The power station offloaded by the NSW Government for $1 million suddenly has a future

by admin on 18/06/2019

Future: Delta Electricity’s Vales Point power station at Lake Macquarie. The company has floated a plan to extend the life of the station from its expected closure in 2029 until 2049. DELTA Electricity would put up its hand for any Federal Government fundson offer as it considers the feasibility of a $750 million extension of Vales Point power station to operate until 2049, managing directorGreg Everett said after the proposal was floated on Friday.
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The Lake Macquarie coal-fired station offloaded by the NSW Government for $1 million in 2015 made a $113 million net profit in the past yearon the back of high electricity prices.

But owner Trevor St Baker’s comments that Vales Point could be refurbished to run until 2049, rather than close as currently expected in 2029, havehighlighted instability in the energy industry after the Federal Government’s failed National Energy Guarantee and in the absence of a national energy policy.

Mr Baker’s comments came only days after new Energy Minister Angus Taylor warned the Federal Government may force AGL to sell rather than close Muswellbrook’s Liddell coal-fired power station in 2022. The company repeatedly stared down the Turnbull Government over the closure deadline after announcing plans to replace Liddell’s power with a gas/renewables/pumped hydro mix and a Bayswater power station upgrade.

Delta’s Greg Everett said the feasibility of extending Vales Point so that it is still operating 70 years after it was commissioned had been under consideration for some time. A figure of $750 million was a “whole of life expenditure” and “how that’s funded doesn’t have to be dealt with immediately”.

But Mr Taylor’s support for expanding and upgrading ageing power stations to boostpower supply and a government underwriting program for new energy projects keeps the door open for government subsidies or loans. And if such a program emerged Vales Point would seek government support because “whether to extend the life of Vales Point is not a trivial matter”, Mr Everett said.

Determined: New Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor says he is not a climate change sceptic but he’s prepared to force power generators to keep coal-fired power stations open.

He declined to comment about Mr Taylor’s threatto AGL and other power stationoperators that if they were not prepared to “keep that reliable power in the system (by not closing ageing power stations) then we’ll force you to divest”. But it would be “quite a bold step” for the government to force a power station owner to sell rather than close, Mr Everett said.

Changing emissions targets throughout the life of an extended power station would be assessed as they occurred, he said. In response to a question about Labor’s proposed 45 per cent emissions reduction target, Mr Everett said: “I wouldn’t comment whether it’s a killer (of the Vales Point extension plan) or not.”

Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis director Tim Buckley said the idea of extending Vales Point was “somewhat pie in the sky”, but NSW was facing a “severe problem” with the expected closure of a number of ageing coal-fired power stations from 2030 and “the absence of a suitable strategy” to deal with it.

“Anything is possible. We do have a serious planning problem. In the absence of a plan can an extension of Vales Point get up? Yes, if taxpayers provide a capital subsidy,” Mr Buckley said.

“The way the government will package it is they will offer, say, a $600 million loan over 20 years at 3 per cent, but it’s going to be you and I, taxpayers, funding it on behalf of a couple of billionaires.”

Proposal: One of Vales Point power station’s owners, Trevor St Baker, said the station could stay open until 2049.

Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood said Vales Point was already 40 years old and any extension plans would rely on an engineering assessment of what was possible.

“In theory it’s got another 10 years to run but 2049 is a lot further out,” Mr Wood said.

The lack of clarity over a climate change policy and emissions targets means “it’s hard to invest in this situation”, he said.

“What sort of emissions reductions over what period of time would be compatible with Vales Point staying open? 2049 seems a long way off to make a bet on things staying as they are.”

While it was logical that Delta Electricity would apply for any government program to extend the power station’s life, “you’d want to make sure Vales Point did not have a special deal with the government” such as extracting an exemption from emissions targets.

