Saturday, 16 February 2008

Government crowns graziers and green windfall drifts away

Sydney Morning Herald
Friday 15/2/2008 Page: 3

GRAZIERS in far western NSW say it reeks of hypocrisy: the State Government wants to sell its coal-fired power stations, and then muscle into green energy generation at their expense. The graziers are furious that the Government plans to revoke pastoral leases on four grazing properties if it approves Australia's biggest wind farm in the ranges north of Broken Hill.

The energy company Epuron is proposing to build up to 500 massive turbines and this week the Lands Minister, Tony Kelly, said the project had the Government's in-principle support. For the affected leaseholders the wind farm offered attractive annual compensation payments from Epuron, but last week they were told at a meeting with the Department of Lands that Epuron could deal only with the Government.

Most land in the area is government-owned but operated through perpetual grazing leases. Mr Kelly said: "Under the terms of their current leases, the graziers occupying the land cannot negotiate with the company, but the Government is committed to compensation for loss of any leaseholder rights.

"The state needs to provide a secure title to ensure certainty of ongoing tenure and financial security... which will see in excess of $2 billion of private investment in a renewable source of electricity." The Nationals MP for Murray- Darling, John Williams, said the leaseholders were set to earn $5000 per year per turbine. Taking back the leases was the "cowardly act" of a greedy government.

Kerry Keady, a solicitor representing three leaseholders, said the revoking of leases "came completely out of left field." Mrs Keady said that when Telstra wanted to put up a tower on a western lands lease, the leaseholder had been able to sublease the land. Her clients had negotiated a compensation deal with Epuron for what will be "a very invasive and disruptive development", she said, and they should not have to settle for less. Epuron said yesterday: "We have always negotiated with landowners in good faith. Discussions are continuing."

Being green for cost of a call

Sydney Morning Herald
Friday 15/2/2008 Page: 1

FOR the cost of a daily local phone call, Australians could cut their greenhouse gas emissions to the same ambitious levels now being considered by the most advanced European countries, an economic study has found. The report by the management consultants McKinsey and Company, advisers to some of the world's biggest corporations and institutions, says that by 2020 Australia could cut its greenhouse emissions to 30 per cent below 1990 levels for a cost of less than 80 cents a day for each household - or $290 per year. Over the same period household income is expected to rise by more than $20,000 per year.

The cuts could be made without a big technological breakthrough or dramatic lifestyle changes, the report finds, and by 2030, emissions could be slashed up to 60 per cent. "This is not daydreaming. This is a fact-based analysis aimed at setting the goal posts," one of the report's authors, Stephan Gorner, told the Herald. The report, An Australian Cost Curve for Greenhouse Gas Reduction, pre-empts the Federal Government's own studies on the cost of cutting greenhouse gases by Ross Garnaut and the Treasury. Professor Garnaut is not due to release a draft of his report until June and yesterday the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said his department's modelling would not be available until then.

The Rudd Government has consistently refused to set its 2020 target for cutting greenhouse gases until it receives the Garnaut report. It has committed only to a 2050 target of cutting emissions by 60 per cent from 2000 levels. The McKinsey authors have briefed the offices of the Treasurer; the Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong; and Professor Garnaut on their report, which stresses the need for urgent action to achieve the cuts.

"Significantly reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions is achievable and affordable but requires rapid action", the report concludes. It notes,"The scale of changes required is substantial." Mr Gorner, who came to McKinsey's Sydney office from Germany, rejected suggestions that the report was too optimistic but said: "You have to act now to make it happen." "There are likely to be winners and losers," he acknowledged

The report investigates more than 100 opportunities to cut greenhouse gases across the economy, including stepping up investment in wind power, in creasing regulations to slow land clearing, using tougher regulations to lift energy efficiency, speeding up new technologies through tax breaks and subsidies, lifting fuel efficiency standards, increasing the use of biofuels and increasing the use of renewable energy.

Reducing emissions in the building sector, cutting emissions from air-conditioners, hot water systems, lighting and appliances will be the most economic way of cutting emissions because the savings to the consumer will pay for the changes, the report finds. The heavily polluting power industry will need to radically cut its emissions, which are soaring. Without any new action, Australian emissions are set to rise to 127 per cent of 1990 levels in 2020 rather than fall.

Controversially, the report assumes that clean coal technology will be commercially available for coal-fired power stations by 2030, and two-thirds of the industry will be using it. As yet there is no clean coal plant in commercial operation. The report acknowledges that, without clean coal, the cost of slashing emissions by 60 per cent by 2030 will increase by almost a third. Alternatively, the use of renewable energy will need to increase greatly.

