Snowtown in the news
"We've seen improvements in the crop standing as well as higher yields using this seed treatment program which all leads to increased profits at the end of the day."
"If you can get that germination right that can play a big part in getting healthier plants during the season."
Early crop protection paying dividends at Snowtown
Story by Gregor Heard 5 Jun 2021, 1 p.m.
Left: WONDERFUL WHEAT: Hannaford's Mick Coleman (centre) with brothers Simon and Nick McCormack in a paddock of Scepter wheat at Snowtown last year.
A FOCUS on protecting the crop in its vulnerable stages just after germinating is paying dividends in South Australia's Mid North.
Snowtown grain producers Simon and Nick McCormack make sure they have their seed treatments on to combat both insect and disease pressure and have said it has made a difference in getting good early vigour in crops.
This year, with a dry start, keeping plants as healthy as possible will be even more important to ensure yield is not lost come harvest time.
"We've had about 30mm in the past fortnight or so, with 20mm in one rain about a week ago, but now you would not even know it has rained," Simon said.
The farm, a fifth generation family enterprise going back to 1873 which the brothers operate in conjunction with father Paul, features a wide variety of soils from sandy loams to iron-rich heavier red soils.
It has 2100 hectares of cropping country and 500ha, primarily hillier ground, for grazing sheep, with average annual rainfall of 400mm.
The cropping paddocks are run on controlled traffic and do not have livestock on them at any stage.
"We've been no-till farming since 2001 and zero till for the past six years, with all the equipment on full controlled traffic," said Simon.
The McCormacks cropping program consists of lentils, wheat, canola and barley, with benchmark returns of 4tonnes a hectare on cereals and 2t/ha on lentils and canola.
Read more at queenslandcountrylife.com.au
Snowtown's old Wind Farm 1
is unable to add a new big battery
The head of one of Australia’s leading renewable energy developers has expressed frustration at his company’s inability to obtain approval to add a big battery to one of its operating wind farms in South Australia.
Tilt Renewables – subject to an agreed $2.8 billion takeover offer from the Powering Australia Renewables Fund and Mercury NZ – has been looking for several years if it can add a battery to its Snowtown wind complex in South Australia, where it still owns the 101MW Snowtown 1 wind farm.
But CEO Deion Campbell says the company has effectively been told by the local transmission company ElectraNet that it will not be possible without significant modelling and an adjustment to the project’s generator performance standard (GPS).
He says that makes it virtually impossible, and the company will now focus instead on “stand-alone” battery storage developments in Victoria, where he has said previously it is looking at three projects totalling around 150MW of capacity and 300MWh of storage.
“I don’t get it,” Campbell said during a presentation of the company’s annual results on Thursday morning.
“They won’t let the battery in.”
Campbell said he knew the process would be complex,
but wanted the company to be a “trailblazer” to
show how existing wind and solar farm assets could add battery storage and have it operating “behind the meter”.
In South Australia, all new wind and solar projects must be accompanied by some form of battery, but it is difficult for those wanting to enhance existing projects.
The battery – which might have been sized at 20MW/42MWh, and designed primarily to shift wind output and increase the projects “firm” output – had received some financial support from the state government.
Campbell said it proved impossible because Snowtown was built in 2008, and would have had to have gone through an incredibly detailed modelling process that could have made its ongoing operation very difficult.
“Only tougher market is the Moon:” Australia’s big battery connection problem by Sophie Vorrath 14 May 2021
Roadhouses run by five Indian families serving up curry in regional South Australia are growing in popularity, if social media and returning customers are anything to go by.
Indian-born migrants make up 2.4 per cent of the Australian population
Five families with connections to the same Indian village are running roadhouses in SA
The owners say travellers and truckies love to get a feed a bit different from the standard roadhouse fare
Snowtown Roadhouse owner Charat Singh serves local Peter Ebsary his best seller, butter chicken, of which he sells almost 200 kilograms a week.
(Story by ABC North And West: Shannon Corvo
Ten years ago Charat Singh made the move from Sydney and became the first among the families to go into business.
