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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Making salmon farming more sustainable

Irrigation farmers have found aquaculture is both profitable and a well-suited addition to crop production.
Murray Cod - Fishes of Australia
Murray Cod - Fishes of Australia

Water to be used for irrigation is first used in fish-growing ponds. Dissolved oxygen and nutrient levels are monitored and at regular intervals the water enriched with fish waste is pumped onto cropland where it provides not only water but fertiliser too. Fresh irrigation water is used to top up the fish-growing ponds, replacing the water that is pumped periodically from them.

In Tasmania, intensive aquaculture has been relying on the ecosystem to process fish waste. In upper layers of water in which sunlight penetrates, the addition of fertiliser promotes the growth of phytoplankton. This has proven to be sufficient so that dissolved oxygen levels in the water remain suitable for fish farming.

A problem that has been found is that at some locations or during extended periods of calm seas, fish waste can accumulate in deep water layers where bacterial action dramatically reduces dissolved oxygen levels. Later just one severe storm can then create an upwelling from this deep water layer with catastrophic effects - suffocating the stock in fish growing pens.

Solving this problem may be profitable for the industry. It is also a better option than leaving this potential for occasional but large financial loss to chance.

The fish waste descending from the fish growing pens should be removed at the same rate it is created. A floating containment and low-cost pumping mechanism (see below) could be designed to do this. This will get rid of the possibility that an oxygen-depleted water layer can develop in a basin below and near the growing pens.

The removed fish waste should support a commercially viable companion industry. For instance, the fertilser may be useful in another aquaculture industry - one producing fish feed via the growth of phytoplankton and algae for marine species that can be harvested for production of fish feed.

Update 25 June 2017 - more sustainable salmon farming

"A trial by Australia's biggest salmon company to collect fish waste under its pens in Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania's west coast looks on track to meet with official approval."

Update 4 July 2017 - Tassal's salmon farming waste disposal system

Tassal's salmon farming waste disposal system
It is hoped the collection of fish faeces will stop degradation of the seabed.

Fishy Farms - Landline - ABC

PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: Tasmania's salmon and trout industry has a farmgate value of $500 million and employs 1,500 people. The industry is expected to double by 2030, but not everyone is happy. Conservationists and some rural residents are questioning aquaculture's rapid expansion and its effect on the state's waterways. Fiona Breen with this report.

FIONA BREEN, REPORTER: During a big storm here on Macquarie Harbour huge amounts of seawater flushed into the harbour, pushing toxic water near the sea floor up to the surface. 270,000 of Petuna's fish suffocated.
The company had started expanding three years ago, but stopped after in-house monitoring of the waterway at the edge of Tasmania's famous World Heritage-listed forests revealed serious problems.
Organic loads in the water were up and dissolved oxygen was down. The storm earlier this year killed hundreds of tonnes of salmon and trout here on Macquarie Harbour.

An Open Ocean Trial of Controlled Upwelling Using Wave Pump Technology

Although wave pumps have only been successfully deployed as a small-scale means to generate power (Isaacs et al. 1976), a variety of other applications have recently been proposed, including increasing primary productivity and fish production (Kenyon 2007; Kirke 2003), fueling aquaculture (Liu and Jin 1995)...

Each of these proposals requires pumps that would remain operational in the open ocean long enough to generate and sustain phytoplankton blooms. The minimum operational time scale needed will depend on the pump efficiency, the number of pumps deployed, and the physical and chemical characteristics of the target region. Given our present understanding of phytoplankton bloom dynamics, this time scale is likely be on the order of weeks to months. In addition, these proposals assume a predictable biological response of the upper ocean to deep water additions.

Angelicque White, Karin Björkman, Eric Grabowski, Ricardo Letelier, Steve Poulos, Blake Watkins, and David Karl, 2010: An Open Ocean Trial of Controlled Upwelling Using Wave Pump Technology. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, vol. 27, issue 2, p. 385-396, doi: 10.1175/2009JTECHO679.1.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Electricity pricing opportunities

Policy makers received another jolt when the short term cost of electricity in South Australia leapt from a year-long average of about $60 per megawatt-hour to $9,000 per megawatt-hour.

