Posts Tagged ‘Queensland’

Queensland switches back to coal

February 5, 2014

Once upon a time Australia had among the lowest electricity costs in the world but that was in the days where the market was not distorted by carbon taxes, mandatory renewable energy targets and subsidies for solar power. Coal prices are declining while gas prives are rising. This from The Australian as Queensland goes the way of Germany:

QUEENSLAND’S largest power generator will today declare that Australia is one of the world’s most expensive countries for energy and warn that the electricity market is being distorted by the carbon tax, mandatory renewables target and solar-rooftop subsidies.

After Stanwell took the extraordinary step yesterday of announcing it would mothball its biggest gas-fired power station and resurrect a coal facility built in the 1980s – sparking predictions that gas-fired power plants would be withdrawn in other states – it will today call for a scaling back of the renewable energy target.

Before the introduction of the carbon tax, the RET scheme and solar feed-in tariffs, the abundance of coal had made Australia a source of low-cost electricity, the company will say. “These policies appear to have been implemented for ideological reasons with little analysis of the impact on electricity prices and economic growth,” Stanwell chief executive officer Richard Van Breda will say.

Stanwell will issue its warnings as part of its submission to the federal government’s energy white paper, being developed by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.

The submission will caution that a raft of energy policies is eroding Australia’s competitiveness in manufacturing, which is a sensitive issue for the government amid internal tensions over taxpayer handouts to businesses, including SPC Ardmona.

Yesterday, Stanwell revealed it would withdraw its Swanbank E power station, near Ipswich west of Brisbane, from service for up to three years from October so it could sell the gas rather than use it in electricity generation. …….. A unit at the Tarong coal power station – in cold storage since late 2012 – will be returned to service later this year.

….. Germany is shifting back to more coal-fired electricity generation, reopening some of its dirtiest brown-coalmines that have been closed since reunification, despite having spearheaded Europe’s push into renewable energy. China has plans to add another 860 million tonnes of coal production by 2015. ………  

Stanwell’s energy white paper submission will raise concerns that the surge in rooftop solar panels has increased the capacity of the market, making cheaper coal-fired power stations run less efficiently. It says solar feed-in tariffs (state government schemes) have resulted in high ongoing costs for network infrastructure. …


Rudd trailing Abbott in the final stretch and the bookies start paying out

September 2, 2013

My perception is not so much of Abbott taking or stretching his lead but rather of Rudd trailing and falling further behind. Like an over-the-hill runner attempting a come-back, who cannot quite keep up and who falls increasingly further behind as they enter the home stretch.

There is less than a week to go and they have had 3 debates. Neither scored a knockout but neither  fell down either. The personal popularity that was Rudd’s calling card is just a shadow of what it used to be. His beaming smile now has a hint of being sinister. If this election is in any sense a referendum on the carbon tax, Rudd is on the wrong side – even if it is Julia Gillard who takes most of that hit. The nexus between corrupt union leaders and Labour politicians lives a life of its own and a mere election will not put a stop to that. But all the recent headlines don’t particularly help Rudd.

In the critical state of Queensland, Rudd is going the wrong way.

Poll results.

The ALP is going the wrong way in Queensland. – The Age

I can’t help thinking that part of the ALP’s problem is that Rudd (and Gillard before him) had an over-inflated perception of their own importance on the world stage. Part of that was no doubt due to the elevated position Howard had in US eyes with his support of the Iraq War. Being a little more realistic can be to Abbott’s advantage


TONY Abbott says Australia should stop boasting on the world stage and bring some “humility” back to foreign policy.

In a direct swipe at Kevin Rudd, the Coalition leader suggested the Government should stop “overstating” its influence and be realistic about what authority it could command internationally.

The Prime Minister yesterday continued to use to the Syria crisis to attack Mr Abbott’s apparent lack of depth on global affairs.

But in a stinging rebuke to the man once dubbed Kevin 747 for his extensive world travel as PM, Mr Abbott said Australia could be more effective as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council if it stopped exaggerating its power.

“Australia should do what it can to build a better world but we shouldn’t exaggerate our own influence,” he said following a Press Club address in Canberra to make the case for a Coalition government.

As always, following the money is usually very revealing. If the bookies had just stopped taking bets on Abbott it would have been pretty telling. But when a bookie starts paying out even before the polls have opened – let alone before the result is announced – it can only mean that one contender is overwhelmingly dominant or that the result has been fixed. Either way the result is a done thing, and one bookmaking company has started paying out bets on Abbott a full week before the election.

Reuters: Thu Aug 29, 2013

An Australian bookmaker on Thursday began paying out bets on a conservative opposition victory, declaring the country’s September 7 election race already over for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s struggling Labor government.

With nine days to go, online bookmaker Sportsbet said it had begun paying A$1.5 million ($1.34 million) in bets received on a victory for opposition leader Tony Abbott’s centre-right coalition, because the outcome was already clear.