`Efficiency and forestry', not switch in energy, key to cuts

Friday 15/2/2008 Page: 8

FORESTRY and more efficient use of energy, rather than gas or renewables, can spearhead deep cuts in Australia's greenhouse emissions by 2020, according to research by heavyweight business consultants McKinseys. The report, to be released today by the global A-list consultants, backs environmentalists' claims that Australia can afford to cut its greenhouse emissions by nearly 40 per cent over the next 12 years. Major energy users dismissed the claim as "literally fantastic."

The report claims deep emission cuts of 30 per cent by 2020 based on 1990 levels could be achieved at a cost of about $3 billion a year, or up to $65 per tonne of greenhouse emissions. Australia is currently 9 per cent above its 1990 emissions. The report claims the first quarter of the 40 per cent emissions cuts could come by improving the efficiency of energy use in factories, offices and households through insulation and retrofitting of electric motors and air-conditioning systems, which would deliver huge savings in power bills.

A further 31 per cent would come from avoiding further land-clearing and deforestation, coupled with rapid, widespread tree-planting programs to provide one of the cheapest ways for Australia to offset its greenhouse emissions. The McKinsey modelling predicts there will be some new geothermal and wind energy generation by 2020, but by comparison very little switching from coal to gas-generated electricity.

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt yesterday predicted the Rudd Government would abandon its Mandatory Renewable Energy Target to include all low-emission options by the 2009 budget. The self-commissioned report, An Australian cost curve for greenhouse gas reduction, follows similar McKinsey analyses in the US, Britain and Germany. The report's author, Stephan Gorner, said that compared with most other developed economies, Australia was in a unique position to develop large-scale forest sinks as a relatively cheap way to quickly deliver large cuts in net emissions.

He said that without forestry and the big gains available by replacing coal with zero-emissions energy, Australia would find it much more difficult to achieve the deep targets proposed. "We are not daydreaming and thinking about breakthrough technologies," Mr Gorner said. "Everything here is live and operating." Climate Institute Australia policy director Erwin Jackson said energy efficiency was still the bridesmaid of greenhouse policy and that the McKinsey research highlighted the need for urgent government action to drive savings across the economy.

Australian Industry Greenhouse Network chief Michael Hitchens doubted such cuts were possible and warned that the report dangerously omitted many of the broader costs arising from this scale of emissions cut. "If we need an emissions price of $60 a tonne, as they suggest, then that will cost far more than $290 per household," Mr Hitchens said. "This means something like 16c (more for) each litre of petrol, a 30 per cent increase in household power bills and maybe the doubling of gas prices."

Friday, 15 February 2008

Work ramps up at wind farm

Portland Observer
Monday 11/2/2008 Page: 3

MOTORISTS using Bridgewater Rd, to or from Cape Bridgewater, may experience delays from tomorrow as work on Pacific Hydro's Portland Wind Energy Project ramps up. Over-sized trucks are expected to start transporting the first of 29 wind turbines and sections of a 500 tonne crane to the Amos Rd site. The 500-tonne Liebherr tower crane, which arrived at the Port of Portland last week from Scotland, is one of only three 500-tonne cranes in Australia.

It will be assembled on site at the Stage Two Cape Bridgewater section of the PWEP. Meanwhile, it remains unknown whether UK-based company WindHoist will extend and expand its operations in Portland longer than the expected four-and-a-half months scheduled.

WindHoist has a temporary office in the city. However, the company's project foreman in Portland, Shane McGorry, told the LaTrobe Valley Express last month it was hoped to extend WindHoist to Australia... ." part of our job will be to train up some Australians." "Wind turbines are relatively new to the Australians, so we will hope to share some of our knowledge with the Australian workers," he said.

The benefits of methane

South Gippsland Sentinel Times
Tuesday 12/2/2008 Page: 41

EVEN climate change has a silver lining - if farmers are given the right information and support to find it. That was the view ex pressed by many participants who attended a field day held at Krowera last week. Hosted by dairy farmers Andy and Dianna Thomas, the field day looked at strategies for reducing on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and improving water efficiency, and the opportunities for improving profitability.

Organised as part of the Future Foods and Fibre Project and the Western Port Greenhouse Action and Resource Efficiency Project, the field day encouraged farmers to view energy and nutrients lost in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, as costs to their business - and greenhouse gas reductions as savings.