This market fluctuation is nothing new. Demand for electricity is expected to vary a lot from time to time. Policy makers have chosen settings to promote investment in both generating capacity and distribution grids to be able to quickly respond with extra supply.

The policy problem is quite visible in the need to provide adequate transport infrastructure for peak periods while accepting that there will be times the infrastructure will not be required...

Freeway showing peak period traffic flow
Freeway showing peak period traffic flow

Freeway empty on weekends
Freeway empty on weekends
 Electricity price spikes have occurred during summer heat waves when there has been little reliance on renewable energy sources and fossil fuel generating plant has been operating without any incidents that limited capacity.
NSW electricity price spikes, January and February 2011
NSW electricity price spikes, January and February 2011
These occasional electricity price spikes are what the usual policy settings rely upon to encourage investment in capacity that will be idle most of the time. For instance, early in 2011 AGL proposed building a $1.5 billion power plant it foreshadowed would be "switched off for months on end."
"AGL project manager Neil Cooke said the planned $1.5 billion gas turbine power station would only operate between 200 and 400 hours a year during periods of peak demand and could be switched off for months on end."
(Article in Canberra Times, May 7, 2011 - page 15)

An intention to transition electricity generation to lower-emission technology does not materially alter this policy problem: whether it is a $1.5 billion power plant that is intended to be switched off "for months on end" or a $1.5 billion battery storage facility in its place.

Replacing freeways with mass transit would face the identical issues of peak demand far exceeding the capacity required on weekends.

With electricity generation and distribution there are some options to improve flexibility that might reduce the amount to be invested in equipment that is intended to be switched off "for months on end".

The development of robotics in automated manufacturing is increasing the flexibility to help reduce investment in electricity supply...

The principle can be seen in agriculture where crops are naturally adapted to be opportunistic consumers of sunlight and rainfall.

Automated factories and refineries that operate when electricity supply is at normal prices and switch off when the price begins to climb could be a more economic solution.

$1.5 billion invested on manufacturing  plant that is intended to be idled for short periods may be better for the economy than $1.5 billion invested in electricity capacity that will be kept idle for all but short periods.

This has implications for policy settings that for now are designed to promote investment in excess electricity generating and distribution capacity.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Some innovations need system integrators and coordination

Much innovation occurs by incremental improvements in technology. Jet engines gradually replaced piston engines in the aircraft industry. Cathode ray tube television sets have been replaced by flat screen televisions.

Other innovations are not so easily made by incremental adoption. A vehicle manufacture developing the first model able to be fueled by unleaded petrol would have difficulty finding a customer if no petrol station sold unleaded petrol. A petrol station proprietor would be unlikely to stock unleaded petrol when no customers drove vehicles needing unleaded petrol and no oil refinery made unleaded petrol....

Innovations are often disruptive and the benefits come with adverse effects ...

Many innovations only work when they are part of a collection of co-ordinated changes that are adopted across a number of industry participants.

The components needed to make some innovations work may exist in other fields. Industry participants and product developers can benefit from the skills of  system integrators to locate components for a viable design made up from a collection of products that will work well together.
An example of a wandering albatross GPS track
An example of a wandering albatross GPS track

The technology capabilities of The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, "Tracking seabirds to inform conservation of the marine environment" suggests a way to overcome the quite real concern of the Federal Government that electric cars will hit its bottom line by driving a fall in fuel excise revenue.
Advances in the miniaturisation and mass-production of low-cost, lightweight, high-precision GPS tags, enables tracking the detailed movements of large numbers of seabirds, including some of the smaller species.

"The Turnbull Government is preparing to drive a new debate over how roads are funded in Australia, with the revenue collected from fuel excise expected to shrink in coming years. Right now motorists pay almost 40 cents a litre in tax, delivering close to a $11 billion dollars a year to the Treasury." (@ABCNews, 16 August 2016)

The existing fuel excise that funds roads is raised in proportion to the amount of fuel motorists buy. Motorists who drive only during off-peak times on regional roads pay at the same rate as motorists driving on expressways in cities during peak periods. A replacement technology that can measure the time, distance and location of trips may be sold on the basis that it is more equitable than the existing fuel levy that contributes to road funding.

Mass production of batteries for electric vehicles will drive a significant reduction in their manufacturing cost.