“The government should not be funding investments through low interest loans nor giving special exemptions. A special exemption from the emissions target tax would be a terrible idea,” Mr Wood said.

n National University centre for climate economics and policy director Professor Frank Jotzo said it was impossible to predict the timing of exit of any particular power station but“the economics of coal-fired power stations will deteriorate and they will continue to deteriorate simply because renewables are now the cheaper option”.

Future: AGL’s Liddell and Bayswater power stations near Muswellbrook. The Federal Energy Minister has threatened to force AGL to sell Liddell rather than close it, as planned, in 2022.

“It’s inevitable and inescapable that the transition to renewables is underway,” Professor Jotzo said.

It would be“very difficult to conceive there’s a case for a refurbishment of Vales Point to take the plant all the way to the 2040s and there’s significant carbon risk into the future”of emissions targets making coal-fired power unviable, he said.

“If you looked at this from an investor’s perspective you would have to put a very significant risk of a carbon penalty into this project. Talking about plans for it to operate until it is 70 years of age, given that the average age of power station closures has been 40 years, seems far fetched.”

It was interesting to compare the approach taken by AGL towards Liddell and Delta towards Vales Point, Professor Jotzo said.

“What’s obvious with AGL is that you have a diversified company that sees its future in the provision of energy services so it’s not wedded to any technology. They would go with whatever is most economically viable. The owner of Vales Point is interested only in coal generation and one plant, so the incentive there is to maximise profits. A company in that situation would have an incentive to lobby governments for grants to subsidise refurbishment of their plant.”

It would be“very bad public policy” for the Federal Government to“prevent or postpone the market-based closure of power stations by offering subsidies to keep them open”, Professor Jotzo said.

“There really is nothing to be gained for the consumer in keeping these old coal-fired power stations open,” he said.

In a paper released this week, Coal transitions in : Preparing for the looming domestic coal phase-out and falling export demand, Professor Jotzo and co-authors Salim Mazouz and John Wiseman found government policy should support economic diversification in regions like the Hunter where coal is economically important.

Its research found a relatively small but persistent increase in unemployment rates in regions after coal plant closures.

The paper predicted sharp falls in thermal coal demand from the late 2020s and early 2030s as a number of coal-fired power plants retire in quick succession.

It found government policy “must not stand in the way of the transition that is underway”.

“The coal industry represents large and concentrated economic interests, which when combined with the interests of local communities in coal regions can amount to a formidable force in favour of the status quo,” the ANU team found.

“There is a risk that policy designed to protect existing industrial structures could unnecessarily delay the transition and lock in high emitting installations for longer.”

Twitter bans Alex Jones and Infowars

by admin on 18/06/2019

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones had around 90,000 followers on Twitter.Twitter is permanently banning US right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars show for abusive behaviour.
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The company said Jones won’t be able to create new accounts on Twitter or take over any existing ones. Twitter said Jones posted a video on Wednesday that violates the company’s policy against “abusive behaviour.”

The video in question showed Jones shouting at and berating CNN journalist Oliver Darcy for some 10 minutes in between two congressional hearings focused on social media.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified at both hearings, but did not appear to witness the confrontation.

Jones had about 900,000 followers on Twitter. Infowars had about 430,000.

Twitter had previously suspended Jones for a week. But until now it had resisted muzzling Jones further. Other tech companies have limited Jones by suspending him for longer periods, as Facebook did, and by taking down his pages and radio stations.

Jones heckled Darcy in a public hallway where reporters were waiting to enter the House committee room. He criticised the journalist’s reporting and appearance, referencing his “skinny jeans” and repeatedly saying, “just look at this guy’s eyes” and “look at that smile”.

At one point, he said Darcy was “smiling like a possum that crawled out of the rear end of a dead cow. That’s what you look like. You look like a possum that got caught doing some really nasty stuff – in my view. You’re a public figure too.”

Darcy has aggressively questioned social media companies about the forbearance they showed Jones, asking why they have allowed him to remain on their platforms for as long as they have.

Jones is currently active on Facebook; his suspension there recently expired. It did not immediately respond to a message asking whether it would also ban Jones.