"Methane, which accounts for most dairy and beef farm emissions, is a very high form of energy," said Moragh Mackay, from the Bass Coast Landcare Network. "Cows that produce high levels of methane are also losing high amounts of energy, which results in lower milk production. "At the same time, research shows that improving the quality of the herd's feed results in less methane production - while also resulting in better milk production." While Moragh was looking at methane as a cost, others speakers saw it as a potential source of profit.

Greenhouse gas auditor Geoff Andrews, who carried out a preliminary audit of the Thomas's farm as part of the Western Port Greenhouse project, described how methane digesters are used in many US dairies to generate electricity. "There's a lot of research being done here to discover how we can modify the digesters for pasture-based operations," Geoff said.

It shouldn't be too long before we begin to see methane digesters on Australian dairy farms.- In the meantime, Geoff discussed several strategies that dairy farmers can implement now, to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and save money. They ranged from the extremely simple (checking that all equipment is properly set up and running efficiently), to cooling towers, night sky cooling, and looking at alternative energy such as solar and wind power.

Geoff urged farmers to monitor their energy use, so that they understand when, where and how they're using their energy. This will help farmers make the best decisions for their business - and ensure they get the most energy savings for their money.. Another speaker who stressed the importance of farmers quantifying their resource use and needs was the DPTs Barrie Bradshaw. "Many farmers have no idea how much water they actually need, until they run out," he said.

By then its too late to work out how to fix the problem." Barrie encouraged farmers to think outside the square when managing their effluent, by including it in the whole farm system as a resource. Not only are effluent ponds a potential source of energy and fertiliser, they may also support alternative profit making ventures, such as aquaculture.

The field day was also an opportunity for Bass Coast Landcare to outline its new "less prescriptive" approach to its funding programs, including the Land Stewardship program. This trial program will look at ways in which farmers can quantify the benefits they are delivering to the ecosystem, and includes environmental best management training for participants.

Participation at the field day was higher than expected, and demonstrated to organisers the interest that farmers and service providers have in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving water efficiency.

For more information about funding opportunities, programs (including Land Stewardship) and other training activities designed to help farmers make a profit out of climate change, please contact Moragh Mackay on 5678 2335 or 0438 702 240, or Jenny O'Sullivan on the Future Foods and Fibre project 5663 2386, 0427 086 087 or at

Wind farm helps with the load

South Gippsland Sentinel Times
Tuesday 12/2/2008 Page: 8

Wind Power management say the Wonthaggi Wind Farm played a vital role in providing electricity to the Bass Coast Shire over the New Year period. Engineer for Wind Power Ross Richards said the facility was able to meet the extra demand for electricity over the holiday season.

"The Wonthaggi Wind Farm provided additional power up to the Bass Coast Shire during extreme hot weather while people partied on New Year's Eve," Mr Richards, said. "As temperatures soared, the demand for electricity rose, most likely due to the use of air conditioners, and the wind farm was able to assist in meeting this demand." Mr Richards said it helped that the wind was blowing well. "Wonthaggi has an excellent wind resource, producing power about 80 percent of the time. "On New Year's Eve the temperature was 42 degrees and the wind farm was generating enough power for more than 3000 homes," Mr Richards said.

"This was despite a minor telecommunications fault between the wind farm and the electricity network operator, which would generally see the wind farm instructed to be temporarily shut down." However, Mr Richards said support was needed to meet the demand for electricity and so the wind farm was asked to remain operating.

The Wonthaggi Wind Farm has been operational since 2005, and has six 2MW wind turbine generators on site. At its peak, the wind farm produces enough energy to power almost half the homes in the Bass Coast Shire. "If the power isn't used in the shire, it gets exported to the rest of the grid. "Due to growth in the region, the Wonthaggi Wind Farm can play a key role in helping support the local electricity network," Mr Richards said.

Tidal power the new renewable

South Gippsland Sentinel Times
Tuesday 12/2/2008 Page: 8

LOCAL opponents of wind farms who believe they are not efficient power generators will be interested in the development of wave and tidal power generation. Australia's ocean power company, BioPower Systems, has commenced work on a renewable energy project to test its two unique ocean power technologies in Tasmania. BioPower's proprietary ocean power conversion technologies are based on the concept of biomimicry, which refers to the use of biological species as inspiration In engineering design.

