Friday 5 January 2007

Oiling the wheels of renewable energy

Sydney Morning Herald
Friday 5/1/2007 Page: 6

DEMOCRATS in the US House of Representatives are working on an energy package that would roll back billions of dollars worth of oil-drilling incentives and plough the money into new tax breaks for renewable energy sources.

The move would set off a feeding frenzy among advocates of hydropower, nuclear, biofuels, geothermal and solar power, renewable energy lobbyists said on Wednesday. Solar producers, for example, are looking to expand and extend tax credits for residential solar installations for eight years, which would cost $US400 million ($506 million).

"The Democrats are appropriately shifting money from the 20th century technologies to the 21st century industries," said the president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, Rhone Resch. "If we want to see solar, wind and biofuels, we have to make that investment today." Democratic leaders said the new House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, would introduce the energy package on January 18, towards the end of a packed "first 100 hours" of legislative initiatives.

After a dozen years of Republican control, the new House leadership has prepared a "100 hours" agenda that also includes ethics rules that ban gifts from lobbyists and forbid politicians from using corporate jets. Democratic leaders were targeting a 2004 manufacturing tax cut they said gave unnecessary incentives to the oil industry, said the majority leader, Steny Hoyer.

They are also planning to force oil companies to pay royalties on deep-water Gulf of Mexico tracts leased in 1998 and 1999. The leases inadvertently failed to include provisions for royalty payments once oil prices rose above certain levels. The repeal of the tax cuts for the oil and gas industry is expected to generate nearly $US5 billion. Details of the energy package remain in flux, in part because of disagreement over how the revenue would be used.

Deciding how to distribute renewable incentives could be controversial. Some Democrats want to exclude nuclear power from the list of eligible renewables. Environmental groups were happy about the prospective legislation.

"The oil and gas bill is a clear departure from the previous Congress's infatuation with oil and gas handouts," said Erich Pica, of Friends of the Earth.

The advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists took a shot at climate change sceptics on Wednesday, in a report accusing ExxonMobil of funding a $US16 million campaign to create doubt about the scientific underpinnings of climate change theory. "ExxonMobil has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming, just as tobacco companies denied their product caused lung cancer," said Alden Meyer, the group's director of strategy and policy.

Good policy will push renewables

Friday 5/1/2007 Page: 10

Time is fast running out for Australia to move across to clean energy, argues Susan Jeanes

THIS year's release of cabinet papers shows the nuclear power industry in Australia has been opposed for more than 30 years. This opposition was also highlighted in the Newspoll released earlier this year in The Weekend Australian, which reinforced the uphill battle for any Australian government seeking to introduce nuclear power.

In the past year, the commonwealth has established a number of reviews, taskforces and inquiries into the potential of nuclear energy,"clean" coal and geosequestration, the burial of carbon dioxide. These processes all indicated that nuclear power, clean coal and geosequestration face significant challenges, including higher costs, and they won't be available in Australia for at least 15 years.

It's time to focus on the role that renewable energy should play in the quest to address these challenges. First, existing renewable energy technologies can deliver significantly increased levels of electricity to the national supply system now. Second, there is huge potential for emerging renewable energy technologies to deliver power in the medium to longer term.

The commonwealth last examined renewable energy through its review of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target scheme. This scheme delivers an incentive to the developers of renewable energy projects and infrastructure. The incentive meets the difference between the cost of electricity produced from renewable sources and electricity produced from existing coal-fired power stations with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The inquiry, chaired by former government senator Grant Tambling throughout 2003, recommended an extension of the scheme. But the commonwealth chose not to adopt this recommendation on the basis of cost.

The decision not to increase the MRET means that new projects that will deliver emissions-free electricity into the national market will now only be developed in Victoria, NSW and Western Australia, where state incentive schemes are in various stages of development. But these schemes do not provide the national framework required to develop a national clean energy industry.

The commonwealth and Victorian governments recently announced they would contribute more than $100 million to the construction of the world's largest and most efficient solar energy power station, to be developed by an Australian company, Solar Systems, near Mildura.

The potential for this technology to be sold across the world in the coming decades is enormous. But clean energy needs more than one-off grants to build economies of scale and bring costs down. Australia has some of the oldest and hottest rocks on the planet, relatively close to the surface and running through the centre of South Australia.

Geothermal energy from hot dry rocks has received nothing like the focus that its potential deserves. Perceived transmission problems can be overcome with clever planning. And, most significantly, geothermal energy is predicted to cost even less than all other forms of energy generation from about 2025. Further, the knowledge and expertise that Australian companies have gained in geothermal development is already being exported through projects in Europe, where the incentives offered by governments are extensive. A number of Australian companies are also exploring opportunities in China, where policy incentives are also considerable.

Hydro schemes have been supplying baseload electricity to Australian consumers for decades.
Geothermal energy has the potential to add to that supply and, in fact, there are enough sites in South Australia to meet all of Australia's present energy needs.

One site alone, Paralana in the northern Flinders Ranges, has enough heat to supply eight times South Australia's average daily demand. Imperative to the security of supply with renewables is the development of storage technologies and the integration of technologies such as wind with hydroelectricity.

Hydropower and battery technologies provide optimum storage solutions and a number of companies are trialing a range of these, but much more will be needed from the billions the commonwealth is spending on energy technology development than the $20 million allocated in the energy white paper in 2004. Most of those funds are going to assistance and subsidies for fossil fuels.

We also have to get smarter about the use of renewable energy to meet peak demand. Not only do we have to rely on new baseload generation, we must better understand the opportunities for intermittent technologies such as solar, which produce optimum levels of energy at the times when it is needed most, on hot sunny days, and at prices much less than the peak prices the market now pays.

We have a complex problem. Not only do we need to develop the new technologies that will deliver increasing levels of energy, but we also need to pull back the rate of increase in our emissions during the time it takes to develop the new technologies.

Renewable energy can play a significant role at both levels. But the industry needs a clear policy framework that enables the ongoing development of projects with existing technologies to pull back the rate of increase in emissions and to encourage the development of the new generation of technologies.

All the recent reports and inquiries conclude that climate change is a serious challenge, that we need clean energy, that it will come at a price and that the price is affordable. We need policy frameworks that cost the environmental impact of emissions and provide incentives for the development of a clean energy industry. Then, renewable energy technologies will be more than capable of successfully competing for market share.

