Nuclear, uranium and energy/climate news 23/2/2017

Green energies

A fire-sale is underway as the punch-drunk nuclear power industry tries to stop the rot. - Australia should lead world in 'clean coal', International Energy Agency says. - CSIRO says Australia can get to 100 per cent renewable energy. - China’s BYD launches new battery storage products in Australian market - Australia could be the "energy capital of Asia" but instead it is going backwards - Philanthropists and corporates called on to help save threatened species - The heads of some of the nation’s biggest companies have blasted the chaotic state of the power grid. - Australian coal 'risks being caught out' by Trump climate U-turn.


Nuclear power’s rapidly accelerating crisis
A fire-sale is underway as the punch-drunk nuclear power industry tries to stop the rot.

Australia should lead world in 'clean coal', International Energy Agency says
The executive director of the International Energy Agency calls on Australia to become a world leader in carbon capture and storage technology.

CSIRO says Australia can get to 100 per cent renewable energy
CSIRO says no technical barriers to 100% renewables, and levels of up to 30% should be considered “trivial” as other energy experts reject conservative attachment to “baseload” fossil fuels.

China’s BYD launches new battery storage products in Australian market
China EV and energy storage giant BYD unveils new line of modular battery systems, targeting Australian households and businesses.

Shorten goes on front foot over renewables 50% ‘target’
Australia could be the "energy capital of Asia" but instead it is going backwards, Bill Shorten will say in a speech on Thursday.

Philanthropists and corporates called on to help save threatened species
Businesses and philanthropists have been asked to partner with the federal government in a new approach to save Australia’s threatened species with the launch of a new prospectus.

‘Power policies to destroy jobs’
The heads of some of the nation’s biggest companies have blasted the chaotic state of the power grid.

Australian coal 'risks being caught out' by Trump climate U-turn
The president could spring a surprise with a carbon price, making renewables cheaper, US Republican warns.

Don't mind the coal: Electricity prices are going up regardless

Coalition not interested in coal, just stopping new wind and solar
Coalition isn’t really interested in funding new coal fired power stations, it wants to destroy investment in renewable energy and agencies responsible for driving the transition away from coal.

Crisis of trust – energy businesses turn to local partnerships
Mistruths that have shaken public trust in energy companies and our politicians. That's why many are turning to trusted local partnerships.

Australia’s 2016 environment scorecard: rains return but in some cases too late
Rain made a welcome comeback to Australia in 2016 after several years of deepening drought. But Tasmania and the Top End were among several places that did not fare so well.

Playing politics with renewables: how the right is losing its way
This summer has seen a concerted attack on renewable energy coming out of Canberra, featuring everyone from One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts to Coalition ministers channelling the far right of their party.

Energy policy should be bipartisan
Australia's energy sector has been mired in politics for too long. It's time for governments to set aside short-term point scoring and act in the national interest.

Ban ends 40-year gas supply
A Victorian ban on gas ­exploration would cut ­reserves big enough to supply the nation’s east coast for almost 40 years.

Solar homes to help avert blackouts
A Melbourne software firm wants to offer more money to solar households to entice them to help stabilise the grid and prevent blackouts.


Our energy supply safe during NSW heatwave
AUSTRALIA’S energy market operator has denied reports Victoria’s supply was at risk during a heatwave in New South Wales this month.

Carbon capture is the new black
Possibly the biggest power storage solution of them all has been moving ahead in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, largely unheralded.

Power plant outages 'contributed to overloading scare during NSW heatwave'
Australia's energy operator finds power plant failures contributed to the unprecedented pressure on the New South Wales electricity grid during this month's heatwave.

NSW heatwave: Another catalogue of fossil fuel power failures
Market operator report into NSW heatwave shows once again that it is failing fossil fuel plants that is putting energy security at risk.

BHP considers coal expansion
BHP Billiton says it could develop more Queensland coking coalmines.

Region the ‘forefront of renewables’
THE Western Downs is turning from gas to solar to power the next wave of economic success in the region.

Sunny outlook as new hub powers forward
A FORMER Far North mine site turned renewable energy hub is set to generate electricity by late this year.

