Solar Funding Withdrawal
The Queensland Government has torn up a $75 million funding agreement for the 250 megawatt Solar Dawn project in Chinchilla, located approximately 300 kilometres west-northwest of Brisbane.
The previous state government promised $75 million on top of the federal government’s $464 million grant for the solar flagship scheme.
The Queensland Government is putting at jeopardy the solar thermal project that could bring up to $1.5 billion in economic investment to regional Queensland, 300 construction and local manufacturing jobs and a $68 million solar research and development program at the University of Queensland.
The Solar Dawn consortium which includes Areva has not been able to reach financial close on the project and the removal of the QLD funding will place the project in a position where it could be scrapped unless more funding is gained from the Australia Renewable Energy Agency.
The new QLD government has also removed the waste levy meaning there is no incentive to recycle and waste as far as Sydney is being dumped in QLD landfills.
Kurnell Desal Plant Closure
Sydney’s desalination plant will be mothballed this weekend even though taxpayers will keep having to pay off its construction costs and the power purchase agreement with the Infigen’s Capital windfarm.
NSW Finance Minister Greg Pearce says the $2 billion development hasn’t been a waste of money. “The fact that the desal plant will be turned off from the first of July will save Sydney Water customers $50 million a year,” he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.
Mr Pearce confirmed the government was still paying $16 million a month for the cost of building the plant and pipeline.
“Labor built the desalination plant and Labor signed the contract to have it run at 100 per cent,” Mr Pearce said in a statement to AAP.
This news comes as rumours spread that the Caltex Kurnell refinery is also set to close.
Carbon Tax Floor Price
Less than a week after the launch of the carbon tax, the federal Labor government is reportedly in talks with the Greens to change the $15 floor price in the carbon tax legislation to better align the scheme with Europe’s carbon trading market, according to media reports.
Labor has been under pressure to drop the floor price to prevent the tax from being kept artificially high relative to similar schemes elsewhere in the world. Related concerns have Labor even considering moving to an emissions trading scheme earlier than the scheduled start date of 2015, when the scheme will be linked to international markets, according to The Australian.
Carbon traders and the energy industry have been vocal in their opposition to the $15 floor price.
The Greens fear that a lower carbon tax would dissuade businesses from cutting greenhouse gas emissions and investing in renewable energy sources.
Experts say that the carbon tax would fall from its introductory $23 a tonne price to as low as $6 a tonne without the price floor (inline with global pricing).
Word has it GE is having some issues with their machines at the Mumbida project.
GE is in a consortium with Leighton Contractors, for the 55MW $130 million project by the Verve Energy and Macquarie Capital joint venture for the Mumbida Wind Farm development, 40 kilometres South-East of Geraldton in Western Australia. The project is being delivered by an EPC contract, using GE’s 2.5MW wind turbines mounted on 85 metre towers.