Friday 18 May 2007

Turbines installed between towers in Bahrain

Engineers Australia
May, 2007 Page: 31

Large-scale turbine blades have been installed onto the 240m-high Bahrain World Trade Center towers by UK engineering consultant Atkins. It is one of the first buildings in the world to incorporate the feature. All major structural works have been completed on the building, which is scheduled to open this year.

The three wind turbines are horizontally supported between the towers by three bridges weighing 65t. The installation of the 29m diameter blades was the culmination of over three years of research and development by the company's architects and engineers collaborating with Danish partners Ramboll and Norwin. The Nass Murray and Roberts joint venture was the builder on the project. Atkins performed structural engineering.

"The challenge was to physically and operationally integrate the turbines and bridges into the high-rise building form," said Simha Lytherao, senior project manager for Atkins Middle East. "Physical integration meant supporting around 80t per turbine and the bridge while also mitigating imposed dynamic loads, including structure-borne vibration.

"Operational integration meant harmonising the electricity generated with the building low voltage electrical systems and coordinating the control of the turbines with the various building management systems." Once operational, the wind turbines will generate about 11 %-15% of the towers' energy needs. According to the company, this will equate to about The power will be used for the public areas of the building.

According to the company, the 50-storey towers were designed to enhance the effectiveness of the turbines housed between them. The elliptical shape of the towers causes them to behave as aerofoils, funnelling the onshore breeze between them and creating a negative pressure behind, thus accelerating the wind velocity between the towers. The effect was confirmed through wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics modelling which showed the incoming wind being deflected by the towers in the form of an S-shaped streamline passing between both towers.

This funnelling has the effect of amplifying the wind speed at the turbine location by up to 30%. Vertically, as the towers taper upwards, their aerofoil sections reduce. When combined with the increasing velocity of the onshore breeze at increasing The wind turbines on the Bahrain World Trade Center will heights, this creates an almost equal regime of wind velocity for each of the three turbines.

Boosting the power of remote communities

Engineers Australia
May, 2007 Page: 42

A new wind-diesel powerstation is being constructed in the seaside town of Hopetoun, as its proximity to the Ravensthorpe Nickel mine has resulted in a near tripling in size of permanent housing, placing added strain on the local infrastructure. Verve Energy is building the powerstation to meet the new demands for energy.

The new station comprises seven low load Detroit Diesel 320kW engines and two 600kW Enercon wind turbines. Ken Littlewood, manager sustainable energy assets for Verve Energy, said: "The winddiesel technology is all about maximising wind penetration and minimising diesel consumption while maintaining a very high level of reliability for the town." He explained that the diesel engines can operate at a 7% load which is quite unusual for diesel generators. "Generally diesel generators want 40% loading on the machines, but we have developed some "smarts" in the control system that enable us to bring the loading right down. It helps prevent glazing of the generators;" Littlewood said.

He added that Detroit Diesels was the only top level manufacturer that would support running the engines at 7% loading, explaining that the engines offered the capability to modify the control system and fuel injection systems.

Algorithms to control the loading on the diesel generators and maximise the wind integration were developed in conjunction with Power Corporation of Northern Territory. Verve Energy now owns the intellectual property, and the company's engineers are continually working on the development of the control algorithms.

Verve Energy said it was achieving 40% to 50% of wind contribution to the Hopetoun loads on a monthly basis, and it had reported up to 98% instantaneous contribution.

Littlewood said: "We maintain supply of diesel fuel to guarantee a minimum 10 days of fuel all the time. Generally, with good wind penetration we can cut consumption by half so in Hopetoun I expect the consumption rate will be around 1500L/d when the wind is blowing." The current design represents the upper limit of population for a wind-diesel system - with about 700 houses connected to the network. Verve Energy general manager trading and sustainable energy Greg Denton said: "The engineering challenge for us is to expand the standard product and make it more useful for more opportunities.

Hopetoun will present that challenge first, where we will need technology in the future." A second new wind-diesel powerstation is also under construction at Coral Bay where the increasingly popular holiday destination of Ningaloo Reef is requiring extra capacity. Littlewood said that because it is in a cyclone area Verve Energy has sourced cyclone M rated wind turbines.