There is an opportunity to combine this predictable reduction in the cost of lithium-ion battery energy storage with the continuing decline in the price of solar photovoltaic (solar PV) systems.

The two technologies don't immediately work well together when people typically drive to work early in the morning and return home late in the day. Any solar energy generated at their home during the day cannot be conveniently used to recharge their electric vehicle.

An option to improve the overall performance and cost-effectiveness of these technologies has been developed ....

This technology makes an electric vehicle's battery pack an interchangeable unit: "6 Reasons Tesla's Battery Swapping Could Take It To a Better Place."

Having an electric vehicle battery at home being recharged during the day allows energy in the battery to be partly discharged at times when spikes in the energy demand exceeds the output of the solar PV system, such as an air-conditioning turning on for 20 - 30 minutes late in the afternoon to cool the home before the residents begin returning from school and work. 

Another approach

Vanadium flow batteries can be charged and discharged almost indefinitely with little loss in capacity. They weigh more than lithium-ion batteries holding the same amount of energy so they are more suited for fixed energy storage than for powering vehicles.

Instead of using an interchangeable lithium-ion pack to store solar energy during the day and swapping it with a discharged lithium-ion battery pack in a car, a vanadium flow battery could be charged with solar energy during the day and the stored energy could recharge a car's lithium-ion battery pack overnight.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dairy industry hit by mysterious crisis

Dairy Australia collects production and sales information for the industry.

Dairy Australia's information shows no surprising change in production or in demand.

Among the noteworthy changes are:
  • A 21.4 % annual increase in the volume of milk exports.  There was a corresponding increase of 19.7 % in the value of these exports from last year (July 2014 -  June 2015) to this year (July 2015 - June 2016).  
  • A 63.4 % annual increase in the value of whole milk powder exports.  This increased value was obtained with just a 2.4 % increase in the volume of these exports from last year (July 2014 -  June 2015) to this year (July 2015 - June 2016). 

Milk production (millions of litres)

Production fell slightly in 2015/16. A collapse in price can't be explained by an increasing supply.

Dairy Export Report - June 2016

Exports increased in volume and in value...

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Panama Papers in the ICIJ database - a sample of information available

Offshore Leaks Database

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is a global network of more than 190 investigative journalists in more than 65 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories.

The ICIJ database contains information on almost 320,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers and the Offshore Leaks investigations. The data covers nearly 40 years up to the end of 2015 and links to people and companies in more than 200 countries and territories.

Note this ICIJ database disclaimer from which the information below was extracted:


There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly. Many people and entities have the same or similar names. We suggest you confirm the identities of any individuals or entities located in the database based on addresses or other identifiable information.

Panama Papers - Search results on Firepower ENTITY
Panama Papers - Search results on Firepower ENTITY

If you search the ICIJ database with a string like:
John Smith
it will return lists every of object containing "John" or "Smith" as well as "John Smith".

Entering the search as follows produces what may be intended:
John AND Smith
results  in every object containing names such as "John Smith", "Mr John Smith", "Smith John" and even "John Robert Smith", but none that contain only "John" or "Smith". It also returns both uppercase and lowercase values.

The ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database search page is at

The table below is a very small extract from the ICIJ database to introduce the type of information to explore. It is an opportunity to put a toe in the wading pool before diving in the deep end of the pool.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Liberal Party "Jobs and Growth" Plan according to Treasury

Appearing on the Q & A program on ABCTV on 21 June 2016, PM Malcolm Turnbull gave the answer below to this question -

JAQUELINE: Mr Turnbull, your jobs and growth mantra is based on the trickle-down economics theory. Your former employer Goldman Sachs and many other trusted sources have raised serious concerns about this tax cuts and confirmed that a significant proportion of the windfall will benefit overseas investors, shareholders and not trickle down at all. Over 10 years the plan will cost the Australian taxpayer in the vicinity of $50 billion. Why should ordinary Australians support cuts to our services to give companies a tax cut that according to so many experts probably won't create jobs or contribute to growth significantly and elsewhere has been shown to increase inequality in society?
Malcolm Turnbull with Terry Jones on Q and A

Malcolm Turnbull: Well Jaqueline thank you. Firstly let me say that cutting company tax does not increase inequality in society. There has been a long trend towards reducing company tax right around the world. The biggest cutter of company tax in our lifetimes is in fact Paul Keating, who cut company tax twice and he cut it because he knew that if you reduced company tax, if you reduced business tax, you increase the return on investment. If you increased the return on investment, you get more investment. If you get more investment, you get more employment and you get more growth. That's why the Treasury found last year that for every dollar cut in company tax, you got $4 of benefit of growth into the economy, into GDP of which between two-thirds and three quarters went to labour, went to workers
Treasury produced a report on 3 May this year "Analysis of the long term effects of a company tax cut" that models the two options for funding the planned company tax cut.