Susan Jeanes is the chief executive of Renewable Energy Generators Australia, a former member of the Howard Government and an adviser to the Howard Government on climate change policy.

Earthworks launch cape wind farm

Hamilton Spectator
Saturday 30/12/2006 Page: 35

PRELIMINARY earthworks for the Cape Bridgewater section of Pacific Hydro's Portland Wind Energy Project have started. Portland-based building and concreting firm G.R. Carr Pty Ltd has started preparing a site at Amos Rd for a batch plant and crib area as a base to install 29 wind turbine foundations for the project.

Pacific Hydro's management team was elated earlier this week as the work was now a clear indication to the community the project was coming to fruition after it had appeared for several years to be at a standstill. It also followed a clear commitment made by Pacific Hydro during the recent State election campaign that work on the project would start immediately after the election if the Bracks Government was re-elected because of its commitment to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target.

Site manager and G.R. Carr director David Carr was elated in winning the project valued at about $7 million. Mr Carr said that, as a direct result of wind energy, an extra 35 jobs would be provided to local people. "This work requires excavations, formwork, steel fixers, electrical, cranage and concrete to install the 29 turbines," he said.

An estimated 28 tonnes of reinforced concrete, or around 400 cubic metres of concrete, is needed for the project.

Mr Carr said local subcontractors would be employed for the project, expected to take between six and seven months to complete. "This is definitely the largest single job we have been involved with," he said.

Meanwhile, in a further development, the Glenelg Shire Council has reaffirmed its support for the project when it rejected a call by the Portland Tourist Association for support to stop the Cape Bridgewater section of the wind farm. Shire chief executive officer Jennifer Tod's written report to the council said the PTA had made several allegations regarding the Cape Bridgewater project.

They included, in part:
  • The State Government was allowing Pacific Hydro to import blades for the Cape Bridgewater
  • The State Government and/or the council, were allowing the Cape Bridgewater wind farm to proceed in preference to the Pt Danger and Cape Grant wind farms.
  • Pacific Hydro had not consulted with the community regarding alterations to the number and size of towers on Cape Bridgewater wind farm - the PTA believed the importing of blades contravened the intention of the community's willingness to have wind farms on on the coast.
PTA president Pam Bourke had written to the council, saying the association had withdrawn its support for the Cape Bridgewater wind farm.

However, Cr Geoff White told the council he would be interested to know at what meeting did the PTA make its decision. "I don't think there was a meeting," he said. Cr White's sentiments echoed those made by Pacific Hydro management late last month when Ms Bourke was accused of making a unilateral decision and issued with a "please explain" by the company.

The company said it had found the timing of Ms Bourke's letter interesting given it came after Pacific Hydro which is a member of the PTA, was a major sponsor of the Portland Bay Festival held late October-early November.

In a surprise move, Cr Karen Stephens voted against the officer recommendation of council's continued support for the PWEP. Cr Stephens was the only councillor to vote against the recommendation and was an about face on previous statements she had made in support of the project.

Pacific Hydro's application to remove native vegetation on roadsides for its powerline route from Cape Bridgewater to the outskirts of Portland remains with the council. The council is understood to be waiting on further details from referral authorities before making a decision.

Turbines still in favour

Hamilton Spectator
Saturday 30/12/2006 Page: 9

PUTTING giant wind turbines on Cape Bridgewater stills finds favour with Glenelg Shire. At its December meeting, the shire reaffirmed its support for the Portland windfarm project, which includes Cape Bridgewater.

Its support was in response to the Portland Tourist Association who asked council to `put a halt' to the Cape Bridgewater windfarm. The association claimed council and/or the State Government were allowing the Cape Bridgewater windfarm to go ahead before those on Point Danger and Cape Grant.

The tourist association also claimed;
It believed this importation contravened the community's willingness to have wind farms on the coast.

Community benefits

Stawell Times News
Tuesday 2/1/2007 Page: 2

ARARAT - Community groups throughout the Ararat Rural City will benefit from funds provided by the Pacific Hydro Sustainable Communities Fund. Seventeen successful applicants will share $45,000 in funding in the 2006/2007 round.

The Pacific Hydro Sustainable Communities Fund provides financial support to organisations that are working to make a positive and lasting contribution to their communities. The fund is available to organisations that operate in the communities currently hosting windfarms owned and managed by Pacific Hydro.

Successful applicants in Ararat Rural City include:
  • Ararat YMCA Kids' Club - $6,200.
  • Ararat North community - for a social cohesion program that includes literacy and nutrition training - $2500.
  • Beyond the Smoke - community groups set up to support those impacted by the bushfires in 2006. Funding to assist with the book launch of stories from around the area, $2500.
  • Moyston Rural Fire Brigade - purchase of a fridge for the brigade. $800.
  • Ararat Eagles Football Club - fit out of new clubrooms, $2000.
  • Ararat and District Historical Society - assistance in providing new display cabinets for the refurbishment, $2000.
  • East Grampians Health Service assistance with the pilot program rainwater collection program $4000.
  • Elmhurst Recreation Reserve - purchase of a commercial oven for the renovation of the facility. $2.350.
  • Fiery Creek Festival - support of the 2007 festival. $1000.
  • Grampians Pyrenees Scouts District - based in Ararat. funding will upgrade toilet facilities for the group, $3160.
  • Moyston Hall Committee - support refurbishment of the hall by funding a new exhaust canopy in the kitchen, $1244.
  • Lions Club of Ararat - support for Jessica and Piper Scrogrie's recovery through the Scroggie Family Trust, $5000.
  • Buangor Community Sports Centre - support in upgrading facilities. $2000.
  • Ararat Clay Target Club - upgrade of the clay trap to comply with Occupational Health and Safety requirements. $2000.
  • Tatyoon Recreation Reserve - support for upgrading facilities $2000.
  • Moyston-Willaura Football Netball Club - support for the upgrade of the netball facilities which are currently unusable, $5000.
  • Lake Bolac and District Kindergarten - support for water collection programs for the kindergarten. $4000.

Climate of fear silencing scientists when they must be heard

Canberra Times
Thursday 4/1/2007 Page: 15
Rosslyn Beeby, Science and Environment Reporter.

LAST MONTH former United States president and climate change activist Al Gore told 5000 scientists attending an American Geophysical Union conference to speak out on climate change. "Get involved because so much is at stake," he said.

