Friday 20 April 2007

Kyoto Energy Park named to be provocative

Hunter Valley News
Wednesday 11/4/2007 Page: 5

A NEW meeting format for Scone Chamber of Commerce & Industry saw 50 people attend a business dinner last Wednesday. night to listen to guest speaker, project director of Kyoto Energy Park, Mark Sydney.

Members and friends of Scone's Chamber put their support behind the first in a series of business dinners at a packed Airlie House dining room. Chamber president, Michael Johnsen said the role of the chamber was to lobby and to facilitate. "Tonight is an example of the chamber's facilitation role," he said. The evening was promoted as an opportunity for members to hear first hand about a very new concept for the Scone district.

The proposed Energy Park, would have up to 37 wind turbines operating at Middlebrook and Mountain stations, located approximately 10km from Scone's Central Business District (CBD) In addition to turbines, there is potential in the future, for a closed loop hydro and solar thermal array, visitors centre and managers' residence.

NSW has no such Energy Park but plenty of wind farms at present. Provided it gains approval from the NSW Department of Planning by the end of the year the turbines could be ordered and erected at Scone in three years time.

Mr Sydney estimated that one wind turbine would cost between six and $10 million but that money would be paid off in three months through profits from the energy it created. Mr Sydney's company would rent the land the turbines are placed on. Referring to a wider vision, Mr Sydney said it was- a paradigm to see agriculture and farming continue alongside the Energy Park. "What we're trying to do is to keep agriculture and add a new element to that land," he said.

He highlighted the benefits of aligning the region with renewable energy and adding diversity to the Hunter Valley's other energy industries, as well as the possibility of the Energy Park becoming a tourist attraction. Mr Sydney said he liked to think his development company Pamada, which also manufactures products for the renewable energy industry, was transparent in their dealings with the community and invited them to ask questions at any time.

While the audience waited to ask their questions at the end of the evening instead of interrupting the speaker, they did not hold back. Community members wanted to know how much noise turbines would create, who the investors behind Pamada were, was the concept open for public ownership, what colour the turbines would be and how their views would be affected. After his straightforward speech that addressed what the project was and when it could occur, Mr Sydney, tackled the more pressing issues on the minds of Scone residents.

On noise, Mr Sydney said the recommended distance from a wind turbine should be located from a residence was one kilometre. He went on to say the closest residence was one and a half kilometres from the proposed Energy Park and the second closest two kilometres. While, Mr Sydney would not answer who was investing in Pamada, he revealed he was a major investor and explained it was Australian owned.

He explained that the working title, 'The Kyoto Energy Park' was named three years ago and highlighted the possibility of a name competition if the park is approved. "`Kyoto' was used in the title with the deliberate intention to be provocative," he said.

On the topic of public ownership, he outlined it was not an option in the case of the Kyoto Energy Park. Mr Sydney said in his opinion white coloured wind turbines on an agricultural backdrop were 'majestic' constructions and encouraged others to view them the same.

Mr Sydney said CSIRO wind monitoring data from the past eight and a half years showed Scone to be a very good site for wind. "Its not great- Tasmania is great. But in the Hunter Valley you've got really big demand and Tassie doesn't." The application for the Energy Park was submitted to the NSW Department of Planning last November.

Pamada plan to facilitate meetings of community leaders straight away should Kyoto Energy Park gain approval, in order to finalise a copy of the park's Foundation Charter, which is currently in draft format.

First sod turned for $200 million Barunga Wind Farm

Yorke Peninsula Country Times - Kadina
Tuesday 17/4/2007 Page: 3

Four years after the process began, the first sod has turned for TrustPower's $200 million, 42 turbine wind farm on the Barunga Ranges - perhaps the last such construction in Australia for some time.