Apple, YouTube and Spotify also permanently removed material Jones had published.

But critics warned there is another side to high-profile cases such as this one.

“We should be extremely careful before rushing to embrace an internet that is moderated by private companies by default,” said David Greene, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in an email last month.

While high-profile cases of highly offensive content being taken down gets a lot of attention, he added, content moderation “continues to silence” the voices of people around the world struggling to be heard.

The independent Hunter teen juggling the HSC, two jobs and her own apartment

by admin on 18/06/2019

Independent: Natalia Hogan used to travel by public transport from Maitland and from Wickham to Booragul, but has recently bought her own car. Picture: Simone De PeakAGED just 17, Natalia Hogan carries more responsibilities than many people who are a decade older.
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Natalia is a house captain at St Paul’s Catholic College Booragul, studying for her Higher School Certificate in the hope of becoming a doctor, has two jobs, lives independently in a studio apartment and manages her own finances, cooking, cleaning, washing and transportation.

“This is my life –I just get up and do it,” Natalia said.

“If I’d hada different experience when I was younger I would think it was strange, but this is just normal to me.”

Natalia is one of the young people deemed at risk of homelessness who have secured one of 21 tenancies at Samaritans Student Accommodationat Wickham.

The service doesn’t receive government funding, but is sponsored by Orica, Jesmond Lions and the upcoming Bean Counters Ball.

Places are available for people aged 16 to 25 with developed independent living skills who need accommodation to pursue their education and training goals.

Natalia was considered mature enough to move in at 15.

Participants meet with a support worker and are matched with a mentor.

Nataliasaid her mentor –a high school teacher –was like a “big sister”, who had helped her compare car insurance prices and find an English tutor.

“This place gives people like me a second chance at life,” Natalia said.

“It allows you to flourish so you can start again.

“It’s important to have a safe place you can stay and not have to worry about things that children living in normal houses would not have to worry about.

“I couldn’t imaginewhere I’d be–or who I would be–if I did not findthis place.

“It’s definitely allowed me to change my life, to focus on studying and myself –my health and relationships with my friends and family.”

Natalia spent her childhood between family refuges and foster carers, before moving in with a relative between the ages of 12 and 14.

At school, she pretended “like nothing was happening –like I was a normal kid”.

“I was so scared I’d end up as nothing,” she said.

“I’d get so down and wanted to get out of the situation I was living in.

“I did not see any hope for myself. I thought ‘If I’m going through this everyday, how will I get anywhere?’

“I wanted to be able to succeed, to be educated and be able to have a loving family that was functional –when I have kids to be a good mother.

“I did not want anyone to go through what I went through because of me.”

She left with one bag of belongings and stayedon friend’s couches and with her then-boyfriend’s family “who continue to be a constant support”, before relocating to a Samaritans refuge at Maitland.

Samaritans community service manager for child, youth and family Lauren Fisher said “right from the get go”, it was clear Natalia was “extremely determined not to let the significant difficulties that wereoutside her control take control of her”.

“From the first time she came intothe refuge, I knew she was going to achieve great things and whatever she wantsto in life,” Ms Fisher said.

“It would not surprise me if she ended up Prime Minister if that’s what she wanted to do.

“She has an incredible amount of resilience–I’d love to be able to bottle it and clone it for other young people.”

Natalia moved to Wickhamin July 2016 and received Centrelink“special benefits” and rental assistance, as well as support under the Homelessness Youth Assistance Program for children aged 12 to 16.

When she turned 16 she started to receive Youth Allowance as well as Centrelink rental assistance and help under the Rent Choice Youth program.

But she still has to find $160 a fortnight for her $175 a week apartment.

St Paul’shas waived herschool fees, but Natalia has researched and successfully applied for Mentor Support Network and The Smith Family scholarships to pay for essentials including books,excursions and uniforms.

She gave herFamily and Community Services scholarship of $1000 to her school, both last year and this year.

