Saturday 23 September 2006

Wind and sun could already power state
September 23, 2006

SOLAR power could meet the state's electricity needs, with panels to satisfy it requiring the space of 10,000 AAMI Stadiums. wind power would need 10 times that amount of land to provide the energy – at one-tenth of the cost.

An investigation by The Advertiser has found it is feasible to power the state on renewable energy alone. Infrastructure could be built within 10 years.

Based on the average daily consumption of electricity this week, Adelaide's The Solar Shop has figured 80 million solar panels, installed on a 200 sq km area, could meet SA's needs.

Managing director Adrian Ferraretto said the panels easily could be installed on the roofs of 500,000 buildings. "We wouldn't even have to utilise land space, just using the stuff that's there anyway," he said. "We are the sunniest continent in the world and we don't use it."

Planet Ark director Paul Klymenko said the infrastructure would cost $40 billion, which could by covered by the superannuation industry. It already is investing in renewable energy. Mr Klymenko said in the past year, $50 billion was invested in super funds.

"Over a 10-year period, we think it is do-able," he said. "It's a drop in the ocean for superannuation companies with money sitting in the bank and wanting to spend it."

Greenpeace clean energy campaigner Mark Wakeham said 2000 wind turbines would generate enough electricity for what SA uses on average each day. The turbines could take up between 980 and 2030 sq kms of space but would have to be installed in areas which record enough wind.

The total cost was predicted at $4 billion.

"We wouldn't suggest we should rely on wind power to produce SA's needs but a combination of solar power, wind power and geothermal energy," Mr Wakeham said. "But we could provide 30 per cent of the state's electricity through wind power without too many troubles."

SA has 216 wind turbines installed or under construction. "SA has a particularly good wind resource and with some improvements, it could export the electricity to other states," Mr Wakeham said. " The Government does not have the mechanisms in place to promote new projects."

US renewables becoming competitive

22 September 2006

The cost of green energy is fast catching up with fossil fuels in the US as oil price soar but policies need to change to fulfil the country's renewables potential, according to a new report from two influential US think tanks.

But the US is still lagging behind other countries because of its policy-makers' failure to support the growth of green power, the Worldwatch Institute and the Center for American Progress say in the American Enery Now report published this week.

Long-term policies in Germany and Spain led these countries into positions of power in the area of wind energy; the same can be said of Germany and Japan in the solar energy sector. "By contrast, US renewable energy policies over the past two decades have been an ever-changing patchwork" with "abrupt changes in direction at both state and federal levels," says the report.

While the world embraces the opportunities represented by investment in renewables, the US is falling behind, the report argues. It cites recent global growth in renewables, with global wind energy generation more than tripling since 2000, solar cell production up by 45% on 2005, now six times the level in 2000, and ethanol production more than doubling between 2000 and 2005.

While America has some of the world's best renewables resources, these currently provice 6% of the US's energy - but the proportion could increase rapidly over coming years with rising oil prices and energy security accelerating the transition.

"With oil prices soaring, the security risks of petroleum dependence growing, and the environmental costs of today's fuels becoming more apparent, the country faces compelling reasons to put these technologies to use on a larger scale," the report argues, pointing out that a quarter of US land area has the potential to generate wind power as cheaply as coal or natural gas-powered stations, while seven Southwest states alone could generate ten times the current electricity demand.

"Many of the new technologies that harness renewables are, or soon will be, economically competitive with the fossil fuels that meet 85% of US energy needs," the report reads. But "across the country, the tide has begun to turn," it adds.

All but four US states have incentives in place to promote green energy generation, a dozen of which have introduced laws favourable to renewables in recent years. California already gets 31% of its electricity from renewables and, perhaps more surprisingly, Texas is now home to the largest inventory of wind turbines in the US.

The report gives fuel cells as an example where the country's global market share declined from 22% in 1996 to under 9% in 2005 despite more American fuel cells coming off factory lines each year.

The think tanks make a series of policy recommendations to support the growth of the US renewables industry, including long-term, predictable rules for developers and financers, performance-based incentives based on the amount of energy generated per dollar of public investment, incorporating external costs of fossil fuels into energy pricing - especially through the introduction of a carbon cap-and-trade system, and reducing subsidies for fossil fuels.

Talks on wind energy

Goulburn Town & Country
Monday 18/9/2006, Page: 10

THE Australian Wind Energy Association (Auswind) has welcomed the Federal Government's commitment to wind energy, delivered at a wind farm round table in Canberra last week.

The round table was held just before a global windpower event started in Adelaide on September 18.

Auswind CEO Dominique La Fontaine said praised a Victorian Renewable Energy Target and South Australia's commitment to renewable energy as progressive policies. She said the Federal Environment Minister's expression of support for wind energy was also an important step.

Ms La Fontaine said the round table centred on promoting better understanding. "The meeting focused on how the industry can best address concerns surrounding wind farm developments. The meeting was not about interfering with the responsibility of state governments to adjudicate on planning issues' she said.

"The round table recognised that the approach the wind energy industry is already taking is the right one, and agreed that Auswind's Best Practice Guidelines, independent accreditation scheme and its work on landscape assessment would form the basis of a national code. That is a big vote of approval for the industry.

"The meeting also gave community representatives a chance to express their view, while hearing details of the industry's ongoing efforts to ensure world's best practice in landscape assessment and community consultation' Ms La Fontaine said.

"Our industry is constantly working to ensure that it responds to the community's expectations, as global concern about climate change increases the need for emission-free electricity production.

"The international focus is now on Australia, with the Global Windpower 2006 conference to be held this week in Adelaide, bringing the biggest names here from the world's fastest growing energy industry?'

Wind farm verdict soon

Yarram Standard News
Wednesday 20/9/2006, Page: 3

Wellington Shire Council could either approve or reject the nine turbine wind farm proposed for Devon North as early as October.

Council's assistant public relations officer Gaye Davies said a German company's application for a planning permit for the wind farm could be considered by councillors at the night meeting on Tuesday, October 17, at Sale.

Ms Davies said council is now awaiting further information from third parties regarding the wind farm.

Despite objections by opponents to the wind farm, councillors will not be meeting opponents at Devon North before the meeting, despite visiting the wind farm site with the owner of the property last Monday week.

Ms Davies said objectors would have the opportunity to talk about their submissions at the October council meeting, should the matter be raised then.

The agenda for the meeting will be listed on council's website, in the lead up to October 17, under the heading "Council", then "Council Meetings" and "Council Meeting Agendas".

Wind firmly established as global energy source but Australia's wind industry falters

Southern Argus
Thursday 21/9/2006 Page: 12

One third of the world's electricity can be supplied by wind and 113 billion tonnes of CO2 saved by 2050, says industry report.

Wind will be a major contributor to future energy needs and is key in the fight against dangerous climate change. concludes 'Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006', a report launched today by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Greenpeace.

Yet the wind industry in Australia is faltering with the Federal Government persistently choosing dirty fossil fuels over clean renewable energy. Over the past five years, wind energy has been the world's second fastest growing form of electricity generation (after solar) with growth rates of 28% per year.

The report examines the future potential for wind power and is an industry blueprint that explains how wind power could supply 34% of the world's electricity by 2050 and save 1.5 billion tonnes of
CO2 emissions by 2020.

"Australia has world class wind resources especially in the southwest, southern and east coast regions where the majority of the population resides," said Mark Wakeham, Greenpeace Australia Pacific energy campaigner.

"Whilst states such as Victoria and South Australia have made some progressive steps in legislating renewable energy targets the wind industry still lacks the long term support it needs to match its prospects overseas.

Federal and State Governments should support wind power development via mandatory targets and by cutting back subsidies for fossil fuels. "In South Australia wind power generation is approaching 15% of the state's electricity, and not a single megawatt of additional back-up generation has needed to be built".

