Thursday, September 29, 2022

A major overhaul of Queensland’s energy sector will involve construction of the ‘world’s biggest’ pumped hydro project

This is nonsense. For pumped hydro you need TWO dams, at astronomical cost. Where is the money going to come from? Will it reduce the funding for hospitals, police and pensioners? Realistic cost estimates and realistic statements about how other spending will be affected are needed. There is no sign of either.

When there are so many other needs for funding (ambulancees, housing etc.) already crying out, this proposal is verging on criminal. And for what? To replace s perfectly good electricity supply that we have already. It will buy a few votes from Greenies, that is all

A major overhaul of Queensland’s energy sector will cost $62bn over 13 years and involve construction of the “world’s biggest” pumped hydroelectric power plant project, ending the “reliance” on coal in the state’s publicly owned power plants by 2035.

The goals of the Queensland Energy Plan include hitting a new, higher renewable energy target of 70 per cent by 2032, though the state’s emissions reductions target of 30 per cent below 2005 baseline levels will not change.

The targets will be legislated.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk released the state’s long-awaited 10-year Queensland Energy Plan at her annual state of the state address on Wednesday afternoon, saying the “race was now on” to secure “clean energy supply chains”.

“We must invest now, not just for our climate,” she said. “We must address this issue at the same time we focus on new job opportunities to bring everyone along with the clean energy industrial revolution at our doorstep.”

Ms Palaszczuk confirmed Queensland’s plan was to get 70 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2032, and 80 per cent by 2035.

Natural renewable resources are energy sources with an endless supply so they can be continuously replenished. Some examples of renewable resources include the wind, sun, geothermal heat and water.

Part of the plan will include building two new pumped hydroelectric plants — one west of Mackay and the other at Borumba Dam by 2035.

There will be a new “SuperGrid” built to connect solar, wind, battery and hydrogen generators across the state.

“The super grid brings together all of the elements in the electricity system with the poles and wires that provide Queenslanders with clean, reliable and affordable power for generations,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“That super grid delivers around 1500 kilometres of transmission lines from Brisbane up to North Queensland and out west to Hughenden.”

Publicly owned coal fired power plants, which make up the majority of the state’s coal fired assets, would be “converted” to clean energy hubs from 2027. And their “reliance” on coal would be stopped by 2035.

Ms Palaszczuk said this would be “done in a measured way”. “We won’t convert coal power stations until there is replacement firmed generation,” she said. “We will keep our coal fired power stations as back up capacity until replacement pumped hydro energy storage is operational. “We will be able to turn the stations back on if something goes wrong.”

The state will also build a “hydrogen gas ready turbine”.

The energy plan will cost an estimated $62bn between now and 2035, with the funds to be spread across state and federal governments and the private sector.

“By 2035 Queensland … will have no regular reliance on coal and be at 80 per cent renewable energy,” Ms Palaszczuk said. “That’s because we will have more pumped hydro energy storage than the rest of Australia combined. “Today is about being bold with an energy and jobs plan that has tangible aims and palpable outcomes.”

The latest data shows Queensland’s energy mix in 2021/22 was 21.4 per cent renewable, up from 19.6 per cent between August 2020 and July 2021.

The state government has been ramping up its energy-related announcements in the last week, with Ms Palaszczuk travelling out to South Burnett on Monday to reveal a $780m commitment to building Australia’s largest publicly owned wind farm. The Tarong West Wind Farm in the South Burnett would create enough electricity to power up to 230,000 homes.

At a press conference this morning, Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said it would power “the size of the Gold Coast”, and would be the “equivalent of taking 230,000 cars off the road”.

He said existing cattle farmers located near the wind farm would be able to operate as usual.

The project will include up to 150 turbines and generate 500MW, with 200 jobs created during the construction phase and 15 ongoing roles when the farm up and running.

Earlier, the Greens said Queensland risked being “laughed out of the room” over its climate policies, with the party urging the Palaszczuk government to accelerate the closure of coal-fired stations and adopt a transition plan for the workforce.

Greens MP Michael Berkman said Queensland risked breaching its Paris Agreement unless it includes the closure of the state’s power stations by 2030.


