Saturday 16 December 2017

Audit office slams Australia’s dud investments in “clean coal”
Audit office slams Australia’s CCS funding programs, saying $450 million spent, and nothing achieved: Not a single tonne of CO2 saved, no technology ready for deployment, from a scheme that has been a governance catastrophe.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/audit-office-slams-australias-dud-investments-in-clean-coal-90953/

EnergyAustralia is planning to turn garbage into electricity
http://www.theage.com.au/business/energy/energyaustralia-looks-to-garbage-for-energy-20171212-p4yxmo.html

Audit office slams Australia’s dud investments in “clean coal”
Audit office slams Australia’s CCS funding programs, saying $450 million spent, and nothing achieved: Not a single tonne of CO2 saved, no technology ready for deployment, from a scheme that has been a governance catastrophe.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/audit-office-slams-australias-dud-investments-in-clean-coal-90953/

CEFC passes 1GW big solar milestone, after backing two new projects
CEFC notches up 1 gigawatt of big solar investment across Australia, after committing another $207m to two new projects in Victoria and Queensland.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/cefc-passes-1gw-big-solar-milestone-after-backing-two-new-projects-58383/

Corporates waking up to “new world” of cheap renewables, says Westpac
Westpac says at least 20 big companies are tendering for wind and solar plants as they look to bypass soaring grid costs and look for self-generation.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/corporates-waking-new-world-cheap-renewables-says-westpac-84467/

ACCC sets bar on ground for gas industry to jump over
As Australia’s competition regulator and national consumer law champion, it beggars belief that the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) continues to pander to the gas cartel.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/accc-sets-bar-on-ground-for-gas-industry-to-jump-over-51304/

Reality bites: Five of the biggest myths about sharks
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/reality-bites-five-of-the-biggest-myths-about-sharks-20171214-h051m3.html

A gas shortage next year is unlikely, but that’s the only good news
David Blowers, Grattan Institute
The government’s handshake deal with gas suppliers may have stopped the market plunging off a cliff, but it’s not doing much more.
http://theconversation.com/a-gas-shortage-next-year-is-unlikely-but-thats-the-only-good-news-89228

To fight the catastrophic fires of the future, we need to look beyond prescribed burning
James Furlaud, David Bowman, University of Tasmania
https://theconversation.com/to-fight-the-catastrophic-fires-of-the-future-we-need-to-look-beyond-prescribed-burning-89167

The Gary Johns appointment
Alex McKinnon
Announcing strident critic of charities Gary Johns to head the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission betrays a questionable selection process and a campaign to nobble the sector.
https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2017/12/16/the-gary-johns-appointment/15133428005650

Video shows rays snared in shark nets off NSW north coast
Concerns about shark nets resurface with video footage showing nets snaring rays off the New South Wales north coast.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-15/shark-nets-catch-rays-north-coast-nsw/9261962

Tiny NSW town celebrates another win over miners
http://www.theage.com.au/environment/not-in-public-interest-gloucester-coal-mine-rejected-by-planning-commission-20171215-h059jn.html

Byron Bay’s world-first solar train gets ready to trundle
World-first solar train – running with its own solar and battery storage – to be launched in Byron Bay on Saturday.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/byron-bays-world-first-solar-train-gets-ready-to-trundle-77511/

Two in five peak hour trains are overcrowded – and it’s going to get worse
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/overcrowding-on-sydneys-trains-rapidly-getting-worse-as-demand-soars-20171214-h053rm.html

Reliable? Baseload? Liddell unit broken and out for most of summer
Giles Parkinson
A 420MW unit at Liddell coal generator is out of action and won’t be available for most of summer; a 700MW unit at Mt Piper also failed, and two other big coal units tripped in the first week of the summer heatwave.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/reliable-baseload-liddell-unit-broken-and-out-for-most-of-summer-10417/

Gina Rinehart and the Galilee
Karen Middleton
As Adani draws public ire over its Abbot Point rail line, Gina Rinehart awaits the benefits of another NAIF deal to open up the Galilee.
https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/resources/2017/12/16/gina-rinehart-and-the-galilee/15133428005647

Rebecca Knol says the SA Chamber of Mines and Energy is lobbying for policy reform ahead of the state election
JUST more than a year on from taking the top role at the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy, and it’s a very different resources sector which faces chief executive Rebecca Knol.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/rebecca-knol-says-the-sa-chamber-of-mines-and-energy-is-lobbying-for-policy-reform-ahead-of-the-state-election/news-story/3f082622d89053abe15c404c1fd57715