The bioWAVE wave power system and bioSTREAM tidal power system are designed to move and respond in a similar manner to ocean plants and fish, while efficiently extracting power from the waves and tidal streams. BioPower's CEO Dr Tim Finnigan said the company was "gearing up for fullscale system deployment and operation." "This project will allow us to develop the technologies to be ready for commercial production within a couple of years," he said. BioPower was recently awarded a $5 million grant under the Australian Government's Auslndustry Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI). The grant funds will be matched by BioPower to fund the $10.3 million project.

Funds take it slow

Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 14/2/2008 Page: 34

It has suddenly gone very quiet on the infrastructure front. From a near-daily occurrence when the Australian Stock Exchange would receive countless announcements about a toll road or wind farm being bought by one of the offshoots of Macquarie Capital Group or Babcock and Brown, the deal flow has shuddered to a halt.

The best that investors have been treated to in recent days has been yesterday's so-called "news" that B&B Infrastructure (BBI) has secured regulatory approval for its purchase of a 32 per cent stake in a US gas pipeline business. But that deal was announced in early December and since then there has been a buy-out of minority shareholders in a couple of power stations by B&B Power, four wind farms by its wind fund and not much else.

If anything, the likes of other sector leaders such as Macquarie Infrastructure Group and Macquarie Airports have become virtually comatose in comparison with the activity seen last year. The reason for this has been threefold: the credit crisis has made debt-raising much more expensive; many of the funds are still digesting large and expensive acquisitions made last year; and having spent so much, they now have to justify to investors that they have extracted, and can continue to extract, real value from these assets.

In the case of the latter, the short-term appetite for more of these funds appears to have been quenched by Allco Finance's decision to pull its unlisted global infrastructure fund because of investor uncertainty surrounding the latest market turmoil. The picture may look brighter longer term, given the need by governments to offload a variety of crumbling infrastructure that is in dire need of modernization, but don't expect such moves to flow through to our asset-hungry financial engineers any time soon.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Throwing light on solar farms

Summit Sun
Thursday 7/2/2008 Page: 5

Clean Energy for Eternity founder and President, Dr Matthew Nott, is hoping to get the Jindabyne community behind an idea that would see a solar farm developed and Jindabyne become part of a centre of excellence for renewable energy. Dr Nott will be discussing the idea of a solar farm that could supply all of Jindabyne's power needs at a meeting at the Bowling Club this Friday, February at 5.30pm. The meeting will be chaired by Snowy River Shire Mayor, Richard Wallace.

The first solar farm project is likely to be in Bega Valley Shire after previous Member for Eden-Monaro, Gary Nairn, offered $100,000 which was then matched by incoming Member, Mike Kelly who promised up to $1million for the implementation of the pilot project. Dr Nott said: "The concept is generating a lot of excitement. The big scale of the project means that there are big cost advantages and opportunities for investment by the local community."

According to Dr Nott 2 megawatts of electricity can be generated from a solar farm on a 10ha site. "If we are serious about climate change then we need to shut down coal fired power stations," Dr Nott said, adding that he had been offered 15 sites for the Bega project. He has already had discussions with Country Energy over the proposal and believes that the solar farms are a quick way of getting renewable energy up and running. He is hoping to get Bega's solar farm running and would then like to see Jindabyne do something similar which would help to create a region that is a centre of excellence in renewable energy.

Mooving to address climate change

Weekly Times
Wednesday 13/2/2008 Page: 93

SUSTAINABLE and profitable farming for the future has burst on to the agendas of Victorian dairy farmers as the climate change debate increases. Dairying is taking a big step towards reducing greenhouse gas. renewable energy and methane digesters. These new debates are taking centre stage at farm walks, field days and conferences across Australia. More than 30 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions are due to methane and nitrous oxide originating from agriculture. The dairy industry contributes about 12 per cent of all agricultural greenhouse gases in Australia and is the largest source of methane and nitrous oxide.

University of Melbourne researcher Richard Eckard has found greenhouse gas emissions increased when cows were fed poor-quality diets and with poor nitrogen fertiliser management. Researchers with the Victorian Department of Primary Industries are looking at ways for farmers to use greener technologies, such as harvesting methane gas from effluent to power dairy sheds. DPI effluent specialist Barrie Bradshaw said a new dairy farm trial at DPI Ellinbank was using dairy effluent as a source of bioenergy. Research findings could translate into a number of economic benefits for dairy producers. "We are studying the natural process of decomposition in ponds to produce methane gas and provide a suitable alternative to fossil fuel energies." Mr Bradshaw said.

