Thursday 21 June 2007

Welcome Windmills!

Buloke Times
Tuesday 19/6/2007 Page: 1

A $45 million wind farm is to be established on private land at Berrimal, 19 kilometres south of Charlton and 16 kilometres west of Wedderburn. The project will consist of 12 to 16 wind turbines, with associated buildings and works. In the construction phase up to 40 jobs will be generated, while one or two permanent jobs will be required during the operating life of the windfarm. Importantly for the Shire, the project will contribute rates of over $61,000 to Council.

With undisguised enthusiasm, Buloke councillors meeting at Donald on Wednesday night adopted the recommendation by planning officer John Edwards that the Council:
  1. Approve the application by Acciona Energy for a wind energy facility (wind farm) consisting of 12-16 wind turbines at The Gap Road, Berrimal (specifically Crown Allotments 46. 48 and 51 Section B, Parish of Coonooer East: Lot 5 on TP408900B: and Lot I on TP4II8O5B).
  2. Approve the application for the associated removal or lopping of native vegetation along the road reserves to provide access to the proposed site.
  3. Grant permission for the issue of a planning permit subject to the 20 conditions listed.
These include signage, lighting, security, on-site waste water management system, traffic management, facility specifications, noise, telecommunication reception and interference, blade shadow flicker, bats and avifauna environment management, emergency arrangements, civil aviation clearances, repowering, decommissioning, Aboriginal Affairs Victoria conditions, and Department of Sustainability and Environment conditions.

The Project
The site stretches along a 5 kilometre ridgeline that covers an area of approximately 417 hectares. The windfarm will consist of up to 16 wind turbine generators and associated infrastructure including hardstand areas, access roads, fused switch panel enclosure, underground cabling, a substation, a systems control building, two wind monitoring towers, workshop facilities, an area for storage of hazardous materials. Acciona Energy has held discussions widely as part of the community consultation process being conducted for the proposed Berrimal wind farm.

The capacity of the project is about 24 megawatts. Wind energy facilities generating less than 30 megawatts are subject to the planning permit process at the local council level. This means that Buloke Shire Council will decide the application.

Discussions with the Department of Sustainability and Environment indicated that, based on the results of the preliminary flora and fauna assessment and the anticipated low level of impact on the surrounding environment, it was not necessary to prepare a referral to determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement is required.

The wind farm will provide an additional source of power for the Wedderburn and Charlton area. It will contribute to the Victorian Government's Renewable Energy Target (VRET) through the generation of approximately 73,000MWh of renewable electricity per year and displacement of an estimated 95.000 tonnes of CO2 (greenhouse gas) per year. This is enough power to provide green electricity to 13,600 households.

Project Managers
Two of Acciona Energy's project managers, Dean Smith and Stephanie Rice, were at Wednesday night's meeting when Council gave its blessing to their company's proposal. The motion that approval be given to the application for a wind energy facility at Berrimal was moved by Cr. Peter Watts, seconded by Cr. Jan Corrie and carried unanimously.

Winds of Change

Buloke Times
Tuesday 19/6/2007 Page: 2

Never was there a clearer case of "saving the best till last" than on Wednesday, as Buloke councillors waded into an ocean of issues at their June meeting in Donald. Among vitally important matters dealt with during that time were the adoption (at long last) of the Buloke Shire Local Roads Hierarchy, and the preliminary submission to the Electoral Representation Review. But of the 19 reports tabled in the first hour, none was to have quite the same impact as the very last - the application by Acciona Energy for a wind farm at Berrimal, 19 kms. south of Charlton and 16 kms west of Wedderburn.

First, there was the project cost, estimated at $45 million, an amount beyond the comprehension of most of us (certainly those of us in the country print media!). A lesser amount, though far from insignificant in the eyes of a municipality fighting for survival in tough times, was the rate revenue of more than $61,000 per year to be directed to Council. Overall, however, the excitement within the Council chamber was at least as much to do with the environment as with the economy. "I just hope they double the size," enthused Cr. Leo Tellefson, referring to the number (between 12 and 16) of wind turbines planned for Berrimal.

"When an opportunity like this comes along we should grab it with both hands and do everything in our power to encourage those associated with the project," said Cr. Peter Watts. Moving that approval be given to the Acciona Energy proposal, Cr. Watts hoped that further developments of this kind would also be possible in the Buloke Shire. Describing the initiative as "incredibly exciting", Cr. Jan Corrie was also at a loss to understand why some other councils and residents were opposed to wind turbines. "I think they're beautiful," she said.

"It's brilliant for the world, and for our microeconomy as well." The health of the planet having long been at the top of his priority list, Cr. Tellefson could not hide his delight at the direction being taken by Council and Acciona Energy.' "The Southern Grampians Shire is pretty near carbon neutral, due to wind farms at Ararat," he said. "That identifies that shire as one of those aiming at minimum environmental harm to society." He hoped that with some solar energy as well, Berrimal might eventually be able to reduce the impact of the greenhouse effect even further, and become energy-efficient in its own right.

Both Crs. Harold Flett and Robyn Ferrier added their praise for this monumental undertaking, prompting the final word from Cr. Tellefson: "Forty-five million dollars - that's even more than most councillors earn!" Wednesday night's decision on the Berrimal wind farm is the culmination of a process that could well be described as a model for negotiations between industry and government at all levels.

All issues, conditions, regulations and assessments have been dealt with professionally by the contracting company and the Buloke Shire. Above all, community considerations were always at the top of the priority list, leading to exhaustive consultation with those entitled to know every detail and consequence of this massive enterprise. Congratulations are well and truly in order for all concerned.

Wind farmer chases $12m

Hobart Mercury
Thursday 21/6/2007 Page: 25

RENEWABLE energy company Wind Hydrogen launched its $12 million public offer yesterday, saying the funds raised would help develop wind farms in Australia and the UK. The company, chaired by a former NSW premier Neville Wran, is offering 60 million shares at 20c a piece. It has a provision to issue a further 15 million should it want to raise another $3 million. Wind Hydrogen has plans for 19 wind fauns in the UK and one in Australia, with a capacity of 350 megawatts. The 40mw Woolsthorpe development in Victoria is the company's only Australian offering.

Wran blows hot on the potential of wind farms

Thursday 21/6/2007 Page: 22

FORMER NSW premier Neville Wran hopes the highly speculative area of renewable energy will attract investors to help raise millions to develop "potential" wind farms. Mr Wran is chairman of Wind Hydrogen Ltd, which is expected to be floated on the ASX in August, and he was on hand at the company's prospectus launch in Sydney yesterday. "The key to it is the storage of the hydrogen," Mr Wran said, referring to WHL's secret weapon involving hydrogen balancing technology.