"We have barely scratched the surface of the potential for the wind industry here - Australia could be a global wind leader".

"But we need an economically integrated industry with a manufacturing base, not just stand alone projects, in order to achieve this," said Sven Teske, co-author of the report and energy expert from Greenpeace International.

In addition to climate change, other challenges such as security of energy supply and the increasing volatility of fossil fuel prices are important drivers for wind power. "Wind is already cost competitive with gas in some locations and will become cheaper than coal in the future'.

"If Australia fails to develop a wind industry, technology will have to be imported from overseas and our reliance on burning coal, the biggest contributor to climate change, will continue." Mr Teske said.

"Wind energy is the most attractive solution to the world's energy challenges. It is clean and fuel-free". "Moreover, wind is indigenous and enough wind blows across the globe to cope with the ever increasing electricity demand".

"This report demonstrates that wind technology is not a dream for the future - it is real, it is mature and it can be deployed on a large scale," said Arthouros Zervos, GWEC's Chairman. "The political choices of the coming years will determine the world's environmental and economic situation for many decades to come."

The 'Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006' runs three different scenarios for wind power - a Reference scenario based on figures from the International Energy Agency (lEA); a Moderate version which assumes that current targets for renewable energy are successful: and an Advanced version assuming that all policy options in favour of renewables have been adopted. These are then set against two scenarios for global energy demand.

Under the Reference scenario, growth in demand is again based on lEA projections; under the High Energy Efficiency version, a range of energy efficiency measures result in a substantial reduction in demand.

wind power has experienced major growth in OECD countries, especially the United States and Europe, with significant growth in developing countries such as China and India).

The global market for wind power has been expanding faster than any other source of renewable energy. From just 4,800 MW in 1995 the world total has multiplied more than twelve-fold to reach over 59,000 MW at the end of 2005.

The international market is expected to have an annual turnover in 2006 of more than 13 billion, with an estimated 150.000 people employed around the world.

The success of the industry has attracted investors from the mainstream finance and traditional energy sectors. "wind power will significantly reduce CO2 emissions, which is key in the fight against dangerous climate change," said Mr Teske.

"The required
CO2 reduction can only be achieved if wind power plays a major role in the energy sector". "Getting this right will be critical if governments are going to meet climate targets".

"Concerned Australians must ask their governments why they, are supporting the coal industry when action on climate change is so urgently needed and why climate change solutions, such as wind and solar energy, are not being exploited".

Wind market flat: Labor

Ballarat Courier
Friday 22/9/2006, Page: 6

THE possible scrapping of wind farms worth hundreds of millions dollars is a sign Australia's renewable energy market is being left behind, Labour says. Opposition environment spokesman Anthony Albanese said Australian jobs in the industry were being lost overseas.

But Environment Minister Ian Campbell said Labor was ignoring that the Australian renewable energy sector is exporting technology to the world.

Australian company Pacific Hydro is considering shelving plans for wind farms in western Victoria.

In July, the Roaring 40s wind energy company announced a $300 million deal to provide three wind farms to China.

"Around the same time, Roaring 40s announced they would not be proceeding with wind power projects in Tasmania and South Australia because of a lack of federal government support," Mr Albanese said. He said Australian renewable energy companies were welcomed in China but not in Australia.

Senator Campbell said the examples cited by Mr Albanese were investment decisions not in the Federal Government's control. Mr Albanese should ask the Victorian Labor government why certain wind farm projects were being held up, he said.

National code of practice needed

Hamilton Spectator
Tuesday 19/9/2006, Page: 5

THE Hawkesdale Macarthur Landscape Guardians has supported the development of a national code of practice for wind farms. Yet only if the code enables neighbouring landholders to have their say.

Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, met with key stakeholders in the wind industry to decide on a national code for wind farms last week. In the past Senator Campbell has said Australia needed a national code to specify where wind farms should be approved.

Landscape guardians have welcomed the national code, which would unify the different policies currently run by state governments and possibly create boundaries about where wind farms could be built.

Hawkesdale Macarthur Landscape Guardians president, Roger Learmonth, said a national code might put the pressure on the Bracks Government to conform to wind farm regulations. "As long as they give the adjacent neighbours the chance to put into the national code, I will be very much for it (a national code)," Mr Learmonth said.

"We should have a lot of say how far they are away from neighbouring fences, and visual impact is also a big thing."

Yet Auswind chief executive, Dominque La Fontaine, said the meeting was not about "interfering with the responsibility of State governments to adjudicate on planning issues". She said it was held to address the concerns surrounding wind farms.

"Our industry is constantly working to ensure that it responds to the community's expectations, as global concern about climate change increases the need for emission-free electricity production," she said.

"The round table recognised that the approach the wind energy industry is already taking is the right one, and agreed that Auswind's Best Practice Guidelines, independent accreditation scheme and its work on landscape assessment would form the basis of a national code," Ms La Fontaine said. "That is a big vote of approval for the industry."

Ms Fontaine said the meeting had also given community representatives a chance to express their view, while hearing details of the industry's ongoing efforts to ensure best practice in landscape assessment and community consultation. She said the meeting served to promote "better understanding all round".

However, Mr Learmonth said at present the guardians had not been given any more details on the development of the 183-turbine Hawkesdale-Macarthur wind farm.

"I have been in touch with the DSE (Department of Sustainability and Environment) recently and they will not give me any answers whatsoever, which makes it very difficult for neighbours (to the proposed site)," he said.

The Bracks Government approved a 116 turbine, $460 million wind farm at Mt Gellibrand last month, yet Mr Learmonth said this development was in a different league to the Macarthur development.

"The Bracks Government seems to be doing the small ones first. But the Macarthur wind farm is a big one, a $600-$700 million project and I think that money is going to be very hard to find. So I think the Macarthur wind farm is still a fair way away.

"Plus the neighbours have been objecting since the word go, whereas at Mt Gellibrand there was not a lot of opposition from adjoining landholders. "This might be because there are a lot of hills around that area, whereas we are flat and you will be able to see these for 20 to 30km away."

Fed: Bald Hills wind farm developers try again

AAP Newswire
Wednesday 20/9/2006

Today's the opening day for public submissions.. on the development of a controversial Victorian wind farm. . which was blocked in controversial circumstances earlier this year.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell blocked it on advice it could have a detrimental impact on the extremely rare orange-bellied parrot.

The Bald Hills Wind Farm company was prepared to spend 220 million dollars on the project.. in Victoria's East Gippsland region.. before Senator Campbell stepped in.

Wind farm pullout threat Libs' energy scheme plan blamed

Warrnambool Standard
Thursday 21/9/2006, Page: 5

PLANS for a $300 million wind energy investment along south-west Victoria is likely to be abandoned if the Liberal Party wins the November state election.

The threat to pull out of the Portland wind energy project by Pacific Hydro because the Opposition's pledge to abandon plans for a new renewable energy scheme were yesterday dismissed by the party as a political stunt.

Garry Weaven, executive chairman of Industry Funds Services, owner of Pacific Hydro, told The Age the company's Portland development faced shelving and the Opposition's policy made contracts for wind farms impossible to find.

Pacific Hydro's executive manager of government and corporate affairs Andrew Richards yesterday told The Standard despite Mr Weaven being a well-known unionist the company's stance on the Portland project was not political.

Mr Richards said the Opposition had indicated it would repeal the Government's new Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) scheme which aims to have the state's renewable energy use increased from 1.9 per cent to 10 per cent in 2016.

"With that it equated to about a $2 billion capital investment in Victoria and in Portland the Pacific Ilydro project is worth about $250 to $300 million", Mr Richards said.