Research findings are expected to reveal effluent routinely captured in a 500-cow dairy can produce methane equivalent to 4000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. This is enough to meet the farm's daily energy needs for heating water and cooling milk. Energy managing specialist Geoff Andrews has researched power alternatives to reduce greenhouse emissions on farms. Mr Andrews said there had been a big shift in thinking in the past year. "A year ago half the time we were convincing farmers something had to be done, now they want to know what they can do and how they can do it," he said. "Farmers have a lot of considerations to look at, but the two main aims are improving the efficiency of milk pre-coolers and heating water.

Things like checking plate coolers can be done straight away but the likes of developing methane digesters is probable at least two years off." Fonterra's Cobden milk supply officer Ron Page said the company was interested in looking at tapping into wind as an alternative means of heating and cooling water. As sustainable practices become more of a focus. Dairy Australia's Dairying for Tomorrow program, which encourages farmers to develop systems for healthy and sustainable communities and catchments, is gaining momentum. Dairying for Tomorrow coordinators around the state are gearing up to develop information pamphlets for farmers, to raise awareness of climate change. Gippsland co-ordinator Annette Zurrer said it was early days for the industry and its approaches to climate change. "At the moment we just want to spread as much knowledge and good science as we can," Ms Zurrer said.

One serve of fish and chips, to go

Weekly Times
Wednesday 13/2/2008 Page: 75

If Marcus Deuchar had his way, cars would run on waste vegetable oil and small communities would run their own fuel co-operatives. A sustainable future, according to Marcus, depends largely on the empowerment of communities. He would like to see a time when community-controlled fuel cooperatives replaced the corporation dominated industry that exists today. The co-operatives would follow a Bendigo Bank or IGA business model to allow profits to go back into the community. "This money would benefit local people directly; it would go into the local footy club or an environment group," Marcus says.

He and his partner, Christina Reeves, operate VegieCars, a Belgrave-based company which helps people convert their vehicles to run on waste vegetable oil. VegieCars is one of the innovative businesses on display at the Wonthaggi Energy Innovation Festival, to be held from February 29 to March 1 and culminating with a human-powered Grand Prix on March 1-2. The festival will provide information on what people can do to reduce their environmental footprint. Topics include the latest on renewable electricity, natural gas, wind energy and a discussion on the controversial desalination plant. According to Marcus, converting a car to run on waste vegetable oil can help save the planet by reducing greenhouse emissions, as well as being cheaper to run.

He runs his Nissan Patrol on waste vegetable oil he gets from a fish and chip shop for 30c a litre. Marcus says three years ago he and his family drove 3500km to northern NSW using vegetable oil they obtained from fish and chip shops along the way. "Most shops were happy to give me the oil and the total fuel cost was less than $100 - and that's towing a caravan," he says.

So how do people go about converting their car? The traditional way of converting an engine is to install a second tank, so that the car can start on diesel fuel and later switch to waste vegetable oil. The problem with vegetable oil is that it solidifies when it gets cold and can damage the engine unless it is heated to about 70C and stays hot when it reaches the injectors. Marcus, with a little help from his friends, has developed a cold-start kit that enables a diesel fuel engine to run on waste vegetable oil without the need for a second fuel tank.

The result is an inexpensive conversion that can be added to, and improved gradually. Marcus says installing the kit is simple and can be done by people with no mechanical expertise. "Most of my customers are people who like to tinker with the engine and prepared to find a reliable fuel source, such as their local fish and chip shop, but increasingly we are getting inquiries from people who want the conversion but don't want to have to look for the fuel. So we are looking at setting up co-operative refuelling points by matching groups with partners looking for a green image," he says.

More details, visit For details on the Wonthaggi Energy Innovation Festival, phone (03) 5657 3108.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Panel Hearings to consider Crowlands Wind Farm

Pyrenees Advocate
Friday 8/2/2008 Page: 7

Pacific Hydro's planning application for the Crowlands Wind Farm will be considered in six days of Panel Hearings which commenced on Tuesday in Beaufort. The Panel will hear from a range of interested parties including members of the local community, the CFA and Council in considering Pacific Hydro's wind farm application before making a recommendation to the State Government.

"Pacific Hydro has received overwhelming support for the project from the community in and around Crowlands since we began our consultation in 2004", said Pacific Hydro Executive Manager, Andrew Richards. "The Panel Hearings provide transparency in the planning process by ensuring all parties can have their say about the project before recommendations are made," he said.

