Friday 26 January 2007

Renewable Standard Potential for Minnesota

Renewable Energy Access
September 29, 2004

US: A national renewable electricity standard of 20 percent by 2020 would produce more than 5,000 jobs in Minnesota, according to a new study released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

"The economic growth of Minnesota and the rest of the country is tied to technology. Investing in cleaner, efficient automobile technologies, renewable energy, and more efficient appliances will pay off in the form of new jobs for all these sectors."

Washington D.C. - September 29, 2004 [] A national standard would require 20 percent of the nation's electricity to come from clean renewable sources such as wind, biomass, and solar energy, and would create 1.4 times more jobs in Minnesota than generating electricity from fossil fuels. Development of renewable energy would also provide a significant source of new income for Minnesota's rural communities from capital investment and direct payments, the study found.

"We must create good jobs, protect the environment and end dependence on foreign oil," said David Foster, Director of District 11 for the United Steelworkers of America.

A national renewable electricity standard would also save Minnesota's consumers $500 million on their energy bills through 2020, according to the UCS. Nationally, the group said that consumer savings would be more than $49 billion. The national standard achieves these cost savings primarily by reducing the demand for-and the price of-natural gas.

"The Minnesota congressional delegation should follow the bipartisan leadership of our Senators and support a national renewable electricity standard," said Diana McKeown program director for Clean Water Action Alliance of Minnesota. "By supporting a national renewable electricity standard, our Congressional delegation can provide the state with safe and reliable domestic energy sources while ensuring cleaner air and water for everyone."

The analysis found that by 2020, a national 20 percent renewable electricity standard would produce benefits for Minnesota such as:
  • A net gain of more than 1,500 new jobs in manufacturing, construction, operation, maintenance, and other industries
  • $1.7 billion in capital investment
  • $126 million in property tax revenues for rural communities
  • $383 million in income for farmers and rural landowners from wind power leases and the production of biomass energy
  • 1.4 times more jobs than new natural gas and coal power plants would create
More than $12.6 billion leaves Minnesota every year through importing coal, petroleum, natural gas, and uranium. A renewable electricity standard will help Minnesota's energy dollars in the state. According to the Department of Energy, in the year 2000, Minnesotans spent $6,722 million to import petroleum; $1,954 million to import natural gas; $434 million to import coal; $60 million to import nuclear fuel; and $3,477 million on imported electricity.

Mum plans community turbine

25 January 2007

UK: A Beccles mother of two has put forward an ambitious plan for a community wind turbine to help power the town - and do its bit to curb global warming. Hannah Blowers, 29, wants to set up a turbine which local people could invest in, help to build and even profit from. She is inspired by her two daughters, aged one and three, and says she wants to preserve a decent world for them to live in.

Mrs Blowers, a part-time teacher at Brampton Primary School, already has backing from Beccles Town Council for the initial stages of the project, and county councillor Mark Bee is taking her ideas to Suffolk County Council. But she says it is the views of local people that will be most important.

She said: "It is all about the people of Beccles. If it is not what they want it will not be forced on them. I am hopeful they will support it. It is a way of bringing money into the community."

She said that she had already switched to low-energy lightbulbs, turned the heating down, ordered her vegetables from a local organic box scheme, and walked everywhere she could, while her husband Roy drives a hybrid petrol and electric Toyota Prius.

She added: "I have these two incredible daughters. I don't want them to be cleaning up and dealing with the consequences of climate change. By ourselves we cannot do anything, but we can at least set an example and try to get other people across the world to take it on because the consequences become too great."

The size and the location of the wind turbine have still to be decided, though it is likely to be on the outskirts of Beccles, and a year-long wind survey will need to be carried out before a site can be selected.

Mrs Blower says it is not likely to be as big as nearby Gulliver, the 80 metre high turbine at Ness Point in Lowestoft. A more likely size is 65m - the same height as the smaller of the Swaffham turbines, and the one at West Somerton, near Yarmouth, which supplies power to 4,000 people. Depending on wind levels and its efficiency, it could power up to half the homes in Beccles. Mrs Blowers believes it could make about £70,000 a year, which could be shared among local people.

The project has been inspired by a similar scheme in Wales, where a community wind turbine was built in 2002 with backing and investment from local people. It was switched on in 2003 and named "People Power". The electricity it generates powers 45 households, and would have created 70 tonnes of carbon dioxide if generated from fossil fuels.

