Friday 7 April 2006

Antarctic wind turbines are winners

Mawson Antarctic BaseThe Australian Government’s wind turbine project at Mawson Station in Antarctica won a Tasmanian Engineering Excellence Award on Friday night in Hobart. The wind turbines are the first of their kind internationally to operate in the windiest and wildest parts of the world.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone, said the project was a great engineering feat. “These turbines operate in the harshest Antarctic conditions with winds reaching up to 250 kilometres an hour,” Dr Stone said.

Situated on the edge of the Antarctic continent, the wind turbines are like two pieces of moving sculpture. Special cranes had to be acquired to assemble them and particular gearing installed so that they could withstand the strongest winds that the Antarctic blizzards throw their way.

“The fact that we have been able to harness this power and convert it to energy is not only an amazing engineering achievement but a tremendous bonus for the environment. An energy source like the wind is not only highly efficient but clean.”

Dr Stone said the energy created by these turbines should reduce the amount of diesel fuel required by the Australian Antarctic Division by over two thirds, from 600,000 litres a year to less than 200,000 litres. “We’re not only creating environmentally sound energy but we’re significantly reducing the amount of diesel fuel that has to be shipped into Antarctica.”

The Australian Government renewable energy projects are seeing wind farms and solar energy pop up in some of the remotest part of the Australian continent. With the Antarctic stations now using renewable energy the Australian Government is demonstrating its commitment to achieving its Kyoto greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

The wind turbine project cost approximately $6.5 million and involved four full-time engineers. The Australian Antarctic Division worked with Northern Territory based company Powercorp on the project. The wind turbine project was one of three winners out of 19 entries in Tasmania. The project is now through to the National Engineering finals to be held in Canberra in November.

Thursday 6 April 2006

Minister Windy About Parrots

Herald Sun, Page: 25
Thursday, 6 April 2006

A PROPOSED $220 million wind farm has been rejected because it may kill one endangered bird a year. Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell said yesterday a 52-turbine installation at Bald Hills, near Foster in South Gippsland, posed an unreasonable risk to the endangered orange-bellied parrot. After the release yesterday of the Wind farm collision risk for birds report, the minister said between 99 and 200 of the parrots were left and most of them lived near the coast, where wind farms were most effective. "While the report found that the impact of wind turbine collisions on the parrot may be small - up to one bird death per year - it concluded almost any negative impact on the species could be sufficient to tip the balance against its continued existence," he said.

The minister's decision comes two days before a Federal Court hearing on the matter, which was instigated by developers Wind Power. "Clearly this process sends a strong message to businesses considering investing in regional and rural Australia and that message is 'you are not welcome'," Wind Power spokesman Tim Fawcett said. State Planning Minister Rob Hulls said Mr Campbell's decision was "a cynical political decision pandering to his mates in the fossil fuel lobby". "There has been no scientific evidence of the orange-bellied parrot on the Bald Hills wind farm site," Mr Hulls said.

The following is the final paragraph of the bird impact report.

"Given that the orange-bellied parrot is predicted to have an extremely high probability of extinction in its current situation, almost any negative impact on the species could be sufficient to tip the balance against its continued existence. In this context it may be argued that any avoidable deleterious effect - even the very minor predicted impacts of turbine collisions - should be prevented. Our analyses suggest that such action will have extremely limited beneficial value to conservation of the parrot without addressing very much greater adverse effects that are currently operating against it."

Which prompts the question... Why should Bald Hills pose a danger to the orange-bellied parrot when the Toora and Wonthaggi windfarms, either side of Bald Hills do not appear to be affecting them?

If you wish to contact Mr Campbell or Mr Broadbent...

Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator for Western Australia
Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 7640
Fax: (02) 6273 6101
Media Contacts:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640
or 0418 568 434

Mr Russell Broadbent MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 4233
Fax: (02) 6277 8485
Electorate Office Contact
Warragul Office:
Location/Postal Address:
10A Napier Street
Warragul Vic 3820
Tel: (03) 5623 2064
Fax: (03) 5623 2509

Corning Winds Up Wind

Electrical World, Page: 5
Friday, 31 March 2006

OWEN Corning has announced a breakthrough in the wind energy market with a better blade composite called WindStrand. WindStrand, reportedly will push the wind energy market to take another step forward in competing against other alternative energy sources by reducing the cost per kilowatt-hour (kwh). The company claims the product will allow turbine manufacturers to increase blade lengths by as much as six per cent and deliver up to 12 per cent more power - for up to 20 per cent less cost than any competing carbon-glass hybrid solution on the market. "In addition to the cost and performance benefits of WindStrand, the product also provides manufacturers with the traditional processability of glass, combined with the stiffness strength and weight of other high performance materials," Corning claims.