Located west of Snowtown, the development is Stage One of what eventually could be a 130 turbine wind farm for the New Zealand based company that now owns (original proponent) Wind Prospect's interest. The two companies had combined forces to go through the planning and approval process. Since planning started, however, wind farm investment has been stymied by the Federal Government's failure to raise the MRET (Mandatory Renewable Energy Target) and complicated by new technical requirements for ESCOSA ' (Essential Services Commission of SA).

Chief Executive of TrustPower, Keith Tempest, says "it has been frustrating at times" during those four years. "I suspect this could be the last wind farm constructed under the MRET in Australia," he said. "There are some state-based schemes coming on board, but there is nothing as at today to make us build again - it is just not financially viable. If the Federal Government came up with a new renewable scheme it would inject confidence to invest in the industry. "However, we have a long term view and commitment. It has always been about community and environment.

We estimate the project could bring $1 million into the community and create 170 jobs during peak construction times, with four full-time employees at completion." The turbines, to be built by Suzlon Energy Australia - a new entity in Australia - at Hallett (just north of Burra), will be able to generate 2.1 MW each, providing a capacity of 88 megawatts or enough to power 60,000 homes. Stage One should be fully commissioned by around this time next year.

If the entire project goes ahead, landowner, Sally Michael, will have 12 turbines on her property at the southernmost point of the wind farm. "We are thrilled. It's income that doesn't rely on rain and there's always plenty of wind. It might allow our son to be a farmer if he wants - it takes the pressure off," she said.

Energy reform report not credible

Australian Financial Review
Thursday 19/4/2007 Page: 59

The Energy Reform Implementation Group's recommendation that state governments privatise energy assets lacks credibility if it ignores encouragement of green energy use, including wind and tidal turbines, hot fractured rock and solar power, as well as nuclear. If governments are sending mixed signals under existing technology, ERIG is premature in deciding either way on the issue of public or private ownership.

Salting it away for non-rainy day

Thursday 19/4/2007 Page: 2

AUSTRALIA'S driest capital yesterday officially opened the nation's first desalination plant, as the West Australian Government committed hundreds of millions of dollars to building at least one more in the near future. Premier Alan Carpenter said the "rainfall-independent" water supply would provide 17 per cent of Perth's needs, 144 million litres of drinking water each day.

Although the other states were bickering over options to address their growing water crises, Mr Carpenter said he was certain Western Australia would build more desalination plants in the near future. "There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that we will have another desalination plant, at least of this scale, on the coast north or south of Perth in the not too distant future, and in the longer term we will have several," Mr Carpenter said at the opening of the $387 million Kwinana plant, 40km south of Perth.

The Government was also in the process of assessing the environmental impact of tapping the South-West Yarragadee aquifer. Water Corporation chief executive Jim Gill has warned the Government needed to make a decision on Yarragadee by the end of next month to ensure severe shortages were not experienced in 2009.

Questioned on the cost of water from the desalination plant, Mr Carpenter said West Australians had to get used to the fact the days of cheap water were over. "The days when we were getting water for virtually nothing from dams overflowing from rainfall and run-off would appear to be over," he said. "Every other option is considerably more expensive. Water prices are going to continue to rise." He said water from dams cost about 16c per kilolitre compared with about $1.15 per kilolitre for desalinated water.

The Kwinana desalination plant is the third biggest in the world behind two massive plants in Israel and the United Arab Emirates. It is the largest desalination plant in the world to be powered by renewable energy the plant buys its power from the Emu Downs Wind Farm 245km north of Perth.

Federal Water Resources Minister Malcolm Turnbull was also spruiking water plans in Perth yesterday. Mr Turnbull announced $6.19 million in funding for a water-sensitive urbandevelopment project slated to save two billion litres of water a year. The development will include 15,000 new housing lots southeast of Perth and will use stormwater capture and groundwater for non-drinking purposes such as gardens, toilets and washing machines.

Comparing the project to Perth's new desalination plant, Mr Turnbull said it was low energy, low-cost and sustainable.

Climate change may worsen instability
April 17, 2007

Climate change threatens to prolong the war on terrorism and foster political instability that some governments will be unable to cope with, an influential panel of 11 retired US generals has warned.