Gore was well-aware of the political implications of his challenge. Getting involved in the global warming debate means taking a stand against government censorship and running the risk of a funding backlash or full-frontal assault on your reputation.

Here in Australia we've seen intimidation, exclusion from influence, political ridicule and censorship of scientists. We've also seen a dumbing down of the political debate on climate change as a result, with rhetoric rather than science the weapon of choice adopted by government and opposition.

The National Farmers' Federation recently claimed the Prime Minister's Emissions Trading Taskforce was "stacked" with mining, manufacturing and energy generation interests,"opting to embrace those sectors that represent the problems, and excluding many of those who offer solutions".

This selective approach was in evidence recently when federal environment minister Senator Ian Campbell addressed the National Press Club. He quoted a study published in Scientific American that - he claimed - cited seven options or "wedges" needed over the next 50 years to stabilise global greenhouse emissions, including carbon capture and nuclear energy.

Australian Greens climate change spokeswoman Senator Christine Milne quickly pointed out that Campbell had misrepresented Professor Robert Socolow and Stephen Pacalas' work. They had described 15 options in their study and Milne argued that by ignoring eight of these options Campbell "misled his audience about the choices we have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, implying that carbon capture and storage and nuclear technology are essential rather than optional."

He also failed to mention that for nuclear power to constitute one wedge in the model,"The world's nuclear power output would need to treble over the next 50 years compared with the worldwide annual growth in the nuclear power industry of about 5 per cent."

In May last year, The Canberra Times obtained a copy of a confidential report by the Cooperative Research Centre for Coal in Sustainable Development. It stated that solar thermal technology was capable of producing Australia's entire electricity demand and was the only renewable energy capable of making deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Written by five CSIRO Energy Technology scientists, the report said solar thermal technology was "poised to play a significant role in baseload generation for Australia" and would be cost-competitive with coal within seven years.

But sources claim that until details were published by The Canberra Times, the draft report was passed around "like a political hot potato", with no date set for its release. Despite federal government claims that the CRC "just hadn't got around to releasing it", the view taken by senior climate change scientists was that the report had been deliberately suppressed.

There are also rumours circulating that a second CSIRO report on the feasibility of geosequestration (carbon capture and underground storage) was so damning that all copies have been confiscated and possibly destroyed.

Sound far-fetched? Perhaps not when you consider many scientists working on developing renewable energy options are quite literally terrified of the implications of speaking to journalists or giving a background briefing to elucidate some of the complexities of their work.

The Canberra Times has spoken to scientists who are worried that their phone calls may be traced or emails scrutinised for comments critical of government policy. In one instance, a scientist who merely provided the correct details for a photo caption was subsequently carpeted for "unauthorised contact with the media", One senior scientist refused to be interviewed for a feature on Australia's renewable energy options, apologetically explaining that "it's just not worth the possible risk to my program's future funding."

Murdoch University's Professor on Energy Studies, Dr Phillip Jennings, has described a "climate of fear" operating among solar energy researchers. Sources at the Australian National University say two of the nation's leading solar researchers, Professor Andrew Blakers and Profess Klaus Weber - the inventors of the solar sliver cell which is predicted to revolutionise the rate of global uptake of solar energy - have been warned against speaking out publicly.

It's a pity, because Blakers and Weber are the kind of climate change visionaries we need to hear from, given the recent predictions by the Stern report that we have only a decade to get greenhouse emissions under control.

This week Federal Science Minister Julie Bishop claimed Australia had to "find new ways" to encourage more students to study science at universities. For that to happen the current political climate must change. Bright students simply won't fancy a career where George Orwell's Big Brother is watching.

Wind up the power

Thursday 4/1/2007 Page: 17

DEVELOPERS of the Te Rere Hau wind farm in New Zealand's Manawatu have orders for 14 further turbines.

The $80 million project was opened in September and now has five turbines operating. It is a joint venture between NZ Windfarms which has 50 per cent, Babcock and Brown and NP Power.

Who will pay for nuclear power plants?, asks Garrett

AAP Newswire
Tuesday 2/1/2007

Labor wants Federal Treasurer Peter Costello to reveal funding details for up to 25 nuclear power plants a report to the government has recommended to satisfy future energy needs.

Prime Minister John Howard and Mr Costello welcomed last month's report stating that Australia could obtain a third of its electricity generation needs by 2050 with nuclear power stations.

Former Telstra chief Ziggy Switkowski led the government's uranium Mining Processing and Nuclear Energy Task Force, which made the recommendation. But both Mr Howard and and Mr Costello have said such a project would have to economically viable to go ahead.

Federal Opposition spokesman for climate change Peter Garrett said today Labor opposed the plan and wanted to know who would pay for the reactors. "We definitely don't think it's economically viable but we haven't heard any more from (Mr Costello) on this issue," Mr Garrett told Southern Cross Broadcasting.

"And, as I understand it, he made no submissions to this government for the taskforce report, so we think we'd like to hear from the treasurer on this issue." Mr Garrett vowed no nuclear power plants would be built if Labor won power at the next election.

A Labor government would also establish Mandatory Renewable Energy Targets with a greater focus on solar and wind powered electricity, he said. "We would do the things that the scientific community and the governments overseas are doing now," Mr Garrett told Southern Cross Broadcasting. "We would move immediately to have a market in carbon emissions. "That's something we don't have in Australia which I think is incredible."

Thursday 4 January 2007

Minister explores Tuckey's tidal power push

Wednesday 3/1/2007 Page: 5
By Michelle Grattan

FEDERAL Science Minister Julie Bishop will ask her department to give her an appraisal of the potential of tidal power as an alternative source of energy.

This comes after representations from federal Liberal backbencher Wilson Tuckey, who has said tidal power is the "best kept renewable energy-generation secret in Australia". and could deliver power to eastern Australia and preclude the need for nuclear power any time soon.

Power from the giant tidal movements of Western Australia's Kimberley region could be fed into the eastern states' power grid, Mr Tuckey maintains, urging a Federal Government inquiry into its potential.

"If we can inquire into nuclear, why not tidal?.. . surely a full and practical feasibility study has as much priority as the recent investigation into nuclear power," he said. Mr Tuckey said government seemed "frightened to know" about the potential of tidal power,"or believes the politics of coal too important".