Assistant principalJames Furey said Natalia returned half of the vouchers she was offered to help purchase her blazer, saying “someone else might need it”.

“You don’t see that every day, but she’s just that sort of kid,” he said.

“She’s very impressive and we’re lucky to have her.

“She’s positive, passionate about social justice, contributes to our community, is a diligent and engaged student and a genuinely nice person.”

Natalia describes her time at St Paul’s –which she attended for part of year seven and rejoinedin year nine – and the two years living at Wickham as the most calm in her life.

“At first it did not feel real, just havinga stable place to live –somewhere I was not going to get kicked out of the next day,” she said.

“The feeling was incredible –I’d never had it in my whole life, knowing I would not have to go somewhere else, that this place was mine.

“Finally, I have somewhere that’s mine.”

Natalia said she did not realise the seriousness of her early life experiences until recently.

“I did not think I’d been through that much, I just thought‘That’s life’, so I did not feel sorry for myself,” she said.

“If I’m withfriends who are complaining about little things, about their mum being away so they have to cook their own dinner,they’ll look at me and stop and say ‘sorry!’

“I’ll say ‘Are you serious? There’s so many things that could be happening’.

“I look at things I do have, rather than things I don’t have, and I’m grateful.

“Everything happens for a reason and if I had not been through what I’ve been through I would not be the person I am today, I would not have skills and be able to do so much more than my friends.

“I would not have the opportunities I have now.”

Natalia said the key to her success was organisationand good time management. She swears by her wall planner.

Natalia sat the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test in July and will find out this month if she has progressed to the interview stage.

She hopes to study medicine at the University of Newcastle. If she isn’t offered a place, she’ll spend next year working as an au pair in Europe before returning and trying again, either for medicine or a bridging degree like biomedical science.

“I love anatomy and the human body and want to make an impact in the world,” she said.

“I want to go to third world countries and help out.”

Natalia urged other young people facing difficulties to not give up.

“Try and find a place for yourself and get out of the situation where you’re being held down,” she said.

“As long as you’re in the situation where things are negative and you’re getting hurt, you’ll get stuck in that feeling and start hanging out with the wrong people.

“You may feel worthless, that no-one wants you and that you can’t beat the way they make you feel.

“But you will find happiness and succeed if you put your mind to it.”

Half the funds raised at theNovember 2Bean Counters Ball –a Chartered Accountants and New Zealand and CPA initiative –will go to Samaritans Student Accommodation.

Meet Hoda and Aldo at the Lake Macquarie Food & Wine Festival, and Vault 73 opensFood Bites

by admin on 18/06/2019

RISING STAR: Hoda Kobeissi won a fan in Nigella Lawson during her time on MasterChef and will be at Lake Macquarie Food & Wine Festival on October 14.
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Hoda Kobeissi still recalls the first time she made a dish and people enjoyed it. A love and passion for food was ignited which, a few years down the track, prompted her to audition for MasterChef 2018.

Not only did she make the cut, she finished just outside the top 10. She is now branching out on her own, hosting pop-up dinners, while launchingher very own dessert brand called Halawa(sweetness).

Hoda is also on board for the inaugural Lake Macquarie Food & Wine Festival at Speers Point Park on October 14 where she will host cooking demonstrations with fellow MasterChef contestant and close friend Aldo Ortado.

Growing up in a food-orientated family in south-western Sydney, Hoda says family celebrations were just “constant layers of food”. As a teenager she began cooking for her family while her parents worked long hours, startingwitha simple stir fry.

After graduating from university she worked at a not-for-profit organisation, helping find employment for people with mental health issues, then focusing on early intervention for children with poor mental health. She completedher Masters of Social Work in 2016.

Somehow she found time to marry husband Kamahl in 2005 and have two children – Hassan in 2011 and Mariam in 2014 – and to answer a few questions fromFood & Wine.

You have a no-nonsense approach to cooking backed by faith in your abilities. Who taught you to cook and gave you that confidence?

