The Bullroarer - Friday 15th August 2008

The Australian - Cheaper oil lessens our pain

WHAT a difference a week makes. The spectacular fall in the price of oil -- now 24 per cent off its July peak -- could mean big changes to some of the capacity cuts airlines had been preparing to make later this year.

Australian tourism is set to be a key beneficiary.

ABC - WA considered for giant solar energy plant

An engineering company planning to build the world's biggest solar energy plant is considering sites in Western Australia.

With support from nine firms, including Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, Worley Parsons is looking at building a series of 250 megawatt, solar-thermal power stations.

The company says a solar facility covering one square kilometre could power 50,000 households.

National Business Review (NZ) - Mixed reaction to National's energy policy

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development is backing National's call to overturn a ban on new thermal power stations.

But Greenpeace have joined Labour criticism, saying it is a backward step and the focus should be on sustainable production. - 'Sneaky' energy companies slated

Contact Energy "might have to set up a boxing ring" at its wind farm open day tomorrow, farmer Kevin Taylor says.

The energy company is holding an open day at the Waewaepa stockyard from 10am-2pm, to discuss yet another proposed farm - this time in the ranges east of Pahiatua.

Many locals, some of whom only found out about the farm in a mailbox leaflet a month ago, were not impressed, Mr Taylor said.

Otago Daily Times - Clutha communities prepare to stop dams

Communities contacted by the Otago Daily Times yesterday were gearing up to oppose hydro-electricity dams proposed for Luggate, Queensberry and Beaumont.

3 News - National changes its renewable energy goals

National appears to be abandoning its goal of having 90 percent of all electricity coming from renewable sources by 2025.

And leader John Key says to avoid future winter power blackouts, Labour's ban on new coal and thermal plants must be dumped.

When it comes to energy and electricity the National Party's brains trust say they have a plan to stop the lights going out in future, and stop energy saving campaigns in the years ahead.

Herald Sun - Desperate thieves drill into car's fuel tank

THIEVES risked an explosion when they drilled into a car's fuel tank.

Margaret Perry, of North Dandenong, said she realised her car had been tampered with when fuel gushed from her tank when she filled it up at a petrol station

ABC - China wins coal rights amid water, farming fears

The giant state-owned China Shenhua Energy group has won the right to explore for coal in a northern New South Wales section of the Murray-Darling river system.

The $600 million tender, which will cover 190 square kilometres of the Gunnedah Basin, has fuelled concerns about the effects of mining on rich farmland and groundwater reserves.

ABC - Runway decision spreads aircraft noise

The Federal Government will keep Sydney Airport's east-west runway operating during essential safety upgrades in an effort to share aircraft noise across more of the city.

Extra planes will fly along the eastern suburbs flight paths, saving residents in Sydney's north and south from some of the noise.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today announced he approved the upgrades with 22 strict conditions, including the use of a jet blast barrier to protect workers at the western end of the runway.

The timetable for the project has been reduced from 15 months to eight months, with work expected to start in October.

Radio Australia - Oil price eases Australian consumer fears

A survey has found a turn around in the price of oil has helped ease consumers' inflation fears in Australia.

Bega District News - Matthew’s in with a chance

LOCAL environmental campaigner Matthew Nott is a finalist in the prestigious 2008 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes – Australia’s premier science award.
Dr Nott, who also made the final last year, has reached the last three “for innovative and inspirational activity that has resulted in practical community action on climate change across south-east New South Wales”.

Clean Energy For Eternity (CEFE) has been described in the awards as an “energetic and effective grassroots community group (which) has obtained local government commitments to reduce energy consumption by 50 per cent and adopt 50 per cent renewable energy sources by the year 2020”.

Carbon News - Key’s energy message: We’ll give you all the electricity you need Log-in required

Those who want to grow need to know they have the power supply necessary to do so – that’s the key message at the heart of the National Party’s energy policy released yesterday by leader John Key and energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

National is convinced that security of supply is a real issue for New Zealand, and questions Government estimates of the amount by which the country’s electricity requirements increase each year. - Warning on eco bulbs

The Government's safety agency has warned the Fire Service about the potential hazard of energy-saving lightbulbs, a memorandum to firefighters reveals.

The memo, of which The Dominion Post has a copy, warns that compact fluorescent lamps, or eco bulbs, are reported to be melting, blowing up and blackening surrounding electrical equipment.

The Australian - Aussie coal deal with Montana's Crow tribe

WITH oil prices seemingly entrenched above long-term averages, Perth businessman Allan Blood has struck a deal with Montana's Crow tribe to look at building a $US7 billion ($8 billion) plant to turn their stranded coal reserves into diesel and jet fuel.

In a twist to local greenhouse gas capture schemes, Mr Blood plans to limit emissions from the project by selling carbon dioxide to Montana oil projects to inject into their fields and improve oil recovery.

If all goes to plan, the project will be profitable at oil prices above $US60 a barrel and could be producing 50,000 barrels daily by 2016.

