Friday 16 February 2007

Whan congratulates Expo organisers

Cooma Monaro Express
Tuesday 13/2/2007 Page: 6

Friends of Renewable Energy spokesperson and Expo organiser Rashida NuridanMEMBER for Monaro Steve Whan has congratulated the organisers of the Snowy Mountains' Renewable Energy and Climate Change Expo for doing a terrific job.

"Congratulations to Rashida and the committee who put the Expo together - it was very informative," said Mr Whan.

"The Expo helped people understand what global warming means for our region and the great thing is that there are several things they could do themselves to address the problem. "There was a good slide show based on Al Gore's film, which gives you strong food for thought and enhances the need for all governments in Australia to take action immediately," he said.

Mr Whan added the Expo and slide show reinforced what he'd already said about climate change and why he'd been pushing for a national carbon trading scheme.

"We need to do things now - if we'd been investing in research before now commercial prices for solar installations wouldn't be so high. "It's important to get to the stage where the average person when building a house can afford to install solar or more importantly, when they can't afford not to." he said.

Help make a human sign

Narooma News
Wednesday 14/2/2007 Page: 25

ON Saturday, March 17 the Eurobodalla branch of `Clean Energy for Eternity' (CEFE) campaign is creating a human sign on South Broulee beach. This is the third human sign for Clean Energy following the inaugural sign last year on Tathra Beach and the second sign in Canberra on October 8.

The aim of the human sign is to involve the community in raising awareness of global warming and climate change at a local level. A good turnout of people are expected on the day to create the human sign.

As part of our climate awareness program, CEFE is working together with Far South Coast Surf Life Saving Clubs to install photovoltaic cells, solar hot water and a wind turbine onto club roofs. Any proceeds on the day will go directly to the four Eurobodalla Surf Clubs towards this project.

If you want to be part of this electrifying event, just turn up, with friends and family at South Broulee Beach on Saturday, March 17 around 12:30pm for main photo at about 1pm. There will be a big media presence and your chance to feature in the big Sydney papers as well as barbecues, entertainers and more.

Please allow plenty of time to park your car and walk to the beach and remember to bring hats, sunscreen, umbrellas and water in case of hot weather. Come and join us and make a statement and at the same time have a great fun day out.

Information. Leslie Braman 4471-8850.

Ready to think globally, act locally

Great Lakes Advocate
Wednesday 14/2/2007 Page: 6

THINK globally, act locally has long been the mantra of the environmental movement. But now Great Lakes Council is also leading by example and tackling climate change head on with council managers not at the coal face, but rather the solar panel.

Council launched its Climate Change and GreenPower Education Program on Thursday which has been developed in conjunction with the NSW Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability.

"The program will look at reducing council's greenhouse gas emissions, how energy is used in so many facets of our organisation and what can be done to improve, reduce and overcome it," Great Lakes mayor John Chadban said.

"The program will also explain to the community the importance of GreenPower options and discuss other ways in which they can play a part in reducing climate change by reducing their greenhouse emiscinnc " Cr Chadban said the $15,000 program would be implemented over the next six months and was funded by a $7500 grant from the NSW Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability which has been matched by Great Lakes Council.

As part of the education campaign, council will soon send out a survey to homes and businesses across the local government area regarding climate change and the ways in which people feel they can do something in their community to combat the problem.

While climate change has been in the spotlight in recent days in both the Federal and State Election campaigns, the mayor said when it comes to thinking globally we should act locally.

"We have sat back for a long time waiting for the Federal Government and the State Government to take action on climate change, and for whatever reason you could say they have not really until now. "But we all need to play a role in combating and reducing climate change.

"We all have a responsibility of advancing and maintaining our environment. "We are delighted as a council to take one small step for mankind." Great Lakes Council's manager of natural systems, Gerard Tuckerman echoed the mayor's sentiments. "It is a small step, but it is an important step," Mr Tuckerman said. "Climate change is now proven, although depending upon what you read and who you listen to you could say it has been proven for some time now.

"Here in the Great Lakes we are already starting to see some of the signs of climate change and can expect to see even more like the sea level rising, an increase in temperatures and increases in runoff. "Individuals might feel that they are insignificant in all of this, but a lot of insignificant people together becomes a major force that can start a major change:' he said.

Push for clean, green surf clubs

Bay Post
Wednesday 14/2/2007 Page: 12

Clean Energy for Eternity is pushing for every surf club in the country to be running on renewable energy before the end of 2007. The South Coast group is planning to fit out all surf clubs in the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shires with renewable energy before moving on to other NSW surf clubs.

Organiser Matthew Nott said Clean Energy for Eternity would be meeting with Surf Lifesaving Australia shortly. The Tathra Surf Lifesaving Club is the first cab off the rank, and its revamp includes a wind turbine and solar photovoltaic cells on the roof. "The next stage is to add a solar hot water service, which will see the surf club running with a negligible carbon footprint," Mr Nott said.

"The benefit of renewable energy for the surf club is threefold. Firstly, the installation will save the surf club about $1000 per year. More will be saved following the installation of solar hot water. "Secondly, education and awareness are important. We are showing people that renewable energy can work."

The Tathra project was funded dollar-for-dollar by Bega council and the community and Eurobodalla members of Clean Energy for Eternity are hoping Eurobodalla Shire Council will show the same support.

The next clubs to be fitted out with renewable energy will be Narooma Surf Lifesaving Club, with Broulee, Moruya and Batemans Bay to follow.

Clean Energy for Eternity is looking for local businesses and community members to support this initiative.
For more information contact Julia Mayo- Ramsay on 0419 848 057 or email surfclubproject@

12th wind farm for south-west

Warrnambool Standard
Friday 16/2/2007 Page: 9

HUNDREDS of wind turbines will dot south-west Victoria's landscape with another company announcing yesterday it wanted to develop a $180 million wind farm near Glenthompson.

The proposal for a 43-turbine development by private investment bank Investec Bank and Windlab Systems will be at least the 12th wind energy development either operating, approved or in the pipeline for south-west Victoria. The developer yesterday said the farm would revitalise the district by providing up to 60 jobs.

But state Opposition planning spokesman Matthew Guy said national wind energy guidelines were urgently needed. Mr Guy told The Standard the Liberal Party supported wind energy but only where the technology was accepted by the community. "It is vital for the (Planning) minister to reflect the community's opinion and values," Mr Guy said. "After speaking to local MPs in the region it is apparent there is community support.

"However, development should not happen in sensitive landscapes or where the community does not want them." Oaklands Hill wind farm is set on a series of ridges about 5km south of Glenthompson, bordered by Monument Lane, Glenthompson Caramut Road, Balbeggie Lane and Back Bushy Creek Road.

Detailed studies of its likely impact on flora and fauna, the landscape, visual impacts and noise were undertaken during planning.

The company suggested the project would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 364,000 tonnes a year and produce enough power for 52,000 homes. Consulting with residents and the Southern Grampians shire and Ararat Rural Shire councils will commence this month before a planning application is lodged to Planning Minister Justin Madden, the project's spokesman Mark Headland said yesterday. "This wind farm will be a clean, emissions-free source of generation which will reduce Victoria's carbon dioxide emissions," Mr Headland said.

