Friday 29 June 2007

Winds of change for household power

West Australian
Friday 29/6/2007 Page: 40

Perth households could soon be using the "Fremantle Doctor" to save energy and cut electricity bills. The State Government is funding two projects that could result in electricity being generated from small wind turbines on suburban roofs, Premier Alan Carpenter says. Local inventor Graeme Attey has been given $34,000 to commercialise a modular wind turbine system that sits on a roof and can generate household power from the prevailing sea breeze that sweeps into the city.

Mr Carpenter said the system was small, quiet, had no visible rotating blades and was expected to be relatively cheap. It could also operate in variable urban winds. "And the system is modular, so you can produce as much energy as you want by simply connecting units together," the Premier said. "I am told that five units could produce enough electricity to run an average household." He said Jonathan Whale, from Murdoch University, had been awarded $28,000 to obtain data on the best practice placement of rooftop wind systems.

The State Government aims to reduce Western Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent of 2000 levels by the year 2050.

Wind farm project to start this year

Hobart Mercury
Friday 29/6/2007 Page: 15

WORK on the $270 million Musselroe Wind Farm in Tasmania's far North-East is to start later this year. Energy Minister David Llewellyn told Parliament yesterday that Hydro Tasmania's half-owned subsidiary Roaring 40s had secured all project rights, including the vital land agreement, earlier this week.

Roaring 40s is now in negotiations for supply of the turbines and signing contracts for the renewable energy generated from the coastal wind farm with New South Wales. "The project is proceeding well with strong support from the local council and the community," Mr Llewellyn said. The Liberal Opposition welcomed the news that the wind farm construction was to start soon.

Musselroe negotiations

Launceston Examiner
Friday 29/6/2007 Page: 10

Operator Roaring 40s is finalising negotiations on two key elements of the Musselroe Wind Farm and expects to start construction later this year. Energy Minister David Llewellyn said all project rights, including the land agreement, were secured this week and preconstruction activities, such as environmental surveys and transmission line mapping, were progressing. Roaring 40s, a joint venture between Hydro Tasmania and CLP Power Asia, is continuing negotiations on securing a turbine supply contract for the project and securing take-off arrangements for the project under the proposed NSW Renewable Energy Target. The Opposition said it was good news that the $230 million project was on track.

Few incentives offered

Australian Farm Journal
July, 2007 Page: 20

Despite climate change being front page news, and calls on farmers to improve their environmental management, few state and territory governments offer any financial incentives to farmers to install solar hot water systems.

Most solar rebate schemes target residential or community installations only, with Sustainability Victoria the only scheme to specifically contemplate rebates for on-farm installations (visit or call (03) 9655 3222). Eligibility varies depending on the type of booster system used, with electric boosted systems qualifying for a lesser (or zero) rebate than gas boosted systems. Retrofits are not entitled to the full ($1500) rebate.

Farmers who install an accredited solar hot-water system may be eligible to create Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Once validated by the Office of Renewable Energy, RECs can be sold to other companies and individuals. A list of accredited solar hot-water systems, and the number of RECs each system is entitled to, can be found at Entitlements range from 10 to 64 RECs for domestic- sized solar hot-water systems, and up to 100 RECs for commercial systems, depending on the systems' efficiency.

At the time of writing, one REC was trading at $25. Retrofits and upgrades may not be entitled to RECs.

Thursday 28 June 2007

Emission trading scheme welcomed

Mining Chronicle
June, 2007 Page: 64

A renewable energy group has welcomed the decision to have an emission trading scheme in place by 2012, but expressed scepticism it would boost clean energy. Susan Jeanes, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Generators Australia, said there remained many uncertainties about how the scheme would operate.

"We are expecting that even once we see the detail, it is still not going to be enough to support the development of clean energy whether it be renewable or clean coal or anything else," she said. "There is still an awful lot of uncertainty and we are going to have to see more details before you get any investment in the sort of projects that will start to reduce emissions." Ms Jeanes said proposed legislation would be in place by 2009, caps to be determined in 2010 and the scheme would commence in 2011-12. "They are very important decisions and but the devil as always will be in the details," she said.

"As soon as the government can clear up the uncertainties and identify the caps and make the decisions that will start to set prices in the markets; the better off we will all be." Ms Jeanes said there were misconceptions about the economic viability of different types of renewable energy.

She said wind energy become viable at an emission cost around $30- $40 a tonne. "But there are other technologies that will benefit from lower prices and other that will benefit at higher prices," she said. "The important thing is to get the framework in place and then to look at what technologies you still need to support to get into the market."

Wind farm needs govt approval

Hepburn Shire Advocate
Wednesday 27/6/2007 Page: 14

WIND Power will need State Government approval for its proposed wind farm at Lexton because changes to the design mean it will produce more energy. The turbines the company planned to use in the 19-tower farm are no longer being made and the new turbines will generate more energy, making the wind farm large enough to require Victorian Government approval, according to spokesman Andrew Newbold. He said the new German-made turbines would not look any different.

