29 December, 2011
21 December, 2011
20 December, 2011
19 December, 2011
Northern 'Missing' Link opens up Bowen Basin and Qld's export potential
Acting Premier Andrew Fraser today officially opened the Goonyella to Abbot Point (GAP) rail link marking a new era for coal exports in Queensland.
North of Moranbah to witness the first journey of a loaded coal train on the newly constructed rail line, Mr Fraser said the event was another step towards unlocking the wealth and prosperity of the Bowen Basin for all Queenslanders.
"The 69 km stretch of rail line increases the capacity of Queensland's coal exports to 50 million tonnes per year through the Port of Abbot Point and improves the efficiency and flexibility of our coal export industry," Mr Fraser said.
"This project is a key component of track expansions stretching from Goonyella to Abbot Point which have created an approximately total of 800 jobs and bolstered regional economies in Central Queensland.
"QR National and their alliance partners have delivered this 20-month project under budget and ahead of schedule - despite drastic weather interruptions earlier this year.
"This project exemplifies the drive industry has to develop our resources in response to international appetite by investing in new coal export infrastructure in Queensland.
"Now that QR National is a publically listed company it has the ability to make this type of investment that benefits all Queenslanders, without taxpayers having to foot the bill."
Mr Fraser said that Queensland was an investment magnet with tens of billions of dollars in business investment locked into the economy.
"Private sector investment in the State's rail infrastructure is a huge vote of confidence in the long-term viability of Queensland's resources sector," Mr Fraser said.
"The government has responded to overwhelming private sector demand and is now planning a super-expansion of the Port of Abbot Point.
"The Port of Abbot Point, with a total of nine proposed terminals, is destined to become one of the world's largest export hubs," Mr Fraser said.
Mr Fraser said investment in Queensland's ports and rail systems will drive an enormous economic surge in regional Queensland, creating thousands of jobs for Queenslanders.
"Today as we watch the first loaded coal train run across the Northern Missing Link, we witness a significant milestone in Queensland's 145-year rail history."
Mr Fraser said the GAP Expansion project formed part of an increasing list of investment projects that were transforming Queensland's coal export industry and generating significant economic growth.
17 December, 2011
In Pursuit of Happiness
The Christmas letter continues.....
This is the sixth installment of a Mills & Boonesque saga about an Elf & a Fairy who settled in the land of Normanby to live happily ever after......
Flood waters inundated the regions surrounding the land of Normanby at the start of another year. The Fairy took in refugees from a West End town. The Bug entertained Elly and B’o. Julie, Judy & Julia entertained three of their sister chooks, while the Elf took part in cleaning up the nearby City.
The changing climate brought with it great loss and sorrow, courtesy of floods and a cyclone. Yet the people of Normanby and the surrounding regions, united in a spirit of community. Armies of volunteers arose to help their fellow citizens. Some folks who could not help directly provided #bakedrelief in the form of meals and love.
It was during the time of the flood, the Elf and the Fairy were blessed with another conception. The clock started ticking for the arrival of a sibling for Bug. Not knowing whether it might be a brother or a sister, the new baby was known as “Happy”.
The Elf was quite happy spending mornings at home with the Fairy and the Bug. He spent afternoons and evenings cleaning the local City, emptying bins, picking up rubbish and cleaning the toilets.
The Bug was a hybrid of the Elf and the Fairy. She continued to spend her days eating; sleeping & singing tunelessly (just like her father). Some days Bug went to day care to refine her skills in the sand pit and caring for dolls & bears. She honed her art skills with chalk on a blackboard and paint just about everywhere. She was fond of bouncing balls and dressing up and listening to stories.
The Fairy spent her days managing the day to day affairs of the family and delivering other people’s babies at the local hospital. The Fairy was a midwife. The Elf was seconded to the local water and poo factory as a Procurement Officer and a Contract Manager, building and repairing water and sewage treatment infrastructure.
On the first day of Spring, “Happy” arrived into the world: a sister for the Bug. There was great joy in the land of Normanby. Unfortunately, Julia the chook met her untimely demise & now lives beneath a rose garden. Bug began to learn lessons of life (and death).
Happy grew.......and grew. Soon happy was almost as big as the Bug. Meanwhile the forces of darkness and evil began to undermine the land of Normanby, constructing a tunnel for infernal smoke emitting machines.
Despite the noise and the dust, the Elf, the Fairy, the Bug and Happy continued their pursuit of happiness.
16 December, 2011
|Perhaps if we spend a shit load of money on Education and/or Health, no one will notice the guilt offset. The following story came from the Premier, via the Member for Brisbane - Grace Grace.|
Premier Anna Bligh has launched a plan to use the State’s resources to fuel the education of the next generation of Queenslanders.
The Premier released From Mines to Minds: A proposal to establish a Queensland Education Trust, at West End State School.
