Friday 8 December 2006

The 50/50 by 2020 campaign is progressing well.

News Weekly
Wednesday 6/12/2006 Page: 16

The targets are for a 50 per cent reduction in the consumption of energy, and a 50 per cent production from renewable energy resources by the year 2020. Those targets have been adopted by the communities of the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla.

Currently working groups in both shires are looking at how those targets will be met. his is an exciting time for the South Coast of NSW. We can make a big difference to our CO2 emissions, and show others how it can be done.

At the moment, governments on all sides of politics are realising that they have to do something about Australia's reliance on coal. Some interest groups and industry lobbyists are promoting the role that nuclear energy could have in our energy future. They have the support of some political leaders and publicists.

However nuclear energy is definitely not clean and it is not renewable, so it does not even make the list of possible clean energy sources. Despite this fact it seems that this is a debate that we must have.

We look forward to a similar high profile debate about the role of clean, renewable energy. In fact, our main purpose is to make sure that this clean energy debate happens, so that voters can be fully informed at election time.

Decisions on how we can reach clean energy targets are much more important than a sideshow debate on nuclear power, which is already an old, lost cause.

There is a huge groundswell of support for renewable energy on the South Coast, and because we want to lead this debate, the strongest statement we can make is to show Australia that renewable energy can work.

`Clean energy for eternity' plans to kick-start the 50/50 by 2020 campaign with a highly visible project, involving our surf clubs. We want to help set up surf clubs on the South Coast to produce all their energy from renewable sources.

A pilot project has been set up for the Tathra Surf Lifesaving Club and the project aims to be up and running before the end of the year. Other surf clubs will be close behind. Renewable energy will allow surf clubs to forget about their electricity bill, enabling them to spend money on much needed equipment.

The Bega Valley Shire has been supportive, and has offered to help fund this project dollar for dollar with community donations. This is where you the reader comes in, but I will talk about this in a second.

Once the South Coast is set up, we plan to announce this project as a national initiative, and have all 304 surf clubs in Australia set up with renewable energy by the end of 2007.

2007 is the year of the lifesaver. The surf club package must include solar hot water, photovoltaic cells and a wind turbine. The wind turbine must have a tail, and that tail must be painted in surf club colours.

Our new web is

Wind of change

Blue Mountains Gazette
Wednesday 6/12/2006 Page: 1

Push to build community farm in region By Jacqul Knox

Have you ever wanted to own a 70 metre tall wind turbine? If a group of energy campaigners have their way, you might just get the opportunity. Katoomba environmentalist Ian Lett has launched the idea of a multi-million dollar community wind farm for the Blue Mountains and Lithgow.

The farm would pump renewable energy into the electricity grid while also pumping dollars into the accounts of local shareholders. The proposal received strong support from the Blackheath environment group CAKE at a first working party meeting on Sunday.

"I think it's tapping into the fact that the bulk of the community is more interested in renewable than nuclear and they feel they have to take it into their own hands to make it happen," said Lis Bastion, instigator of CAKE.

However the catch is the turbines - often considered noisy and ugly - cannot be built near the world heritage area. Instead, they would be built near Lithgow or Oberon where wind is plentiful and blows uninterrupted by trees or housing.

Mr Lett, a former Lithgow resident, acknowledges that it may be difficult to convince those communities and intends to hold public meeting, "A community-owned wind farm is firstly about community," he said.

Corporate money and government grants would be used to build the turbines, which would be bought back by a local co-operative sharing profits from the electricity generated. Such schemes are relatively widespread in Europe.

But while the prospect of a financial return might sweeten the proposal, a similar concept in Western Australia caused bitter divisions earlier this year.

Closer to home a wind farm proposal in Black Springs, near Oberon, has also had luke-warm reception. Ian is hoping that with better planning and the experience of local councils a Blue Mountains/Lithgow community wind farm could be a model for other districts.

"It will take two or three years before there's a wind turbine producing power," he said. "What we've been doing is gathering support, looking for grants or other funding, and starting to engage the broader community. "What we need to do next is get a mandate from the community (to pursue the project)," he said.

Mt Barker windfarm now a step closer

Albany Advertiser
Thursday 7/12/2006 Page: 4

MT Barker's windfarm is one step closer to approval. The Plantagenet Shire Council has agreed to initiate an amendment to its Town Planning Scheme No.3 to allow it to go ahead.

The amendment will now be referred to the Environmental Protection Authority for clearance, and a period for public comment will follow.

