Rocket launch site could threaten endangered southern emu-wren

September 28, 2021 by  
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Construction of the planned permanent rocket launching facility at Whaler’s Bay in South Australia may push some species to extinction, including the southern emu-wren. The southern emu-wren is listed as an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. The proposed construction by Southern Launch, an Australian startup that operates the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex, is behind the project. The project is expected to help grow Australia’s space industry. A temporary launch pad has already been developed at the site and used for test firing the Hapith I rocket in September. Related: Here’s how the billionaire space race hurts the environment Conservationists have challenged the plans to build a permanent launch facility. The Nature Conservation Society of South Australia (NCSSA) opposes the plan, arguing that it would wipe out habitats for the endangered southern emu-wren. The bird is native to the Eyre Peninsula, and damaging its habitat may lead to extinction. Conservationists also worry about the western whipbird, which also relies on the habitat targeted by the project. The proposed launching pad threatens not only these birds but the ecosystem at large. According to the proposal, the launching pad would host up to 35 launches each year when operating on a commercial scale. This would mean increased air pollution and chances of fire . Patrick O’Connor, an ecologist with the University of Adelaide, warned of how this project could impact the birds. “We’ve already lost more habitat than this [southern emu-wren] species can reasonably tolerate,” O’Connor said. “If we lose this site, it’s just a matter of time. They’ll either hang on in the state they’re in, but if a big site like Whaler’s Way goes the risk is extinction.” The current plans include constructing two permanent launch pads and support infrastructures such as fuel storage tanks, roads, power generators and offices. The space needed for the facility would require clearing about 23.7 hectares (58.7 acres) of vegetation . Although the project is still under review by the South Australian government, conservationists are raising the alarm to avoid further endangering the habitat. Via The Guardian Lead image via Laurie Boyle

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Rocket launch site could threaten endangered southern emu-wren

Tesla nears halfway mark on world’s largest battery installation in South Australia

October 2, 2017 by  
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Tesla just announced that the world’s largest battery installation is about halfway finished. The 100MW/129MWh utility-grade battery bank near the site of the 100MW Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia will be the largest system connected to an energy grid. This massive undertaking was inspired by a bet between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Australian software billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, who could not believe that Tesla was able to install its grid-tied battery systems as quickly as it claimed. Musk, confident in his company’s work, promised to install the world’s largest battery bank in 100 days or the State of South Australia would receive it for free. The clock is now ticking. After accepting the challenge, Tesla participated in a competitive bidding process to unlock a $115 million renewable energy fund from the State of South Australia , which has suffered disruptive blackouts in recent summer seasons. After estimating that the world’s largest battery bank would cost $32.35 million, excluding labor costs and taxes, Tesla was awarded the contract in partnership with the French company Neoen, which owns the Hornsdale Wind Farm on which the battery bank is being built. Musk made clear that the negotiation phase did not count towards the 100 days deadline. The stakes are high; if Tesla fails to complete its task within 100 days, it could suffer a loss of $50 million or more. Related: Tesla is shipping hundreds of Powerwall battery systems to Puerto Rico Last Friday, Tesla officially announced the start of its 100-day challenge, though it would seem that the company gave itself a bit of a head start. The battery bank, which is being built at the Tesla/Panasonic Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada , is nearly halfway complete as is the installation of batteries into the bank. “To have that [construction] done in two months … you can’t remodel your kitchen in that period of time,” said Musk at a kickoff event, seeming to acknowledge the absurdity of the situation. If any company is up to this kind of challenge, one based on a bet between billionaires, it’s Tesla. Via Ars Technica Images via Tesla

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Tesla nears halfway mark on world’s largest battery installation in South Australia

Tesla makes good on South Australia promise with world’s largest Lithium ion battery

July 7, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk is a man of his word. In March the Tesla CEO tweeted a promise that he would help South Australia solve its energy woes in 100 days with a new power storage system – or give the whole thing away for free. Now he’s following up on that promise, having inked a deal with the State government to build the world’s largest Lithium ion battery. If he can’t finish in 100 days, the energy titan estimates he’ll lose a cool $50 million. “There is certainly some risk, because this will be the largest battery installation in the world by a significant margin … the next biggest battery in the world is 30 megawatts,” Musk said at a recent press conference. According to local news sites , Musk said that Tesla will make an effort to make the 100MW battery storage system aesthetically-pleasing so that it can double as a tourist attraction. This will be the highest power battery system in the world by a factor of 3. Australia rocks!! https://t.co/c1DD7xtC90 — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 7, 2017 He said it will look like a series of white obelisks. Tesla’s 129MWh battery system will store energy – produced by a nearby wind farm still under construction by the French company Neoen, providing greater stability and a backup power source when necessary. “You can essentially charge up the battery packs when you have excess power when the cost of production is very low,” Musk said, “…and then discharge it when the cost of power production is high, and this effectively lowers the average cost to the end customer.” Via ABC

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Tesla makes good on South Australia promise with world’s largest Lithium ion battery