"While the people of Glenthompson will feel the immediate economic benefits, Oaklands Hill wind farm will ultimately benefit all Victorians." The project would connect to the Powercor 66 kilovolt Hamilton-to-Terang network, which is located approximately
17.5km south of the site.

The company expected construction to start in 2008 and aimed to commission the wind farm by the first quarter of 2009. The developer said it would spend $50,000 on community projects during construction.

A public open day for the project will be held at the Glenthompson War Memorial Hall between Main and 4pin on March 3.

Fresh BREAZE in Ballarat

Ballarat Courier
Wednesday 14/2/2007 Page: 19
By Nick Higgins

MASS solar hot water installations are among ideas being considered by a new Ballarat sustainable living group. Last week the Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions group, or BREAZE, was officially formed.

BREAZE president Nick Lanyon said the group was inspired by Daylesford's Hepburn Renewable Energy Association.

If 2500 people can do that, Ballarat, with 90,000 people, should be able to pull something together," Mr Lanyon said. The group also plans to take part in a Clean Up Australia Day project.

"We're working on the concept that we have to take responsibility for our own patch of the planet first before we can call others like India and China to account for their rising energy expenditure," Mr Lanyon said.

We need to put our own climatic and environmental house in order first and then we can work outwards.

"Clean Up Australia Day is a great way of taking direct responsibility for the degradation of our local environment. The clean up will be followed by a picnic, as a reward for all of that hard work." BREAZE is community-based group that takes climate change science seriously and isn't prepared to sit around on our hands while governments dither.

"For ordinary people and businesses who think that climate change is too big a challenge and don't know where to start, BREAZE aims to be a local launching pad for education, research and advice about how to go about reducing emissions to zero." The group formed last Thursday before a talk at the Australia Catholic University by environmentalist John Seed.

About 170 people attended the BREAZE meeting and the talk. Mr Lanyon said other issues the group could explore were transport, organic food and sustainable hones.

Wind plans go on show

Warrnambool Standard
Thursday 15/2/2007 Page: 6

PLANS for a proposed wind farm 10 kilometres north-west of Port Fairy are on exhibit for public comment. The 68-turbine project would be on properties bounding Hamilton-Port Fairy Road, Fingerboard Road and Shaw River and would produce a maximum of 136 megawatts of energy.

A company report on the project said the turbines would stand 121.5 metres high. Output from the Ryans Corner farm would be transferred to the electricity grid through a 32-kilometre overhead power line. It would be connected to a high voltage substation at the site of the proposed Hawkesdale wind farm before connecting into the Moorabool- Heywood 500 kilovolt line.

A yet-to-be-appointed planning panel will hold a hearing on the project before making a recommendation to Planning Minister Justin Madden. Plans and the application for a planning permit can be viewed at Moyne Shire's Port Fairy office and the Department of Sustainability and Environment's Warrnambool office.

Moyne Shire Council planning and environment director Greg Anders yesterday said the council would seek submissions from the community about the Ryans Corner project before forwarding the shire's submission to the Planning Minister by March 26.

Residents will receive a copy of the planning application from the shire this week and have until March 5 to make a submission to council. A submission hearing will be held on March 13 at the Port Fairy Yacht Club before councillors decide on the shire's position at a special meeting on March 20.

Submissions will be forwarded to an independent planning panel which will conduct a hearing and make a recommendation on the project's future.

Wind farm decision encourages developers

Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 15/2/2007 Page: 7

A LANDMARK decision to allow a controversial wind farm at Taralga could mean a proliferation of wind farms in NSW, with at least 18 under development and a further 15 being mooted, say wind energy groups. So far, NSW has only two large wind farms.

The Taralga judgement, handed down on Monday in the NSW Land and Environment Court, upheld a decision by the Planning Minister, Frank Sartor, to approve the $185 million wind farm, despite concerns from residents about wildlife, noise and visual pollution.

The company that will build it, RES Southern Cross, has restarted investment in at least six more NSW sites along the Great Dividing Range. "It's been very difficult to justify investing in those sites because of the uncertainty with Taralga," said the company's commercial director, Colin Liebmann, said yesterday. "It is absolutely true that a decision like this creates a precedent, it makes a big difference.

[Our projects] will happen sooner. We are able to go back to our shareholders and ask them to commit the funds." Mr Liebmann said the Taralga judgement clarified many issues for the planning development, which would make it easier for projects to be assessed. "It means they can make their decisions quicker, process the developments more rapidly, I would hope." Taurus Energy, which has at least three NSW wind farms at various stages of development, expects the Planning Minister to assess its application to build a 15-turbine farm at Cullerin Range in the Southern Tablelands soon.

"It's going toward Sartor on the next couple of days," said its executive director, Martin Poole, adding that the company was now investing in a further nine NSW wind farms.

But the Australian Wind Energy Association's chief executive, Dominique La Fontaine, was cautious. "You can't presume that because of this particular finding that suddenly there will be wind farms everywhere," she said, adding that state and federal renewable energy targets were a more important factor driving the wind energy industry. The Taralga Landscape Guardians, who took the case to the Land and Environment Court, said other rural communities should expect wind farms in their backyard any day now.

"We believe that is was the worst sited wind farm of all the proposals put forward in the last couple of years. If this was can go ahead, not just through the Department of Planning but also through the courts, then everything is fair game," said the Guardians secretary, Martha Grahame.

Pacific Hydro, which is looking to build a 50-turbine farm at Rock Flat Creek, said such comments were "scare-mongering". "These objector groups try to make out there's this goldrush mentality and we're running round trying to get all the land we can, but more often than not it's farmers coming to us looking for ways to make their land more profitable," said a spokesman, Andrew Richards.

Mr Sartor said all development applications would be assessed on their merits, and that the Taralga decision would not speed up the assessment process.

Solar Sales heats up

Business News
Thursday 15/2/2007 Page: 9

Solar Sales chief executive Bob Blakiston believes the time for harnessing the true potential of solar power is near.

In 2007-08, the 25-year old renewable energy company is predicting the trickle of interest in solar power will become a tide in Australia, as both federal and state governments up the ante on greenhouse gas emissions and seek alternative sources of energy to fossil fuels.

Mr Blakiston said the high capital costs of producing solar photovoltaic energy systems would start to come down as early as July, when American PV manufacturer Sun Power Corporation releases a new module which will increase the power of a traditional cell from 210 watts to 315 watts.

The cost of silica, the ingredient used to make the cells, may also come down this year off a high of $230/kilo, due to producers doubling the capacity of operations in the Philippines and China, he said.

"The [solar power] market is not mature enough yet, but the technology is here now. The European, Japanese and US markets are far more advanced in their thinking and have really embraced solar PV as their own." Mr Blakiston said every year the efficiency and output of PV technology improved, but come July the new module would make a significant difference.

