By ERWIN CHLANDA
The establishment by the Federal Government this week of an inquiry into what is needed for the consideration of nuclear energy in Australia is an “important first step in starting a mature fact-based national conversation for the Australian community,” says Tania Constable (pictured), CEO, Minerals Council of Australia.
On the other end of the energy spectrum, public consultation will soon start by the firm Sun Cable into a $20bn project, a 15,000 hectare solar array near Tennant Creek that will transmit 3GW of electricity to Singapore via a 3800 km High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cable – one fifth of the nation’s demand.
The firm says: “Australia’s strong relationship with Singapore, its stable economy, political and legal framework, will ensure security of supply for Singapore.
“The [array] will be supported by battery storage. This will allow Singapore, and also the Northern Territory, to have a more diverse electricity supply, thereby increasing resilience and helping it meet its Paris Commitment greenhouse gas reduction targets.”
While Ms Constable says the rest of the world is already focusing on the critical role nuclear energy will play in “delivering zero emissions 24/7 energy to a power-hungry world,” Sun Cable would provide risk free use of what the NT has in abundance: Land and sun.
Nuclear energy is safe, reliable and affordable, says Ms Constable: “With 30% of the world’s known uranium reserves and as the third largest uranium producer, Australia will be critical to helping the world meet its need for electricity while also reducing emissions.
“Australia has some of the highest energy costs in the developed world, an ageing baseload power generator fleet and real challenges with integrating large amounts of intermittent energy sources into the grid without appropriate back-up supplies.
“By initiating an inquiry into nuclear power, the Federal Government is allowing the Australian community to have an honest discussion regarding the role existing and new nuclear technologies like small modular reactors could play in addressing Australia’s medium and long term energy challenges.”
Says Sun Cable: “As an island nation, Singapore is reliant on imported Liquid Natural Gas for 95% of its electricity.
“This leaves Singapore’s electricity consumers excessively exposed to the vagaries of global oil and gas pricing.”
The solar firm says online that an allied company, 5B, “have started with a clean slate and developed the simplest, fastest and smartest way to deliver large scale solar.
“Each Big Field Maverick used by Sun Cable is six panels across and generates 135KWp.
“Built off-site, and transported in a standard 40 foot shipping container, they are deployed in under an hour on-site.”
Labor in NT has a chequered history on energy: On the one hand, uranium exploration and mining was opposed in the lead-up to the 2012 election, which the CLP won.
Four years later, in the election Labor won, the party took an anti fracking stance which, as many ALP voters see it, it later reneged upon on after a sham enquiry.
PHOTO AT RIGHT: There was a hot debate about mining uranium in 2012 NT election: Greatorex candidate Rowan Foley (Labor) and wife Michelle are pictured with supporters – Andre Burgess, Sandra Ball, Andrew Ferguson, Barbara Ferguson (obscured), and Paul Acfield – at a community barbecue where Mr Foley wanted to hear from Greatorex residents about their concerns. KIERAN FINNANE reported.