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Monday, 18 December


David Bidstrup: Its time we shot the horse. "IndyWatch Feed"

There were 5 articles about electricity in my daily papers today, (18 December 2017).

The front page of The Australian tells us that Power bill relief is on the way, from the middle of next year.

Apparently this will be achieved by more renewable generation.

Here in the electric la-la land of South Australia, where cheap generation assets are demolished and more fans and batteries are added our average wholesale power price to date, (end November), in 2017 is $123 per megawatt-hour, (AEMO data).

In 2016 it was $90 and in 2015 it was $55, (AEMO data).

The change from 2015 to 2016 was +64% and the change from 2016-2017 was +37%.

The 2 year change is +124%.

2016 was the year Northern Power station closed and 2017 was the year Hazelwood closed.

Any analysis of price changes always show how prices have risen as the percentage of renewable generation increases but now it is going to be different.

We are told that 3,900 megawatts capacity of renewables will be added between now and 2019/20.

This will produce about 30% of rated capacity when the wind blows and nothing when it doesnt.

We will pay about $80 per megawatt-hour through the RET on top of whatever the generators get for their electricity.

While this happens the Yallourn power station in Victoria is soon to be another victim of the lunatic government in Victoria and the mob that is getting out of coal but isnt will soon consign Liddell to the same fate as Northern Power station.

The Advertiser heads its Editorial End power pain and makes the comment that Canberra showed poor leadership as a lost decade in climate and energy policy worsened the problem -really?

Add to that the terribly bad state governments we have, led by nincompoops, dreamers and political opportunists and I wonder why I bother writing this stuff.

The economic and social damage from this slavish attachment to saving the planet is immense.

People lose jobs, employers can no longer afford to operate their businesses and thousands cannot afford the ever increasing cost of electricity.

It is insane.

We have fastened the economic cart to the renewables horse and found out that we cannot control it.

We keep getting offered new horses but they are all expensive duds. No one in power is smart enough to see that the best solution is to shoot the horse, not get more of the same.

A couple of quotes from Bertrand Russell to finish off:

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whate...


Churchill man charged following Morwell sexual assault network

A 21-year-old Churchill man handed themself to police after an alleged sexual assault at a shopping centre in Morwell.


Imminent logging of Granite Mountain old growth News - Goongerah Environment Centre

Old growth forest on Granite Mountain in far East Gippsland is under imminent threat. VicForests has listed coupes 889-506-0032 and 889-506-0017 as "Harvest Pending", a sign that logging coupe commence any day.

We conducted  a half day survey of the old growth forest in the coupe and documented many very large old growth trees. We've submitted this report to the environment department and Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio calling on them to protect this area.



Bright Mountain Film Tour. December 28 Jan 6. Mountain Journal

The Bright Mountain Film Tour (BMFT) is a celebration of mountain culture and those who embrace it. Over five nights, the best adventure films from around the world are showcased amongst the alpine communities of North East Victoria.

This year BMFT2 will feature some epic, home-grown, Aussie adventures and some awesome female adventures, recognising the diversity in adventure sports.

There are five shows over the Christmas/ New Year period.

The organisers say

Bright has become the epicentre of mountain sports with visitors from around the world enjoying everything the town and surrounding area has to offer. The BMFT is not just a film festival, its a community celebration. The films are handpicked by a panel of local enthusiasts, all experts in their related fields of filmmaking, mountain sports and tourism.

The BMFT will include a screening of The Blade, about a winter ascent of the famous Blade Ridge on Federation Peak in south west Tasmania.


Bright (DEC 28)

Mt Beauty (DEC 30)

Dinner Plain (JAN 4)

Harrietville (JAN 5)

Bright (JAN 6)

Tickets (and details on time and venue) are available here. Ticket costs are kids $15, adults $30, family $80.