The proposed windfarm will have three turbines and is set to be built just north of Mt Barker on the west side of Albany Highway. The land the windfarm will occupy will be leased from the owner, who will still be able to continue his farming practices.

Shire president Cr Kevin Forbes said the site was well elevated and had good access to southerly winds. The land is already cleared.

Nuclear wrong fork in road

Sunshine Coast Daily
Friday 8/12/2006 Page: 20

SINCE the initial flurry following the release of Ziggy Switkowski's report on nuclear power last month, the government seems to have fallen silent on the subject.

I don't think for a moment the Prime Minister's commitment to the pursuit of a nuclear future is wavering. It is much more likely that any reticence is an acknowledgment that it's going to be a tough sell in the electorate. The government quickly moved to shut down discussion about the location of nuclear reactors, claiming we should debate the wider concept before getting into the detail.

We know nuclear power plants would need to be built within 100 kilometres of major population centres and close to plentiful water supplies. Based on those criteria, sites on the coastline close to capital cities would appear to be primary targets, but at this stage we can only speculate and draw our own conclusions.

Supporters have called for a sensible, reasoned debate and the Prime Minister has said the country cannot afford to "sacrifice rational discussion on the altar of anti-nuclear theology and political opportunism".

Opponents who have scrutinised the issue beyond general impressions and memories of Chernobyl point to numerous arguments against heading down the yellow-cake road.

Al Gore and Professor Ian Lowe, for example, are both learned, intelligent men disinclined towards hysteria and deeply committed to efforts to tackle global warming yet opposed to nuclear power. During his recent visit to Australia, Mr Gore was sceptical about nuclear power making a significant contribution towards combating climate change.

Mr Gore said in addition to the problem of long-term waste storage, the danger of operator accident and the vulnerability to terrorist attack, there were still two key issues that work against it as a future option.

Firstly there's the economics. "Nuclear power plants are the costliest to build and they take the longest time and at present they come in only one size - extra large," he said.

The second was nuclear weapons proliferation. "For eight years when I was in the White House, every problem of weapons proliferation was connected to a reactor program." In a speech this year, leading environmental scientist Professor Ian Lowe set out a long list of reasons why we should look to renewable options to meet our energy needs and I will do my best to summarise some of his comments.

Firstly, nuclear power is expensive and every dollar poured into the development of a nuclear industry in Australia is a dollar that could have been invested in more economically viable alternatives.

While nuclear power proponents say it has been safely employed around the world for years, Prof Lowe points out that many of those countries are now turning their backs on nuclear energy after spending billions pursuing it. The number of reactors in Western Europe and the USA has been declining over the past 15 years while uptake of wind power and solar energy is increasing rapidly.

Prof Lowe added that climate change required an immediate response and it would be at least 15 years before the first reactor in Australia could deliver any result, while wind turbines could be delivering power within a year.

Despite arguments about nuclear power being a clean, green energy source it is not actually carbon-free. Significant amounts of fossil fuels are required to mine and process uranium ores, enrich the fuel and build nuclear power stations. In addition, high-grade uranium ores are comparatively scarce and, on the best available estimates, known reserves could only supply present demand for 40 or 50 years. Lower-grade ores are more plentiful but require much more conventional energy for extraction and processing, resulting in more greenhouse pollution.

There is the problem of storage of nuclear waste and the fact that nuclear power would potentially make the world more dangerous due to the risk of an accident and the increased risk of nuclear weapons or nuclear terrorism.

"You won't hear people worrying about terrorists getting hold of wind turbine parts, or making dirty bombs out of solar panels," Prof Lowe said.

The Prime Minister has suggested that renewable energy sources could be part of the mix but they would not meet Australia's base-load energy requirements. Prof Lowe doesn't buy it, noting that renewables already account for a quarter of the installed capacity of California, a third of Sweden's energy and three-quarters of Iceland's.

"Renewables can meet Australia's energy demands," he said. "By contrast nuclear power is expensive, slow and dangerous - and it won't stop climate change."

Parrot a late factor

Herald Sun
Friday 8/12/2006 Page: 54

A WIND farm built near a habitat of orange-bellied parrots was approved before risks were revealed, Environment Minister Ian Campbell has said. In April, Senator Campbell overturned Victorian Government approval for a 52-turbine farm at Bald Hills, Gippsland.

He used his discretionary powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Despite a departmental report indicating there would be negligible harm to the parrots, an independent Biosis report found more serious concerns about parrot deaths.