These turbines are specifically designed so that they can be lowered and tied down when a cyclone approaches. "In Coral Bay the technology is slightly different as the cyclone-rated wind turbines are less controllable, so we have a 500kW fly wheel (a power store) integrated into the system to sink excess wind energy and help control fluctuations on the system," Littlewood explained.

The 275kW wind turbines at Coral Bay are developed by Vernier. They were originally designed to be lowered for maintenance purposes but when installed in New Caledonia the design was found to be practical in times of cyclonic weather.

Plan to consult residents

Ballarat Courier
Thursday 17/5/2007 Page: 7

THE company behind a push to build a 19-turbine windfarm near Smeaton and Campbelltown has unveiled its community consultation plan to residents. Wind Power's plan has outlined its intention to have two further information sessions for residents, arrange a visit to the Challicum Hills Wind Farm and establish a community reference group to gauge community support or opposition.

However, the Spa Country Landscape Guardians group, opposed to the development, said only residents near Clunes had received the letter dated May 7 while the vast majority of people affected were yet to receive any notice of the company's plans.

Wind Power director Andrew Newbold said the company was committed to keeping residents informed and the information sessions and community reference group would ensure the process was fair. We want this to be constructive, open and transparent and we have got nothing to hide and I would hope they participate after the couple of information sessions our consultants will do," he said. "I'm hoping they are coming with an open mind as we are prepared to listen to them."

Spa Country Landscape Guardians group spokesman Will Elsworth said opponents remained suspicious of the consultation process, particularly how appointments would be made to the community reference group. "What we have gathered from other experiences is that if we put forward individual nominations (for the reference group) they won't accept it... they just stack it.

We don't get to see their environmental impact studies... we have asked them to be open and transparent. People are very upset and distressed." The first of the two information sessions will be held on Sunday, June 3, at the Smeaton Bowling Club from 10am to 3pm. A visit to the Challicum Hills Wind Farm will also be held on Sunday, June 3.

Anyone wishing to attend can register their interest by calling 9830 2700 between 9am and 5pm. Registrations close at 5pm on Friday, May 25.

Change in the wind

Burnie Advocate
Thursday 17/5/2007 Page: 22

Tasmanian energy expertise finds new market in India
TASMANIAN wind energy expertise has gained a foothold in the emerging massive Indian market. Hobart-based renewable energy company Roaring 40s yesterday announced an agreement with major turbine manufacturer Enercon (India) Ltd for its first Indian wind farm project.

Roaring 40s' growth is expected to add another 20-odd jobs to the existing 40 within the next two years, according to spokesman Josh Bradshaw. "There are good opportunities there for further employment for Tasmania, which manifests in wages and real earnings." Roaring 40s has a growing portfolio of assets in world boom driver China and is hoping to do the same in India. "We think it will end up overtaking China in terms of the wind energy market, so there's massive potential there," Mr Bradshaw said. "It's the first hopefully in a pipeline of projects."

The agreement establishes commercial arrangements for an $80 million, 50.4 megaWatt wind energy project at Khandke, in the state of Maharashtra. It will be wholly owned by Roaring 40s and is due to be commissioned by December. Enercon Limited is one of the biggest operators in India's wind energy market.

"The Maharashtra project represents a significant milestone for Roaring 40s and reinforces the company's strong and continued growth in the Asian region," Roaring 40s managing director Mark Kelleher said. "India is one of the global leaders in embracing wind energy as a means of meeting increasing energy demand and improving the environment and Roaring 40s is very pleased to be working with Enercon to help India achieve its renewable energy targets." Roaring 40s is a joint venture between Hydro Tasmania and the CLP Group.

Council alliance leads way with aim for zero carbon emissions

Melbourne Times
Wednesday 16/5/2007 Page: 12

AN ALLIANCE of central Victorian councils plans to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2020, outstripping Melbourne's local government response to climate change.

The Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance - whose 14 member councils cover about a fifth of the state - has ambitious plans to achieve carbon neutrality using wind farms to displace coal, retrofitting cars with electric motors and a move towards regional carbon trading. In metropolitan Melbourne, only Melbourne, Moreland and Maribyrnong councils currently have plans to achieve zero emissions.

CVGA founder Terry White said the goal was to make central Victoria the first region in the developed world to "successfully make the transition from climate damaging to climate friendly". "The science has firmed up, and we have 10 years to do something serious.

