What are 'zombie mines'? What do they have to do with Malcolm Turnbull? They're being called 'zombie mines' — proposed new coal mines or expansions that may never see the light of day.
A new report by the Australia Institute says there are 23 new coal projects proposed in NSW — equivalent to 15 Adani-sized mines. The Australia Institute says governments rarely intervene to revoke an approval, or otherwise kill off a zombie mine. Now, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has weighed in. But what is the issue exactly? Should solar owners pay to supply the grid, or are there other options? Here's what you need to know. The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) last week announced that Australians could soon be charged for exporting solar to the grid to help cope with electricity "traffic jams".
So, what are these jams and is charging solar owners the only option to fix the problem? What are electricity traffic jams? Australia's electricity grid has traditionally operated on a one-way power delivery system, where big energy generators like coal-fired power and hydroelectric plants deliver electricity via poles and wires to homes and businesses. But with the uptake of rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV), electricity is now not only being taken from the grid to the home, but is also being injected back into the grid.
This is fine up to a point, but if too much power is put into the grid it can push the voltage too high, according to electrical and information engineer Gregor Verbic from the University of Sydney. This is already starting to happen in some places where there has been a lot of solar PV uptake. The Adani Group denies engaging with Myanmar’s military leadership over port deal but video suggest otherwise. The Adani Group is paying up to $US52 million ($68.1 million) to a Myanmar military-controlled company that has just been slapped with sanctions by the United States over human rights violations.
Key points: Myanmar's military seized power in a February coup, triggering violent protests The US imposed sanctions on a Myanmar conglomerate involved in an Adani Ports dealAustralia's Future Fund says it has no plans to divest its holdings in Adani Ports over the issue Leaked documents in a report by human rights lawyers and activists obtained by the ABC reveal the scale of Adani's cooperation with the junta over a proposed container port in Yangon. Low-income families back proposed solar export fees in hope of reducing power bills. Low-income families have welcomed proposed changes that would see solar panel owners charged exporting fees in the hope of reducing the overall cost of electricity.
Key points: Australians with rooftop solar panels could soon be charged for exporting electricity to the gridNew rules are being recommended by the Australian Energy Market CommissionSocial service groups say the change will make the system fairer for low-income families Karen Innes looked into getting solar panels installed on her family's home but the quoted price of between $6,000 and $8,000 was out of their budget. "I looked into it because our electricity bill is around $1,300 a quarter, that's for two adults and two kids," she said. "It was going to be $120 a fortnight to pay it off … plus you still get an electricity bill. Scientists warn of 'irreversible' damage to endangered swamps near Sydney if longwall mining continues. Coal mining under Sydney's drinking water catchment is drying up endangered swamps and scientists say the damage is irreversible.
Key points: A researcher says coastal upland swamps of the Sydney basin bioregion are endangeredThe research shows swamps above longwall mine paths dry more quickly after rainfall than swamps without any mining disturbanceThe researchers say the results provides further evidence in support of the rejection of South32's Dendrobium mine expansion. Tensions escalate between Bravus and Isaac community as grazier takes on multinational company. The peace and quiet of rural cattle stations north of Clermont, in central Queensland, has been shattered as seldom-used dirt roads have transformed into thoroughfares bustling with road trains.
Key points: Grazier David Luke says the torrent of road trains passing his house would not exist if Bravus stuck to its wordHe and the local council say the company has failed to comply with agreements to build critical infrastructureBravus says it shares Mr Luke's frustration and wants to build the road needed, but cannot due to council requirements One after the other, trucks cart water and equipment needed to build a major rail line and the Galilee Basin's first-ever coal mine.
Solar panels switched off by energy authorities to stabilise South Australian electricity grid. Energy authorities in South Australia have used their new power to remotely switch off thousands of household solar panels for the first time, making the intervention when electricity demand plunged over the weekend.
SA's spot demand for electricity recently dipped to "near-record minimum levels"AEMO was forced to intervene, instructing ElectraNet to stabilise the gridThat resulted in about 12,000 solar generation units being remotely switched off Last year, transmission authorities were given permission to deliberately "trip" existing rooftop solar panels in rare circumstances to prevent sudden dips in demand leading to widespread blackouts. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) recommended the measure as a means of mitigating the threat to grid security posed by the rapid growth of rooftop solar, which has led to days of very low demand.
Electricity has become a jigsaw in Australia and coal isn't best to fill the missing pieces. When the early closure of Victoria's second-biggest coal-fired power station was announced last week, something the energy minister said was less than complete.
Yallourn, in the Latrobe Valley, provides up to 20 per cent of Victoria's power. It has been operating for 47 years. Since late 2017 at least one of its four units has broken down 50 times. First hydrogen produced from Latrobe Valley coal generates export hopes, emissions fears. A Japanese consortium hopes the production of hydrogen using coal from the Latrobe Valley in a world-first trial will prove it is possible to export the emerging fuel source.