The minister blocked the $220 million project.

In a question on notice to Senator Campbell in September, Labor frontbencher Kelvin Thomson asked whether the Woolnorth and Musselroe Bay wind farms in Tasmania posed greater risks than the thwarted Bald Hills project.

The Woolnorth project is expected to have 79 turbines when completed.

Senator Campbell replied this week, stating that the Woolnorth installation and another wind farm near Portland in Victoria, which are both known parrot habitats, were early approvals under the EPBC Act and both were based on the best information available at the time.

"The Biosis report was completed in February 2006 and contained new and relevant information that I was required to take into account when considering the Bald Hills Wind Energy Installation proposal," he said.

"The Musselroe Wind Energy Installation was approved in 2005 and is not located within the known distributional range of the orange-bellied parrot." Senator Campbell denied he had vetoed a recommendation from his department that the Bald Hills project go ahead, saying that was merely one of several conclusions.

Time for holistic response on climate

Canberra Times
Friday 8/12/2006 Page: 25

THE CURRENT flurry about nuclear power in Australia misses the point.

What's really needed is a holistic approach to meeting our energy needs while also cutting greenhouse emissions. A startling aspect of the Prime Minister's draft Nuclear Taskforce report is the assumption that "Australia's demand for electricity will more than double before 2050". This doesn't have to be the case.

Our international panel of energy experts, who reviewed the draft nuclear report, told us,"The average Australian consumes about 12,000kWh per year; that is twice the EU average consumption per capita. The energy service delivered in Australia via these high consumption levels is not substantially different from the EU. If Australian citizens consumed the same amount of electricity as the Europeans, it could save half of the installed generation capacity, or 22,000 MW, rather than building new plants. Because efficiency is much cheaper than new generation, such a course would also lower Australians' electricity bills and make Australian industry more competitive in world markets." Energy efficiency is simple common sense.

Using more efficient appliances, better building codes and retro - fitting existing buildings are the great unsung hero in the climate-change debate. Even the Nuclear Taskforce report acknowledges that energy efficiency can contribute up to 50 per cent of the total CO, emissions reductions. And investing a dollar in energy-efficient appliances can save $2 or more through the whole energy system.

Unfortunately, Australia's record on improving energy efficiency has not been good compared with others. The European Union has just introduced an action plan to increase energy efficiency by 20 per cent by 2020, saving an estimated 100 billion ettros a year in energy bills and resulting in an overall decline in energy consumption.

Energy-efficiency measures will not leave the toxic legacy of radioactive waste for future generations, as does nuclear. The British Association for the Conservation of Energy says the most optimistic assumption is that one new nuclear power plant could be operating in Britain by 2020, delivering perhaps just over one million tonnes of carbon saving. In contrast, energy efficiency "could save around 25 million tonnes of carbon through cost-effective energyefficiency measures" by that date.

The other winner in the climate-change debate is renewable energy which, contrary to government claims, can deliver reliably and not just at the margins. It just requires a rethink about our energy systems, rather than a frozen-in-time approach.

Major energy economies, such as California, plan to fast-track renewables to provide 20 per cent of electricity by 2010 and 33 per cent by 2020. In parts of Germany and Denmark wind power provides 100 per cent of the region's power needs for months of the year, and excess electricity is exported to other parts of Europe.

Taking the renewable-energy route through active policy support can not only dramatically lower CO, emissions but position Australia as a leader in the rapidly growing global renewables marketplace. Solar and wind energy are the fastest-growing forms of electricity generation, with global growth rates of 40 per cent and 28 per cent a year over the past five years.

The global wind market is expected to have an annual turnover in 2006 of more than $A21.6 billion and employ more than 150,000 people. Wind is competitive with gas in some places in Australia and will become cheaper than coal in future. In an honest assessment of the true costs (decommissioning costs and waste) wind is already cheaper than nuclear power.

Australia's solar industry has been almost static since 2003. Last year Germany installed nearly 80 times as much solar power as Australia with an average of half our sunshine. Yet Australia could develop a solar market worth $5 billion by 2025, creating 44,000 jobs and cutting billions of tonnes of CO,.

If the Howard Government was serious about addressing climate change it would look at how to encourage greater energy efficiency and speed the uptake of wind, solar, geothermal and bioenergy.

Together renewable energy and energy efficiency can move its to a clean energy future - one that is not based on polluting energy such as coal and nuclear power.