Already tapping into the power of solar energy in WA is the Carnarvon solar farm, which last week commissioned Solar Sales to supply the expansion of its facility.

The project will triple the farm's output from its existing 100 kilowatt hours per day to over 300kw hours per day, significantly boosting the levels of power it delivers to Carnarvon's electricity grid from July 2007.

On comparison, one kilowatt of solar PV electricity is believed to be roughly equivalent to a 375ml can of diesel fuel.

Besides supplying solar energy systems to major pastoral, mining and international clients, Solar Sales also designs hybrid renewable energy systems that convert solar and wind energy into electricity.

Business is certainly looking up, to the point where the company is moving to new purpose built 1,300 square metre office and wholesale showroom in Belmont this week. It is also considering establishing a divisional office in Kuala Lumpur. Mr Blakiston said the company was also looking into third party logistics, where it would outsource its warehousing and supply activities.

When it comes to carbon, prevention is better than cure

Thursday 15/2/2007 Page: 10

We should look at work and lifestyle changes to reduce our impact on the environment, writes James Norman.

AMONG the buzz words of our new carbon-conscious world,"carbon offsetting" and the notion of going "carbon neutral" are gaining prolific currency. A whole range of businesses have started in Australia, including Easy Being Green and Green Fleet. They provide frameworks for people and businesses wishing to lower or even neutralise their "carbon footprint".

If the recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is anything to go by, the jury is in that climate change is now indisputably the biggest and most urgent environmental problem the world is facing.

Households, industry and governments should be looking at maximising energy efficiency and using renewable energy. Carbon-neutral programs can, if well designed, promote efficiency and renewable energy by offsetting emissions that we are unable to personally reduce.

Carbon offsetting works by reducing emissions from our lifestyles or work patterns through investments in projects that save energy, such as a technology that allows industry to be more efficient, increasing the generation of renewable energy or planting trees to store carbon dioxide.

In Europe, some commentators have compared carbon offset schemes with the Catholic Church's papal indulgences of the Middle Ages - the notion that it is OK to keep sinning as long as a compensation is paid. The difference with carbon offsets is that, if they are properly administered, the impacts are more tangible in terms of carbon reductions.

But carbon offsets should not be seen as a way of outsourcing guilt - they are only useful as a supplementary measure to more fundamental work and lifestyle changes geared at lowering our overall Ecological Footprint.

Last year, the Australian Conservation Foundation led the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change, calling for a price on carbon to produce cost-effective emission reductions. But until we have the national leadership needed to legislate for this, we can demonstrate personal leadership by voluntarily participating in such programs.

For business and individuals, the cheapest way to reduce greenhouse contributions is to reduce energy use. It's a good deal for the planet and your wallet. On top of limiting our energy use, switching to accredited green power is the next most significant step to reduce carbon emissions. It's easy and inexpensive to switch, and such schemes promote investment in renewable energy such as wind and solar. The more people who make the switch, the cheaper green power will become and the more the technology will be produced in Australia.

ACF, with other environment organisations, has commissioned independent research into electricity products claiming to be green power. The research exposed some products as not contributing to reducing greenhouse emissions or making more clean energy.

Beyond this, carbon offsetting of office or household gas use, and car and plane travel is a positive step to take. If the offsetting schemes are properly audited for their effectiveness with verifiable data, such schemes are a good way of supplementing more fundamental lifestyle changes.

Experience has taught us that carbon-offsetting schemes should be considered individually on their merit. They should not be used to replace one problem with another. For example, buying the most carbon-polluting vehicle on the market and then justifying it through offsetting schemes is problematic, because it is in effect adding to our carbon problem despite making short-term commitments to offset that damage.

It is important to remember that even if we offset the purchase of such vehicles, there is no guarantee that its ongoing use by a different owner will be offset into the future if the vehicle is sold on the secondhand market. The better alternative is to buy vehicles that are energy efficient from the outset.

The wider economic equity issues associated with carbon offsetting are not so clear-cut. There is a natural cap on the number of people who will invest in carbon offset schemes because of their cost. Moreover, while a flat carbon tax may be economically regressive on social equity grounds, a voluntary scheme may provide a good pathway for a mandatory scheme in the future that factors in economic disparities.

The bigger point here is that governments should be helping mainstream consumers to reduce their energy consumption, and helping all socio-economic groups to move towards a carbon-constrained world.

The Australian Conservation Foundation broadly supports offsetting schemes as a positive step towards overall carbon emissions reduction - but it is important to qualify that support. ACF has always argued that in regard to carbon and pollution levels, prevention is better than cure.

James Norman is communications adviser with the Australian Conservation Foundation.

ACF will host a free public debate at the BMW Edge at Federation Square from 6-7.30pm tomorrow. Speakers include:
  • Don Henry (ACT executive director),
  • Alan Pears (adjunct professor, environment and planning, RMIT University),
  • Petrea Bradford (manager, carbon market, Origin Energy),
  • Philip Sutton (president, sustainable living foundation),
  • Tosh Szatow (policy officer, Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre),
  • Tim Cadman (researcher, school of government, University of Tasmania).

Environment a fresh focus

Great Southern Star
Tuesday 6/2/2007 Page: 13

Bruce Beatson has been a dairy farmer in Toora for 40 years and has now moved into beef and alpacas. He says that he has come to a point where he can see the environmental impact on the world by humans. He believes this new approach to environmental issues would have begun to change only within the past 20 years.

Since childhood Bruce has subscribed to National Geographic and yet he says his concerns for the environment have grown only recently.

On his farm in Toora, Bruce had barely planted a tree until 10 years ago and today has planted around 32,000 trees in areas that he saw as less productive as others. This is something he says other farmers could do with land that is perhaps not as financially productive: that is, utilise the land from an environmental aspect.

Bruce has been highly involved in the community, being a director of Bonlac Foods from 1988 until 2000, has been president of the United Dairy Farmers Victoria and is a director of the Bendigo Community Bank in Toora. He is also manager of the Dollar Wind Farm Information Centre.

Climate change hots up

Great Southern Star
Tuesday 6/2/2007 Page: 13

Toora farmer Bruce Beatson says climate change is something we need to take action against now. Presenting on climate change at a South Gippsland Shire Council public briefing on Wednesday, Mr Beatson said changes to managing environmental conditions are vital and overdue.

"I have been a farmer for 40 years and in that time I have had a blatant disregard for environmental issues and concerns, but I have come to a point in my life where I see the devastating effects of such attitudes," Mr Beatson said. Having come full circle on environmental ideas and issues, Mr Beatson has spent three days in Sydney as part of a workshop with former American politician and environmental campaigner Al Gore.

The council briefing was organised as part of the Australian Conservation Foundation's Al Gore Climate Project. The project will see the Toora farmer travel around the region for the next 12 months to brief communities on the plight of the planet.

The presentation included footage of glaciers showing significant reductions of ice and snow, indicating the planet is warming up. "Ice core temperatures taken by scientific means show a direct link between their temperature and the effects of global warming," Mr Beatson said.

