Friday 9 March 2007

Giant turbines reducing greenhouse gases

Yorke Peninsula Country Times - Kadina
Tuesday 6/3/2007 Page: 5

Located about 20 kilometres along the Birdseye Highway between Cowell and Cleve is Tarong Energy's $130 million Mount Millar Wind Farm. The 35 turbines stand along the range that runs parallel to the highway and can be seen from many kilometres away. A viewing area and information board is available to travellers at the site, which can be accessed by a number of roads off the Birdseye highway.

Construction began at the wind farm in early 2006 and it was completed late last year, with commissioning taking place since. The wind turbines are designed and built by German company Enercon, are spread out for about seven kilometres along the range and are capable of producing enough energy to power about 35,000 homes.

Over the expected 25-year life of the wind farm, the turbines are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emission by up to 4.2 million tonnes. The overall height to the blade tip of each of the turbines is 120 metres and they will operate at wind speeds between 10 and 122km/h.

More information,

Willmott wants wind farm

Yarram Standard News
Wednesday 7/3/2007 Page: 5

WHILE opponents to the Devon North wind farm prepare submissions to a VCAT hearing regarding the proposal, so too is one man who is in favour of the nine turbine project. Terry Willmott will argue the wind farm will meet Australian noise standards and the proposal is in a suitable location. The Devon North resident will not appear at the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal hearing due to family reasons but will lodge a submission.

Mr Willmott believes the local couple who agreed to have the wind industry developed on their Devon North property has every right to host the proposed wind farm, as the land is zoned rural. He sees this as equivalent to an industrial zone in a city.

He said the Wellington Shire Council "was totally wrong in knocking this back" "It comes back to my point that these opponents should not be living there because it's a rural zone. They should be in a rural residential area so how can they complain when a farmer is doing this? "A wind farm is farming a natural resource and that is what a rural area is all about." `The council should know the planning regulations up there. Council should be leaders on the issue and be saying, 'These are the regulations and people should not be living there," Mr Willmott said.

Further to claims by opponents that erecting more wind farms in South Gippsland would transform the region into an industrial wasteland, Mr Willmott believes the region already is. "The second highest polluter in Australia behind the coal fired power stations is dairy cattle and South Gippsland has the highest intensity of dairy cattle in Australia," he said.

"Imagine the methane these cattle are producing. You can't see it but imagine the mess. You've got the whole of the Latrobe Valley, which is the biggest polluter in Australia and then the dairy cattle, and you realise Gippsland is in a hell of a mess:"

He went on to say,"Then you've got all of these people screaming about a wind farm that is trying to take away from all of the pollution." In addressing claims by opponents they will lose money if the wind farm goes ahead while the landholder wishing to host the wind farm profits, Mr Willmott gave his slant.

"People on wages would make nearly the same amount of money over 20 years anyway," referring to the mooted 20 year life span of the wind farm. "If you are going to have money, you are going out there to make money out of it.

The VCAT hearing will be held at council's Sale offices from March 28 to 30.

Power to Hallett

Northern Argus
Wednesday 7/3/2007 Page: 1

Prototype turbine expected to start on Friday

Hallett Wind Farm will hit a major milestone this week when a prototype turbine prototype tower at the AGL project is connected into the electricity grid. The giant blades may start turning by Friday to begin a three-month testing program to demonstrate the turbine's capabilities.

The project, Australia's largest windfarm, is being built by Suzlon EnergyAustralia and will feature 45 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 94.5 megawatts. This is enough "green" energy to supply 60,000 average Australian households.

The massive turbines will stand like futuristic sculptures along the Brown Hill ridge overlooking the Hallett rower station. Suzlon Energy project manager Peter Reed said construction of the windfarm had provided a real boost for the local economy, which had been timely with this season's drought. Up to 90 people have been involved in the construction of the wind farm, including 30 local people.

When the wind farm is fully operational, it will require six permanent staff to service and maintain the site. The project is due to be completed in March 2008. Mr Reed said there had been a huge amount of local interest in the project and the company had been well accepted by the local community. "We are having a ball and everything is running smoothly, we have been extremely lucky with favourable weather conditions and the civil and electrical contractors are ahead of schedule at this point in time," he said.

Suzlon Energy has also been awarded the contract to build a similar facility on the Barunga Ranges, near Snowtown, which has already commenced with geotechnical investigations and road construction will start in two weeks time.

Wind queue gets longer

The Land
Thursday 8/3/2007 Page: 28

NSW Planning Minister, Frank Sartor, has approved a 15-turbine wind farm on the Cullerin range south-west of Goulburn, but the project could join the queue of approved wind farms that have been abandoned or whose start has suffered lengthy delays.

The developer, the global alternative energy company, Epuron Pty Ltd, wants to see the detail of the NSW Government's proposed legislation for mandating renewable energy targets before committing itself.

The Government last year announced renewable energy targets of 10 per cent of NSW end use consumption by 2010 and 15pc by 2020, but went into caretaker mode on Monday in the lead up to the March 24 State election.

Delta Energy, which gained approval about two years ago for a 31-tower project on the property "Walwa" near Gunning, has since backed out. There has also been no start on the 50-turbine Crookwell 2 wind farm which was approved several months ago, though work could start later this year. Projects have been on hold because the Federal Government's national Mandatory Renewable Energy Target of 9500 gigawatt hours (about two per cent of national electricity use) by 2010 is well on the way to being met.

