Sunday, March 15, 2015


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is having a laugh at the collapse of the PUP party

Extra Solar PV for Grid - NT Study

Not mentioned below is that Alice springs is effectively in the middle of a desert -- so experiences bright and sunny days most of the time.  There is no way the findings could be generalized to often cloudy coastal areas

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today released a study that shows how up to 10MW of extra solar photovoltaic (PV) could be installed in the Alice Springs grid without adversely affecting supply stability.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said this additional PV would make a sizeable difference to the Alice Springs grid, which currently has 4.1MW of solar and a peak load of almost 55MW in summer.

"The findings of this study are timely and show how more solar PV could be reliably introduced into Australian electricity networks," Mr Frischknecht said.

"ARENA provided $242,625 towards the study which was conducted by Northern Territory (NT) engineering company CAT Projects, and investigated the impact of large amounts of solar PV on electricity grids and how to effectively manage it.

"One of the challenges involved in increasing grid-connected solar power in Australia is how to best manage the local weather impacts, such as cloud cover.

"CAT Projects used a network of solar monitoring stations to estimate the maximum number of solar power generators that can be connected to the Alice Springs electricity grid without energy storage.

Mr Frischknecht said the study found that dispersing solar PV across geographical locations can effectively counteract its variability within a network.

"The study shows that building a larger number of smaller installations and spreading them out, ideally 3-5 kilometers apart in Alice Springs, can reduce the impact of local cloud cover and smooth overall solar energy output," Mr Frischknecht said.

"This analysis is very relevant to solar projects currently being planned in the NT and elsewhere in Australia, and could allow network planners to increase the amount of solar PV that can be connected to the network.

"The findings should also allow performance-based Power Purchase Agreements to be more accurately formulated, potentially lowering the cost of renewable energy generation.

"Studies like this have a vital role to play in helping to increase confidence in renewable energy, overcoming barriers and encouraging more renewables into electricity grids."

The study is now publically available in line with ARENA's commitment to advance competitive renewable energy technologies and solutions through knowledge sharing.

The results are available on the analysis of variations in instantaneous weather effects project page.


Abbott promises Islamist crackdown

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott said today the government would soon crack down on radical Islamist groups in Australia preaching hatred against others in the community.

In an interview with The Australian on Sky News, Mr Abbott also stood by the government’s proposed universities and age-pension reforms, defended his doubts on funding remote indigenous communities and said the government’s resolution rather than opinion polls mattered most.

The Prime Minister told Paul Kelly and Greg Sheridan of The Australian that many Muslim leaders internationally were speaking out against jihadist movements such as Islamic State.

Questioned about some local activities of the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir that are currently legal, Mr Abbott said the government intended to crack down on hate preachers, “not next week … but shortly’’.

Asked if he would resign if government polling support did not improve after last month’s unsuccessful leadership spill motion, Mr Abbott said: “I’m determined we will not be in that position.”

He said voters did not want a return to the “musical chairs’’ of the previous Labor prime ministers but agreed he and ministers could choose their words better.


Radical tolerance for the Left but intolerance towards conservatives

THE intolerant Left was at it again on Wednesday, this time at the taxpayer-subsidised Univer­sity of Sydney where a group of demonstrators attempted to disrupt a lunchtime lecture by Richard Kemp on ethical dilemmas of military tactics.

Kemp, a retired British military officer and security consultant, is a former commander of British armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was the subject of a tough but fair interview by Fran Kelly on Radio National Breakfast on Wednesday before proceeding to Sydney University for a public event hosted by a couple of academics.

During his Radio National interview, Kemp supported the tactics used by the Israel Defence Forces in its recent war with Hamas-led Gaza.

Kemp’s point was that, by placing its rocket launchers and building its attack tunnels in heavily populated areas, Hamas essentially used the citizens of Gaza as human shields. Consequently, the legitimate actions of the IDF, in stopping the rockets and destroying the attack tunnels, inevitably would have the unintended consequence of killing and injuring civilians.

This was a tough-minded but valid point. No democratically elected government — whether based in London, Paris, Washington or Canberra — would do nothing while a declared enemy across a border fired rockets and planned military raids aimed at killing and kidnapping. Why should the democratically elected leaders of Israel be expected to act differently?