While conceding that setting up a tidal power system would be expensive, he pointed out this would be a one-off - there is no later fuel cost. He likened a scheme to harness tidal power to the Snowy Mountains hydro-electricity scheme.

A long-time advocate for this little-talked-about renewable energy source, Mr Tuckey, from Western Australia, is pushing it strongly in the intensifying climate-change debate and gave Ms Bishop a paper on it just before Christmas.

Ms Bishop, also a West Australian, told The Age yesterday: "I think it is worthwhile putting a bit of time and effort into considering the potential of tidal power. Some business people in WA believe there's considerable potential." Opposition environment spokesman Peter Garrett welcomed discussion of tidal power.

"So long as environmental considerations are taken into account, it does have positive prospects. If supplemented by other renewables. it would make nuclear energy even less attractive," Mr Garrett said.

Said Mr Tuckey: "If Australia is to be a future participant in carbon trading.. . why not use its clean image and tidal carbon credits to offset other nations' emission when they purchase our coal and gas? "Should it use its own uranium when it could sell it?" He said that while he isn't frightened by nuclear power, it is time to consider all future power sources "in a rational and practical fashion".

Nuclear generation used expensive and scarce fuel and created waste-storage problems. Cleaning up coal increased the cost to consumers and was highly energy intensive, while wind and solar were not compatible with the demand patterns of the electricity grid.

Tidal power was emission and fuel-free, and proven technology that could be used for so-called "base-load" power. The Kimberley tides rise and fall about 11 metres twice daily. The region's remoteness from places of energy demand had been a barrier to use and an attempt to harness this energy in the Derby Tidal Power project failed.

But Mr Tuckey said there was now potential demand from North West Shelf resource project operators, and the North American experience had shown how such power could be sent over thousands of kilometres.

To send power from Broome in WA to Port Augusta in South Australia, for instance, would be economically achievable and from there it could go into the eastern states' power grid. It could also be realistic to mix tidal power with existing coal and gas generation. "Australia would not need additional nuclear, coal or gas-fired capacity for a very long time," Mr Tuckey said.

Ziggy's report a postcard from the wedge

Weekend Australian
Saturday 30/12/2006 Page: 24

THERE is a lot of Mr Spock in Ziggy Switkowski's preview of Australia's nuclear future. The eminent nuclear boffin turned telecom executive has delivered a report that resonates with that certain, relentless Vulcan logic.

Zwitkowski's uranium Mining Processing and Nuclear Energy Task Force has provided, as expected, a compelling case for the embrace of nuclear power based on the certainty of science and finance. Switkowski suggests we could be a nuclear-powered nation as early as 2016, and under one scenario we could have 25 reactors by 2050 producing one-third of Australia's power. Sexy stuff.

But Zwitkowski's report inscrutably ignores the real-world complications created by the emotional, fearful homo sapiens who hold John Howard's political future in their hands.

The debate over uranium in Australia has rarely been marked by any sort of logic or dispassionate review. The contentious radioactive yellow mineral, and all things nuclear for that matter, have been a polarising political plaything in an era marked by a steady, numbing convergence of our political dialectic. To oppose or embrace uranium mining used to tell us where people stood. It affirmed beliefs. Why else would inner urban local councils waste time and money by indulging in the unbelievable conceit of declaring, then advertising, their fiefdoms as nuclear-free zones? The Zwitkowski review, then, has to be seen as a covertly political document and one that has very little to do with the realistic pursuit of a viable nuclear power industry in Australia.

For all the careful presentation of facts and its steely, certain analysis, the report is an expression of John Howard's command of wedge politics. That is why Howard has created this cart before- the-horse debate which promotes a nuclear Australia even while we continue to constrain uranium mining. A focused assessment of our uranium future would be useless for his purposes.

Uranium is no longer the touchstone of division it once was. Although it remains a focus for a robust bloc within the green movement, it is no longer the talisman of opposition. The change in mood has encouraged a break in the Labor anti-uranium laager, with two states South Australia and Queensland pursuing an end to restrictions on new mines.

Which is sensible stuff. Australia has 38 per cent of the world's low-cost uranium reserves which is pretty remarkable when you consider that no one has seriously gone looking for it since the foolish three mines policy was embraced in the 1980s.

With demand and prices at record highs, even Labor hardheads have accepted that three-mines is intellectual flummery. If three are OK, why not 10? But Labor's nascent embrace of good sense means that Howard needs to move the goalposts. And that is what the Zwitkowski report is all about.

So where is the wedge? Well, some in the green left reckon nuclear power could provide a real and present method of dealing with global warming. Others remain unyielding in their rejection of the N option. From Howard's perspective, this is a delicious tension, and one that will dog Labor and the broader left as they consider how to deal with the PM's nuclear feint.

For his part, Ziggy Switkowski has decided that if you accept that climate change is the product of carbon emissions, then you'd better start pricing carbon inputs to reflect their effect. And if you do that, then nuclear technology is likely to provide an environmentally sustainable and cost-competitive, long-term solution to our base-load power requirements.

And you can forget the idea that either solar or wind is going to give you the answer here. Neither will be able to provide base- load power needs. Recent research in Europe suggests wind power works at no better than 23 per cent efficiency, and while the data here suggests we do it better, it remains an expensive peak-load provider. And solar? Well, it would be just mind-blowingly expensive to create base load supplies from solar. End of story.

There is no doubt that nuclear power can provide base-load power and has a much lower greenhouse signature than brown and black coal and gas. At its most bullish, the Zwitkowski report claims nuclear power could reduce national greenhouse emissions by 18 per cent by 2050.

So, if you accept greenhouse science, which Zwitkowski seems to, then Australia needs to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. And it needs nuclear power. But increasing the net cost of carbon-fuelled power is an essential prerequisite.

Because while nuclear power is carbon-efficient, it is also currently up to 50 per cent more costly to produce. The only way to close the gap is to ensure the costs of greenhouse gas emissions are explicitly recognised. And that means some sort of carbon tax and dramatically higher power bills. Which means the Howard Government is not going to take the great leap forward indicated by this report.

Wind farm faces fight

Ballarat Courier
Saturday 30/12/2006 Page: 5
By Danielle Perkins

MOORABOOL residents could be building up to blocking a third wind farm proposal for the shire. Two sites at Elaine and Yendon have been identified by WestWind Energy as a possible location for a $180 million project involving up to 50 towers.