While Malcolm Turnbull said "Firstly let me say that cutting company tax does not increase inequality in society", the Treasury modelling of his "jobs and growth" plan says the exact opposite -


In this section a reduction in company tax rate from 30 to 25 per cent is financed by an increase in the average rate of personal income tax.

Theory and key assumptions

The personal income tax system includes the taxation of both labour and capital income. It is difficult to incorporate progressivity in a model with a single representative household, so the modelling reported here assumes a single effective tax rate (hereafter average personal income tax) that is applied to labour income and capital income after franking credits. Progressivity potentially raises the excess burden of a tax, which implies the modelled average personal income tax increase may understate the welfare cost of raising revenue via the actual personal income tax system. As noted in Section 3, the perfect capital market and fixed domestic saving rate assumptions imply the capital income component of the personal income is largely invariant to changes in personal tax rates.  Therefore, the distortionary part of the modelled personal income tax is effectively the labour income tax component.


In this section a reduction in the company tax rate from 30 to 25 per cent is financed by a cut to government spending.

Theory and key assumptions

Government spending is assumed not to affect directly the welfare of households. In the previous two scenarios real government spending was held constant so adding it to the household utility function would not have made any difference to the welfare calculations reported there. In the current scenario, the implicit assumption is that all government spending that is cut is wasteful. While this is a common modelling assumption it ignores the fact that: government spending provides goods and services [Medicare bulk-billing for instance] that would otherwise not be provided by the market sector; households derive direct utility from government spending; and infrastructure spending can improve market sector productivity. This suggests the model will overstate the benefits of this funding alternative. This scenario is expected to yield significantly higher welfare gains than the previous two scenarios because an additional assumed distortion is removed from the economy.
The way to fund its company tax cut that the Coalition selected, as shown in its 2016/17 Budget Overview
The Coalition Plan - Higher and Higher Personal Income Taxes
The Coalition Plan - Higher and Higher Personal Income Taxes

Monday, June 20, 2016

Taxpayer dollars create state-owned bank to build coal-fired power stations

The Coalition Government has used taxpayer funds to create a state-owned bank that is to finance new coal-fired power plants in developing countries.

This will help to increase demand for coal for new mines for decades.

Media Release by Treasurer Joe Hockey, 24 June 2015

Australia to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

"Joining the AIIB presents Australia with great opportunities to work with our neighbours and largest trading partner to drive economic growth and jobs [or JOBS and GROWTH].
Australia will contribute around A$930 million as paid-in capital to the AIIB over five years and will be the sixth largest shareholder."

Sunday, June 19, 2016

LNP 'fix' for a revenue problem it says doesn't exist

Scott Morrison delivered his first and perhaps final budget as Australian Treasurer in the last days of the Abbott/Turnbull Government.
  • The 2016-17 Budget was presented by the Treasurer, Scott Morrison in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, 3 May 2016.
  • The 44th Parliament was dissolved a few days later on Monday, 9 May 2016 at the request of PM Malcolm Turnbull.
Australian Treasurer, Scott Morrison
Australian Treasurer, Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison consistently says the Government doesn't have a revenue problem.
"Mr Morrison rejected suggestions there was a problem with money coming in, saying revenue as a share of the economy would be higher than the long-run average next financial year." (SBS News, 8 April 2016)
The budget summary in his budget does in fact show revenue as a share of the economy being higher than the long-run average next financial year.

The same summary however shows tax revenue as a share of the economy being higher than the long-run average not just next financial year but in every following financial year. The share actually increases in every financial year to 2019-20, remaining well above the long-run average.