Steve Shallhorn is the chief executive officer of Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Wednesday 6 December 2006

Kenya Makes Business Sense of Renewable Energy

Wanjohi Kabukuru*

NAIROBI, Dec 4 (IPS/IFEJ) - The 12th session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change came to an end in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, recently with little mention of cleaner sources of energy.

This was troubling, given the huge potential for such energy sources in Africa -- and the fact that a third of the world's population, the bulk coming from the continent, currently has no access to electricity.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, wood is amongst the main forms of energy in most rural homes in the developing world.

In Africa, renewable energy alternatives like solar, wind and geothermal resources remain largely untapped with the exception of Kenya, which obtains about 150 megawatts (MW) -- 10 percent of its energy -- from wells in the Rift Valley in East Africa. The power produced by geothermal means proved critical during the drought in 2001, when hydroelectric plants closed down for want of water.

In 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, governments turned down a proposal seeking to force countries to produce 10 percent of their energy needs from sustainable energy sources.

Geothermal energy, derived from rocks as hot as 345 degrees centigrade below the surface of the earth, is abundant in the Rift Valley: a giant fissure running 9,500 km from Lebanon to Mozambique.

"The potential of geothermal power in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia stands at 3,000, 1,000 and 250 megawatts respectively. Of these Kenya, which leads in terms of exploitation of this energy, has only managed to harness some 150 megawatts. Ethiopia has exploited two megawatts and Uganda nil," observed Stephen Karekezi, director of the African Energy Policy Research Network, a Nairobi-based think tank.

Kenya has announced plans to up the contribution of geothermal energy in its power supply to 22 percent by 2019. Other countries exploiting geothermal sources include the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Italy, Indonesia and Philippines; one of the oldest plants in the world has been in operation since 1904 in Lardarello, Italy.

David Yuko, a Kenyan renewable energy consultant, makes a strong case for geothermal power in developing countries as a far cheaper alternative to large-scale conventional energy systems that require massive investment.

"Plants can be built on a modular basis, and can be scaled up as resources become available. Most renewable energy technologies are available at modest capital costs. Geothermal power reduces the import of fossil fuels, and this alone saves foreign exchange earnings," he argues.

"It is neither susceptible to drought nor is it subject to the direct effects of the globally volatile fossil fuel prices."

Kenya launched surface geothermal exploration soon after independence from Britain in 1963. Two wells were drilled at Olkaria in Naivasha, some 100 km from Nairobi. In the 1970s, more feasibility surveys were carried out between Olkaria and Lake Bogoria, a hot water spring lake in the Rift Valley.

In 1981 Africa's first ever geothermal power plant was commissioned, providing some 15 MW to the Kenyan power grid. By 1986, geothermal energy was figuring prominently in all the country's power plans.

There are myriad uses for this clean form of energy which releases negligible quantities of carbon dioxide compared to emissions from oil fired plants. Fumes belching from geothermal power plants are mostly eco-friendly steam vapour.

At a horticultural farm in Naivasha, geothermal heat is used to control night time humidity levels so as to alleviate incidences of fungal diseases. In nearby Eburru, low temperature geothermal steam is used for drying pyrethrum flowers.

'The Price of Power', an authoritative dossier prepared by the New Economics Foundation, a think tank in the United Kingdom, takes a dim view of fossil fuel energy for Africa. It notes that a year's worth of World Bank spending on conventional power projects, if redirected to small-scale solar installations in Africa, would provide 10 million people with electricity.

Karekezi said that in Kenya, the economic benefits of renewable energy sources opened the door to environmentally-sound initiatives using these sources. "We increased the uptake of renewable energies by stressing economic benefits such as job creation, lower energy costs and import bills. People are more concerned about economic problems because of the serious levels of poverty. The environment is fairly low on the priority list of many communities and governments," he noted.

New jobs have also been created through the construction, maintenance and operation of geothermal energy sources in Kenya. According to Yuko, "Niche markets, especially for direct geothermal energy applications, have taken advantage of emerging opportunities."

(* This story is part of a series of features on sustainable development by IPS -- Inter Press Service -- and IFEJ, the International Federation of Environmental Journalists.) (END/2006)

Greenhouse cuts to hit lucrative sectors

The Australian
Matthew Warren, Environment writer

AUSTRALIA'S farm sector and multi-billion-dollar metals processing industry risk decimation if deep cuts in domestic greenhouse gas emissions are put in place by 2050. The grave warning is the result of modelling by the CSIRO and ABARE to be released this week.