Key points: Hydrogen has been produced from coal in Victoria's Latrobe ValleyA Japanese consortium wants to test whether it is possible to export the emerging fuel sourceBut environmental groups are sceptical about the potential of hydrogen made using coal The consortium has produced the first hydrogen at a plant at the Loy Yang mine, south-east of Traralgon, and plans to transport it to Japan from the Port of Hastings in a specially designed ship later this year.
The $500 million Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project involves creating hydrogen gas at the plant and refining it for transport. Hydrogen is touted as a clean energy source with a range of uses including in fuel cells and powering vehicles. Pembroke's Olive Downs coal mine approved despite department's concerns about waterways. A massive coal mine that was a key platform in Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's election campaign gained approvals despite the environmental regulator raising serious concerns behind the scenes about lasting impacts on surrounding waterways, ABC Investigations can reveal.
Key points: Queensland's Environment Department detailed concerns about the voids that will be left on the floodplain after the mine has closedThe state's coordinator-general recommended environmental approval for the mine despite the concernsThe mining company was a client of Labor powerbroker Cameron Milner's lobbying firm Pembroke Resources has received approval for a coking coal mine south-west of Moranbah in central Queensland that will straddle the Isaac River and impact on almost 4,000 hectares of floodplain.
The Olive Downs mine will be the third largest in the state, producing up to 15 million tonnes a year and employing 1,500 people. Fellow grazier Paul Harris agrees. Queensland entrepreneurs use old laptop batteries to help combat global energy crisis among poverty-stricken families. A Queensland social enterprise is turning electronic trash into a global treasure, repurposing old laptop batteries to create a solar-powered solution for poverty-stricken families across the world. Key points: Recycling lithium-ion batteries will help reduce the amount that go into landfill in Australia100 PowerWells were shipped to Indonesia this week, and another 157 will go next monthOne PowerWell provides access to one household of about eight to 10 people on average It all began three-and-a-half years ago, at a start-up weekend at Substation 33 — an e-waste recycling facility in Kingston, south of Brisbane.
Town planner Nicholas Kamols and social entrepreneur Brad Clair had never met before, but within hours the idea of PowerWells was born and their lives changed forever. "The task was to come up with a solution to an environmental or social problem, and one of our group members was from Indonesia," Mr Clair said. Making it here is just the start. Tahmoor mine expansion 'critical', coal boss says, as IPC hears MP's claims of smear campaign. A New South Wales Liberal MP has accused supporters of a mine expansion project of launching a smear campaign against him following his opposition to the plan. Key points: The IPC is considering Tahmoor Coal's plans to extend the life of its mine until 2032Wollondilly MP Nathaniel Smith has been vocal in his opposition to the planThe executive chairman of Tahmoor Coal's parent company says the expansion will help during the transition to green steel During a public hearing of the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) on Monday, Nathaniel Smith labelled Tahmoor Coal's plans "an embarrassment" because of the predicted subsidence impacts on more than 140 homes at Bargo, south-west of Sydney.
Coal plants to close by 2025 under WA election renewable energy plan from Liberals. A Liberal Kirkup government plans to close all publicly owned coal-fired power stations by 2025 as part of the "biggest jobs, renewable energy and export project in the nation", meaning Muja and Collie would shut within four years. Key points: The WA Liberals say their energy plan will create tens of thousands of jobsIt wants the electricity system to reach net zero emissions by 2030Coal-fired power stations in Muja and Collie would shut within four years WA Liberal leader Zak Kirkup said the plan was the largest renewable energy project in Australia's history, with estimates of $400 million being injected by a Liberal government alongside private investments. "The New Energy Jobs plan will help create tens of thousands of jobs right here in WA," he said.
"We'll bring back manufacturing and help create a renewable energy future, not only for our state but for the rest of the country. The policy does not set emissions targets for private mining companies. High Court orders fresh hearings into approvals for New Acland coal mine expansion. The High Court has ordered fresh hearings into the planned expansion of a controversial coal mine on Queensland's Darling Downs, potentially putting a halt to the project. Key points: A group of Darling Downs landholders win their appeal against the planned expansion of the New Acland coal mineThe mine's owners, New Hope Group, has been seeking approvals for the mine since 2007The case will be sent back to the Queensland Land Court for fresh hearings The court has spent the past four months considering an appeal from the Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) against the stage 3 expansion of the New Acland coal mine, 180 kilometres west of Brisbane.