Australian Government Tax Revenue as a percent of GDP

Monday, June 6, 2016

Converting coal fired power stations to solar thermal chemical fuel

The Yallourn Power Station and the Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria are two of the most inefficient and CO2-intensive power stations in the world.

Hybrid solar-fossil systems for large-­scale solar energy storage

Michael Dolan & Daniel Roberts, University of Adelaide, February 7, 2013

Highly endothermic gasification and reforming processes offer a significant opportunity for the penetration of Concentrated Solar Power into the chemical and fossil energy industries. The upgraded products incorporate solar energy in chemical form which enables the ready storage, distribution and use of concentrated solar thermal energy.


The Yallourn Power Station produces about 22 percent of the electricity used in Victoria. Every hour 2,400 tonnes of brown coal are needed to produce super-heated steam for 4 turbines. These turbines have a combined capacity of  1,480 megawatts of electricity. In 2015 annual generated electricity output was 10,256 GWh, up from 9,806 GWh the year before.

In 2015 Yallourn Power Station installed a new High Pressure- Intermediate Pressure (HIP) turbine in Unit 2. This resulted in an efficiency improvement for Unit 2 of around 2.7%. This marked the completion of a 5 year program of new HIPs on all four Yallourn Units.


The Hazelwood Power Station produces up to 25 percent of the electricity used in Victoria. Up to 15.3 million tonnes of brown coal are needed each year for an annual generated electricity output of approximately 12,000 GWh. Steam from 8 water tube boilers drives 4 turbine stages. These turbine stages have a combined capacity of  1,542 megawatts of electricity, just 62 megawatts more than the Yallourn Power Station.

Since 1996 more than $1 billion has been invested at Hazelwood to improve efficiency and reliability.

Lignite or brown coal from the Hazelwood mine is about 62 percent moisture at extraction.

Efficiency and CO2 Intensity

The brown coal used as fuel supplies about 9 gigajoules of thermal energy per tonne. The coal-fired power stations convert about 24 percent of this energy into electricity. The other 76 percent is output as waste heat.

Each tonne of brown coal contains about 250 kilograms of carbon and the balance, 750 kilograms, is mostly hydrogen and oxygen.

When burned the hydrogen and oxygen is converted to water vapour, while the 250 kilograms of carbon combines with oxyygen from the air to form 920 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

To generate 1 megawatt-hour of electricity at 24 percent efficiency, 1.667 tonnes of coal must be burned. This contains 417 kilograms of carbon that is converted to 1,528 kilograms of carbon dioxide when burned.

Solar Thermal Fuel in a Converted Coal Power Station

Brown coal can be converted into a mixture of gases using concentrated solar thermal energy.

One such process could convert each tonne of brown coal into 920 kilograms of carbon dioxide and 80 kilograms of hydrogen.
Solar thermal gasification of brown coal
Solar thermal gasification of brown coal

The 80 kilograms of hydrogen gas from each tonne of coal supplies 9.67 gigajoules of thermal energy when burned.

This hydrogen fuel could be burned in one or more gas turbines added to an existing coal fired power station.

The hot exhaust gas from these gas turbines would be used to create superheated steam in the coal fired power station's existing boilers and drive some or all of its existing steam turbines.

The addition of the gas turbines fueled by hydrogen can raise the efficiency of the power station from just 24 percent to 60 percent.

The thermal energy available from the 80 kilograms of hydrogen fuel consists of the 9 gigajoules present in each tonne of pulverised coal together with 0.67 gigajoules of solar thermal energy.

At 60 percent efficiency this 9.67 gigajoules of thermal energy is converted into 5.8 gigajoules of electricity.

To generate 1 megawatt-hour of electricity at 60 percent efficiency, only 0.62 tonnes of coal must be converted to hydrogen that is burned.

This amount of brown coal contains 155 kilograms of carbon that is converted to 570 kilograms of carbon dioxide when it is gasified using concentrated solar thermal energy.

The hydrogen, 50 kilograms, from the 0.62 tonnes of brown coal is all that is required to generate 1 megawatt-hour of electricity.

There is a saving in mining operations because much less coal needs to be processed for each megawatt-hour of electricity generated: a reduction from 1.667 tonnes to just 0.62 tonnes of coal.