The NSW Government's new targets could start wheels turning again, but developers say there is also a long time lag on delivery of wind turbines because of big demand in the US and China. Owner of "Walwa", Alan McCormack, said he now held the development approval for the former Delta project and was negotiating with several interested companies.

All the wind farms referred to are in Upper Lachlan Shire and all have met vocal opposition from some local landholders. The Land and Environment Court in early February dismissed an appeal by local landholders against a 62-tower wind farm at Taralga, though Justice Brian Preston conceded their objections had resulted in a better project and greater environmental protection.

Mr Sartor in approving the Cullerin range wind farm said that based on community feedback he had imposed about 100 conditions on the proposal. These included a requirement for the developer to negotiate individual landscaping for residents within four kilometres of the wind farm to help minimise visual impact and for the project to comply with noise limits.

Australian executive director of Epuron (which acquired a majority shareholder in the original proponent, Taurus Energy, in 2005), Martin Poole, said the company would continue planning the project but would not order turbines until it saw the detail of the proposed NSW legislation. "We have to know we are going ahead before we order them," Mr Poole said.

The latest wind farm proposal to emerge is a seven turbine scheme on top of the flat-topped Mt Oxley which rises 300 metres above the plains about 30 kilometres south of Bourke. However, the council's economic development officer, Phil Johnston, said the council had been holding behind the scenes talks with the developer, Babcock and Brown, for about five years. He said Telstra already had an 80-metre communications tower on Mt Oxley and the council had needed to resolve whether a wind farm would interfere with that.

Renewable energy hope

Launceston Examiner
Friday 9/3/2007 Page: 20

Solar energy scientists have put the case for greater emphasis on emerging renewable technologies, saying their rapid expansion in the world means they could become serious contributors to electricity needs. The Australian National University College of Engineering and Computer Science's Keith Lovegrove and Klaus Weber shared the stage with nuclear energy figure Ziggy Switkowski at a forum yesterday on a sustainable energy future.

Dr Lovegrove works on solar systems, developing mirror panels and other components for mass production and thermochemical storage of solar energy using ammonia. Dr Weber is coinventor of sliver solar cell technology. Dr Lovegrove said wind energy was already the biggest player in the renewable technology field in some parts of the world and had the potential to greatly contribute to future energy requirements.

"We've had two decades of 30 per cent per annum growth and it's reached the point now where wind turbines are getting installed at about 10 or more coalfired peak power stations worth of wind turbines a year," he said. "As a global player, that still makes it very small, but if you keep adding 30 per cent per annum's growth on something that is already that big, actually you can roll things out pretty fast."

Blackouts on way as power plants dry up

The Australian
March 09, 2007

SOUTHEAST Queensland's 2.5 million residents are facing power blackouts and level-five water restrictions as the region's two main power stations are forced to cut production because of the worsening drought.

As unions warned of possible job losses in the power sector, the Queensland Water Commission announced yesterday that water supplies for cooling the Tarong and Swanbank stations would be slashed from April 10 as part of the level-five restrictions.
Supplies of electricity from the two stations to NSW under national power grid arrangements were boosted this year as dam levels fell.

Swanbank and Tarong took 2450 megalitres of drinking water from the Wivenhoe Dam - Brisbane's main water source - during January and February. The stations have been allowed to continue using Wivenhoe water despite warnings from experts that the dam could run dry within 18 months. Tarong's water will be cut by almost half to 12 megalitres a day. Swanbank's supply will be cut by 25 per cent to 15 megalitres.

Explaining why the move had not been made earlier, Deputy Premier Anna Bligh said generation could be cut because winter was approaching. Power supplies would be secure, she insisted. "I am pleased to confirm that these water savings will be achieved without threat to the security of electricity supply to the region," she said.

Queensland Electrical Trades Union assistant secretary Peter Simpson said several generating units would have to be mothballed. "You can't shut down that capacity without affecting something," Mr Simpson said. "If there is a breakdown now at Stanwell or somewhere else, the whole system will be under great strain. The security we had in the system is gone."

Mr Simpson said power workers had been protected against redundancy in state-certified work agreements, but the federal Work Choices laws made them vulnerable. "The protections they had are not there any more."

Former Queensland Department of Energy director-general Scott Flavell said reducing output at the two stations, especially Swanbank, could have serious implications for power supply. "Swanbank is a big load centre and a key part of the transmission infrastructure. It needs to be handled very carefully."

The National Electricity Market Management Company, which runs Australia's power grid, has previously rejected assurances by the Beattie Government that power supplies would be secure if output at the two stations was reduced.

CS Energy chief executive Mark Chatfield said the 480-megawatt Swanbank B generator, which uses most water at the Swanbank complex, would operate at reduced capacity. "Staff have been preparing for the likelihood of level-five restrictions in recent months and have made substantial cuts to water use," Mr Chatfield said.

Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney said both stations should be shut down immediately. "Every step should be taken to safeguard the rapidly shrinking water supply and if that means selling less power to NSW, so be it," Mr Seeney said.

Southeast Queensland residents will today learn more details of the level-five water restrictions.

