Saturday 2 September 2006

This says it all really...

Anti-windfarm view concerns

Cooma Monaro Express
29/08/2006, Page: 5

PETER Spencer is a land holder in the Snowy Mountains region whose family has been in the region since the 1830s.

He thought the forum was great but was sceptical about the anti-windfarm people's landscape arguments.

"It's no different to when fencing was introduced' Mr Spencer said. Nobody wanted fences around the landscape or freeways. I mean look at the massive transmission lines we have going over the Snowy region. Everything you see, if you look from an Aboriginal perspective, is an introduced technology.

"Whether it be a silo or a freeway, in tens year's time, just like they did in Denmark, we'll look back and say well that's just another object in the horizon."

Positive impact at Ararat

Cooma Monaro Express
29/08/2006 Page: 5

BILL Braithwaite, CEO of the Ararat Rural City Council, told the forum that wind farms have had a massive positive impact on his shire and invited everyone at the forum to Ararat to see the changes for themselves.

"We have 35 turbines in Ararat and we have not had one single written complaint from anybody since they were erected." Mr Braithwaite said while addressing everyone at the forum.

"Our community was willing to accept growth and change. Pacific Hydro (the windfarm developer in Ararat) are excellent corporate citizens and every year provide the community with $50 000 worth of community grants."

Mr Braithwaite believes the argument used by antiwindfarm groups that windfarms devalue property is a myth.

"It was reported that real estate in Ararat has gone up 27.2 per cent in two years," Mr Braithwaite said while showing everyone the story on the front page of the Ararat Advertiser."

A wind powered surprise for Ted

South Gippsland Sentinel Times
29/08/2006 Page: 13

State opposition leader, Ted Baillieu, took what he thought would be a popular stand on windfarms during his visit to Grantville last Friday.

"There should be no wind farms in environmentally sensitive areas, or where people don't want them." Mr Baillieu said. "We need to protect our coastal landscape."

Mr Baillieu said that a Liberal Government would halt further applications for windfarms, until appropriate legislation and revised guidelines had been put into place.

He also said the party would establish windfarm 'no-go zones' for significant tourist areas, such as the Cape Paterson coast and Kilcunda.

But the Liberal leader soon learnt that his views on windfarm reforms were not shared by all.
He asked community members for a show of hands on 'who loves the Wonthaggi wind turbines?'.

Surprise was quickly displayed on Mr Baillieu's face, when the majority of community members eagerly raised their hand in support of the windfarm.

..... even despite his somewhat leading question.

Forum a success - Norton

Cooma Monaro Express
29/08/2006 Page: 4

LISTENING to people lecture on a certain topic for four hours straight without a break on a Fnday night would try most people's patience.

Many people who experienced that situation would come close to falling asleep after a certain period while others after a while would lose concentration and think about something else completely different.

But none of the 250 people who attended the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council's 'Should Monaro have windfarms?' forum last Friday night at the Cooma Ex-Services Club seemed to experience the above symptoms after enthusiastically listening to four hours worth of windfarm lectures without an interim.

Cooma-Monaro Shire mayor Roger Norton labelled the forum a success and believed it achieved its desired purpose, despite still being impartial on the vindfarm issue himself.

"It was a success because people went away from the forum better informed on the issue and hopefully now we can use this to move forward," Cr Norton said. "It was a little long, but its such a complex subject that needed sufficient time to be explained properly.

"You could not have given the speaker 10 minutes each because they would not have been able to explain it fully and wouldn't have done the forum any justice."

Cr Norton was particularly impressed with the way everyone at the forum conducted themselves while talking and listening about the contentious issue.

Despite the forum's own question not being answered on the night, as expected before the event, there was a wide range of views expressed about windfarms by both the speakers and the large audience in attendance at the much anticipated event.

But aside from the forum question not being answered, everyone in attendance did agree by general consensus that green house emissions needed to be reduced in Australia to combat the global problem of climate change.

The only problem was that everyone had different views on how Australia was going to achieve that, with many agreeing and disagreeing that windfarms were an effective way of reducing green house gas emissions.

Independent advice vital

Cooma Monaro Express
29/08/2006 Page: 4

ERWIN Jackson, an expert on climate change at the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF). stressed that climate change was becoming a serious global problem and that Australia needed to start addressing the issue by reducing its green house gas emmissions by embracing renewable energy.

Mr Jackson said the ACF supported windfarms but would not comment whether or not the Cooma-Monaro region should have them or not.

"It's absolutely critical that communities discuss any renewable energy development and I thought this forum was a good opportunity to do that." Mr Jackson said.

"If there is going to be a windfarm proposal in this part of the world I would be encouraging people to go and look at the positive experiences other communities have had with them in terms of making sure that the developments have happened in an appropriate way.

"I think its just important for this community to get independent and balanced information so it can make good judgments about what future it wishes to have in regards to wind arms. The danger is that it may not happen because it won't get that balanced and independent advice."

Monaro seen as ideal region for windfarms

Cooma Monaro Express
29/08/2006 Page: 4

Dr Mark Diesendorf, an expert on environmental studies at the University of NSW, told the forum that he held some reservations about some of the arguments that were posed by the anti-windfarm people.

"I have talked to a number of windfarm opponents and have studied their literature for the last couple of years." Dr Diesendorf said.

"I was disappointed that the windfarm people in this area are using the same kind of misleading arguments, and in some cases very inaccurate arguments, to try and stop wind power.

"There is no way wind power can affect the property value of broad acre farms. It's just irrelevant that was one of the main arguments that was used against wind power tonight. There are a lot of other arguments, that were really very fallacious and I was very disappointed from that point of view."

"It is an ideal region (for windfarms). A region of broad acre farms, a region of wide-open, unforested, wind sweep plains and most people will never see these wind turbines unless they make a special trip.

"There are very few neighbours in the areas that are proposed in Cooma-Monaro. In my mind it is in an ideal region but it's important that the majority of citizens do support the projects. I do not take the view that a hand full of objectors should rule the day. I would see them as the ones who are causing the division."

Friday 1 September 2006

Off-shore 5M Wind Turbine Premier

Source: REpower
Friday, 1 September 2006

HAMBURG/NIGG, GERMANY -- For the first time, a five-megawatt wind turbine by REpower Systems AG (Prime Standard, WKN 617703) has been set up for the first time on the open sea. The first of a total of two turbines for the "Beatrice" demonstrator wind farm has just been set up on a lattice-like jacket structure, piled to the seabed at a depth of 44 metres in the Scottish North Sea, in the Moray Firth.

Never before have wind turbines been set up in water this deep. Furthermore, it is currently the biggest turbine offshore. Prior to the installation, a floating crane barge carried the turbine with more than 900 tonnes on its hooks, 25 kilometres on the open sea from the port of Nigg. It is there that the two 5M wind turbines are shortly to be linked to the grid connection of the "Beatrice Alpha" oil rig and then commissioned.

The countdown has been running since July: the 5M nacelles, which were built in Bremerhaven, have been transported by cargo ship to the Scottish port of Nigg. One after the other, each of the 59 metre-high towers, nacelles and rotors for the turbines were assembled there. Parallel to this, the jacket structures were anchored with piles to the seabed. After the completion of the first 5M, it was necessary to wait for favourable weather conditions to minimise risks with the first installation in the North Sea.

"We are very proud that the offshore premiere has been successful", enthused REpower’s CEO Professor Fritz Vahrenholt. "The Beatrice Demonstrator Project for our customer Talisman Energy, to which we are the sole supplier of the turbines, is a giant step for the development of the 5M and offshore wind power. Much praise must go to our offshore team, who have done everything in their power to ensure that the first installation went smoothly."

The successful offshore installation is the current high point of REpower’s development, which began several years ago. On the basis of favourable conditions for wind power use at sea – wide space, high wind speeds and less turbulence than on land – REpower had commenced the development of a very powerful 5 megawatt turbine. The 5M prototype has been running since the end of 2004 in Brunsb├╝ttel/Schleswig-Holstein.

