December 2016 - A disused gold mine
in North Queensland is set to become the site of Austalia's first large-scale solar power plant delivering power on-demand around the clock.
Genex Power has started constructing a large-scale solar power plant at the disused Kidston Gold Mine in North Queensland. The location was chosen because of its high solar radiation and its proximity to the National Electricity Market (NEM).
...read full story
November 2016 - Hydro energy storage sites
could provide an alternative to batteries in delivering on-demand energy generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar.
At present, the vast majority of existing large-scale energy storage comes from on-river hydroelectric dams, such as those in Tasmania and the Snowy Mountains. But there is limited potential for further large-scale hydroelectric systems in Australia...read full story
November 2016 - Australia's forestry sector
is on fire again, while a new National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life
, launched at the University of the Sunshine Coast
, will support the sustainable use of timber in buildings.
Australia's forestry industry had three consecutive years of growth on the back of a booming domestic construction industry, according to a new report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)...read full story
April 2016 - The Australian Renewable
(ARENA) has awarded industry-researcher collaboration funding totalling $17 million to nine renewable energy projects.
According to ARENA's chief executive officer Ivor Frischknecht , the successful project are expected to deliver commercially viable solutions that will solve current industry challenges.read full story
March 2016 - For more than a decade,
Australia's energy intensity - that is the ammount of energy consumed to produce one unit of economic output - has been declining, as shown in the Energy Account, Australia, 2013-14
report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics
Over the period 2002-03 to 2013-14, energy intensity fell across our major industries by 9%, although the decrease levelled somewhat off in 2013-14...read full story
March 2016 - The 2015 Gas Market Report
by the chief economist of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, canvasses a mixed outlook for future growth of Australian gas exports in uncertain times.
Prospects are good over the next five years. From then on, though, global demand for LNG is projected to slow, while there will still be an overhang of excess supply capacity.
Australia could benefit from growing demand of emerging economies in the Asian region: According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global gas demand is set to increase by around 50% to 2040, with China doubling its total gas consumption by 2030, while India's demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) will nearly double by 2019-20...read full story
January/February 2015 - Large-scale solar
still scarce in Australia, even as AGL Energy Limited
and First Solar
Australia's two largest solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, the 102 megawatt (MW) Nyngan
and 53 MW Broken Hill
solar power plants in NSW.
Over the next 30 years, they will together produce approximately 360,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy per year...read full story
December 2015 - The Australian Government
has released draft regulations under the newly legislated Biosecurity Act 2015
for public comment (see also our story Secured security)
The Act received royal assent on 16 June 2015 but will commence with a 12 months delay on 16 June 2016, when it will replace the previous Quarantine Act from 1908.
In the lead up, the Australian Government is drafting subordinate legislation to the Act in a number of areas...read full story
November/December 2015 - While still heavily
dominated by coal,
Australia's power generation mix is rapidly changing, as shown by two recent reviews: the 2015 Electricity Generation Major Projects
by the Australian chief economist, and the Australian Power Generation and Technology
by the CO2CRC
According to the chief economist's report, the share of coal in the fuel mix dropped to 61% in 2013-14, down from 79% a decade ago, with gas and renewables increasing their share to 22% and 15%, respectively.
Australia's demand for electricity has declined since 2010-11, but the chief scientist's report notes that this trend is unlikely to continue as Queensland's power hungry LNG plants will drive up maximum demand at least in the short term...read full story
December 2015 - Australia is endowed
with possibly the largest resource of 'blue carbon' in the world - its coastal wetlands alone were estimated to contain in the order of 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon - and this presents opportunities for reducing CO2
in the atmosphere (reviewed in our previous story 'Sinking feelings'
However, it is still uncertain how blue carbon could be included in national green house gas inventories.
To change this, the National Environmental Science Programme (NESP) is funding a project that aims to determine how much carbon could be stored in coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass beds and salt marshes...read full story
24 November - Western Australia is trialling
a genetically modified Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) strain produced by UK based company Oxitec
The males from this strain harbour a self-limiting gene which if passed on to female offspring will cause these to die before they can reproduce...read full story
November 2015 - The strength
of Australian agricultural research was at display in the recent announcement of projects selected under the International Wheat Yield Partnership
Australian institutions will participate in five of the successful projects, while three projects will be led by Australians, including Professor Barry Pogson from the Australian National University, Professor Richard Trethowan from the University of Sydney, and Professor Stuart Roy from the University of Adelaide...read full story
Technologies Cooperative Research Centre
October 2015 - The Deep Exploration
(DET CRC) and the Australian mining technology provider Reflex
have announced they will commercialise a new technology that automatically analyses rock materials at the drill site and within minutes of the drilling process.