Other product highlights compared to conventional E-glass include up to 35 per cent higher tensile strengths; up to 17 per cent higher stiffness (modulus) and enhanced fatigue, impact, aging, corrosion, and temperature resistance. The product is expected to be available later this year. This is the first application using the Owens Corning high-performance reinforcement platform, HiPer-tex, which is the result of a revolution in glass melting, fiberising and sizing technology. The new reinforcement will be produced using the Owens Corning next-generation fiberglass manufacturing process, which reportedly has a significantly smaller environmental footprint than other technologies in use. The performance statistics for WindStrand are based on the company's beta testing in the field, and design blade optimisation by an independent research establishment based in the Netherlands Composite Technology Centre (CTC).

CTC studied the effects of replacing traditional E-glass with WindStrand for several components in a 44-meter long rotor or blade, suitable for a 2.5MW wind turbine. "For 67 years, since the original invention of fiberglass, we've delivered sustainable, energy saving solutions that truly transform markets and enhance lives," Chuck Dana, Owens Corning composites solutions business president. "To continue that pioneering history with the introduction of a new product for wind energy, which is key to our collective ability to meet the rising demand for energy and to safeguard the security of energy supplies, is absolutely at the heart of our corporate purpose and our spirit of true innovation."

Wind's Prospect Get Consent

Electrical World, Page: 3
Friday, 31 March 2006

CONCEIVED, designed and developed by the Wind Prospect Pty Ltd, the 94.5MW Hallett Wind Farm has finally received development consent. As with all South Australian wind energy projects, construction of the 45 turbine wind farm was delayed while a review of generation licences by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) was undertaken. The site was identified by Wind Prospect in 2002 as one of the windiest in South Australia.

It was not only selected for its wind resource, but also its environmental suitability, outstanding local support and its location adjacent to an AGL gas fired power station. AGL is the partner in the development. Wind Prospect prepared a comprehensive Environmental Statement, secured the land and optimised the design of the wind farm in the light of all the relevant environmental and operational considerations. Speaking from Wind Prospect's office at Christies Beach near Adelaide, managing director Michael Vawser said "Hallett is the third and by far the largest of our developments in Australia to reach construction, following Mount Millar (70MW) and Canunda (46MW).

In total we have achieved 630MW of development consents to date in South Australia, making us the most successful wind energy developer in the southern hemisphere; a tribute to our highly dedicated and professional team. "Wind Prospect Pty Limited is a subsidiary of the Wind Prospect Group. Founded in 1995 and owned by its staff, Wind Prospect develops, constructs and operates wind energy projects and provides expert advisory services in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and China. To date, Wind Prospect has developed 270MW of wind farms in the UK and 630 in Australia.

Its engineering group has been involved in the construction of 343MW in the UK & Ireland, and the Australian arm recently acted as owner's engineer during the construction of the 46MW Canunda wind farm. Wind Prospect's first Australian project to reach construction was the 70MW Mount Millar project on the Eyre Peninsula with partner Tarong Energy (now under construction), followed by the 46MW Canunda development in the south east of SA with partner International Power, completed in March last year. Set up in 2000, Wind Prospect Pty Limited is based at Christies Beach near Adelaide, with a further office in Brisbane. With a team of only eight professional staff, it continues to be Australia's most successful wind energy developer.

Wednesday 5 April 2006

Wind Power For Burnside

Eastern Courier Messenger, Page: 7
Wednesday, 5 April 2006

WIND turbines will be built in Burnside -the first such development in the Adelaide suburbs. Burnside Council approved plans last week to place two 1.8m spinning blades on homes being built at Glen St, Burnside, between the council depot and CFS station. Architect Arthur Grammatopoulos had been hoping for years to incorporate the turbines into a new development.