The OCAA, which comprises more than 60 landholders, has opposed the project proposed by mine owner New Hope Group since the approvals process began in 2007. In a 5-0 ruling handed down in Canberra, the High Court allowed OCAA's appeal and ordered the case be sent back to the Queensland Land Court. Coal-rich Hunter Valley ponders jobs future as Asian giants commit to net-zero carbon emissions. At the Lochinvar pub in the NSW Hunter Valley, a couple of power industry workers meet for a drink and ponder the future.
"Everybody's a bit nervous because we are very reliant about coal, coal-fired power," says Gerard Spinks, who has worked for 39 years in the power stations of the Upper Hunter. "All of our other main industries are gone — our steel, shipbuilding, rail, and textiles — so all we've got left is mining and power. Once that goes, we've got no idea what the future holds. "What about our kids! Exactly," his mate, Carl Kirwin, chimes in. Sun Cable signs development agreement with NT Government to build 'world's largest solar farm', but intended customer Singapore yet to commit.
What is green hydrogen, how is it made and will it be the fuel of the future? Abundant, cheap and clean-burning, hydrogen has long been described as the fuel of the future. Clive Palmer coal mine poses 'significant risks' to Great Barrier Reef, scientists say. Andrew Forrest on how green hydrogen offers a chance to fix our climate and our economy. Green hydrogen gives Australia an opportunity to slash our emissions — and if we get this right, the impact could be nothing short of nation-building, argues business leader Andrew Forrest in the first of his ABC Boyer Lectures. The Boyer lectures are traditionally lectures — a speaker lecturing Australia about what it should do. Coal exports from Port of Newcastle strong despite China's ban on Australian coal. While Australian coal remains off limits in China, the trade tensions have barely dented overall export figures from Australia's largest coal terminal, with producers finding other international markets.
Emails show Yeelirrie uranium mine approved a month before 2019 election after pressure from Cameco. The dry red dirt around Yeelirrie station looks utterly inhospitable. Sitting about 800 kilometres from Perth, in the far north of Western Australia's Goldfields region, the dry and remote land is dotted with spinifex, some small bushes and trees and not much else. Southern rock lobster industry fears seismic testing in Bass Strait could threaten crayfish populations. Largest battery in Australia to be built at ageing NSW coal-fired power plant. Gundjeihmi and ERA enter negotiations to extend Ranger Uranium Mine rehabilitation. An Aboriginal group in Kakadu National Park says the rehabilitation plan for a decommissioned uranium mine is "woefully inadequate", calling for a 26-year extension to the process.
There's global interest in Tasmania's wind farms — but can foreign ownership laws cope? On the south-east corner of Australia, the winds known as the Roaring Forties whip across from the Indian Ocean. Key points: Blistering assessment gives Australia 'just months' to fix nation's energy security. Farmers launch climate change court challenge against Narrabri coal seam gas project.
NSW approves coal mine at Jerrys Plains despite protests from nearby horse stud farms. Wind farm operator fined $1 million for breaching national energy rules before SA statewide blackout. Electricity prices predicted to fall as renewable supply increases, gas price falls. Global coal demand peaked seven years ago, says International Energy Agency. Bluewaters coal-fired power station written off as worthless as renewables rise. WA electricity prices would be slashed during the day, doubled during peak under new Government trial - ABC News.
AGL issued $1 million penalty by Environment Protection Authority after ash waste pollutes Hunter Valley creek - ABC News. Australia's electric car strategy only doing 'the bare minimum', expert says of leaked draft - ABC News. Off-grid dream becomes reality as bushfire threat creates new era for power networks - ABC News. Colac's renewable organics network is turning food waste into biogas, hot water and power - ABC News. China's unofficial ban on Australian coal sees exports halt as trade war rages - ABC News. Wollongong Coal gets approval to expand Russell Vale coal mine above Sydney's water catchment - ABC News. Tim Flannery warns of adverse climate impacts if South32 coal mine expansion approved - ABC News. Darwin Harbour to face more industrialisation under Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission plan - ABC News.
Widespread power outages in NT hit Darwin and stretch to Katherine - ABC News. Adam Bandt says gas is just as dirty as coal. Is he correct? - ABC News. Massive $5 million solar power system pays off for Australia's largest free-range chicken farm - ABC News. Australia can no longer ignore need to move away from coal as customers commit to reducing emissions - ABC News. All of South Australia's power comes from solar panels in world first for major jurisdiction - ABC News. Queensland teenagers lodge legal action against Adani coal mine to save Great Barrier Reef - ABC News. Wollongong Coal says Russell Vale mine expansion 'no risk' to Sydney's drinking water, but locals are wary - ABC News.
Thousands of Australians struggling to pay power bills, as winter stay-at-home rules bite - ABC News. Logan City turning human waste into energy in move to go carbon neutral within two years - ABC News. Renewable energy to replace coal in WA's biggest power grid as solar hollows market, report predicts - ABC News.