"The change has come about because of a world-wide shortage of turbines. "The new turbines will be more expensive but on the flip side they will generate a lot more energy," Mr Newbold said. "The alternative turbines in fact confirm exactly to the permit in every respect in relation to height, noise, blades, so there's no visible effect by the change," he said.

Blayney Wind Farm topic of conversation

Cowra Guardian
Wednesday 27/6/2007 Page: 5

A group of students from Cowra High School learnt what it means to be green last week when they visited the Blayney Wind Farm. Students from the special education class at the high school were treated to a talk and tour around the Blayney Wind Farm which produces green energy for electricity retailers to purchase and provide to customers.

Country Energy organised the excursion on the school's behalf which included a tour of the wind farm, talk from Eraring Energy, and the opportunity to learn about green energy. Regional general manager, Chas McPhail said it was wonderful to see school groups wanting to learn more about green energy and more simply, how our local wind farm works.

"Having the wind farm in Blayney provides the opportunity for our local customers to see a renewable energy wind farm working, and to have that first hand connection with the farm. "I would encourage any school group wanting to learn more about green energy to call us and organise an excursion to the farm," Chas said. Cindy Berg a school teacher from Cowra High School said that the students thoroughly enjoyed the excursion. "We really appreciated the opportunity to visit the wind farm and especially want to thank Ian Newton from Eraring Energy who took us through the farm and showed us areas that are not normally accessible to the public." Cindy said.

Country Energy purchases green energy from the wind farm on behalf of the retailer's countrygreen customers. The energy purchased is then fed into the Country Energy electricity network helping to reduce green house gas emissions. "Country Energy has a number of green energy products available for customers to purchase and I would strongly encourage our customers to contact us to learn more about how they can help the environment," Chas said.

To learn more about Country Energy's countrygreen products customers can call us on 13 23 56, visit our website,, or call into one of our customer service centres.

Doctor makes more than house call

Ballarat Courier
Thursday 28/6/2007 Page: 13

PERTH households could soon be using the Fremantle Doctor to save energy and cut electricity bills. The state is funding two projects that could result in electricity being generated from small wind turbines on suburban roofs, WA Premier Alan Carpenter said. Local inventor Graerne Attey has been given $34,000 to commercialise a modular wind turbine system that sits on a roof and can generate household power from the daily sea breeze, known as the Fremantle Doctor, that sweeps across the city. Mr Carpenter said the system was small, quiet, had no visible rotating blades, and was expected to be relatively cheap.

Volunteers build windfarm viewing area

South Eastern Times
Monday 25/6/2007 Page: 7

MEMBERS of the Wattle Rangers and the Mount Gambier and Districts Four Wheel Drive Clubs have assisted National Parks Rangers establish viewing areas for the Canunda Windfarm. The project, which began as an idea of the Wattle Rangers 4WD club, involved the formation of a viewing area in the Canunda National Park, on the southern side of Lake Bonney, along one of the drifts.

Wattle Rangers club member Jeanette Fisk, said the National Park service were keen to put into action the club's idea for the viewing area. "National Parks was approached, they discussed the matter, agreed, and a date was set for the working bee, with the National Parks supplying the materials," she said.

The service set out the area of the park to be fenced in preparation for the working bee, and Ms Fisk said that despite the inclement weather, it did not take long for the 4WD club volunteers to erect the fence to establish the viewing area. "Members of the Mount Gambier 4WD club joined us, making 10 vehicles of helpers in all.

With so many helpers the fences were erected around the designated area in a little over an hour, including the sign," she said. After completing their task the club members stopped for lunch and to shelter from the freezing winds, before setting off to Carpenters Rocks, and mending fences along the way.

Mount Gambier and Districts 4WD Club Secretary Janet Pool, said her club was keen to assist in this project, as voluntary work was part of the club's commitment to protecting the environment. "We regularly volunteer to undertake maintenance and repairs throughout the Canunda area," she said. "As we use the area for recreation, we have a great respect for the natural environment in this area, and like to do our part to ensure it is protected and conserved for everyone to enjoy"

Wednesday 27 June 2007

An inconvenient film for wind farm opposition

Hamilton Spectator
Saturday 23/6/2007 Page: 2

Glenthompson and district residents will be able to view the controversial Academy award-winning documentary, `An Inconvenient Truth', on Wednesday. This documentary about climate change, specifically global warming, is presented by former United States vice-president Al Gore and was directed by Davis Guggenheim.

With an area just south of the township currently the subject of a planning application for a wind farm, the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm developers are giving residents the opportunity to view this film which focuses heavily on climate change as a result of carbon emissions. Since its release two years ago, the film has been generally well received by critics, scientists and politicians while sceptics opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming have attacked the film as "hype".