"On the simplest level, it has the potential to create sustained natural and humanitarian disasters on a scale far beyond those we see today," said the panel, which includes retired General Anthony Zinni, former commander of US forces in the Middle East, in a new study. "The US must commit to a stronger national and international role to help stabilise climate change at levels that will avoid significant disruption to global security and stability."

Their urgent warning comes on the eve of a special UN Security Council meeting on the security implications of climate change, convened by the UK in an attempt to bring home the wider ramifications of global warming. But many Security Council members have expressed scepticism at the link, and only a handful of foreign ministers will attend Tuesday's meeting despite appeals by Margaret Beckett, the UK foreign secretary. The US will be represented only by its UN ambassador.

The new US military report, however, which was commissioned by the government-financed Center for Naval Analyses, lays out strong support for the link. It describes climate change as "a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world", which will "seriously exacerbate already marginal living standards in many Asian, African and Middle Eastern nations, causing widespread political instability and the likelihood of failed states".

Making matters worse, the military experts warn that climate change offers a challenge much more complex than conventional security threats because of its potential to create "multiple chronic conditions, occurring globally within the same time frame". As governments fail, they say, the US may be drawn more frequently into unstable situations abroad, and at home could experience "mounting pressure to accept large numbers of immigrant and refugee populations".

Admiral T. Joseph Lopez, the former commander-in-chief of US Naval Forces Europe and of Allied Forces, Southern Europe, said: "Climate change can provide the conditions that will extend the war on terror. In the long term we want to address the underlying conditions that terrorists seek to exploit, but climate change will prolong those conditions. It makes them worse."

Jonathan Pershing, a director at the World Resources Institute, an environmental think-tank in Washington, said the report marked a "major shift in thinking. It will garner attention to climate change in policy arenas that have not looked at these issues in the past, which is very important".

Douglas Johnson, research professor of national security affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute, said: "A few years ago, no one gave a flip ... Now, [climate change] is becoming a serious possibility, so we ought to have a plan for it." "We will pay for this one way or another," said Gen Zinni. "We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we'll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or, we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. There will be a human toll."

© The Financial Times Ltd.

Wednesday 18 April 2007

All power to super dump's stench

Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 17/4/2007 Page: 1

THEY call it the void. A giant open-cut mine on the outskirts of Goulburn is slowly filling with Sydney's waste, but this super tip is also a new source of green power. When the switch is flicked at a small power plant nearby in about six months. methane from the decomposing waste will be burned to generate electricity.

The food scraps and paper a growing number of Sydneysiders throw out will be used to generate the electricity to power their homes. Methane is a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. About 20 per cent of human-induced global warming since pre-industrial times has been attributed to methane emanating from landfills, coalmines, oil and gas operations, and agriculture.

Capturing the gas and using it to generate electricity prevents it from entering the atmosphere and displaces electricity that would otherwise have been generated by coal-fired power stations. What is good for the environment is also good for companies such as Veolia, the international waste and water group that owns the Woodlawn tip at Goulburn. Once viewed as nothing more than a problem that had to be buried, literally, waste is increasingly considered a valuable resource, Veolia says.

The company hopes to make money not just from selling methane-generated electricity into the national electricity grid, but also from turning organic waste into fertiliser. Hot water from waste processing could also be used to establish greenhouses and fish farms. Unlike traditional landfills, which capture the methane only when a tip is full, Veolia's team of engineering and environmental managers want to generate as much methane as possible and suck it from the decomposing waste while the tip fills.

They have designed a system of pipes that run horizontally and vertically through the waste that pumps the gas to their nearby power plant. Leachate in the pit - created when rain percolating through the waste reacts with decomposing material - is pumped through the layers of rubbish to speed up the decomposition, which in turn generates more methane.