Renewables rather than nuclear or clean coal are projected to be the big winners from significant emissions cuts in the future, with wind and biomass providing up to 41 per cent of power by 2050.

The modelling forecasts cuts in greenhouse emissions up to 50 per cent lower than 1990 will result in reductions to domestic output in metals processing of up to 74per cent and farm output of 44per cent by 2050.

Acknowledging the disproportionate impacts such cuts would have on regional employment, the report signals a role for government intervention to manage the transition to a low-emissions economy. The report also constructs a range of scenarios that may help drive change in Australia based on the success or failure of international agreements, environmental politics and technological developments.

While not a formal policy document, the CSIRO report singles out agriculture, aluminium, iron and steel industries as the most affected by responding to climate change, and flags the risk to Australia's balance of trade. These sectors make up only 5per cent of total domestic output but 30 per cent of the value of Australian exports.

"Some regions reliant on trade ... and carbon intensive industries may be disproportionately impacted if measures to protect those industries are not implemented," the report says.

"While these industries and regions may comprise relatively small proportions of the Australian economy, measures may need to be developed to assist them with the transition to new forms of production or to new industry." The report - The heat is on: the future of energy in Australia - by the Energy Futures Forum, will be launched tomorrow by the CSIRO after more than two years of development with input by ABARE, as well as industry and environment groups.

The risk of energy intensive industries shifting to other countries - carbon leakage - is found to be much greater if Australia attempts to impose higher emissions cuts than other nations.

The report says such leakage is plausible under these scenarios and flags exempting energy intensive and trade exposed industries from a carbon tax - an idea raised in the state-based emissions trading blueprint released in August.

Carbon capture and storage and nuclear energy may play a greater role in the future energy mix, along with solar energy and geothermal energy depending on their ability to reduce costs and, in the case of nuclear energy, manage public perceptions and regulatory risk.

Origin Energy spokesman Tony Wood said the report highlighted the importance of governments not picking specific technologies, but rather setting the right policy and price signals and letting the market deliver the most effective outcome.

"This whole debate about geosequestration and nuclear is really important to be able to make the transition over the long term," he said. "If neither of these turn out to be successful, that's a big issue for Australia. "What this work shows is that provided you start reasonably soon you can turn this ship without wrecking the economy."

The report also finds the economic cost of the impacts of climate change are likely to be higher than the cost of mitigation in all scenarios - a finding consistent with the report prepared for the British Government by former World Bank economist Nicholas Stern last month.

Combating global warming

Electrical Connection
Friday 1/12/2006 Page: 62

With fossil fuels out of favour, wind and solar power are increasing in popularity as
cleaner, greener and more efficient forms of energy, writes Joanna Gerantidis.

The new millennium has seen the emergence of solar power and wind farms as serious contenders to help address rising concerns over greenhouse gas, which is just one of the environmentally unfriendly by-products of fossil-fuelled power stations.

Unchecked, climate change represents a serious challenge to human health, economies and environments, which is why an increasing number of countries around the globe are beginning to add more low-emission and emission-free energy into the overall energy mix.

Solar panels and wind farms are providing viable solutions to these issues as well as supplying electricity to homes and offices.

In October the South Australian Government announced legislation for a new `feed in' solar rebate. This is an Australian first that will see householders who install solar power in their homes rewarded for putting surplus solar power back into the main electricity grid.

The new rebate ties in with the Federal Government's $75.3 million `Solar Cities' initiative which has been implemented by the Department of the Environment and Heritage. The primary focus of the project is to demonstrate how solar power, smart meters, energy efficiency and new approaches to electricity pricing can combine to provide a sustainable energy future in urban locations across Australia.

The first `test' city is Adelaide which, with the aid of a $15 million government grant, will work together with Origin Energy, BP Solar, Big Switch Projects, the City of Salisbury, Mawson Lakes Development and the ANZ Banking Group to assist consumers, conmiunities, businesses and governments to be proactive in energy sustainability.

A key aim of the initiative is to install solar panels in more than 1700 homes in North Adelaide, as well as 7000 smart meters to help consumers save approximately $200 a year on their electricity bills.

The solar panels will be made in Australia by BP Solar at the company's Homebush plant in Sydney. The solar photovoltaic (PV) technology will come from Origin Energy's Adelaide plant.

According to Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) director Ric Brazzale, the $15 million government grant will aid in offering consumers discounted loans when they purchase solar panels for their homes. A comprehensive package of measures will double the current capacity of solar panels in South Australia, provide energy savings of $5 million per year, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30,000 tonnes per year.