He said he did not know of Snowtown's grim recent history at the time.
"I wasn't … an internet sort of guy and I didn't know the history of what happened at Snowtown," Mr Singh said.
"It came from elsewhere — it's not about our town."
Mr Singh said he was happy to be cooking up a new reputation for Snowtown and that word was spreading.
"Instead of the barrels it's now known for its curries," he said.
Mr Singh said he started serving curries to give the business a boost.
"I've seen in Sydney and Adelaide people love Indian food," he said.
"Some people suggested people just eat steak and the vegies, but I'm pretty stubborn and I thought, 'Let's try it and give people something else on the road.'
"They are multicultural and they accept everything.
"If you see all the big boys on the road, all the trucks, they are the big boys of takeaway.
"There are families of Port Pirie and Whyalla and Port Augusta — they take lots of takeaways."
New Loch-Eel monster emerges in Mid North town of Lochiel
The Mid North town of Lochiel has a new monster on the prowl – but the iconic landmark it replaces isn’t retiring just yet.
Michelle Etheridge, Messenger Regional Editor, March 19, 2021
Lochiel has a new monster, but its much-loved old one isn’t retiring any time soon.
The Loch-Eel monster, named by the Lochiel Progress Association, is part of a $450,000 Lake Bumbunga tourism project managed by Wakefield Regional Council.
Port Broughton mechanic Wayne Dennis built the fibreglass sculpture over about 12 months. It was built around a stainless steel rod, also using wire mesh, and installed this week.
Mayor Rodney Reid said Lake Bumbunga had become increasingly popular with tourists over recent years, and filmmakers and photographers had also used it for filming and fashion photo shoots.
“The project aims to capitalise on this interest in Loch-Eel and provide some fun and interest for visitors at the same time,” he said.
The traditional monster on Bumbunga Lake, Lochiel, South Australia. Picture: Ilia Torlin
The tourism project also includes a new viewing platform, public toilets, a new playground and picnic area, free public Wi-Fi, carparking improvements and new town entrance signs. Its final element is information signage, to be installed in June.
“Developing Lake Bumbunga has been a long-held desire for the LPA (Lochiel Progress Association) and it’s wonderful that (the) council can work so closely with this community to make the lake and the tiny town sing,” Mr Reid said.
The eel is mounted in the lake on footings built around old tractor and header tyres donated by Mid North Tyres, reinforced with stainless steel and filled with rubble, making them extremely heavy.
The original monster, made of tyres, still exists on the lake on the way out of town.
Read more at The Advertiser
$2.75 billion bid for Tilt
by Michael Mazengarb & Giles Parkinson 15 March 2021
AGL Group buys Snowtown Wind Farm 1
Owner of Snowtown Wind Farm 1, Australian-New Zealand renewables developer Tilt Renewables, is to be bought for $2.75 billion by the AGL Energy backed Powering Australian Renewables fund and New Zealand utility Mercury NZ.
Through the deal, the Tilt Renewables business will effectively be split up, with the Australian and New Zealand parts of the business being acquired by different members of the takeover consortium.
The takeover offer for Tilt’s Australian business has been launched by Powering Australian Renewables, a partnership between energy giant AGL Energy (20 per cent), Queensland government-owned investment group QIC (40 per cent) and the federal government’s Future Fund (40 per cent).
Snowtown Wind Farm Stage 2 fined $1m by Federal Court over contraventions linked to 2016 statewide blackout
A Snowtown wind farm has become the first power producer fined for mistakes that contributed to the 2016 statewide blackout.
Anatomy of a statewide blackout
Explainer of how the 2016 statewide blackout occurred.
A Snowtown wind farm has been fined more than a million dollars for turbine failures which led to the 2016 statewide blackout.
On September 28 of that year, as storms toppled power pylons in the Mid North, 34 of the 37 turbines operated by Snowtown Wind Farm Stage 2 shut down.
On Tuesday, the Federal Court held that the failure of the turbines was associated with the rolling statewide blackout and that the contravention which led to the shutdown had been present for 1126 days.