Veolia has entered a long-term contract to provide the electricity to EnergyAustralia, which estimates that capturing gas from the landfill will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 800,000 tonnes a year and generate 20 megawatts an hour, or enough green electricity a year to power 30,000 homes. Veolia also has State Government approval to build a 25-turbine wind farm near the Woodlawn tip, which would generate another 50 megawatts an hour.

But a $50 a tonne levy imposed by the NSW Government on waste that goes to landfill has prompted Veolia to look at ways of using some of the waste instead of burying it. Veolia's ambitious plans have not been without problems. Clyde and Auburn residents went to court several years ago in an unsuccessful bid to stop the construction of a waste transfer station at Clyde, from which the waste is sent by rail to the tip.

Veolia defends the efficiency of its transport system. It says the trains that transfer almost 9000 tonnes of waste from Clyde every week have taken 39,000 truck movements off the roads. South-western Sydney is likely to get another waste transfer station similar to that at Clyde under the company's plan to build a recycling plant at Woodlawn. The transfer station is expected to handle an extra 240,000 tonnes of rubbish a year that would travel to Woodlawn by rail. However, it is likely the waste would be delivered to the transfer station by trucks.

$850 per megawatt back to community

Goulburn Post
Monday 16/4/2007 Page: 4

Lachlan Shire councillors on Thursday voted to levy monetary contributions from wind farm builders to fund its community enhancement program. Gathering for a planning committee meeting in Crookwell. councillors voted to levy an annual fee of $850 per megawatt per farm. While a levy payment was originally recommended to be $1000, it was pointed out at the meeting the NSW Department of Planning's own recommendation for such levies was $833.33 per megawatt. It was moved by Cr Garry Cosgrove and seconded by Cr Sandra Bill that the levy generally follow the State's recommendation and on the vote it was set at $850. indexed as at March 31. 2007.

Speaking after the meeting. Council's general manager John Bell said the payment would be linked to the life of the respective projects. "We think it is a fair community amount and the money gained would be spent in the general area of the respective wind farms." Mr Bell said. "Councillors thought that if we are going to have wind farms, then there should be some community benefits and we clearly already have the support of the Department of Planning on this matter." The spokesperson for the Friends of Crookwell, Humphrey Price-Jones, said the $850 levy would not placate people, particularly those directly affected by wind farms.

"This in no way pays for the damage done to individual farms or farmers. Rather, it will benefit ratepayers in general," Mr Price-Jones said. "What the council should be doing is opposing wind farms tooth and nail because none of them to date comply with its own control plan. "The State government seems to be acknowledging how communities have been given this enormous problem and wants to placate people by identifying a source of money." Mr Price-Jones pointed out no work had as yet started on Taralga. Crookwell 2. Walwa or Cullerin wind farms but "some people's lives have already been damaged by the stresses associated with them".

A spokesperson for RES Southern Cross, one of the companies wanting to build a wind farm in the shire, could not be reached for comment on the levy's fiscal practicalities.

How solar ran out of puff

Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 17/4/2007 Page: 12

The president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Professor Ian Lowe, remembers a time when solar had all the answers. "In the 1970s, the case for solar energy was the case against all other forms of energy," Lowe says. It was the superstar solution to the energy crisis. The expectation was that because solar offered no-risk electricity generation and would never run out, it would swiftly dispatch coal-fired electricity to the dustbin of absurd human inventions. And with our climate, it seemed better suited to conditions in Australia than almost anywhere else.

But 30 years later solar is the renewable power that never grew up - at least in Australia. While global growth in the installation of rooftop solar panels is estimated at 40 per cent a year (and higher in booming solar markets such as Germany and Japan), in Australia it is about 16 per cent, says the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. And that growth is on such a small base that solar barely registers in figures from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics figures on how our electricity is made.

Of the nearly 8 per cent of Australian electricity generated by renewables, 6.5 per cent is hydroelectricity, 0.8 per cent is bioenergy (power from reusing waste), wind accounts for
0.6 per cent and less than 0.1 per cent is generated by solar power. The rest of our power is coal-fired electricity, which, Lowe points out, compares poorly to countries such as New Zealand (mostly hydroelectricity), Norway (where renewables account for a third of electricity generation) and Iceland (three-quarters).