Mimicking nature for cheaper solar power

Source: scenta
Friday, 1 September 2006

A research team in Sydney has created molecules that mimic those in plants which harvest light and power life on Earth. "A leaf is an amazingly cheap and efficient solar cell," said Dr Deanna D’Alessandro, a postdoctoral researcher in the Molecular Electronics Group at the University of Sydney. "The best leaves can harvest 30 to 40 per cent of the light falling on them." The best solar cells we can build are between 15 and 20 per cent efficient, and expensive to make. "We’ve recreated some of the key systems that plants use in photosynthesis," explained D'Alessandro.

Bacteria and green plants use photosynthesis to convert light energy into usable chemical energy.
Wheel-shaped arrays of molecules called porphyrins, collect light and transfer it to the hub where chemical reactions use the light energy to convert carbon dioxide into energy-rich sugar and oxygen.

"This process, which occurs in about 40 trillionths of a second, is fundamental to photosynthesis and is at the base of the food chain for almost all life on Earth," she said.
"We have been able to construct synthetic porphyrins." More than 100 of them can be assembled around a tree-like core called a dendrimer to mimic the wheel-shaped arrangement in natural photosynthetic systems."

Miniature molecules

The molecules designed by the team are about one trillionth the size of a soccer ball. But the large number of porphyrins in a single molecule means that a significant amount of light can be captured and converted to electrical energy – just like in nature. "Since they are so efficient at storing energy, we think they could also be used as batteries – replacing the metal-based batteries that our high technology devices depend on today," D'Alessandro said.

"Our preliminary results are very promising. We are still in the early stages of building practical solar energy devices using our molecules." The challenge is immense, but is crucial to providing alternative energy solutions for the world."

Now they’ve made the molecules, the team along with their Japanese collaborators at Osaka University are working to combine them in the equivalent of a plant cell. Over the next five years they will attempt to scale the technology up to commercial scale solar panels.

Deep-sea oil rigs inspire MIT designs for giant wind turbines
Friday, 1 September 2006

An MIT researcher has a vision: Four hundred huge offshore wind turbines are providing onshore customers with enough electricity to power several hundred thousand homes, and nobody standing onshore can see them. The trick? The wind turbines are floating on platforms a hundred miles out to sea, where the winds are strong and steady.

Today's offshore wind turbines usually stand on towers driven deep into the ocean floor. But that arrangement works only in water depths of about 15 meters or less. Proposed installations are therefore typically close enough to shore to arouse strong public opposition.


20 MW Solar Facility Approved for Spain
August 30, 2006

Bad Kreuznach, Germany [] For some years, the City Solar group from Bad Kreuznach has been designing, constructing and operating large photovoltaic power plants with a capacity of at least 1 megawatt (MW). However, up to now, the company has exclusively been active in Germany. Now the company has succeeded in penetrating the European market. At the beginning of August, the go-ahead was given for a large, multi-megawatt interconnected photovoltaic (PV) solar park to be built in the Spanish province of Alicante.

Read more....

Renewable energy project first in South Africa

The Herald
Thursday August 31, 2006

IN what is considered a first by a South African institution, the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with three successful bidders for the supply of renewable energy.

The accepted bidders are Lereko Energy Consortium, which will provide wind turbines, solar heating and electricity generation from waste; Thermo-Rec, which will generate electricity from solid waste; and Enercon India which will establish a “large scale” wind farm.

The three proposals amount to approximately R9-billion.

Speaking at the signing ceremony attended by the Singapore High Commissioner in South Africa, Justice M P H Rubin, and deputy mayor Bicks Ndoni, infrastructure and engineering committee chairman Boyce Tokota hailed the investment, and praised the municipality for pioneering the idea.

Tokota said the project would involve “the establishment of wind farms, solar water heating systems, electricity generation from biomass and landfill gas, and water purification”.

A 400 megawatt co-generation plant that could improve electricity requirements on the national grid, especially in the Eastern Cape and the Coega IDZ, will also be part of the project.

Currently, the municipality has a maximum electricity distribution capacity of 610MW per day, which is expected to increase to an estimated capacity of between 2500MW and 5000MW per day in 10 years.

Coega is considered the biggest contributor to this massive increase in demand.

“The process of the municipality starting now with a process of getting alternative energy resources is therefore of utmost importance as forward-thinking initiatives such as this can avert a possible electricity energy crisis in future,‘‘ said Tokota.

The signing of the memorandum coincided with the municipality‘s renewable energy conference which ended yesterday.

Tokota said there was a lot of international interest in the creation of renewable energy operations in Nelson Mandela Bay. The businesses expressed an interest in the manufacture of products necessary to develop and maintain the renewable energy plants.

During a presentation by one of the companies it emerged that the Stellenbosch municipality has inquired about the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality‘s initiative, “and expressed the intention of copying the model of renewable energy generation”.

Wind data was gathered at Bird Island, Port Elizabeth Airport, the Coega IDZ, Cape Recife, Deal Party and Schoenmakerskop to establish the best site for the wind farm.

Municipal media liaison officer Kupido Baron yesterday said the Deal Party and Coega IDZ sites had emerged at the conference as the preferred sites. Baron said according to studies, it is estimated the Deal Party site would generate about 15MW a day, and the Coega IDZ about 65MW daily.

Also speaking at the function, Ndoni said: “It must be beneficial to our community in more than one way. By ensuring job opportunities we will put those benefiting in a position to directly contribute to the economy of the city, as well as providing them with environmentally friendly energy sources.”

Benefits of renewable energy include growing investor interest globally, more viable and sustainable projects, no cost to the municipality, provision of a reliable energy source and the emergence of related industries.

Ambassador Justice Rubin said trade between South Africa and Singapore was increasing, shooting up to $700-billion (R4,9-trillion) this year.

Justice Rubin said many more Far East investments would occur in South Africa in the years to come. The Straits Group, also represented at the launch, has already to potable water.

Snowy residents get to air views on wind farms

Canberra Times
30/08/2006 Page: 9

While no show of hands was called for, a public forum in Cooma has come out in favour of wind farms. At least that's the view of a speaker enlisted to speak against them.

Ray Prowse, of the Australian National University's Centre of Sustainable Energy, spoke on wind farm alternatives at the forum on Friday night hosted by Cooma Monaro, Bombala and Snowy River Shire Councils.

He said after the meeting that while there was no consensus reached, he felt the majority of support was behind wind farms. Proposals for wind farms to be built near Canberra have generated fierce opposition from residents and property owners.

In 2003, Pacific Hydro put forward two proposals for wind farms near Cooma which the NSW Government has declared "state significant", but plans have since been put on hold pending further investigations into Commonwealth approvals and wind speeds.

Cooma's Mayor Roger Norton said Friday's forum was not meant to establish a position on wind farms, but to prepare communities with facts for when the state Government sought their views on new wind farms.

Speaking on alternative energy sources, the Australian National University's Mr Prowse said some Canadian homes were so well insulated that with minus 40 degrees outside temperature they didn't need heating inside, other than what was emitted from lights, appliances and body heat.

From being a world leader years ago in solar electronic energy like photovoltaics, Australia was lagging behind Germany, Japan, the United States and European countries.

Australia needed to sign up to the international Kyoto Protocol on climate change and set realistic energy efficiency targets. "We still do terrific research, but no market development," Mr Prowse said.

Other speakers included promninent Monaro grazier Jim Litchfield. Mr Litchfield, from the grazing property Hazeldean, believes wind farms don't generate enough electricity to justify the investment needed to establish them.

Mr Litchfield was agreeable when approached three years ago to putting wind turbines on the property, but further research changed his mind.

"If they go ahead they will be the most significant change to this landscape in 200 years, no question about that, and I think that would be very unfortunate, because there are so many parts of the world now spoilt, and we need to retain what we've got."

Quoting research from the United States' Princeton University, Mr Litcheld said there were better alternatives to tackle global warming, including conserving energy.

Mayor Norton thought wind farms were unlikely to multiply around the country in the near future because the cost equation was $35 worth of marketable energy for every $80 invested.

Govt. criticised over wind energy policy

South Eastern Times
24/08/2006 Page: 2

Members of a community climate change action group recently returned from a meeting in Canberra with the Federal Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, angry at the government's rejection of wind energy.