Councils have the capacity to lead their communities and demonstrate the feasibility of the goal," he said. Mr White said the country tradition of self-reliance had helped the CVGA work towards turning rural households into net energy producers rather than consumers, via the region's rich supply of wind energy and solar energy. Current and future wind farms had the capacity to power half of the region's homes, Mr White said.

A regional carbon trading system is being planned through biosequestering carbon in permanent conservation plantations. Metropolitan Melbourne's sole greenhouse partnership - the Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action - is researching the feasibility of carbon neutrality, but has not yet committed to an overarching goal.

In other grassroots action on climate change, the Australian and New Zealand branch of International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)-Local Governments for Sustainability project recently launched the Australasian Mayors Council on Climate Protection.

The group represents the 220 Australian councils involved in ICLEI's Cities for Climate Protection initiative and is expected to be vocal in its support of nationwide action on climate change in the lead up to this year's federal election.

Wednesday 16 May 2007

Climate change the focus

Manningham Leader
Wednesday 16/5/2007 Page: 5

A NEW climate change action group has formed in Manningham to help residents learn how they can reduce greenhouse emissions. Warrandyte residents Wayne and Ruth Rankin created Climate Action Now (CAN) to synthesise information in the climate change debate. "A lot of great information is emerging in the newspapers and on television, but it's pretty overwhelming," Mr Rankin said.

"Some of the terminology is even more confusing. What is it to be `carbon neutral'? "How do we make sense of the claims and counter-claims for wind, solar, geothermal, landfill and biomass? What about nuclear?" The group has organised a community information night at Warrandyte on May 24, featuring speakers from energy companies, a solar system manufacturer, a wind farm manager, scientists and a policy analyst from the National Emissions Trading Taskforce.

Mrs Rankin said many people wanted to help the environment on an individual basis. "There is a groundswell of people saying `what can we do?'," she said. "We're trying to guide those people and help them out." The Climate Action Now information evening will be at Warrandyte High School theatre, Warrandyte Rd, Warrandyte, on May 24 at 7.30pm. Details: 9844 1959.

SYSTEMS GO Shire approves first wind farm

Hamilton Spectator
Saturday 12/5/2007 Page: 1

Southern Grampians Shire has unanimously approved the first wind farm in the shire. The shire's agreement to issue a planning permit for seven wind turbines on a Woodhouse farm at its ordinary meeting on Wednesday follows similar approval by Moyne Shire Council for eight turbines on an adjacent farm on Tuesday.

Ten families - a fair proportion of the small Woodhouse community - strongly opposed the $49 million wind farm, but none were present when Southern Grampians Shire made its decision. It's unclear whether they intend to take their objections to the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal (VCAT). The shire's physical services director, Jim Nolan, said there had been meetings with the objectors, consultants, developer NewEn, and council. He said council couldn't issue it planning permit until the time allowed for an appeal to VCAT had expired.

Net benefit
Mr Nolan said consultant, Chris Harty, had come to the conclusion the wind farm provided a net benefit. Mr Harty said the Morton's Lane wind farm helped to address the threat of fundamental environmental changes to habitat and longterm species survival associated with climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions. "The wind farm addresses these threats though its ability to offset greenhouse gas emissions mainly though growing energy demand and during windy conditions when the wind farm will generate renewable energy directly into the electricity system," he said.

However, Mr Harty admitted there were equity and fairness concerns with large projects. "This is perhaps strongly highlighted with wind farms because of the size of the wind turbines, which can be seen over long distances and highlighting the private economic benefit some landowners receive compared to others." The minimum setback from neighbouring properties will he 165 metres.

Overlay sought
Cr Katrina Rainsford wanted the shire to create a wind farm overlay in the shire but Mr Nolan said that would have to be subject to a future council debate. Both Southern Grampians and Moyne had to give a decision on a planning permit for the wind farm because the two host farms involved - North Gums and Yamba - straddle the shire boundary along Morton's Lane. The wind farm will cover 1100 hectares over both sites. The towers will be 103 metres tall and the blades 45 metres in length.