Albanese government would ‘absolutely’ welcome a Tesla manufacturing plant

Australia had a long history of making cars. It stopped because it was uneconomical. It just bumped up the cost of living. Would Musk's Australian factories be able to compete with his factories in China? Not likely. Not without a nice little subsidy out of the pocket of the Australian taxpayer

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Catherine King says the Albanese government would “absolutely” welcome Tesla opening a manufacturing plant in Australia.

Her comments come after the company’s most senior executive in Australia hinted the electric vehicle giant could expand its manufacturing capabilities here.

Board chair Robyn Denholm told the National Press Club in Canberra earlier this month the company wanted to have manufacturing capability on every continent.

She said Tesla needed to “be in all of the major markets” in order to compete in a world moving towards the widespread use of electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries.

Ms King said on Wednesday the “incredibly disappointing” winding down of the Australian car manufacturing industry had implications for research and development across the manufacturing sector.

The Albanese government has been enthusiastic about ramping up local manufacturing and indicated this could include making cars once again.

But Energy Minister Chris Bowen was noncommittal when asked on Wednesday if he thought it was realistic to expect cars to be made in Australia again.

“We’re very excited as (Ms King) said, right up and down the supply chain,” he said.

“The economics of electric vehicle manufacturing are very different to traditional internal combustion engines, whether it’s full vehicles or those components of vehicles along the way.

“And as I said at the outset, the more we have an electric vehicle market in Australia, the more that will support electric vehicle component and indeed, potentially in due course, manufacturing.”

Mr Bowen and Ms King made the comments as they unveiled the federal government’s consultation paper, outlining the framework for a new national electric vehicle strategy.


Camp fees spark fears popular Straddie beach spot Blaksley will close under native title

Restrictions on access by others nearly always result from a grant of native title

Boaties and campers to a popular beachside camping site on Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island, fear the introduction of camping fees by the state government could lead to the closure of their holiday hideaway.

The $7-a-night per permit fee, or $28 for a family, was put in place last week, on the first day of the September school holidays, when the state government also set out stringent regulations for the beach site.

The site will be limited to 10 tents and bookings capped at seven nights with permit fees paid to the state government prior to arrival.

Despite the site being a remote bush setting with no inroad, campers must abide by check-in and check-out times with no arrivals before 2pm and all vacated by 11am.

Further regulations will be implemented this week, when the state will remove all rubbish bins and make it mandatory for each camping booking to have its own Australian-standard portaloo.

Long-time visitors pegging out tent sites last week were surprised to see a new billboard advertising the fees and announcing the “new campground” rules.

Blaksley Slip is on aboriginal land and is part of the Naree Budjong Djara National Park, jointly managed by the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, known as QYAC, and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Traditional owners and departmental officers worked together to develop the visitor management policies.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science said the introduction of overnight permit fees was not a precursor to closing the site. “We need to be able to monitor the site to make sure that campers are being respectful in the area,” the spokesperson said. “Having people buy permits makes patrolling a lot easier.

“Native title exists at this site and it is aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 but QPWS has no plans to close this site in the near or distant future.”

The spokesperson said because the camping area was in the national park, land, flora and fauna was protected and it was illegal to disturb, remove or destroy it.

The permit system, introduced this month, followed concerns unregistered campers were unlawfully bringing pet dogs and illegally cutting down trees for firewood.

But Cleveland resident Luke Seaborne, who has been visiting the campsite for 30 years, said he believed the new regulations were designed to drive people away and has started a petition to keep the area public.

He said it was not the first time changes to rules at public campsites on the island had been made over school holidays with the worst occasion in July 2020 when the island’s five main caravan parks closed.

Adder Rock and Adams Beach campgrounds closed in 2020 for maintenance work while Bradbury’s Beach site, at Dunwich, remains closed to the public.

A year later, campers were astounded when the island’s Minjerribah Camping banned tents at three of the island’s main campgrounds over Easter.

Caravan sites at Amity Point, Adder Rock, Thankful Rest, Bradbury’s Beach and Adams Beach all closed to tourists for the two weeks despite the state government easing Covid restrictions the week before.

Mr Seaborne said taking away the bins and introducing permit fees would deter tourists.