This screening will give residents a chance to make up their own minds, while a gold coin donation to the film will assist the Glenthompson Community Association's playground appeal. An Inconvenient Truth will be screened at the Glenthompson War Memorial Hall at 7pm Wednesday. The screening will be followed by a light supper.

Turbines given approval

Maitland Mercury
Wednesday 27/6/2007 Page: 3

Dungog shire will soon be a little greener after the council approved a PowerServe/Green Power project that will see two wind turbines installed on a property about 4km west of Vacy. The turbines have a combined output of about 600kw of clean energy, which is equivalent to the energy needs of 185 houses a year according to manager of environmental services for Dungog Shire Council Terry Kavanagh.

"They're medium-sized turbines compared to today's standards," Mr Kavanagh said. "They have a tip height of about 45m" "This is a private development project that met the requirements of the development control program. "We have taken submissions and the concerns that were raised were met in the conditions of the development.

"We've recognised that this is something new to the area, there were a few issues to work out but it's nice to get the application through" Managing director of PowerServe Allen Dunlop is a big advocate of green initiatives. "I bought these two turbines in Holland. They are being dismantled now. "They have become available as people are putting large turbines up beside their house to help build their nest egg in retirement, as well as to help the larger climate change concern.

"The benefits of wind energy are incredible. It does not create pollution or consume natural resources. "Wind power is clean, renewable energy that is playing an increasingly important role in the sustainable energy debate, especially as policies to reduce greenhouse gases are adopted around the world." Mr Dunlop also owns the land on which the turbines will be constructed, and believes that the turbines will be a positive addition. "We can do the complete process ourselves. We can construct the powerlines, assemble the turbines and maintain the structures."

Shell appeals for change

Geelong Advertiser
Wednesday 27/6/2007 Page: 28

Former refinery engineer returns to Geelong to enforce the company's vision for sustainable energy. THE day a petroleum company insists immediate action is needed to stop CO2 emissions further warming the planet, is the day to start listening. Shell International yesterday urged government, big business and consumers to urgently change society's unsustainable energy use before 2025 and stop the planet warming disastrously by up to six degrees.

The petrol giant's global climate change adviser David Hone flew from Europe to reveal the company's vision for sustainable energy, including his work with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, at a meeting for Geelong leaders. Mr Hone, a former Shell refinery engineer at Corio, outlined the major challenges facing Australia to stop the current trend towards catastrophe, requiring:
  • Government-funded development of new energy sources, such as wind and solar;
  • Launching an emissions trading scheme to ensure market control on companies' carbon footprint; and.
  • Everyone changing consumer trends, including cars and house choices.
Mr Hone urged drastic changes in aiming for 550 carbon parts per million (ppm) in the earth's atmosphere by 2025, triggering an emission growth downturn. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's "business as usual" figures pointed to 900 ppm and no slowdown in the rise of emissions. Standing in the way, however, was developing countries' increased energy use as seen in China and India. The climate change expert said China was building the equivalent of one Latrobe Valley coal plant every month, with each one expected to pollute for the next 50 years.

Mr Hone dismissed reports temperature change was a natural phenomenon. "There have been significant net changes in climate over the millennia, but what we are doing to the environment now is a steep change and a very rapid one," he said. "The evidence is there that this is a result of what we are doing and not which was naturally there." So where would less fossil fuel use leave one of the biggest petrol companies? One common thread in Mr Hone's appeal was an insistence governments must legislate for and support early renewable energy projects.

Shell would benefit for such project funding. The company already boasted being the world's leading biofuels blender, half-owner of one of the largest offshore wind farms, a major hydrogen public transport partner, and designer for a 20 megawatt solar facility. "It's a twin challenge. How do we limit the energy for the next 50 years and how are we going to supply that energy in a sustainable way?" he said. "What it means is if we want to start this very ambitious plan, we better start now." One positive, Mr Hone said, was evidence showing strong economies helped population growth levelled off as seen in Europe and Japan.

3000 wind turbines predicted in 20 years

Geelong Advertiser
Wednesday 27/6/2007 Page: 28

WIND turbines lining Victoria's coast, more solar power, underground emission storage and carbon trading are all needed for Australia to reach critical sustainable energy targets, Shell International's climate change guru David Hone said yesterday. The former Geelong refinery engineer said that within 20 years 3000 of the biggest wind turbines should line the state's coast and solar power projects laid out, under government-backed clean energy initiatives.

Mr Hone outlined five sectors that needed drastic change, including power generation, transport, buildings, consumer behaviour, and emissions from industry and manufacturing. A carbon trading scheme was also essential for CO2-emitting plants, such as Shell's Geelong operations, to operate beyond 2025 under strict new laws governing firm's "carbon footprints". Mr Hone said the scheme was fundamental to allow businesses to survive and allowing market forces to dictate individual companies' green performances without government intervention.