According to the report by Glen Falkenstein on the J-Wire website, Kemp had covered only non-state militant groups in Ireland and Afghanistan when a small group of demonstrators entered the lecture theatre. As is common with the extremes of Left and Right, demonstrators prefer slogans to argument. So this lot chanted in unison: “Richard Kemp / You can’t hide / You support genocide.”

Of course, Kemp has never advocated genocide. And he was not trying to hide. To the radical Left, however, such facts are of no moment. After all, “hide” rhymes with “genocide” and there was a lecture to disrupt.

A demonstrator, equipped with a megaphone, drowned out Kemp and the academic moderator.

Enter Jake Lynch, director of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. He happens to be one of the leading activists in the Australian chapter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign aimed at disabling the Israeli economy. Lynch was present in the audience when the attempted disruption began.

On Thursday, I engaged in correspondence with Lynch and he provided me with some brief iPhone videos of the occasion, which he had filmed. The footage indicates that protesters physic­ally resisted attempts by security to remove them.

Lynch’s iPhone video indicates that a middle-aged woman threw water at some demonstrators. A still photo of the occasion shows Lynch thrusting a $5 note in the face of a person he called the “older lady”.

Lynch advised me that he did this to warn the woman in question that he “would have no option but to sue her for assault if she carried on — which would cost her a lot of money”.

This seems highly unprofessional behaviour on the part of one of Sydney University’s associate professors with respect to a member of the public visiting the campus.

You wonder what the vice-chancellor thinks about such action on the part of one of his senior academics.

In the event, Lynch’s legal threat was of no moment.

As Lynch conceded in his correspondence with me, he “emerged without injury” from the occasion.

But not without involvement. Lynch did not object to the attempt by the left-wing radicals to disrupt Kemp’s address.

In Lynch’s words: “I took a seat at the meeting, and left it only to remonstrate with University security guards when they used force to eject the demonstrators.”

In other words, Lynch’s position is that the demonstrators should have been allowed to prevent Kemp from speaking. According to Lynch, “The security guards’ sole remit in such circumstances should be to prevent harm being done.”

I asked Lynch whether he would accept protesters attempting to disrupt speeches at his Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies by opponents of Israel such as John Pilger and Hanan Ashrawi.

His response was the familiar “that’s different” argument.

Lynch wrote to me as follows: “I would dispute the parallel with John Pilger or Hanan Ashrawi. I have never heard either of them deliver a speech that was disingenuous or deceitful in the way of the remarks by Colonel Kemp.”

This rationalisation of intolerance overlooks the fact Kemp’s speech was disrupted before he even discussed Israel or the Hamas Islamists who run Gaza.

Lynch uses his influence to run campaigns against Israel. He is the poster-boy for the Left’s dominance of so many social science departments at so many Australian universities.

Born in 1965 to members of the British Communist Party, Lynch joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament when the middle-class radicals who comprised the CND believed the West should disarm.

This would have left the communist dictatorship in Moscow victorious in the Cold War.

As Lynch revealed in an ABC Classic FM interview with Margaret Throsby in April 2009, he criticises all Western leaders, but always from the Left. His targets include Barack Obama, Gordon Brown and Kevin Rudd, in addition to political conservatives.

The evidence suggests that what takes place at Lynch’s centre is little more than a left-wing stack. He believes that anti-Israel demonstrators have a right to disrupt lectures provided no physical harm is caused, but does not advocate such behaviour for his own functions.

This is a manifestation of what left-wing Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse once advocated. Marcuse called for tolerance for the Left but “intolerance towards the self-styled conservatives”.  It’s unlikely that the student demonstrators today have heard of Marcuse, but they practise his teachings, nevertheless.


Libs offer pension peace plan

A NEW mechanism to assess the adequacy of the pension each three years with possible triennial increases in the pension rate is the focus of negotiations between ­Social Services Minister Scott Morrison and the Senate crossbenchers.

The initiative is seen by Mr Morrison as a political circuit-breaker to win a passage through parliament for the government’s policy to legislate a lower indexation rate for pension adjustments based on the consumer price index.

It involves a formal, independ­ent review of the pension each three years, guaranteed by law, that would have the discretion to recommend increases in the pension rate to be considered at budget time. Mr Morrison has told Senate crossbenchers this equates to a safety net for the pension. He calls it a pension adequacy review.