The company hopes to raise between $12 million and $15 million from an IPO of 60 million 20c shares to develop a series of wind farms in Australia and Britain. The WHL leaders promoted their patented hydrogen balancing technology as helping to overcome the problem of storing electricity generated from intermittent sources such as wind energy. Hydrogen would be stored using off-peak electricity and then combusted to use in times of increased energy demand and higher prices.

Mr Wran was leading the company's float along with current business associate Albert Wong, a non-executive director of WHL, and former Macquarie Bank adviser Richard Pritchard, now the company's managing director. "Australia has a history of investing in the mining sector and the risks of the wind farm business are similar," WHL director and former chairman Jeffrey Bateson said.

Wind likely to be best option for power needs

Thursday 21/6/2007 Page: 8

ABOUT 150 extra wind turbines will be built across Victoria with the aim of making a new desalination plant and pipeline across the Great Dividing Range carbon neutral. The State Government yesterday revealed more details of its promise to augment water supplies for Melbourne, Geelong and the Goulburn Valley without increasing Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions.

Water Minister John Thwaites said the Government would pay about $15 million a year extra for enough power from new renewable energy facilities to balance the 100 megawatts of electricity needed to run the desalination plant and pipeline each year. Without this renewable energy offset, the plant and pipeline would produce more than a million tonnes of extra greenhouse emissions a year. Although the Government is yet to announce the source of the renewable energy, a Melbourne Water study on the desalination plant shows wind as the best option.

Energy experts, including the head of the Energy Supply Association of Australia, Brad Page, said it was reasonable to expect about 300 megawatts of new wind capacity- or more than 150 wind turbines - would balance the added power demands on the electricity grid. The wind turbines would not directly power the desalination plant, but would feed extra electricity into the grid throughout the year, offsetting greenhouse-gas-generating power sources such as gas and coal.

University of New South Wales energy researcher lain MacGill said paying for extra renewable energy was preferable to planting trees as carbon offsets, because it was easier to guarantee its effectiveness in reducing greenhouse emissions. "Obviously it's better than nothing," Dr MacGill said. Anti-wind campaigner Tim Le Roy said he did not believe the extra wind capacity would deliver the promised savings in greenhouse gas emissions.

China now world's top carbon polluter

Thursday 21/6/2007 Page: 5

CHINA has overtaken the US as the world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, figures show. The surprising announcement will increase anxiety about China's growing role in driving man-made global warming, and put pressure on politicians to agree to a global agreement on climate change that includes the booming Chinese economy.

China's emissions had not been expected to overtake those from the US, formerly the world's biggest polluter, for several years. But according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, soaring demand for coal to generate electricity and a surge in cement production had helped push China's recorded emissions for last year beyond those from the US. Jos Olivier, a senior scientist at the agency, who compiled the figures, said: "There will still be some uncertainty about the exact numbers, but this is the best and most up to date estimate available.

China relies very heavily on coal, and all of the recent trends show their emissions going up very quickly." China's emissions were 2 per cent below those of the US in 2005. Per head of population, China's pollution remains relatively low - about a quarter of that in the US and half that of Britain. The figures only include carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and production of cement. They do not include sources of other greenhouse gases, such as methane from agriculture and nitrous oxide from industrial processes. And they exclude other sources of carbon dioxide, such as from the aviation and shipping industries, as well as from deforestation, gas flaring and underground coal fires.

Dr Olivier said it was hard to find reliable estimates for such emissions, particularly from countries in the developing world. But he said including them would be unlikely to topple China from top spot. To work out the emissions figures, Dr Olivier used data issued by BP this month on the consumption of oil, gas and coal across the world last year, as well as information on cement production published by the US Geological Survey.

Cement production, which requires huge amounts of energy, accounts for about 4 per cent of global carbon dioxide production from fuel use and industrial sources. China's cement industry, which has rapidly expanded in recent years and now produces about 44 per cent of world supply, contributes almost 9 per cent of the country's carbon dioxide emissions.

The announcement comes as international talks to produce a new climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012 are delicately poised. The US refused to ratify Kyoto partly because it made no demands on China, and one major sticking point of the new negotiations has been finding a way to include both nations, as well as other rapidly developing economies such as India and Brazil.

Earlier this month, China unveiled its first national plan on climate change after two years of preparation by 17 government ministries. Rather than setting a direct target for the reduction or avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions, it now aims to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 per cent by 2010 and to increase the share of renewable energy to some 10 per cent, as well as to cover about 20 per cent of the nation with forests.

But it stressed that technology and costs were major barriers to achieving energy efficiency in China, and that it would be hard to alter the nation's dependency on coal in the short terns. A Government spokesman said China needed international co-operation in helping it move towards a low-carbon economy. Chinese industries have been hesitant to embrace unproven clean-coal and carbon-capture technologies that are still in their infancy.

BHP misses the target on climate change emissions

Thursday 21/6/2007 Page: 4

Big companies are moving to tackle greenhouse pollution an encouraging sign, writes Don Henry.

BHP Billiton's climate change policy, released this week, has the giant mining and resources company making a modest commitment to tackling the most pressing issue of our generation. It is important that this big international business has a policy, but its policy is weak. The company has failed to set any targets for gross reductions in its greenhouse emissions.

Globally, BHP Billiton produces 50 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution a year, equivalent to about 10 per cent of Australia's emissions. The absence of a reduction target puts BHP Billiton behind many international companies that have committed to absolute cuts by 2010. BP will cut emissions by 10 per cent, Alcoa by 25 per cent and DuPont by 65 per cent - all by 2010. Duke Energy has committed to reduce its emissions to 5 per cent below 2000 levels for the period 2010 to 2012.

Instead of setting a target to reduce emissions, BHP Billiton has set a target to reduce "energy intensity" by 13 per cent by 2010. This would allow the company's emissions to continue to increase, so long as the company grows. The energy intensity target of 13 per cent by 2010 is weaker than the Chinese Government's target: to reduce energy intensity by 20 per cent by 2010.