"I've actually had discussions with an Adelaide company that deals with alternative power over the past couple of years and this (opportunity) came up in the past year or two. "They're trialling this product -it's not on the market at the moment. "Early results show it will power an average household. "The turbines -two connected 1.8m blades that oscillate on top of the roof -will only generate enough energy to power the house.

At Burnside's development assessment meeting last week some councillors criticised aspects of the proposal. Cr Chris Collins said he was "disturbed about starting a trend of putting up windmills in Burnside". "It's not like they are small -it is quite a substantial piece of machinery," he said. "We have to set a precedent here -but if they were for anywhere other than (next to the council depot), I would be voting against it.

"Cr Graham Bills urged the council to consider a trial. "We don't know what these things will do -whether they'll be too big, too noisy, whether birds will fly into them -but we can't prove it or test it until we put it up. "Cr Allan Ward supported the plan, saying spaces would need to be found for turbines" if we don't want to pay increasing electricity bills in the future". A staff report said the impact would be" negligible given that the property is surrounded by commercial and more industrial land uses".

A spokesman for Infrastructure Minister Pat Conlon said the plan was thought to be the first of its kind approved by a metropolitan council.

Energy Cost Denied

The Weekly Times, Page: 33
Wednesday, 5 April 2006

THE Victorian Government has dismissed as "pure speculation" claims that a state-based renewable energy scheme would increase household power bills by up to 6 per cent. In a bid to boost Victoria's wind and other green energy production, the Government is considering its own version of the federal Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET). Under the scheme, energy retailers must contribute to the generation of 9500 gigawatt hours of renewable energy per year by 2010, by buying certificates awarded to green energy producers. But state Energy Minister Theo Theophanous told Parliament last week Victoria had been unable to meet its target of 1000 megawatts of wind power by the end of this year because the Federal Government would not increase the MRET.

Mr Theophanous said the Government was now considering its own scheme to achieve its target of 10 per cent of the state's power coming from renewable sources by 2010. But with the Government set to announce its plans within months, some industry experts have warned Victorian households would be hit with higher electricity bills as a result. Origin Energy spokesman Tony Wood said estimates that the average electricity bill would increase by up to 6 per cent, or $48 a year, were "not unreasonable". In a submission on the proposal, Origin said a state scheme would "not deliver cost effective (greenhouse gas) abatement, being up to four times the cost of that delivered by other approaches".

But a spokesman for Mr Theophanous said estimates on the impact on power bills were "pure speculation and we are currently considering a state based renewable energy target". Australian Wind Energy Association chief executive officer Dominique La Fontaine said the extra cost of a state renewable energy scheme would be small and its benefits tangible. Ms La Fontaine said Business Council for Sustainable Energy figures showed the average home would pay about 35 cents more a week.

A spokesman for anti windfarm group Coastal Guardians Victoria, Tim Le Roy, rejected the idea of a state scheme to boost the wind energy sector. "There is no consumer benefit and no environmental benefit. The Government knows it is not an economic way of reducing greenhouse gases," he said.

Councillors Switched On To Green Energy

Star Williamstown, Altona, Laverton, Page: 13
Tuesday, 4 April 2006

RESIDENTS of Hobsons Bay may soon have a new green option when buying power with the council eyeing an environmentally friendly energy program. The council has expressed interest in joining the Community Power program, a collective of municipalities that negotiate sustainable power from suppliers at reduced prices. Community Power is a partnership between Darebin, Melbourne, Banyule and Yarra City councils and the Moreland Energy Foundation. Green Power is the product reaching the consumer in these municipalities.

It is an "accreditation and branding system, used to certify that power is generated from a renewable source". The project is designed to shift to households some of the responsibility for meeting greenhouse targets in Hobsons Bay by offering power from sources like solar, hydroelectric and wind power. Over 1300 home owners around Melbourne have signed with Community Power, generating gas emission savings estimated to be the equivalent of taking 1800 cars off the roads. Council hoped at least 500 home owners would take up the Green Power option in Hobsons Bay.

Green energy options have traditionally been more expensive for consumers than non-green, a fact that has turned many people off the idea. Community Power members are able to secure a price competitive with regular power prices by collectively negotiating a deal with energy suppliers. Modelling supplied by Community Power suggests in some cases that people choosing the 20 per cent option will actually save an average of $75 a year, while those on the 100 per cent green energy plan could save as much as $135. And there are not only cost savings involved but priceless benefits to the environment through reduced greenhouse gas output.