Mrs Blowers is keen to hear from people with relevant skills for the project, or who own a site which could be suitable. She said: "I feel I can't leave it to other people to fix the climate chaos we have unknowingly created, but now we know, I feel we have a responsibility to do whatever we can."

AWEA: Wind power capacity in U.S. Increased 27% in 2006 and is expected to grow an additional 26% in 2007


Annual industry outlook details increased growth spurred by strong demand, investment of private capital, as well as support of federal and state governments

Wind power generating capacity increased by 27% in 2006 and is expected to increase an additional 26% in 2007, proving wind is now a mainstream option for new power generation, according to a market forecast released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Wind's exponential growth reflects the nation's increasing demand for clean, safe and domestic energy, and continues to attract both private and public sources of capital.

"iPods, flat screen televisions and other highly sought technologies are creating a demand for electricity that is beginning to eclipse our current supply. Wind is a proven, cost-effective source of energy that also alleviates global warming and enhances our nation's energy security," said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher.

The U.S. wind energy industry installed 2,454 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity in 2006, an investment of approximately $4 billion, billing wind as one of the largest sources of new power generation in the country – second only to natural gas – for the second year in a row. New wind farms boosted cumulative U.S. installed wind energy capacity by 27% to 11,603 MW, well above the 10,000-MW milestone reached in August 2006. One megawatt of wind power produces enough electricity to serve 250 to 300 homes on average each day.


Thursday 25 January 2007

How it works

Bega District News
Tuesday 23/1/2007 Page: 7

THE Tathra Surf Club has been fitted with a twin blade wind turbine about two metres in diameter. The turbine nose icon and tail are painted in surf club colours - red and white. The club's roof has also been fitted with one-kilowatt (kW) solar modules. The system is connected to the electricity grid.

Whenever the cells and turbine generate electricity it is put into the grid, effectively winding back the club's electricity meter. If there are times when the club is not generating power it draws power from grid, winding the meter forward.

"It is hoped we will be energy neutral - saving over 2.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually," Dr Nott said. "Obviously in summer we will be using a lot of the energy we produce but in winter we will be clocking up plenty of credits." It is estimated the solar modules will generate an average daily clean: energy output of four to five kWh and the wind turbine two to 2.5 kWh.

Full sun days could create a maximum of 7.5 kWh a day and full wind days could contribute a maximum of 6kWh per day. Over 12 months it is expected that collectively the turbine and solar modules will generate 2,500 kWh of power for club.

It is estimated this will save the surf club $1,000 each year, with the possibility of expanding the number of solar modules and eventually selling green power back to the grid.

Gore film made free and convenient for schools

The Federal Government is showing it's true colours, climate change is not being taken seriously by the ministers who should know better. Meanwhile the state opposition, epitomised by Philip Davis, would rather play ideological games rather than address the issue of climate change or better still, plan for a fossil fuel free future...

Thursday 25/1/2007 Page: 16
By David Rood, Education Editor

ALL Australian high school students will be conveniently able to get their hands on a copy of the climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth, with the movie to be given to schools free of charge.

The controversial film, by former United States vice-president Al Gore, will be made available to all secondary schools by renewable energy company Jackgreen. Details of the distribution came as the documentary was nominated for two Oscars: best documentary feature and best original song.

The film has earned $30.3 million and is the third highest grossing documentary in cinema history.

After viewing it last year, Prime Minister John Howard said it showed "a degree of a peeved politician". The new federal Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said the film was a "very compelling dramatisation of the climate change issue" saying he had no problems with it being distributed in schools.

Education Minister Julie Bishop said it was up to each school to decide whether it used the film, but it should be made clear to students that the film did not represent the only opinion on the issue of climate change. When the film was released last September, Industry and Resource Minister Ian Macfarlane said "it's just entertainment, and really that's all it is".

Victorian opposition education spokesman Philip Davis warned the the distribution of the DVD allowed a commercial organisation to take a policy agenda and try and sell that into a captive student market.

Wednesday 24 January 2007

Lexton Wind Farm go-ahead

Pyrenees Advocate
Friday 19/1/2007 Page: 1

Approval for a second wind farm in Pyrenees Shire Council was granted at a special meeting of council on Tuesday night. Wind Power Pty Ltd had applied to the Shire to erect 19 wind turbines at a cost of $28 million. The new wind farm will have the capacity to generate 28 megawatts of power per annum.

Earlier in the day, Wind Power executives took councillors and senior Shire staff on a tour of the proposed sites in the hills surrounding Lexton. Wind Power Managing Director, Stephen Buckle said the company was very happy with the decision. "We had some very good discussions with local landholders and I believe we have addressed most if not all concerns," he said.