On the positive side, BHP's energy intensity target means the company aims to run its operations more efficiently, which is a start. Many companies, of course, are genuinely trying to ease their impact on the planet. Virgin Blue offers to fly customers "carbon-free" for a small surcharge, the AFL has committed to offset its greenhouse gas emissions through efficiency measures and investment in renewable energy, and Rupert Murdoch recently pledged to make News Corp carbon neutral by 2010. None of these initiatives is perfect but the fact that big trading and for 2050, and legally binding 2020, reduction targets.

BHP Billiton also knows there are benefits in Australia joining the global move towards a low-carbon economy. The company's submission to the Prime Minister's emissions trading task group said of an Australian scheme: "Ideally, this would include participation in the CDM (the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism) market." The only way for Australia to participate in the lucrative CDM emissions trading market is for businesses are tackling the issue it to ratify the Kyoto Protocol is encouraging. There remains a problem with a lack of widely accepted standards and accounting by which to judge the effectiveness of "carbon-neutral" programs. Companies and the public need to know if the schemes are fair dinkum.

Aside from making genuine and significant cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, corporate Australia has another crucial role in all this: furthering the development of climate change policy in this country. The Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change companies - BP, IAG, Origin, Swiss Re, Visy and Westpac - made a valuable contribution to the policy debate at a time when it was pretty lonely out there. In May last year, their report, The Business Case for Early Action, showed Australia could cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, with a strongly growing economy. The companies called for emissions BHP Billiton should be publicly calling for bipartisan support for Kyoto ratification, helping take the politics out of a crucial issue.

Shareholders and the public expect corporate Australia to play a lead role in tackling climate change. First, companies should make genuine and substantial cuts to their greenhouse gas emissions - in absolute terms. Business is a crucial part of the solution. Second, business has a pivotal leadership role in educating employees and the wider community. Third, it is essential that business urge bipartisan support for science based 2050 and 2020 targets to cut emissions, targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and Australian participation in the CDM.

Don Henry is executive director of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Wednesday 20 June 2007

Archer wind farm 'viable'

Cooktown Local News
Wednesday 13/6/2007 Page: 3

THE introduction of renewable energy targets in Queensland has made the proposed Archer Point wind farm commercially viable. Proponent Wind Power Queensland has welcomed the State Government's June 3 announcement of its ClimateSmart 2050 strategy, which includes a 10 per cent renewable and low-emission energy target by 2020.

"This is the first time that a Mandatory Renewable Energy Target has been set for electricity generation specifically in Queensland," said Wind Power's managing director, Lloyd Stumer. "This target now allows the wind farm to be commercially viable." But the exact timing for the commissioning of the $220 million project was "still very dependent on detailed planning approvals processes and the construction and delivery of turbines", he said.

Access to a deepwater port would be required to deliver the infrastructure to the rugged area. "(We) are still hopeful that it is possible to get the first turbines operational by the end of next year but do acknowledge that is a tight schedule," Mr Stumer said. He said an initial public meeting would be held "as soon as the scheduling of the project becomes more certain". The proposed farm - which at 60 turbines would be triple the size of Ravenshoe's and able to power 60,000 homes - has been 17 years in planning. During last August's handover of national park and indigenous land, the State reserved a 2300ha seaward tract for two years of wind farm feasibility investigations.

The Cook Shire Council also negotiated for a 1970s deepwater port site, and last month the council resolved to invite the Ports Corporation of Queensland and State Development Minister John Mickel to town to discuss Archer Point development proposals. Support for the project has come from indigenous groups, the State, conservationists and the council - although Mayor Bob Sullivan has said public debate would be needed about locating a wind farm in an area renowned for its scenic value.

Australian Conservation Foundation president Ian Lowe has dubbed Archer Point one of the best sites in Australia for a wind farm. Mr Stumer said emissions from electricity production accounted for about 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Queensland. "The Archer Point wind farm will play a significant early role in the reduction of greenhouse emissions, as well as providing a more secure electricity supply for Far North Queensland," he said. The project would need to come before the council for approval and be subject to public comment unless it was declared significant and called in by State or Federal ministers.

Global warming

Bega District News
Friday 15/6/2007 Page: 10

AN EVENING to look at practical responses to global warming will be held Eden next Friday night, June 22. The director of the Wind Energy Research Unit at CSIRO, Dr Peter Coppin, will give a presentation on the 'wide range of possibilities available for changing the way we generate and consume energy.

The founder of Clean Energy for Eternity, Matthew Nott, will compere the evening in St George's Uniting Church Hall, Chandos Street, Eden, from 7pm next Friday. Entry will be by $5 donation to the Garden of Eden community project and supper will be provided.

Data request for wind farm

Colac Herald
Monday 18/6/2007 Page: 2

Corangamite Shire Council needs more information about a proposed wind farm near Port Campbell before it calls for public submissions. Energy company Acciona Energy has lodged a planning application with the council for up to 15 wind turbines at Newfield. The council's infrastructure and development group manager Paul Younis said Acciona Energy needed to supply additional information including clarification "on three or four different issues" before the council encouraged public comment.

"We are accepting public submissions at present but I would suggest people waited until the additional information is available for them to consider," Mr Younis said. "We have asked for more information in regards to the specific siting of the turbines and for information about access issues," he said. "They can take as long as they like to submit the information but I would expect them to submit it relatively soon," Mr Younis said.

He said extra submissions were normal for large planning applications. "Once we go through applications like this in detail we usually need more information to clarify things," he said. Mr Younis said the council would advertise the application for public comment once it had the extra information.

Victorians look to Perth desalination example

AAP Newswire
Tuesday 19/6/2007

Victoria may soon boast Australia's largest desalination plant, but Perth is already drawing from the nation's first. Perth residents began drinking water from the Indian Ocean late last year via a $387 million seawater desalination facility at Kwinana, south of the city.

The plant was built to supply 17 per cent of the city's water at full capacity and the Western Australian government has since announced plans for a second desalination facility. The existing plant was built as part of a joint venture between Multiplex Group and French-based water treatment specialist, Degremont. It was the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and the third largest of its kind in the world at the time it started operating. It is powered by electricity generated by the Emu Downs Wind Farm near Cervantes on the western WA coast.

The Perth plant is expected to produce 45 gigalitres of water per year or 130 million litres per day, making it the largest single water source feeding into Perth's Integrated Water Supply. The Victorian plant will be built in the Wonthaggi region, south-east of Melbourne, at a cost of $3.1 billion, Premier Steve Bracks announced today. It is expected to provide 150 billion litres of water per year for Melbourne, Geelong, Westernport and Wonthaggi.

The NSW government is planning to build a desalination plant at Kurnell in Sydney's The Queensland government also plans to build a desalination plant, along with two new dams, and introduce recycled drinking water.