He said Pacific Hydro was not the only company waiting for the outcome of the November election before making the final decision. "At no stage have we backed away from the Portland project", he said. "If the Liberal Party repeals the VRET a lot of renewable energy companies will not be making investments."

The company's stage one, the Yambuk wind firm is in the commissioning stage while stage two near Cape Bridgewater has planning permission for 33 turbines. Stage three includes Cape Nelson and Cape Sir William Grant sites and would bring the company's investment in the region to about $300 million.

Opposition Energy spokesman Phillip Davis said the threat was politically motivated by Mr Weaven and the party would not change its position on the energy target policy.

Mr Davis said under the Government's plan consumers would subsidise the wind industry by $2 billion or about $60 a year per household every year' while the plan did nothing to abate greenhouse emissions.

He said the VRET legislation overall would cause job losses because of increased energy costs.

Wind loses power as support wanes

Daily Telegraph
Thursday 21/9/2006 Page: 28

Wind power will be a major contributor to man's future energy needs, potentially providing more than a third of the world's electricity by 2050, a new report said.

Launched yesterday by Greenpeace and the Global Wind Energy Council, the report said wind power, second only to solar power as the world's fastest growing energy source, had the potential to eliminate 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.

But the report also warned the industry was faltering in Australia, with the federal government persistently choosing dirty fossil fuels over clean, renewable energy. Australia has worldclass wind resources," said Greenpeace Australia Pacific energy campaigner Mark Wakeham. Federal and state governments should support wind power development via mandatory targets and by cutting back subsidies for fossil fuels."

Report author Sven Teske said Australia could be a global wind leader but needed an economically integrated industry with a manufacturing base, not just stand-alone projects. Wind is already cost competitive with gas in some locations and will become cheaper than coal in the future," Mr Teske said.

$1m trailer hits roads

Burnie Advocate
Thursday 21/9/2006, Page: 18

BACKING this trailer into the garage might be too tough even for the most manliest of men. Hazell Bros' new $1 million platform trailer has 74 tyres and can be widened to almost five metres.

Managing director Geoffrey Hazell said the trailer's size negated the need to dismantle large machines into smaller pieces for transport. "The platform trailer is the largest low loader in the State and enables Hazell Bros to transport heavy and overdimensional loads safely and within regulations," he said.

Mr Hazell said the platform was currently being used to transport Vestas wind farm factory components from Wynyard to the Tasmanian wind farms and to Burnie for export. He said the trailer had a "self-tracking steering system" that used sophisticated hydraulics to steer itself around corners, rather than being dragged.

Mr Hazell said the prime mover needed to pull the trailer had special modifications. Features of the Mack Titan truck include a 620 horsepower motor, an 18-speed gearbox and meretor axles with a GCM of 140 tonnes.

Thursday 21 September 2006

Denmark to Crookwell: The wind farm experience

Cooma Monaro Express
Thursday 14/9/2006, Page: 5

MANY people strongly believe that religion and power do not mix. But a local Uniting Church pastor doesn't share that viewpoint, and is the latest local to get involved in the 'Should Monaro have wind farms?' debate.

Pastor Richard Pedersen has called on the Monaro community to embrace wind farms, believing they will play a vital part in the world's future. But Pastor Pedersen isn't a novice on the subject, and grew up less than 500 metres away from the first wind farm in the world which was located 20km out of Copenhagen, Denmark.

"I could see the four of them from my house," Pastor Pedersen said. "They were used to power a nuclear research station that was used for medical purposes and is still being used for that today."

Pastor Pedersen was 12-years-old when the wind turbines were established near his home and said during that time no one from the surrounding community had a problem with them.

"I have never heard anybody in Denmark ever talk against wind farms,' he said. Pastor Pedersen believes most of the theories against wind farms are farcical. "People use the killing-of-birds example as one of the arguments against wind farms. "I grew up next to these things and I can tell you now that more birds die as a result of running into the church tower then dying as a result of wind mills.

"People also use the landscape argument, but these days they put them in places where they are hardly visible from the road. It shouldn't be an issue. "We need to work towards the better use of natural (renewable) power," he said.

"There is an initial cost, but in the long term it will be free, so why aren't we using it? It also doesn't pollute the world. If we don't do something soon it could be too late. "I think we have too few of them and they are grossly under used," he said.

"Solar is grossly under used as well and should be looked at closely. We have to stop being scared and embrace those things. Denmark previously bought all its power from Sweden, but it took a stand and stopped buying coal power from them and now wind energy supplies most of Denmark's energy."

Nuclear power gets the cold shoulder

Village Voice Drummoyne
September, 2006, Page: 21

Canada Bay Council reaffirmed its status as a nuclear free zone last month. Greens councillor and candidate for the State seat of Drummoyne Bernard Rooney explains why nuclear power is not the answer to the energy crisis.

NUCLEAR energy is being touted as an answer to the problems of global warming. There is no doubt we face twin global crises: an energy crisis due to fossil fuel depletion and an environmental crisis due to global warming.

Oil production is soon to peak, to be followed by gas. Coal is plentiful, but unfortunately it is the prime cause of greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on coal will need to be steadily reduced in the near future.

An important part of the solution is energy conservation and energy efficiency. Australia is a heavy consumer of energy per capita. Big savings can and must be achieved across the board in future years. A carbon tax needs to be introduced as quickly as possible, to internalise the true costs of the industry; to raise public revenue for research and development of alternatives and to make renewable energy sources more competitive.

Nuclear energy is not the answer. Nuclear energy creates a toxic waste for which, after more than 50 years, there is still no solution.

The nuclear industry is the foundation of nuclear weapons, and proliferation is virtually inevitable so long as the industry exists. The costs of nuclear energy are also immense. Construction, decommissioning and waste storage costs render the industry economically unviable.

The industry cannot survive without government subsidy and support, which should be given to the renewable sector, not nuclear energy. An accident in a nuclear power plant could be catastrophic. This is why insurance for nuclear power is impossible to obtain, meaning that these costs again have to be covered by the taxpayer.

Prime Minister John Howard floated the idea of nuclear energy recently and even suggested that his own electorate could be considered as a site for a nuclear reactor. I have little doubt that the people of Bennelong - just like the people of Drummoyne and Concord - would reject rather than permit such a thing.

It is difficult to take the Prime Minister's proposals seriously. But we can most certainly take seriously the proposals to increase the export of uranium and to convert outback Australia into a nuclear waste dump. This I believe is the real agenda. Clean, green, renewable energy is the answer. Wind power and solar power among others are ready to come on stream with a little push and support from governments.

$460m wind project starts

Colac & Corangamite Extra
Tuesday 19/9/2006, Page: 4

THE new owners of the proposed 116-turbine Mount Gellibrand wind farm near Colac hope to begin construction on the project late next year.

Wind Hydrogen Ltd commercial manager Warwick Pearce said the company hoped to begin generating wind power from the site in 2008 but might not have all 116 proposed turbines operating by then.

The project, which the company has valued at $460 million upon completion, was likely to be done in stages, Mr Pearce said.

Wind Hydrogen announced last week it would acquire the project for an undisclosed sum from German development group Pro Ventum International GmbH, which will continue to have an advisory role on the project's development and will retain a minority interest.

Wind Hydrogen's purchase agreement is its first major foray into the Australian wind industry. While the company is Australian based, it has wind farms in the United Kingdom and development rights over others including one at Woolsthorpe near Warrnambool.

Mr Pearce said the company bought the Mount Gellibrand project because it was building up its portfolio of wind power projects throughout the world. The project was attractive because the site was located close to the electricity grid, had very favourable wind conditions and had encountered very few objections, Mr Pearce said.