While it was the first wind farm to he approved in Southern Grampians, it was old hat for Moyne Shire which has become the wind farm capital in Victoria with an extraordinary number approved or planned, including the biggest in Australia so far - the 183-turbine wind farm half way between Hawkesdale and Macarthur.

Although Southern Grampians Shire had no hesitation supporting the Woodhouse wind farm, it attached 48 conditions to the permit. These conditions cover traffic, environment, striped-legged lizard, bats, landscape. noise, Aboriginal cultural heritage, television reception and interference, lighting, security, emergency arrangements, decommissioning, blade shadow flicker, aviation safety clearances, water supply, fuel and vegetation management, and aircraft hazards.

Developer, NewEn, says the Woodhouse wind farm will provide electricity for 17,257 homes, and create emission savings equivalent to taking 27,000 cars off the road annually.

Business climate set for change

Hobart Mercury
Wednesday 16/5/2007 Page: 24

INVESTORS will soon be able to rank companies based on their performance in a "climate change economy". Ratings agency RepuTex has developed a Climate Change Growth Index of companies listed on the S&P-ASX 300. The index will track stocks best able to address climate change risks and take advantage of opportunities for growth, allowing investors to build issues such as a carbon tax, water shortages and emissions targets into their investment decisions.

"Climate change factors are already having an impact on company earnings," RepuTex head of research Hugh Grossman said yesterday. "This impact is likely to grow as changes to the regulatory setting occur, such as the introduction of a carbon trading scheme." Some 45 companies already qualify for the index, based on their capacity to create wealth and remain financially competitive, he said.

A second index, the RepuTex Clean Tech Index, will identify the leading creators and manufacturers of clean technology equipment, products and services. "New market forces will drive innovation and growth in the development of clean technologies." Mr Grossman said. "These companies provide a direct technological solution to address climate change such as renewable energy, alternative fuels and efficiency gains." Rankings are based on the future earnings capacity of the business in a carbon-constrained environment

Carpenter backs $1bn desal plant, scraps aquifer plan

Wednesday 16/5/2007 Page: 7

SEAWATER will provide a third of Western Australia's fresh water within four years following the Carpenter Government's decision to spend almost $1 billion building a second desalination plant south of Perth. Premier Alan Carpenter announced yesterday that he had dumped a plan by government utility Water Corporation to make the massive South West Yarragadee aquifer the state's next major water source.

Citing climate change and environmental concerns about the plan to tap the aquifer, Mr Carpenter announced that a $955 million desalination plant would be built near Binningup, about 150km south of Perth. More desalination plants were possible in the future. Like the existing wind-powered desalination plant 41km south of Perth the third-largest in the world the new plant will be powered by renewable energy and will provide 45 gigalitres of fresh water a year enough for 150,000 homes when it opens. And it will have the capacity to provide up to 100 gigalitres of fresh water a year as demand increases.

Western Australia's integrated water scheme at present supplies 270 gigalitres of water a year to the southwest, wheatbelt, Goldfields and metropolitan areas. Mr Carpenter, who recently assembled a panel of experts to consider projects to reduce the state's greenhouse gases, said the new desalination plant could be powered by geothermal energy. "There is a very exciting prospect with geothermal energy technology potentially being available for base-load power in the southwest of Western Australia in coincidence with the time lines we are talking about here (for the new plant)," he said.

He said that 30 years ago, 90 per cent of the state's fresh water came from dams, but that had fallen to 25 per cent. The percentage of recycled water in the integrated system had increased from 2.6 per cent in 2001 to 13.6 per cent. Mr Carpenter said new water sources, recycling and demand management had delivered an extra 180 gigalitres a year. "Western Australia is now recognised across Australia, even by the federal Government, as the nation's leader in water management, to the extent that Perth is the only major capital city where people can use sprinklers through the summer," he said.

Mr Carpenter defended his decision to shelve the tapping of the aquifer in the southwest. "A lot more work needs to be done on assessing the full impact of climate change before we entertain utilising South West Yarragadee in the way that was proposed," he said. "Rainfall is declining, it continues to decline and we don't know if it will continue to decline." A sum of $750 million towards the cost of building and connecting the desalination plant has been paid out of this year's surplus. A further $205 million would be set aside next year.