Yvonne Wenham, from Friends of Future Generations, South Australia, said the minister confirmed his government has no interest in extending the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) scheme, or carbon trading, and that effectively means the end of wind energy in Australia.

'The minister boasts about how many wind farms he has approved in the last couple of weeks, but without market mechanisms we all know they will not go ahead," she said.

"The minister is using any number of delaying tactics to slowly strangle the wind energy industry, from false fears about the Orange-bellied Parrot to dubious claims about antiwind farm concern.

'The government is focussing its attention solely on so-called clean coal and nuclear power. Those technologies are 15 years away at best and their costs are uncertain. A market mechanism must be maintained for wind power at a minimum until then.

'The only time Minister Campbell mentions wind energy is when he is siding with anti-wind activists. It appears to us he is using wind farm opponents' claims to promote and justify the government's inaction. He recently visited the site of a proposed wind farm in Victoria, and only spoke to people who oppose its construction.

"We know of dozens of people in that same community who actively welcome the wind farm, but the minister won't listen to them," she said.

The Friends of Future Generations is a pro-active lobbying group, made up of everyday people who want to see positive environmental choices being made now, for the sake of future generations of Australians.

"Australia is the highest polluting nation in the world, per head of population. That is a disgraceful situation which can't be allowed to continue," said Ms Wenham.

"Australia must take action to cut our pollution levels now. Wind energy is one of the few ways we can do that. We originally sought this meeting with the Environment Minister last December because he seemed to be unaware that Australians want to see action, not just words on tackling climate change," said Ms Wenham.

'In the meantime, the minister refused to meet us if we had a pro-wind community member from South Gippsland (near Bald Hills) and Denmark, in Western Australia, among our group. Frankly, we expect more from our elected representatives."

50/50 for 2020

What a shame the Shire of South Gippsland doesn't have a similar enlightened attitude...

Bega District News
25/08/2006 Page: 1

IN ORDER to tackle climate change, everyone in a packed Bega RSL auditorium on Monday evening, resolved to reduce energy use by 50 percent and generate 50 per cent clean renewable energy by the year 2020.

The resolution also requested the Bega Valley Shire Council to commit to working with the community to meet these targets and to establish a working group with the aim of reversing greenhouse emissions within the shire.

The working group should broadly represent community interests and report back to the community within three months.

The Clean Energy for Eternity meeting had heard from the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, Mrs Wilma Chinnock, Mr Don McPhee, the Member for Eden-Monaro, Gary Nairn, and Dr Matthew Nott, before Mr John Whyman put forward the resolution.

Mr Constance said that three years ago in Parliament he said it was time to consider every option to help the environment alternative energy, recycling of water or charging market price for the resources we use.

"The degradation of our environment through climate change, the diminution of biodiversity, the salination of our land and the abuse of underpriced and precious resources is a disgrace.

"According to the CSIRO the likely impact of climate change by 2030 is as follows:
  • 70 per cent increase in drought frequency
  • Increased risk to infrastructure
  • Decreased water availability for agriculture
  • Increased insurance premiums
"I am calling on my parliamentary Labor and Liberal State colleagues to give consideration to a State based renewable energy target similarly to that which is being proposed for the Bega Valley here tonight and the implementation of a ethanol and biodiesel scheme that if required would be mandated through legislation:' said Mr Constance.

A message from Mrs Chinnock read to the meeting challenged everyone to look at their lifestyles which must be changed if we "are to make a lighter footprint on the planet". With a community rich in talent we do have the power to change, said Mrs Chinnock.

Mr Don McPhee, with stark photos and graphs, showed in his power-point presentation that the Bega Valley is likely to suffer from increased dryness.

He said that scientists working in Antarctica are giving dire predictions of sea rises when the ice melts. "It is time for citizens to stand up and lead and not wait for politicians:' said Mr McPhee.

He said that apart from solar and wind power there were many schemes that could make a difference. One could be by establishing a biodiesel plant to power the Bega Valley, a plant where all its by-products could be used effectively and environmentally safely.

After instancing several more, including carbon credits, Mr McPhee said that this Clean Energy for Eternity campaign was a wake-up campaign, using citizen power.

He said the thousand or so people who turned up at Tathra Beach to make a human sign didn't do it as a stunt. They were the backbone of the community; from every walk of life, young and old, they came because they were truly concerned about climate change.

He said the everyone should start lobbying their politicians, state and federal, on the seriousness of the situation.

Dr Matthew Nott told everyone they had to be pro-active and there were hard times ahead. "Climate change is on us, it is manmade and we have to prepare and be more self-sufficient:" he said.

Dr Nott outlined things that everyone can do to save energy and preserve the environment, such as turning off lights, growing your own vegetables, recycling, reusing, riding a bike, driving slowly and many more. He asked people to go to a Cooma meeting tonight, Friday at 7.OOpm, and encourage those there to support a wind farm on the Monaro.

"We are morally obligated to look after the planet. We didn't inherit it for ourselves, we borrowed it for our children. "Let us here in the Bega Valley lead Australian forward:'

The Bega Valley Shire Mayor, Tony Allen, invited Mr Whyman to put forward the resolution which was unanimously passed.

Mr Andy Willis, representing the bicycle users' group then spoke on the virtues of cycling and Mr Hugh Pitty told the meeting of a conference and expo on a sustainable future at the Sapphire Coast Turf Club, Kalaru, in November.

Businesses which want to show their support for the campaign can send their logos to

Community feedback suggestions can be dropped into boxes already in place at the Bega Valley Shire Council and at Andrew Constance's office in Carp Street, Bega.

SA aims to reduce emissions by 6Opc

Australian Financial Review
29/08/2006 Page: 4

South Australian Premier Mike Rann will introduce the country's toughest climate change legislation when state parliament resumes today, as Prime Minister John Howard has again ruled out specific emissions reduction targets.

Mr Rann will introduce legislation committing the state to a 60 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050, based on 1990 levels. "Global warming poses a greater threat to humans and our planet than terrorism, with emissions of carbon dioxide, continuing to be the biggest cause of climate change," he said.

Mr Rann has also committed the state to source 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2014. This betters the 10 per cent renewable energy target set by Victoria, and comes as NSW considers mandating ethanol use at 10 per cent, while Queensland has committed to a 5 per cent mandate for the alternative fuel.

These measures, combined with a plan by the Labor states to introduce an emissions trading scheme, increases the pressure on Mr Howard to do more to combat climate change.

But the Prime Minister has again ruled out punitive measures, telling last night's Four Corners program that it was pointless for Australia to take expensive steps to curb its own emissions.

"If we stopped them tomorrow [Australia's emissions], it would take all of nine months for China's additional emissions to equal what we've withdrawn by stopping ours," he said.

Mr Rann has not outlined how the state will achieved the 60 per cent reduction in emissions, but has already implemented a number of energy saving and renewable energy schemes. "South Australia now has 51 per cent of the nation's wind power, and more than 45 per cent of the nation's grid-connected solar power," he said.

The state has also legislated that new buildings and major renovations must have solar power or gas hot water systems and it provides a $400 rebate for the installation of rain water tanks.

But the country's peak renewable energy body has called on the South Australian Government to outline how the targets will be achieved. The chief executive of the Renewable Energy Generators of Australia Susan Jeanes said the state was likely to fall short of its green power target.

"We think it will achieve somewhere between 14 per cent and 16 per cent," she said. "We applaud the foresight but we need to see how the target is going to be achieved." A spokesman for Mr Rann said every government decision would be based on achieving the targets.

Key Points
  • New buildings in SA must have solar power or gas hot water systems.
  • Victoria has set a renewable energy target of 10 per cent.

Greenpeace backs state's wind farms

Yarram Standard News
23/08/2006 Page: 5

THE Liberal Party's decision to scrap Victoria's new renewable energy target if elected will lose the state over a billion in investment and cost hundreds of jobs, says Greenpeace.

The environmental campaigners claim the Victorian Renewable Energy target (VRET) has thrown a life-line to renewable energy industries in the state.

Without a state target for renewable energy Victoria stood to lose billions of dollars worth of investment, mainly due to the Federal Government's failure to increase the national renewable energy target (MRET), Greenpeace believes.