“As far as Sportsbet’s betting markets are concerned, the Abbotts can start packing up their belongings ahead of their imminent move to Kirribilli House,” Sportsbet spokesman Haydn Lane said, referring to the prime minister’s residence in Sydney.

The race it seems is over.

Queensland sees off Yasi: Preparedness ensures it was no Katrina

February 3, 2011

Cyclone Yasi has come and gone.

Its speed was a blessing in disguise and has ensured that it is already well inland and reducing in strength. It has left behind a trail of destruction but few (if any) serious injuries or fatalities. The township of Cardwell was warned to evacuate, but about 100 residents chose not to leave and they have not been contacted as yet.


Worst hit were the coastal towns of Tully, Mission Beach and Cardwell, with hundreds of houses destroyed. The cities of Cairns and Townsville were relatively unscathed but are being lashed by heavy rains; warnings of further storm surges have been issued. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said there had been no reports of deaths or serious injuries so far.

The similarities of Yasi to Katrina is apparent but the differences in their respective impacts is quite striking.

This may be partially due to geography and demographics and the speed with which Yasi drove inland, but observing both from across the world leads me to the perception that the primary differences between Queensland and Louisiana were

  • the preparedness of the government and the population,and
  • the sense of civic duty in Queensland, and
  • the level of trust in the state government institutions, and
  • the level of perceived duty within the institutions

The thought of Queensland police looting after Yasi as some New Orleans police did after Katrina is  inconceivable. It’s just my perception but I believe it shows the difference between institutions having a fundamental belief that they have a duty to the population they serve and others where the concept of duty is much less developed.

Cyclone Yasi compared to Hurricane Katrina

credit bbc


Cyclone Yasi intensifies to category 5

February 1, 2011

The Australian BoM warning for northern Queensland is being couched in stronger language as Cyclone Yasi has intensified to category 5. This is the highest level on the Seffir-Simpson Scale and Category 5 is reserved for storms with winds exceeding 155 mph (69 m/s; 135 kn; 249 km/h).



The Cyclone has now reached CATEGORY 5 and will continue to move in a west-southwesterly direction during today.



Forecast Location and Intensity Number
Very Destructive Wind Boundary
Destructive Wind Boundary
Strong Gale Force Wind Boundary
Most Likely Future Track
Range of Likely Tracks of Cyclone Centre



Cyclone Yasi approaches Queensland coast

January 31, 2011

The threat from Cyclone Anthony has passed but Cyclone Yasi is approaching and due to hit the coast on Thursday. One blessing is that it is moving so fast that it may not have time to dump much water over the water-logged regions of Queensland.

BOM advice:

Damaging winds are expected to develop about coastal and island communities between Cooktown and Yeppoon Wednesday morning. People between Cooktown and Yeppoon should consider what action they will need to take if the cyclone threat increases.

The forecast path shown above is the Bureau's best estimate of the cyclone's future movement and intensity: image BOM


Now Queensland faces “David and Goliath” cyclones

January 30, 2011

After the floods (even if some of the flooding in Brisbane was due to poor operation of the Wivenhoe Dam), Queensland faces a cyclone due to cross the coast today and another larger cyclone which could hit on Thursday.

SMH reports:

An infra-red image shows Cyclone Anthony bearing down on the Queensland coast, with a large tropical depression off Vanuatu expected to develop into another, more devastating cyclone.

An infra-red image shows Cyclone Anthony bearing down on the Queensland coast, with a large tropical depression off Vanuatu expected to develop into another, more devastating cyclone. Photo: US National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service

The two cyclones bearing down on the Queensland coast could be a case of “David and Goliath”, with the second system expected to be bigger and more devastating, Premier Anna Bligh said today.

Cyclone Anthony intensified to a category-two system just before 2pm (local time) today and is expected to cross the coast between Ayr and Bowen, in north Queensland, late tonight. …….

Cyclone Anthony was at 5pm located 255 kilometres east of Townsville and 125 kilometres northeast of Bowen, with a warning zone stretching along the coast from Lucinda to Sarina, the Bureau of Meteorology said. The bureau tonight warned of destructive wind gusts up to 130km/h and abnormally high tides between Ayr and Bowen, with large waves likely along the beachfront between Townsville and Sarina. It said heavy rainfall and flooding was developing about the coast near and to the south of the cyclone, extending as far south as Sarina. Gales up to 100km/h were battering Hamilton Island late this afternoon.

However, the bureau is more worried about Cyclone Yasi, lurking near Vanuatu, which could potentially cross the Queensland coast on Thursday morning. The meteorological centre in Fiji this afternoon upgraded the low-pressure system to a category-one cyclone, which was moving west at 13km/h and intensifying.

The prospect of two cyclones crossing the Queensland coast within four days of each other comes after three quarters of the state was recently declared a disaster zone in the wake of devastating flooding. ……. Ms Bligh today described the two cyclones as “David and Goliath”, with Cyclone Anthony expected to be “quite smaller than the second event”.

But Ms Bligh said Anthony should not be underestimated, with wind gusts of more than 120km/h likely and damage expected.

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