The fine is the first of its kind to be handed down to an energy company as part of a suite of lawsuits brought by the Australian Energy Regulator.
The wind farm breached its obligation to have an approved protection system in place on each of its turbines which would kick in if there was a fault or other voltage disturbance.
The systems are designed to cope with abnormal voltage without completely shutting down.
As part of the national energy grid, the wind farm was required to be able to “ride through” any sudden changes by being able to operate continuously and uninterrupted.
The Snowtown turbines were equipped with the system, but they had not been checked and accredited by ElectraNet, which operates South Australia’s power transmission network.
The September, 28, 2016, blackout caused chaos across the state.
The systems which were present were set to a lower threshold than was advised, meaning they would trip sooner if there was a fluctuation.
The Australian Energy Market Operator, which is responsible for maintaining power system security, is required to assume that wind farms like Snowtown are able to function if there is a sudden change.
On September 28, there were six sudden fluctuations of power recorded by the protective systems in 90 seconds.
The result was that the unapproved systems tripped and shut down 34 of the turbines.
“This was associated with the widespread electricity blackout which occurred in South Australia on that day,” Justice Richard White said.
“However, (the company) has not admitted that the turbines ceasing to supply active power constituted a contravention or that the cessation was caused by the contravention which it has admitted.”
The blackout was caused by wild weather which tore across the state,
knocking down 22 power pylons and
causing a cascading electricity event
which shut down wind farms and
tripped the interconnector to Victoria.
Blyth was one of the areas hardest hit by the storm.
Left: The enduring image of the blackout was of twisted power pylons toppled by high winds near Melrose on September 28, 2016.
It was agreed in the Federal Court that international wind turbine supplier Siemens had designed, supplied and installed most of the wind farm.
Snowtown Wind Farm Stage 2 was unaware that the settings on the turbines had not been signed off by ElectraNet or the national operator until after the blackout.
Justice White said that the contraventions had not been “intentional or reckless”.
However, he also said that the company had not assessed its own protections systems in the three years since the turbines had been installed.
The maximum penalty for not having the approved protection system was $10,000 a day.
As the contravention lasted for a little over three years, the company was left facing a maximum fine of $11,360,000.
Justice White fined the company $1 million as well as $100,000 in costs and ordered it to recruit a compliance expert to evaluate their procedures.
The Australian Energy Regulator is continuing lawsuits in the Federal Court against
HWF 1 Pty Ltd,
Pacific Hydro Clements Gap Pty Ltd and
AGL HP 1 Pty Ltd,
all of which run wind farms in South Australia.
Read this article on the Advertiser web site.
Geoff Brock celebrates Augusta Highway upgrade funding in Federal Budget.
Targeted sections of the Augusta Highway between Redhill and Snowtown have been identified by the State government for major resurfacing works and will be funded federally as part of a $250m Princes Highway Corridor Upgrade.
(pictured left) Independent member for Frome - MP Geoff Brock - has called this announcement a "win" after sustained lobbying.
"I am extremely pleased to hear the news that these upgrades will occur," Mr Brock said.
"I have been lobbying hard for this essential highway upgrading work and wrote to Minister Infrastructure and Transport Corey Wingard in early August, after he took on his new role, to again bring this matter to his department's attention."
The section of the highway between Redhill and Snowtown has long become a growing safety issue for road users.
"The number of tourists that are now travelling along this route to enjoy northern South Australia as a holiday destination has
increased traffic volume and
contributed to the deterioration of the road surface -
becoming a significant issue for those towing caravans on the undulating surface," Mr Brock said.
"The increased tourism activity
coupled with ever increasing numbers of heavy transport vehicles
to the Eyre Peninsula and Upper Spencer Gulf
as well as the resources sector in the north of the State have resulted in the highway requiring urgent rehabilitation.
"I welcome the advice that the Department is working on scoping details for this section of the road and the collaboration of funding between the Australian and State Governments.