Opposition Leader Paul Omodei said he was delighted at the decision to take the Yarragadee option off the agenda and he cautiously welcomed the desalination plant. Any decision that will stop the Government taking water from the southern Yarragadee is a good decision and we will take some credit for that." he said.

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Work begins on $400m wind farm at Waubra

Ballarat Courier
Tuesday 15/5/2007 Page: 7

WORKS are well underway on the Waubra Wind Farm development, with the first stage set for completion in August. The 128-turbine wind farm is Victoria's second biggest, and will involve a total investment of around $400 million. The project covers an area of more than 173 square kilometres, and involves 36 landowners. The project is being undertaken by Spanish company Acciona Energy in conjunction with Leighton Contractors.

The first stage, estimated to cost around $35 million, involves the civil works and includes construction to access tracks, turbine hardstands and foundations. The second stage will involve the electrical works, while the turbines are expected to be erected later this year.

About 100 people are currently employed at the site, with 70 per cent from Ballarat and district. At its peak, the wind farm is expected to create around 200 jobs. Acciona Energy construction manager Bruce Payne said it was a fast-moving project, and considered central Western Victoria to be the "windpower capital of Australia". Mr Payne said they had overcome problems relating to rock and soil conditions, and had implemented environmental plans and a recycling program.

The company has also formed a Community Reference Group, to allow the community and landowners to keep informed about the construction. Waubra farmer Ted Harrison, whose property the turbines will go through, said he had no complaints and the company had assisted him where there was any disruption to his farming program.

All our neighbours have got them (turbines), and no doubt the majority of people are happy about it, for the simple reason, it's brought a spark of life into the little town," Mr Harrison said. "A lot of workers mean a lot of outside money, and we've only got the hotel and the little store so it's a big thing for them."

Green energy the rage

Newcastle Herald
Tuesday 15/5/2007 Page: 43

DURING the past decade, people in the Hunter Region have been working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by tapping into a wind farm in Newcastle and a solar farm at Singleton. The wind turbine on Kooragang Island, Newcastle, generates enough energy to power approximately 230 houses," said Peter White, an EnergyAustralia electrician.

Mr White said there was a solar farm south of Singleton that was one of the largest in the southern hemisphere and it produced enough energy to supply electricity to power approximately 70 houses. In addition to the solar farm, Mr White said some buildings in the Upper Hunter area had solar panels installed. Each of these produced enough energy to power about 20 standard light globes.

Some installations had the ability to sell the energy they produced back into the power grid, Mr White said. "The Upper Hunter Shire is discussing a proposal to erect a wind farm with four turbines on the Liverpool Ranges near Murrurundi and it would have the potential to provide enough energy to power approximately 900 houses," Mr White said.

EnergyAustralia offers customers the option of buying Green Power, which is generated from accredited renewable energy sources including solar, wind, biomass and hydro. EnergyAustralia has teamed up with the Newcastle International Sports Centre Trust to help EnergyAustralia Stadium go green for the 2007 NRL season.

Renewable energy such as solar power will play a major role in this EnergyAustralia initiative. Mr Tilse, a Scone builder, spoke of a NSW State Government initiative called the Building and Sustainability Index (BASIX), which outlines requirements for new homes. Some of the requirements include the installation of solar hot water systems and insulation batts. Each house that has the BASIX requirement has its own water tank, which is connected to gutters for rainwater collection," Mr Tilse said.

Renewable Energy Should Provide the Fuel for 10% of the UK's Electricity Requirement by 2010

Business Wire
May 14, 2007 07:55

DUBLIN, Ireland - Research and Markets has announced the addition of Renewable Energy Market Report 2006 to their offering.

The UK's Government’s Aspiration is That Renewable Energy Should Provide the Fuel for 10% of the UK's Electricity Requirement by 2010, and 20% by 2020

This report analyses the UK's use of energy from renewable sources, with particular reference to biofuels and wastes, hydropower, wind and wave power, solar power and geothermal acquifers. In 2005, UK consumption of renewable primary energy was 4.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) — an increase of 15% over the previous year. Biofuels and wastes accounted for much of this figure, with hydropower and wind energy being the next most significant renewable sources. Wind power has shown a marked increase in market share in recent years, owing to the growth of offshore wind farms. Co-firing of biomass with fossil fuels has also grown rapidly.