Mr Blood also has plans to develop a coal-to-urea plant in Victoria's La Trobe Valley.

Bay Of Plenty Times - Park-and-ride plan runs out of gas

Plans for a network of park-and-ride public transport centres ringing Tauranga have been shelved by the council.

Councillors have decided against buying the land needed to introduce a system to help reduce congestion on main roads. Park-and-ride relies on finding big areas of land where people could leave their cars and commute the rest of the way to work in a bus or by light rail.

Business - Are solar stocks finally cheap enough?

Solar stocks, which rocketed last year, have taken a dramatic beating in 2008 on fears that pullbacks in critical government subsidies in Spain and the United States and a weak global economy will hamper demand in the fast-growing sector.

Adding to the malaise, a slide in oil prices in recent weeks has further dampened investor enthusiasm in shares of renewable energy companies.

Given this year's sell-off, are solar stocks cheap enough to buy now? Two opinions:

The Australian - Solar water heaters left out in the cold

THE solar hot water industry fears that its business will be ruined and the cost of heaters will rise by at least $1000 if the Rudd Government proceeds with an option to exclude solar products from its 20 per cent mandatory renewable energy target.

The federal Opposition said the move would be "ludicrous and destructive" and would breach an ALP election promise to leave the eligibility criteria for the MRET unchanged.

Re the runway work - I sure hope that they have done their Oil Vulnerability Assessment.

Given the number of airlines that are either cutting back on flights or going out of business it is hard to see how work like this gets past the risk assessment stage....

Didn't you read the Strayin' article? Oil's cheap again! The airlines will change all their plans again! Everything will be alright!

I love it! The MSM,the guvmint,the Boosters, are just such a laugh.And the Chinese in the Gunnedah basin.Maaate,why don't we just sell off the whole fucking rock show and move to Nauru.

Why move to Nauru when we're already well on the way to "Nauru-ing" everywhere else!

Thanks for the photos,Cretaceous.Maybe the irony of my post was lost.

I mentioned Nauru because the fools who are running things here should feel at home there if they realized what they are doing to this country.But,of course,they don't.Or maybe they don't care?

But we've got "The Future Fund"!
Didn't the Nauruans have similar "investments" from their strip mining?

One from Mike Stasse in the Sunshine Coast EcoNews - Peak energy and limits to growth

The 20th Century will undoubtedly be remembered for the explosion of technology, steam, then oil, then nuclear and solar powered technology. I stress, powered technology. Most people confuse technology with energy and unfortunately, they are not interchangable; something fast becoming obvious as we approach the 21st Century era of peak energy and limits to growth.

There is so much nonsense in the media today about the reasons why petrol (and diesel of course) is so expensive, that it’s mind boggling. Surfing the media’s web blogs’ tailing articles on petrol prices quickly exposes the man in the street’s ignorance of the truth. Not that we can point the finger at ‘people’ — the media, outside of publications like this one, is doing very little to educate or inform their readers or viewers.

So, when I predict that within as little as four or five years we may not be able to buy any fuel at all, at any price, people of course think I’m a complete nut case. I can understand this. The government is hardly showing signs of any such concerns, especially when they propose to build new freeways and tunnels to the airport.

One from the ABC - Paroo satellite snaps anger Murray-Darling farmers

New satellite images show big storage dams and water diversions along the Murray-Darling Basin's last free-flowing river, the Paroo, in apparent breach of a moratorium designed to save the waterway. The images indicate a breach of a five-year-old agreement with the New South Wales and Queensland governments, which was supposed to halt future development on the Paroo.

Farmers are angry and want the Commonwealth to intervene. The Paroo stretches 600 kilometres from Queensland across to New South Wales. The 2001 moratorium included a specific ban on the building of water diversions and dams and was hailed as a deal to protect the dying Murray-Darling basin.

Prompting Mike Rann to turn into a demented lunatic - Illegal water diverting is terrorism, says Rann

South Australian Premier Mike Rann says the diversion of water from the Paroo River in Queensland is an act of terrorism during a water crisis. The river runs from south-west Queensland to north-western New South Wales.

In 2003 the two states agreed to protect it from dams, weirs and irrigators but satellite images of the river show 10 kilometres of channels and a dam have been built. Mr Rann has described it as a criminal act. "That is an act of terrorism against the nation, it's terrorism from within during a water crisis," he said.

The water diversion on the Paroo is yet another example of the appalling ignorance on environmental matters of the QLD government.

This issue also probably involves double dealing and deliberate concealment and obfuscation.It doesn't surprise me.There are many other examples of QLD government corruption.

Queensland has a unicameral parliamentary system.The Labor Party managed to get the Legislative Council to abolish itself back in the 20s so there is no house of review.There is the usual first past the post voting system with optional preferential voting.No hope for change there in getting Greens or independents up.

The new Liberal National Party does offer some hope for a more effective opposition but if they gained power at the next election I doubt if there would be much,if any,improvement on the environmental front.