Available technology boosts efficiency of thermal power plants to 60 per cent

Friday, May 27, 2016

How Many Climate Policies Does the Coalition Have?

At the Paris COP21 talks in December 2015 the Australian Government signed on to the 1.5 degree warming target when it cut a deal with St Lucia, a Caribbean island nation, to back the target in exchange for being allowed to carry over its savings from the Kyoto Protocol.

Before this in June 2015 the Australian Government produced a booklet "Coal in India" with projections of India's demand for coal out to 2040. There are 3 different scenarios for these projections - via the International Energy Agency:
  • Current Policy Scenario which projects energy demand based on policies already in place.
  • New Policies Scenario which takes into account announced policies to reduce coal-fired energy production that haven't yet been implemented.
  •  The 450 scenario that projects coal demand where carbon emissions are limited to levels consistent with global warming increasing be 2 degrees Celsius.
Then on 13 May 2016 the Australian Government announced its support for expanding the Australian coal export industry based upon a projection that India's demand for coal would triple by 2040.

This is the "Current Policy Scenario" that the Australian Government charted in June 2015.

The Australian Government is now funding new coal fired power stations in India and Indonesia through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. It has allocated nearly $1 billion of taxpayer funds for this purpose.

Australian PM announces new commitments at Paris climate talks

Posted on 01 December 2015
Today world leaders gathered in Paris on a wave of historic momentum in the fight against climate change. An unprecedented 150 Heads of State will stand up and speak about climate change, demonstrating Climate Change is clearly at the top of the political agenda

Prime Minister Turnbull announced three new commitments including ratifying the second commitment period of Kyoto protocol, doubling clean technology R&D by 2020, and additional climate finance for vulnerable countries.

WWF welcomes the announcements as useful steps towards tackling the global problem of climate change, but Australia can and should do more, with current technology, as part of its fair share to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Speech by Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia
The Future and Growth of Mineral Exports, and the Policies to Support Mining Jobs and a Strong Economy
Date:   Friday, 13 May 2016 4:02 PM
Location:   NSW Mining Industry and Suppliers Conference, Sydney
Introductory remarks
I’d like to acknowledge my fellow speakers Stephen Galilee, CEO, NSW Minerals Council; and Dr Brian Fisher, Managing Director, BAEconomics.
It’s great to join you for your annual conference, my first since being appointed Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia.
More than seven months into this role, I have been highlighting the work your members do to support the Australian economy and to support jobs.
The mining industry and commodity exports provide an economic lifeline for our regions and the rest of Australia.
And NSW has a special place in Australia’s commodity export trade.
Indeed, New South Wales—from the Hunter, through the Central West, to the Illawarra—has pride of place in Australian mining history.
Australia’s first commodity export started here in this state.
It’s been more than 200 years now since that happened—since the first shipment of coal left Newcastle.
Today, Newcastle boasts the world’s largest coal export terminal, delivering much-needed jobs and revenue to the state’s economy.
Challenges and Future Prospects
Of course, there are challenging market conditions facing the resources industry.
Like you, we continue to monitor the volatility on world commodity markets because any impacts extend to government finances as well.
We’ve come to the end of a decade long super cycle marked by record prices as a result of an unprecedented ramp up in demand. We’ve returned to more normal, cyclical patterns of demand.
Unfortunately these developments have resulted in job losses, particularly in resource-dependent towns and regions around the country.
These challenging market conditions are expected to continue for some time.
However, I’m confident that Australia is better placed than most other countries to ride out the current cyclical downturn and be ready for the next market upturn.
Our pre-eminence as a global resources and energy powerhouse is built on the Australian industry’s ability to innovate and adapt in the face of intense global competition and volatile prices.
An example of such innovation that will be well known here in NSW is Northparkes’ fully automated underground mining operations. The breakthrough, a world first, allows the mine to operate continuously 24/7, delivering optimal daily production at improved safety and reduced cost.
By 2020, India is forecast to overtake China, Japan and the EU to become the largest coal importer in the world as it seeks to almost treble coal fired power generation between now and 2040.

Coal in India, June 2015

Office of the Chief Economist

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Coal in India - June 2015

The IEA World Energy Outlook

The IEA WEO provides three scenarios for long term energy use and the mix of sources that will supply it.