Thank you very much. I learned how to cook from my Mum. I used to watch her in the kitchen and she had a similar approach, and would experiment a lot. I would do all the odd jobs in the kitchen and would ask her questions regarding what ingredients were going into the dishes she was making.

What does cooking and food mean to you?

Food in general is a big part of who I am, and definitely my culture. It brings us all together to socialise and catch up while grazing. My approach to food is to keep it simple and real. I do enjoy creating fancy things from time to time, but I am more interested in achieving the same results for a complicated dish with minimal and everyday ingredients.

What do you enjoy cooking and what ingredients do you like using?

I enjoy cooking a range of sweet and savoury food. I’m interested in modernising Middle Eastern sweets as well as playing around with recipes to make desserts that are a bit more healthier and nutritional while still achieving decadence. My favourite ingredients to work with are definitely cornflour and mastic.

How has MasterChef changed your life?

MasterChef has definitely changed my life, it’s opened a lot of opportunities for me both with food and social work.I will always be a social worker at heart and I actually don’t want to completely move away from it as I think there are a lot of people and communities out there that require support. I’m looking at the different ways I can effectively make food and social work collide.I’m looking at ways to make my ultimate food dream happen and that’s to teach disadvantaged communities how to cook with minimal ingredients and on a budget and reduce food wastage.

You have a real opportunity to expose people to dishes and ingredients they may not be familiar with. Is that something you would like to do?

Yes I would definitely like to showcase different Lebanese and Middle Eastern dishes that are not usually found in restaurants. Our cuisine is more than dips and meat skewers and I would love to showcase the vast variety of food we have.

What will you be doing at the inaugural Lake Macquarie Food & Wine Festival?

I will be appearing with my partner in crime and fellow contestant Aldo. We will be demonstrating on stage an entree each. Aldo is taking care of demonstrating mains and I’ll be doing a dessert.

Tuesday burgersBob’s Burger Bar is up and running at Winnie’s Jamaican (21 Darby Street) every Tuesday, 11.30am to 2.30pm. Chef Jamie Thomassaid the first two weeks had been “great”, with all burgers just $10with sweet potato fries. Options include jerk fried chicken, a cheeseburger, hot fish burger and the rasta burger. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets are catered for and you can pre-order by phoning or texting 0421 007 767.

Boozy banquetThe Happy Wombat is hosting a long lunch on October 13 –The Boozy Bluesy Batch Banquet –with Marrickville’s Batch Brewing Company.Tickets $85 at trybooking苏州夜总会招聘.

Branching outRestaurant and bar Vault 73 has opened at the corner of Hunter and Bolton streets –the former home of a bank and Le Passe Temps.

Chef Stuart Murrell quietly opened Vault 73 six weeks ago. Originally from the UK, he moved to Newcastle six years ago and spent six months working at Acquazul before taking on the role of head chef atPaymasters restaurant.

The menu is modern n with an Italian influence and features a lunch menu, bar snacksto share and dishes “from the stove” or “from the grill”.

“Everything we make is from scratch,” he said.

“We didn’t make a fuss when we opened because we wanted to make sure we did it right. It’s great to be doing what I want to do, cooking what I want to cook –this isn’t about making money. It doesn’t feel like a job, really.”

Stuart and his wife Jeni have two small children and understand what it’s like dining out as a family, so created a play area on-siteto keep the young ones entertained. There are daily $12 lunch menus and baked goods to enjoy with coffee.

Win this bookNew York: Capital of Foodis all about New York’s food cultures and signature recipes, set against the backdrop of the city that never sleeps.

Part recipe book, part foodie travel experience, it brings the flavours of the Big Apple into your kitchen. Start the day with a caramel roll, the type you’d get in a cosy coffee shop in Greenwich Village, then cook a corn chowder or authentic Chinatownwings and sip a Long Island Iced Tea while you dream of New York’s skyline and its stylish rooftop bars.