The second plant planned for Perth will cost almost $1 billion and will be powered by renewable At Binningup, 130km south of Perth, the plant will provide at least 45 gigalitres of water a Wheatbelt and the Goldfields when it comes on line by 201 1. More than 30 per cent of Perth's water will then come from desalination, cutting dependence on dams and the strained Gnangara mound, Perth's main water source.

No money for new energy technology

Wednesday 20/6/2007 Page: 6

A TARGET of drawing 10 per cent of NSW energy needs from renewable sources is likely to be set out in draft legislation to be introduced next week, but the lemma Government yesterday failed to invest in the technology required to produce it. Instead, it earmarked $2.9 billion for investment in electricity infrastructure, with most of it committed to upgrading the ageing power distribution network, including substations and highvoltage transmission lines. A further $500 million will be spent on upgrading existing coalfired power plants and $300 million will go towards a 600mW gas-fired power station on the central coast.

Government sources said next week's draft bill would put into place the state's commitment to Mandatory Renewable Energy Targets reaching 10 per cent in three years and 15 per cent of power consumed by 2020. This would allow NSW to import renewable energy from other states to meet these targets, although South Australia and Victoria also have their own mandatory targets in place. The targets are not as ambitious as for other states, with NSW already sourcing about 6.1 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, most of this from the Snowy hydro scheme.

Renewable Energy Generators Australia chief executive Susan Jeanes yesterday welcomed new draft legislation as the best mechanism to stimulate expansion of the industry. "While it's always important to invest in renewable energy, at this stage it's more important for the industry to get the legislation through which sets up a market for the development of new projects," Ms Jeanes said.

Business has expressed concern about the looming conflict between establishing a national emissions trading scheme, flagged earlier this month by John Howard, and investment in research and development of new technologies. Adding to the concerns are different state-based Mandatory Renewable Energy Targets. The Prime Minister's Emissions Trading Task Group report said all mandatory target schemes should be "wound up over time, and new ones forestalled".

The NSW Government will proceed with its $310 million Climate Change Fund to encourage families and businesses to save water and energy by providing rebates for rainwater tanks, solar hot water systems and energy-efficient insulation. The budget also set aside $5 million for accessing satellite imagery to better track illegal land-clearing and waste-dumping.

Tuesday 19 June 2007

Renewable Energy Conference

Bendigo Advertiser
Tuesday 19/6/2007 Page: 15

Renewable energy and global warming will be the topic of a major conference organised by the City of Greater Bendigo and La Trobe University, Bendigo. Councillor Keith Reynard says the conference is a pro-active step at a time when the world is seeking answers to the growing energy crisis. "Some of the best ideas and initiatives have come from regional Australia, and we are expecting to see more good ideas come out of this important conference," Cr Reynard said. The economic development opportunities that should arise from the shift towards renewables are viewed as a major positive for the region's economy.

"Both the CoGB and the University recognise that support and investment is essential to the growth of new technology, and believe now is the time for innovation, ingenuity and vision." "It is becoming clearer that local communities will play an important role in the adoption of renewable energy technology and I believe the strength and commitment of local communities to take positive action will drive government policy in this issue."

Speakers will address a wide range of topics including the Hepburn community wind farm, timber as a renewable, converting waste to energy, creating "energy wedges" in regional Australia, linking renewables through hybrid technology and solar powered desalination. Keynote speakers include State Treasurer John Brumby, weather presenter and environmentalist Rob Gell and Bendigo Bank CEO Rob Hunt.

The Renewable Energy & Regional Australia Conference is at the Capital Performing Arts Centre in View Street on September 17 and 18. For Program details contact Pat Ibbotson, Conference Manager on (03) 5444 7859 or

Aussies not yet nuclear-friendly

Herald Sun
Tuesday 19/6/2007 Page: 15

ONLY one in five Australians thinks nuclear power and clean coal technology are the best solutions to tackle climate change, a survey has found. Half of those surveyed also said renewable energy from solar power was the best way to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, followed by wind energy.

The Australia Institute online survey of more than 1000 voters found just 19 per cent of people supported the Howard Government's greenhouse strategy, which is based mainly on embracing nuclear power and developing clean coal technology. Women were more likely to oppose the strategy than men; 80 per cent preferring renewables and energy efficiency compared with 68 per cent of men.

Australia Institute deputy director Andrew Macintosh said 74 per cent of voters preferred a greenhouse strategy based on renewable energy. The Government's approach has been weighted heavily in favour of clean coal technology and nuclear power, but the community wants a more balanced policy," he said. "There is a good economic case for ensuring greater balance. .. and this survey suggests such an approach is likely to attract widespread support."

Prepare to pay more for energy

Port Macquarie News
Monday 18/6/2007 Page: 2

Hastings residents can brace for increases in their energy bills as distributors try to compensate for the cost of green power. From July 1, the average weekly household energy bill will go up by $1.70. For businesses, the increase equates to $3.70 per week on average. The state's independent pricing authority last week increased the cost of energy by eight per cent. Country Energy's regional general manager Andrew Latta confirmed that cost would be passed onto consumers - including its customers in the Hastings.

As Mr Latta explained it, green energy is more expensive than the less environmentally - friendly brand. Green energy is generated by cleaner methods, such as wind farms, but because of the limitations on green power availability, it costs distributors more to buy. Distributors, Mr Latta said, are trying to buy a percentage of green energy and, in fact, all Country Energy sites are now powered by green energy, but it costs money. So, customers are footing that extra cost.

The other reason Country Energy has increased prices by the regulated eight per cent, Mr Latta said, is to reinvest in infrastructure. Over the next 12 months Country Energy will spend $450 million on upgrades. "We're very mindful of the impact these changes have on customers, particularly within drought-affected areas of the state," Mr Latta said.

"What I'd be suggesting is that it is $1.70 a week, but there is a hardship program, Country Support, and we can keep the power on in times of hardship." To seek help on meeting the new costs of energy, call the Country Energy information and help line on 132 356.

Nuke power `rejected'

Bendigo Advertiser
Tuesday 19/6/2007 Page: 5

CANBERRA - Few Australians support nuclear power and clean coal as the best technologies to combat climate change, a survey shows. The research by left-wing think tank, The Australia Institute, discovered only 19 per cent preferred the Federal Government's focus on those energy sources.