But the carbon expert refused to comment on both parties' sustainable energy policies in the lead up to this year's Federal election. Mr Hone just called for bi-partisan support. "These are policies that need to be implemented over decades not just for four years," he said. "It's clearly an issue that's being discussed and the fact that the debate is starting is what we encourage."

Turbines go out-of-sight

Bendigo Advertiser
Wednesday 27/6/2007 Page: 25

THE world's first floating wind turbine could be generating electricity in the North Sea in 2009 under a research pact between Norwegian energy group Norsk Hydro and German engineering firm Siemens. Floating wind turbines would represent a technological breakthrough for offshore power generation, which has had to rely on shallow sites for turbines installed on the seabed.

"It's attractive to have windmills out at sea. out of sight of land, away from birds' migration routes," said Alexandra Bech Gjoerv, head of Hydro's New Energy division at a signing ceremony to develop floating wind turbine technology. "We want to build the world's first offshore floating windmill," Bech Gjoerv said. "We want to produce a lot of energy, out of sight." Under the plan, Hydro will combine its knowledge of floating installations, such as North Sea loading buoys for oil tankers, with Siemens' expertise in building turbines, both on land and standing in shallow waters offshore.

Floating wind turbines are more costly than on land, but could supply power both to offshore oil or gas platforms or to coastal cities, cutting emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and defusing objections that turbines are eyesores. Hydro said a prototype, costing 200 million crowns ($A39.7 million), could be in place in the North Sea in 2009 assuming the firm secured funding this year.

The timetable is two years later than hoped when Hydro unveiled a floating design in 2005. If tests of the five megawatt wind turbine are successful, a small offshore wind park could be built in 2013-14. A Siemens unit built the first offshore wind park in 1991, with turbines standing on the seabed off Copenhagen.

"Windmills standing in waters deeper than about 30 metres become prohibitively expensive," said Henrik Stiesdal, chief technology officer of Siemens' wind energy unit. "Hydro's is the most elegant and simple solution we have seen." Hydro's design is an upright steel tube with a concrete base about 200 m long with 80 m jutting above the water and three blades 60 m long.

The wind turbine is tied to the seabed by three cables to keep it steady in seas where waves can be 30 m high. Hydro reckons it can work in waters 700 m deep. Stiesdal said other models for wind turbines at sea relied on more complex designs, such as giant tripods mounted on the seabed or turbines mounted on floating boat-like structures.

Tuesday 26 June 2007

Wind farm plan shrinks

Yarram Standard News
Wednesday 20/6/2007 Page: 2

THE wind farm mooted for Devon North will be smaller than first planned. The company behind the proposal has reduced the number of turbines from nine to seven. Wellington Shire Council last year rejected the company's request for a planning permit to proceed with nine turbines.

The state's peak planning disputes body, the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) will now consider the adjusted application for seven turbines. 'This change was foreshadowed at a VCAT Directions Hearing held at the end of March. Council and the other parties involved in the VCAT hearing will now consider the revised plans before the VCAT hearing which begins on August 1,' said council public relations officer, Gaye Davies. The VCAT hearing will take place at council's offices at Sale.

Clean power from a never-ending source

Mining Chronicle
June, 2007 Page: 118
By Dr Rovel Shackleford Optec Pty Ltd

In the 1990s, the California wind farm market began to be affected by the expiration or forced re-negotiation of attractive power purchase contracts with the major California utilities: Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric. And much of the existing inventory of 1980s wind turbines were really an albatross around the wind industry's neck. Renewal was needed, and - buoyed by "green power" initiatives in Colorado, Texas and elsewhere - US wind energy development resumed in 1999, with a much broader geographical base.

A variety of new wind projects were installed in the US in the late 1990s, including a cluster of Zond Z-40 turbines operated for a utility in southwest Texas, a wind plant of 46 Vestas machines planned for Big Spring, Texas, a 10-megawatt wind plant in northern Colorado, a number of plants in the upper Midwest, and the "re-powering" of some projects in California. Some of these involve foreign machines manufactured in the US. There's a sense that the industry is finally on the move again, with over 8,000 megawatts of new capacity planned for 2007/8 in the US alone.

The cost of energy from larger electrical output wind turbines used in utility-interconnected or wind farm applications has dropped from more than $1 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 1978 to under $0.05 per kWh in 1998, and is projected to plummet to $0.025 per kWh when new large wind plants come on line. The hardware costs of these wind turbines have dropped below $800 per installed kilowatt in the past five years, underpricing the capital costs of almost every other type of power plant.

It's difficult to accurately compare the costs of wind plants and fossil fuel plants because the cost drivers are so different. Low installed-cost-per kilowatt figures for wind turbines are somewhat misleading because of the low-capacity factor of wind turbines relative to coal and other fossil-fuelled power plants. ("Capacity factor" is simply the ratio of actual energy produced by a power plant to the energy that would be produced if it operated at rated capacity for an entire year.) Capacity factors of successful wind farm operations range from 0.20 to 0.35. These can be compared with factors of more than 0.50 for fossil-fuel power plants and over 0.60 for some of the new gas turbines.