Nowhere is the good news/bad news nature of the solar story more evident than at the University of New South Wales's world-renowned School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, which claims its many solar-cell breakthroughs have generated "approximately $1 billion" in sales worldwide.

The school's researchers have collected a swag of prestigious awards, including the Alternative Nobel Prize, the Australia Prize and the World Technology Award. One of its graduates, Zhengrong Shi, heads one of the largest solar energy corporations in the world, China's SunTech Power Holdings. He is worth a reported $2.7 billion.

But ask its head of school, Dr Richard Coricish, why more Australians aren't installing grid-connected solar systems at home and his frustration is obvious. "If you don't include the environmental costs of coal-fired electricity when comparing them with solar, it becomes very difficult. [Saving money] is not what motivates me and if that's all that motivates the consumer, then perhaps solar isn't for them.

"I don't want to sound too negative because it's an exciting time for us - the world is beating a path to our door. But the [Australian] situation does frustrate me." Corkish is right: unless you are going to add the environmental costs of coal-fired electricity to your power bill, it's hard to justify installing solar panels. Yet.

The problem is the cost of installing a grid-connected solar system - between $9000 and $40,000, depending on the size of your house and family. Even when you take into account the maximum $4000 federal rebate, it's an investment many ordinary, debt-ridden home owners can't justify. The price tag is inflated by the cost of producing refined silicon (which is also in demand for semiconductor manufacture in the electronics industry), which accounts for about 40 per cent of the cost.

Most estimates show it takes between 20 and 30 years for a grid-connected solar system to "pay for itself' - that is, to recoup the initial outlay through savings made compared with existing bills. As a result, only 30,000 Australian households - out of 8 million - have installed solar panels.

Apart from reducing the up-front cost of the systems, which is being explored through research, one of the best ways to increase uptake would be if governments changed the electricity pricing structure, says Duncan Macgregor, of the solar hot water and solar panel installer Going Solar. At present, electricity retailers such as Origin Energy pay people with solar panels about the same rate for feeding surplus solar-generated power back into the grid as they charge for coalfired electricity. This is despite the fact that they on-sell solar-generated electricity - branded GreenPower - at a premium to environmentally conscious consumers.

At least two state governments are planning to adopt "feed-in tariffs", which increase the rate home owners are paid for producing electricity from solar panels. Last year South Australia announced a plan to double the rates solar users are paid for generating surplus power. The Victorian Government has also introduced legislation in Parliament which is expected to extend existing feed-in tariffs for wind energy to solar from next January.

Tony Wood, a spokesman for Origin Energy, the largest installer of solar panels in Australia, says the cost of higher rates paid to the providers of solar power is likely to be passed onto customers. This would be done by increasing the distribution network tariff for consumers of coal-fired electricity, because solar electricity systems use energy generated locally. The cost of maintaining the poles and lines of the distribution network is enormous - it is forecast to cost $9 billion over the next five years in NSW alone.

The NSW Minister for Energy, Ian Macdonald, says he prefers to let the market decide which types of renewable fuels to use,"rather than the Government picking winners". He says that the State Government requires that 15 per cent of electricity used in NSW to come from renewable sources by 2020.

The economic story of solar hot water, however, is much more attractive to the average home owner. A solar hot water system costs up to three times more than a gas or electric set-up but, at about $4000, it is still much more affordable than solar electricity. Because of the money saved, a solar hot water system should pay for itself "within five to 10 years", says Stephen Kranch, the national manager of Solahart. And because solar hot water tanks usually last 20 years, installing a solar hot water system can mean free hot water for up to 10 years. "The consumer should look very positively at solar hot water. It makes economic as well as environmental sense," says Ian Lowe.