New York: Capital of Food, by Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup, is out now though Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99. Food & Wine has a copy to give away.To enter, send the words “New York” with your name, address and number [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au. Entries close on Monday (September 17) at 9am.

Far from my favourites

by admin on 18/06/2019

They congratulated me on the positive, in one case uplifting, nature of this column last week about the things I love, a sudden rush of emailers who lifted my day apparently in return for me lifting theirs.
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But, I warned them all, it was to be a shortlived mutual glow because as sure as there is love there is hate.

And here it is, the things I hate.

Kicking off this cathartic exercise is the question asked by brash young people, “how are we today?”.

It seems to me to be the condescending language some people use when addressing someone in their dotage, and I will hate it more when I am that someone, but I hate it now regardless.

Are you, I ask the inquirer who’s often a salesman, talking to me? “Yes,” he’ll reply. Then, I’ll ask, who’s we? At this point it’s a good idea to find someone else to help.

The today suffix has become common among young people in customer service and so common is it at Macca’s that I wonder if it’s part of the training.

“Is that all today?”, and I wonder if the today is meant to suggest that the purchase is or should be a daily habit. I’ve given up pointing out that I wasn’t there yesterday.

I hope that not all these young people are crass enough to use Newie, or Newy, instead of the city’s name, Newcastle.

Those who do will also call Christmas Chrissie, presents prezzies, breakfast brekkie, and Bundaberg Rum Bundy,which seems to be their favourite drink.

Thatwill help you place them on the social spectrum.

Supercars brought hordes of them to what they call Newie, and thankfully they all went home again to Maitie and Kurri and Cessie.

Pretension I both love and hate, love because I am captivated by it briefly and hate when I am required to endure it.

Those who are pretentious would have you know, if they so deigned, that they speak and behave properly and that you don’t.

Hey, don’t you just hate it when you have to tell the staff the meal was lovely to avoid the melodrama that would follow if you told them the truth!

Fruit out of season must be avoided if you are hoping to have a good day, and fruit that is too cheap is that way for good reason and to be avoided at all cost.

Apricots get me just once a year, when I buy two or three of the choicest I can find in the hope that they’ll be even just half as good as they were when I was a child. Each year they end up in the nearest bin.

Cheap bread, offal, biros that don’t work and especially a drawerful of biros that don’t work, doof doof music, commercial radio and chuckleheads, people who don’t pick up their dog poo, right-lane hoggers, canned and otherwise false laughter, loathsome all of them.

Voice-activated switchboards are an abomination, and small businesses that require callers to push buttons rather than talk to a receptionist are not far behind.

One I encountered a year ago was a Newcastle real estate agency, and when I gave up after the third button press I wondered how many others did the same. It was easier to phone another agency.

I’m getting cranky writing this.

The modern compulsion to swamp children with junk at Christmas is ugly, and the immediate effect, of course, is to create a lack of appreciation, a disregard, for what they have and to rob them of the pleasure in having something they want.

Just as bad is the new habit of buying a toy for a child each time they accompany a parent shopping. Shortsighted vulgarity.

I am implacably hostile to the expectation that I tip, whether that be from staff or, more often in these days of plastic, fellow diners at the table adding a tip to a shared bill.

I can’t see why I should relent to attempts to impose on me an obligation to pay twice.

Dogs licking faces is execrable, and so are the people who see this as cute.

In addition,people who invade your personal space, and who move with you as you retreat, are odious. Especially if they have bad breath.

And at what age should we no longer have to be assailed by jokes?

You know, the “have you heard the one” jokes, and when we say we have heard that one the jokester comes up with another.

Invariably unfunny, and it’s pointless explaining that swear words that might have been funny when we were early teenagers are not now.


Goodness, I need to get into the sun, to exchange a cheery hello with a passerby, to pat a random dog, to think positive things about young people having a go.

I’ll feel better shortly, and you have a lovely weekend too.

[email protected]苏州夜总会招聘[email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au