Thursday 8 March 2007

Donation for CFS

Port Lincoln Times
Tuesday 6/3/2007 Page: 28

THE Lincoln Country Fire Service brigade received $500 from the Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm earlier this year. Lincoln Captain Greg Napier gratefully accepted the cheque on behalf of the brigade from Wind Farm manager John Fannin.

"The CFS, in particular the Lincoln brigade, has worked closely with us in developing a fire plan for the wind farm," Mr Fannin said.

Mr Fannin takes all contractors and visitors through an induction process as part of the fire plan. This induction briefs them on safe work practices to prevent fires, and what to do in the event of a fire, including making the decision to stay or go.

"It is far easier to invest in methods to prevent fires, but we have also made significant investment- in resources to control a fire should it eventuate."

Windfarm plans go on display

Warrnambool Standard
Thursday 8/3/2007 Page: 9

PLANS for a 20-turbine windfarm at Woolsthorpe go on display on Saturday for the community to view. The development proposed by Wind Farm Developments is to erect 20 turbines on one 750ha farm about two kilometres from Woolsthorpe.

Company development manager Jonathan Upson said the public could view the planning application for the project at the Woolsthorpe General Store, Warnambool's DSE office and Moyne Shire's Mortlake office. He said some turbines had been shifted slightly since maps were unveiled for an open day in 2005 due to native vegetation concerns.

Mr Upson said people could write to Planning Minister Justin Madden to support or object to the plans. Mr Madden will decide the project's future until April 2. "We feel it is in a prime situation, located on largely cleared farm land with relatively few neighbours," Mr Upson said.

"The location has good wind resources for an inland site." He said the turbines would be able to power 23,000 Victorian homes each year and reduce carbon emissions by 132,000 tonnes, which was the equivalent of taking 30.000 cars off the road.

Alta Wind Energy Center Moving Forward

LCG Consulting

LCG, March 7, 2007--Alite Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Allco Wind Energy, has ordered 24 MW of the V90-3.0 MW wind turbine from Vestas for installation at the Alta Wind Energy Center, a planned wind farm in Southern California. The turbines are part of the initial phase of a 1,500 MW project and are scheduled to be shipped by Vestas in the third quarter. The initial phase is expected to commence operations in October 2007.

In December 2006, Southern California Edison, signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for the electric output from the planned, 1,500 MW wind farm to be built on a 50-square mile area in the Tehachapi area of Southern California. The PPA is with Allco Wind Energy, a division of Allco Finance Group Limited (AFG).

The project is being developed by Alta Innovative Power Co. LLC, a joint venture between Allco Wind Energy and Oak Creek Energy Systems. The project includes 750 turbines and has an estimated cost of $3 billion.

California's renewable energy goals and global warming legislation create a positive regulatory environment for wind developers. However, the PPA will need to be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. Furthermore, the Commission will need to approve plans to construct a series of new and upgraded high-voltage transmission lines to deliver the power from a remote area to load centers.

Wednesday 7 March 2007

Wind power rules at Camden High

District Reporter Camden
Friday 23/2/2007 Page: 5

Students tackling the environmental issues - school captains Russell Odgers and Emma Vickery and Year 10 student Kristy McGregor with principal, John Jarvis, NSW director-general, Andrew Cappie-Wood and MP for Camden, Geoff Corrigan.Camden High's commitment and enthusiasm about protecting the environment and adopting a sustainable energy, has seen a wind generator developed and installed at the school - the first of its type anywhere in the world.

The NSW Department of Education and Training's Director- General, Andrew Cappie-Wood today officially opened the new wind generator at the school this week. Mr Cappie-Wood said the wind generator, the first of its type anywhere in the world, would be used by students to gain a better understanding of sustainable energy.

"The NSW Department of Education and Training is committed to providing students with opportunities to understand environmental issues affecting our planet, including green house gases, recycling and pollution," he said. "Camden High School students and teachers are passionate about improving their understanding of sustainable energy in all its forms including solar and wind.

"This wind generator is just one of several sustainable energy projects at the school which is one of the most environmentally conscious in the state." Mr Cappie-Wood said the wind generator, which is 23 metres tall, is located 300 metres west of school buildings, and developed and installed by local company, Dynamic Systems Australia.

"Camden High School students worked closely with Dynamic Systems Australia throughout the research and development process collecting data from their fully computerised weather station," he said. "While improving the students' knowledge of environmental issues, the wind generator is also environmentally friendly.

"Specially designed blades mean the generator turns at speeds unlikely to injure local wildlife. "It has also been specially modified to ensure the turbine is almost silent to limit noise pollution. "The ability to raise or lower the generator means there is little visual impact on the local skyline as well." The director-general acknowledged the support of the Dynamic Systems Australia for working so closely with the students, who he said are "better global citizens".

Year 10 student Kristy McGregor, gave a very impressive speech which began with a grim weather forecast for the future - of temperatures soaring to 48 degrees, relentless bush fires, 56 years of drought, severe level 25 water restrictions, UV levels so high that venturing outdoors between 9am and 5pm would be a health hazard and an ice-free Arctic. The speech made the older generation present take note and understand that the issue of climate change among the younger students is a very real and a serious threat and they are addressing it through many different environmental initiatives at the school.

These projects includes: collection and storage of water; passive means to cool school buildings; using solar energy to reduce the cost of electricity; a well established tree planting and propagation program; and recycling programs.