Social services minister Scott Morrison said age and other pensions would be indexed twice a year according to the consumer price index (the inflation rate), with the review conducted thrice-yearly to ensure pensions kept up with community living standards.

He said that review, conducted by an independent panel and tabled in parliament, would provide a safety net for pensions beyond the CPI increases.

But there would be no obligation to act on its recommendations. “This would be a matter for the government of the day because the government of the day has to be able to consider the broader fiscal issues at play here,” he told reporters in Sydney.

In last year’s budget, the government proposed changing the pension indexation to reduce long-term costs. That’s vehemently opposed by Labor and now stalled in the Senate.

For it to pass in the face of Labor and Green objections, the government needs the support of at least six of the eight crossbench Senators.

Pensions are now indexed every March and September to the higher of the CPI or male total average weekly earnings. The government wants to index only by CPI, mostly lower than MTAWE and now at 1.7 per cent.

Mr Morrison said 2.5 million Australians were receiving pensions, which cost about $40 billion a year. That’s set to rise to almost $70 billion a year in a decade.

He said the government wanted to ensure the pension safety net remained for future generations.

“If you just keep going with the pedal to the metal, you will race if off the edge of the cliff,” he said.

Mr Morrison declined to say how the crossbench senators had responded to his overtures.

“It’s a worthy option to continue to discuss. Where we end up, well that’s a matter for the crossbench,” he said.

Labor families spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said the opposition wasn’t about to budge on changes to pension indexation.

She said the Australian Council of Social Service had calculated pensioners would be $80 a week worse off in a decade if the indexation was changed to CPI.

“We do not want to see any mean or tricky cut to pension indexation. This idea of a review will not guarantee that pensioners maintain their decent standard of living,” she told reporters in Melbourne.

Treasurer Joe Hockey today said this was a sensible measure that would ensured age pensions remained sustainable and continued to meet the needs of older Australians who would live longer.

“In order to stay the same, we have to change. We have to make sure the pension is available to those who deserve it and need it,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“We are prepared to discuss these issues with anyone who is sensible and anyone who really cares about Australia’s future.”

Shadow families minister Jenny Macklin said this was a mean trick not a compromise.

“Whilst Labor does not oppose a regular review into pension adequacy, it must not come at the cost of a proper indexation method,” she said in a statement.

“CPI indexation will see the pension reduced dramatically, pushing pensioners below the poverty line.”

The review would be a trade-off for moving to indexation based on the CPI, a lower index replacing the benchmarking of pensions to male average weekly earnings.

The three-yearly review would assess pension rates relative to changes in community living standards. The pension would continue to rise each March and September, as it does now.

The aim is to alleviate fears of any substantial erosion of the pension arising from the new indexation formula. The Morrison strategy proposal would reduce the budget savings from the pension reforms but win the new index­ation arrangement.

The initiative reveals the determination of Mr Morrison and Tony Abbott to secure major ­welfare reform in the teeth of Labor Party resistance. Given the backdown on the Medicare co-­payment, the government needs to secure some of its pivotal 2014 budget reforms.

Mr Morrison argues that, without incremental reform, the long-term viability of the pension is at risk, a position advanced in the government’s recent Intergenerational Report.

The three-yearly review would be undertaken by an independent panel appointed by the minister. The panel would have expertise in social security, labour econo­mics and disadvantage, and would asses­s adequacy by referring to benchmarks such as disposable household income, the minimum wage, median weekly earnings and budget consequences.

There would be public consult­ations, with the review tabled in parliament and the government responding formally in the budget.

The core Morrison position is that the status quo is not an option in terms of sustainability. The current single base rate is $776.30 a fortnight and the couple rate is $1171 a fortnight, exclusive of supplements, allowances and concession-card benefits.

Since the election, rates have risen by $43.60 for singles and $64.80 for a couple.

The current compromise reform­ proposal has the pension indexed to the CPI until 2027-28 when, with the budget returned to a 1 per cent of GDP surplus, the index would become average weekly earnings.

This index is not rising as sharply as male average weekly earnings, the current index and origin of the pension sustainability problem. The aim is a long-run transition to a more viable index.

Pensions involved would be the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Bereavement Allowance, Widow B Pension, Wife Pension, service pensions and Parenting Payment.

Basic to the government’s position is the need for one standard index to cover all pension payments. This has been recommended consistently by major inquires such as the Henry tax review in 2009 and the McClure review into the welfare system this year.


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