Two factors are driving the development of the renewable-energy market. Firstly, there is a need to find additional primary energy sources as the UK's indigenous oil and gas output declines. Contributions from renewable energy will help to reduce the UK's increasing dependence on imported fossil fuels and thereby reduce the likelihood of disruptions to the UK energy supply caused by international politics or market forces. Secondly, most renewable energy sources (hydropower, wind energy, wave power and solar power) do not produce any carbon-dioxide emissions. This will help the UK to meets its environmental commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

However, the market faces several challenges. Gaining planning permission for a new installation can be a long and complex process. On many occasions, proposals have been rejected after 2 or 3 years of discussion. There are also reports of a shortage of suitable sites for large renewable-energy projects, the most attractive sites having already been developed or denied planning permission. Renewable energy does, however, receive support from the Renewables Obligation, which requires electricity suppliers to produce a specified proportion of their electricity from renewable sources. There is also a move towards a more distributed electricity-generation system, and renewable-energy plant has a role to play in this respect.

The UK market for renewable energy is forecast to grow. The Government's aspiration is that renewable energy should provide the fuel for 10% of the UK's electricity requirement by 2010, and 20% by 2020. Although output from renewable sources is growing rapidly and could almost reach the 2010 target, there will have to be an even more rapid expansion in the volume of renewable-energy plant if the 2020 target is to be met.

Monday 14 May 2007

Energy storage trial

Albany & Great Southern Weekender
Thursday 10/5/2007 Page: 6

A REVOLUTIONARY energy storage project is to be trialled at Windy Harbour. Melbourne-based Cougar Energy Limited is to establish Australia's first multi-installation demonstration project for renewable energy storage using its vanadium redox battery (VRB) technology. Cougar Energy initiated the trial after being offered $1.83 million in project funding under the Australian Government's Advanced Electricity Storage Technologies (AEST) program.

The company was then able to offer Windy Harbour residents and Manjimup Shire the opportunity to upgrade their existing systems or to install new renewable energy-based power systems using VRB instead of lead acid batteries as the storage component at competitive pricing. After funding details are finalised with the government, Cougar expects to have a 10kW storage system in place by the end of the year.

VRB Energy Storage System (VRB ESS) managing director Dr Len Walker said the units, which stored electricity produced by solar or wind generators, were ideally suited to Windy Harbour. Residents now use small diesel or petrol generators with some solar and wind energy to meet their electricity needs. "The aim of the Windy Harbour project is to significantly reduce or eliminate the use of diesel and petrol-driven engines for electricity generation," Dr Walker said.

"Renewable energy electricity generation sources, primarily solar photovoltaic or small wind turbines, coupled with appropriately sized VRB ESS and power conversion equipment, will be used to create a number of reliable, environmentally friendly and continuously available, high quality power systems." Cougar Power Systems manager Rob Blackwell said Windy Harbour was chosen for the first trial of the VRB technology after contacts made in 2005.

He said the company met the community and Manjimup Shire about 12 months ago to discuss their off-grid power supply problems. "We decided Windy Harbour was ideal when the Australian Government grant was given," Mr Blackwell said. "This will give participants in our scheme the opportunity to install the latest technology remote area power supply systems at much cheaper than normal prices. "We plan it to be a demonstration case." The VRB is an electrochemical energy storage device, where energy (electricity) is stored indefinitely in a liquid and can be recovered instantaneously.

Mr Blackwell said the trial would involve installing a cell stack drawing and distributing power from two external 1,000 litre polyethylene tanks containing the electrolyte. He said VRB had better efficiency and much longer cycle life than lead-acid batteries when used with solar and wind energy. Cougar Energy's grant was one of five successful funding applications, totalling $17.6 million, jointly announced by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The grant announcement follows Cougar's recent review of the VRB technology which confirmed there was significant potential for the technology to be incorporated as part of Australia's Remote Area Power Supply requirements, at both the residential and township levels.

Tassie strikes a big blow

Hobart Mercury
Saturday 12/5/2007 Page: 7

THE biggest wind turbines in the southern hemisphere will be churning out enough power for 30,000 homes from the state's North-West this weekend. Roaring 40s has just finished the final stage of the Woolnorth Wind Farm, completing 25 new towers and turbines. The turbines generate three megawatts each, with the blade tips reaching 125 metres into the sky - or more than twice the height of Wrest Point casino.