The State Government gave planning permission for the wind farm last month. The turbines will be built on the southern and western flanks of Mount Gellibrand and span 2500 hectares across a number of properties.

The farm will be the most powerful in Australia, generating 232 megawatts - that is enough to power 133,450 homes a year.

Wind Hydrogen managing director Richard Pritchard praised Pro Ventum International GmbH for the extensive community consultation process it had undertaken prior to gaining approval for Mount Gellibrand.

"Consultation with the local community and individual landholders was very rigorous and revealed widespread support for the project. All parties now look forward to working towards a successful completion of the project," Mr Pritchard said.

As well as expertise in the design, financing and management of wind projects, Wind Hydrogen also holds international patent rights over complementary hydrogen combustion technology which it said had the potential to overcome the issue of variable output from wind farms.

The company said the technology combined electrolysis and hydrogen combustion to provide a method to store and release energy generated from wind turbines as required. When wind levels are high, excess output from the turbines is used to electrolyse water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The hydrogen can then be liquefied or stored under pressure indefinitely. Mr Pearce said the technology would be used at wind farms at Scotland "because that is where expertise is". He said it would be "a few years" before it was implemented at Mount Gellibrand.

States cold on wind code

Weekly Times
Wednesday 20/9/2006 Page: 21

A NATIONAL code for consulting with communities on wind farms will be developed.

The move follows a roundtable of community groups, wind energy companies, local government and planners that was convened by Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell.

But the move, which would set minimum consultation standards, has been given the cold shoulder by the states, which declined to attend the roundtable and are unlikely to accept such a code.

Senator Campbell said wind farms would continue to he important in Australia's efforts to tackle climate change. 'However, we need to balance this with maintaining a strong economy and protecting environmental, cultural and landscape values." he said.

The community must he properly included in the planning process for new wind energy installations. Senator Campbell said.

The code will include consultation guidelines for wind energy developers, recognise values such as wildlife preservation, landscape and amenity, and accommodate community views on the location of wind farms.

Wind to power city buildings

Daily Telegraph
Wednesday 20/9/2006 Page: 16

MINI-wind turbines are being installed on major buildings in a city centre as part of a government's push for renewable energy. Five have been commissioned with the first already in place on top of Adelaide's State Administration Centre, which houses the office of South Australian Premier Mike Rann.

If the 12-month trial proves successful, 20 more will be approved for government buildings.

This is the first installation outside of the UK of the 2m rooftop wind turbines which can provide a cost-effective renewable energy source for homes, community and industrial buildings," Mr Rann said.

Each turbine produces 1.5kW of electricity or between a third and a hail of a household's needs. The project is part of a Government renewable energy drive that impressed former US vicepresident Al Gore.

In SA, you have probably one of the best examples of any state in the entire world where you see how leadership can make a tremendous difference in promoting renewable sources of energy," Mr Gore said.

Climate shift to wind energy

Adelaide Advertiser
Wednesday 20/9/2006, Page: 40

WIND energy has become a key target for large investors because climate change has become a major factor in business planning, an international wind conference has heard.

Global Windpower, which is being held in Adelaide this week, was told yesterday banks and superannuation funds were leading the charge to invest while the global market was hot. Australian Wind Energy Association chief executive Dominique La Fontaine said as awareness of climate change grows, the business community was looking for investments which promise an advantage in a "carbon constrained" economy.

"The world is embracing wind energy because it is clean, efficient, safe and cost-effective," she said. "Last year alone, over $18 billion was invested in new wind energy production."

Industry Funds Management chairman Garry Weaven said the organisation invested in Pacific Hydro because of wind energy's global, rather than local, potential. "A lot of opportunities are arising from the need to reverse carbon emissions and tackle the world's climate change," he said.

Big Shot

Wednesday 20/9/2006, Page: 38

RENEWABLE energy producer Pacific Hydro, owned by pension funds manager Industry Funds Management, aims to double in size in the next five years. IFM chairman Garrv Weaven, pictured, said Pacific Hydro would invest $250 million a year "for the foreseeable future" in wind and hydropower projects, mostly outside Australia.

IFM bought Pacific Hydro in July last year for $788 million, after outbidding Spain's Acciona SA.

Pacific Hydro is building hydro-power plants in Chile, has formed a wind venture in North America with Western Wind Energy, and is studying wind investments in Brazil. "We're committed as an organisation to continuing our investments," Mr Weaven said at the Global Windpower 2006 conference in Adelaide yesterday.

But the company had a further $1 billion in potential wind project investments in Australia that remained stalled in the absence of federal Government measures to support the industry, Mr Weaven said.

China and India are accelerating development of wind power, luring companies including turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems A/S, as restrictions hamper wind farm construction in traditional markets, including Australia.

Achim Hoehne, a manager at engineering company Parsons Brinckerhoff, said the biggest markets in the next decade would probably be India and China. "Australia had a good market until about a year ago. Since then companies are looking for other opportunities," he said.

A venture partly owned by Hong Kong's CLP Holdings this year scrapped more than $400 million of projects in Australia, where government renewable-energy quotas have almost been met, in favour of China and India. Vestas Wind, the world's biggest wind turbine maker, and India's Suzlon Energy, Asia's largest, are also expanding in China.

"I would say the Australian market has seen a collapse, while there's a very significant outlook in China and other countries, but China in particular," said Mark Kelleher, managing director of Roaring 40s Renewable Energy, CLP's sustainable energy venture with Hydro Tasmania in Australia.

Help for parrot in new wind bid

Wednesday 20/9/2006 Page: 6

DEVELOPER wind power is offering to contribute almost $1 million to help save the orange-bellied parrot from extinction in its latest bid to build a 52-turbine wind farm in South Gippsland.

Federal Environment Minister Tan Campbell announced yesterday that he would consider a new proposal for the $220 million wind farm at Bald Hills. He banned the project in April, citing evidence that one orange-bellied parrot a year could be killed if 23 wind farms went ahead in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

wind power director Andrew Newbold said the company had offered to contribute $750,000 to the "orange-bellied parrot conservation and recovery activities" and $625,000 to a fund to be used for any project considered important by locals.

Mr Newbold said the submission argued that Senator Campbell had considered the cumulative effect on the parrot of 23 wind farms - 14 of which had not even been built - when he was legally obliged to consider only the impact of the Bald Hills proposal.

Senator Campbell agreed to reconsider the wind farm proposal after wind power dropped a Federal Court appeal. His about-turn came after it was revealed the minister took 450 days to veto the first wind farm proposal and ignored advice from one of his top bureaucrats that there did not appear to be evidence the parrot would be endangered by the Bald Hills project.

When asked if he was hopeful that he would finally get his project approved, Mr Newbold said: "To the extent that I believe we are a properly run democratic society, I am optimistic. If that's not the case, clearly we'll get knocked off."

Senator Campbell said the public had 21 days from today to comment. But the State Government said the project had already been through an exhaustive and independent public consultation process.

"This has been a debacle from the moment Ian Campbell laid eyes on it," said Planning Minister Rob Hulls. "Senator Campbell should just approve this wind farm and stop playing his pathetic, childish political games that are putting renewable energy investment at risk."

Senator Campbell in turn accused Victoria of "breathtaking hypocrisy", claiming that the State Government had "choked off the approvals process for a similar facility just down the road".

SA wind power potential

Adelaide Advertiser
Wednesday 20/9/2006, Page: 32

SOUTH Australia has the potential to generate enough electricity through wind power to supply the state as well as Victoria and NSW, an international expert has claimed.

Greenpeace renewable energy campaign director Sven Teske said SA's wind resource is "huge" and is up to 30 per cent greater than what is achievable in northern Europe.

"In theory, SA could provide quite a lot of the country's electricity because its wind resource is quite good," Mr Teske said.