Regional South Australian site ideal for storing renewables in pumped hydro
A desert site at the top of Spencer Gulf in South Australia is perfect for a pumped hydro venture, which would use sea water to make a power station of up to 200-megawatts, EnergyAustralia says.

Companies vying for renewable energy funding in South Australia
A number of companies are vying for renewable energy funds for proposed projects in South Australia as national debate rages over the state's lack of power security.

Ridiculous reason for the blackout
The power cut to 90,000 customers during a heatwave earlier this month could have been avoided had the energy market operator used publicly available Bureau of Meteorology weather forecasts.

How South Australia can function reliably while moving to 100% renewable power
Some short- and medium-term strategies for transitioning to renewable, reliable and affordable energy in South Australia.

Storage is key to power crisis solutions
IF South Australians realised how straightforward the engineering solutions to our power crisis are, they’d probably choke on their morning coffee.

Is there more to the Antarctic's melting glaciers than just warmer temperatures?

An Australian team of international scientists is hoping to discover whether meltwater is speeding up the disintegration of the Antarctic's glaciers.

In the era of Trump, how should conservatives fight climate change?
Bob Inglis was a Republican Congressman who once thought climate change was "nonsense" for the "other tribe". Now, he's on a mission in Australia to convince conservatives to fight for the environment.

The herald of sea-level rise
Researcher Nicole Hernandez Hammer realized that the people who most need to know about sea-level rise weren’t getting information about it. She set out to change that.

Trump can save his presidency with a great deal to save the climate
Donald Trump is a deal maker, and there’s a great deal to be made on climate change.

How to fight climate change without Washington
In terms of energy, Massachusetts was already planning for a Trump presidency way back in 2008.

Coal plants keep closing on Trump's watch
Even as President Trump and his congressional allies pursue a rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations in Washington, coal plants continue to close.

Reduction of energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions: promotion or steering?
Policy interventions to reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions have a variety of effects on the economy and on households. A study has provided the first detailed impact assessment.

Dream of energy-collecting windows is one step closer to reality

Discovery could lower cost and expand possibilities for building-integrated solar energy collection.

US offshore wind push
Researchers show US grid can handle more offshore wind power, cutting pollution and power costs.

Inside the race to build the battery of tomorrow
The battery might be the least sexy piece of technology ever invented. The lack of glamour is especially conspicuous on the lower floors of MIT’s materials science department, where one lab devoted to building and testing the next world-changing energy storage device could easily be mistaken for a storage closet.

Saudi Arabia makes first steps in 10GW renewable energy rollout
Saudi Arabia makes first steps in 10GW renewable energy rollout, as India solar auction produces record low bids.

California senate pushes for 100% renewable energy by 2045
California Senate leader introduces 100% renewable energy bill by 2045, competing with Hawaii for most aggressive renewable energy mandate in US.

Uncertainty perception drives public's trust, mistrust of science
Assumptions tied to which sciences people believe should be funded.

What happens when the soy and palm oil boom ends?
Anew agricultural economics book that looks at the past, present, and future of soy, oil palm and other tropical oilseeds.

Economic growth the greatest threat to humanity
Economic growth is the greatest threat to humanity today, and those most devoted to economic growth will, as its consistent performance begins to wane in the future, perhaps be the greatest political threat to ordinary people of the world

‘They have a dog in this fight’
Premier Jay Weatherill rejects concerns from South Australia’s biggest employer, BHP Billiton, about its ongoing viability in the state.

Trump wants to expand nuclear arsenal
US President Donald Trump says he wants to expand the US nuclear arsenal.

Radioactive boars could cause supply issues for Czech Republic delicacy
A cold, snowy winter is forcing wild boars to feed on false truffles in the Czech Republic, which have absorbed high levels of a radioactive isotope as a result of the Chernobyl disaster.

How nuclear safety undermines nuclear economics
Failed EPR and AP1000 reactor projects have brought giant energy companies to their knees, and even pro-nuclear lobbyists now acknowledge that the industry is in crisis. Jim Green, editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter, takes stock of the crisis in the global nuclear sector and concludes that the industry’s likely response, a retreat from post-Fukushima efforts to strengthen safety standards, risks making a bad situation worse.