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy says the number of Australian households buying a solar water heating system more than doubled between 2001 and last year, when it reached 45,700. In total, 348,000 Australian households have solar hot water - but this is still only about 5 per cent of the market. NSW and Victoria are two of the poorest performing states in the uptake of solar hot water, with 2.5 per cent and 1 per cent of households, respectively, owning a solar tank.

Kranch says the price gap between a solar system and a conventional one prevents the market from growing faster. The key to building the market, he says, is introducing a simplified system of rebates. At present, consumers can apply for a state government rebate, which in Victoria is a maximum of $1500. An additional sweetener is offered through a complex system of renewable energy certificates, a carbon trading-type scheme of electronic certificates which are traded between registered organisations and whose value changes depending on supply and demand.

Wind of change

Australian R&D Review
April, 2007 Page: 16

Allco Wind Energy has announced its entry into the large European wind energy market, entering into partnership arrangements with two leading German developers, WPD AG and JUWI GmbH. Allco will acquire a total of 112MW of wind energy in Germany and France, with completion in 2007 and 2008.

With a total installed capacity of 60MW, three wind farms in Germany have been acquired from WPD, with the acquisition of a fourth project, to he completed later in 2007, taking the overall installed capacity to 64MW. Wind turbine generators are supplied by Vestas and Siemens.

An agreement has been entered into with JUWI whereby Allco will acquire eight wind energy projects in Germany and France totalling 48.5MW. The first acquisition of the 6MW Ober Kostenz project in Germany (6.0MW, 3 x Vestas V90 - 2.0MW) has been completed. Wind turbine generators are supplied by Vestas and Enercon.


Wind of change

Australian R&D Review
April, 2007 Page: 16

TrustPower, which generates all of its electricity from sustainable resources, has added impetus to carbon trading in New Zealand by selling carbon credits to Meridian Energy. TrustPower, which owns and operates 34 hydro generators and the Tararua Wind Farm, has been awarded carbon credits for a number of its sustainable generation development and enhancement projects. The largest completed so far has been the Stage 2 development of the Tararua Wind Farm.

Chief executive Keith Tempest says TrustPower's decision to focus on renewable energy sources has proven to be a sound one, for the company and the environment. "We are pleased that our efforts to concentrate on sustainable generation have put us in a position where we are now able to trade our surplus carbon credits to assist others to gain carbon neutrality or offset their own greenhouse gas emissions. We welcome approaches from any New Zealand businesses that require assistance to gain carbon-neutral status."

In addition to its existing 100% sustainable generation portfolio, TrustPower is on target to complete its Tararua Stage 3 Wind Farm expansion in July and its Deep Stream Hydro project later in the year. It is in the resource consenting phase for a new 72MW hydro project in Marlborough, a 42MW hydro scheme on the west coast of the South Island, and a new 200MW wind farm at Mahinerangi in Otago, adjacent to one of its existing hydro schemes. It has also begun construction of a new 88MW wind farm at Snowtown in South Australia.


Wind farm win

Weekly Times
Wednesday 18/4/2007 Page: 2

THE Victorian Government has approved a 64-turbine, 160-megawatt wind farm at Mt Mercer. about 30km south of Ballarat. Planning Minister Justin Madden said the wind farm would generate enough power for 73,000 homes. The 11th wind farm to be approved in Victoria is expected to take between 12 and 18 months to build and will create up to 120 construction jobs and 1,' permanent positions.

Regulation needed for offset schemes

Southern Courier
Tuesday 17/4/2007 Page: 15

The rapidly-sprouting carbon offset industry needs greater regulatory control, climate-change activists and environmental scientists have warned. An increasingly popular concept, carbon offsetting allows the environmentally conscious consumer to pay extra to reduce the destructive capacity of their personal ecological footprint, but there are concerns that loose regulatory provisions endanger the efficacy of such schemes.

Dr Mark Diesendorf, senior lecturer at the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales recently told the Courier: "At present there appears to be no regulatory structure for offsets at all and no real information to guide consumers. There is a desperate need for a serious accreditation scheme for offsets.