Nice announcement by NSW but ‘real action’ is needed on the Murray: Water Minister Ian Hunter
NSW has succumbed to criticism and announced a new $9.5 million commitment to enforcing the historic reform to save the River Murray.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/nice-announcement-by-nsw-but-real-action-is-needed-on-the-murray-water-minister-ian-hunter/news-story/c7843c89a0de997d6656ecff561745b2

Prominent NSW barrister to lead SA’s Murray Darling Royal Commission
South Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission will be led by a Bret Walker SC who represented Federal Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce as he dealt with his citizenship crisis.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/prominent-nsw-barrister-to-lead-sas-murray-darling-royal-commission/news-story/bf43870d6ba6e4f78970c8138098b6f4

Olympic Dam a Trump casualty?
Robert Gottliebsen
BHP’s extension of its Olympic Dam project could be delayed, as mining giants rush to take advantage of US tax breaks
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/robert-gottliebsen/bhps-olympic-dam-a-potential-casualty-of-trumps-tax-package/news-story/e0d14fb8391ded5e4fc17f785a609da5

Wind farm plans for Robbins Island dependent on new Bass Strait cable
A remote island off Tasmania’s north-west coast could become one of the largest wind farms in the southern hemisphere, but only if Tasmania gets a second Bass Strait power interconnector.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-15/wind-farm-on-robbins-island-off-tasmania-dependent-on-cable/9263116

‘Once-in-a-generation’ forest institute opens in Launceston
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5123448/once-in-a-generation-forest-institute-opens-in-launceston/?cs=95

Tasmania’s North-West tip to become wind farm capital of Australia
Tasmania’s far North-West is set to become Australia’s wind farm capital with work starting on what is destined to be the nation’s biggest renewable energy park.
http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/tasmanias-northwest-tip-to-become-wind-farm-capital-of-australia/news-story/47463f5f40dbfb7544c45a5253eb2bb8

Gas industry wants certainty from Govt on fracking ban
http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/gas-industry-wants-certainty-from-govt-on-fracking-ban/news-story/4471f508588634c815397a291e0da241

Fishos must protect Territory’s jewfish stocks
The black jewfish (Protonibea diacanthus) is one of the most popular fish species targeted by anglers in the Territory.
http://www.ntnews.com.au/lifestyle/fishing/fishos-must-protect-territorys-jewfish-stocks/news-story/91ea79c1722b0b8053d20af35eceb52c

Heavy Oils and Petroleum Coke Raising Vanadium Emissions
Human emissions of the potentially harmful trace metal vanadium into Earth’s atmosphere have spiked sharply since the start of the 21st century due in large part to industry’s growing use of heavy oils, tar sands, bitumen and petroleum coke for energy, a new Duke University study finds.
http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/53473

Russian scientists developed a new technology of energy generation from bituminous coal
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/ufu-rsd121517.php

New technique could make captured carbon more valuable
Scientists developed an efficient process for turning captured carbon dioxide into syngas, a mixture of H2 and CO that can be used to make fuels and chemicals
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/dnl-ntc121417.php

Columbia engineers develop floating solar fuels rig for seawater electrolysis
Design is the first practical floating solar hydrogen-generating device to perform water electrolysis without pumps or membranes; could lead to low-cost, sustainable hydrogen production
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-12/cuso-ced121417.php

2017 showed global clean energy revolution is unstoppable, no matter what Trump does
Joe Romm
The solar, wind, battery, and electric car “miracles” have gone mainstream.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2017-showed-global-clean-energy-revolution-unstoppable-no-matter-trump-87561/

Complex, Old-Growth Forests May Protect Some Bird Species in a Warming Climate
Old forests that contain large trees and a diversity of tree sizes and species may offer refuge to some types of birds facing threats in a warming climate, scientists have found.
http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/53472

How Much Soil Goes Down The Drain — New Data On Soil Lost Due To Water
According to a new study, almost 36 billion tons of soil is lost every year due to water, and deforestation and other changes in land use make the problem worse.
http://www.enn.com/agriculture/article/53469

Saving Salamanders: Vital to Ecosystem Health
Amphibians—the big-eyed, swimming-crawling-jumping-climbing group of water and land animals that includes frogs, toads, salamanders and worm-like caecilians—are the world’s most endangered vertebrates.
http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/53461

More frequent fires reduce soil carbon and fertility, slowing the regrowth of plants
Frequent burning over decades reduces the amount of carbon and nitrogen stored in soils of savanna grasslands and broadleaf forests, in part because reduced plant growth means less carbon being drawn out of the atmosphere and stored in plant matter.
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/53464