Mr Buckle also indicated it may take up to two years for construction to commence. "The problem is we can't get easy access to the turbines because of a worldwide shortage." "Because of the huge demand for turbines from countries like India and China, we are sometimes waiting up to two years for delivery," Mr Buckle said.

Wind Power Pty Ltd has also agreed to contribute $5,000 per turbine every year into a special trust to fund community based projects around Lexton. The first year of operation will see $95,000 contributed to the fund which will be indexed each year of the wind farms life.

Mayor Gabriel Horvat said the vast majority of locals supported the proposal. "Pyrenees Shire Council is the perfect location for wind farms because we have all of the attributes - the hills, the wind and the power lines," Cr Horvat said. "The decision will bring some employment to the Lexton community, and that has to be a good thing," he said.

Pyrenees Shire Council will also receive a substantial amount of rates from the Lexton wind farm once it's operational. "We understand the rates will be set at $40,000 per annum. The second site off Black Bottom Road turbine per year plus an additional amount for every megawatt of electricity it creates," Cr Horvat said.

The member for Ripon Joe Helper said he was delighted with the council's decision. "The Victorian Government is very supportive of renewable energy and we're really glad that Pyrenees Shire Council is capitalising on the growth of the wind farm industry," Mr Helper said.

The Lexton Wind Farm will be the second within Pyrenees Shire Council. Last year, the State Government approved the construction of the 128 turbine Waubra Wind Farm.

A welcome change in the wind for school's energy use

Warrnambool Standard
Wednesday 24/1/2007 Page: 7

A Port Fairy school will host only the second school-based wind turbine in Australia as it tries to meet its power needs with renewable energy. Work started last week on the Port Fairy Consolidated School's $3.7 million redevelopment, which will feature the 30 kW turbine, solar panels and watersaving devices.

"Our students have been looking at climate change and how to use our school as a living example of how to live sustainably through renewable energy," principal Lindy Sharp said yesterday.

The investment in clean energy sources will double as a demonstration project, encouraging other schools, tourists and the community to learn about its use. The redevelopment including new classrooms, staff rooms, library and canteen, is expected to be completed before the start of the 2008 school year.

"It is a really exciting time for the school," Ms Sharp said.

Yesterday Pacific Hydro provided the school with $10,000 through its sustainable communities fund to help with the project. It was one of 11 grants, totalling $45,000, provided to community groups surrounding the company's Codrington and Yambuk wind farms.

The Moyneyana, Tarerer and Port Fairy Winter festivals each received a $2000 boost, while local cricket, angling, football, cycling and table tennis clubs also benefited.

Science has facts on climate change and we should listen before it's too late

Age Wednesday
24/1/2007 Page: 8
By Tricia Phelan.

Sceptics keep trotting out the same old arguments that don't hold water.

LEN Walker (Business, 19/1) was right arguing that cool heads and rational discussion and decision-making are required when it comes to climate change.

Unfortunately, he offered little. Instead of engaging with the community - governments, industry and the public - in a constructive discussion to take us forward, he tried to take us back into a quagmire of myths and confusion long since discounted by most of the world's leading scientists.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, representing hundreds of scientists from 120 countries, will next month release its fourth report that is predicted to produce even stronger evidence of climate change and its human causes. This group has been working for almost two decades to provide technical knowledge of climate change to underpin sound decision-making.

To ensure the IPCC reports are credible, transparent and objective, they must pass a rigorous two-stage technical and scientific review. As a result, the worldwide scientific community backs the IPCC's work.

Science academies in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain. Canada, the Caribbean China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand and Sweden released a statement of support in May 2001. It stated: "We recognise the IPCC as the world's most reliable source of information on climate change and its causes, and we endorse its method of achieving consensus."

The US National Academy of Sciences followed later that year with its own endorsement: "The IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue."

Only a tiny minority of voices continues to dispute the IPCC's findings and, coincidentally, many of these are connected to industries whose profits would be adversely affected if action was taken to mitigate climate change risks. These include Mr Walker, a fellow of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. The institute represents the views of mining companies such as BHP Billiton, and Mr Walker condemns leading scientists for their "alarmist view".

Over the past decade, climate sceptics such as Mr Walker have repeatedly used the same arguments and "evidence" to support their view. Those who monitor climate change have seen Mr Walker's arguments, and their comprehensive rebuttals, many times, but unfortunately this does not stop them reappearing.