Pacific Hydro submitted a planning application for the Crowlands Wind Farm in June 2007. The application seeks approval for a wind farm of up to 75, 2.3 megawatt wind generators along the ridge-top between Crowlands and Glenlofty.

At this maximum size, the proposed wind farm would produce 430 gigawatt hours of zero emission electricity each year; equivalent to the annual power consumption of 80,000 Victorian households, or the combined residential needs of Ballarat and Bendigo. The site, located in the Pyrenees Shire, is approximately 25km north-east of Ararat. The area proposed for the wind farm consists of cleared grazing land and has a low density population.

"The role of the community in Pacific Hydro's process has been essential ", added Mr Richards. "Community feedback has been combined with results from specialist studies undertaken to inform the design of the wind farm," he said. Following the Panel Hearings in February, a recommendation will be made to the Minister for Planning with the results expected to be known by April 2008. The hearings were held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with further hearings scheduled for next Tuesday.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Solar farm support heats up

Sunday Canberra Times
Sunday 10/2/2008 Page: 7

Jindabyne could be generating enough solar electricity to look after the town's needs within a couple of years if a proposal put to the community on Friday evening goes ahead. The proposal to build a 2 megawatt solar farm received unanimous support from residents attending the meeting, organised by the group Clean Energy for Eternity, Snowy Mountains. Snowy River Shire Mayor Richard Wallace said there was a lot of hard work ahead to set up the venture and resolve governance issues. The solar farm proposal kicked off a weekend of activities in Jindabyne, including "human" signs and swimming across the lake as part of a push to raise awareness of renewable energy.

Bega-based doctor and founder of Clean Energy for Eternity, Matthew Nott, is on a mission to help the shire halve its energy consumption by 2020. The community group recently launched its 50-50 by 2020 campaign, which also aims to ensure only 50 per cent of the energy used in the shire is from non-renewable resources. The solar farm is part of the plan, and the group has secured $100,000 from the Federal Government to fund a viability study into a facility at Bega. If feasible, federal Member for Eden-Monaro, Mike Kelly, has promised a further $1 million to help set up a pilot farm.

Mr Nott said not everyone could afford a private solar panel and the proposed 10ha farm would provide `viable returns" to economically struggling regional towns. He hoped to set up south-eastern NSW as a "centre of excellence" for renewable energy and said the advantages to the region would be "enormous." "We have all the ingredients - hydro in the mountains, a great wind resource on the plains, great opportunity for biomass generation with the dairy industry on the coast, sun everywhere and a community ready to go," he said.

"We want to set ourselves up as a centre of excellence which will attract industry to the area, create jobs, provide an investment opportunity and allow its to tap into what will become a rapidly growing ecotourism market." Clean Energy is also trying to help Australia's more than 300 surf clubs operate solely on renewable energy. Several hundred people at the Flowing Festival in Jindabyne last night helped the group form a human sign spelling out the words "Life Saving Energy" to engage the community on climate change.

The group raised $20,000 last year to pay for a wind turbine and solar power panels for the roof of the Tathra Surf Life Saving Club in Bega. As a result the club will save $1000 a year on its electricity bills and prevent three tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year. Mr Nott said there had been a lot of "inertia" on the part of Surf Life Saving Australia to have all of its clubs fitted out similarly. For now, he was focusing on raising enough money to fit seven surf clubs in the area with solar panels, wind turbines and solar hot-water tanks.

Veolia targets greenhouse gas emission reductions

Tasmanian Business Reporter
February, 2008 Page: 8

Veolia Environmental Services is not only working to reduce its greenhouse footprint in Australia but that of its customers as well, group general manager Ron Ward said. "Climate change has become the world's most prominent environmental issue," he said. "As a provider of environmental services to industry, government and the broader Tasmanian community, we obviously have a strong commitment to helping address the climate change issue.

"We are doing this through the delivery of innovative services and technologies, both in Tasmania and interstate." Mr Ward said in Tasmania Veolia's resource recovery through recycling was one of the key activities that contributed to reducing the greenhouse footprint. "Veolia has developed a set of capabilities for the reclamation of spent materials from a variety of sources," he said. "This includes electronic equipment, hazardous waste (chemicals, solvents, detergents, paints, resins, inks, adhesives, contaminated soil and oil and fuel filters), fluorescent tubes and bulbs, liquid waste and oil recovery.