It is our current use of fossil fuels and the build-up of carbon dioxide that he says will lead to a serious global warming problem. "We just have to look at the decline in current rain patterns within our own South Gippsland area to see that there are problems," Mr Beatson said.

A CSIRO rain study has shown that rainfall has dropped due to tree-clearing but Mr Beatson says rain levels are continuing to decline. " South Gippsland was once known to have rain nine year and then rain would drop from trees for the remaining three months, but that kind of reputation just does not equate today," Mr Beatson said.

He doesn't agree with the theory of drought cycles either, and believes there are too many global indicators towards climate change, with serious consequences. "All life forms from the tropics to the arctic regions will be affected," Mr Beatson said. Increased temperatures will increase vector populations contributing to infectious disease spread and water levels will rise, affecting settlements of both low lying cities and island nations.

Renewable energy is something that Mr Beatson feels strongly about and as manager of the Dollar Wind Farm Information Centre he is playing an active role. "Solar energy is something that we were once world leaders in and now we are failing, we should be leaders in it," Mr Beatson said.

Environmental issues can be complicated when a salary is dependent on them but this doesn't have to be the case. "The issues surrounding climate change can be difficult to understand when a salary depends on it, but they do not have to be economically based," Mr Beatson said.

"The solution to global warming will be in our approach to greenhouse gas emissions. "We need to commit ourselves to lowering these levels, and lead the world in solar power and other renewable energies.".

Mr Beatson also believes that more can be done within the household, by extending renewable energy to homes and industry. Homes can be made more energy efficient, with transport also having the potential to be made clean. "CFCs were able to be out-dated in the 1980s so there is great opportunity to go further now:' Mr Beatson said.

With current approaches to renewable energy becoming a public concern, Mr Beatson says there is no reason why in the western world people should be able to refuse a renewable energy source in their area. "Whether it is solar, tidal, geothermal, or wind, these should be all looked at equally for our children's future. Otherwise there will be no future" Mr Beatson said.

Mr Beatson views current problems as being so important that there is no longer time for talking, but for action. "The past 12 years have shown a massive shift in people's ideas towards the environment, so the next 12 months should be an interesting period;' Mr Beatson said.

Mr Beatson also will present an extended version of his slide show to a public audience at the Dakers Centre in Leongatha on Friday, February 16 at 7:30pm.

Costs will be $5 for adults and $2 for children. A Poowong venue will be organised as an upcoming event.

THE time for talk is over.

Bay Post
Friday 9/2/2007 Page: 10
Editorial opinion

After a decade of dire warnings, and with stark evidence now in our faces, we all have to take action on climate change. That means everyone. Individuals can conserve energy by switching off lights and appliances, walking or cycling to the local shops instead of driving, pooling cars and making informed choices when it comes to both spending and voting. Choosing products that have not involved huge amounts of energy to manufacture will, in time, make a difference.

And voting for politicians who can deliver more than hot air on climate change will also make a difference - a lot more quickly. If the best the Prime Minister can come up with as a solution for climate change is nuclear energy - a costly, dangerous and resource-hungry alternative - we really need to ask whether he is the best person to lead us into this time of peril.

The renewable energy sources we have in abundance in this country are sunshine and wind, yet apart from one recent and very hasty commitment to pursue solar power, there has been little by way of Government support.

And it was only last year the Federal Government put the kybosh on a wind farm in Victoria because there was a one-in-100-year chance the rare orange-bellied parrot would fly into its turbines. That decision has since been overturned. We deserve better than this ad hoc approach to what is potentially the biggest threat to our existence in living memory.

If you want to play a part, be on Broulee's South Beach at 12.30pm on March 17 and join the Clean Energy for Eternity campaign. The future is in your hands.

Wind Works
  • ON the subject of climate change, more or less, it was interesting to find in a UK newspaper a story about the granting by the UK Government of a licence to build the world's largest offshore wind farm in the Thames estuary.
  • Twenty kilometres off the coast, it will have 341 turbines. Another, with 100 turbines, is proposed further south. They'll save the atmosphere from a couple of million tonnes of carbon dioxide that would be emitted producing a similar amount of electricity and provide power for two million homes. It is estimated that within 20 years 20 per cent of Britain's electricity will be produced by wind power. It might be added, that 75 per cent of France's electricity is produced by nuclear means, with a lot of the rest coming from water power.

Thursday 15 February 2007

Wind farm study under way

Bacchus Marsh - Express Telegraph
Tuesday 13/2/2007 Page: 1

Lal Lal farmer Geoff Fisken believes a wind farm - the first in Moorabool Shire - will "drought-proof' his property as the effects of the big dry continue to worsen. Mr Fisken told the Express Telegraph last week he was approached by Westwind Energy last year with plans to build a wind farm that would take up just over one-third of his 2200-hectare farm.

Westwind also wants to build a second farm in Elaine. Mr Fisken would not confirm how many turbines would be built on his property. It would be a "significant number" but less than 50, he said. Mr Fisken said the proposal was "still full of ifs and buts" and environmental studies were being completed.

"My understanding is that if everything goes well and [Westwind] get planning approval from the Government, the earliest we would see [turbines built] would be early next year." The subject of wind farms has been a contentious one in Moorabool. Two wind farm proposals - the most recent in Yaloak near Ballan - were rejected by the community when consultation by an independent panel found little support.

In 2004, Moorabool was identified by the CSIRO as one of 12 municipalities in Victoria with significant areas of high wind speeds.

An independent panel examining the Yaloak proposal found that a 70-generator wind farm should not go ahead because it would endanger the local wedgetail eagle population and affect the landscape and visual amenity.

Mr Fisken said most of his neighbours were "quite supportive" of the wind farm, but admitted there were some who were concerned about views. "I don't think anybody in the country can say that their view is going to stay the same forever.

"You might get a neighbour who builds a house and all of a sudden you have a house in your view." He said that although propping up his decreasing farm income was a big factor in his support for the wind farm proposal, the need for renewable energy was also important.

"It is another source of income for us because the drought has certainly placed pressure on our finances and our ability to earn income. "I just look at it like we farm sheep, cattle and crops - now we are farming the wind. It's another diversification." "In a perfect world, if we were all making plenty of money out of crops and livestock, we might not want to have the wind towers there.

"But its not a perfect world. We need to be looking at renewable energy and we need to be looking to the future of our farms and our farming families," Mr Fisken said. He would not confirm how much he stood to make from the venture, but said it would "more then compensate" for the loss of production due to the turbines and drought.

Westwind will complete environmental studies in the coming months before the proposal goes to the State Government.

Solar farm to set Australian record

Northern Guardian
Wednesday 14/2/2007 Page: 3

THE Carnarvon Solar Farm is to be expanded to become Australia's largest privately owned solar photovoltaic energy utility. The expansion will triple the Carnarvon Solar Farm power output from its existing 100 kilowatt hours a day to more than 300 kilowatt hours a day.

Perth-based renewable energy company Solar Sales Pty Ltd announced last Friday it had been appointed as the major supplier to the innovative expansion project. Solar Sales chief executive officer Bob Blakiston said the project was in line with the State Government's decision to increase usage of renewable energy to lower the State's greenhouse gas emissions.