The paper proposes the establishment of a multi-billion dollar Queensland Education Trust using 50% of future LNG royalties – projected at more than $1.8 billion in the next 10 years alone. “We want to take the wealth from the earth and use it to train the minds of our children,” said the Premier.
“We can harness the energy of the decade of prosperity we see before us to create a golden generation that will secure Queensland’s bright future for a century and more.” The Government’s proposed trust could be invested in different ways including;
• Individual Trust Accounts for Education – an individual endowment that would mean every newborn child would have a nest egg valued between $7,800 and $9,500 when they turn 18 or;
• Dedicated Education Fund: an investment fund where the proceeds are reinvested by Government in education and training initiatives beyond the basics throughout the schooling years and potentially beyond.
The Premier said under the Trust account model every Queensland child born on or after July 1, 2012 would receive a savings endowment at birth that could be accessed at age 18. Under the second option the QET would invest up to 50% of LNG royalties as an education ‘future fund’. Under this model the QET would set aside funds for specific initiatives such as;
• TAFE and university scholarships for rural, regional and disadvantaged students
• International exchange programs
• Language program The QET can be the tool we use to build a bright future that will make Queensland the best place in the world to live, raise a family and to fulfil your potential.
“In Queensland we are already on the cusp of enormous prosperity with a resources boom unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. “The question now is how we use this prosperity.” The Queensland Government wants to hear from Queensland communities. We want your feedback on the QET by February 17, 2012. You can have your say by writing to us at: Education Trust, PO Box 15185, Brisbane 4000 or email:
|Feedback and reading of the proposal - From Mines to Minds can be found online at:|
|The Premier of Queensland|
15 December, 2011
Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser spoke to an international audience about development of Queensland’s gas resources.
He put the case that in a relatively short period of time, the consensus on our government’s shepherding in of this industry will be regarded as the seminal economic event for our state of the first half of this century.
You can read the entire speech by clicking here.
I hope he is right but I fear that we are developing Coal Seam Gas reserves for Liquefied Natural Gas, at a rate that exceeds our ability to understand the impacts.
We really do not know the impacts of depressurising the aquifers, bringing shit loads of saline water to the surface and/or emitting shit loads of greenhouse gases.
The water may be used in agriculture, industry and/or domestic water supplies for remote communities but the quantity and quality of the product water is highly variable. Water from Coal Seams is not a guaranteed supply.
The water has to be treated. It contains salts and short chain (highly soluble) hydrocarbons. The treatment processes (microfiltration/desalination) are energy intensive. The waste streams (brine) are problematic.
We are still uncertain whether coal seam gas is any better than coal in terms of green house gas generation.
While I am not opposed to CSG, I would like to see the Qld Government force the CSG industry to take the time to do some pilot studies, gather some data & use
#csg as a true transition fuel
13 December, 2011
Queensland leading Australia on recycling power station emissions
Premier Anna Bligh today inspected an Australian-first project at Tarong Power Station which uses algae to absorb carbon emissions.
Ms Bligh said the Queensland Government had committed $1 million to Phase 1 of the project, which is underway at the South Burnett power station following successful trials of the new technology at a purpose-built pilot facility at James Cook University in Townsville.
"Here we have an example of Queensland innovation and scientific expertise being put to work in an Australian-first project," Ms Bligh said.
"It uses algae to soak up the carbon dioxide emissions from the coal-fired power station, and has the potential to enable a wide range of large emitters to reduce the amount of carbon they release into the atmosphere.
Under a process called Algal Synthesis, captured flue gases from the coal-fired power station are injected into waste water contained in long plastic membranes next to the station.
Algae then grow rapidly in the water, with the captured gases providing carbon dioxide and other nutrients, doubling in quantity every one to two days.
"The algae biomass is then used to make bio fuels which can be used to create valuable products such as livestock feed or oils for transport fuels.
"The search for reliable, affordable, commercial alternatives to oil is now a global effort, and Queensland is an increasingly important player.
"Renewable energy, CSG to LNG, and Bio Fuels are all part of securing a cleaner, greener future for Queensland.
"What's more they are securing our vision for Queensland as the Asia-Pacific hub for new energy sources," the Premier said.
Energy and Water utilities Minister Stephen Robertson said when fully operational, it is anticipated that per hectare per annum, the project will capture up to 700 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking 170 cars off the road for a year.
"It is also expected to produce one tonne of algal biomass per day, 120 tonnes per annum of algal oil and 240 tonnes per annum of algal meal.
"The first stage of the one-hectare Tarong Power Station facility is complete, with earthworks finalised, most services connected and vertical growth columns for the algae installed. The project is scheduled to be fully commissioned in 2012."
Mr Robertson said the project was a joint initiative between MBD Energy Limited and Queensland Government-owned Stanwell Corporation Limited, the state's largest power generator.
"As Queensland is one of the biggest coal and gas mining and export regions of the world, the Bligh Government has a keen interest in ensuring that combustion of energy resources produce the lowest levels of atmospheric emissions possible," Mr Robertson said.