Citing the 1975 Newsweek "climate cooling" article is an old favourite. But a staff writer wrote the article, not a climatologist, and it appeared in a popular magazine that is not part of the scientific press, and was not subject to a robust peer review. The article reports on cooling as a speculative scientific curiosity, with grave potential implications - but, importantly, without any resolute scientific consensus supporting the hypothesis.

In any case, like many areas of science, we have learnt a lot in the past 30 years. Meanwhile, across the world, businesses, communities and governments have accepted the facts on climate change and are looking for practical, reasoned responses at individual, industry-wide and government levels.

In April, some of Australia's leading companies from a range of industries - BP, Origin Energy, Westpac, Swiss Re, Visy and IAG - launched the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change. It released a report stating climate change was a major business risk, and outlined the strong financial case to take action.

It found that early action could be taken while maintaining strong economic growth, but delaying action would produce lower real gross domestic product growth, and concentrate any disruption over a shorter period. The Business Council of Australia and the National Farmers Federation have both publicly recognised climate change and the need for action.

In November, the broader community added its support when 40,000 people in Melbourne took part in the Walk Against Warming, calling for legislated targets to reduce Victoria's greenhouse pollution.

Governments across the globe are implementing laws, some better than others, aimed at reducing greenhouse pollution and lessening the impact of climate change. The US and Australia are the only industrialised nations that have failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Despite this, about half the American states have implemented greenhouse and/or renewable energy targets.

South Australia and Victoria have announced targets, and doubtless more will follow.

So let's bring on a reasoned and rational discussion about climate change. Surely such an approach includes listening to the majority of experts? Surely clear thinking involves dispassionately assessing the risks - not ignoring them because we don't like the action we must take to avoid them? And surely wise heads, once risks have been identified, will take action to avoid those risks, particularly when they will dramatically affect our economy and lifestyle?

What we need is an intelligent way forward. Armed with the facts on climate change, the risks and many solutions, we must cast off outdated attitudes and embrace practices that will mitigate the worst impacts of climate change and open up business opportunities.

Tricia Phelan is the climate change director of Environment Victoria.

Green energy plan for Scone

Hunter Valley News
Wednesday 17/1/2007 Page: 2

A PROPOSAL for an energy park near Scone could see the town home to clean and renewable energy within a matter of years. A project application for Kyoto Energy Park has been submitted to the NSW Department of Planning by Pamada Pty Limited.

The first part in a two-stage application is for up to 47 wind turbines across two sites at Middlebrook Station and Mountain Station. The second application will be for the balance of devices for the park and look to be submitted in the very near future, according to pamada director, Mark Sydney.

"This project started well over 10 years ago and it will be another three or four years before things really get underway," he told the Hunter Valley News.

The proposed eco-generating infrastructure may also include solar panel generators, a solar thermal array, a mini closed loop hydro-electric facility, energy park visitor and education centre, manager's residence, upgrade of local electricity networks and ancillary equipment, tanks facilities and roads.

Mr Sydney said the hydro-electric facility would use on site-water capturing and recycling techniques as Pamada was conscious of the water shortages being experienced in the region. "We hope it will give Scone an opportunity to identify itself as a green energy centre," he said.

Scone was identified as one of 11 sites in NSW by the NSW Sustainable Energy and Development Authority in 1995 as being suitable for the generation of electricity from wind. Pamada waited two years to submit the project application after stumbling across a hurdle within the Upper Hunter Shire Council's Local Environmental Plan.

An amendment to the LEP late last year saw Pamada lodge the application with the NSW Department of Planning as the beginning of an expected long process.

"We're in the very early stages at the moment but we believe it is the right thing for Scone and we want the community to understand we wish to work with their desires and energies," Mr Sydney said. "We take community participation very seriously and we feel its important to the region to supplement and support a vibrant energy industry."

Harnessing wind and sun

Eastern Riverina Chronicle
Wednesday 17/1/2007 Page: 5

Harnessing wind and sun to totally supply their electricity needs has been a satisfying experience for new residents at the Holbrook Airpark, Ken and Jill Hamilton. Locals passing by the airport noticed their solar tracking panel facing towards the sun and true to the country way, wanted to know what was going on there.

Ken and Jill who hail from Red Bluff near Tangambalanga, were happy to explain. Building the hangar 12 months ago on one of the new northern blocks, they recently completed their 10 square onebedroom unit next to the hangar. Ken, a concreter and Jill, a waitress at the Commercial Club Albury came to Holbrook because they wanted to semi-retire and do more flying.