The project formed part of the company's commitment to developing the State's important renewable energy sector. "The State Government has announced its commitment to purchase 20 per cent of its electricity requirements from renewable energy sources by 2010 and Solar Sales intends to help the private sector meet this target," Mr Blakiston said.

Solar Sales is one of Australia's longest established solar energy system suppliers and is also involved in the design of hybrid renewable energy systems that convert solar and wind energy into electricity. "Solar Sales has already secured a 55 per cent rebate for the existing installation in Carnarvon and looks forward to maximising opportunities provided by the Government's further commitment," Mr Blakiston said.

The Carnarvon Solar Farm's founding owner Lex Fullarton is enthused that the expansion would triple the facility's existing 15 kilowatt capacity. "Upon completion in July this year, the upgraded 45 kilowatt facility is expected to significantly boost the levels of power it delivers to Carnarvon's electricity grid," he said.

`The Solar Farm is already generating more than 100 kilowatts a day and the expansion will see its output tripled." Mr Fullarton believed the geographical position of Carnarvon made it an ideal location for solar energy and the high uptake of photovoltaic panels in the area reflected that.

"The Carnarvon Shire Council now plans to install solar photovoltaic panels to power its entire depot, and many private residents are also reaping the benefits of solar power. "Not only is it clean, green power, but it makes sense financially."

Renewable energy projects can now compete economically with fossil fuels, dispelling one of the major misconceptions about the sector. "In comparison, one kilowatt of solar photovoltaic electricity is roughly equivalent to a 375ml can of diesel - which means last year my solar farm has saved 30,000 cans of diesel. "The project and its overwhelming State and local government support demonstrate the increasing confidence in the reliability and efficiency of solar energy.

Tuesday 13 February 2007

Global warming is here and is real.

Earth & Sky

Guest post from Colin Price, a professor in the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science at Tel Aviv University.

The Earth has a fever! When we get a fever our body temperature rise by 1-2 degrees, and we feel pretty rotten. We stay at home, don't want to talk to anyone, we are cranky, and we behave strangely. That fever is relative to our average body temperature of 37C (you will have to translate Celsius to Fahrenheit if you wish). Well, the Earth has a similar fever of 1 C at the moment, relative to its average temperature of 15 C. And similar to our bodies that start acting strange when we have a fever, the Earth is also starting to show signs of irritability, strange behaviour, which we are noticing through changes in the weather and climate.

The facts are that the temperatures observed today and during the last few decades are the highest they have been for at least 1000 years if not longer (we don't have accurate data further than that). Furthermore, the concentration of greenhouse gases that are known to absorb heat emitted from the Earth's surface are now the highest we have seen in at least 600 thousand years, and likely longer (we have no data going back further in time). If you don't trust the temperature data, take a look outside. 95% of all mountain glaciers around the world are melting and receding. The Greenland ice sheet is dramatically losing mass (ice) due to melting, while the summer Arctic sea ice is continuously shrinking every year.


Go-ahead given for wind farm

Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 13/2/2007 Page: 7

CONSTRUCTION of a wind farm in the historic township of Taralga is due to begin early next year, after the Land and Environment Court yesterday ruled the controversial project may proceed. The judgement upheld the decision of the Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, to approve the $185 million project, 45 kilometres west of Goulburn.

Locals concerned about noise, visual pollution and impact on wildlife appealed against that decision, made in January last year. Martha Graham, of the resident action group Taralga Landscape Guardians, said the town would keep up the fight.

"We still believe this is a completely inappropriate place to put a wind farm," she said. "They shouldn't be in full view of an historic town and right on people's property boundaries and within earshot of people." The judgement is a double defeat for the residents because the court allows for an even bigger wind farm than that originally approved by the minister.

"Ironically, it would appear that the original consent granted, for 54 turbines, is less than what the court has given," Mr Sartor said. Yesterday's judgement allows 69 turbines. "That may be a lesson to people that appeal against wind farms." Justice Preston ruled that the public benefit of a major renewable energy source outweighed residents' private concerns.

The company planning to build the project, RES Southern Cross, expects it will be finished within two years. Its commercial director, Colin Liebmann, said it could produce enough energy to power 40,000 homes.

Moyne calls for layout changes to windfarm

Hamilton Spectator
Tuesday 6/2/2007 Page: 3

Gamesa, the wind farm company wanting to develop the 31-turbine Hawkesdale wind farm, will try to work out whether it can meet a request from Moyne Shire Council to alter the windfarms' layout.

It plans to talk to two neighbouring objectors to see whether a number of planned towers need to - and can be - moved elsewhere on the proposed wind farm site. If they can't, then it will argue for its original proposal before a planning panel expected to he appointed by Planning Minister, Justin Madden, and hope it agrees with a 150 metre setback.

At its January meeting, the majority of shire councillors backed the $145 million wind farm
- but they wanted a 500 metre setback from the two objectors' properties rather than the 150 metre setback originally proposed. A 500 metre setback would affect the siting of six of the 31 towers.

Gamesa's project manager, Neil Weston, told the Spectator his company would give careful thought to the request from Moyne Shire. "We will look at what that means and who we need to work with to ensure the viability of the project," he said.

There were four objectors - but Mr Weston said the six turbines in question would affect only two of them. "We will have to look at whether we can work further with the landowners to resolve some their complaints, or we can look at remodelling the layout," he said on Thursday.

"They (shire) aren't proposing there should be a 500 metre setback all round the proposed wind farm - just on the properties of two objectors. "In my point of view, that's a somewhat interesting way of doing things," Mr West said. "We have had a number of discussions with both the (objecting) neighbours at various times, and we will continue those discussions.

"If nothing has changed between now and when a planning panel sits, then that (setback) will be considered by the panel. The shire's submission will be one of a number of submissions considered by a panel." While disappointed at the move for an increased setback, Mr Weston said Gamesa was delighted it had received the overall backing of the shire.

The 31 turbines will be set on seven properties across 2280 hectares. They are primarily along the Penshurst-Warrnambool Rd four kilometres south of Hawkesdale, and along the Woolsthorpe-Heywood Rd.

The wind farm would inject about $1 million annually into the Hawkesdale and regional economy, while Moyne Shire could expect about $100,000 in rate revenue annually.

Wind farm approved

Canberra Times
Tuesday 13/2/2007 Page: 2

The NSW Land and Environment Court of NSW has given the go ahead for the construction of a windfarm at Taralga, north of Goulburn. The court ruled that the overall public benefits of the windfarm outweighed the down sides either to the Taralga community or individual landowners. RES Southern Cross will construct and operate 69 wind turbines.

Saving precious water at the flick of a switch

February 12, 2007
By Tim Flannery

What is the best way to save water? You might be surprised to learn that turning off the light can help. It takes enormous quantities of water to generate Australia's electricity.

That's because we're so dependent on old-fashioned coal-fired power stations. For every megawatt of power they generate, they take two tonnes of water (and produce one to 11/2 tonnes of carbon dioxide and lesser amounts of greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide).