"Consider a recent study by the Queensland Government which found that for every air conditioner installed in a home the electricity industry has to spend an extra $13,000 on additional poles, wires and substations to mange the extra load. Ultimately, to meet the needs of a few it is the consumers who have to pay," he says.

Ric says that a major benefit of solar PV power is that it is generated on site, where the energy is actually needed. This means that no electricity is lost in transmission, as is the case from coal-fired power plants, which lose 30% of their electricity in transmission.

"Because solar generation is at many sites on many roofs, instead of being concentrated in one big power plant, there are fewer blackouts.

Australia's peak power needs are rising rapidly with a staggering $24 billion already comnutted to electricity infrastructure over the next five years. Yet much of this peak demand will be required for just a few hours a day on a handful of days throughout the year," says Ric.

"By utilising the sorts of technologies and designs offered by Solar Cities, newer and more efficient ways of meeting demand will be demonstrated to be more sustainable and economically efficient. This is a great boost to the solar power industry and a large proportion ofAustralian households could support solar photovoltaic systems" After being named Queensland's first Solar City, Townsville joins Adelaide as one of the first cities set to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50,000 tonnes per year.

Like Adelaide, Townsville will invest part of its $15 million government grant in the installation of solar panels in 500 homes and businesses and the rollout of 2500 smart meters and 1700 inhouse energy display meters. Townsville's project partners are Ergon Energy, Townsville City Council, HIG Riverway, Delfin Townsville and the Queensland Government.

More solar cities are slated to be announced by the Federal Government at a later date. There is also growing interest to increase the number of wind farms in Australia.

Australia has world-class wind resources, particularly in southern Australia and Tasmania, which he in the path of the Roaring Forties - the prevailing westerly winds that circle the earth's high southern latitudes.

The Australian Wind Energy Association (Auswind) says there is potential for at least an additional 5000MW of wind power - an investment of some $20 billion. In 1996, there were only 20 wind turbines operating in Australia, with a total energy generating capacity of approximately 2.7MW. Today, there are around 505 wind turbines with a total capacity of about 817MW.

Wind energy has grown at around 28% per year worldwide thanks to policies that encourage clean energy production. Auswind chief executive Dominique La Fontaine, says that compared to the US, India and China, Australia has been relatively slow to adopt wind farms. The main objection has always been that a move to this renewable source would push up energy costs, but Dominique says that this mindset is beginning to change, particularly as a number of Australian companies have emerged as wind farm project specialists in site monitoring, design, installation and operation and maintenance. These firms include Pacific Power International, Pacific Hydro,Western Power Corporation and Hydro Tasmania.

"The latest figures show that Australians recognise that tackling climate change is far more important than a few dollars extra on an electricity bill.

"Australia has plenty of investors just waiting for the right signals from Canberra to show that Australia also welcomes wind energy. Schemes like the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) have shown a potential for huge investment in wind energy and its potential to deliver clean electricity while providing a boost to regional economies," she says.

Recipe For Environmental Success
Victoria believes it has the recipe for an infinite supply of clean and affordable energy.

The Federal and State Governments have announced they will provide $125 million in grants towards a $420 million proposal by Melbourne-based company Solar Systems, to build the world's largest solar power station between Swan Hill and Mildura by 2013.

The power station will be built across a number of different sites and use highperformance solar cells originally developed to power satellites. Solar Systems technology will have the capacity to concentrate the sun by 500 times onto the solar cells for ultra-high power output.

The proposed funding will also go towards developing solar and wind technologies to create renewable energy sources. The power station will use technology known as Heliostat Concentrator Photovoltaic (HCPV) that will consist of fields of heliostats sun-tracking mirrors that focus sunlight onto receivers. The receivers will house PV modules, which consist of arrays of ultra high efficiency solar cells that convert sunlight directly into electricity.

Solar Systems' managing director Dave Holland says it's an exciting opportunity for the company, which has invested over $50 million since it began developing the technology 16 years ago.

"This plant is the first step in a strategic plan to roll out large scale solar technology across Australia and internationally. The plant will make a significant contribution towards reducing Victoria's environmental impact by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 400,000 tonnes per year.

"The project is also important for Victoria's and Australia's economy. It is expected to create approximately 950 jobs at the peak of construction and be a catalyst for a new industry that will create more than 10,000 permanent jobs," Dave says.

Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy
03 9349 3077

Australian Wind Energy Association
03 9670 2033

Legal threat in wind farm dispute

Wednesday 6/12/2006 Page: 4
Ewin Hannan

THE developer of the Victorian wind farm blocked because of a perceived threat to the orangebellied parrot has threatened fresh legal action against federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell unless he rules on the project by next week.

Wind Power Pty Ltd yesterday condemned Senator Campbell's refusal to rule on the $220 million project and warned it would take Federal Court action to compel him to make a decision. Senator Campbell said last month he would await fresh advice from his department - which has previously supported the wind farm - before announcing his decision on the green energy project.

Wind Power Pty Ltd director Andrew Newbold said company lawyers had written to the minister seeking a ruling by Friday week.

"We are trying to. .. compel him to make a decision in accordance with his (legal) obligations," he said. ' `The simple fact is this project has been delayed for an inordinate amount of time already." A spokesman for Senator Campbell said last night the company's letter was "perplexing", given that the department was yet to provide advice to the minister. "He has always said he would make a timely decision when that advice has been received."

Cool it: With a little help from non-Silicon Valley

Monday 1/1/2007 Page: 144

If you fancy walking to the North Pole, 2007 is not I going to be a very good year for it. That said, it might be your last chance. The sea-ice that tops off our planet like a gleaming case of male-pattern baldness is retreating at a rate Rogaine-users could only dream of, and is likely to go on doing so.The retreat of the sea-ice is one of the many reasons why doubts about the reality of anthropogenic climate change are in even steeper decline.

For all practical purposes 2007 will see those doubts laid to rest. Early in the year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release its fourth "Assessment Report", the third having been published in 2001. It will say that greenhouse gases are at their highest levels for at least 650,000 years, and possibly many millions of years more; that there is a high likelihood that the modest global warming of the past 50 years can be attributed to the industrial pumping out of those greenhouse gases; and that further warming is unavoidable.

The largest source of uncertainty about human effects on the climate no longer lies in science. It lies in what can be predicted about, or indeed what limits can be enforced on, the world's use of fossil fuels. In 2007 this question will sit in its rightful position at the centre of the debate.

The good news is that some industries and previously uninterested governments have already caught on to this. Environmental regulations in China are toughening up and there is hope for serious energy efficiency measures there (China's emission standards for cars and trucks are already, shamingly, more stringent than America's). Meanwhile, in America and Europe "Cleantech", including alternative energy technologies, is one of the fastest-growing categories in venture capital.

Of the new technologies seeking R&D, capital and markets, the one worth paying particular heed to in 2007 will be solar energy. Wind turbines will, from now until the end of time, be subject to only incremental improvements: they will become a bit more efficient, a hit cheaper to install, and a bit cheaper to build. Solar, on the other hand, is ripe for breakthroughs. The material which forms the basis of the vast majority of today's solar cells, silicon, is expensive and cumbersome. There is no compelling reason why new materials of a tenth or a twentieth the price of silicon could not be used-all that is needed is ingenuity, incentives private or public, and knowledge of the relevant subtleties of physics and chemistry. None of these factors is at present a limited resource; indeed they are all growing. In 2007 a Silicon Valley start-up, Nanosolar, will open the first really large non-silicon solar-cell factory. Many more will follow.

Even with sustained growth in energy efficiency and carbon-free generation, there is more warming in store. How fast we should move in cutting emissions will still be a source of vigorous debate in 2007. But the need to start will be clearer than ever.

Wind farm

Albany & Great Southern Weekender
Thursday 30/11/2006 Page: 6

A WIND farm proposed for Mount Barker has passed the first stage.

The Shire of Plantagenet agreed to initiate a town planning scheme amendment on farmland north of the town to enable a wind farm to be established.

The amendment will be referred to the Environmental Protection Authority before proceeding to a formal public comment period of 42 days.

Monday 4 December 2006

Wind Power's ahead

Ballarat Courier
Saturday 2/12/2006 Page: 30

WIND FARM company Wind Power Pty Ltd has placed an application with the Pyrenees Shire Council for its plans to build a 19-turbine wind farm at Lexton. The proposal, which the company has been looking at for some time, will provide enough power to supply about 16,000 homes.

The facility will also displace about 113,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, or greenhouse gas a year, the equivalent of taking 26,000 cars off the road. Director Andrew Newbold said Lexton was a very good location for a wind farm and the company was very excited about the project.

"The site has an excellent wind resource is located along the Ballarat-Horsham Transmission Line, which means there is good access to the grid," Mr Newbold said. He said the closest neighbouring house to the wind farm was more than a kilometre from the nearest turbine.