"There is only one negative outcome of the turbine - and that is when there is a blackout we'll have to stay at school, because it will keep the power on - whereas before we were sent home," Kristy said. "Camden High interest in renewable energy and being green may inspire students to do many great things... This is the beginning of understanding global warming, and us all deciding to take an active role in creating out future."

A challenging climate

Cooma Monaro Express
Thursday 1/3/2007 Page: 9

CLIMATE change and renewable energy has constantly been a hot topic on the Monaro and is this week's focus in our 2007 NSW state election coverage.

Wind turbines have been the subject of debate and REAL Monaro Chairman, Jim Litchfield, said he had serious concerns about them in the Snowy-Monaro and wanted to urge each level of government to strongly examine the negative impacts they'd have in the region.

Friends of Renewable Energy spokesperson Rashida Nuridin however, said all forms of renewable energy needed to be considered, including wind, because the Snowy-Monaro had a good wind resource and needed to be utilised.

The Cooma Monaro Shire is also on level three water restrictions following the Tantangara damn reaching as low as 6 per cent capacity in December.

Global warming, in particular, has been a hot topic in the alpine regions, with some worried increased temperatures would destroy the snow season. A CSIRO report released last year predicted the snowline elevation at Mount Kosciuszko - on September 1- could rise each year from its current average of 1460m to 1625m by 2020.

Furthermore, alpine areas experiencing 60 or more days of snow cover per year would decline by 38-96 per cent by 2050 and even a modest level of warming might lead to the extinction of the region's 200 alpine plant species.

Clean Energy action plan released

Bega District News
Friday 2/3/2007 Page: 2

THE community targets of 50 per cent reduction in energy consumption and 50 per cent adoption of renewable energy by 2020 have moved a step closer to reality in the Bega Valley Shire with the release of the Clean Energy Action Plan.

The report was commissioned by the community meeting in Bega last August at which more than 300 people voted unanimously to adopt the community targets of 50/50 by 2020 and called for a working group to be established.

The members are Bill Caldicott, David Hede, Sue Norman, Derek Povel, Philippa Rowland and Rodger Ubrihien. The Bega Clean Energy Working Group has now released its report to the community for feedback and endorsement.

The report makes 12 urgent recommendations to the community that range from practical suggestions for action on energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, through to opportunities for pilot projects in agriculture, education and other sectors.. Energy efficiency gains in the home or business are potentially the greatest single contribution a family or individual can make towards mitigating global warming.

These include simple changes such as switching off appliances, buying compact fluorescent light globes and using common sense to retrofit existing houses, saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

The report says Bega Valley Shire has a history of leading the way in energy supply - being the first in the colony to have a municipal gasworks as early as 1885 and with the construction of the Brown Mountain Hydro station in 1943, and can be innovative again.

"Recent media attention has highlighted the need for urgent action to mitigate climate change and this report does not avoid the potentially disastrous effects of global warming. "The Bega Valley Shire cannot on its own turn climate change around. However with some support from our community, Bega Valley Shire can take a leading role in proving that ordinary citizens can tackle climate change and provide a national model of collective commitment and hope for other regional areas and the rest of the nation.

"The renewable energy industry is going to experience massive-growth, as recognition of the implications of climate change take hold. With commitment and ingenuity, 50/50 by 2020 has the potential to help rejuvenate our regional economy through renewable energy and energy efficiency projects." The Clean Energy Working Group hope the action plant will inspire and stimulate the community, business and government into action on climate change and help the shire meet these targets. "We hope this report motivates you to participate in 50/51J by 2020," they said.

For more information about the working group and copies of the report go to or collect one from your nearest Bega Valley Shire Council office or library.

Public meetings will be held to seek feedback and gather the community support needed for the next steps. The Bega meeting will be held at 6.30pm on Thursday, March 15, at the Bega RSL Club.

Green energy target eludes EU

Wednesday 7/3/2007 Page: 15

Europe splits on 20% renewables goal

EUROPEAN Union foreign ministers have failed to agree on whether to set binding targets for use of renewable energy sources, setting up a potential clash when European Union leaders meet this week. Diplomats said almost half the 27 member states opposed a drive by the EU's president, Germany, to fix a mandatory goal for solar, wind and hydro-electric power to back Europe's ambition to lead the world in fighting climate change.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said ministers had narrowed differences on other points but "the central point of difference is on the binding nature of the target for renewables. "This point remained open and will be decided at the summit on (Thursday and) Friday," he said.

Only Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Britain, Spain and Italy voiced strong support for a binding target of 20 per cent of energy consumption from renewables by 2020, diplomats said. France, heavily dependent on nuclear power, proposed setting a binding objective for "noncarbon and low-carbon energy", of which the renewables target would be just a part.

Dr Steinmeier said there was no agreement on that idea. Spanish European Affairs Minister Alberto Navarro said: "We think these are two different issues." Ministers endorsed an EU commitment to a 20 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions, rising to 30 per cent if other major industrialised and emerging powers join in. France and some other states are wary of binding renewables targets that would impinge on national strategies.

Some EU diplomats believe French President Jacques Chirac may yield in exchange for some recognition that France's nuclear power program helps cut carbon dioxide emissions. But endorsement of nuclear energy is hugely sensitive in countries such as Germany, which plans to phase it out, and Austria, which is nuclear-free.