“Having a maximum of 10 tents is ridiculous and limiting camping to one week is also a way of driving people away,” he said.

“My friends and I will pay the fees but we are furious with the limits on tents and booking times and we believe they are designed to get rid of campers.

“Taking away the bins will inevitably mean rubbish is left on the beach.


Peta Credlin says Australians are being treated as if 'we're all but racist' if they don't support the Voice to parliament

Australians are being 'morally shamed' into voting for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, a conservative columnist argues.

Peta Credlin, the former chief-of-staff for Liberal prime minster Tony Abbott, said the proposed Voice will be a race-based body that is more about 'power than recognition' but this is not how it is being sold.

'It will be pitched to voters in oversimplified terms: as being for or against Aboriginal people,' Ms Credlin wrote in The Australian.

The Voice is a proposed body of representatives from First Nations peoples across Australia that will advise federal parliament on matters concerning Indigenous people.

Its creation will require a change to the Australian Constitution that will have to be brought in by a successful referendum vote.

As an example of 'oversimplification' Ms Credlin pointed to the launch this week of what she called the 'big business' campaign for a 'yes' vote, which is backed by the Uluru Statement Group.

The ad features Indigenous playwright and actor Trevor Jamieson telling rapt children the hopeful story of how First People are allowed a 'say' in matters affecting them, which they haven't had.

'The "feel-good" yarning to children around a campfire, is a sign of things to come,' Ms Credlin wrote of the minute-long commercial, which will be mainly targeted at online audiences.

She noted that for previous referendums the federal government had funded campaigns both for a yes and no vote, but Ms Credlin doubted that would be done this time by the Albanese government.

'Labor will rely on big corporations to deluge us with the Yes message and hope, without the millions to match them, that no one picks up the arguments of the No side,' she said.

Ms Credlin accused those pushing for a Voice of being deliberately vague about what the body will do.

'The voice has to make a difference or what's the point of having it?' she wrote. 'Yet that difference can't be spelled out without almost certainly dooming it to defeat, hence the lack of detail.'

Ms Credlin believed Indigenous people already have a substantial say in the nation's affairs, pointing to the number of MPs who identify as Indigenous.

'Why establish a separate Indigenous voice to the parliament when it already includes 11 individual Indigenous voices that were elected in the usual way, without any affirmative action or race-based selection criteria?' she wrote.

'Why give one group of people, based on race, a special say over the actions of our parliament and our government that's denied to everyone else?'

She argued the Voice was really a grab for power. 'There's abundant reason to be cautious about entrenching in our Constitution a race-based body that even Malcolm Turnbull once described as a third chamber of the parliament,' she wrote. 'It’s easy to see where this could end up going – down the path of co-governance.'

Ms Credlin said the Voice had not really been 'thought through' and the danger is that Australians would be morally shamed into voting a 'race-based' Voice 'based on a vibe'.

'A couple of decades ago, we would have marched in the streets about a race-based body in our Constitution,' she wrote. 'Now we’re told we’re all but racist if we don’t support it.'

Will Australians vote for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament?
A poll by the Australia Institute in July found strong support for the Voice to be added to the Constitution.

The poll found 65 per cent would vote yes, up from 58 per cent when the same poll was run in June. Some 14 per cent said they would vote no, with the other 21 per cent undecided. Support was highest among Greens voters, but even 58 per cent of those Coalition aligned would vote yes.

For a referendum to succeed, a majority of the states must also vote yes, but the poll showed that was also easily covered.

All of the four biggest states had comfortable majorities with Victoria on 71 per cent, Queensland 66 per cent, WA 63 per cent and NSW 62 per cent.

Support was highest at 85 per cent for Australians aged 18-29 but those over 50 were still above 50 per cent yes.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has indicated the Voice referendum question is likely to be: 'Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?'

Three lines would be added to the Constitution to create the advisory body; one stating it may 'make representations to parliament' on issues concerning Indigenous Australians; and that Parliament may legislate how it works.

To succeed a referendum must both get an overall majority of votes and a majority of voters in the majority of states.

Polls conducted in July indicated Australians strongly support the Voice to parliament with 65 per cent of respondents saying they would vote yes.




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