He is one of four speakers at a public forum to be held tomorrow night, which will discuss if SA can retain its lead on renewable energy. It will be held at the Napier Building, University of Adelaide, from 7pm.

Wind energy project cost blow-out is predicted

Portland Observer
Friday 15/9/2006, Page: 3

Pacific Hydro is facing a possible cost blow-out on its Portland Wind Energy Project but is unlikely to know how much until all the accounts come in.

Company community relations manager Emily Wood said in Portland this week that costs had risen over the past few years and it was now likely the project would cost $300 million-plus rather than $270 million.

In further developments, Ms Wood said the information sessions held at Cape Bridgewater this week had provided residents with an opportunity to see maps of the powerline route, where the turbines would be and to ask any questions.

"It is true to say the powerline route has changed since it was first put at the panel hearings," she said. "However, that is as a result of the negotiations, discussions and consultations we have had with more than 100 property owners along the route.

"One of the things people don't understand is that under the Gleneig Planning Scheme we don't have to consult with people on these powerlines - they are deemed to be a minor installation.

"If this was Powercor, property owners would receive a notice in their mailbox saying this is what will happen - end of story. "We have bent over backwards in our attempts to consult with people and meet their needs wherever possible, we are still telling people that if they have any concerns to contact us."

She took aim at one of the major protagonists in the powerline route issue Power Line Action Group chairman John Edgar. "We have consulted with John on the powerline issue, we have urged him to work out a solution with his neighbours but he refuses to be part of it,' she said.

"The suggestion we put the powerlines underground is not going to happen, it is an extremely costly and expensive exercise and there are also downsides for property owners if we do go underground because then their land use is extremely restricted in terms of what they can and can't do."

Ms Wood said on Tuesday afternoon that an estimated 20 residents had turned up at the first information session on Monday. Further sessions were held on Tuesday and Wednesday. "The majority of people have sought information as to where the powerline route is." she said.

She said the route would not impact on the sensitive environmental skyline at Cape Bridgewater, saying it would not be visible from the township.

• In further developments, it appears there is no guarantee Pacific Hydro will use blades manufactured by Vestas in Portland for the remaining stages of the PWEP at capes Bridgewater, Grant and Nelson.

Ms Wood said Pacific Hydro would advertise for companies to tender for the project. "That is normal company practice," she said. The company has also submitted an application to clear native vegetation along the powerline route to the council. The council is still processing the application before advertising it for public comment.

Shire holds own in energy stakes

Colac Herald
Friday 15/9/2006 Page: 4

Civic leaders say Colac Otway Shire can more than hold its own when it comes to renewable energy. Colac Otway Shire councillors have welcomed the State Government's approval of a $380 million wind farm at Mount Gellibrand.

The wind farm will be on 2550 hectares of rural land 15 kilometres east of Colac and generate about 232 megawatts of electricity, enough to power for 133,450 homes.

Cr Peter Mercer said Colac Otway Shire would produce more energy than it used once the wind farm was complete. "We are in fact providing far in excess of what we need," Cr Mercer said. "We should be proud of that,' he said.

Cr Brian Crook said the wind farm was a significant development. He said he believed the shire could withstand the visual impact of a wind farm to have the environmental benefits of wind power.

"I certainly hope that it's the start of a lot of research and investment in alternative sources of power." Cr Crook said renewable energy was a better option than nuclear power. Councillors expressed concerns they had no say in the wind farm's approval.

Victorian Planning Minister Rob Hulls has taken the power to approve or reject large wind farms in Victoria. Local governments only have control over small wind farms. Cr Mercer said Mr Hulls approved the wind farm and the council had no power over the development.

He said he was concerned the council would still have to act as a responsible authority and oversee the removal of native vegetation from the wind farm site. The planning permit for the wind farm reveals construction crews may only access the wind farm site from Moolenc Road. The developers must also pay to maintain Mooleric Road.

The permit says the developers must provide a place along the Princes Highway for tourists to view the wind farm. The viewing area must have car parks, signs and interpretive signs.

Lights on turbines will warn aircraft of the dangers of flying in the area.

Small start to rooftop wind power

Adelaide Advertiser
Tuesday 19/9/2006, Page: 4

Mr Rann unveils the turbinesWIND turbines are being installed on prominent city buildings to help meet renewable energy targets.

One has been installed on the Victoria Square State Administration Centre and another is planned for nearby Wakefield House. Others will be installed at the Adelaide TAFE in Light Square and on the Central Market in Grote St.

Premier Mike Rann said the turbines were part of a year-long trial and, if successful, another 20 would be approved for Government buildings. The turbines cost $13,000, each and produce 1.5kW of power about 3350 per cent of a household's electricity needs.

Mr Rann will unveil the turbine plan today at the 2006 Global wind power conference in Adelaide. "This is the first installation outside of the United Kingdom of the twometre rooftop wind turbines," he said.

Mr Rann said the turbines would be monitored over the next 12 months to determine power output in local weather conditions and on different buildings. "Our target is to have 20 per cent of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2014," he said.

Renewable Energy Generators of Australia chief executive Susan Jeanes said the Government should be developing policies to match its rhetoric. "They have to come up with economic incentives to get to that target," she said.

Wednesday 20 September 2006

Exhibition: Earth From Above

A not-to-be-missed exhibition...

From the Air to the Earth, River Terrace near Federation Square

Earth from Above: an aerial portrait of our planet towards sustainable development is a free open air exhibition which captures the beauty of the earth with 120 stunning large-scale photographs featuring landscapes and people from an aerial perspective. The breathtaking images (1.8m x 1.2m) are taken by celebrated award-winning French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, who undertook the ambitious project to visually record the state of the planet at the start of the new millennium. The exhibition is located along the River Terrace at Federation Square, which will been transformed into a buzzing outdoor gallery, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for three months from 14 September.

Image used at the top of this newsletter is the "Heart in Voh, New Caledonia (French Overseas Territory)(20°57'S, 164°41'E)".

Venue: River Terrace
Date: From Thursday 14th September until 12th December
Time: Daily
Ticketing: FREE

Monday 18 September 2006

Heard it on the grape vine

Yarram Standard News
Wednesday 13/9/2006 Page: 2


IT has to be said sometimes it feels there is a secret society when it comes to the proposed Devon North wind farm issue.

As with any issue the local community is faced with, the Yarram Standard News has endeavoured to give a voice to all parties involved.

On one side you have the Devon North concerned residents opposed to the wind industry actively keeping the Standard informed.

On the other side the developer and property owner who has agreed to the wind farm and has been less than willing to talk to the Standard.

In fact the Yarram Standard News has tried to give the other side of the story and the positive benefits to the community of a wind farm on numerous occasions but have come up against a brick wall.

It has to be said not only does the wind company involved not want to speak to the Standard News it has accused us of being biased and unethical and took its case to the Australian Press Council. Surprise, surprise the council found the Standard News had not done anything wrong and the case was dismissed.

The Devon North concerned residents opposed to the wind industry have been actively keeping their local newspaper informed with the latest developments, their concerns, worries and heart wrenching personal tales and meetings.

The residents fighting this Devon North wind farm have been open and honest. You have to think to yourself who wouldn't be worried when faced with the very real tear these gigantic wind industry towers could well be erected and threaten your livelihood, health and ability to even on sell your property.

Premier Bracks himself said he is all for wind farms but not in Williamstown. So the Premier doesn't want the turbines in his backyard but it is alright to stick them in the picturesque countryside at Devon North or for that matter it seems anywhere in Gippsland.

Residents are concerned that their piece of paradise may well be destroyed and are looking for some indication from their Wellington Shire Councillors.