A possible compromise, diplomats said, could be to make the 20 per cent renewables target binding on the EU as a whole but not on individual states and negotiate burden-sharing later. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said the EU should aim for something stronger than vague guidelines. Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said binding targets would be a sign that the EU was serious. "Europe has to become greener and credibly so. So benchmarking and setting ourselves goals and ambitions explicitly is a reasonable instrument," Dr Plassnik said.

Underlining the difficulties, an independent audit of British climate change policies said Britain will fall short of a 30 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2020, not reaching that level till 2050, The Guardian reported. British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett played down the differences on renewables and stressed the significance of the overall EU energy strategy. "It will be a huge turning point for the European Union if we get an agreement and a huge turning point for the world community," she said.

Austin Named #1 Cleantech City in U.S.

San Francisco, Calif., March 1, 2007

With the current instability in energy prices and growing concern about global warming, the field of clean technology - everything from biofuels to green chemistry to renewable energy - is quickly becoming a hot investment topic.

SustainLane Government, an online resource center that offers sustainability tips to state and local government, has ranked the five U.S. cities that are hotbeds for the influx of cleantech capital, deep R&D, and real-world opportunities for field-testing and prototyping.

Austin, Texas, home to seven start-ups developing technologies like internet-controlled irrigation and wind and geothermal energy technologies, stands out as the leading city for cleantech investments. Austin features the Clean Energy Incubator, a university- and government-funded project to help clean energy companies grow, and the city also leads the field with combined venture capital, an R&D partnership through the University of Texas, and active incubator collaboration with city-owned Austin Energy for testing new Cleantech technologies.

The other cities in SustainLane's top-five rankings are:

2. San Jose, Calif. Draws upon strong existing Silicon Valley semiconductor engineering base and IT venture networks. Focus is on solar energy and nanotechnology.

3. Berkeley, Calif. With a new $500 million biofuels research center funded by British Petroleum at the University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley also hosts the federal Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.

4. Pasadena, Calif. The home of California Institute of Technology also features NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and an active network of angel investors backing a broad range of renewable energy start-ups.

5. Greater Boston, Mass. With state-funded renewable technology grants and dozens of regionally based start-ups, Cambridge's Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) appears to be the epicenter of a potent metro-area cluster.

Runners-up cities included San Francisco, New York, Seattle, San Diego and Houston.

"These regions promise to be new economic power centers for the rest of the century," said SustainLane CEO James Elsen. "It all starts with cities attracting the money, brains and the means for Cleantech innovation on a massive scale."

SustainLane defines Cleantech by the following criteria:
  • Energy generation, management, storage, and energy efficiency, including solar, wind, geothermal, fuel cells and hydrogen.
  • Advanced transportation technologies and biofuels.
  • Materials and Green Building, including advanced materials and engineering approaches, materials recovery.
  • Water and air-related technologies.
Through its network city, state and county government officials and access to more than 500 best practices serving government sustainability, SustainLane was able to determine which cities effectively combine Cleantech investments, infrastructure and supportive policies into a physical "cluster."

The ideal model for a Cleantech incubation cluster integrates venture capital and investor network access, including mentoring, with academic or federal research lab collaboration and active local government participation (field testing, prototyping and incentives).

Cleantech is gaining rapid acceptance as a defined investment category amongst venture capital firms. In 2006, Cleantech companies received a record $2.9 billion in the United States out of $25.5 billion investments, according to CleanTech Ventures.

Tuesday 6 March 2007

Australia's largest windfarm working

Circular Head Chronicle
Wednesday 28/2/2007 Page: 5

THE ALMOST completed Studland Bay windfarm at Woolnorth began generating electricity on Monday.

"We've got 20 of the 25 turbines fully erected and we are now commissioning the 20 that we've got erected," said Roaring 40s senior project manager Michael Gilmore. At the moment we have three that are fully operational." A fourth turbine will be commissioned today, with the aim have one more turbine operational each day.

"We are actually producing clean, green electricity for the Tasmanian grid from this new windfarm. We're targeting for the end of March to have them all fully operational," Mr Gilmore said.

"That will be 75 megawatts, which is in rough terms is enough to do somewhere around 40,000 houses." After the work is completed the farm enters its operational and maintenance phase. Four people will be permanently employed on the site to maintain the facility. "The turbines themselves are all state of the art, we have to do a number maintenance runs a year," Mr Gilmore said.

Workers walked onto the site on January 9, 2006, so the project has taken just over a year to complete. Mr Gilmore said this was making good time, considering strong winds over the past few months halted construction at times.

"That's just over a year from a greenfield paddock to a completed windfarm," he said. "That's quite good time. When you consider the weather, the wind has a major effect." Mr Gilmore said overall, the company and the workforce has enjoyed working in Circular Head. Visiting workers have made friends locally and local businesses have been supportive.

"It's always a pleasure to work in rural Australia. We obviously do all of our work in rural areas. The people are terrific. "We've been working in Smithton now since 2000 and we've built up great relationships with the local community," he said.

When added to the stage one development of Woolnorth, Bluff Point, Roaring 40s' wind energy installation in Circular Head will be the largest wind farm in Australia, at 140 megawatts in total. In addition to this, the 3MW wind turbine generators being utilised at Studland Bay are the largest in the southern hemisphere.