Proposals that would have seen farms built at Clarkes Hill and Yalloak were abandoned after local opposition and environmental concerns. A local landowner, who did not want to be named, said discussions were afoot between residents living around the two sites.

"I can assure you that the many people I have talked with in the surrounding area are less than happy with the idea of this project going ahead - and will be fighting it all the way," he said. "Without going into detail, there are already plans under way to see what can be done to stop the proposal at Yendon."

Moorabool Shire's Cr Pat Toohey said he had been approached by residents with concerns, but the council did not yet have a firm opinion on the proposal. In this case, we haven't done an assessment yet on whether the two new sites are appropriate, but no doubt more information will cone out in time. It's very early days," he said.

"But wind farms should not be forced on communities; it should be something the community wants." The Moorabool ratepayer raised concerns including noise, shadow flicker from the rotating blades, decreased property values and interference with television reception.

But WestWind Energy spokesman Tobias Geiger said the concerns would all be allayed during the planning process. He said the company was required to comply with strict noise level and shadow flicker requirements. It is those two issues that normally determine how close we can go to a house, but as a matter of practical experience, to comply with both, the nearest a tower could be is between 500 and 700 metres," he said.

And in relation to property values, there have been numerous studies done worldwide and in Australia that all show no change in property values due to wind farms," he said. Mr Geiger said television reception was a consideration, but the company was required to carry out testing before and after the towers were built. It is very unlikely, but if it does deteriorate, we have to fix it," he said.

It is then up to us to install a satellite dish or similar." The resident said he and other neighbours were not against wind farms, but felt such projects should be in areas that were not populated. The wind farm will violate the very basis of what a zoning policy is meant to protect - the welfare of the people who already live in this community and its surrounds," he said.

Don't let our corals lose their colour

Tuesday 2/1/2007 Page: 10

Climate change will critically affect the life of the Great Barrier Reef, warns John Schubert.

Australians should be hoping that the reality of climate change is not brought home to us this summer by severe damage to the Great Barrier Reef. Last summer the southern reef around the Keppel Islands gave us a preview of what may happen over larger parts of the reef in the future.

The Keppel Island reefs experienced warmer than normal water temperatures, which caused as much as 98 per cent of the corals to bleach. Fortunately, more than half of these corals survived when the weather cooled in time to allow them to recover. This is an example of why coral reefs are described as a canary in the mine in the context of climate change.

Small increases in water temperature can, and will, prove catastrophic, especially if the settings are not in place to avert rolling effects from other factors. On November 4, heavy rainfall combined with an extremely tow tide to kill large areas of shallow coral reefs. This meant that, added to the loss of corals from the bleaching event earlier in the year, the Keppel reefs have now been the victim of two serious events in less than 12 months.

It is true that previous damage to the corals in this area was caused by floods from the Fitzroy River. However, these events were separated by decades, allowing the corals time to recover. Scientists observing the corals this year are now predicting that the return of the Keppel reefs to their former state would require at least 15 years of good conditions: an unlikely prospect considering the region's recent volatility and the likelihood of increasingly frequent bleaching events.

Coral bleaching was unknown in the Great Barrier Reef region before 1979. It occurs when zooxanthellae, the microscopic plants that nourish the corals and give them their colour, are expelled by higher than normal water temperatures, leaving the corals white, as if they had been bleached. If these high temperatures are prolonged, the zooxanthellae do not return to recolonise the corals and the corals die, as do fish and other dependent organisms. Eventually, ecosystems and industries such as tourism, that depend on them, will be severely damaged as the dead corals are covered by unattractive seaweed.

The Great Barrier Reef is now experiencing coral bleaching events more frequently. Apart from this year's blow to the Keppel Island reefs, the most recent serious bleaching event was in 2002 when the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority estimated that 60 to 95 per cent of reefs were affected to some extent.

Climatologists are predicting weather conditions this summer that are conducive to another significant bleaching event.

Corals can recover from bleaching events, but it takes time and, as we are discovering, we are all up against the clock on climate change. The danger the Great Barrier Reef faces each summer reflects the rapid effects of climate change on our planet. With global temperature rises likely to be 2C to 6C by 2100, we have to ask how corals will have time to adapt.

We have largely ignored the warnings of our top scientists across many disciplines. It is only now, when the consequences are tangible, immediate and irrefutable, that we have started to pay attention.

Until my appointment as chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation two years ago, I was something of a sceptic. However, the marine scientists who advise the foundation convinced me that climate change is the most pressing threat to our Great Barrier Reef. The evidence presented by these scientists, the literature they have shared with me and my visits to the reef have proved to be so compelling as to prompt something of an epiphany.

I am not alone: 2006 has, on any measure, proved to be a turning point in Australia's realisation that climate change poses a risk to our way of life.

I sensed a palpable shift in mood among business leaders at the Australian Leadership Forum last August, when the foundation presented a session on climate change and the Great Barrier Reef, and previewed Al Gore's climate-change documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. Many Australians have since seen the film and the mass media now cover climate change issues on a daily basis. The tide is turning. The good news is that it's not too late.

In Madagascar, scientists reporting recent widespread coral damage have also discovered several small reefs with corals that appear to be remarkably resilient to higher sea temperatures.

These corals may be able to provide us with information and strategies for protecting coral from future damage; in a worst-case scenario, such studies may enable scientists to re-seed damaged reefs. This concept was unthinkable a decade ago. It is now at least a possibility.

As a nation, we may need to prepare ourselves for the previously unthinkable in order to address climate change. We need to review our habits and behaviours, our technology and our industries. Nuclear energy, carbon taxes, geo-sequestration, heavy investment in renewable energy sources and reducing our reliance on coal and oil may seem unpalatable and may be expensive in the short term, but a combination of at least some of these measures will provide the solutions we need. We now must take the opportunity to harness the broad momentum that is building and direct our energies into developing technological, social and policy innovations to address the issues. We need to start listening to our scientists and build an economy that is clean, fair, safe and prosperous.

We should undertake a study, as Britain has, to determine the economic effects of the range of climate change outcomes on the Australian economy. The results would allow us to better understand and justify the actions that clearly must be taken. We should also use our influence, especially with the US, to hasten a worldwide response to this global problem.

I am hopeful that the Great Barrier Reef, as a result of good management practices, will prove to be far more resilient than reefs elsewhere. By funding scientific research to better understand the reef and ensuring that other pressures are controlled, we can buttress its ability to withstand the threats of climate change.