For a city such as Sydney, so great is the power demand that a fifth of the city's water needs is consumed by electricity generation. That water is used in steam generation and cooling. Nuclear power uses lots of water too. Those ominous, steaming towers that most of us associate with nuclear power plants are in fact cooling towers, and it is water vapour, not radiation, that they emit.

Coal-fired power stations often have a lake of warm water nearby. That's the residue of water left from cooling the plant. In cold regions such as Gippsland they steam in winter, and as legends of the bunyip abound in the same regions, the warm ponds have an eerie feel about them

There are, of course, technologies that can generate electricity using less water than conventional coal, or no water at all. The newest two of Queensland's coal-fired power plants are air-cooled, so while they still generate greenhouse gases, they don't use precious water. Modern gas-fired power plants use just one tonne of water for each megawatt of electricity generated, and far less carbon dioxide than coal, so switching to them is a great step forward.

But wind, solar and hydro power don't use any water at all, and none of these technologies generates greenhouse gases in producing electricity. Some kinds of geothermal energy (such as that found in central Australia) also use no water, and none generates greenhouse gases. Hastening the uptake of any of these technologies can thus help ease the water crisis.

There's no need to install solar panels to help save water (though that helps significantly). Buying a green energy option can do a great deal, and it is cheaper. Given that it takes around a megawatt of power to provide electricity to 600 homes, by either switching to green power, or by saving electricity, you can do a great deal to save water.

All around Australia our water crisis is growing so desperate that the managers of the old-fashioned, coal-fired clunkers face enormous problems in sourcing water. In NSW, dam levels have fallen so low that the remaining water has become too salty to be used to cool the power plants, so managers are having to invest in a type of desalination.

And everywhere coal-fired power plants are trying to source recycled water for cooling. On the face of it, this sounds like a great idea, but recycled water is valuable stuff, and will become increasingly valuable in future. Should we really allow it to be used in such prodigious quantity to keep the old clunkers going?

In future, the rising price of water, and the need to resort to technologies such as desalination, must drive up the price of the electricity generated using this technology, which will make the renewables more competitive. This means that the old-fashioned, coal-fired power plants are being caught in a pincer movement that must inevitably hasten their decommissioning.

Given the enormous problems we face in managing water, and in combating climate change, it may be best to face the issue of their decommissioning now, rather than wait until the ever-drier heavens forces the issue.

Tim Flannery is the 2007 Australian of the Year.

Monday 12 February 2007

Council listens to dire warning on climate change

Wednesday 7/2/2007 Page: 9

BRUCE Beatson's presentation to South Gippsland Shire Council last Wednesday on the Australian Conservation Foundation's Al Gore Climate Project was timely.

The Toora farmer's presentation coincided with the week in which the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released in Paris the first volume of its fourth assessment report, 'The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change.' According to this significant weather forecast, the world is likely to warm by up to four degrees Celsius by the end of this century as a result of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused by human activity.

Mr Beatson, who is currently the Manager of the Dollar Wind Farm Information Centre, spoke eloquently of his changing attitude to life on the land and his deepening concern about global warning and the need for communities to understand it and take action in the interests of future generations.

He attended a threeday seminar/workshop in Sydney last November at which he committed to present the Power Point project featured in former US Vice-President Al Gore's film 'An Inconvenient Truth' across this region during the next twelve months. He is one of 85 presenters of the project.

Mr Beatson began with a photograph of planet Earth taken from space and showing the thin layer of atmosphere encircling the planet, its fragility threatened, he said, by global warming.

"We're slowly and certainly warming the planet," said Mr Beatson, showing photographs depicting changes in climatic features of the Earth over the years, such as fewer glaciers and significantly less snow even on the highest peaks in the fifty years from the 1930s to the 1980s.

As well as providing photographic evidence of global warming, Mr Beatson quoted statistics. He said the hottest years recorded on Earth have all occurred in the last ten years, with 2005 the hottest on record (the figures for 2006 are as yet unavailable, but could well eclipse those of 2005), and said that ocean temperatures have been rising, too.

"As climate changes the impact goes right through to all of us," said Mr Beatson. He explained that hurricanes and tornadoes increased in intensity as oceans heated up and said that the number of hurricanes in the world had increased significantly in recent years, causing havoc where they struck.

He spoke of the threat to polar bears as the ice flows at the North Pole decreased, the bleaching of coral reefs as the oceans warmed, and the rise in sea levels as the world warmed and ice caps melted. "The potential if we do nothing is this," said Mr Beatson, showing a photograph of a half-submerged Melbourne CBD.

He attributed global warming to three major factors - the population explosion the world has seen in recent years, the scientific and technological revolution which has led to a massive increase in power generation and hence damaging emissions and, thirdly, our way of thinking.

Pre-empting the doubters, Mr Beatson said he wished to clear up three misconceptions.
  • He said that contrary to what some people argued, scientists were agreed that the problem of global warming was real. The facts were in all the reputable scientific journals.
  • He said that there was no need to make a choice between the environment and the economy, as many company executives were already realising.
  • His third point was that the problem was not too big to handle.
"[The solution] is achievable and affordable," he said, outlining some of the many steps that could be taken by nations, governments, individuals - and by local councils such as South Gippsland.

"It's time that we all started taking action," concluded Mr Beatson, hopeful that there will be some massive shifts in opinion and positive ideas for action expressed over the next 12 months as he continues to give his presentation.

Mayor Jennie Deane thanked Mr Beatson for his presentation and assured him that Council took its environmental responsibilities seriously. She said council worked closely with South Gippsland Water on water issues and a staff member was allocated to issues of water, drought and climate change. "We look seriously at environmental issues and are trying to become as informed as possible," she said.

State watch

Murray Valley Standard
Thursday 8/2/2007 Page: 9

SA WIND POWER: South Australia's latest wind farm will be connected to the state's electricity network by ElectraNet. ElectraNet is to construct and operate a new 132,000 volt substation and a 2.5 kilometre transmission line from the windfarm to the existing 132,000 volt Bungama-Hummocks transmission line. The wind farm will produce sufficient electricity to power about 60,000 households.

Wind is the key: expert

Geelong Advertiser
Friday 9/2/2007 Page: 5

WATER and wind - the two staples of Geelong's coastline could be married in a bid to solve the region's drought woes, according to experts.

As the Surf Coast shapes as a likely home to Victoria's potential desalination plant, engineers have warned a new energy source would need to power the project, prompting renewed discussion about wind technology.

Engineer Brian Radford said wind farm power would be an ideal source for the desalination plant as there would be little point building a plant which used environmentally unfriendly power to drive it.

"(Desalination) is horses for courses essentially and it has issues associated with getting rid of brine - concentrated salt - now that has to be done in an environmentally sustainable way," said Mr Radford, Earth Tech engineering and consulting general manager.

"My personal opinion on wind farms is anything that helps reduce greenhouse emissions is a good thing." He said any such development would need to pass a triple bottom line test to ensure it was socially, economically and environmentally viable.