Chinese visitors settle in to Smithton

Circular Head Chronicle
Wednesday 28/2/2007 Page: 4

FOUR representatives of one of the biggest power generating companies in China are enjoying an extended stay in Smithton, as part of a trip to learn about the Studland Bay windfarm. Rui Jianwei, Zhu Xiaosong, Zhang Weiqi and Zhang Zhongyuan are representatives of Guohau (Tongliao) Wind Power Co Ltd, and are being hosted by Roaring 40s, who hope to do business with their company.

"It's a really big market in China. The renewable energy sector is growing enormously," said Roaring 40s senior project manager Michael Gilmore. "They've come over to Studland Bay to see how we operate and we send people over to China to see how they operate.

"We hope to do lots of business with these people." China has massive energy needs, and the country is keen to embrace all kinds of power generation to meet them, including renewables. China has a number of renewable energy sources, including wind, hydro, solar and bio-mass.

The men have been in Smithton for three weeks and will stay until March 10. Mr Gilmore said the local community has been welcoming especially Billy Liang, owner of the Jade Dragon Chinese restaurant.

Saturday January 17 was Chinese new year, a very important day in the Chinese calendar. Mr Liang invited the men to a special dinner at the Jade Dragon to celebrate. It was the first time any of the visitors had been away from friends and family for Chinese new year. "It was nice that Billy put on a banquet for them," Mr Gilmore said.

The men said they loved Tasmania and its natural beauty, and described it as "very beautiful and peaceful". So far they have visited Cradle Mountain, Stanley and Hobart and will travel to Launceston. Staying in a small town has been a shock for the men, three of whom are from Beijing, a city of 15 million.

Open day for new wind farm

Hamilton Spectator
Thursday 1/3/2007 Page: 5

Glenthompson and district residents have the opportunity to learn about the proposed $180 million Oaklands Hill wind farm at a community open day on Saturday.

The open day will be held between 10am and 4pm at the Glenthompson War Memorial Hall and include information displays, a free sausage sizzle, and the opportunity to meet the experts behind the proposal.

The proposed wind farm, a few kilometres south of Glenthompson, will provide up to 60 jobs with million so dollars of potential opportunities for local employment and industry during the 12-18 month design and construction phase.

A private investment bank, Investec Bank and Windlab Systems will develop the wind farm. Wind farm spokesman, Mark Headland, said the 43-turbine wind farm would provide a major economic boost to the region which had been hit hard by drought. He encouraged all community members to attend the open day and receive firsthand information about the proposed farm.

"Research has shown that Oaklands Hill is one of the best sites for a wind farm in inland Victoria," he said. "Wind speeds here are usually associated with coastal areas." "We want residents to know and understand. how important renewable wind energy is to our future - both from an economic and environmental stance." Mr Headland said the wind farm would cut dioxide emissions by 364,000 tonnes annually while producing enough power to service 52.000 homes.

Sweden takes lead and it's one to follow

Fraser Coast Chronicle
Tuesday 6/3/2007 Page: 4

The proposition that Australia should move to a sustainable economy based on renewable energy is often derided as being destructive to the economy and jobs. This is not unexpected in a country whose economy is currently underpinned by the mining and export of raw materials. But if we are to have a prosperous long-term future in the brave new world of climate change mitigation, we must make the transition.

A host of European countries have embraced renewable energy without their economies suffering. In countries such as Spain and Denmark, wind power alone is approaching 20% of electricity power. Even some countries that have relied on nuclear power are now phasing out their reactors in the face of growing concerns about radioactive waste storage and the fact that wind power is now cheaper than nuclear.

The most advanced on the path to sustainability is Sweden which has vowed to phase out its nuclear plants and to replace all petroleum fuels with biofuels by 2020. Unlike Australia, Sweden is fortunate to derive about half its electricity from hydro power. But in contrast with Sweden, Australia has a temperate climate and massive direct solar energy. Yet the astute Swedes have had an informed public debate and have recognised the critical need to head towards a sustainable future.

Sweden's journey towards sustainability began in the late 1980s when a little-known cancer researcher. Dr Karl-Henrik Robert, decided to develop a sustainability framework based on irrefutable scientific principles. Robert initially involved his scientific colleagues, then brought in business leaders, politicians and other community leaders in order to develop a consensus document.

With the support of the King of Sweden the resulting framework, known as The Natural Step (TNS), was delivered to every household in Sweden and was supported by a television special. Numerous multinational corporations, and some entire countries such as Sweden, have since used TNS to develop strategic plans for a transition to a sustainable future.

Australia can be part of the sustainability revolution that has already taken root in Europe and is sweeping across much of the world. The public debate here must shift from the interests of the mining industry that wants to ensure that coal and uranium continue to be the mainstay of our energy supply. Australia can be a world leader in solar energy technology and our long-term prosperity can only be assured by a concerted uptake of renewable energy.

Ian Richards is a lecturer in sustainability at the Fraser Coast campus of the University of Southern Queensland.

Wind turbines drive farm communities

Adelaide Advertiser
Tuesday 6/3/2007 Page: 4

WIND power is behind an economic boom in the state's Mid North, which is reaping millions for local drought - affected communities. The first turbine at AGL's wind farm at Hallett is about to be switched on and 44 others are under construction.