The first is the Current Policies Scenario (CPS), which is essentially ‘business as usual’ and projects the trajectory for energy consumption and production based on economic, energy and climate change policies that are already in place. The second is the New Policies Scenario (NPS) which is the IEA’s central scenario and takes into account announced policies that are yet to be enacted.

For example, it includes policies announced by the United States to accelerate the decline of coal-fired electricity , which will take effect from 2017 at the earliest and announced measures by China to reduce local pollution and limit coal use.

The third scenario, the 450 scenario, models a world where carbon emissions are limited to levels consistent with global temperatures increasing by just 2 degrees Celsius. This scenario outlines a set of policies and actions that would produce a trajectory of energy related greenhouse-gas emissions consistent with this international goal.

India's coal demand, by scenario

Australia to contribute $930 million to Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Joe Hockey says

Australia will become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Treasurer Joe Hockey has announced.
Mr Hockey has committed to contributing $930 million into the bank over the next five years, making it the sixth largest shareholder.

New Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank struggles to convince on environment and sustainability issues

Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance was quoted praising the AIIB's readiness to provide USD 1 billion in loans to Indonesia over the next four years, including for coal-fired power projects

Friday, May 6, 2016

Greg Hunt ignores coal mining impact on Great Barrier Reef

In the outline of submissions filed on behalf of Minister for the Environment, the Australian Government Solicitor explains that the minister did not think the burning of the coal “would be a substantial cause of climate change effects” and would have “no impact on matters of national environmental significance”.
He concluded that there “was no requisite relationship between combustion emissions and increases in global temperature”.
Further, the minister argued that since the net impact was “difficult to identify”, there was no need to impose conditions on the mine, such as that climate impacts would be offset.
“Put simply, because any increase in net global greenhouse gas emissions was a matter of speculation, there was no need for or utility in the imposition of conditions.”
These submissions on behalf of the minister fail to mention fugitive emissions from coal mining. His department revised projected fugitive emissions from coal mining in 2014-2015, dramatically lowering the 2012 projected impact of coal mining. 
Fugitive emissions projections

Australia’s emissions projections 2014-2015

Department of the Environment, March 2015


“In 2013–14 fugitive emissions from fossil fuels were 41 Mt CO 2 -e. This represented eight per cent of Australia’s total emissions. From 1999–2000 to 2013–14, fugitive emissions grew by 3 Mt CO 2 -e, or seven per cent.
Fugitive emissions arise from the production, processing, storage, transmission and distribution of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. The greatest share of fugitive emissions comes from coal mining activities, including a small amount of emissions from decommissioned mines.
Rising export demand for Australia’s energy resources, particularly coal and LNG, is expected to lead to large increases in production volumes and fugitive emissions over the projections period. From 2013–14 to 2034–35, Australian coal production is expected to continue its recent strong rate of increase as global demand, particularly in China and India, increases.” (page 20)

Changes to the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory

“The incorporation of new NGERs data has resulted in recalculations throughout the time series for open cut coal mines and fugitive emissions from natural gas transmission sectors.” (page 29)

Changes to the emissions outlook

“Emissions from fugitives are projected to be 25 Mt CO 2 -e lower in 2019–20 than reported in the 2013 Projections. In particular, projections of fugitive emissions from coal mines are lower as a result of three main factors. First, production forecasts have been revised downwards since the 2013 Projections, after recent falls in global coal prices caused by surplus supply and relatively weak demand. Second, the projections assume a higher rate of flaring than in the 2013 Projections. Third, more accurate emissions factors have been applied.” (page 29)

Australia’s emissions projections 2015-2016

Department of the Environment, December 2015

This publication has been relabelled "Tracking to 2020: an interim update of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions projections" and further revises downwards fugitive emissions from coal mining.



"Fugitive emissions from coal are projected to be around 9 Mt CO 2 -e lower in 2019–20. Australian coal production, although expected to grow strongly, is projected to be lower than in the 2014–15 projections.

This is due to:
  • world coal supply growing faster than import demand, and coal prices falling as a result; and
  • a number of high cost producers having ceased production." (page 25)

Greg Hunt's approval for the massive new Adani coal mine seems in conflict with the reasons his department has lowered projected fugitive emissions from coal.