Most of us may not have noticed the move by …

Comment on Climate change from an Alice perspective: Time to act. by Trevor Shiell.

Most of us may not have noticed the move by Mac Bank on Central Petroleum this week (our supplier of gas).
They (Mac Bank) don’t create millionaires out of philosophy, but are well aware of the fact that Victoria is about to import gas from overseas some of which may find its way to SA as electricity. Watch this space.
In the meantime astute travelers may have noticed the significant solar farms developing south of Coober Pedy, an even larger one in Western Queensland and the Sundrop exercise at Pt. Augusta, as well as the Tumut 3 facility in NSW using PHES (pumped hydro electric storage) to carry peak loads.
The astute reader may also have noticed the multitude of local area electricity networks springing up around the country with local high tech piles of batteries which store, buy and sell solar power to their own local consumers, within their own network.
It should have happened at Kilgariff. Some may also have noticed that India, with its infamous Adami project in Queensland, is exporting their own coal and preferring ours.
They are also well into planning and constructing a 500GW generating facility based on Thorium and conventional nuclear waste, reducing several environmental problems at the same time.
And the supreme irony is that much of their thorium may come from 120 km up the road at Aileron. And all this while we spend a few mill on obsolete technology at Brewer. One has to wonder which Coolabah we have been asleep under.

Recent Comments by Trevor Shiell

Miners claim change of heart about nuclear power
Forget uranium. Think thorium / molten salt.
The USA has been developing theirs since the 1960s but under the counter and India is almost ready to go (2025) possibly using nuclear waste from other countries and our salt.
Where were we again while all this was happening?
And thorium comes from monazite of which we are in the position of having plenty and currently a waste product of rare earth mining not far from here.


Land planning favours developers, says residents group
While we don’t think twice about plundering more of our history to be replaced by dollar yields per square metre thinking just as in the Sydney CBD, Ballarat, with a heritage history like ours, and vital to their tourist industry, is going to great lengths to re-construct and replicate their heritage complete with buildings and recreating new fixtures and frontages to replicate what used to be and what tourists come expecting to see.
Their industry is doing very well.
On the other hand we expect tourists to travel long distances to see exactly the same as they have at home.
We refuse to learn and think only of short term dollars, not long term communal good.
We lost the plot and continue to do so.
The latest classic is the planning proposal for high rise Sydney style apartments at Kilgariff, and the opportunity costs of that stupid development continue to rise with the space to demonstrate what is possible here in food production, shrinking and blowing away in the wind.


Desert Knowledge: 20 years later a new start
I am hopeful that some commercial sense might emerge, and Lend Lease is adding a voice.
They have been running a stand alone subdivision north of Perth for several years, while we have lived in the dark ages.
The costs of Kilgariff have been enormous with more to come. WA is also installing flow batteries in remote communities in preference to diesel, and another Australian company is busy installing post meter stand alone power systems on shopping complexes.
The governance body at DKA was driven by ideology: Ninti 1 was a farce as the Senate estimates hearings showed (ex Senator Sean Edwards) under the guidance of Peter Garret.
I suspect its origin (DKA) was in the need to do something with the Airport land in the days of Infratril. A German research institute (Frauhoffer) was looking for venues to do solar research but no-one thought to invite them here. It has happened again with hydrogen.
A first step would be to scout the world for research institutes to come here to do their research, so we do not keep trying to re-invent the wheel, starting with hydrogen, and licence the results. This is what should have happened 30 years ago.
One day Govt will realise that the future of this town is South of The Gap.


Wakefield, Ryan star in the Phantom of the Art Gallery
I might have to remove my shoes to count the number of “revitalise the CBD” initiatives were put forward over the last few years, none of which seem to have worked.
We have no histories left to demonstrate apart from Adelaide house, Flynn Church and Todd Tavern for visitors wanting to see the history and outback romantics that once were here.
However we have shopping malls and shopping facilities just like they have at home-often at inflated prices.
In the meantime, the missed opportunities have been enormous outside the current CBD and South of The Gap but unrecognised through shortsighted planning and lack of a proactive approach.
We could have had a major solar research facility here 40 years ago from Germany. We have just had a visit from a group of southern agriculturalists looking for food production investment (and employment) opportunities here.
We could have had a hydrogen production facility here but no one bothered to approach them, and now we have an Indigenous food research and commercialisation facility being promoted in Queensland with bush tucker from here.
Add to that development of acacias and other local plants for both food and animal fodder being developed overseas or interstate.
All we can show potential investors is an outer metropolitan type housing development where there should have been a vibrant display of what the current government calls boundless possibilities. They omitted the word “missed”.
A national transport hub at Brewer, with associated industrial estate facilities, with the convergence of three cross national highways, a train facility and an internationally recognised airport have been obvious for years but ignored.
They missed the opportunity to keep the town unique and looks like they will continue to do so.
The need for a visitors centre on the main approach to town as has happened elsewhere, is so obvious, but never considered or numbers researched and the obvious place is the Transport Hall of Fame in conjunction with the welcome rock, the old Ghan engine and cultural centre involving both our Indigenous and Afghan heritages, but ignored as has become usual.
To join all these into one complex would involve around a kilometre of sealed road. Very sad considering what is happening with our competition elsewhere.


Government grant for Todd Tavern, Alice Plaza development
As with the accomodation proposal for hospital staff, this is all accountancy talk – dollar yield per squ metre rather than communal good.
On this basis beware Adelaide House and Flynn Church because you are next, and you don’t pay your way. Definitely uneconomic in accountancy terms, and the same applies to the Alice Plaza.
I still hear talk of the old Bull Bar in the Stuart arms which was an Alice institution.
I have the remains of that institution in the form of a load of bricks re invented as a toilet wall in my back yard and a sign inviting tourists to come in and inspect what’s left of our history – a great lure, and the only sign left.
Hospital staff facilities?
The bus which brings in sick people from communities has to drop them off at the Ross Hostel and they have to walk to the hospital because the bus cannot negotiate the emergency entry. Which comes first?
Dollar returns per square metre vs community good?
That’s the way it has been for years (but others call it greed), or self interest.
Now we have a group of potential food investors coming here to look at rural investments in a time of approaching food scarcity but no research to show them because what could have been a first class facility in arid zone research is now covered with houses (and a bare piece of earth calling itself a drain) and the research is being done elsewhere.
There could have been a world class German solar research facility on the airport land 30 years ago but once more no one bothered to chase it up.
So the quick dollar mentality goes on and will no doubt continue to do so.


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