However, it is not just the future of the Great Barrier Reef that is at stake.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation chairman John Schubert is also chairman of the Commonwealth Bank and a former chairman of Esso Australia. He has a doctorate in chemical engineering.

Shire First - $24m wind farm proposal

Hamilton Spectator
Tuesday 26/12/2006 Page: 1

A $24 million wind farm is planned for Southern Grampians shire. It is the first wind farm proposal for the shire, and will be located along its border with the Moyne Shire between Penshurst and Caramut.

Between 13 and 15 wind turbines have been proposed with a maximum nominal rated power of 29.9 Megawatts (MW). The Morton's Lane Wind Farm - on two properties at Penshurst and Caramut - crosses the border between Southern Grampians and Moyne Shires. It is expected to take six to nine months to build the wind turbines once planning is approved.

Up to 90 jobs

The wind farm is likely to create between 60 and 90 direct and indirect jobs in the region during construction, with four on-going jobs afterwards for operations and maintenance during its lifetime of 20 to 25 years. Over this time, the rates collected between both shires are likely to be around $2.5 million to $3 million for a 25-year operating life.

Although 13 wind turbines does not appear to be a great number when compared to the 183 wind turbine development at Macarthur, it would still provide enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 17,257 Victorian households each year.

Estimates predict it would generate 91,980 MW hours of electricity each year through clean energy, a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions up to 119,574 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide. This amount was the equivalent of removing 27,615 cars off the road each year.

Good road access

The proposal was developed over the last three years, with the site chosen because it had good road access and was near high voltage, sub-transmission power lines. The site was rated as having a `moderate' wind resource in keeping with its inland location and relatively flat landscape.

Covering over 1100 hectares, less than one per cent of the site would actually be occupied by wind farm infrastructure with the wind turbines spaced between 545 and 611 metres apart.

In order to go ahead with the wind farm, access tracks from 3.5 to five metres wide would have to be constructed and some public roads may need to be widened to allow for over dimensional vehicles. A switchyard facility will be installed for the transformation, switching and metering of the electricity flow in and out of the wind farm.

Two permanent meteorological monitoring masts will be installed with a maximum height of 103 metres and a 66kV overhead pole-mounted power line installed to connect from the Switchyard to the existing power line.

Neighbouring issues

Issues raised over other wind farm developments in the region have included blade glint and shadow flicker on neighbouring land, have been looked at. Blade glint, which occurs when the sun hits the surface of the turbine blades, would be overcome by adopting a surface treatment that would eliminate it.

The issue of shadow flicker from the turbines, which could be up to 150 metres high, would be overcome by ensuring all neighbouring houses would be 1.25 km or greater from the turbines, which exceeded the accepted shadow flicker distance of one kilometre.

Cape wind farm building starts

Warrnambool Standard
Friday 29/12/2006 Page: 4

WORK has started on the Cape Bridgewater wind farm, with the contractor optimistic that development on another stage of the Portland Wind Energy Project will follow in 2007.

Pacific Hydro received final approval to start work on the site in early November but anxiously awaited the Victorian election result because of fears the Liberals' position on renewable energy would scuttle the project.

But with Labor retaining government, building company G.R. Carr Pty Ltd began works on laying the concrete foundations for 29 wind turbines before Christmas.

While it has delivered large industrial projects at the Port Campbell underground gas storage site and the Codrington and Yambuk wind farms, director Peter Carr said the $7-8 million contract was the largest the firm had secured.

He expects the concreting works will need about 75 direct and indirect employees, with some aspects subcontracted out for a mid-year completion.

The 58-megawatt development is expected to increase the workforce of wind tower manufacturer Keppel Engineering by about 20. Pacific Hydro is also building an interpretive centre at Cape Bridgewater.

G.R. Carr is contracted for the next stage of the $330 million Portland Wind Energy Project which will have 120 turbines along the far south-west coast at four sites including Yambuk.

Mr Carr hopes development at either the Grant or Nelson capes will start soon after they have finished at Bridgewater. Glenelg Shire Council this month reiterated its support for the Cape Bridgewater wind farm.

Green light for wind farms?

Scone Advocate
Thursday 21/12/2006 Page: 3

THE Upper Hunter Shire Council can now consider development applications for alternate forms of energy in the Upper Hunter after an amendment to the Scone Local Environment Plan (LEP). The amendment comes in time for a potential wind farm application to be lodged in the near future.

The company, which is in the preliminary stages of an application for a 20 to 40 turbine wind farm, is assessing potential sites at Middlebrook.

Upper Hunter Shire Council General Manager Daryl Dutton said the amendment was a positive for the Upper Hunter and would allow council to assess the proposal of a renewable and environment friendly energy source.

"Council will consider each application on its own merits but a renewable energy source could supplement the coal powered energy. If four wind turbines could power Murrurundi, 20 should be more than enough to power Scone and Aberdeen," Mr Dutton said.

'The infrastructure for such power sources is already in the (Upper Hunter) valley so it's a possibility," he said.

Bald Hills to go ahead

Great Southern Star
Tuesday 26/12/2006 Page: 3

THE $220 million Bald Hills wind farm will go ahead. Senator Ian Campbell, the federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, approved the wind farm on Thursday (December 21), with strict conditions.

Victorian Nationals leader and member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the news came as a "bitter disappointment" to Tarwin Lower residents who had fought the case on behalf of all Gippslanders.

"Renewable energy is a necessary initiative, but it has to happen in the right place to enjoy the community's support that should drive it," Mr Ryan said.

The project is a graphic demonstration of how not to see the future development of the renewable energy industry in Victoria and it is the State Government that must ultimately bear the blame." One of the nearby residents opposed the wind farm, Don Jelbart said: "There would have been a lot of pressure on Senator Campbell to make this decision, with global warming being such a big issue. "We've tried to educate the public about how useless the windfarms are.

Their visibility creates the illusion the government is doing something to address the problem. As far as the decision goes, we will continue to fight" Senator Campbell blocked the proposal last April, using the survival of endangered orange-bellied parrot as his main reason.

However, he allowed the proponent Wind Power Pty Ltd to submit a revised proposal last September and as a result the Senator has approved the 52-turbine energy farm months later.

"The Bald Hills wind farm has been given federal approval subject to key changes to the turbine layout and strict conditions to protect the orange-bellied parrot and other threatened species," Senator Campbell said.