Roaring 40s public relations manager Josh Bradshaw said it made the operation the biggest wind farm in Australia. "It's an exciting weekend for all of the team who have been working up there." Mr Bradshaw said. The $170 million final stage at Woolnorth began construction in January last year, the beginning of a long process to built the 80-metre towers. Each tower has four 45-metre-long blades. In total, the Woolnorth operation will generate 140 megawatts of power, including the two previous stages.

Mr Bradshaw said it had more than likely reached its capacity, which could see an end to wind energy expansion in Tasmania for some fillip "What we would like to do next is build Musselroe," he said. The Musselroe project in the north-east was well advanced before the Federal Government ended its Mandatory Renewable Energy Target scheme, which gave incentives to clean energy production. Roaring 40s put the project on hold. "We are encouraged by the NSW scheme which [Premier Morris] lemma says lie will implement." Mr Bradshaw said. "It has capacity for projects outside NSW, but we'll have to wait and see what the detail involves."

Drought drives power prices up

Canberra Times
Saturday 12/5/2007 Page: 1

Electricity prices will soar 14.25 per cent from July 1 if a draft report issued yesterday by the pricing regulator is confirmed - but Canberra's main energy supplier says a 34 per cent increase is warranted. The move for a dramatic price increase is the result of the escalation in wholesale electricity costs caused by the drought.

The Snowy Hydro scheme, which normally supplies about 15 per cent of electricity for the national grid - importantly for Canberra at peak times - is struggling badly with Lake Eucumbene and Lake Jindabyne desperately low. The drought is also limiting output from some coal-fired Queensland generators, unable to maintain supply because they have insufficient water to create steam for their turbines.

In a draft decision yesterday, the ACT Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission determined the retail price of electricity for domestic consumers should increase by 14.25 per cent from July 1. But the price increase could be greater, with submissions on the draft decision due by June 8 before the commission's final decision a week later.

ActewAGL is expected to make a submission, seeking an increase considerably above the regulator's figure. Under the proposed increase, the average annual household power bill would rise by $158 from $1112 to $1270. Senior commissioner Paul Baxter said the key question was whether wholesale prices had peaked or were still increasing. "The biggest concern we have is that we don't discourage competition by holding the price too low," Mr Baxter said. Neither did the commission want to cause a collapse in the market as occurred about five years ago in California when retail prices were set below the wholesale price.

ActewAGL's general manager retail, Ivan Slavich, said the commission's draft determination was based on a wholesale price of $58 a megawatt-hour. The current price was $80. In a competitive market, the retail price should be the market price - what a new entrant would have to pay to compete. Mr Slavich would not say how much ActewAGL was paying for its wholesale electricity, but said at the current wholesale price, the domestic retail price should increase by 34 per cent. Otherwise, ActewAGL would have to sell electricity for less than what it paid for it.

"Your readers should realise there will be no windfall gains from this." Given increased costs, he also warned that ActewAGL might need to review its popular bundling options where consumers received discounts if they were customers of other ActewAGL or TransACT products. However, he guaranteed existing contracts would be honoured. The proposed price increase includes about 3 per cent to cover the ACT Government's controversial network facilities tax announced in the last ACT budget.

This has added $5.5 million annually to the network component of the cost of electricity in the ACT. Mr Baxter said the Government had increased funding for rebates on energy, water and sewerage bills to reduce the impact of the tax on pensioners, health -care -card holders and Department of Veteran's Affairs gold-card holders. About 12 months ago, the commission recommended to the Government that domestic electricity prices be set by the market, as are gas prices.

But as with all other jurisdictions, the ACT Government continues to require prices for consumers who use less than 100 megawatt hours of electricity a year to be capped. The price set by the commission from July 1 will be for 12 months. Mr Baxter said he was seeking advice on whether it would be possible to vary the price during the year. Energy Retailers Association executive director Cameron O'Reilly said it might not be much comfort to ACT residents, but other Australians were experiencing similar pressures. Prices were traditionally lower in autumn and the present prices were unprecedented in the national electricity market.