In one of the worst years for local farmers in history, construction of the $230 million project has provided communities with a much needed alternative source of income. By the time the project is completed in March 2008, an estimated $10 million would have spent in the community on accommodation, goods, services and wages.

Thirty locals are employed at the 14km-long site on Brown Hill ridge, between Hallett and Jamestown, including Jamestown resident Steve Wiles. The construction rigger said it was the first time in 10 years that he had been able to be employed at home as there had not been enough work in the area.

"There's not much work around here for people like me and I have been going to Roxby Downs and Moomba," he said. "My wife and kids are here so now I can actually be around for them. "It's the best thing for the community... everyone I've talked to is really happy about them improving the community and its nice and clean to have." AGL has leased grazing land on seven properties for the next 20 years, providing a stable annual income for farmers in one of SA's most marginal areas.

Mid North Regional Development Board chief executive Colin Rawnsley said the on-site workforce would grow further as more turbines are constructed. as well as jobs for companies in the region.

"We are aware of one local firm in Jamestown that has got some maintenance work out of it and are increasing their workforce and upsizing because of that and that will hopefully create possibilities of other contracts once they get into that area," he said. "It's certainly helping out those businesses that would normally rely on the farm income.

"In a small place like Hallett, people will get some benefit out of it who normally in these tough times wouldn't be getting that income." Project manager Peter Reed said the wind farm would be the largest in Australia in terms of electricity production, generating 94MW of green power.

It would be enough to power at least 60,000 homes. The first turbine will be tested by overseas experts in the next three months before it is connected to the national electricity grid. Once completed eight full-time jobs will be created at the site.

Monday 5 March 2007

China's ecocities an inspiration

Canberra City News
Thursday 1/3/2007 Page: 22

CANBERRA and other capital cities are not the only modern cities to be custom built and designed. China, for example has no less than 11 custom-built "ecocities" - cities designed to minimise greenhouse gas emissions and water use without sacrificing comfort and convenience.

Of course, given the population of China, 11 cities is not nearly as significant to most Chinese as they would be to Australians if placed here. Nevertheless, they represent a view of the future, and developers around the world are looking at projects such as these for development ideas.

Engineering firm Ove Arup (UK) is building one such city - Dongtan Eco-City on Chongming Island in Shanghai with Peter Head as the project director. On a recent visit to Australia where he was a guest speaker at the Green Cities conference jointly hosted by the Green Building Council and the Property Council of Australia, he described the project. First he expressed the view that going green is no longer an option, but a necessity.

Head said the levels of carbon dioxide in the world's atmosphere are already critical, approaching around 360 parts per million-an unprecedented level. The best future outcome, he said, is CO2 levelling out at around 500 parts per million and even so it will be extremely hard to stop the concentration rising above that figure. And every new building that isn't green will make it harder.

Some nations are building at a phenomenal rate. China is one. "The big challenge for the world," said Head,"is whether China and India can extend their GDP growth without extending their CO2 emissions". China's current development is ecologically unsustainable, said Head, but Zhenhua Xie, the Minister for the State Environmental Protection Agency, has a 10-year plan for a greener future, with Dongtan as part of it.

The new city's site is 8400ha (84 sq km), and its first stage, due by 2010, involves a 30km road/rail link to the mainland. "It is one of the largest crossing projects in the world," said Head. Dongtan was designed around a concept of "integrated urbanism"; a true city, but displaying compelling green features.

Most cities can't support themselves, environmentally speaking, and they have to import food water and power. All of this takes up space to produce and resources to transport to town. The average amount of world resources taken to keep people in power, water and food, is measured in global hectares per person. The average across the world is 5.5. Dongtan will supply the city's needs on just 2.6. "We wanted 1.8," said Head ruefully. But even so it's a considerable step in the right direction.

This was a project for a private developer, the Shanghai Industrial Investment Co, so it also has to make money. Dongtan looks like achieving both targets. Of course the individual buildings will be designed for maximum energy efficiency. But the city as a whole is designed for green results.

The city comprises three municipal villages, all with green roofs on the buildings, parks and areas with water features. Greenleaf vegetables are grown in the city itself. All municipal industrial waste will be recycled so there is no need for landfill space. The compact, mixed-use design means residents don't have to travel far to work. There will be around 75 dwellings per hectare, and the average building height will be 4-8 storeys.

The city has three flood mitigation systems. It also creates micro-climates - placing and orienting buildings to ensure shade and sun at the right times and provide comfortable temperature and humidity levels. Water will be recycled, and discharged water is expected to be reduced by around 80 per cent over normal levels.

Wind patterns were mapped and windfarms on the edge of town will be positioned where the wind is high. There are to be solar panels on the rooftops and a biomass energy centre producing two thirds of the energy supply.

Total energy demand will be reduced by 64 per cent over normal levels. The town motto? "Better city. Better life." Not a bad motto for any city. We in the property industry will follow progress on Dongtan and other ecocities with much interest.

Catherine Carter is executive director of the Property Council of Australia (ACT)

15 turbines for Cullerin

Goulburn Post
Friday 2/3/2007 Page: 3

A WINDFARM containing up to 15 turbines has been approved for the Cullerin Range. The lemma Government approved the new wind faun yesterday after a thorough environmental assessment and public feedback on the proposal.

