Energy in SA? Ask Giles Parkinson

Elon Musk? Snowy Hydro 2.0? Jay vs Josh? World’s biggest battery? Is gas dead?

We’ve had a truly remarkable week of energy news in SA. Are you elated? Worried? Or just a little confused?

Find out from Giles Parkinson, one of Australia’s leading and most forthright energy commentators what’s really going on — and why there’s much cause for optimism.

He’s talking at The Joinery, on March 27, 2017 at 6pm – 7:30pm

With as much punch as an Elon Musk battery tweet but without the awkwardness of the Jay Weatherill/Josh Frydenberg stoush, Giles will explain all. 

Tickets are just $5 to cover costs.

Bookings at Conservation SA


SA Govt expands gas exploration

On March 14th, the SA government unveiled its plan for Energy Security. While there were some laudable measures — a $150 million Renewable Technology Fund to make renewable energy dispatchable, including 100MW of grid-connected storage (likely to cost $20 million) — there were some measures aimed at promoting and expanding the gas industry: a 250 MW gas generator ($350 million), an additional $24 million to encourage more gas exploration (why when we can’t burn existing reserves if we are serious about tackling climate change?).

What wasn’t made explicit, but was confirmed by the Minster for Energy & Resources, was the drive to open up the SE to fracking of gas.

This is something the farmers in the SE are dead set against, and the new 10% royalty fund is unlikely to persuade them. FoE believes the SA government should follow the example of the Victorians and ban any expansion of the fracking gas industry. Fracked gas is more carbon intensive than coal!

Come along to our AGM and hear Ann Dawe explain why it just won’t happen.

You may be wondering, as FoE Adelaide is wondering, why the government didn’t just spend three times as much on storage, and pocket the savings ($290 million) by not bothering with a new gas-fired plant.

[excellent detailed commentary on the reneweconomy website:


Undemocratic nuclear waste law

Friends of the Earth Australia is today releasing a detailed report on the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (NRWMA). The report ? written by Monash University fifth-year law student Amanda Ngo ? comes against the backdrop of the federal government’s targeting of a site near Hawker in SA’s Flinders Ranges for a national radioactive waste store and repository.

The NRWMA is heavy-handed, undemocratic legislation that gives the federal government the power to extinguish rights and interests in land targeted for a radioactive waste facility. In so doing the Minister must “take into account any relevant comments by persons with a right or interest in the land” but there is no requirement to secure consent.

Traditional Owners, local communities, pastoralists, business owners, local councils and State/Territory Governments are all disadvantaged and disempowered by the NRWMA.

The NRWMA disempowers Traditional Owners ? in this case Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners ? in multiple ways, including:

  • The nomination of a site for a radioactive waste facility is valid even if Aboriginal owners were not consulted and did not give consent.
  • The NRWMA has sections which nullify State or Territory laws that protect the archaeological or heritage values of land or objects, including those which relate to Indigenous traditions.
  • The NRWMA curtails the application of Commonwealth laws including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the Native Title Act 1993 in the important site-selection stage.
  •  The Native Title Act 1993 is expressly overridden in relation to land acquisition for a radioactive waste facility.

See the media release from FoE Australia, or follow the link above to the report for details.…

Fukushima Anniversary

Saturday March 11 marked the sixth anniversary of the triple-disaster in north-east Japan – the earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

And the news is not good. Scientists are wondering how on earth to stabilise and decontaminate the failed reactors awash with molten nuclear fuel, which are fast turning into graveyards for the radiation-hardened robots sent in to investigate them.

The Japanese government’s estimate of Fukushima compensation and clean-up costs has doubled and doubled again and now stands at ¥21.5 trillion (US$187bn; €177bn).

Indirect costs – such as fuel import costs, and losses to agricultural, fishing and tourism industries – will likely exceed that figure.

Kendra Ulrich from Greenpeace Japan notes in a new report that “for those who were impacted by the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, the crisis is far from over. And it is women and children that have borne the brunt of human rights violations resulting from it, both in the immediate aftermath and as a result of the Japan government’s nuclear resettlement policy.”

Jim Green, FoE Australia’s anti-nuclear campaigner, writing in The Ecologist