Sunday, 17 December


Mount Buller 100 Megalitre dam planned call for public comments Mountain Journal

Since at least 2014, there has been a proposal to construct a 100 Megalitre dam near the summit of Mount Buller.  The official title of the project is Mt Buller Sustainable Water Security Project.  The project involves the destruction of about 5 hectares of treeless alpine native vegetation, and subtracts about 10 hectares from the existing downhill skifield on Mount Buller.

Federal legislation requires a period of time to allow interested people and organisations to comment. Submissions are due by 22 December.

The following information comes from Friends of Mount Stirling.

If approved, the proposal requires the creation of an offset, that is, a larger area with the same natural values as the area destroyed.  The offset is to be protected in perpetuity.  As the area to be destroyed is a very rare ecosystem in Victoria, there are few places where such an offset could be declared.  It is proposed that the offset would be 262 hectares around the summit of Mount Stirling.

Due to the environmental sensitivity of the project, it is not only subject to State regulations, but also the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

A notice calling for public comments under the EPBC Act was published in the Herald Sun newspaper earlier this week.

Official documentation can be found here

More documentation can be found here

What area will be affected?

According to the report prepared for Mt Buller, most of the area to be destroyed is alpine grassy heathland.

The Project is within the Victorian Alps Bioregion. Field assessments indicated that three remnant vegetation Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVCs) are currently present within the Project Construction Footprint (PCF):

Alpine Grassy Heathland (EVC 1004)

This is the most abundant EVC across the PCF, covering a total area of 5.832 ha.

This EVC is a high altitude open heathland dominated by tussock grasses and a range of forbs. It occupies a wide range of habitats generally on slopes above 1,400 m where exposure and frost are limiting to tree growth. Graminoids and forbs are abundant and vary in cover depending on shrub density.

Sub-alpine Wet Heathland (EVC 210)

Sub-alpine Wet Heathland is highly localised within the PCF, restricted to a small area north-east of the existing water storage tank, and covering an area of 0.082 ha.

Sub-alpine Woodland (EVC 43)

Sub-alpine Woodland is confined to a few localised patches (0.004 ha) within the P...


East Gippsland Shire Council signs TAKE2 Climate pledge Gippsland News & Views Peter Gardner

The following is taken from the Shires recent EnvironmentConnect publication:

At the November 21 meeting, Council resolved to pledge its support for the Victorian Governments TAKE2 initiative as follows:

East Gippsland Shire Council is committed to tackling climate change. We have a role in maintaining, protecting and enhancing the regions environment. We do this by using our resources more efficiently, by reducing our everyday impacts, planning for changing conditions and encouraging the people of East Gippsland to do the same.

TAKE2 has been developed as a part of the Victorian Governments commitment to climate change. It is a collective pledge and community awareness program to help Victoria reach zero net emissions by 2050 to keep global temperature rise to below two degrees.

There is already strong community support for the TAKE2 initiative with businesses and individuals across East Gippsland already participating in the initiative. Across East Gippsland 93 pledges have been made, giving East Gippsland the highest number of pledges across the Gippsland region. With the top three pledge actions being: buy products that include recycled content; install insulation in ceilings, walls and/or floors; and install solar photovoltaic panels.

We encourage East Gippsland individuals, business, government, educational and community organisations to visit the TAKE2 website, make the pledge and make a difference to help Victoria reach net zero by 2050.

The Take2 pledge is a small step in the right direction. It is a recognition that climate change exists, is a problem and that something must be done about it. As usual there was opposition from some members of this very conservative body to take this small step. Until Labors election in 2014 local government was the leader in climate action a role that has largely been taken over by the State of Victoria.

The Bairnsdale Advertiser (1.12) noted Cr Ben Buckley questioned the fear factor of the pledge although he did not elaborate on what this factor was. Ben is of the school that current climate change is a natural phenomenon and not induced by human activity demonstrably untrue as I hope to show in a later blog. He is certainly not alone in this as almost half the population of Gippsland incorrectly at...

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