Montana earthquake felt along line of over 500 miles

July 7, 2017 by  
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An earthquake that rocked Montana yesterday was felt by people across hundreds of miles. The 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck the western part of the state close to northwest Helena at 12:30 AM local time, but was felt by people in multiple states and even Canada. The quake was large enough to wake people up. The recent Montana earthquake was shallow but was felt by people across a line over 500-miles-long from around Billings to Spokane, Washington. There weren’t any reports of injuries, according to Montana Public Radio, but people over a widespread area were awakened by the shaking. The earthquake was the strongest Montana has experienced in possibly over a decade – according to NPR a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck in 2005. Related: Oklahoma earthquake activity up 4000%, locals sue oil and gas companies Between 12:30 AM and 1:31 AM on July 6, a minimum of 10 measurable tremors struck Montana, and the last two had magnitudes of 3.9 and 4.4. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake “occurred as the result of shallow strike slip faulting along either a right-lateral, near vertical fault trending east-southeast, or on a left-lateral vertical fault striking north-northeast.” The earthquake hit around 230 miles away from Yellowstone National Park , and as it was felt over such a wide area some people wondered if the Yellowstone supervolcano had become active. But the park service said the area typically has over 1,000 earthquakes yearly, and experts have said it is very unlikely a large eruption will occur in the next 1,000 to 10,000 years. The earthquake may not have stemmed from the supervolcano but still rattled residents out of the routine of their daily lives. Volunteers pitched in to help clean up a local grocery store in Lincoln, the D&D Foodtown, which lost pickle jars and wine bottles – but assistant manager Ruth Baker said all of the eggs in the store survived. Via NPR and the United States Geological Survey ( 1 , 2 ) Images via Wikimedia Commons and screenshot Save

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Montana earthquake felt along line of over 500 miles

Integrated $1B solar farm in South Australia includes world’s largest battery

March 30, 2017 by  
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South Australia is about to get a huge clean energy boost with a $1 billion solar farm . The farm will pump and store 300MW and 100MW of clean energy respectively with 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million batteries . It is expected to start running later this year. The Lyon Group , a partnership of three companies, is building the massive solar farm in the Riverland region of South Australia. Construction should commence within months. The Riverland initiative will allow for 330 megawatts (MW) of power generation and at minimum 100 MW of battery storage . In a video Lyon Group partner David Green said it will be the largest integrated project and the largest single battery on Earth. The solar system will be built on privately owned land and paid for by investors. Green said the solar farm will be a significant stimulus for the region. Related: South Australia Projected to Reach 50 Percent Renewable Energy Within the Next Decade Green told The Guardian, “We see the inevitability of the need to have large-scale solar and integrated batteries as part of any move to decarbonize. Any short-term decisions are only what I would call noise in the process.” Lyon Group plans to build a similar system near Roxby Downs as well. Greens said the battery and solar combination will greatly enhance South Australia’s capacity. Jay Weatherill, premier of South Australia, praised the effort, saying, “Projects of this sort, renewable energy projects, represent the future.” The South Australia government recently announced a power plan that will be bankrolled by a $150 million renewable technology fund. They will consider bidders for a 100 MW battery in upcoming weeks; Weatherill said Lyon Group is among the companies interested in constructing the battery. But the Riverland farm will be constructed no matter the results of the government’s tender for the large battery, according to Lyon Group. Via The Guardian Images via Australian Renewable Energy Agency Facebook and screenshot

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Integrated $1B solar farm in South Australia includes world’s largest battery

South Australia reaps 83% of electricity in one day from ‘wild’ wind

July 15, 2016 by  
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South Australia recently had a ” wild ” windy weekend. While the severe weather led to power outages for some, there was a side benefit: wind turbines generated a huge amount of energy , providing over two-thirds of electricity needs over the weekend. On Monday, 83 percent of South Australia’s electricity came from wind. According to Australia’s Clean Energy Council, an organization working to promote renewable energies and energy efficiency, South Australia has led the way when it comes to clean energy. Solar and wind are slowly catching up to fossil fuels there, and last weekend’s large renewable energy supply is a hopeful indicator of a clean energy future to come. Policy Manager Alicia Webb said there are 683 wind turbines in South Australia, which have led to $6 billion in investment and ” hundreds ” of jobs. Related: Portugal powered by 100% renewable energy for over four days “Southern Australia…is in the midst of a remarkable transformation, with more than 40 percent of its power needs coming from renewable energy last year,” Webb said in a press release. “It is clear that modern economies can run on increasingly higher levels of renewable energy, and it is clear from South Australia’s example that other mainland states can go much further with no loss of reliability.” While “volatile” gas prices have led to increased power generation prices in South Australia, Webb said wind power helps keep energy prices down when the weather is windy. The state has pursued solar energy as well; ” cumulative installed solar capacity ” could soon hit five gigawatts, according to reports. Webb said renewable energies will help Australia meet the targets set as part of the Paris agreement , and will help slash pollution in the energy industry. She also pointed to new technologies such as battery storage as innovations that will help spur the movement towards clean energy. Via CleanTechnica Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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South Australia reaps 83% of electricity in one day from ‘wild’ wind

Adelaide races to beat Copenhagen as the world’s first carbon-neutral city

September 18, 2015 by  
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Adelaide is setting its sights on becoming the world’s first carbon neutral city. The government has set a goal of attracting $10 bn in green investment to South Australia in a new strategy paper, which will be available for public comment. “The federal government’s emissions targets are appallingly low, it means they are giving up on the world staying below a 2C temperature rise,” Ian Hunter, climate change and environment minister for South Australia, told the Guardian. Read the rest of Adelaide races to beat Copenhagen as the world’s first carbon-neutral city

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