To indicate how power hungry desalination plants are, a recently commissioned plant for Western Australia will use enough energy to power 30,000 household. The $378 million desalination plant at Kwinana- will supply Perth with 17 per cent of its water needs and while it draws on the state's power grid for energy, the state's water authority has argued a new wind farm 200 kilometres away puts enough power into the grid to power the project.

Mr Radford said the Surf Coast would have the room for a wind farm without necessarily impacting on residential areas. He said it would come down to a debate but "there is no point in not having the debate".

Another water expert, Geelong-based GHD senior civil engineer Brian Ashworth, agreed a desalination plant would have to generate a new power source to prevent additional carbon discharge. But he said the community's objection to wind farms may be a problem in pursuing the concept.

"For a desalination plant, you're talking a lot of wind (turbines) not just one or two scattered over a few kilometres of the countryside," Mr Ashworth said. He said the wind farm would still need to be backed up by an alternative power source.

$80m wind farm deal

Hobart Mercury
Saturday 10/2/2007 Page: 19

TASMANIAN-BASED wind power company Roaring 40's will construct an $80 million wind farm in China in a joint venture with the China Datang Corporation.

The 50 megawatt wind farm in Jilin Province takes to three the number of developments undertaken by the company in China. Roaring 40's is the developer and builder and will retain a 49 per cent share of the wind faun. It will get revenue from power sold and the Clean Development Mechanism payments under the Kyoto Protocol. Building will start soon with generation expected by the end of the year.

The Chinese company has plans to commission 2000 megawatts of wind energy by 2010 including a 1000 megawatt farm at Xiangyang, with Roaring 40's. Roaring 40's, which had revenue of more than $20 million last year, is a joint venture between Hydro Tasmania and China Light and Power.

$80m wind farm to China

Launceston Examiner
Saturday 10/2/2007 Page: 12

THE Hydro Tasmania joint venture Roaring 40s has secured a lucrative $80 million contract with the China Datang Corporation. The deal to develop the second phase of a 200MW wind farm development in China follows last week's successful trade visit to the State by CDT's president Zhai Ruoyo.

Energy minister David Llewellyn, who was in China to witness the deal, said it was Roaring 40s' third major Chinese contract. CDT is China's largest power generator with assets of more than $12 billion and a total generation capacity of more than 50,000MW. Roaring 40s is already working on the company's 58-turbine Shuangliao Wind Farm in the Jilin Province.

The deal came as Premier Paul Lennon announced new hope for the future of wind generation in Tasmania. Mr Lennon said a new Declaration on Climate Change, signed by all State Labor leaders at a meeting in Sydney yesterday, could provide a boost for investment in renewable energy, even if the Commonwealth refused to come on board.

"The states and territories are committed to working together on developing a responsible emissions trading scheme, regardless of whether the Commonwealth chooses to be involved," Mr Lennon said.

While in Sydney the Premier also attended Prime Minister John Howard's summit on water where he gained an assurance Tasmania would not be left out of the Commonwealth's $10 billion national water plan.

Climate report can't be ignored

Bendigo Advertiser
Saturday 10/2/2007 Page: 18

THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed recently that global warming was a reality, and that the burning of fossil fuels during the past 250 years, together with the destruction of tropical rainforests, was largely to blame for increases in atmospheric temperatures. If emissions of carbon dioxide continue at present rates, the panel says, the result will be rising sea levels, more powerful tropical storms and more intense droughts in sub-tropical countries.

The more than 2000 scientists who contributed to the report conclude that there is a more than 90 per cent certainty that global warming is directly attributable to increased greenhouse gas emissions. The report may be the most definitive assessment yet of climate change, but it hasn't convinced everyone that the situation is as grave as the panel says.

Making long-term predictions is fraught with uncertainty, but it is fair to say that our understanding of climate change has advanced somewhat in 30 years. For those who do accept the report's findings, the picture painted by the panel is alarming, but not without hope.

It suggests that the process can be slowed and the worst effects averted if quick and decisive action is taken now to limit and reverse emissions. But for all its claims that it appreciates the gravity of the problem, the government is showing little real leadership.

Other than a major commitment to funding clean coal technology (and a half-hearted commitment to funding research into renewable energy), this government refuses to back any remedial measures that carry the threat of job losses.

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has called for a national summit on climate change, and although Howard might call it an empty talkfest, it's the government that is running the risk of having too little to say on climate change.

What do you think? Write a letter to the editor, or e-mail editors

Daylesford energy to create power locally

Ballarat Courier
Monday 12/2/2007 Page: 6

THE proposed Leonards Hill wind farm will feature at tomorrow night's Hepburn Shire Council draft agenda meeting. The council has a recommendation before it to grant a planning permit but must also weigh up submissions from 18 objectors and 325 supporters of the project. The Courier's deputy editor Nick Higgins looks at the issue

SOME years ago Daylesford builder Per Bernard went to a public forum in Dean hosted by a large wind energy company. He didn't like what he heard. He sensed the community felt it was being dictated to and that the company had held the meeting only because it was a government requirement. As he and some fellow Daylesford residents drove home they talked about the possibilities of wind power. Each still felt wind energy had a future, but if renewable energy projects were to go ahead they would need community support.

Mr Bernard came to Australia from Denmark. where he had seen the roll-out of wind energy.

"One of our neighbours, a wholesale nursery person was one of the first in Denmark to install a larger wind turbine and everybody thought he was crazy. "He borrowed a lot of money, but within five years I think he paid back the loan from the extra electricity that he was producing above what he was using in his wholesale nursery - but of course in those five years a lot of other people learned how well a large wind turbine could help both financially and energy-wise.

"Denmark became the developer if you like, of small-scale community-owned windfarms, instead of what we're used to here in Australia where wind farms are fairly large in terns of the number of turbines. In Denmark the wind fare can be one turbine, maybe a couple or three because they are owned and developed by local communities.

"In most examples the size of the wind fare simply matches the needs of the community." Mr Bernard decided that approach could work at Daylesford. A small group of residents set up the Hepburn Renewable Energy Association with the aim of building a small-scale wind farm.

"So with the available wind, we have chosen two turbines of two megawatts each. A four megawatt system with the available wind will provide the equivalent amount of power that the 2000 to 2500 households in the area are using," he said.

The group is driven by a desire to act on lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The two wind turbines will cost the group $8 million, no small sum for a non-profit organisation with just over 400 members. Financial help has already arrived in the form of a $1 million grant from the Victorian Government. The association also enlisted the help of a Melbourne-based renewable energy company called Future Energy.

"We asked Future Energy to find good sites within 10km. "All the hills within 10km, except Leonards Hill, are in a significant landscape overlay which is a planning overlay that's done between Hepburn Shire and the Victorian Government and it's to protect all the hills." The association had hoped to have several sites to choose from, but in the end the choice was Leonards Hill or no hill at all.

"That was one flaw in our project, because we couldn't get the community to choose, we had to tell the community which one and while the reason was fine, it didn't allow the community to choose. "Now the only choice the community had was 'do we want it or not?"' The owners of the land are willing to accommodate the turbines and have agreed to a 25-year lease.