Australia becomes more energy efficient
Australian households became more energy efficient in 2014-15, according to the latest edition of the annual Energy Account released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Shorten attacks Coalition for energy “vandalism”, affirms 50% target
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has accused the Coalition government of policy vandalism on energy, and committed to an emissions intensity scheme that he insists will deliver Labor’s target of 50 per cent renewables in the country’s electricity system by 2030.

California’s SimpliPhi latest to plug into Australian battery storage market
As regulators consider strict new guidelines for Australian home battery installations, US battery maker SimpliPhi is making its move, keen to promote the key strengths of its proprietary technology – safety, reliability and flexibility.

German battery maker Sonnen offers “free power” for slice of Australian electricity market
German battery maker Sonnen hopes to use its new solar and storage “free” electricity deal to muscle in on Australia’s peaking power market.

China’s BYD seeks 25% share of Australia’s battery storage market
China’s biggest electric vehicle and battery storage company, BYD, is looking to grab a 25 per cent share of Australia’s burgeoning battery storage market, after launching a new B-Box product range aimed at competing with industry leaders LG Chem and Tesla.

Australian consortim launches world-first digital energy marketplace for rooftop solar
Pilot program will allow homeowners to tap into a network of ‘virtual’ power stations made up of smart grids of rooftop solar and batteries.

The renewable energy target explained
The Federal Government's renewable energy target has proved a headache for Malcolm Turnbull, but what exactly is the RET and what is it hoped to achieve?

Qantas chief urges energy action
Qantas chief Alan Joyce has added to business calls for greater certainty of energy supply and pricing.

Green Investment Bank: Australian bidder woos MPs as protests continue
Macquarie insists it is committed to renewable energy – but critics say it could invest in fossil fuels if its bid succeeds.

Australia expected to sizzle through record-breaking autumn - after hottest summer ever
Australia is expected to sizzle through a hot and dry autumn after one of the hottest summers ever, as the Bureau of Meteorology predict further heatwaves across the country.

Power retailers pay $130m in penalties rather than meet RET requirements
Electricity retailers ERM Power and Alinta Energy opt to pay more than $130 million in penalties, rather than meeting their renewable energy obligations, raising fresh questions about the Renewable Energy Target.

Solar power 'cheaper than fossil fuels in most capital cities'
Solar energy is now cheaper in Australia than retail power prices in most capital cities after dropping 58 per cent in the past five years, the Climate Council says.

'Going gangbusters': the new way to beat power costs

State of solar 2016: globally and in Australia
This new report finds that the solar rollout will continue to go gangbusters this year, with more than twenty industrial-scale installations set to go ahead across the country, and another...

The terrible consequences of the Coalition's inaction on climate
It's been a lost decade on climate action and we know the ones who lost it for us.

Lights out on energy policy

Why won't government understand there's no such thing as clean coal?

Victorian Government was 'not prepared' to accept power cuts to help NSW
The Victorian Government says it told the national energy operator "under no circumstances" could it cut power to regional centres in order to keep New South Wales operating during a recent heatwave

Alumina chief blasts energy costs
Alumina and partner Alcoa have written down their stake in the Portland aluminium smelter in Victoria by $163.7m.

Victorian fury over plan to prioritise NSW

Vic wants answers on national power grid
The Victorian government wants to know how the nation's energy market operator deals with extreme weather events.

Climate change social research: summary of key findings
Document summaries the key topline findings from the research into current community attitudes, beliefs, behaviours and expectations of government in the area of climate change.

Gas-fired power plants failed during NSW heatwave, report reveals
Market regulator urgently requested aluminium smelter reduce electricity use as demand surged alongside temperatures.

Hunter Valley mine expansion rejected fourth time
A major Hunter Valley mine expansion, Anglo American's Drayton South project, is rejected for the fourth time amid concerns it poses too many risks to the environment.

Coral bleaching on Great Barrier Reef could be normal within 20 years
As new evidence of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef emerges, scientists warn the temperatures that caused last year's devastating coral die-off will be commonplace within decades.

