasshouse for Hunter Valley, New South Wales

June 22, 2015

solar glasshouseMassive solar-powered glasshouse in NSW Hunter Valley to employ refugees, migrants , ABC News, By Jackson Vernon  21 June 15 Construction is underway on Australia’s biggest glasshouse, in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, which is solar powered and already providing employment opportunities for new migrants and refugees.

Excavators have started the groundwork on the vegetable growing facility at Fullerton Cove, about 40 minutes outside of Newcastle. At more than 16 hectares, it will cover the size of 20 rugby fields.Dutch investor Cor Disselkoen has developed glasshouses throughout the Netherlands and has brought in materials and labour for construction here.

Once operating, the facility will produce 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicums every year. “We are producing 14 times more per square metre so we have a huge production compared to open field growing,” Mr Disselkoen said.

“It’s year-round, reliable, independent from whatever climactic circumstances so we can guarantee year around delivery to our clients.”

It has taken many years since the project was first announced to get to this point, after assessments in both Port Stephens Council and the Joint Regional Planning Panel. The project was mired in controversy initially, over plans to power it with a nearby coal seam gas well. But now it will be run solely on clean energy.

“We don’t get any natural gas or coal to fire or heat, we don’t use any electricity from coal fired electricity mains,” Mr Disselkoen said. “We catch the rainfall, which falls on our roof, which is enough for us to grow our plants.” “It’s the most efficient way, but environmentally the best way to do in the future.”

Glasshouse employs refugees and migrants

Refugees and migrants in the Hunter region will be among the 125 workers employed at the glasshouse…….the farm would be a major employment opportunity for dozens of people starting lives in Australia…….

Government welcomes growth to agriculture industry

NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the new facility would help ensure more local produce was grown and consumed.

“[It] means that we can grow different crops out of season and capitalise on some of the markets that traditionally we may have had to rely upon imported products for,” Mr Blair said.

Mr Blair said the alternative farming method worked side by side with traditional practices and will help grow the $15 billion primary industries sector.

“When we look at glasshouse and intensive production it’s something that we’ve done a lot of investment and research into through the Department of Primary Industries,” Mr Blair said.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-21/massive-solar-powered-glasshouse-in-nsw-to-employ-refugees/6561424