Seventy-four per cent favoured a greenhouse strategy based mainly on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Among coalition voters, 60 per cent supported renewable energy and 35 per cent nuclear/clean coal. The poll also found 77 per cent preferred to get their electricity from a renewable power source, while eight per cent favoured nuclear power. Solar energy was the most popular of the renewable sources for electricity, chosen by 50 per cent of respondents.

The online survey carried out by polling company Pollinate had 1034 respondents and was conducted from April 30 to May 3. "This survey proves there is overwhelming support for a greenhouse strategy that gives greater prominence to energy efficiency and renewable energy," institute deputy director Andrew Macintosh said.

Desal plant key to $5bn water scheme

Tuesday 19/6/2007 Page: 4

DESALINATED seawater from Gippsland and irrigation water from north of the divide will be pumped to Melbourne through a massive network of new pipes under a $5 billion blueprint to solve Melbourne's water crisis. A large pipe will also be built linking Melbourne's and Geelong's water supplies so the state's second-largest city, which is labouring under strict water restrictions, can share the extra water.

State cabinet yesterday signed off on a desalination plant costing between $2 billion and $3 billion to be built near Wonthaggi, southeast of Melbourne. It is the centrepiece of a scheme to boost the city's water supply by more than a third. The project will also include the controversial $1.5 billion north-south pipeline giving Melbourne access to water from Eildon Dam despite objections from some irrigators and a lack of support from the federal Government. The package, which could be announced today, will be funded by increasing water prices and dipping into state government coffers. It is believed the Government will consider building parts of the project as public-private partnerships.

The cabinet yesterday chose Wonthaggi over a proposed site at Black Rock on the Surf Coast west of Geelong for the desalination plant. Sources told The Australian that despite the Gippsland site's proximity to Phillip Island and its famous penguin colony, it was the better choice, politically and practically. The Wonthaggi site has good access to the high-voltage power grid and there is a wind farm nearby to supply the green energy that will largely power the plant. The salty brine would be piped into the open ocean and the water piped back to Melbourne through storage basins in Gippsland.

Wonthaggi is in state and federal seats that are Liberal held. Locating the plant on the Surf Coast would put it in a state seat held by Labor and a federal seat the ALP has a chance of winning.

The Mayor of the Wonthaggi based Bass Coast Shire, Neville Goodwin, said local people might support the desalination plant if it helped boost depleted local reservoirs. Reservoirs in the region have fallen as low as 5 per cent and most of the towns are on the tightest water restrictions, while some have had to truck water in.

"I think if it gave us surety about our water supply then I think people would probably embrace it," Mr Goodwin said. But we need to know about the ramifications because we haven't been told anything about it." The plant would require a site of about 20 to 30 hectares and is likely to be built with a capacity to supply at least 100 gigalitres a year about a quarter of Melbourne's yearly needs.

Wonthaggi is home to a 12MW six-turbine wind farm run by Wind Power, which is also developing the nearby 104MW Bald Hills wind farm. The Bald Hills wind farm was delayed for years by spurious threats to the endangered orange-bellied parrot. The desalination plant could face a similar battle given that it will be discharging brine into waters that are home to seals and penguins.

Monday 18 June 2007

Emission Possible

Monday 18/6/2007 Page: 7

The Howard Government has warned of economic disaster if carbon emissions are cut too drastically. But in Sweden the opposite has occurred. Bold policies have turned a city into a eco-powerhouse.

IN THE cool forest region of southern Sweden, the city of Vaxjo has turned off the heating oil, even on the darkest, snowbound days of winter. Coal, too, is gone and next on the fossil fuel hit list is petrol. In the underground car park of the local government offices, there are no private vehicles, just a communal green-car fleet. Staff who cycle or take the local biogas buses to work book ahead to drive - fuelling up on biogas or E85, a blend of 85 per cent renewable ethanol. Petrol is still readily available to the public, but carbon emissions in Sweden are heavily taxed. Drivers pays about 80 cents a litre extra at the bowser.

Vaxjo is chasing a future free of fossil fuels, and it's almost halfway there without having sacrificed lifestyle, comfort or economic growth. When local politicians announced the phasing out in 1996, it was little more than a quaint curiosity. Oil prices were hovering around a manageable $US20 a barrel and global warming was still a hotly contested debate. Today, at least one international delegation a week - mainly from China and Japan - beats a path to Vaxjo to see how it's done.

The Vaxjo model has been repeated all over Sweden, creating a network of "climate" municipalities. Sweden's total emissions have long been falling and last year the Government announced its own ambitious national goal: to end oil dependency by 2020. Today, Sweden's annual greenhouse gas emissions are just over five tonnes per capita, compared with Australian and US levels in the high 20s and climbing. That's before calculating Sweden's forests, which serve as huge carbon sinks that could offset emissions by another 30 per cent. In Vaxjo, it's 3.5 tonnes of carbon per capita, the lowest urban level in Europe.

Meanwhile, the heavily taxed Swedish economy has clawed its way up into the world's top five, partly due to cutting-edge "clean tech". The first step towards Vaxjo's - and Sweden's - success was the city power plant. Today, its giant smokestack towers over the pristine lakes, parks and cycle ways, barely emitting a puff of steam. Inside there's a huge furnace, similar to those that burn coal. But the suffocating heat feels and smells like a sauna. Wood chips, sawdust and other wood waste discarded by local forestry industries are burning at extremely high temperatures to produce electricity.

Then, instead of dumping the cooling water, as most power stations do, it's pumped out scalding to the city's taps and to another vast network of pipes. The second delivery system of insulated pipes runs hot water continuously through heaters in homes and offices. The water leaves the plant at over 100 degrees, travels as far as 10 kilometres and comes back warm to be reheated, over and over again. An enormous municipal hot-water tank acts as back-up, so showers never go cold.

"Everyone used to have oil burners for heating and the city was very dirty. We had to do something," says operator Hakan Eliasson. He started his career in coal, he says, but loves the mountains of pungent woodchips and the blue skies. Consumers, too, are happy; biofuels are cheaper than oil. The Vaxjo plant was the first in Sweden to switch from oil to bioenergy. It was the beginning of a nationwide energy conversion, the single most significant factor to date in Sweden's falling emissions. But, says Vaxjo city technical officer, So Hie Kim-Hellstrom, power plant conversions are not nearly enough.

In Vaxjo and elsewhere, there's been a relentless effort to get people out of cars and onto bikes and buses, to redesign housing, to encourage high-density living over urban sprawl and to start teaching green lessons from preschool. More than 30 per cent of energy, she says, can be saved just by changing the way people live. But they need to be persuaded; the city charges petrol-run vehicles, for example, to park, while low-emissions vehicles may park for free.