Mr Newbold said support from the community had been fantastic, and said the community was "fair-dinkum" about tackling issues of climate change as well as developing our sustainable future. "The community is concerned about a lack of water, salinity and climate change," he said.

"Many homes in the area have solar power and people around Lexton are aware of how important it is to manage our demand for electricity." The company is still in discussions over its plans to build a 70-turbine wind farm at Stockyard Hill near Beaufort.

The wind farm is estimated to cost more than $250 million. The Pyrenees Shire Council was not available for comment yesterday.

Spain takes some of the wind out of its clean energy sails

Monday 4/12/2006 Page: 3

Madrid: Spain is to cut subsidies to windpower plants following an overhaul of the way it calculates aid for renewable power sources, hurting earnings at utilities including lberdrola SA, the world's largest producer of wind power.

Electricity from wind will be paid between 67 ($A112) and 84 per megawatt hour starting next year, down from about 97 this year, Spain's secretary of state for energy, Ignasi Nieto, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Palma de Mallorca.

Rates will rise for solar and biomass plants as well as for co-generation sources that generate power and heat. "Wind-power subsidies were exaggeratedly high, especially since the technology has developed in the last few years and costs have fallen," Mr Nieto said.

Spanish subsidies for wind power in the past eight years have helped it become the world's second largest producer of wind power after Germany. Spain is trying to curb the emission of carbon dioxide, the gas blamed for global warming, while meeting soaring demand for electricity as its economy grows faster than the European average.

Overall, Spain will devote 1.8 billion a year until 2010 to subsidising wind power, 50 per cent more than this year. Solar power subsidies will almost double.

"The new rates will not mean less wind parks are built because they will still be making more money that they were a few years ago," Mr Nieto said. The Government plan has been sent to energy industry regulators for review.

Awards for Kings Creek

Frankston Independent
Tuesday 28/11/2006, Page: 22

Kings Creek Hotel is a winner on two counts - its drive-through bottle shop and the wind turbine that towers over the hotel in Frankston-Flinders Rd, Hastings.

Kings Creek's liquor barn was voted best hotel bottle shop and drive-through in the state at the annual Australian Hotel Association state awards at Crown Casino. Also Kings Creek was awarded for "outstanding innovation in environmentally sustainable practice" at the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Business awards.

Judges said the liquor barn showed excellence in sustainability with its wind turbine running the fridges and lighting.

The hotel association judges also took into account the Creek's gardens, convenience, staff service, competitive pricing and variety of beers, wines and spirits.

The liquor barn site was formerly occupied by an independent service station in the early 80s. It was the highest volume and first LPG site on the Mornington Peninsula, but was converted to its present use when independents were forced out of the market, said Kings Creek owner Bruce Alderson, who also operated the service station.

The hotel welcomes family visits to the turbine as the Aldersons try to increase community awareness of sustainable energy production and its beneficial effects on the fight against global warming.

Wave energy a possible option for Gracetown

Augusta Margaret River Mail
Wednesday 29/11/2006 Page: 2

ENERGY company Renewable Energy Holdings has had discussions with Landcorp and Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan with a view to deploying a wave energy system at Gracetown.

REH owns and runs windfarms in Europe, and a spokesman said the company looked forward to explaining its Western Australian developed wave energy system to local people.

Using wave energy to generate electricity and fresh water could be a reality for the town in three years. "The area is ideally suited to wave energy," he said. "REH's CETO technology is ideally suited as it produces both fresh water and electricity.

It floats below the surface, would be invisible from the shore and it will not be deployed in any surf breaks. The worst thing that could happen to it, he said, was a leak of high-pressure seawater.

In early 2005 a wave energy converter unit was launched off the company's test facility on North Mole Drive on Fremantle Harbour. The unit, called CETO after a sea goddess in Greek mythology, was sunk on demarcated seabed about 300m from the Rous Head test facility.

In May, it was announced the CETO wave energy converter had produced electrical power and desalinated water good enough to bottle. CETO was designed and developed by Western Australian company Seapower Pacific Pty Ltd, which was acquired by REH in 2005.

The CETO pipe pumps pressurised seawater ashore to drive a turbine to produce electricity or a reverse-osmosis filter to produce fresh water. Each unit can produce enough power for about 100 homes.

The commercialisation of wave energy units has occurred mostly in the United States. China, India and Japan also are investing in wave energy research and development.