"I congratulate Stanwell and MBD Energy for working together on this pioneering project which is about testing and finding real solutions for the global challenge of excess industrial carbon emissions.
"As Water Utilities are part of my Ministerial portfolio responsibilities, I'm also very interested in the fact that this process developed by MBD Energy and its R&D team at James Cook University has the capacity to recycle waste water.
"MBD Energy expects to use the Tarong Power Station display plant as a blueprint for one or more potentially much larger projects that seek to recycle waste flue gases into algae biomass on a commercial scale.
Stanwell Chief Executive Officer Helen Gluer said Tarong Power Station was proud to be the first coal-fired power station in Australia to test the technology as part of the MBD Energy trial.
"As an energy company, we are acutely aware of our environmental responsibilities and the need to manage emissions from coal-fired generation while meeting a growing demand for electricity," Ms Gluer said.
"Our partnership with MBD Energy to trial the use of algae to sequester carbon dioxide will yield valuable results to inform an ever-growing body of knowledge in this new and exciting sphere."
MBD Managing Director Andrew Lawson updated the Premier on construction progress during the visit and outlined plans for commissioning the facility and commencing extensive trials beginning next year.
"We will evaluate the system's efficiency in reducing CO2 emissions and its potential to produce valuable products from the algae, such as livestock feed and oils for making transport fuels," Mr Lawson said.
"Our immediate focus is completion of construction, quickly bringing up production to design capacity and then running feed trials for cattle."
12 December, 2011
An independent review of the QLD Government owned energy corporations has found Qld's electricity network has improved significantly in both security & reliability since it was last reviewed in 2004.
The review headed by Mr Darryl Somerville found network reliability improved 40 per cent over this time & that power outages are now significantly less frequent & shorter in duration.
Over $12 billion has been invested to improve the Qld’s electricity networks since the serious outages experienced prior to the review & in particular during the devastating 2004 storms.
The report also highlighted the importance of the work energy distributors are doing to meet the challenges of ever-increasing peak demand on the Qld network. The review identified a potential $1.5 billion in savings that ENERGEX & Ergon could implement over the current five-year regulatory period (just in time for the next State Election).
The two major areas in which savings can be made are changes to the way the network is planned & lower than forecast electricity demand. These savings will inevitably be passed on & will assist in easing future pressures on electricity bills.
Qld has apparently seen lower than expected electricity demand, perhaps due to the effects of the GFC & because of shifts in customer behaviour due to scare campaigns related to the Carbon Tax.
State Ministers for Environment & Water are looking for feedback about packaging & litter waste.
The Standing Council on Environment & Water has released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on Packaging Impacts for public comment.
The consultation considers options to improve resource recovery & reduce litter associated with a wide range of consumer packaging, including food wrappers & beverage containers.
The consultation provides the opportunity for an informed debate on options to address packaging waste. An extended consultation period over 16 weeks will allow for the Christmas & summer holidays. The Ministers acknowledged the important input of environment groups & industry groups (like ASBG) in formulating the 7 options in the consultation paper.
These options include container deposit schemes, industry-funded schemes that may be co-regulated under the Product Stewardship Act 2011 (Cwth) & nationally consistent Government initiatives.
The analysis includes a base case which recognises existing packaging recovery & litter reduction systems, including the long-standing South Australian container deposit scheme & the implementation of the Northern Territory container deposit scheme; the servicing of most Australian households by kerbside recycling; & the Australian Packaging Covenant. The Council recognised assessment of the costs and benefits of options has many dimensions & cannot be based on quantifiable matters alone.
If environmental incidents are not addressed voluntarily by those responsible, the Department of Environment & Resource Management (DERM) may issue environmental protection orders (EPOs) under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 to ensure that environmental harm is prevented or minimised.
DERM’s Compliance alert 4/2011 includes three case studies demonstrating the significant legal and financial consequences of failing to comply with an EPO, as well as key messages on how to avoid enforcement action.
The Greentape Reduction project has been established by the Qld Government to streamline, integrate and coordinate regulatory requirements under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) without compromising environmental outcomes. The project will result in savings for business & government of $12.5m each year.
The Environmental Protection (Greentape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 was introduced into Parliament on 26 October 2011. The aim is to achieve key objectives of the Greentape Reduction project.
The Qld State Opposition (led by the Candidate for the seat of Ashgrove) is also targeting red (& green) tape that can be easily removed at no or low cost.
We wish you a Merry (& Sustainable Christmas). We are currently planning a number of Seminars, Workshops and a Carbon Conference for 2012.
We will kick off the year with a half day seminar on Compliance with Environmental Legislation.
We are also planning a half day seminar on embedding Sustainability into one’s supply chain.
Please let firstname.lastname@example.org know if you have any suggestions for future seminars or newsletter topics.