Vaxjo's next big environmental first is partially concealed under a mammoth custom-built tent on the lake front. It's a 67-unit, eight storey apartment block in a new, high-density wooden city; the first high-rise wooden building in Europe. Unlike high-energy steel, concrete and other manufactured building materials, wood is carbon neutral, requires less processing and insulates well. The tent is to keep the site dry to prevent warping and swelling; the one technical challenge not yet overcome is how to build in rain. "When we first started the fossil fuel-free campaign a lot of people complained that the economy would be ruined, now we have lots of new businesses and the city is growing," Kim-Hellstrom says.

But, don't get the idea it is a quick or easy process. Every single new energy-efficient light bulb is important. "We've been working for a very long time to get where we are." Nor could Vaxjo and other Swedish towns and cities have come so far without sweeping changes in Sweden's national policies. In 1991, Sweden introduced the world's first carbon tax, slugging carbon emissions at a hefty $US 100 a tonne, double the rate economists now suggest would sharply accelerate the development of renewable energy worldwide.

Initially, the environment was only part of the motivation; energy security was a more immediate concern. With no coal or oil reserves, Sweden's economy had been badly shaken by successive oil shocks. Like other European nations, Sweden had turned to nuclear and hydropower in the 1960s and '70s. But, in a referendum in 1980, Swedes voted to eventually dismantle nuclear power, forcing a search for alternative energy sources. Two nuclear reactors have since been shut down, but nuclear power remains an important part of a virtually emissions-free electricity sector.

In theory, Swedes liked the idea of reducing their economic reliance on oil cartels and the volatile Middle East. But the economy was then in recession and businesses forecast dire consequences. Many energy intensive businesses, such as car makers and aluminium smelters, won big concessions, but they still had to pay $US25 a tonne of carbon emissions, while their international competitors paid nothing.

At the time this was very radical and the tax was very, very high," says environmental economist Professor Tomas Kaberger. But suddenly we had thousands of entrepreneurs looking for low-cost, biological waste products that could be used for producing electricity and heat more cheaply than fossil fuels. They found residues in the forestry industry, waste in the food industry and agriculture and even wet, putrid garbage." Dumping combustible bio-waste in landfill was also banned, so garbage collection agencies were very happy to pay the new power plants operators to take their rubbish, he says.

Another biofuel frontier that quietly opened was flexible-fuel vehicles. SAAB began developing cars that take petrol or up to 85 per cent biofuel blends; keeping a low profile for fear of derision from a global market besotted with gas-guzzling four-wheel-drives. Now, with Volvo and Ford, SAAB is selling flexible-fuel vehicles across Europe, where ethanol-based fuels are rapidly gaining ground. For Swedish car buyers, there's a new 1000 ($1590) government rebate on every green car.

But Swedes are still encouraged to take the train instead of driving, because road transport emissions are the most difficult to bring down. Swedish railways offer emission calculators for consumers to assess every trip. A high-speed electric train from Stockholm to Vaxjo, for example, emits two grams of carbon dioxide per person, a car with two passengers 39.54 kilograms and a 737 aircraft, 65 per cent full, 58.15 kilograms. Flying one way adds up to about $20 worth of environmental damage, according to Swedish railways. Scandinavian Airlines, however, does offer passengers the option of buying a carbon offset with their seats.

In a major national survey last year, 80 per cent of Swedes said they are willing to pay more for services or products provided by a companies working to limit emissions and over half want even more punitive costs imposed on polluting industries. Culturally, there's probably an undercurrent of "lagom" in play. The word dates back to the communal beer bowls of Viking times. To drink too greedily was frowned on. The small personal sacrifices involved in living in a carbon-constrained economy echo the moderation that ensured everyone got a fair share of the beer.

Economies cannot be transformed without a carbon price, says Kaberger. But a carbon tax shouldn't be just another cost to the economy; the revenue allows governments to lower tax in other sectors. Since 1991, the carbon tax has been increased to $US150 a tonne, and the industry rate doubled to $US50. Yet economic growth is more than 5 per cent and unemployment about 4 per cent, partly due to booming clean-tech industries and record export sales for Sweden's big companies, such as Volvo, Ericsson and Telia.

Whether Sweden will meet its 2020 goal is not certain. Arguably, the conversion of electricity and heating plants to biofuel was the easy part. The big hurdle, for Sweden and the world, is automotive fuel. Globally, fuel consumption and emissions are soaring, especially in China and India. The answer may lie in Sweden's Arctic north, where locals refer to their vast forests as "green gold".

The world has oil sheikhs who made their money from black gold, the idea is that we will become tree tsars in the biofuel era," says one local, laughing. But, he's only half joking. Ethanol for vehicles is manufactured from crops such as corn, wheat and sugar cane. There are reasonable concerns that the world's forests -themselves critical carbon sinks and the protectors of the planet's bio-diversity - are threatened by the expansion of land-intensive biofuel crops. Poor nations, too, could suffer food shortages if crops are diverted to manufacture biofuels for industrial economies.

Sweden's sparsely populated northern frontier, ice-bound and dark in winter, is pinning its hopes on an experimental fuel plant. Second-generation automotive biofuels made from forest and agricultural waste would dramatically reduce pressure on land, minimising the global environmental collision between forests and biofuel farms. It's working; both gas and liquid vehicle fuels are being produced from cellulose. But, it's not yet commercially viable.

Stephan Edman, one of the original architects of the greening of Vaxjo and the national push to phase out oil, says the development of biofuels for transport could still fail, halting Sweden's progress. After decades on the environmental front line, Edman concedes it's been a long, hard fight despite Swedes' deep-seated respect for nature, tolerance of high taxes and concern for the common good. And, whatever emissions level Sweden will have, there will be little impact on global warming; its greenhouse gases were never more than 0.5 per cent of the world total.

But, the best argument has always been the economic one," Edman says. "Clean technology and energy solutions are the biggest emerging global sectors. We can earn a lot of money and create a lot of jobs by being at the frontier. "We are a small country, but we're exporting management, ideas and technical solutions to China and elsewhere. And China is sending technicians here to work for free just to learn. That's our chance to make a difference."


Council approves windmills

Bendigo Advertiser
Saturday 16/6/2007 Page: 11

Buloke Shire's nine councillors have given a unanimous thumbs-up for a wind farm between Charlton and Wedderburn. A permit application lodged by Acciona Energy was given the green light at the council's meeting this week, kickstarting development of a $45 million wind farm at Berrimal, 19 km south of Charlton and 16 km west of Wedderburn.