State Opposition leader Ted Baillieu's decision to axe VRET was made shortly before the announcement of a new $380 million wind farm at Mount Gellibrand near Colac, which will be the largest in Australia.

Without the VRET renewable energy projects like Mt Gellibrand will not happen, said Mark Wakeham, Greenpeace energy campaigner. "The Mount Gellibrand wind farm is an encouraging development for those concerned about climate change," he said.

"It's exactly the sort of project we need in order to make the shift away from polluting brown coal. However, if the Liberals are elected in the November state election it's unlikely to go ahead.

"Why would Mr Baillieu want to prevent nearly $400 million worth of investment and 25 fulltime jobs for the Colac region? If the Liberals don't support the state renewable energy target, what are they going to do about climate change? As yet we've heard nothing but spoiling from them on the issue.

In South Australia wind power now generates 15 per cent of the state's electricity and not a single megawatt of additional back-up generation has needed to be built.

And by contrast, in South Australia the state Liberal Party has welcomed wind power, recognising its proven record of providing drought-proof income for regional communities."

Over the past five years wind power has been the world's second fastest growing form of electricity generation with growth rates of 28 per cent per year, after solar power growing at 60 per cent annually.

The renewable energy industry in Australia employs 15,000 people and has delivered $260 million worth of investment each year for the past five years.

Wind turbine amenity assessed

Northern Guardian
30/08/2006 Page: 3

THE construction of three giant wind turbines that will tower over Coral Bay to supply the developing town with electricity is expected to be given the green light by a committee tomorrow despite some residents saying they will become an eyesore.

A decision was made by the Carnarvon Shire Council last week to give the project approval on the condition that the Ningaloo Sustainable Development Committee (NSDC) assessed the visual impact.

A visual amenity assessment of the 55 metre towers being made by the NSDC is the final stage of the proposal before construction begins on sand dunes 1km south of the settlement.

NSDC director David Nunn has been working with Horizon Power on the project and developed three-dimensional computerised working models to view the proposed turbines from different positions of the townsite.

"What we do and what we ask Horizon Power to do is look at these from a number of viewing points," Mr Nunn said. He said the project had become a balancing act for the department to weigh up the two options, being optimum productivity and visual amenity.

The proposal to build the turbines that are capable of supplying 40 per cent of Coral Bay's electricity has been a cause of concern for some residents. While some say the towers act as a drawcard for tourists, others like Coral Bay Progress Association president Graham Murphy regard them as a monstrosity.

"The general consensus is most people are for an environmentally friendly power station, however there is an issue with the visual amenity in the area," Mr Murphy said.

"People are not going to travel this distance to see turbines." Horizon Power corporate affairs manager John Kitis said residents were to consider the environmental benefits the wind turbines created. "There is no other sensible form of renewable energy at this time apart from wind," Mr Kitis said.

It is understood the site is the first in Australia to trial large wind turbines that can be dismantled during strong winds in a cyclone prone area. The Environmental Protection Agency did not pursue a formal assessment of the project however an evaluation was satisfied with the location.

Setting an example on climate change

Bega District News
25/08/2006 Page: 4

PEOPLE in the Bega Valley Shire are taking climate change very seriously indeed if the feeling at Monday night's meeting in Bega was anything to go by.

There was not a person in the packed RSL auditorium who was not in favour of the resolution that the shire meet a target of a reduction in energy use by 50 per cent and a generation of 50 per cent clean renewable energy by the year 2020.

Only one person wanted an amendment and that was to include the fact the Bega Valley Shire had been proclaimed a nuclear free shire, but that wasn't added.

However any mention of nuclear power was booed.

Having passed the resolution it will now be up to the working group to set up a practical way that the targets can be achieved.

Everybody knows that he or she can do something to help, even if only switching off lights, having shorter showers, walking not driving everywhere, driving slowly, having solar hot water fitted, buying energy saving devices, and using fluorescent lighting, etc.

The target group will have to look at the big picture, the really big picture, such as biodiesel or biogas plants, wind farms and an extension of solar energy to provide electricity for every appliance.

It's going to take a lot of research and work but as strategies are revealed more and more people will join in and work toward the targets.

It was mentioned on Monday night that Bega Valley Shire could influence other shires and it appears that has happened with Eurobodalla Shire now following our lead.

Babcock buys wind sites

Australian Financial Review
30/08/2006 Page: 51

Babcock & Brown, Australia's second largest investment bank, bought US based Superior Renewable Energy for an undisclosed value, to add wind energy sites to its holdings in renewable energy.

Campbell ignored wind farm advice

Earthmover and Civil Contractor
August, 2006 Page: 20

A LAWYER defending federal environment minister Ian Campbell, in a court case where he is accused of playing politics in vetoing the $220m Bald Hills wind farm in Gippsland to protect endangered orange bellied parrots, admitted his client ignored his department's advice.

That advice showed that if 23 wind farms went ahead in Victoria, SA and Tasmania, one parrot would be killed every 20 years. Between 99 and 200 of the parrots are left.

But none have been recorded going anywhere near the wind farm site.

Why we need to support wind farms

Ballan News
24/08/2006 Page: 12

Why we need to support wind farms, and why the Liberal party have environmental policies that are so wrong

I would like to thank Geoffrey Blunt for his letter to the editor last week. I have been accused of many things in my time, some of them justified, but a stooge of the labour party, hey, I do have some pride left. In no way am I part of the union superannuation industry (Although it appears to be a very well run superannuation scheme)

So why am I passionate about wind farms and why am I so negative about the Liberal parties pathetic, outdated and unfriendly environmental policies.

I believe that clean energy is essential to Australia's future. Geoffrey talks about if wind farms are viable, then let them be built, otherwise let's not subsidise them. I argue that the current brown coal fired electrical generation system have an unfairly advantaged in that they are allowed to pump out greenhouse admitting pollution every hour of every day of every year and do not have to pay for the clean up of the atmosphere (if this will be ever possible)

Nuclear power and wind power have to jump through environmental hoops, but the filthy brown coal industry is just allowed to run it's own course, not being accountable for its polluting outputs at all.

My beef with the Liberal party is that they don't actually take the environment seriously. They are only interested in their own short lived politically future. The Liberal party talk about free enterprise and user pays, but this paradigm will only ruin our environment further. We need to allow long term political views that use science and technology to advance the way we treat the environment. Not that the Labour party is much different, but at least they appear to value our environment more and are having an attempt at making a difference.

Ted Baillieu is a classic, a Liberal politician who does not care for the environment at all in any way shape or form. His policy is to have a moratorium on any more wind farm projects in the state until legislation is in place to control their development. "My concern is that wind farms are not being regulated in this state," Mr Baillieu said. "There's no legislation covering them." Well done Ted, lets just stop them altogether. Teds view is to have local government approve them. Can you imagine the local Moorabool councillors being able to make such an important decision on wind farms when the councillors and the shire cannot even get a rubbish transfer station up and running in Mt Egerton, let alone Ballan?

Will Ted follow Liberal senator Campbell's view and stop a 52 wind turbine development in provinical Victoria because a parrot or an eagle may be killed once every 1000 years. This is the absolute rubbish that is coming out of the Liberal party and the Liberal party needs to be brought to account and taken apart piece by piece until they change their anti envrionment policy. We can not have these people taking us into the next generation when their views are so far from what is needed for all Australians.

Windfarms are good for the environment, good for country Victoria and good for future jobs. They make good environmental and enonomic sense in every way.

Denmark produces 20 per cent of its electricity from wind, Germany five per cent and Europe is aiming to produce 12 per cent of its total electricity consumption from wind by 2020. Do the Europeans have it wrong? I don't think so.

What's your opinion?

Clean Energy for Eternity

News Weekly
23/08/2006 Page: 23

Our lives are about to change. We face two critical issues in the near future. The first is that we are about to run out of oil. By 2100 it will be gone! Over the next decade, the cost of petrol is going to increase rapidly as demand outstrips supply. Everything is going to be more expensive.