However, the use of "capacity factor" is also misleading because wind has a "rubber" capacity factor that varies with the density of the wind resource. But that wind resource is constant for the life of the machine and is not subject to manipulation or cost increases. One reason why fossil fuels are so popular with investors is that many of the risks are passed on to consumers.

Fossil fuel shortages result in an increase in revenues for investors, who are actually rewarded for speeding the depletion of a non-renewable resource or not investing enough of their profits in support infrastructure, which drives up prices. If a big oil coal or gas company could start charging for the wind, they would make sure that wind energy development happened. In late 1996, with the purchase of Zond Systems by Enron (a now-defunct gas mining and distribution company), the possibility of this happening became very real. (Even though Enron proved to be a poor steward for the Zond technology, the subsequent purchase of what was one of the only viable Enron divisions by GE Energy in 2003 maintained US visibility in the large wind turbine market.)

Since the late 1970s the US cost goals for wind energy have continued to be about $0.04 per kilowatt hour, despite inflation. Wind turbines have consistently been able to arrive at that level, but by the time they get there, another reduction in the cost of nonrenewable fossil fuels has taken place and the bar is lowered further.

Cost per kilowatt hour figures of $0.04 or less (in 1998 dollars) are now commonly projected for advanced US wind turbines in 17 mph or better wind regimes, where capacity factors of over 0.40 can be achieved. That means that the wind energy cost goals of 1980 - which seemed daunting or impossible at the time - have been met many times over. (This fact should be remembered by those doubting the achievability of recently refigured cost goals, which are now closer to $0.025/kWh.)

The lower cost of energy from these advanced turbines is partly a result of higher efficiencies and rotor loading made possible by improved rotor design, shedding of fatigue loads provided by teetered hubs and flexible structures, and other innovations such as variable speed operation. But reduced weight and material usage and high reliability are perhaps more important factors in the cost equation. Costs of smaller systems vary widely, with installed costs from $2,000 to $3,000 per installed kilowatt. Energy costs for small turbines of $0.12 to $0.20 are still the norm in the US market.

Worldwide, there are 10 to 12 manufacturers of large, utility-scale systems, marketing 200kW to 3MW systems of various configurations, including three-bladed machines with full-span pitch control and two-bladed, stall control machines with teetering hubs. European manufacturers like Tacke, Micon, Vestas and Enercon have commercialised turbines with more conventional rotors, but featuring such important innovations as low speed generators and complete variable speed systems incorporating advanced power electronics. Recently, GE Energy (which purchased the wind division of defunct Enron) has adopted the European design philosophy in the US, with its merger of the technical expertise of Zond and Tacke.

One of the latest innovations being investigated in the US and Europe is the addition of a hinge at the nacelle tower attachment, allowing the turbine to "nod" up and down in response to turbulence and wind shear (the difference in wind speed at the top and bottom of the rotor disk). This configuration has been tested at Riso and promises substantial reductions in rotor and drive-train loads and in control system costs. A model intended for commercial development operated in California for several years and has been investigated by the National Wind Technology Centre. However, such innovations may not be necessary for wind to meet its cost goals for several years.

European wind turbine power ratings pushing two megawatts, Denmark's Riso Laboratories touting its new wind turbine airfoil designs (modelled closely after pioneering activities in the US.), and the U. S. company Enron marketing machines from both the U.S. and Europe, there is really very little difference between European and U.S. technology. The last remaining major area of controversy is the issue of two versus three blades for large wind turbines. Theoretically, a two-bladed machine should be less expensive and more efficient than a three-bladed one.

But considerable refinements are still needed to offset the greater stability and lower per-blade loads of three bladed designs. And the optical illusion of speed fluctuations and out-of-plane rotation associated with two-bladed machines makes them less attractive to some onlookers. Time will tell if one design will win out or if both will be able to exist in specific applications.

In the near future, wind energy will be the most cost effective source of electrical power. In fact, a good case can be made for saying that it already has achieved this status. The actual lifecycle cost of fossil fuels (from mining and extraction to transport to use technology to environmental impact to political costs and impacts, etc) is not really known, but it is certainly far more than the current wholesale rates. The eventual depletion of these energy sources will entail rapid escalations in price which - averaged over the brief period of their use - will result in postponed actual costs that would be unacceptable by present standards. And this doesn't even consider the environmental and political costs of fossil fuels use that are silently and not-so-silently mounting every day.

The major technology developments enabling wind energy commercialisation have already been made. There will be infinite refinements and improvements, of course. One can guess (based on experience with other technologies) that the eventual push to full commercialisation and deployment of the technology will happen in a manner that no one can imagine today.