The proposal is for between 12 and 16 wind turbines, along with associated buildings, access routes and grid connections. It is expected to deliver enough power for about 16,000 homes. The project will net the council an extra $61,000 in annual rates. The private landowner on whose property the wind farm will be built is believed to have been offered more than $100,000 a year for his lease deal.

Cr Lloyd Paterson told The Advertiser this week's decisions were the result of more than two years public consultation and comprehensive assessments of the project's environmental, cultural and economic outcomes. "There was not one objection," Cr Paterson said yesterday. "I think they're fantastic. "Everyone is as happy as hell about this."

Fellow councillor Peter Watts lives next door to the proposed wind farm site; his home will be within 2.5 km and within full view of all the turbines. His family has farmed here for five generations and he still manages 1800 ha, grazing wool sheep and cropping lupins, barley, wheat and triticale. The family still owns the original 1872 settlement.

Cr Watts is excited and proud that his small shire is leading rural Victoria in embracing alternative energy sources and actively exploring new opportunities, the wind project just one among several the council is exploring. "I just hope this will start some of the other projects going," he said. "People have got to start to wake up.

"Fair enough, some people have some issues, but some have gone overboard (in their opposition) and fair enough they (wind farms) should not be destructive. "But there are other hills around here that have potential as well." And while it will still be another two years before Cr Watts' view changes, Acciona's project still faces several hurdles, such as the route to be used to connect the turbines to the power grid at the Calder Highway.

`Too late' for nuclear

Sunday Mail Adelaide
Sunday 17/6/2007 Page: 4

BUILDING a nuclear plant in Australia would be a questionable investment of "billions and billions of dollars", an Adelaide scientist says. University of Adelaide's Chair of Natural Resources Science, Professor Wayne Meyer, said by the time a nuclear power plant was built it might already be in danger of being obsolete.

There could be just tens of years of uranium fuel left because many countries were boosting their nuclear industries. "The rate of potential consumption is very high," he said. Professor Meyer said Australia would be better off concentrating on sustainable energy forms such as wind energy.

Nott speaks at World Environment Day dinner

News Weekly
Wednesday 13/6/2007 Page: 5

The Bega Valley Shire has the potential to become a centre of excellence for renewable energy technology industries, according to Matthew Nott.

Dr Nott, the founder of Clean Energy for Eternity, told the 30th annual Bega Valley World Environment Day dinner in the Bega Town Hall on Tuesday that the best way to achieve that was to begin calling the valley a centre of excellence. He was one of several speakers at the World Environment Day dinner, organised by the Friends of the Bournda Environmental Education Centre. "Renewable energy technology is a potential major new industry for the Bega Valley Shire," he said. "Its potential for us stems from recent approaches to me by a number of companies involved in the renewable energy generation field.

"They contacted me because our activities during the past 18 months clearly show that the Bega Valley Shire is a community with strong belief in renewable energy generation technology, which is set to become the fastest growing industry in history" Michelle Lindsay, the Department of Education's schools climate change initiative, co-ordinator, spoke about the role of children in promoting future climate change initiatives.

She showed a video in which primary school pupils were asked questions on climate change. A survey revealed that for younger children their concerns are possible loss of a close family member and then climate change. "However, as they get older the climate change issue moves to 13th place behind body image and getting a good job;" Ms Lindsay said.

A popular feature of the evening was an insightful, satirical presentation on political and community attitudes to climate change by Bega High School students Polly McDonald, Patrick Shields and Imogen Champagne. A light-hearted but revealing talk by Lumen Christi Year 11 student Linsey Cole on how best to influence the attitudes of today's young people was also well received.

Delays slow wind farm

Plains Producer
Thursday 14/6/2007 Page: 13

Developers of a proposed $250 million windfarm at Waterloo have been granted a second 12-month extension. Roaring 40s Renewable Energy told council it had already spent about $3 million on planning and development. Project manager, David Mounter, said the extension had been sought due to delays in renewing agreements with landowners, data collection, site assessment, seeking supply and installation quotes, progressing permit conditions and discussions with local crane operators.

Council environmental services manager, Rob Veitch, said council was happy to grant a further extension considering Roaring 40s Renewable Energy was addressing a number of requirements such as upgrading local roads before beginning the project. Long term spin-offs for the region included employment of between 50 and 100 people during the 12 month construction period,employment for maintenance workers for the expected 20 to 25-year life of the wind farm, lease payments to local landholders and an estimated $18 million injection to the local economy through provision of goods and services.

Wind farm application goes to government

Ararat Advertiser
Friday 15/6/2007 Page: 15

GLENTHOMPSON - Development of the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm at Glenthompson has entered an important new stage with the lodging of the planning permit application with the State Government. Following extensive research, planning and consultation with the Glenthompson and district community, the wind farm developers Investec Bank (Australia) Ltd and Windlab Systems Pty Ltd, have lodged the planning permit application with the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Investec Bank and joint venture spokesman Mark Headland said the department would review the application before releasing it for public comment. Within weeks lodgement of the application will be advertised in the press and the plans will be exhibited for public comment. At this time all community members will be given an opportunity to present their views on the project through written submissions.

Mr Headland said the developers were pleased to have this opportunity to provide the Glenthompson area with such an exciting project, one that will have so many positive outcomes in the form of reduced carbon emissions through the production of renewable energy and economic benefits through increased tourism, job opportunities and cash flow. "Victoria's per capita carbon emissions are among the highest in the world and this project will make a substantial contribution to the production of renewable energy in Victoria and to the reduction of climate changing carbon emissions for many years to come." Mr Headland said.

Research has identified the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm site as one of the best locations for a wind farm in inland Victoria, registering wind speeds usually associated with coastal areas. The planned multi-million dollar wind farm could provide up to 60 jobs with millions of dollars of potential opportunities for local employment and industry during the 12-18 month design and construction phase. The Glenthompson community has shown its support for the project with the vast majority of those who attended an open day to familiarise themselves with the proposal expressing their support.

The developers have also received many inquiries relating to employment opportunities and the chance of sub-contracting their services when construction of the wind farm begins. These inquiries will be further assessed once planning permission has been granted. Mr Headland said Investec and Windlab Systems were both delighted to be able to undertake a project which had the support of the majority of the Glenthompson community and which would benefit the entire State.