The Hobsons Bay Greenhouse Action Plan "seeks to reduce local community greenhouse emissions by 20 per cent of 1996 levels by the year 2010". For more information visit

Tuesday 4 April 2006

Green energy market grows.

MANY South Yarra residents are making the switch and going green. The suburb now has one of the highest populations of Green Power users in Victoria. More than 78,730 South Yarra residents use Green Power, which is generated from renewable energy from the sun,wind, water and waste. People can chose what proportion of their electricity comes from Green Power when they make the switch. But to use solely Green Power costs roughly $5 more a week than standard power companies.

Prahran state Labor MP Tony Lupton said the number of South Yarra residents using Green Power had almost doubled in the past year.
‘‘These households will collectively cut green house pollution by the equivalent of removing 27,042 cars from Victoria’s roads,’’ Mr Lupton said.

For more information, go to or phone 1300 723 588

Tassie Wind Farms Breeze Into China

The Mercury, Page: 9
Tuesday, 4 April 2006

A $300 million deal for three wind farms in China could be the tip of the iceberg for part- Tasmanian-owned energy company Roaring 40s. The joint-venture company, half owned by Hydro Tasmania, yesterday signed off on a new deal with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Canberra. The deal will see Roaring 40s become a joint partner with Guohua Energy Investment Corporation, the energy arm of the giant Chinese government-owned Shenhua Group. Together they will build three 50MW projects, the first to start later this year on China's east coast.

Roaring 40s managing director Mark Kelleher said the project was just the beginning for the company in the fast-growing Asian market. It was the second major partnership in China and established Roaring 40s as the leading foreign renewable-energy business in that country. ''The Chinese Government has clearly recognised the importance of renewable energy and, by setting a target of 30, 000MW by 2020, has provided a major impetus to the development of wind power, '' he said. ''Certainly we are an early mover as far as foreign businesses are concerned.

''Roaring 40s was formed last year as a joint venture with Hong Kong energy company CLP Group and already has wind-farm interests in Australia, as well as New Zealand, India and China. It has already begun building a 49MW wind farm in China's Jilin province, due to be commissioned in October. Mr Kelleher said the company found itself in a good position in China. ''We have worked hard to understand the market and build relationships, including local companies with experience and skills, '' he said.

The success of its Tasmanian wind farms had been crucial in the expansion of Roaring 40s. ''It grew from what Hydro Tasmania did and was able to be translated into Roaring 40s by joining with CLP. ''At the Woolnorth wind farm we are able to demonstrate the possibilities and, excuse the pun, but when we take business partners to Woolnorth they are blown away, Mr Kelleher said. ''The wind resource in Tasmania is world-class and it enables us to build world class facilities to show potential partners.

''He said Roaring 40s was looking to develop between 500 and 1000MW of wind farms in China in the next eight to 10 years. The company is also looking at opportunities in India, which has a similar demand, and together it could be worth billions of dollars. Work on the final stage of the Studland Bay development, Tasmania's largest wind farm, will be commissioned by the start of next year.

$300M Joint Deal On Chinese Wind Farms

The Advocate, Page: 4
Tuesday, 4 April 2006

HYDRO Tasmania's renewable energy joint venture has signed a $300 million deal for wind farm development in China. The deal between Roaring 40s and big Chinese energy company Guohua Energy was signed in Canberra yesterday, as part of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit. Hobart-based Roaring 40s said the deal established a framework for the joint development of wind farms in China, with an initial target of 150mW of production. Each partner will contribute about $50 million and they will borrow $200 million for an anticipated three 50mW projects.

The first of those is expected to be built in the east coast Shandong province and to start operation next year. Roaring 40s is a joint venture between the Hydro and Hong Kong-based energy company CLP Group, with wind farms in Australia and has entered the Chinese, Indian and New Zealand markets. It entered an agreement with another Chinese company last year to develop a 49mW wind farm in Jilin Province that is expected to be commissioned in October. Mr Kelleher said the new deal was unlikely to bring big opportunities for Vestas' Wynyard wind turbine nacelle plant, as most of the manufacturing would be done in China.

He said Roaring 40s employed about 35 people in Tasmania and was advertising soon for four or five positions.