On Monday the
Wellington Shire Councillors toured the Toora wind farm along with a couple of South Gippsland Shire councillors. After lunching at the Yarram Country Club the Wellington Shire Councillors and shire officers headed off on their mini bus to view the site of the proposed Devon North wind farm.

The Yarram Standard News found out about the tour on the grape vine and checked this information out with shire CEO Mark Vitlin. After discussion with councillors Mr Vitlin said it would be alright if the Yarram Standard News attend.

Mr Vitlin made it quite clear that none of the councillors would be commenting to the press but photos would be permitted. He said this was just a fact finding tour for councillors.

The Yarram Standard News covered the Toora visit but was totally left like a shag on a rock when it came to a tour of the Devon North proposed wind farm site.

The Standard discovered the Shire mini bus on 1-lelleren's property but the councillors had all zoomed off in tour wheel drives to inspect the site even though they knew the Yarram Standard News was more than willing to cover this event.

What is going on, the press is left high and dry, even one of the councillors running a little late Cr Darren McCubbin was left behind and had to physically hike up the hills in search of the council party. The Shire did come to the party and assist the Standard with a selection of their photos for which we are most grateful.

Just consider this for a moment the concerned residents are left out of the local wind farm tour, not even informed councillors would be coming to town and the pro wind farm camp is not willing to talk to the press.

It does seem like there is no community consultation at all. All we can now hope for is the National Wind Farm Code being established and the concerned Devon North residents may be heard around the hills yelling, 'BRING IT ON".

Devon North concerned residents and the Yarram Standard News look forward to the Wellington Shire Council showing its hand and letting the local community know exactly where it stands. It is expected some announcement will be made soon.

Wind farm plan going to shire

Colac Herald
Wednesday 13/9/2006 Page: 8

Developers of a proposed wind farm near Port Campbell hope to lodge a planning application with Corangamite Shire Council next month.

Project Manager Julien Gaschignard said Acciona Energy was finalising studies into a proposed 15-turbine wind farm at Newfield but hoped to lodge an application in October.

"We are still finalising some specialist studies, like a flora and fauna spring survey," Mr Gaschignard said. "There are a few steps that we have to go through before we can lodge the application."

Mr Gaschignard said Acciona Energy would also submit a notification to Planning Minister Rob Hulls this week to decide if an Environment Effects Statement was necessary

Mr Gasehignard said the company would have to prepare a more comprehensive planning application if Mr Hulls requested an EES.

"After that I will be meeting local landowners that have requested a visit at the open day," he said.

Wild weather patterns pose major challenges and risks for industry

Saturday 16/9/2006 Page: 1

As evidence of climate change mounts, wild weather patterns pose major challenges and risks for industry

BEFORE hurricane Rita hit the southern US state of Louisiana last September, adding to the devastation from hurricane Katrina, Rita had crushed Chevron's Typhoon oil platform.

The rig, a few hundred kilometres off the coast in the Gulf of Mexico, was designed to withstand major hurricanes. But hitting the platform head on at category four fury, Rita ripped the asset apart.

As BHP says, there is no incontrovertible proof that this individual storm was a direct result of global warming.

However, a spokeswoman said the storm did "serve to raise awareness within BHP Billiton of weather issues". With a half-stake in Typhoon, the company suffered an insured loss of $63 million.

Just as with many other Australian companies and industries, for BHP, climate change is now considered yet another business risk, albeit a more fraught one than fluctuations in exchange rates.

Australia's largest company now says, when asked about the physical risks of global warming, that "its assets may be affected by the following phenomena: increased maximum and minimum temperatures, rising sea levels, changed rainfall intensity, increased intensity of tropical storms and cyclones, increased drought, decreased water availability and increased costs of water, increased occurrence of flooding, increased spread of disease including malaria.

"Our petroleum assets are particularly concerned about the increased frequency and severity of storm activity."

But BHP also predicts potential benefits for itself, in particular a growing appetite for low-carbon-emitting resources such as gas and uranium, but extra costs for other assets with increased carbon regulation.

These statements make up part of BHP's response to the Carbon Disclosure Project: an annual survey of 500 of the world's largest public companies detailing how they are managing emissions and approaching climate change. It will inform institutional investors wanting to know how they are responding to these risks.

On Monday in New York, former US vice-president Al Gore will release the findings of this year's Carbon Disclosure Project. This comes after his visit to Australia this week to launch his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which again stirred the doomsayers and naysayers.

But the audience for the CDP is more targeted than for Gore's documentary. CDP, set up in Britain six years ago, represents 211 institutional investors with more than $U531 trillion ($A41.1 trillion) in assets almost 50 times Australia's annual gross domestic product.

A more detailed local version, surveying Australia's 100 largest listed companies and New Zealand's top 50, will be released in mid-October.

Behind the public debate, major businesses are quietly contemplating the costs and opportunities of carbon trading. Others are examining the direct impact of changing weather patterns on their businesses. Some are waiting for greater scientific certainty before they take significant action.

Precautionary action on greenhouse gases is taking place even without a national carbon trading system, although many businesses privately believe some sort of national carbon trade is inevitable.

Meanwhile, a patchwork of state systems may spring up to fill the vacuum. NSW has introduced the first state-based scheme, and other states are considering their options.

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) welcomes such precautionary action.

Policy director Maria Tarrant notes that while the BCA did not take a formal position on the Kyoto Protocol - which mandates carbon cuts business, governments and the community are acting to reduce carbon emissions. Still, she warns that potentially conflicting state systems might add to the risks of energy infrastructure investment.

The council argues it is essential for Australia to take a lead in seeking technological solutions to reducing carbon emissions in partnership with other emitting countries including China, India and the US.

"Yale economist Professor Robert Mendelsohn, as part of a study that assessed the potential economic impacts worldwide, has forecast that a global warming of 2.5 degrees by 2100 would wipe several per cent from Australian GDP. The same study found a small net benefit for the US, where an improvement in agriculture would outweigh harm to other sectors.

"Australia is a large enough country that you will see different things happening in different places," Mendelsohn told The Age. "The northern half of your country will suffer (economic) impacts similar to other tropical countries (damages) whereas the south will probably experience effects more similar to other industrialised temperate countries (very little net impact)."

While Mendelsohn's studies are long-term, the life of a company's assets, its sector and its ability to respond quickly to developments will determine their immediate responses.

Foster's, with its huge climate-sensitive wine business, sees no immediate threat. Hydro Tasmania, with its longlived dams, sees it as a high risk, as does the insurance industry. Australia's highpolluting aluminium business has spent 10 years reducing its emission intensity, and is now joining attempts to introduce cleaner technologies offshore.

In agribusiness, Don MacKay considers himself more an agnostic than a climate sceptic.

As boss of the country's oldest and largest cattle producer, the Australian Agricultural Company, he wants greater scientific certainty around the scale and immediacy of any change before it substantially affects business directions.

"People point to extreme weather events as proof of change," he says. "You hear regularly that this is the driest weather event since 'x'. All that means is there was an event that was drier.

"So while at times I've called myself sceptical, I do think there is indisputable evidence that there are things happening, but I think exactly what that means is completely unknown.

"In some respects it influenced our thinking already. In virtually all cases, the expectation of increasing rainfall in the north and decreasing rainfall in the south seems to be the broad consensus. With that in mind, we have invested and continue to invest in the far north."

But Mr MacKay concedes that AAco has been working on ways to reduce one of the main greenhouse gases emitted in Australia methane from belching (no, not flatulent) cattle, through dietary modifications.

Hydro Tasmania has taken the opposite approach. Climate change was identified as a "high risk" in 2001, prompting the state-owned generation business to commission CSIRO research on its local effects from 2005-2040.