The second problem is global warming. SE NSW is getting hotter and drier, which will compound the impact of oil depletion. The crisis is not so much in the problems themselves, but in our lack of preparedness to face them. Impending change can be regarded as an opportunity if we are smart.

In the Bega Valley, we are preparing for change. We are setting a renewable energy target for the Bega Valley Shire, to be achieved by the year 2020. We are hoping to set a target of 50 per cent. We are hoping to set a similar target for the reduction in consumption of energy by the same year. We believe that these targets are realistic and achievable, and can provide the Bega Valley with many opportunities.

We must become more self sufficient in energy if our community is to thrive over the next couple of decades.

We hope to achieve a renewable energy target for the Bega Valley by embracing renewable energy. To provide sufficient power, we will need to use diverse sources of clean energy, which will also improve the security of our electricity supply. Solar hot water and solar photovoltaic cells need to get onto the roof of every house, and to make that happen will require increased subsidies from government. Wave, tide and geothermal generation look promising, but may require further development, and we may not have the luxury of time.

For us to be serious about renewable energy, we must include wind. Wind farms represent a perfect measure at a time when an urgent response is required. From conception to kilowatt can take less than two years, which allows us to change our energy dependency quickly. A single wind turbine can produce enough renewable energy to provide power to around 800 homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 6,000 tonnes each year. Wind farms also provide local jobs. In 20 years time, when we come up with a revolutionary new energy source, we can take the wind turbines down, and they won't leave a trace.

Ventilation system shines

MX (Sydney)
29/08/2006 Page: 5

A University of New South Wales researcher has developed a solar-powered high-rise office ventilation system.

Designer Simon Shun said his ventilation fans were driven by solar and wind power and were designed to automatically switch to electricity on nights when there is no breeze.

This ensures that the building gets adequate ventilation and meets the ventilation standards legally required for health, safety and comfort Shun said. "The challenge was to design a system that uses clean energy to the maximum possible effect. Our device has a smart switching module that selects mains electricity as a back-up power source.

A test building will trial the device over the next six months. A CSR Business Unit has already expressed interest in producing the devices if the trial is successful.

Roaring 40s takes a tilt at Chinese market

The Age
28/08/2006 Page: 3

MARK Kelleher, chief executive of Roaring 40s, a wind-power joint venture between Hydro Tasmania and China Light and Power, feels personally what he sees as Australia's lack of a renewable energy policy.

"I'm disappointed, almost embarrassed," Mr Kelleher said. The federal mandated renewable energy target scheme was initially designed to boost renewable energy output by 2 per cent. But unexpected growth in power usage has whittled that back to 0.5 per cent - far below most other countries' targets.

"Compare that to 15 per cent for China, 10 per cent for India or 20 per cent in the UK and it looks pretty measly," Mr Kelleher said. "They (China and India) can afford it less than us."

While Britain needs to act to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments, China and India, also signatories, have acted voluntarily as developing countries have no emissions reduction target in Kyoto's first round.

Australia has not signed Kyoto.

Hydra Tasmania, which had high hopes for wind in the island state, saw the writing on the wall when the Federal Government decided not to boost the MRET. Then chief executive Geoff Willis, seeing that wind development would wither in Australia, looked to China.

The result was the Roaring 40s. With Hydro Tasmania's expertise and CLP's money and contacts, the venture has so far been successful.

To date Roaring 40s has done two deals in China joint ventures with local power operators with another six under negotiation. It has a further two in India, is completing the last stage of its Woolnorth wind farm in Tasmania, and has plans for Victoria, following moves by the State Government to introduce its own renewables funding scheme.

"In the next two years, we look like doing something like 200 megawatts a year," Mr Kelleher said. "That's about $400 million a year, and our equity contribution will be $50 million a year." With the $110 million in cash that CLP brought to the joint venture now spent, Hydro Tasmania will have to stump up more capital for development.

Mr Kelleher says he has commitments for that. But ultimately Roaring 40s' growth rate may depend on whether the Tasmanian Government comes through with a $300 million capital injection for Hydro Tasmania.

Mr Kelleher has not given up on Australia and feels there may be a change in the political winds blowing from Canberra that could lead to a new mechanism to expand the renewables sector.

"I get a sense (Canberra) wants to do something while avoiding damaging impacts on the economy. So we've got some work to do to demonstrate (the viability of) our position," he said.

Digging up trouble: Greenies speak out

Gold and Minerals Gazette
August, 2006 Page: 19

Don Henry, executive director Australian Conservation Foundation

So, environmentalists are being "outrageously selfish and morally deficient" by failing to support uranium mining and nuclear power, and our arguments "lazily rely on mantras about safety and the possibility of nuclear accidents" (Greens get on the coal train to derail crucial nuclear debate, Gold & Minerals Gazette, June 2006)?

Allow me to explain, in the most clear and unemotional way I can, why conservationists do not - and cannot -support nuclear power.

First, nuclear power is not 'greenhouse free'. Finding, extracting, transporting and processing uranium uses considerable energy, as does the construction of reactors. And as a way to reduce greenhouse pollution, nuclear energy can't make enough difference.

Second, nuclear power is too expensive, even with the huge public subsidies it has received for 50 years. The public always picks up the tab for constructing and insuring nuclear power plants and for cleaning up the radioactive mess when accidents happen.

Third, accidents do happen. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are testament to that. More recently, Britain's nuclear industry has suffered a series of cracks, leaks, spills and ruptures.

Fourth, nuclearpower is simply too slow. The best available science tells us we have a limited time to dramatically cut greenhouse emissions in order to avoid dangerous climate change. While commissioning and constructing a nuclear reactor would take more than a decade, renewables like wind and solar could be delivering clean power next year and better energy efficiency measures could be reducing emissions next week.

Renewable energy is here, it's real and it works. It's where the dollars and jobs are. Renewables supply 19% of electricity worldwide. In 2004, around 4billion tonnes of greenhouse gases - half the world's annual emissions - did not pollute the global atmosphere because renewables were being used instead of fossil fuels. South Australia is already getting around 10% of its electricity from wind power - and those wind farms have been set up in the last five years.

Fifth, there's no getting around the fact uranium is the only electricity source with a demonstrated link to weapons of mass destruction. We can hope China and India will adhere to the 'safeguards' we apply to our exported uranium, but we can never guarantee it. Even if we trust this Chinese Government and all future Chinese governments, no one can be sure nuclear material will be secure from terrorists.

Sixth, there's the inevitable, intractable problem of radioactive waste. There's nothing philosophical about green concerns about nuclear waste. It's carcinogenic. The industry around the world has failed to manage it properly. There are more than 250,000 tonnes of the stuff stockpiled around the world awaiting disposal. Fifty years into the nuclear experiment, there's still no way to safely dispose of it and the assurances are wearing thin.

Be in no doubt, every attempt to expand uranium mining in Australia will be beset by protests and opposition because the nuclear way is too dirty, too dangerous, too expensive and too slow to make a difference to global warming.

The good news is Australia doesn't face a choice between coal and uranium. We can secure our energy future and avoid dangerous climate change by weaning ourselves off coal (gas will be an important transition fuel) and backing renewable energy, energy efficiency and national laws that cut our emissions.

Tough test for wind power

30 August 2006

Towering over the white horses swirling on to Norfolk's treacherous sandbanks, the Scroby Sands wind turbines have swiftly become part of Yarmouth's identity.

And with the windfarm's seafront information centre now attracting 35,000 visitors a season, its impact on tourism is clear - but what of its impact on the debate of how best to meet Britain's future energy needs?

Jon Beresford, who manages E.ON UK's flagship windfarm, is acutely aware that Scroby Sands represents a toe in the water for the power industry, and a litmus test of wind's performance.

One of the two biggest offshore windfarms in Britain when it opened two years ago, Scroby Sands will find itself dwarfed by three-times-the-size Robin Rigg when it is built at Solway Firth, and further down the line, windfarms 15 times the size are envisaged further out to sea.

But for technology to advance that rapidly, vast investment that will dwarf the £75m spent on Scroby Sands, will be required, so the eyes of the industry really are on the Norfolk coastline.

When a report on Scroby Sands' first-year performance was publish-ed earlier this month, wind cynics clamoured to point out it had failed to achieve its power generation target.