Mr Bernard said wind farms generate significant amounts of power in Denmark and the power grid has been modified to use it more effectively.

"The average Danish wind input is about 20 per cent. The wind industry in Denmark does occasionally provide up to 95 per cent of energy use. "Australia is far from being able to do something like that, partly because of the way our grid is built. But as Denmark's renewable energy generation has been rolled out over many years, the grid has been slightly changed to accommodate that.

"The baseload providers are much more flexible in Denmark and Germany, so typically whilst Denmark and Germany still use coal they are much more efficient and working at making it much more efficient.

"They also have a large generation capacity from gas. Gas is much more instantaneous, just like a gas hot water service, in being switched on and off on demand. "Denmark is now spending a huge amount of money.. . in decentralising energy. "It's not a natter of either/or, it's a matter of getting coal generated electricity as efficient and pollution free as possible. And starting to blend in all the other types of electricity generation we can think of to develop.

He said most Danish households were connected to broadband Internet and over the next 10 years there were plans to use it to monitor peak demands in electricity, which would allow instant switching on or off of various types of power generation.

"So baseload becomes less and less an issue, while it will always be an issue the more energy you have embedded in the local community, dependency on the baseload is lessened." Mr Bernard said the other significant part of the equation was getting people to use less energy.

Part of the profits from the proposed wind farm will go to community projects, which could include programs to cut energy use. The association is in the process of creating a co-operative that will own and operate the turbines.

The Leonards Hill proposal:
  • Height of wind turbine towers: 68m
  • Blade length: 41 m
  • Blade tips move at up to 250kmh
  • Revolutions per minute: 15
  • Project cost: $8 million
  • State Government funding: $1 million
  • Cables from the turbines will run underground to the electricity
  • grid and no substation will be required.
  • There are no homes within 500m of the turbines, but 18 homes within 1km.

Sunday 11 February 2007

Ahead in the Clouds
Science and Technology

Susan Solomon helped patch the ozone hole. Now, as a leader of a major United Nations report—out this month—she's going after global warming.

This month, when the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization release their first major report on global climate change in six years, two things are likely to happen. Some people will dismiss it. And Susan Solomon will grow hoarse explaining why they shouldn't.

A no-nonsense 51-year-old atmospheric chemist, she's a co-leader of the massive new study, along with Qin Dahe, a climatologist from the China Meteorological Administration in Beijing. Solomon will become the public face of the U.N. report, in charge of presenting the best scientific thinking on the subject of global warming and the evidence that it is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. "The science is strong," she says,"and we'll be presenting a consensus view."

To reach that consensus, Solomon logged more than 400,000 air miles over the past four years and held dozens of meetings with the report's more than 500 authors. "This much I can say: the climate is changing and quite noticeably," she says shortly before the report is released. In her paper- and book-crammed office at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, she suggests that policy makers (and the rest of us) have reached a critical moment in our dealings with, or failings to deal with, climate change: "The effects will vary from region to region, and the challenge that society will face is to get people to think beyond their own backyards and to make judgments about the risks they're willing to take."

Maybe as the climate continues to warm, the ice caps won't melt; maybe a rising sea level will be offset by some other unforeseen event. She's reminded of the scene in Dirty Harry in which the cop played by Clint Eastwood confronts a criminal: "You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" Solomon says,"That's what we as a society have to decide. Will we choose to go down the same path, or will we make some changes in our behaviors? You could say that the gun of climate change is pointed at us. So, how lucky do we feel?"


Energy Expo on climate change

Cooma Monaro Express
Tuesday 6/2/2007 Page: 4

THE Snowy Mountains' Renewable Energy and Climate Change Expo is set to educate and inform when it is held this weekend. The Expo will promote renewable energy and raise awareness of climate change with presentations, stalls and displays.

Friends of Renewable Energy spokesperson Rashida Nuridin said the Expo would be an ideal opportunity for people to gather information on climate change issues at the one location. "This is an incredibly important issue and everyone should find out how to address climate change as individuals," said Ms Nuridin.

"It's critical that people come along because there is a lot of misunderstanding about climate change and the Expo will provide an opportunity for the public to come along and find out all sorts of things they can do to tackle climate change.

"It's excellent even for the sceptics to come along to see the experts holding stalls, hear the speakers and gather plenty of information," she said.

Bruce Beatson and Trish Harrup - both Al Gore accredited speakers - will give a Powerpoint presentation of An Inconvenient Truth highlighting climate change from an Australian perspective. There will also be a lot of information provided by different organisations, government bodies and environmental groups including Greenpeace and the Australian Conservation Foundation.

"There will also be lots of solar and wind turbine displays, as well as sustainable building products and the opportunity to see what electric cars and scooters look like," said Trish Harrup.

The Expo is a free event and will be held in Banjo Paterson Park, Jindabyne this Sunday, February 11, from 9am until 3pm.

Wind farm gathers momentum

Port Augusta Transcontinental
Wednesday 7/2/2007 Page: 2

Plans for a $240 million wind farm near Port Augusta are gathering momentum, with construction to begin in June. The developers, Wind Energy Solutions, have been prospecting Australia for five years and believe they have found the perfect location for the wind farm about 15 kilometres west of Port Augusta. The site is located just off the Eyre Highway at Lincoln Gap.

The wind farm is expected to provide pollution free renewable energy to the region, however the company is still waiting on final approval from the Federal Government, which they believe are "dragging the chain".

The wind farm will cover an area of five kilometres long by nine kilometres wide, with 59 two megawatt turbines. The site has been chosen because of its strong and constant wind regimes and close proximity to populated areas and power grids.

Work begins on huge windfarm

Ballarat Courier
Friday 9/2/2007 Page: 5

PRELIMINARY work on a massive 128-turbine windfarm in Waubra is well underway. Earthworks, construction of access tracks and foundation excavations are being undertaken in preparation for work to begin on the base of the wind turbines.

Acciona Energy Oceania construction manager Bruce Payne said it was a huge job, but when completed the windfarm would be the biggest in Victoria. He said about 60 workers were on site, of whom about 30 were from the region. The windfarm is expected to be completed in late 2008 at a cost of about $400 million. Work on the foundations are expected to be completed in August.

Ballarat business Eureka Concreting will begin work on the wind turbine bases in the next two to three weeks. Eureka Concrete plant manager Wayne Walton said about 40,000 cubic metres of concrete would be used to complete the job. "It's a big industrial job with 300 metre pours in each hole," he said.

Mr Walton said the concreting would take about eight months and the base of each wind turbine would include 100 tonnes of steel and 600 tonnes of concrete. A mobile concreting plant has been set up on site and will be dismantled when the job is finished. This is a fantastic job for Ballarat, they're using a lot of local people," Mr Walton said.

The project will generate 192 megawatts from turbines on land leased from farmers. The site is set on a series of hills that form part of the Great Dividing Range and was identified as having the best inland wind resource in Victoria.