The research underpins Hydro's direction and its $3 billion-worth of dams, hydro-electric generators and wind turbines.

"Hydro Tasmania has completed this work on climate change as we believe it may pose a considerable threat to its fuel source water," says Michael Connarty, manager, energy and market analysis.

"Over the years (we have) seen the changes in places such as southwest Western Australia, where since 1975 the inflow has reduced by over 50 per cent. A similar reduction in in-flows into our storages would result in significant pressure on electricity supply in Tasmania and viability of Hydro Tasmania."

For the aluminium industry, it is not so much rain and drought that affect business; rather, carbon emissions and carbon trading can.

An AMP report in 2004 warned that without offsets, emissions trading schemes could undermine the sector's profitability significantly.

"The magnitude of the increase in smelter cash costs that may arise from the introduction of an Australian ETS casts further doubt over the potential returns of new Australian smelters," the report said.

But Aluminium Council of Australia executive director Ron Knapp says NSW has already proposed a permit allocation to producers to offset additional costs.

Meanwhile, the industry had already taken big steps to reduce emission intensity and was keen to help other countries introduce cleaner techniques.

"We want to work in a global context for clean development and climate, and progress further to reducing our direct emissions," Knapp says.

With the roll-out of new technologies at Australia's six smelters, carbon intensity has been cut 48 per cent in aluminium production and 20 per cent in alumina since 1990.

"If we could replicate the Australian numbers, if we could get global numbers down. there would be a significant further reduction, hence our interest in pursuing that in co-operation with our Chinese colleagues," Knapp says.

And despite the industry's high-polluting nature, the need for more energy efficiency is actually driving demand for the material as higher energy costs increase the pressure for lighterweight cars, trucks and buses. But these aren't the only sectors contemplating greener ways of business.

In beverages, Melbourne brewing giant Foster's has also been considering the issue, but believes none of its operations is located where extreme weather events are common or likely to become so.

As a relatively energy efficient business, it is less vulnerable to carbon costs. But Foster's is involved with the wine industry's studies into the extent of possible changes, and to develop any mitigation strategies in response.

As with MacKay, Foster's believes there is as yet not enough information to quantify the potential impact of challenges to climate change. But still, senior executives are analysing its implications.

Across town at BHP headquarters, the still-recent memory of hurricane Rita has prompted more immediate action.

At its $US1. 1 billion Atlantis petroleum development being built in the Gulf of Mexico,"tension leg" platforms are being designed to withstand the 300 kmh-plus blows of a category 5 hurricane.

Change is in the wind

Sunday Tasmanian
Sunday 17/9/2006, Page: 8

THE Al Gore spin machine cut a swath through Australian media last week, darkening our futures with visions of a planet sinking beneath the oceans. It also promoted his movie and book, An Inconvenient Truth.

This column dare not take on the Al Gore machine on climate change, suffice to say it is a complex science.

There is, however, one message investors can ponder: there is a shift occurring in the business world. It may be a great contributor to greenhouse gases through emissions (coal-fired rower stations and energy-guzzling trucks) but big business is also going to deliver the goods in terms of sustainable energy.

The reason is simple: it is going to be good business to be doing well for the planet. And there are plenty of opportunities for sustainableplanet investors to do well in the process. It seems energy consumption is the big culprit on the climate change front. It is also the big opportunity on the investor front.

Energy businesses, be they coal-fired rower stations, natural gas producers or giant oil companies such as Shell and Exxon, loom large on the stock market indices. It therefore makes perfect sense that renewable energy should also be in the sight of these large multi-nationals as well as investors.

It is among the major traditional energy companies that we are seeing initiatives in renewable (sustainable) energy. Investments in renewable energy hit a record $2 billion in Australia alone last year.

And why wouldn't it? Renewable energy is obtained from sources that are essentially inexhaustible, unlike fossil fuels, of which there is a finite supply. Renewable sources of energy include wood, waste, geothermal, wind, hotovoltaic and solar thermal energy.

The response to An Inconvenient Truth is a clean technology era which we are entering.

Some are comparing this opportunity as potentially as significant in scale as the rise of the telecommunications industry in the early 1980s. In stock market terms we used to refer to such changes as tsunami trends, offering the chance to invest in busin that are at the leading edge of powerful change.

The fear among investors is that Sustainable Investing will not deliver superior returns. A number of recent studies, however, claim corporate environmental performance correlates positively with investment return. Why might this be? It appears that strong environmental performance
  • Is generally indicative of good management.
  • Helps companies take advantage of new trends.
  • Mitigates regulatory and legal risks.
  • Reduces costs by reducing waste.
  • Builds brand loyalty.
  • Boosts employee enthusiasm and retention.
  • Aids in siting of company facilities.
Put simply, companies that outperform on the environment, outperform financially. Strong environmental performance equates to better management overall, which translates into stronger earnings and greater shareholder value.

This defies conventional wisdom, which used to doubt the ability of Sustainable Investing to generate superior returns. The old argument was that if you threw out environmental polluters like coal producers or smelters, you were throwing out highly profitable investment opportunities.

Yes, sustainability criteria can limit your choices. But if it guides you toward superior companies or sectors, then you are more likely to outperform than you would be without it. Investors can adopt a more progressive attitude and take the view that in any industry there will be some who do the right thing. So, those who don't want to exclude any sectors (such as oil, coal, metal recyclers) can use the "best in class" approach.

This has been adopted by a number of Sustainable Investing fund managers who, for example, regularly drop Exxon from their portfolios but include BP because of its excellent reputation in environmental performance.

It may be preferable to use fund managers who are set u to do the research in this area of investing. This could lead to higher than average fees, but you will have the satisfaction of making investments to help the planet.

Delay fatal as world heats up

The region differs but we're on the same planet... except for the NIMBY's

Toronto Star
Sep. 16, 2006

As a city, a province and a nation, we must address global warming. Or face the consequences.

Reasons for inaction on global warming and climate change include indifference, fear, other competing interests, giving up without trying and lack of knowledge. What is clear, from all the evidence, is that the issues involved are no longer "uncertain."

Surveys show that 90 per cent of Canadians believe that climate change is "very serious" or "somewhat serious" and 72 per cent of Canadians believe global warming will have become the greatest crisis facing mankind by the year 2020.

When we don't mitigate environmental ills, then our health, our society and our economy suffer. Smog is one of the results of burning fossil fuels, and a major contributor to global warming. In 2005, the Ontario Medical Association quantified some of the economic impacts of smog, namely health-care costs, lost productivity, pain and suffering, and loss of life. These will amount to $12.9 billion in Ontario in 2026, with an estimated 38.5 million minor illnesses suffered due to smog, about 88,000 emergency visits and more than 10,000 premature deaths.

There are cascading effects. For example, with almost $719 million in health-care costs due to smog in 2026, would the province forego other necessities within its purview? These economic impacts are only the tip of the iceberg of the costs of global warming. There are billions in insurance payouts, uninsured losses, increased business risk and other costs resulting from severe weather events, milder winters, drought and intense precipitation contributing to higher incidence of disease and human, agricultural, forestry, real estate and industry losses; rising sea levels; lower Great Lake levels, and greater pollution from algae and floods.

Climate change also costs taxpayers and our economy due to missed opportunities, for acting on climate change means we not only mitigate our losses but we can add value as well.

For instance, while Canadian buildings are responsible for 38 per cent of Canada's total secondary energy use and 30 per cent of our nation's greenhouse gas emissions, greening buildings does more than diminish energy use and curb emissions. Green buildings are good for business by mitigating operating costs and enhancing productivity and asset value — according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors' Green Value study. Owners and occupants of non-green buildings forego these opportunities.