There will be a "weather change" in the marketplace, or a "killer application" somewhere that will put several key companies or financial organisations in a position to profit. They will take advantage of public interest, the political and economic climate, and emotional or marketing factors to position wind energy technology (developed in a long lineage from the Chinese and the Persians to the present wind energy researchers and developers) for its next round of development.

Energy source blowing in the wind

Mining Chronicle
June, 2007 Page: 114
By Dr Rovel Shackleford, Optec Pty Ltd

Wind energy in many jurisdictions receives some financial or other support to encourage its development. A key issue is the comparison to other forms of energy production, and their total cost. Two main points of discussion arise: direct subsidies and externalities for various sources of electricity, including wind. Wind energy benefits from subsidies of various kinds in many jurisdictions, either to increase its attractiveness, or to compensate for subsidies received by other forms of production or which have significant negative externalities.

Most forms of energy production create some form of negative externality: costs that are not paid by the producer or consumer of the goods. For electric production, the most significant externality is pollution, which imposes costs on society in the form of increased health expenses, reduced agricultural productivity, and other problems. Other significant externalities can include national security expenditures to ensure access to fossil fuels, remediation of polluted sites, destruction of wild habitat, loss of scenery/tourism, and so on.

Wind energy supporters argue that, once external costs and subsidies to other forms of electrical production are accounted for, wind energy is among the most cost-effective forms of electrical production. Critics may debate the level of subsidies required or existing, the "cost" of pollution externalities, and the uncertain financial returns to wind projects that is, the all-in cost of wind energy compared to other technologies.

Conventional and nuclear power plants receive substantial direct and indirect governmental subsidies. If a comparison is made on total production costs (including subsidies), wind energy may be competitive compared to many other sources. If the full costs (environmental, health, and so on) are taken into account, wind energy would be competitive in many more cases.

Furthermore, wind energy costs have generally decreased due to technology development and scale enlargement. However, the cost of other capital intensive generation technologies, such as nuclear and fossil fuelled plants, is also subject to cost reductions due to economies of scale and technological improvements. To compete with traditional sources of energy, wind energy often receives financial incentives. In the US, wind energy receives a tax credit for each kilowatt-hour produced; at 1.9 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2006, the credit has a yearly inflationary adjustment. Another tax benefit is accelerated depreciation.

Many American states also provide incentives, such as exemption from property tax, mandated purchases, and additional markets for "green credits." Countries such as Canada and Germany also provide other incentives for wind turbine construction, such as tax credits or minimum purchase prices for wind generation, with assured grid access (sometimes referred to as feed-in tariffs). These feed-in tariffs are typically set well above average electricity prices. Many potential sites for wind farms are far from demand centres, requiring substantially more money to construct new transmission lines and substations.

Since the primary cost of producing wind energy is construction and there are no fuel costs, the average cost of wind energy per unit of production is dependent on a few key assumptions, such as the cost of capital and years of assumed service. The marginal cost of wind energy once a plant is constructed is close to zero. The cost of wind energy production has fallen rapidly since the early 1980s, primarily due to technological improvements, although the cost of construction materials (particularly metals) and the increased demand for turbine components caused price increases in 2005-06.

Many expect further reductions in the cost of wind energy through improved technology, better forecasting, and increased scale. Since the cost of capital plays a large part in projected cost, risk (as perceived by investors) will affect projected costs per unit of electricity. Apart from regulatory issues and externalities, decisions to invest in wind energy will also depend on the cost of alternative sources of energy. Natural gas, oil and coal prices, the main production technologies with significant fuel costs, will therefore also be a determinant in the choice of the level of wind energy.

The commercial viability of wind energy also depends on the pricing regime for power producers. Electricity prices are highly regulated worldwide, and in many locations may not reflect the full cost of production, let alone indirect subsidies or negative externalities. Certain jurisdictions or customers may enter into long-term pricing contracts for wind to reduce the risk of future pricing changes, thereby ensuring more stable returns for projects at the development stage.

Wind farm sale to aid climate change coffers

Cairns Post
Tuesday 26/6/2007 Page: 4

THE State Government will sell its Windy Hill Wind Farm near Ravenshoe by the end of the year and channel the money into fighting climate change. The wind farm is one of Queensland's largest, with 20 wind turbines generating 12 megawatts of green electricity a year, enough to power 3500 homes and displace 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas. The plan to sell the farm, built by state owned corporation Stanwell in 2000, is part of the Government's $414 million climate change strategy ClimateSmart 2050, unveiled earlier this month. Proceeds from the sale of the Ravenshoe farm and four others in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia, will go into a $300 million Queensland Climate Change Fund to develop new technologies such as hydrogen fuel-cells.