But Mr Beresford, who has become a wind champion after working on conventional power stations for more than 20 years, interprets the figures as a significant achievement. He said: “This is a pioneering site and it has been a steep learning curve.

“We've had a number of technical issues with the generators and gearboxes in 2005 but, despite that, we still managed to generate 90pc of the power we expected from the windfarm. “That means in our first year of operation the windfarm produced enough electricity to power around 37,000 homes.”

Gusty conditions on Scroby Sands has seen unforeseen wear on some of the turbine parts, but engineers from Vestas Celtic, the turbine manufact-urers, will be making modifications in the next few weeks. A massive jack-up barge, The Sea Energy, like the one used to help install the turbines during the construction phase, will arrive next month with work continuing until December.

Mr Beresford said that once the teething problems had been cured, there was every chance of the turbines exceeding their predicted target of generating enough power for 41,000 homes, equivalent to the whole of Yarmouth, Gorleston and Caister.

He said: “As well as playing an important role in helping to fulfil UK Government targets of generating 20pc of electricity from renewables by 2020, Scroby Sands continues to offer incredibly useful experience as we plan for more, larger offshore windfarms.” Power giant E.ON UK's commitment to renewables is shown by the fact that it is planning to invest £1bn in the sector over the next five years.

Mr Beresford said he “did not have a crystal ball” but was still prepared to predict a big growth in the number and size of offshore windfarms over the projected 20-year lifespan of Scroby Sands. He said: “Turbines are getting bigger and more efficient all the time. The biggest hurdle facing future windfarm development is not technology but the issue of planning permission.”

It is felt in the industry that the planning process will have to be streamlined to realise the full potential of wind energy because the costs of the present unwieldy procedure could jeopardise the viability of schemes.

But Mr Beresford feels the lesson from Scroby Sands' first year is clear: wind power is on course to be a significant player in Britain's energy mix.

Malaysia To Lead New And Renewable Energy Project Under APAST

Eastern Region News
August 29, 2006 20:04 PM

KUANTAN, Aug 29 (Bernama) -- Malaysia will lead one of the four flagship programmes under the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science and Technology (APAST) involving new and renewable energy which is likely to kick off next year.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis said it was crucial to find other alternatives of energy as the oil prices globally continued to rise. "The renewable energy that we want to have is based on the usage of wind and solar power," he said.

"This kind of expertise is seen in Japan and South Korea. These countries have already expressed their interest in helping us in terms of research and development (R&D)," he told reporters after closing the Fourth Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology here Tuesday.

Jamaludin said the roll-out of the programmes would also involve other ASEAN countries. "We will also be talking to Japan (to fund some of the flagship programmes)," he added.

Jamaludin said there was also a need to learn from the experiences of other countries using alternative energy sources such as Japan with nuclear energy.

Besides the new and renewable energy programme, ASEAN's science and technology ministers at the meeting also endorsed three other flagship programmes involving environment and disaster management, open source software system, and food safety and security.

All the flagship programmes will be carried out for a five-year period under APAST.

The meeting also took note of Thailand's proposal to establish an ASEAN Centre for Infectious Diseases, and urged ASEAN members to identify their national centres for infectious diseases.

Earlier, Jamaludin witnessed the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Malaysia's Astronautic Technology (M) Sdn Bhd and Indonesia's Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology.

The pact will see bilateral cooperation between the two parties in the area of tsunami detection systems and future collaborations.

Wednesday 30 August 2006

The wind industry is growing rapidly

Charleston Daily Mail
Monday August 28, 2006

PEOPLE concerned about Americans' dependence on oil, a significant amount of which comes from hostile sources, have great hopes for wind farms.

The industry is growing fast, despite opposition from those who object to what wind farms do to the scenery. But wind power can contribute only so much to energy independence. Its role should be appreciated, but not oversold.

Scott Malone of Reuters reported recently on the scramble to finish the largest wind farm in the northeastern United States, an array of 185 windmills about 300 miles northwest of New York City. The project had hit a snag -- difficulty obtaining parts.

Major wind turbine manufacturers like Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark, Siemens AG, and General Electric are scrambling to keep up with demand. Siemens has announced plans to open a factory in Iowa to make turbine blades.

Siemens has orders for turbines capable of generating 600 megawatts of electricity, and expects to double its volume in the United States in the next three years. GE said it has as much business as it can handle in 2006 and 2007, and is taking orders for 2008.

Victor Abate, vice president of renewable energy at GE, said the company expects to ship 2,000 turbines this year and record $3.4 billion worth of sales. He expects a 30 percent increase in 2007. But as hot as sales are, some question how large a contribution wind power can make.

Wind farms now generate about 0.5 percent of the electricity produced in the United States, and the American Wind Energy Association thinks that can be raised to 20 percent. But windmills need wind to generate power, and sometimes they don't get it.

"It can't be counted on for reliable supply," said Paul Flemming, director of power and gas at Energy Security Analysis Inc., a research firm. A more realistic expectation, some experts say, is that wind could supply 6 percent to 10 percent of the nation's need for electrical power.

That would be a helpful contribution, but it will fall short of a panacea.

Engineers race to steal nature's secrets

The Guardian
Tuesday August 29, 2006

Giant wind turbines based on a seed, and desalination plant that mimics a beetle

A new generation of small green companies is emerging with radical but proven ideas to revolutionise engineering and create anything from intelligent fridges to colossal wind turbines moored at sea.

The designers hope their projects will transform energy supplies and cut carbon emissions in the next 20 years. They include huge wind turbines, more powerful than any seen before, anchored to the seabed 20 miles off the coast; fridges that monitor the national grid to use less power; a desalination plant that is also a theatre; and a tidal lagoon that protects the coast while generating electricity.

The new companies are rethinking major infrastructure projects using natural objects as their basis. The aero-generator turbine, now being laboratory tested before sea trials next year, mimics sycamore seeds that spin like propellers in the slightest breeze. Its twin arms could each be as tall as the Eiffel tower, and the structure could be moored like an oil platform in 450 feet of water.

Each turbine, said Martin Pawlyn, an architect with Grimshaw - which developed the transparent "biomes" at the Eden Project in Cornwall - could produce 20 megawatts of electricity, nearly five times as much as any existing wind turbine. "A cluster of 100 of them spread over just a few square miles of ocean, each turning at just a few revolutions a minute, could outperform almost all Britain's existing wind farms put together," he said.

"We are now learning from natural eco-systems, and are scaling up projects. We are going back to first principles, taking our inspiration from nature."

The desalination plant, essential in countries that suffer water shortages, is also being rethought. Mostly banished to the edges of cities, they are disliked for needing large amounts of energy and looking like ill-designed boxes. Architects working with designer Charlie Paton have developed one that needs next to no energy and can double up as an open-air theatre. It has been proposed by Grimshaw for the city of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, historically short of fresh water.

The structure, looking like a wall of glass and steel, uses simple evaporators and condensers to produce large quantities of fresh water. "The inspiration came from the Namibian fog-basking beetle, which uses its shell as a condensing surface for moisture, which allows it to survive in the desert," said Mr Pawlyn. "There are countless other examples like this that we can turn to when tackling some of the environmental issues that we now face."

The idea has been used in three commercial greenhouses in the Middle East to grow food using salt water. Seawater cools and humidifies the air in the greenhouse and sunlight distils fresh water.

A radical but simple design proposed for north Wales is a 15km-long tidal energy scheme that could generate up to 450 megawatts of power and protect the coastline from erosion and severe storms. It could be constructed from dredged sand and seabed material, or waste slate from disused Welsh quarries. Long rows of hydroelectric generators would turn and generate electricity as the tide rushes in and out. North Wales has some of the highest tidal ranges in the world.

"It would protect Rhyl and neighbouring towns with 30 linear miles of breakwater, reducing the risk of flooding disasters like the one in 1990. But it would not be visually intrusive. It works well with wind power, and it would even be possible to move it," said Mr Pawlyn.

The scheme could also offer a natural but nearly invisible shelter, allowing a marina to be built and a depressed area of north Wales to be regenerated. "We are trying to raise the utilitarian [infrastructure project] to another level. It's the idea of celebrating nature, and learning from it to rethink environmental problems," said Mr Pawlyn.