Mr O'Reilly said wholesale and network costs comprised about 90 per cent of the electricity price. The association believed the best results for consumers occurred when the market set the price. Energy was becoming more analogous to petrol pricing and governments should not dictate price changes. Mr Slavich said that with wholesale prices at the current level, renewable generators such as wind farms would be viable. The price rise had also increased the possibility of a gas-fired power station in the ACT.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope could not be contacted yesterday.

AGL gets its second wind

Bendigo Advertiser
Saturday 12/5/2007 Page: 51

SYDNEY - Australia's largest retail energy supplier AGL Energy Ltd has snapped up the development rights for a second wind farm in South Australia. The rights to build the 71 megawatt (MW) wind farm at Hallett Hill have been acquired from Wind Prospect Pty Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

Wind Prospect is an independent wind energy developer, constructor and operator, working in Australia, UK, Ireland and China. The go-ahead for the SA project, 200 km north of Adelaide, comes as AGL Energy is constructing a $236 million 95 MW wind farm almost 20 km away.

AGL wind farm purchase puts SA in front

Adelaide Advertiser
Saturday 12/5/2007 Page: 83

AUSTRALIA'S largest retail energy supplier, AGL, has bought the development rights for a second wind farm in South Australia. The 71 megawatt wind farm, acquired from Wind Prospect, at Hallett Hill, is about 20km from another 95MW Hallett Wind Farm that AGL is currently building in the area.

Acting Infrastructure and Energy Minister Jay Weatherill welcomed the move, saying it meant SA led the nation in wind farm development with about 40 per cent of the nation's wind farm capacity. "If the development proceeds, SA will have 800MW of wind farms delivering clean green energy to consumers," he said.

The plant would add to SA's stable of six wind farms in operation and another three under construction. AGL managing director Paul Anthony said the development was an important addition to AGL's renewable generation asset base. "The Hallett Hill development could provide enough renewable energy to power 40,000 average Australian households and abate approximately 250,000 tonnes of CO2," Mr Anthony said. He said that by the end of the decade AGL could be operating 134 wind turbines in SA with a combined capacity of 255MW.

Ill wind ruffles German courts over turbines

Monday 14/5/2007 Page: 8

GERMAN courts are starting to deal with a unique new crime - stealing wind. As Europe's greenest country builds ever more electricity producing wind farms, so the rights to nature are now being fought over by lawyers. Among the cases being considered by a Leipzig court is a dispute between the operators of two wind turbine facilities. At issue: who owns the wind? "It is becoming an issue that will keep lawyers in work for many years to come as the complexity of the law combined with planning regulations provides scope for many battles in the future," said legal expert Juergen Linden.

In Leipzig, the legal battle centres on a wind farm in Deliztsch, in the eastern German state of Saxony, and a businessman who wants to set up a bigger wind farm in the vicinity. The current operator claims siting another turbine nearby will create a slipstream, decreasing the speed of the airflow and therefore hitting the productivity - and of course the profits - of his electricity-producing windmill. "This wind theft naturally affects profits," Leipzig lawyer Martin Maslaton said, justifying his client's complaint. He said his client believed he could lose more than 15 per cent in income over the lifespan of the wind farm - a loss of several hundred thousand euros.

With single wind turbines now routinely capable of three megawatts of output - enough to power 3000 homes per turbine - wind energy has become too cheap and too practical to ignore. No country appears more determined to realise the potential of wind energy than Germany. With virtually no energy resources other than coal, and a commitment to phase out nuclear power over the next two decades, Germany is likely to extend its lead in wind energy. And in legal squabbling.

Australia not so pretty for renewables

Monday 14/5/2007 Page: 2

AUSTRALIA ranks 14th out of 25 countries in terms of its investment attractiveness for renewable energy, behind the US, India and China, according to a survey by Ernst & Young. The index rates countries according to their overall near and long-term policies for renewables, particularly wind energy.

China's installed wind energy capacity doubled last year, and is set to exceed 5000 megawatts well before its 2010 target. Australia has 817 MW wind energy capacity, with new projects tapering off to about 100 MW last year as industry incentives run out. The US is expected to build 3000 MW of wind farm capacity this year, up 26 per cent on last year, resuming its growth as more states set renewable energy targets. California alone aims to get 20 per cent of power from renewable sources, including solar, by 2010.