The Government will also sell off the remaining gas assets of the Enertrade business but a spokesman yesterday ruled out speculation that other assets, including the Barron Gorge and Kareeya (at Tully Falls) hydro-electric power stations, would also be put on the market. The cash generated by the sales will bring Queensland's contribution to the fight against climate change to $1.3 billion - $414 million in new money plus $300 million already committed by the state and $600 million committed by the coal industry to the Clean Coal Fund.

"Every one of us is being affected by climate change but the good news is that every one of us can also be part of the solution," Premier Peter Beattie said. "If the Queensland Government did not take action on greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector, Queensland would be emitting 63.7 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere by 2020. "By implementing this plan we project we can reduce emissions by about 34 per cent to 50.9 million tonnes by 2020." The strategy also includes $7.25 million to help people living in remote areas install greenhouse- friendly hot water systems, more efficient refrigeration and insulation.

The strategy can be read at

Leonards Hill awaits wind farm decision

Ballarat Courier
Tuesday 26/6/2007 Page: 4

RESIDENTS are awaiting a decision on the Leonards Hill wind farm proposal after a hearing last week. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing began last Tuesday, and it may take two months before a decision is made. The Hepburn Shire Council gave the proposal the go-ahead in February, despite it drawing 18 objections. Objectors then went to VCAT to appeal the council's decision.

The wind farm is being developed by Melbourne based company Future Energy and the Hepburn Renewable Energy Association. It will become Australia's first community-owned wind farm, modelled on similar projects across Europe and the United States. It consists of two two megawatt wind turbines to be built on farmland at 2040 Ballan-Daylesford Rd, Leonards Hill.

Future Energy managing director David Shapero said he hoped the group was granted a permit. We were very impressed with the VCAT process. The wind farm is a magnificent initiative by the community to take responsibility for their own energy needs into the future," Mr Shapero said.

Dr Shi takes a shine to the PM

Tuesday 26/6/2007 Page: 17

SHI Zhengrong dubbed China's sunshine boy by the international press has pressured Prime Minister John Howard to join his push to pursue renewable energy in preference to nuclear power. The visiting Australian passport- holding billionaire told The Australian: "I said to the Prime Minister, as far as I understand, it will take 10 years to plan for nuclear power. "In reality, solar power will definitely be very competitive with conventional technology in 10 years' time. There is no need to go to nuclear power." Dr Shi is the founder of the Nasdaq-listed SunTech Power, capitalised at $US5.5 billion ($6.5 billion).

In 2005, he raised $US455 million to fund expansion and research and development. He owns 40 per cent of the shares himself. Over dinner in Canberra last Friday, Dr Shi explained to Mr Howard that conventional energy sources such as oil should be kept for needs such as aviation. "I urge Australia to promote renewable energy, such as solar energy. Australian sunshine is an asset you have to use it," he said.

According to Dr Shi, Mr Howard agreed, but said Australia lacked the ability to use solar energy for baseload power, which is why his government was looking at nuclear power. Dr Shi said a big percentage of Australia's electricity supplies could come from solar energy, so "in my opinion there is no need for a big baseload".

Dr Shi, who came to Australia as a student when he was 19, was part of a delegation from Wuxi, a city near Shanghai, visiting Australia to recruit 300 young talents in a range of disciplines. The former PhD student of University of New South Wales maintains close links with its research department, particularly his mentor Professor Martin Green, a world leader in photovoltaic solar cells.

The efficiency of solar technology is improving, he said, but he agreed that, depending on the location, it still cost two to five times that of conventional energy. Dr Shi said the cost of silicon was the reason solar energy remained expensive. However, with plenty of money going into setting up additional silicon manufacturing capacity, he expected the silicon price to drop from 2009 onwards, when the extra plants went into production.

Pace gathering for the end of cheaper coal

Adelaide Advertiser
Tuesday 26/6/2007 Page: 50

WIND and geothermal power are shaping up as South Australia's most economical new source of electricity when coal supplies run out. A report to be delivered to the State Government next week predicts an increasing reliance on renewable energy after 2017. The Electricity Supply Industry Planning Council warns that the cost of obtaining coal from other states is likely to be "uneconomic" and it rules out diesel as a potential replacement for coal because of price.

Leigh Creek coalfields have only a 10-year supply left for Port Augusta's Northern and Playford power stations. The council has noted alternative deposits in NSW and Western Australia but says "transport costs and infrastructure issues are likely to make them uneconomic". However, it believes there are "encouraging" signs that wind farms and geothermal power may be able to replace some of the 36 per cent of electricity currently generated from coal. The report says wind farms are dominating new generation construction and, by December, should produce 742 megawatts of SA's total demand of 3274. It says 12 companies have obtained geothermal exploration licences and have provided confidential information on their indicative plans for electricity generated from underground heat.

While the council says northern lignite deposits have "some potential" for power generation, they would need power stations to be built near the mines or extra infrastructure to transport it to Port Augusta. Numerous "thick coal seams" believed to total billions of tonnes have been found in the Cooper Basin but are at depths ranging from 1300m to 4000m and considered uneconomic to mine.