Other ideas being developed include sewage treatment processes that generate 20% more electricity than usual, and giant solar heaters that would concentrate sunlight on to solar cells, producing 30 times as much electricity as today's cells.

Mark Shorrock, a director of venture capital firm Low Carbon Accelerator, which is aiming to raise £50m to back dozens of small green technology companies, said the market for imaginative, new renewable energy technologies was taking off, and was expected to more than double in the next few years. Solar energy is expected to be a £50bn market by 2015.

Coca-Cola funds Uganda's solar water project

Monitor Online
August 27, 2006

Century bottling company, makers of Coca-Cola together with Solar Light for Africa and USAID have completed a water electrification project for Kalungi Health center in Uganda.

The Coca-Cola company provided all funding of over Shs180m ($100,000) for the water project, which runs entirely on solar energy. Kalungi residents will now have access to clean drinking water, reducing causes of dehydration and water bone diseases. “With water and electricity in place we hope to improve our health services and hygiene of the centre,” said Mr Peter Kagoro, the centre’s clinical officer. The solar power at the hospital provides electricity to pump water from a spring water source approximately one mile from the hospital into a 75,000-litre tank located at the hospital. Solar power is capable of running germicidal lamps that disinfect the water with ultraviolet energy to kill pathogens in the water. After the germicidal infiltration, the clean water is distributed to the hospital for use.

Lighting provided by solar power replaces the toxic and black fumes of kerosene lanterns and small paraffin lamps (tadooba) allowing the medical staff to care for patients well into the night and to perform surgery with better lighting. The solar electrification also allows for the preservation of vaccines and medicines under refrigeration as well as the sterilization of medical tools through the use of autoclaves. Mr Bryan Jacob, represented Coca-Cola at the ceremony. “We are proud of the leadership role we have adopted in Africa mostly regarding the HIV/Aids issue,” he said. “This project not only addresses that critical societal issue but also represents a tangible example of interrelationship between energy and the environment.”

Solar Cells for Renewable Energy, Boeing Wins Contract

The Boeing Company has signed a contract to provide 600,000 solar concentrator cells to SolFocus, Inc., a California-based renewable energy company that is developing renewable terrestrial energy alternatives.

Under the 12-month contract from SolFocus, Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., Spectrolab will build and deliver 600,000 solar concentrator cells that will be used to convert the sun's rays into affordable electricity for homes and businesses. The cells produced for SolFocus will be capable of generating more than 10 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power about 4,000 U.S. homes. With the average solar cell efficiency above 35 percent at concentration, Spectrolab's concentrator photovoltaic cells generate electricity at a rate that can be more economical than electricity generated from conventional, flat panel photovoltaic systems.

A significant advantage of concentrator systems is that fewer solar cells are required to achieve a specific power output, thus replacing large areas of semiconductor materials with relatively inexpensive optics that provide optical concentration. The slightly higher cost of multi-junction cells is offset by the use of fewer cells. Due to the higher efficiency of multi-junction cells used in the concentrator modules, only a small fraction of the cell area is required to generate the same power output compared to crystalline silicon or thin-film, flat-plate modules.

A market conjured out of hot air

Australian Financial Review
25/08/2006 Page: 11

Martijn Wilder and Nick Rowley put the case for a carbon trading system.

Last week Australia's states and territories issued a discussion paper on a national greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme. Their proposal would build on the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union's trading system to establish a carbon price signal for Australia.

Yet in a major policy speech in July, the Prime Minister, John Howard, declared carbon trading systems to be "fatally flawed".

Since that speech a great deal has been said and written about the weaknesses of emissions trading in general and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme in particular. Howard has criticised the EU scheme as a "wildly fluctuating" market, yet anyone with an understanding of markets be they sharemarkets or electricity markets knows that flexibility is their strength. In the EU case, the price movements were expected by those operating in the market and were relatively easy to track For many the scheme has provided a real opportunity to acquire allowances when the price is low and to hedge against price fluctuation. The states' proposed regime is to a large degree modelled on the EU's efforts. Teething problems experienced in Europe seem to have been addressed in the scheme which also takes account of Australian circumstances.

We have one of the world's most carbon intensive economies. As the international regulatory environment takes shape in coming years, and economies operate in a more carbon constrained world, Australia must be part of framing the global system for tackling this issue. If it isn't, the system that does emerge is unlikely to pay more than scant attention to the effects on our national interests.

Already the US has active pollution trading systems and is developing carbon trading systems such as the so called "Regional greenhouse gas Initiative" in the high emitting eastern states. California, long a leader in energy efficiency, is also committed to establishing a carbon trading system.

And this is despite a president and vice-president seen as wedded to the fossil fuel industry. George Bush's home state of Texas is second only to California is recognising the benefits of low carbon energy with 1995 megawatts of installed wind capacity. WalMart, the world's largest retailer, has committed itself to purchasing all of its energy from renewables. General Electric, the world's second largest company, last year launched "ecomagination", a program to make products that will help develop low carbon energy, including wind power, hybrid locomotives and photovoltaic cells. In the US Senate, the McCain Lieberman climate stewardship bill would regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the US economy, limiting them to 2000 levels by the year 2010. All regulated sources would receive emissions permits based on historic levels, and they could trade in these permits to ensure their compliance.

So, despite the vacuum in the Oval Office, in the world's richest economy with the world's highest emissions, political and business leaders are showing the way. Yet in Australia Howard is in denial about the severity of the problem and all too eager to criticise markets as an efficient tool to help reduce greenhouse emissions.

Criticism of the EU scheme has been based on a misunderstanding of how the system was established and how it works. It has no sunset date. The first phase (2005-2007) was always intended to be a trial. Despite this it has become the cornerstone of a multi billion dollar global carbon market where trades this year will exceed €22 billion. The real and much expanded market which implements the first Kyoto Protocol commitment period will begin in 2008. It will build on the lessons learnt from phase one and will cover more greenhouse emissions and industries. The inclusion of aviation will place a direct compliance obligation on Qantas, yet the government has done little to explore how the EU scheme will affect Australian industry.

Voluntary agreements and processes such as the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, heralded with such fanfare earlier this year in Sydney, have so far amounted to little. There is no clear sense of how this grouping of countries will engage in more than talks about talks about future technologies. The states' proposed regime would do far more to promote the use of clean coal technology and carbon capture and storage in Australia.

The key to successful government policy on climate change is to engage business: low carbon technology and less carbon intensive economies offer the solution to the emissions problem and business must deliver it. But history shows that new industrial technologies do not simply materialise; and that those technologies nurtured under generous government R&D programs often produce little result In the 1980s the US synthetic fuels program spent billions of dollars before being shut down without a single commercial operation being established. That doesn't mean that the government shouldn't continue with substantial investment into clean coal technology. But it should be only one element of a broader political and economic strategy, not an alternative to it.

Plenty of low carbon energy supply and consumer technologies already exist Climate change policy and action is obstructed by those who await the perfect solution, unwilling to adopt the merely good. There is no perfect energy technology: coal, nuclear, solar, wind and wave power all have strengths and weaknesses. But with growing evidence of an unstable climate system and of significant change within our lifetimes, there is an urgent need to adopt low carbon energy as the primary criteria of what is developed and used.

The market is the most powerful lever to bring these new technologies on stream quickly and with minimal economic disruption. Emissions trading is more than a means to avoid taxation. By creating scarcity and allowing a market to operate, it creates real incentives to invest in low carbon energy technology. From fisheries and water rights in Australia and sulphur dioxide emissions in Chinese power plants to nitrogen-oxide emissions in Los Angeles, harnessing markets to improve the environment has yielded greater results at lower costs than traditional regulatory approaches.

Designing these new markets is a complex task It requires setting an aggregate emissions quota, allocating this quota to firms in the form of permits, allowing these firms to trade among themselves, and then ensuring all firms in the market submit sufficient permits to the regulating authority at the end of each compliance period. Firms with low compliance costs will sell unused permits to those with higher costs, and this trading will ensure the lowest possible cost for achieving the aggregate emissions quota.