It started with parachuting. "I liked that so decided to take flying lessons at Holbrook about four years ago," Ken said Half way through his flying course,"Ken came home one day and said I've brought a plane. You haven't," Jill replied,"but he had:' A light-wing two-seater ultralight that cruises at 75 knots.

Settling in at the Holbrook Air park, Ken and Jill have erected solar panels at ground level and a small wind turbine on the roof of the hangar. "I put the wind turbine there to see how windy it is and whether it was worth putting up a bigger one," Ken said. "This year the weather has been unreal for wind - the wind turbine has been operating a minimum of 12 hours a day and along with the solar panel, feeds into a battery bank.

"A regulator ensures not too much charge goes into the bank and cooks the batteries. The battery bank consists of 12 batteries each one weighing 140kg and storing four volts in each. This energy goes"into an inverter that turns the 48 volt battery bank into a 240 power supply." Ken said,"the solar panels have two electronic eyes which track the sun during the day until sunset and then turns east to pick up the sun at daybreak.

The solar panels and wind turbine cost $30,000 minus a government rebate of $4,000. Initially, it has cost a lot more than the outlay to get an electricity supply from Country Energy. Their hangar was about 110 metres away from the power pole - and it was to cost $13,000 to run it underground plus $2,000 to have an easement surveyed.

As it stands, the solar panels and wind,turbine provides more than sufficient energy to run their hangar and home plus any electrical tools they wish to use and an extra week's supply of energy.

Ken and Jill have friends with two children who obtain their total energy needs for their home from the solar panel. "Being independent is appealing and the initial cost is the only cost." Ken and Jill said.

TAFE goes clean and green

Muswellbrook Chronicle
Friday 19/1/2007 Page: 4

Hunter TAFE students looking to go green this year will be able to thanks to a new course being offered at Muswellbrook campus. The Hunter Institute is leading the way with its environmental initiatives which this year for the first time will include a Certificate IV in Electrotechnology Renewable Energy.

The renewable energy course will equip students with comprehensive skills and knowledge to select, install commission, maintain and carry out repairs on electrical equipment and systems designed for the generation of renewable energy. Muswellbrook's electrotechnology head teacher, Gary Brooker said given the energy crisis there had been a lot of enquiries for the course.

"We have offered a basic level in renewable courses through a statement of attainment in previous years but there have been many enquiries into getting a Certificate IV which will allow people to become fully qualified," he said. "More and more people are environmentally aware these days and this certificate means people can install renewable energy systems." The types of renewable energy the course will examine is mainly solar electricity with some wind turbine study. "There has been quite a demand from throughout the state for a course such as this as the only other place it is available is in Brisbane," Mr Brooker said.

The theory component of the course will be offered via distance education with practical modules held about once a month at the Muswellbrook campus. Students who successfully complete the course will have the opportunity to gain a Business Council of Sustainable Energy (BCSE) Accreditation. Mr Brooker said it was a particularly useful course for those who live or work on farms.

"Many farmers find it much too dear to connect to an electricity grid once you factor in the expense of installing the lines and poles," he said. "This course will equip people with the skills to install solar hot water systems and other renewable energy technologies."

Monday 22 January 2007

Lightning starts fire

Eyre Peninsula Tribune
Thursday 18/1/2007 Page: 3

Lightning started a fire about one kilometre west of the number one turbine at the Mount Millar wind farm between Cleve and Cowell on Tuesday night. The fire burnt an estimated two hectares of scrub, but water bombers were called in to help extinguish it due to its inaccessibility.

Eastern Eyre CFS group office Bryan Trigg said two water bombers dropped two loads each after crews had walked into the fire zone with hand tools to slow its progress. CFS units from Cleve, Cowell and Mangalo attended, along with about 10 farmers. Local CFS crews were amongst volunteers fighting the Mt Bold fire last week. Twenty-one people from Eyre Peninsula helped fight the fire.

The Nationals, not dead yet, but lets keep hoping

Ballan News
Thursday 18/1/2007 Page: 10
By Jon Rivers

LEADER of The Nationals Peter Ryan recently said the decision to approve the 52- turbine Bald Hills wind farm was another example of city-based politicians over-riding the concerns of a country community.

Well, what about the environment and our children's future, don't they matter? This just goes to show that the leader of the Nationals, Peter Ryan is an environmental vandal and should go back to Gippsland, crawl up in a hole and disappear for good. The community does not need politicians like Peter Ryan any more. Peter Ryan is well past his use by date and if Peter's opinion reflects the views of the National party, the community does not need the National party anymore either.