Addressing climate change and its risk/return impacts are increasingly urgent issues for money managers. Mercer Investment Consulting stated in a 2005 study that pension fund trustees have a "fiduciary responsibility to address climate change in managing risk and maximizing return across plan investments."

Mercer continued: "As climate change has broad potential to impact company performance (and even economies as a whole), it can clearly be defined as a financial concern. Ergo, fiduciaries' active management of climate change risks would be in the interests of all beneficiaries. Such active management, rather than hurting scheme performance, could potentially safeguard the underlying value of its assets and possibly even add value." The biggest managers of taxpayers' money are governments.

The city is forming a made-in-Toronto green development standard for city-owned and affiliated buildings that will be voluntary in the first year for the private sector. Dave Martin, energy co-ordinator for Greenpeace Canada, notes that currently there is no cogent climate change program in Ontario.

The province backed off the phasing out of coal-fired generating stations, and the $40 billion targeted to be spent on nuclear will not be able to be spent on renewables. Keeping coal and nuclear plants going versus shutting them down and shifting supply to a decentralized renewable energy system is a major issue in climate change. Canada's second-biggest point source of carbon dioxide emissions is the Nanticoke coal-fired power plant.
Europe, by contrast, is encouraging development of large amounts of renewable energy (wind, solar and co-generation), and is phasing out nuclear and coal plants to a great extent.

Germany, Scandinavia and Spain are world leaders in wind production. Germany, Sweden and Spain have stated they will never build nuclear plants. Italy and Austria shut theirs down. According to Martin, our electricity system could incorporate more than 5,000 megawatts of wind energy, 20 per cent of total capacity. We now have only 100 megawatts. Quebec is building 4,000 megawatts over the next decade. Global wind generation capacity in 2004 was 48,000 megawatts, with 80 per cent of that in Europe.

Inaction on global warming and climate change will affect our entire planet. Yet we are falling behind as a nation. We have the technologies, we have an environmental and societal urgency and an economic rationale. We just don't have the action. Having turned away from the Kyoto accord, Canada's minority Conservative government soon will release its "Green Plan II."

As Rolf Tolle, director of franchise performance for insurer Lloyd's, says: "Climate change is today's problem, not tomorrow's. If we don't take action now to understand the changing nature of our planet and its impact, we will face extinction."

Increased research spending is the key for Europe

EU Energy Policy: Keeping ahead
Mon, Sep 18, 2006

Increased research spending will be key if Europe is stay a global leader on renewable energy technologies.

Energy policy has never been as high on the European agenda as it is today - and deservedly so. Europe is confronted with enormous challenges regarding the future energy supply and the protection of climate and environment.

But tackling climate change and the dependency on finite fossil energy sources also opens up a huge opportunity for Europe. The necessity to change the current energy production is not a burden but a chance.

If we use solar, wind, biomass, hydro or geothermal energy and more energy efficiency technologies we will not only have the possibility to fulfil the commitments we made in Kyoto.

We will also strengthen a booming, future-oriented branch of industry which has already created around 300,000 jobs in Europe and lists an annual turnover of more than €15bn.

Europe’s leadership in research, technology and implementation in the field of renewable energies contributes to fulfilling the Lisbon Strategy, which aims at turning Europe into the world’s most competitive and dynamic economic area.

The development of wind energy is a special European success story. wind power capacity in the EU has increased also in 2005 - after already enormous booming years - by about 18 per cent to a total of more than 40 giga watts.

Europe is number one in wind energy technologies and the biggest wind energy technology companies are European ones. Research and innovation has reached a price decrease of 50 per cent over the last 15 years.

And Denmark for example, where the share of wind energy is over 20 per cent, shows also that security of supply with wind energy can be achieved. But, without any doubts, to reach a higher share of renewables in every member state a lot of further action is needed.

Still many barriers to renewable energy development exist in most EU countries. And all these barriers are not due to a lack of potential or an upper limit for renewable penetration in to the existing grid.

These barriers are political rather than technical or economical issues. The implementation of the “directive on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources” in the member states is unfortunately still beyond expectations.

In many countries the development of renewables is only slow growing because of non-favourable support systems for renewable energies over the last years, administrative barriers and grid access problems. Also a level playing field in the overall internal electricity market is far from being a reality.

As a central part of a sustainable energy policy, the EU and its member states must show the political courage and determination in order to send a strong political signal regarding its long-term commitment towards an environmental friendly and increasingly energy-independent society.

The setting of a new ambitious target for 2020 was called for by MEPs last year, now governments and the European commission should agree on an EU-wide mandatory target for renewable energy of up to 25 per cent by 2020 and a long term perspective for 2050.

However, setting targets will not be enough. As part of the comprehensive EU renewable energy strategy, further measures in all sectors involved, electricity, fuels and heating and cooling are necessary.

While we have generally made significant improvements to the expansion and technical development in the electricity sector, the share of renewables in the heating and cooling sector however has been largely stagnant.

Europe needs a new dynamic and a stronger market penetration in the heating and cooling sector, also to reach its 12 per cent renewable energy target by 2010. To tap the full potential of renewable energy for heating and cooling a corresponding directive to boost market penetration is urgently needed.

After the European parliament asked the commission to come forward with such a directive with an own initiative report, Andris Piebalgs announced action at the end of this year.

I expect from this directive that it will stimulate the growth rates for the heating technologies in a similar way as the RES electricity directive did.

Further significant stimulation has to come also from research and technology developments, which will always be very important as technology is the key for the penetration of renewables.

Especially for renewable cooling, a lot of research is still urgently needed, bearing in mind that in a number of countries peak electricity consumption no longer occurs in winter, but in summer.

In June, MEPs voted to dedicate two thirds of the non-nuclear energy research budget to renewable energy and energy efficiency, under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7).
With this amendment on the energy budget of the FP7, the European parliament took the opportunity to decide on the general direction that energy research policy should take until 2013.

Taking this clear position on research policy now could shape the energy landscape for many years. Two thirds is only a tiny step to reverse decades of unbalanced focus on fossil and nuclear energy research, bearing in mind that more than 60 per cent will still go to nuclear energy.

The decision would open up great opportunities for Europe’s new and innovative high-tech industry and contributes to guarantee and support Europe’s competitiveness on global markets.

Europe is still the frontrunner for renewable energy, however it needs an ambitious policy, effective support systems and intensive research to keep this pole position.

Essar forays into wind power

Sourced From: Essar
Sunday, 17 September 2006

Essar Global's Power business today signed a Licensing Agreement with REpower Systems AG for the design and manufacture of 1.5 MW (and 2 MW) Wind Turbines in India and marketing in South East Asia. The two corporations have agreed to set up a joint venture in the near future which will allow access to 3MW and 5 MW turbines as well other future developments and wider market reach.

Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Anshuman Ruia Director, Essar Power said,"We are happy to be associated with REpower for our foray into the wind energy business. We are confident that this is the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial relationship. The agreement comes at a time when there is a huge demand for power in India and it also fits in perfectly with our strategy of diversifying into renewable energy sources."

This wind turbine technology is widely accepted for usage in Europe for the generation of power. REpower's 1.5 megawatt turbine installations in Germany operate with an average availability of approx. 99%. This technology is ideally suited for Indian wind conditions.

Essar proposes to set up the manufacturing plant in a port based location which the Group hopes to finalize soon. The initial investment required to set up the plant is in the region of Rs. 50 crore and this will be financed through internal resources. Essar expects to start commercial production by the middle of next year.

India with approx. 5300 megawatts of installed wind power capacity (as on March 2006) will see additional capacity of 1700 MW - 1800MW in the current financial year. The Indian market for wind energy is the largest in Asia and the fourth largest on a global scale. India has wind resources to harvest around 45000 MW of power.