Well developed and implemented cap and trade systems provide a powerful stimulus to private sector innovation and investment and deter investment in high carbon infrastructure. Already billion dollar standalone carbon deals have been done under the Kyoto Protocol's clean development mechanism; deals under which technology transfers to reduce emissions in China have been funded by selling the resultant carbon reductions to leading financial institutions in Europe. Our exports of LNG could have been structured in such a manner.

International emissions trading is the defining characteristic of the Kyoto Protocol and was explicitly argued for by the US and Australia. And despite the US rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, several proposals to limit aggregate emissions have been gaining attention, significantly this month's agreement between California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to share know how and to explore ways of linking national and state carbon trading systems.

In the vacuum left by the federal government's inaction we should not underestimate the importance of state leadership. It is the states that have significant responsibility for energy, transport and planning policy and already they are showing how to develop policies that help tackle climate change most notably NSW, Victoria and South Australia And we shouldn't forget there are many examples of limited forums being the basis for international agreements. The WTO began with a limited set of participants as did the successful Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depletion. And the UN charter itself was initially drawn up by only four participants: the US, Britain, the USSR and China.

The world will spend trillions of dollars on new energy infrastructure over the coming decades. This investment will determine the scale of climate change, the security of the world we inhabit and the energy systems that will power economic growth. Too much of that investment is now contributing to making the climate problem worse. Low carbon technologies offer the solution, but they will remain in the laboratory unless governments create market based incentives to make them valuable private sector investments.

It seems tactical short term thinking rather than any appreciation of the broader policy and political context of decisions has led the Howard government to criticise market based incentives for low carbon energy investment If Howard is so adamantly against a domestic emissions trading scheme, then what is he for? More taxpayer funding for a few technologies? A carbon tax? We doubt it.

Martijn Wilder heads Baker and McKenzie's global environmental markets practice. Nick Rowley was a senior adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and worked on climate change issues during Britain's 2005 G8 presidency.

Federal Government fails Renewable Energy

Burnie Advocate
25/08/2006 Page: 16

THE Federal Government should get off its coalfired backside and commit seriously to the development of renewable energy.

The situation at Wynyard serves only to underline how fragile this fledgling industry is at present. Wind energy is just one of the options available to us, but it is an important one. The challenge facing the ethanol industry is an example of how hard it can be for new sources to get traction on the Australian landscape.

No doubt the power of the oil companies and value of coal to the national economy plays on the minds of those sitting around the Cabinet table. However, we can have both running in tandem. Wind is important to Tasmania long a leader in the hydrogeneration field.

Not only is it a direct economic driver through money and jobs, but its tourism potential can be enormous. Today would be an opportune time for our Prime Minister, John Howard, to show some leadership on this front. It would be a boon for the NorthWest and West Coasts of Tasmania and a well deserved boon at that.

And if today's trip is all about hot air, it would be good to have a strong wind industry to capitalise on that.

Climate changes nuclear debate

Herald Sun
25/08/2006 Page: 22

What has been clear to the scientific community for a long time has, at last, been accepted by the Federal Government.

Climate change is here, it's real and it's serious. So far, so good. We've identified the problem. It's when we start to look at potential solutions things get confusing.

The science writer and commentator Tim Flannery, one of the nation's strongest voices for urgent action on climate change, has called for Australia to exploit uranium "in a morally responsible manner" and adopt the "noble option" of nuclear power to address climate change.

Dr Flannery says the need to act on global warming, the failure of federal leadership on this issue and the distorted economics of the energy market mean Australia should go nuclear: more uranium mining, uranium enrichment, domestic nuclear power and international radioactive waste storage.

The only problem is the doctor's prescribed remedy fails to cure the disease. You cannot solve one monumental environmental problem by embracing another. Nuclear is high cost and high risk and will not deliver the cuts we need in greenhouse pollution to avoid dangerous climate change.

Science is telling us we must cut greenhouse pollution by at least 60 per cent within a generation. Even if we doubled the number of nuclear reactors operating around the world, we would achieve only a 5 per cent drop in emissions.

Big risk for tiny reward. Nuclear power is no answer to climate change. It's too slow and ineffective to make a difference, too costly and is directly linked to the production of the world's worst weapons and most dangerous industrial waste.

The idea that Australians should become "forceful nuclear pacifists", who export uranium to the world then aggressively back international efforts to stop weapons proliferation, is naive in the extreme. It's also a contradiction in terms.

Safeguards cannot guarantee Australian uranium won't end up in nuclear weapons. The only thing that can be guaranteed is that every gram of exported uranium will end up as a 250,000year radioactive waste legacy for our children and their children.

Safeguards rely on trust. Take for example the safeguards the Federal Government is developing to facilitate uranium sales to China. They will depend on Australia trusting not only the current Chinese Government, but also every future government in Beijing.

Even if we were prepared to extend our trust that far, uranium exports raise other significant security concerns. Terrorists do not respect safeguard agreements. Once uranium is out of our hands it is impossible to guarantee its safe use and storage.

We do need to change the way we create and consume energy, but we do not need to fuel regional insecurities or create an eternal radioactive waste burden. Why would we choose nuclear power when there are safer, cleaner, more credible energy options available?

While it would take 10 to 25 years and at least $3 billion before a nuclear power station could deliver a single watt of electricity in Australia, renewables are ready to provide climatefriendly energy today.

Wind power has the potential to supply at least 10 per cent of Australia's electricity in the short term. Wind and solar energy are growing by about 30 per cent every year. Each time the amount installed doubles, the costs fall by about 20 per cent.

Converting 80 per cent of Australian homes from electric water heating to solar, or heatpump systems would save the same amount of energy as that produced by a nuclear power station. And while most Australians would be understandably nervous about a reactor in their backyard, nobody minds a solar panel on the roof.

geothermal energy, generated from hot rocks beneath the ground, is in its infancy but holds potential. A single project under development near Mt Gambier in South Australia is believed to contain enough resources to generate 1000 megawatts of geothermal power for 25 years.

This would be equivalent to a nuclear power station, but without the radioactive waste and risk. Renewable energy presents far greater employment and export opportunities than expanding mining of uranium and playing host to the world's nuclear waste.

Australia can become a world leader with renewables, or a world loser with nukes.

Denise Boyd is campaigns director of the Australian Conservation Foundation

Sandia delivers the Atlas

Waste Management & Environment
August, 2006 Page: 14

The US Sandia National Laboratories' wind energy department has developed ATLAS II. Accurate Time Linked data Acquisition System to monitor the performance of wind power turbines, allowing engineers to perform simple performance checks on them. The unit is capable of sampling a large number of signals at once to characterise the inflow, operational state and structural response of any wind turbine.

The system provides us with sufficient data to help us understand how our turbine blade designs perform in realworld conditions, allowing us to improve on the original design," says project leader Jose Zayas.


Burning Questions

West Australian
25/08/2006 Page: 16

Q. Why do windmills generating electricity have three narrow blades while windmills that pump water have as many wide blades as possible?

A: It all boils down to the available wind speed and the mechanism it is intended to power. Water pumps are usually sited inland where there's not much wind, so a multivane design works quite well because it has to use relatively slowmoving air. But windmills generating electricity need to rotate much faster to avoid the use of heavy (and expensive) gearboxes. So electrical generators are usually sited in windy coastal regions.

All wind turbines generate energy by a mixture of lift and drag. Lift is the more efficient process and increases rapidly with wind velocity. At high wind velocities multiple blades tend to obstruct air flow and cause turbulence whereas at low speeds this is not such a problem. Lift and drag explain also wily a yacht will sail faster with the wind from the beam (lift) as opposed to wind from behind (mostly drag). Similarly, paddlewheels on ships were superseded by propellers and biplanes were replaced by monoplanes as they were simply a lot more efficient.

For windpowered generators, maximum efficiency is reached when the wind velocity is slowed by about a third after passing the rotors. Therefore, whenever the wind velocity is high, two or three fastrotating thin blades are so much more aerodynamically efficient than a large number of wider ones. At very slow wind speeds, where drag predominates, the reverse usually applies.