"In Tasmania we also land spread organic wastes that assist in keeping carbon in soils, as well as delivering water, minerals and nutrients to improve soils." Mr Ward said in Victoria, Veolia's natural recovery systems were diverting organic waste from landfill which avoided methane which was produced by landfill. "In NSW and Queensland our bioreactor landfills actively extract methane from waste, preventing it from entering the atmosphere, and using it to create renewable electricity," he said.

"And in Sydney, our Earthpower facility processes fruit and vegetable waste to produce renewable electricity and fertiliser. At capacity. the Sydney plant saves more than 200 tonnes of greenhouse gas per day. "We are also planning a windfarm at our Woodlawn site in NSW which will save more than 120,000 tonnes per year of greenhouse gas by replacing coal-fired electricity." Mr Ward said methane - produced by the breakdown of waste in landfill - was a powerful greenhouse gas. "Veolia collects and flares methane from landfill," he said.

"In 2006 we saved almost 20,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere by flaring methane at our landfills." Mr Ward said in Australia in 2006 Veolia recycled more than 300,000 tonnes of waste. "Burning fossil fuel in our fleet of garbage trucks produces greenhouse gases," he said. "Veolia is trialling alternative fuels, including compressed natural gas and biodiesel, in its truck fleet to reduce the greenhouse impact." Mr Ward said Veolia was keen to work with individual customers and industries to identify ways of working together to implement innovative solutions for greenhouse gas reductions through efficiency measures and improved management of resource and waste.

Big rebates to boost renewable energy use in the bush

Gippsland Farmer
February, 2008 Page: 11

Farms and households unable to connect to mains power are eligible for a 50% rebate on the set-up cost of renewable energy systems up to $200,000, under a federal government scheme aimed at increasing the use of renewable generation in remote parts of Australia that presently rely on fossil fuel for electricity supply.

The Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP) is part of the Australia's Mandatory Renewable Energy Target and gives remote communities and industries access to clean, alternative energy sources like solar, wind and biomass and will reduce the need for expensive transport of fossil fuels to hard-to-reach areas of the country.

The Renewable Energy Water Pumping sub-programme provides rebates for the renewable energy components of water pumps that displace diesel engine powered pumps in off-grid applications.

The RRPGP provides landowners living away from mains grid sources with rebates on the capital cost of solarpower systems, wind turbines, sheds'-for equipment storage, biofuel generation equipment plus essential enabling equipment and services, including design and installation.

Applicants must- prove that either the cost of connecting to the mains electricity grid exceeds $30,000, or that they reside more than 1km from the grid. Equipment used in installations must be brand new and must satisfy a minimum 450 W peak output to obtain the rebate.

The renewable energy water pumping sub-programme provides rebates for business, government and other incorporated organisations, to support the installation of renewable energy water pumping systems in those areas of Australia not close to a main-grid. The sub-programme aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing reliance on diesel fuel for remote water pumping applications. The RRPGP rebate is available for both new renewable generation systems and additions of new equipment to existing systems.

Landowners already connected to mains grid power can apply for rebates on renewable energy systems under the Photovoltaic Rebate Program (PVRP) which provides up to $8000 dollars on a new system and $5000 for additions to existing systems. All forms of eligible systems must be designed and installed by a person holding design accreditation from the Business Council for Sustainable Energy or by an appropriately experienced member of the Institute of Engineers Australia.

For more information on applying for rebates, clean energy design and installation, visit or call 1300 727 151

Monday, 11 February 2008

Ararat Wind Farm open day

Ararat Advertiser
Friday 8/2/2008 Page: 4

ARARAT - Renewable Energy Systems Australia Pty Ltd (RES Southern Cross Australia) has announced its plans to host an open day for the Ararat and district community to provide details about its proposed Ararat Wind Farm development located seven kilometres northeast of Ararat. RES Southern Cross Australia confirmed that the Open Day will be held on Saturday February 16. between 10am and 4pm at the Warrak Community Hall, located at 1673 Warrak Road, Warrak (junction of Buangor-Ben Nevis Road).

"We are inviting the local community and interested parties to visit our first Ararat Wind Farm open day to meet with us, ask questions, learn more about RES Southern Cross and our proposal and provide feedback to ensure that this is a world class project from all points of view," Sedat Erol, wind farm developer with RES Southern Cross Australia said. Prior to the open day, RES Southern Cross Australia representatives will be meeting with Joe Helper MLA, Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Small Business, as well as Ararat Rural City Council and Northern Grampians Shire Council. to provide a briefing on the project.