Lab-at-Rig® was developed by the CRC partners CSIRO, Imdex, the owner of Reflex, and Olympus Scientific Solutions Americas...read full story
Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) Growth Centre
28 October 2015 - The $20 million
, also called METS Ignite, has been launched at the Queensland University of Technology
The centre is one of five centres to be established under the Australian Government's $225 million Industry Growth Centres initiative, of which each will target identified priority areas of strength in the Australian economy...read full story
28 October - In September last year
the Australian Government
announced it would establish a new National Environmental Science Program
(NESP) by amalgamating two previous programs - the National Environmental Research Program
(NERP) and the Australian Climate Change Science Program
The new program commenced in July 2015 and is currently funded with $142 million over six years.
Its primary objective is to support decision-makers through research delivered by six new research hubs, of which the NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub was officially launched in Hobart in October...read full story
September/October - The CSIRO
entered a partnership with Chevron
to investigate the deepwater regions in the Great Australian Bight
It is a multimillion dollar endeavour financed by Chevron with the aim to establish the Basin's geology and petroleum prospectivity, and to provide baseline data for future environmental assessments...read full story
26 October - The new Post Entry
(PEQ) facility, which officially opened in Mickleham, Victoria, will be a major element of Australia's biosecurity capacity.
According to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, the $379 million investment covering 144 hectares is "light years ahead of existing ageing facilities - it's more than five times the size of the largest facility in Australia"...read full story
2014 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release
6 October - The second round of the
provided four permits representing $297 million in new investment.
Three of the permits are located in the northwest shelf of Australia, a primary target of Australian petroleum exploration.
However, a fourth permit, awarded to Santos and partners, builds on previous related permits that aim to uncover a new petroleum province - the Great Australian Bight...read full story
31 August 2015 - Australia's fossil
fuels sector struggles with changing market conditions amid globally growing environmental concerns.
But there is still hope that carbon capture and storage may come to rescue and hence the government is investing $25 million in a fund that will focus on projects advancing this option...
read full story
2 September - The launch of
Australia's largest coal mine,
's $767 million Maules Creek Coal Mine
in NSW's north-west, signals that Australia's love affair with coal is not yet over, despite depressed coal prices on world markets...read full story
4 July 2015 - A number of factors can be
attributed to Australia's ongoing success in agriculture, including past policy reforms that made decision-making in the sector more responsive to market forces.
But, as pointed out in a 2014 ABARES research paper, these have largely run their course.
"Instead, future opportunities for government to promote agricultural productivity growth may come from reducing regulatory burdens, improving the efficiency of the rural research, development and extension system, and building human capital through improving labour availability and skills."
Many of these issues find attention in the now released Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper...read the full story
May 2015 - The Biosecurity Bill 2014 along
with supporting legislation was passed by the Parliament on 14 May 2015, but will come only into effect 12 months after receiving royal assent.
The new legislation replaces the Quarantine Act 1908 and its numerous amendments.
One of the more contentious issues surrounding the changes related to the position of the Inspector-General of Biosecurity, which is now enshrined in statute. The opposition had previously accused the Government of wanting to abolish the position.
But beyond this issue, the new legislation, first proposed in 2012, presents a substantial overhaul of previous arrangements. According to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, it will reduce compliance costs relating to supply chain and logistics, cargo, ports, customs brokers, importers, peak industry bodies, petroleum/exploration stakeholders and primary producers by around $6.9 million.
Unwanted boat migrants
April 2015 - The Australian Government has
released a discussion paper on a review of invasive marine species, which follows on from an issues paper released in October last year.
The review, to which the government has allocated $5 million over four years, was an election commitment to improve national marine pest biosecurity arrangements.
The issues detailed in the discussion paper include:
- the limited commitment and resource allocation to implement the National System;
- the current inconsistent biofouling requirements across jurisdictions;
- the species based approach to the management of biofouling;
- minimising the cost to industry of domestic ballast water management requirement; and
- the incomplete implementation of the National Monitoring Strategy.
Closing date for submissions is 5 May 2015.