It's about time our politicians took the environment and the world we live in seriously. They need to stop being self centering and only being concerned for their own pathetic political hide views and take a broader view on life and the world we live in.

Mr Ryan then went on to say that the Nationals are not opposed to renewable energy but believe the views of the local community should be taken into account." What he actually said was that it was all too hard, he needs to play to populist opinion, and to save his political hide he will do whatever it takes, bugger the environment.

Ted Baillieu, the State liberal leader is no different on the environmental front.

We need to start taking renewable energy, water and the environment seriously. We cannot afford to keep doing things, the same things, over and over again, or we will keep getting what we have always got.

Throttling back the fossilfueled power plants will save us the economic and environmental costs of burning polluting fuels. By using wind energy to power our homes and businesses, we can strengthen our energy independence and lessen our reliance on fossil fuels. Greater fuel diversity protects us against price surges due to fuel supply problems or economic and political conflicts.

Wind energy provides more jobs per unit of energy produced than any other form of energy. Wind turbines provide financial benefits to farmers and other landowners who lease the land wind farms are built on. The lease payments help bolster their incomes and the farmers are still able to use their land for farming. Wind farms pay significant dollars in property taxes to the communities in which they are located. Wind energy technology is also scalable in nature, making it well suited for energy applications large or small. Its relatively simple design also makes for short construction lead times, providing yet another advantage over traditional power plants.

Australia needs a strong wind farm industry, there are no negatives with a wind farm industry. The second thing we need is a strong Nuclear industry so that we can turn off the dirty brown coal powered stations in Gippsland.

If we do not do this then we will leave our children a world, much uglier than it is now and they will be the ones that have to live with the sins of our indecisions. poor planning and poor understanding of the environment around us.

Mr Ryan then went on to say that "The government should be focusing on a broader range of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rather than inflicting these inefficient wind turbines, on rural communities." Perhaps the first thing the Victorian state labor government should do is to develop a Nuclear industry, and turn off the filthy coal fired power stations in Gippsland were Peter comes from.

Given Peter Ryan's urge for the current state government to focus on a broader range of measures to reduce greenhouse gases, I am sure Peter will be in full support of this proposal to reduce green house gases.

Perhaps, just once he could do something positive for the environment.

Bega Valley wishes all power to surf club

Canberra Times
Saturday 20/1/2007 Page: 7

A NSW South Coast community group is promising to halve its shire's energy consumption by 2020. Bega Valley's Clean Energy for Eternity group has launched the 50-50 by 20-20 campaign, which also aims to ensure only 50 per cent of the energy used in the shire is from nonrenewable sources.

The area's first steps towards tackling the negative effects of climate change were made in Tathra yesterday, where the first surf club to be entirely powered from renewable sources was unveiled.

Clean Energy for Eternity chairman Matthew Nott said,"We're looking at tackling this at every level. "Climate change is such a critical issue that it demands individual action like turning light switches off, driving slower and buying fluorescent light bulbs.

`But we're also looking at community-based solutions like setting up the surf club with renewable energy and then turning that into a national campaign to get all 305 surf clubs in the country set up with renewable energy." With help from the Bega Valley Shire Council, community donations and sponsors, Clean Energy for Eternity raised the $20,000 needed to have a wind turbine and a series of solar panels attached to the roof of the Tathra Surf Club.

As a result, the club will save $1000 a year on its electricity bill and will save almost three tonnes of carbon dioxide from polluting the atmosphere every year. "It is a small start, but when you multiply that by 305 surf clubs, it's starting to make a bit of a difference," Mr Nott said.

Bega Valley Mayor Tony Allen, whose council will also partly fund two similar projects in Pambula and Bermagui, said the financial cost was heavily offset by the long-term benefits.

"Sure, initially the production of green energy may be a little bit expensive. "But if you're looking at the greater good, if you're looking down the track at a sustainable society and a sustainable humanity, it may be a very small price to pay."

Contact details:
Clean Energy for Eternity
Phone: 6492 4858 home or 0429-828412 mobile
14 Canning Street, Bega 2550

Oil subsidies drop

Adelaide Advertiser
Saturday 20/1/2007 Page: 86

The US. House of Representatives has rolled back billions of dollars in oil industry subsidies yesterday in what supporters praised as a new direction in energy policy toward more renewable fuels.

Critics said the action would reduce domestic oil production and increase reliance on imports. Democrats said it could produce as much as $US15 billion in revenue, most of which would be funnelled into a fund to promote renewable energy such as solar and wind power and alternative fuels.