"The Princes Highway Corridor Upgrade also includes $80 million to commence the duplication of the Augusta Highway and other safety improvements
including overtaking lanes, intersection improvements and rest areas."
Snowtown records third earthquake in a week after 3.1 tremor shakes town
Left: Seismological Association of Australia captured the seismogram of the Snowtown quake on Wednesday night.
Snowtown recorded its third earthquake in a week on Wednesday night, with the shake felt in areas with hundreds of residents.
Chief Seismologist at Seismological Association of Australia, David Love, said the quake had hit at 8.01pm, with an epicentre about 10 kilometres southwest of the town.
The town felt a “tiny” aftershock two hours later.
It follows two earthquakes, with magnitudes of 2.0 and 2.1, on Sunday afternoon.
“The area has had a number of other small earthquakes over the last few years,” Mr Love said.
The biggest quake ever recorded in SA measured 5.5 on the Richter scale at Darlington at 3.40am on March 1, 1954.
Have you any Snowtown pictures of our heavy frosts from the last two weeks?
Email your photos to email@example.com
Snowtown SA records its lowest temperatures on record as bureau forecasts (good) rain and possible snow
ABC: Parts of South Australia have shivered through icy temperatures overnight (6 August 2020),
with Snowtown recording its two coldest minimums on record.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said "extremely cold temperatures were recorded at various locations", and is forecasting more frost, rain and possible light snow in parts of the state as the week continues.
Snowtown recorded RECORD low minimum temperatures on
Tuesday 28/07/2020 of -4.5 degrees which was -9.2 degrees below the average
July -- The Record for the period of 1998-2016
Lowest-2.3 on the 24th July 2008
Wednesday 05/08/2020 of -4.1 degrees, which was -8.4 degrees lower than average
Weatherzone and the Bureau records are DIFFERENT - BOM records don't exist for the Rayville weather station before 1998
TELL ME WHAT YOU RECORDED - firstname.lastname@example.org
I also want to hear from our local climate expert, Don Whiting.
Introducing Palisade Integrated Management Services (PIMS) - with Tilt Renewables, - proud to be a part of the Snowtown Community.
May 2020: Redefining Snowtown as the ‘wind capital’ of the State, the annual output of the combined Snowtown wind farms is over 1,200GWh of renewable energy.
Tilt Renewables will continue the Snowtown connection through its on-going ownership of the Snowtown 1 Wind Farm and is pleased to be joined by Palisade Integrated Management Services (PIMS) the new owners of Snowtown 2 Wind Farm, to further develop (our) important community relationships.
They look forward to the years ahead, sharing responsibility for
the Lend a Hand Foundation and seeing community projects come to fruition.
Read More: May 2020 Snowtown Wind Farm Newsletter (PDF)
Tilt had been considering a solar farm at its Snowtown wind complex as part of the battery upgrade, but has discarded the solar option.
Tilt says an automated trading system installed at the Snowtown 1, Dundonnell and Salt Creek wind farms is proving highly valuable, savings “hundreds of thousands” of dollars.
He said wind projects were more economically viable than solar, and that would could continue until solar and battery storage turned the tables.
Listed renewable energy developer Tilt Renewables says that its major South Australia wind farm suffered less curtailment in the March quarter, despite the two week separation of the state’s grid, but was forced to dodge negative pricing events.
Tilt, meanwhile, reported an eight per cent lift in production from its Australian wind farms – mostly the Snowtown 1 project in South Australia and the Salt Creek wind farm in Victoria, excluding the recently sold Snowtown 2 project – and a smaller rise in New Zealand.
Updated 20 May 2019, 1:30pm
Twenty years after police uncovered one of the nation's worst serial killings, Snowtown locals are facing tough decisions about whether to cash in on the town's infamy.
Before May 20, 1999, most people outside of South Australia would not have heard of Snowtown.
It was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of place — a subdued little farming community on the edge of a rural highway.
You wouldn't go there unless you had to, or were passing through on the way to somewhere else, but the town itself was charming enough to draw praise from a visiting journalist in 1923.