Sticky point of clean energy is storage

Weekend Australian
Saturday 16/6/2007 Page: 18

IN the ongoing debate about the role renewable electricity can play in combating global warming, energy storage is the game-changer. At present the curse word for wind and solar power systems is "intermittency". Calm days and variable wind patterns blight the market expansion of wind farms, as do night and dull days for solar arrays, not least because of the strains that unpredictable supply places on high-voltage transmission networks.

If the power gathered when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining can be "bottled" in a commercially viable way, the role of wind farms and solar arrays takes on a whole new importance in an increasingly carbon-constrained energy supply environment. Because the chief expense of these renewable systems is the initial capital cost, with low marginal costs of actually generating power, access to storage can make a substantial change to their market contribution.

Now a remote fishing community in Western Australia is about to take on role in helping the alternative energy industry to pursue its dream of being able to operate on demand in peak periods, when power prices are at their highest. Using a $1.83 million subsidy from the federal Government, part of a five-year $20.4 million program to promote electricity storage technologies, Vancouver-based VRB Power Systems and Australia's Cougar Energy Limited are setting up a trial of the Canadian startup company's battery technology at appropriately named Windy Harbour. The technology was initially developed at the University of New South Wales, where research on the concept is ongoing.

The joint venture established its first battery storage operation in Australia for Hydro Tasmania on King Island in 2003, and hopes to set up 90 more such trial sites across Australia over the next three years. These would be in addition to demonstration projects in electricity production and telecommunications support in North America, Japan, South Africa and Ireland.

The largest project is in Ireland's County Derry, where VRB has a $US9.4 million contract to support a 39MW wind farm with storage. The Irish Government's sustainability agency has estimated that if the trial is successful the opportunity exists to install storage capacity of 700MW to support a 3000 could meet a quarter of Ireland's power needs at the moment gas-based generation is its dominant method, fuelled from Russia.

The VRB battery technology involves pumping an electrolyte that contains vanadium and sulphuric acid through a membrane, causing a chemical reaction to release electricity, avoiding the degradation of solid surfaces present in conventional batteries critically, a process that can also be reversed to store power.

The company also boasts that its battery has the lowest ecological impact of all energy storage technologies, most of which rely on toxic substances such as lead, zinc or cadmium. Unlike conventional lead-acid batteries, VRB's invention does not wear out and the units are "scalable" they can be grouped to store more power for longer periods. At present a VRB battery and storage tank system the size of a fridge can hold enough electricity to power an average-sized house or a mobile telephone transmission tower, and a collection the size of a football field can store power from a 40MW wind farm.

VRB also puts the vanadium battery forward as a good complement for a diesel generator in an off-grid community and it acquired the rights to another "flow" battery system using chemistry based on bromine and polymeric sulphur from RWE, Germany's largest energy utility. VRB's initial marketing focus is on 200 island communities around the world and countries such as Australia, where there are large numbers of off-grid regional communities reliant on expensive and noisy diesel generation for their power. The company is currently also exploring prospects in Denmark, Spain, Scotland, Ontario, Oregon, Hawaii, California, parts of Latin America and New Zealand.

Its chief executive, Tim Hennessy, claims that the prospective global market is worth $US1.5 billion a year in the medium term and far more as the technology is developed. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy in Washington DC believes that electricity storage in America alone has a market potential of $U53 billion to $US5 billion annually. The Sania National Laboratories, a US government agency in New Mexico, adds: "The electricity industry is becoming aware that energy storage can be cost effective in certain applications and certain locations. It will change the way utilities and electricity consumers do business."

Huge CO2 savings forecast

Weekend Australian
Saturday 16/6/2007 Page: 18

USING only small improvements to existing technologies, Australia in theory could reduce carbon dioxide emissions from stationary energy to 50 per cent below 2001 emissions levels by 2040. This is the conclusion from scenarios developed by Hugh Saddler of consulting firm Energy Strategies, Mark Diesendorf, a researcher from the University of New South Wales, and Richard Denniss, then a researcher for The Australia Institute, a public policy analysis centre.

Their work, published earlier this year in the journal Energy Policy, looked at three clean-energy scenarios featuring different combinations of energy efficiency demand and mode of energy supply. Two of the scenarios included what the researchers called medium energy-efficiency demand. It would see stationary energy demand in 2040 reach a figure 20 per cent lower than when base-case efficiency demand prevailed.

Scenarios also featured either the replacement of only pre-2000 coal-fired power stations with "a much cleaner supply mix", or the replacement of all coal-fired power stations. The principal energy sources in the cleaner supply were natural gas, biomass residues and wind energy. The three clean-energy scenarios revealed carbon dioxide emissions reductions ranging between 42 and 55 per cent, compared with emissions from stationary energy in 2001. But if the base-case level of efficiency demand held sway to 2040 without any changes to energy supply modes, carbon dioxide emissions from the stationary energy sector would be 21 per cent higher than in 2001, the researchers said.

If significant technological innovations such as low-cost solar electricity crop up, emissions reductions of 80 per cent or more may be possible in the years beyond 2050, according to the researchers. Stationary energy includes all energy generation outside of transport. Stationary energy accounts for about half of Australia's total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, according to national greenhouse gas inventory figures.

Green energy push for desalination plant

Adelaide Advertiser
Saturday 16/6/2007 Page: 58

RENEWABLE energy should be used to power the proposed desalination plant near Whyalla to provide water for an expanded Olympic Dam mine, the city's council says.

Deputy Mayor Eddie Hughes said the proposed plant was a positive initiative, but the council did not want to see it creating increased greenhouse gas emissions. The State Government and BHP Billiton are examining a $300 million desalination plant to be built at the top of Spencer Gulf to service the Olympic Dam mine. BHP has been told it cannot take any water from the River Murray and has a cap on how much it can take from the Great Artesian Basin.

The new plant would provide up to 100 million megalitres of water for the mine and the nearby township of Roxby Downs. Water from the plant would also be piped to northern cities such as Whyalla as well as to the Eyre Peninsula. "The proposed plant will be the largest in the southern hemisphere and there is no practical or economic reason preventing the use of renewable energy," Mr Hughes said.

"WA has clearly demonstrated that a large desalination plant can easily meet its electricity needs through the use of renewable energy." The $400 million WA plant opened earlier this year is powered by a nearby wind farm. "We could see the writing on the wall over a decade ago on the future of the Murray," Mr Hughes said. "It made sense then and even more sense now to link renewable energy and desalination."