Senator Campbell said given changes to the reconfiguration of the turbines and strict conditions to ensure protection of threatened and migratory species, the proposal had been approved under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Wind Power must contribute $30,000 annually to conservation related actions for all threatened bird species along the South? The conditions ensure that the "wind turbines or related infrastructure shall not be constructed within 300 metres of the boundary of the Bald Hills Wetland Reserve or within 800 metres of the edge of largest area of open water habitat within the Bald Hills Wetland Reserve".

Wind turbines shall not be constructed within two kilometres of the coastline. The proponent must submit for the Minister's approval to undertake monitoring any bird strike. The proponent must notify the Minister in writing of any mortality of a member of a listed threatened or migratory species on the site within 48 hours of becoming aware of the mortality.

In the event of a second or subsequent mortality of an orange-bellied parrot, swift parrots and white-bellied sea eagles on site, all operations within one kilometre of the mortality site must cease immediately.

Wednesday 3 January 2007

New wind farm plan to build turbines on sites at Yendon and Elaine

Ballarat Courier
Thursday 28/12/2006 Page: 1
By Danielle Perkins

ANOTHER wind farm for the Ballarat district is in the planning. Landowners and residents in the Yendon and Elaine areas have been visited by representatives of WestWind Energy, the company behind the Mt Mercer wind farm.

Planning and business development manager Tobias Geiger said the project would be split onto two sites - one on Lal Lal Estate at Yendon and the other near Elaine . He said the project, which would be similar in cost to Mt Mercer at $250 million, was in the early days.

"It is very new and what we have done so far is some computer modelling about the wind resource and also some environmental studies," he said. "And we've probably consulted or talked to most people in the vicinity of the proposal, which has involved doorknocking a couple of hundred houses. The vast majority of people we have spoken to have been very positive."

Lal Lal Estate farmer Geoff Fisken is one landowner who has been approached by WestWind. Mr Fisken said he was supportive of the project - both from financial and environmental points of view.

"I don't think I've ever been a person who didn't believe that wind power had a place in supplying power, in lessening the use of fossil fuels," he said. "And obviously there is a financial incentive for us that is important because the fact is we're in the middle of a drought.

"We are a farming operation and this is another way we can earn income - I think of it as farming the wind." Mr Fisken said WestWind was looking at utilising about 809 hectares of the 2023 hectare farm which he owns with his brother.

He said he believed neighbouring landowners were also supportive of the project. Mr Fisken said he no longer had concerns about the project. "With most of the concerns that I had, the company has been able to reassure me," he said. "It was mostly about the value of the land but they and the bank have told me that the turbines do not devalue your land.

"Obviously, like I say, the major consideration for us is our future viability and if we can earn a few more dollars off the farm, certainly that's a good thing. "It's a way of droughtproofing if you like, it gives us certainty of income." The two sites are expected to total between 3237 hectares and 4046 hectares in size and will be located 10 to 12 kilometres apart.

Mr Geiger said the company hoped to place 30 to 40 wind turbines near Yendon and a further 20 or 30 around Elaine . He said the farm would be similar in size to Mt Mercer, producing enough energy to power 78,000 houses.

Mr Geiger said more studies would be conducted before consulting with the planning niinster. He said the company would use local contractors and believed a second wind farm in the district would benefit both WestWind and local businesses.

Toora Wind Farm

Wednesday 20/12/2006 Page: 9

THREE of the wind turbines at the Toora Wind Farm, have been taken off-line as a precautionary measure while a plant maintenance issue is investigated.

One wind turbine was taken off-line in October when Stanwell Corporation Limited (Stanwell) detected a gearbox bearing fault. Further investigation resulted in two more turbines being taken offline after showing early signs of a similar issue.

Stanwell is working with the wind turbine manufacturers and other engineering specialists to determine the cause of this fault.

A range of options have been identified to assist the wind farm in returning to normal operations. To expedite the repair, a replacement gearbox for the first turbine has been sourced from the original overseas equipment manufacturer. Investigations are also underway to engage a company capable of accessing spare parts and carrying out suitable repair on the other two wind turbines' gearboxes.

At this stage, it is not known how long the wind turbines will be out of service but it is anticipated that a staged return to operation for the three turbines will be possible starting from the end of January 2007.

Allco in US wind farming

Weekend Australian
Saturday 23/12/2006 Page: 26

ALLCO Finance plans to build a $2.5 billion wind energy plant in California to take advantage of rising institutional demand for wind investments. It will be the largest wind farm in the US.

Allco global infrastructure chief Nick Bain yesterday said the project would be as much as 75 per cent debt funded. The company was in the process of inviting financial partners to join the venture, he said.

Edison International's Southern California Edison unit will buy the power produced by the plant.

Mr Bain said institutional investors favoured putting funds into wind energy projects because of the steady long-term cash flows provided by the power sales contracts.

Under the Edison deal, California's second-biggest electric utility will buy 1500 megawatts of power for 20 years. Allco said the contract equated to providing power to as many as 1 million Californian households.

The project will be built in Tehachapi, a rural region northeast of Los Angeles where there have been wind turbines since the 1980s. Edison said the project would produce more than twice as much electricity as Rosemead, the biggest US wind farm.

Allco owns 100 per cent of the project but Mr Bain said the company would probably progressively reduce its stake to no more than 15 per cent. Allco has also secured rights to develop wind energy projects in Australia and New Zealand and is in talks to buy wind farms being developed in Europe.

"We like wind because it's an asset class that is in demand, especially in the US," Mr Bain said.

Allco said it expected to generate more than 2500 megawatts at Tehachapi, comprising several smaller projects of about 100 megawatt capacity on average. The wind farms would start operating between 2007 and 2012, it said.

Mr Bain said US and Australian institutions would probably invest in a fund to partner Allco in developing the project.

Smoke and mirrors

New Scientist
Saturday 23/12/2006 Page: 25

Don't be fooled by oil and car companies' attempts to appear green. They are still a major obstacle to tackling climate change, warns George Monbiot

IF YOU were the chief executive of an oil company hoping to defend your business against environmental campaigners, there are several ways you might go about it. The most direct approach, as adopted by ExxonMobil, would be to fund groups that claim climate change isn't happening and urge the White House to remove the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

But you wouldn't do this if you had any sense: Exxon's tactics, while successful in the short term, have backfired spectacularly, confirming many people's impressions that the oil industry is a threat to life on Earth. If you were smart, you would follow BP and Shell's tactics. Rather than denying that climate change is happening, they have repositioned themselves as friends of the environment. Their new advertisements (including ones in this magazine) seek to persuade us that they have left the bad old days behind.