Coal company silenced farmers with confidentiality clauses
New Hope, the company behind the New Acland coal mine on Queensland's Darling Downs, is silencing nearby farmers in signed agreements, an environmentalist says.

Wivenhoe pumped hydro: the big little plant that didn’t
Queenslanders would pay much less for power if the generation sector was split up. The use, or non-use, of the Wivenhoe pumped hydro storage facility illustrates why.

Albany wave power plan 'a good opportunity', renewables firm says
Renewables company Carnegie Clean Energy confirms it is interested in developing WA Labor's proposal for a wave power farm in Albany, in Western Australia's Great Southern Region.

McGowan backs $20m ‘world first’ wave farm at Albany
Mark McGowan has unveiled plans to plough almost $20 million into building the world’s first commercial wave farm off Albany on WA’s south coast.

Air pollution may have masked mid-20th century sea ice loss
Humans may have been altering Arctic sea ice longer than previously thought, according to researchers studying the effects of air pollution on sea ice growth in the ...

Low snowpacks of 2014, 2015 may become increasingly common
Oregon experienced very low snowpack levels in 2014 and historically low snowpack levels in 2015; now a new study suggests that these occurrences may not be anomalous in the future and could become much more common if average temperatures warm just two degrees (Celsius).

Climate scientists face harassment, threats and fears of 'McCarthyist attacks'

Researchers will have to deal with attacks from a range of powerful foes in the coming years – and for many, it has already started.

How a Pacific island changed from diesel to 100% solar power
The island of Ta'u in American Samoa now boasts a solar microgrid from Tesla's SolarCity

This is what 4 million solar panels look like from space
On the Tibetan Plateau in eastern China, 4 million solar panels silently soak up the sun as part of the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park. It’s the largest solar farm in the world, spreading over 10 square miles of the high desert landscape.

India using coal tax money to fund renewable energy projects
India has a goal of quadrupling the amount of electricity it generates from renewable sources to 175 gigawatts by 2022.

Fracking led to more than 6,000 spills in 10 years, study finds
A new study looks at fracking sites in four states, finding 6,648 spills between 2005 and 2014. Their research, the study's authors say, highlights a need for better data collection – and may help prevent future incidents.

Brace for the oil, food and financial crash of 2018
Welcome to a new age of permanent economic recession driven by ongoing dependence on dirty, expensive, difficult oil… unless we choose a fundamentally different path.

Wooden 'plyscrapers' challenge concrete and steel
High-rise wooden buildings, led by "The Tree", a 52.8 meter (173 feet) apartment block in Norway, are claiming a place on city skylines as the timber industry challenges the supremacy of concrete and steel

Liquid hydrogen may be way forward for sustainable air travel
Transport makes up around 20 percent of our energy use around the world--and that figure is set to grow, according to the International Energy Agency.

Light-driven reaction converts carbon dioxide into fuel
Duke University researchers have developed tiny nanoparticles that help convert carbon dioxide into methane using only ultraviolet light as an energy source.

Climate-friendlier air conditioning chemicals hard to find, study shows
Replacing HFCs as a coolant is the goal of a global accord, but so far, economical alternatives all show some flaws.

Chennai oil spill: A disaster that’s still unfolding
The inadequate response to the oil spill off the coast of Chennai raises questions of accountability.

President Trump takes aim at the environment
Invoking a false argument about saving “many thousands” of jobs, the president has again retreated from responsibility.

Deep sea life faces dark future due to warming and food shortage
New study reveals negative impact of climate change, human activity, acidification and deoxygenation on ocean and its creatures.

'Doomsday vault': 50,000 additions for global life insurance
TUCKED away beneath the ice in a secure Arctic location is humanity’s largest insurance policy. It’s just been given its biggest upgrade yet.

Six biodiversity hotspots claimed to be on brink of ecosystem collapse
A study has claimed to identify the six marine biodiversity hotspots that are the most at risk of ecosystem collapse in the world due to climate change and overfishing, but the validity of the study has been questioned

Climate change doubles size of northern lakes, pushes bison off habitat
New research suggests that climate change has mysteriously caused lakes in a northern protected area to nearly double in size, forcing a herd of at-risk bison off some of their best habitat.