"While tree plantations are better than nothing, they are not as secure as, say, purchasing wind energy, as trees can burn down and also once trees are fully grown they cease to absorb carbon dioxide:' The local activist group Climate Action Coogee shares Dr Diesendorf's concerns. "There are some offsetting companies that are not ecologically sustainable and some overseas companies that are causing problems for local communities," said a spokesperson for the group.

"In the long run businesses will have to invest in permanent renewable-energy strategies in order for Australia to make the greenhouse-gas emission reductions that it has to make. We think it is important that regulatory reform kick-starts this process along." Other commentators have warned that throwing money at carbon offsetting may also instil an attitude of environmental recklessness and give corporations the ultimate excuse not to reform their day-to-day environmentally damaging operations.

"Carbon offsetting is a good way to get people thinking about the problems associated with pollution but offsetting is not a solution to climate change," the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the Federal Opposition spokesman on Climate Change, Arts, Heritage and the Environment, Peter Garrett, said: "The issue of carbon offsetting will be considered as the Labor Party continues its policy development process in the lead-up to the next election"

Renewal energy forum

Atherton Tablelander
Tuesday 17/4/2007 Page: 25

WITH all the rain the Tablelands has received, you'd be mistaken for thinking that solar power was futile in this region. Solar power is just one of the more than effective sources of renewable energy residents can tap into to prevent the threat of climate change.

Residents can find out more about sustainable energy - such as the Tablelands' own wind farm at Ravenshoe - at a public forum being held at Atherton State High School on Wednesday night.

Speaking at the forum will be manager of the Queensland Sustainable Energy Industry Development Group, Wendy Miller. She will be debunking some of the common myths about renewable energy and look at its role and energy efficiency locally and globally in its capacity to meet our energy demands, while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Forum organiser Gabriele Bohnet, from the Tablelands Environment Network, said a large number of people did not realise the options for renewable energy that existed in Australia. "Australia has been a forerunner in this technology, but hasn't been supported by our government," Ms Bohnet said.

Now companies are moving overseas where they have investment which they can't get here, and it is kind of sad." The forum, which is presented by the North Queensland Climate Alliance, will show residents affordable options for acting against climate change, such as installing a solar hot water system.

"I have been living around the Tablelands for the last eight years and during that time I've been living in a house with solar hot water," Ms Bohnet said. "In that house, even on a rainy day, we hardly had to use the gas booster." Australia is estimated to have enough natural gas reserves to last until 2050.

Ms Bohnet said natural gas was also an alternative energy source that was underused by Australians. At the moment our natural gas is exported, which it shouldn't be because it is a clean resource," she said. If enough people turned to cleaner sources of energy, entire communities could help reduce greenhouse emissions. "By using things like energy efficiency bulbs, with solar hot water and other renewable resources we could ultimately save on our power bills," Ms Bohnet said.

The climate change and energy forum will be held at Atherton State High School auditorium, on Maunds Road on Wednesday, April 18 from 7pm to 9pm. Everyone is welcome and a gold coin contribution would be appreciated.

Monday 16 April 2007

`Green' business can be a real breeze

Adelaide Advertiser
Monday 16/4/2007 Page: 12

IT IS easy being green if you ask business partners Janie Jenkins and sisters Kylie and Jane Brammy. They have just switched their city physiotherapy practice, Therapia, to 100 per cent wind energy. That said, tracking down an electricity supplier able to offer new wind energy to business customers took a little effort.

''We eventually sourced new wind energy which produces no greenhouse gases from TRUEnergy," Jane Brammy said. "It costs 5c per kilowatt hour extra, which over the year will add up to about $300, but it's worth it because it's an investment in the technology and, ultimately, the planet." The physiotherapy and pilates studio, which is celebrating its first anniversary in June, is keen to be seen as a best-practice model for green business.

Featuring strawbale insulation and skylights, the building embodies the business's green philosophy - it's a converted warehouse.