The open day will provide interested people with preliminary details about the project, including an introduction to RES Southern Cross Australia, the development and consultation process RES Southern Cross intends to follow, the location, potential size and area of the proposed Ararat Wind Farm, a description of the turbines and the wind farm construction process, the environmental studies RES Southern Cross is undertaking, preliminary visual photomontages of what the wind farm may look like from a few well known viewpoints, and how people can continue to be informed and involved. Light refreshments will also be provided.

The proposed Ararat wind farm, comprising around 50 turbines, will generate clean, green electricity equivalent to the needs of approximately 40,000 homes a year, reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, unlock $250 million investment within the Ararat Rural City Council and Northern Grampians Shire Council areas, provide jobs during the construction phase, using local people, businesses and expertise wherever possible, and contribute to Victoria's renewable energy target.

RES Southern Cross Australia will also continue to keep people informed, particularly those who might be unable to make it to the first open day. through the website:

For further information please contact:
RES Southern Cross Australia Pty Ltd PO Box 1274, Crows Nest, NSW 1585,
Phone (02) 9431 7600,

Green windfall

Port Lincoln Times
Tuesday 5/2/2008 Page: 3

THE Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm has produced 400 million kilowatt hours of green power - offsetting 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking over 9.2 million cars off the road for a year. The $160 million wind farm reached the milestone in January, clocking up 400 gigawatt hours since it starting producing electricity for the South Australian power grid in September 2005. To put this amount in perspective, facilities manager John Fannin said the average household would use about 150 kilowatt hours a quarter. "The wind farm is providing more than enough electricity to power Port Lincoln and surrounding districts, producing energy for about 35,000 homes every year," he said.

The wind farm also just received the independent international ISO 14001 environmental accreditation for its outstanding Environmental Management System. Mr Fannin said fine-tuning had made all 33 turbines very reliable with all of them fully operational. "Turbine reliability is at an all time high," he said. "We're regularly exceeding 97 per cent turbine availability, with hopes of exceeding 99 per cent in the future, which is very possible." Safety will be in focus with a mock rescue being held at the end of February involving local emergency services.

Green energy should become more prevalent under the new Federal Government, but the ongoing issues of lack of power infrastructure could mean Eyre Peninsula misses out on more wind farm opportunities. "I can see wind farms definitely on the increase in Australia with the change of Federal Government," Mr Fannin said. "But down here, unless infrastructure is upgraded, what you see is what you're going to get. "There are line upgrades happening, but they won't sufficiently increase capacity.

"There are wind farms companies wanting to build all the way up to Elliston, but they've all been on hold for some time." Mr Fannin said the Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm, a joint venture between Acciona Energy and Roaring 40s, had conserved over 2300 hectares of native vegetation under a heritage agreement at the wind farm site, located on private farming land. "The rehabilitation of the site has exceeded everyone's expectations with plants regenerating well, due to the removal of all stock from the wind farm site and ongoing rehabilitation work in the heritage areas," he said.

Blowing strong after Rudd promise

Australian Financial Review
Friday 8/2/2008 Page: 34

Excitement has increased in the wind energy sector since the Federal Government said it planned to raise Mandatory Renewable Energy Target levels to 20 percent of Australia's forecast electricity demand by 2020.

So far, Origin Energy and Macquarie Capital Group have said they are teaming up with Epuron for separate projects and AGL Energy has signed an agreement with Meridian Energy, while Pacific Hydro is considering a number of options including a partial float to free up capital and fast-track wind farms and other clean energy projects. Hong Kong's CLP Holdings (which owns TRUEnergy) and AGL are thought to be interested in buying a stake in Pacific Hydro, while international wind players active in Australia such as Germany's Conergy (which owns Epuron) Spain's Acciona (which was the underbidder for Pacific Hydro when IFM bought it in 2005) and New Zealand's Meridian Energy would potentially be interested.

Those who could be interested in a Pacific Hydro stake were a trade sale to take place include Macquarie Group, Babcock and Brown, Allco Finance Group, Transfield Services and the infrastructure divisions of Australia's big four retail banks. According to JPMorgan, AGL has plans for wind farms at Brown Hill (South Australia), Mallett Hill (SA) and Macarthur (Victoria); Origin Energy for Cullerin Range (New South Wales), Conroy's Gap (NSW) and Snowy Plains (NSW); and Babcock and Brown Wind for Lake Bonney II and Capital (NSW). JPMorgan analysts have also noted that wind contributed 45 percent of the renewable energy certificates created under MRET in 2007.