Planning Minister Frank Sartor said he had imposed 105 conditions of approval to strike a balance between local interests and the broader environmental benefits of green energy. The Cullerin Wind Farm will be built 40km southwest of Goulburn, on the Cullerin Range, with the $50 million project expected to create around 50 construction jobs.

"Any wind farm proposal is assessed in detail, looking at any concerns of local residents and how we might address them," Mr Sartor said. "In this instance, after listening to community feedback, I imposed more than 100 conditions on the proposal. "At the same time, this project will provide a new, clean, renewable source of energy for the State's growing population - meeting the average consumption needs of 12,000 homes.

"It will also save around 95,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions each year - the equivalent of removing up to 19,000 cars from our roads." The wind farm is expected to produce up to 95,000 MWh of renewable electricity per year for 30 years.

The Minister's conditions include:
  • The proponent must negotiate individual landscaping for residents within 4km and with views of the wind farm upon request to help minimise any visual impact; and
  • The project must comply with noise limits recommended in the South Australian Noise Guidelines.
The project was publicly exhibited in mid-2006 and submissions from the public, Council and government agencies were considered in the assessment process.

Time to get greenhouse agenda together

Courier Mail
Saturday 3/3/2007 Page: 78

LAST week a group of private equity firms announced the world's largest ever private equity takeover with a value of $56 billion. It is a tale that should ring some very loud alarm bells for Australia's political parties.

However, that alarm has nothing to do with the fact that this is yet another private equity takeover, rather it is all about the target company, one of the world's largest single emitters of greenhouse gases, and the undertaking by the new owners to cancel the construction of a whole slew of planned new coal-burning power stations.

Texas power company TXU Corp has become a cause celebre for its activist pension fund shareholders concerned at the huge potential financial risks associated with its plans to substantially increase its carbon emissions.

Not only have TXU's new owners shelved plans to build eight new coal-burning power stations, but they have also committed to support major new energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and to support mandatory federal climate change regulations. And all of this in the only other developed economy besides Australia to refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

Coal burning is rapidly becoming dirty business in the US and the change is not being led by government but rather by the business world. So where does that leave us? The world is moving on and the rapidly developing landscape in the US means that it is now inevitable that the US will join the post-Kyoto world following its 2008 presidential election.

Despite this, at federal level both of our major political parties continue to look at things in a piecemeal fashion seeking single solutions to a problem that will require a whole spectrum of co-ordinated policies. Even worse, both appear intent on closing off options.

Labor point blank refuses to consider the nuclear option, but is happy to sell uranium to others to do exactly what it refuses to do. It has to be one of the most illogical policy stances ever seen in Australian politics. As for the Government, it refuses to treat wind and solar with anything like the seriousness they deserve, while its support for nuclear is more to drive a wedge into Labor than reflecting any real interest in the option.

The TXU takeover suggests that time is running out for us to get our greenhouse agenda together or risk being ostracised by an increasingly anxious world.

Tim Hughes is a director of Value Capital Management.

1 mil take clean-up challenge

Illawarra Mercury
Monday 5/3/2007 Page: 13

VOLUNTEERS who helped tidy the nation in yesterday's Clean Up Australia Day are the target of a new campaign to cut household greenhouse gas emissions over three years. Up to one million Australians collected more than 8000 tonnes of rubbish yesterday, including a parking meter and half a boat.

Community groups, schools, businesses and individuals rallied at more than 7000 sites. And chairman Ian Kiernan announced a climate change pledge targeting Clean Up Day volunteers to reduce household greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent a year by 2010.

"Eighteen years after Clean Up Australia Day started because of a need to tackle pollution problems, the even greater challenge of climate change is now driving volunteers to act year-round to not just reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions but demonstrate in huge numbers to government the need for stronger action," he said.

The pledge, to reduce household greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 per cent a year for three years, is at

"If the community is prepared to make a commitment it is also important that Government takes more action," Mr Kiernan said. "The 2 per cent renewable energy target in Australia should be raised to 10 per cent by 2010. .." While more than 8000 tonnes of garbage were collected yesterday, Mr Kiernan was disappointed that six out of the 10 most common types of rubbish were recyclable, including drink cans and bottles.

Allco backs gas-powered alternative energy source

Monday 5/3/2007 Page: 2

TWO months after announcing plans to build the biggest wind farm in the US, Allco Finance has made another investment in alternative energy, putting up to $7 million into a supplier of gas-powered electricity.

Sydney-based GridX Power uses natural-gas-powered generators to supply electrical, heating and cooling requirements. The unlisted company would use the money, payable subject to the meeting of certain criteria, for expansion plans, general manager Craig Chambers said.

GridX, which supplies energy to homes in western Sydney in partnership with a building developer, says its on-site natural-gas-powered generators can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent, compared with coal-fired generation.

Industry submissions to the Prime Minister's task group looking into emissions trading close this week, but an Allco spokeswoman said the financier's decision was not influenced by the potential introduction of carbon trading. She said the investment was a neat fit for the financier's infrastructure and energy focus.

"We see it as a growing market," she said. "The technology that they're using is helping out areas where infrastructure for energy structure is poor and it's got wider applications as well." In December Allco unveiled plans to build a $US2.5 billion ($A3.2 billion) wind energy project in California to meet institutional demand for wind investments. The wind farm will supply power equivalent to that used by 1 million households. It will be as much as 75 per cent debt funded.