Monday 25 June 2007

Roaring 40s in first India project

Tasmanian Business Reporter
June, 2007 Page: 7

LEADING Australian based renewable energy company Roaring 40s has signed an agreement with major turbine manufacturer Enercon (India) for its first India wind farm project. The agreement establishes the commercial arrangements for the construction of a 50.4 MW wind energy project at Khandke, in the state of Maharashtra. The $80-million project, on which construction recently began, will be wholly owned by Roaring 40s with full commissioning expected by December.

Enercon (India) is the Indian subsidiary of Enercon GmbH, the renowned gearless turbine manufacturer, and is one of the largest operators in India's growing wind energy market. The company has operational experience in all wind energy active states within India and the second-largest market share in the Indian wind energy market, with specialist skills in engineering, procurement and construction of wind energy projects.

Enercon has been growing consistently to achieve a turnover of more than $600 million by March 2007, and is well placed to complement Roaring 40s' existing skills set. The project in Maharashtra is the first of what is anticipated to be a growing portfolio of wind energy projects for Roaring 40s in this large emerging market, and was made possible through the strong renewable energy policy implemented by the Maharashtra state administration in 2006.

Roaring 40s managing director Mark Kelleher said: "The Maharashtra project represents a significant milestone for Roaring 40s and reinforces the company's strong and continued growth in the Asian region. "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 50:50 joint venture between Hydro Tasmania and CLP Group.

Australia lags badly on renewables

Earthmover and Civil Contractor
June, 2007 Page: 20

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 5000MW well before its 2010 target. Australia has 817MW wind energy capacity, with new projects tapering off to about 100MW last year as industry incentives run out.

The US is expected to build 3000MW of wind farm capacity this year, up 26% on last year, resuming its growth as more states set renewable energy targets. California alone aims to get 20% of power from renewable sources, including solar, by 2010.

Home grown turbines keep foreign exchange healthy

Earthmover and Civil Contractor
June, 2007 Page: 8

New Zealand's Windflow Technology sources more than 90% of its wind turbine components from within New Zealand. It says this means that a $100 million wind farm using Windflow turbines, invests more than $92m directly into the NZ economy. In comparison, a $100m wind farm using imported turbines, invests about $20m locally, mainly in foundations, roads, transport and electrical connections.

Christchurch based Windflow is continuing to expand its manufacturing capabilities, in order to complete the remaining 92 turbines scheduled for delivery to Te Rere Hau, a north island site, over the next 18 months. The final installation of 97 will generate 48.5MW.

Energy change in the wind

Country Leader Tamworth
Monday 25/6/2007 Page: 11

AMONG the infusion of new technology to generate power is one of the latest innovations: wind farms. The Starfish Hill Wind Farm is one of the first to come into operation in Australia and is already making a difference to the environmental way of generating power. The Starfish Hill Wind Farm will reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by up to 2.1 million tonnes of CO(2) during its forecast 25-year operating life. The $65 million, 34.5 megawatt, (MW) wind farm near Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula is South Australia's first wind farm.

Starfish Hill Wind Farm provides enough energy to meet the needs of about 18,000 households, representing 2 per cent of South Australia's residential customers. The project was developed by Starfish Hill Wind Farm Pty Ltd, a wholly owned company of Tarong Energy The wind farm has two major elements: A 34.5MW wind farm comprising 23 turbines, each of 1.5 MW capacity. A 25km overhead transmission line to connect the wind farm to the ET electricity distribution network at Yankalilla. It's located across two hills, Starfish and Salt Creek, with eight turbines on Starfish and 15 on Salt Creek.

Wind farm on track for turbines by December

Plains Producer
Wednesday 20/6/2007 Page: 15

A month since first beginning road construction, a $200 million wind farm near Snowtown is on time and on budget, according to Wind Prospect development manager Andrew Dickson. Mr Dickson said road construction would be the main priority until December, when turbines would be transported to the site.

"The rest of this year is really building roads and then building the foundations for each turbine location, and also doing the trenching of the underground electrical cables," he said. "We need to be in a position by the end of the year so turbines and trucks can start arriving." Construction of an electrical sub-station will also begin in the next month.

The 42 turbines, will stretch 17km along the Barunga Range, and will be commissioned progressively from April to October next year. It will have a capacity of 88MW, enough to power 60,000 average South Australian homes, which will go into the national electricity market. While there are currently up to 20 workers on site, 170 are expected to be employed during peak construction times, and on completion, the wind farm will employ four full-time staff.

Earlier this year, TrustPower business development manager Rodney Ahern told Snowtown community members the development would return an additional $1 million within the community through increased employment, accommodation and fees paid to land owners. TrustPower, Wind Prospect and Suzlon Energy are all involved in the building of the wind farm.