Saturday, 14 May 2011

Coles ordered to use green power

Courier Mail
29 April 2011, Page: 17

A MULTIMILLION dollar Coles development on the Sunshine Coast will have to source at least half its power from climate safe, renewable sources under council stipulated conditions. It is believed to be the first such demand for a large scale development by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, which has foreshadowed similar conditions for future projects. It means the Nambour supermarket will be largely powered by renewable energy, including solar or wind farms.

Coles spokesman Jim Cooper said he was not aware of any other local authority raising the issue of climate safe energy sources for a Coles facility, or if any facility now used a significant amount of green power. "We'll go through the (approval) documents when we receive them and consider those in due course", Mr Cooper said.

The council said the energy condition, which Coles could meet via buying green energy or building on site generation, was a chance for Coles to show it was a "good corporate citizen". Cr Vivien Griffin said: "I added the condition because this council has adopted some fairly serious approaches to the issue of climate change and we are a region very subject to the impacts of climate change. "CO₂, emissions from electricity consumption are an off site impact just as filling in a floodplain is,.. so this is about coming back to basic planning principles that any new development should not have those off site impacts".

In the US, a federal program to encourage use of green energy has led big companies to slash their greenhouse gas emissions. Intel, the world's largest chip maker, now derives 88% of its power from solar and wind farms. Australia's reliance on coal for 80% of its power makes it the developed world's worst per capita CO₂, emitter. Renewable energy companies say the Federal Government's weak emission reduction targets and the lack of a national feed in tariff for renewable energy mean Australia is still lagging other major economies including China, India and the US in adopting clean energy.