They do this by emphasising their investments in low-carbon energy: wind, solar and hydrogen. BP is now promoting carbon offset schemes, assuring its customers that "it is now possible to drive in neutral". Other companies have followed suit. Total promotes its investments in wind power and biofuels, while Chevron claims that by exploiting Canada's tar sands it is saving the world from another problem: the threat that global oil production will soon peak.

Have they left the bad old days behind? Quite the opposite. By repositioning themselves in this way as environmentally responsible, I believe these companies have become far more dangerous than ExxonMobil. They have created the impression that a large and growing oil industry is compatible with preventing runaway climate change. BP in particular now looks more like an environmental pressure group than an oil company.

The whole tenor of these companies' adverts, like BP's slogan "Beyond petroleum", is misleading. It overlooks the fact that an oil company's share price depends on the current and future value of its assets, and to sustain this value it will aim to replace whatever oil it produces with new discoveries and production. While Shell is struggling to keep up, BP has so far managed to meet this target. In other words, it will continue in the future to pump as much oil as it does today, regardless of what it spends on alternative technologies.

Indeed, BP's carbon offset campaign is designed to allow sales of oil products to increase, persuading customers that they can buy them with a clear conscience. But growing oil sales are impossible to reconcile with action on climate change, however many biodigesters and low-energy light bulbs are installed to mop up their effects.

The adverts, in other words, all appear to be examples of greenwash: companies attempting to distract attention from the environmental impacts of their activities.

It is not just oil companies that are guilty of this. Car manufacturers have started to join in. Volkswagen has recently been promoting its Golf GT with the slogan "High performance. Low emissions". Yet read the small print and you'll find that the GT produces 175 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, compared with the national average for new cars in the UK of 170 grams.

Similarly, Toyota's new adverts are headlined "aim: zero emissions" and claim that the company is seeking to preserve "the delicate balance between man and nature". This is news to anyone who has bought one of its planet-eating 4x4s. Even its famously efficient hybrid, the Prius, is less impressive than the ads suggest. On the highway it manages, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 51 miles per gallon. In 1983, the standard Peugeot 205 made 72.

I have been unable to find any major company whose green claims stand up to scrutiny. The big firm with the best environmental reputation in the UK is the home improvement retailer B&Q.

It has recently been promoting solar panels and micro wind turbines, and maintains that "environmental and ethical responsibility... is an integral part of the way we think about ourselves and our business". This is hard to reconcile with its promotions this summer. It knocked 15 per cent off the price of patio heaters and 20 per cent off air-conditioning units, helping customers to save money while frying the planet. It sells a huge range of light bulbs, but few are energy-efficient.

There's nothing wrong with companies advertising their green credentials. If these are exaggerated, however, busy consumers have no means of distinguishing between good firms and bad ones, and are easily led into doing things they believe are helping the environment but in fact are damaging it. The examples I have given suggest that we need stiffer rules about the green claims made in advertisements, as well as mandatory "sustainability" standards. Until then, I would advise you not to believe anything a company tells you about its environmental performance.

George Monbiot is the author of Heat: How to stop the planet burning (Allen Lane, 2006). He has recently launched a website exposing greenwash at

It's an ill wind

Herald Sun
Saturday 23/12/2006 Page: 78

ENVIRONMENT Minister Ian Campbell should be an endangered species after the Bald Hills wind farm debacle. The minister says the $250 million project that he rejected in April can now go ahead because of changes made to protect the scarce orange-bellied parrot.

Senator Campbell must think the Australian public are fools. His parrot-explained reversal was accompanied by more spin than 52 Bald Hills turbines in a hurricane.

More persuasive, we would suggest, was the threat of legal action by Wind Power. The company is still considering suing the Howard Government for the $30 million extra that the project will cost. Senator Campbell's own department told him the risk posed by turbines to the parrots was that one bird would die every 1000 years.

Orange-bellied parrots may now rest easier, but not taxpayers who could end up footing a multi-millon dollar bill for Senator Campbell's wind change.

Alta's big deal

Adelaide Advertiser
Monday 25/12/2006, Page: 27

AN Australian company has signed the biggest wind power deal in U.S. history with electricity utility Southern California Edison.

Alta Windpower - a subsidiary of Allco Finance Group - will deliver at least 1500 megawatts of power from a giant wind farm for 20 years to the U.S. company.

It will take up to 10 years to develop the project.

Wind farm call

Warrnambool Standard
Tuesday 26/12/2006 Page: 12
By Sarah Scopelianos

OPINIONS about the proposed Hawkesdale wind farm are being sought by Moyne Shire to prepare a report about the council's position on the project. Gamesa Australia unveiled plans for the Hawkesdale farm a week ago for public comment.

Early this year the company slashed the size of the farm by almost half to 31 turbines across seven properties, about four kilometres south of Hawkesdale near the junction of the Woolsthorpe and Penshurst-Warrnambool roads.

Moyne Shire's planning director Greg Anders said because the project was to generate between 70 and 100 megawatts of electricity - well above the 30 megawatt limit council could approve - the state Planning Minister Justin Madden had the final say.

Mr Anders said the shire was seeking submissions from the public about the project by January 8 for officers to consider before making a recommendation about the council's position on the project.

Welcome to 2007

Hopefully everyone has survived the Christmas and New Year holiday festivities and credit cards are not suffering from burnout.

In Australia the climate change debate continues, many people are yet to be convinced that the Australian government is taking the threat seriously. Renewable energy and it's associated technologies are still playing second fiddle to the promotion of nuclear power and "clean coal" developments. Funding initiatives would tend to support this contention with renewables receiving far less funding than the fossil fuel and nuclear sectors.

With exceptional solar and wind resources available we can only hope that pressure will build on governments of all levels to encourage and expand the use of these and other renewable resources.

Until then, we must encourage the energy debate in the community with informed opinion and verifiable evidence and if possible, highlight the misconceptions and deliberate deceptions of the "NIMBYS" and anti-wind groups.

Gippsland Friends of Future Generations hopes you have a healthy, successful and low carbon 2007.