Thursday 26 July 2007

Wind turbine finally repaired

Great Southern Star
Tuesday 24/7/2007 Page: 7

A CRANE towered in the Wonthaggi skyline late last week, as repairs to one of the six turbines of the Wonthaggi Wind Farm got underway. A bearing problem had forced turbine number two out of operation since late March, while the wind farm owners, Wind Power, sourced a replacement bearing from Germany, where the turbines are made. Wind farm manager, Peter Marriott, said the problem was the first of its kind. "Although the bearing failure is considered highly unexpected, full vibration analysis and endoscope inspections of all the turbines have been carried out and the other five turbines are in perfect condition," he said.

'The turbine under repair has been cleared of any other faults or damage to the other components as a result of the failure' Mr Marriott said repairs were "a fairly major job". "Because of the wind and the use of a large crane, the repairs will take a long time;' he said last Thursday. "Replacement of the bearing requires the blades and the rotor to be removed from the turbine using large cranes in order to remove and replace the bearing. "Since the cranes require wind conditions of less than 10m per second to operate, there have been some further delays while we wait for a period of low wind to undertake the works." The crane was moved to the Campbell Street site just over a fortnight ago, ahead of the work.

"The failed component required the turbine to be shut down until the bearing could be replaced to prevent any possible damage to other components of the turbine," Mr Marriott said. "Overall it has not significantly impacted on the performance of the wind farm. "During the period the turbine was shut down, the wind farm has only consumed 0.064 per cent of the energy it has produced in that time. According to Wind Power's web site, the 12MW wind farm produces 34,400MW/h per year, saving the equivalent of 47,830 tonnes of greenhouse gases, or planting 68,000 trees or removing 11,000 cars from the roads. The wind farm as been running at 98 per cent capacity since the wind farm opened in November 2005.

As for the 52 turbine, Bald Hills Wind Farm near Tarwin Lower, Mr Marriott said Wind Power was now negotiating engineering and network connection contracts for the wind farm. The $220 million wind farm will be built on two sites; the first 10km from the coast and 90m above sea level, on beef and sheep farms, and the second on the south end of the Bald Hills, about two kilometres from the coast, on land cleared for grazing. Wind Power claims the wind farm will produce up to 104MW of electricity, enough to supply more than 65.000 homes.

Powering the future

Newcastle Herald
Thursday 26/7/2007 Page: 57

RESIDENTS of Scone are divided over the proposed $200 million Kyoto Energy Park, which will include several renewable energy alternatives for the Upper Hunter. Mark Sydney, director of Pamada, the company behind the project, believes eco-generating devices such as wind turbines, solar panels, a solar thermal plant and a closed-loop hydroelectric scheme could save natural resources and reduce fossil fuel usage and associated pollution.

Many local residents acknowledge the importance of renewable energy sources but are concerned about the negative visual impact. Other concerns include flickering lights, noise and the effect on native birds. Mountain and Middlebrook Stations, approximately 12 kilometres west of Scone, were among 11 sites identified as suitable for the generation of electricity through wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric means by the Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability in 1995.

The proposal recommended a total of 47 turbines, with 12 turbines to be located at Middlebrook Station and 35 at Mountain Station. The wind turbines will be an estimated 150 metres tall, including the wings, which will be an estimated 50 metres in length. Pamada proposes to form the Mount Moobi Foundation to ensure a balanced and fair system to determine programs eligible for support.

The foundation would be chaired by six open-thinking, non-politically aligned individuals who would work with the community to support its programs and support the message that Scone is a clean and green community. "Wind and solar power can save our natural water, air, land, reduce pollution from fossil fuels and can avoid the burning of the equivalent 12,400 tonnes of coal per year," said Mr Sydney.

The energy park is expected to produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 80,000 houses annually, and will be linked to existing power grids, with an anticipated grid connection of late 2010. During construction of the Park there will be approximately 2500 jobs. Once established it will provide 15 permanent care and maintenance positions. The Park is currently undergoing a comprehensive environmental impact study.

Egypt: Zafarana Wind Farm

Nordic Folkecenter for Renewable Energy

In week 19 2007 was the director at Folkecenter Preben Maegaard invited to Zafarana wind farm in Egypt. Preben Maegaard was invited to give advice about development of the ambitious wind energy program in Egypt. He met the Energy minister of Egypt and attended a conference at Cairo university.

At the conference he was told that Egypt wants to set up 750 MW wind power annually over the next five years. This is the most comprehensive wind energy program ever seen in Africa. For decades Egypt has been the leading wind energy country of the continent. With the new program Egypt will within a few years be ranking among the leading countries in the world in terms of new capacity.

By 2020 wind energy will have to cover 20% of the total national electricity capacity with wind energy representing an estimated 13 GW.


ENDESA starts Italian wind farm, solar in Spain

Inside Greentech
July 6, 2007

ENDESA (NYSE: ELE), the leading Spanish electrical utility, has started up the Poggi Alti wind farm, the largest in Tuscany, with a capacity of 20 MW. The Poggi Alti facility was built at a cost of €25 million with minimal impact on the surrounding landscape, the company said.

The facility has ten 2 MW turbines with a total installed capacity of 20 MW. Annual output is expected to be around 40.9 GWh, equivalent to energy consumption of 19,000 households. The farm is equipped with Gamesa G-90 turbines with blades measuring 90 meters in diameter. Poggi Alti is ENDESA's third Italian wind farm in the last 10 months.


Future up in the wind

Goulburn Post
Wednesday 25/7/2007 Page: 2

ONE local wind farm has been placed on hold while investigation at another new site begins. The Woodlawn Wind Farm has been placed on hold and its viability will be considered at an ActewAGL board meeting in August. Meanwhile Epuron has commenced investigation into the feasibility of another wind farm at the Gullen Range, south of Crookwell. "Progressing to the construction phase of the Woodlawn Wind Farm project is still being evaluated," ActewAGL chief information officer and general manager commercial development Carsten Larson said.

"Another board meeting will be held in August" ActewAGL General Manager Retail Ivan Slavich said each year ActewAGL fulfilled its obligations under the Federal Government's Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) to supply a fraction of total electricity sold from renewable sources as specified by the Renewable Power Percentage (RPP).

He said the RPP for 2006 (calendar year) was 2.17 per cent. The RPP for future years increases progressively to 2.7pc in 2007, 3.28pc in 2008, 3.9lpc in 2009 before levelling out at 4.58pc in 2010 - 2020. `All electricity retailers' renewable commitments or `quotas' under MRET increase progressively in line with the RPP," Mr Slavich said. "The 2010 RPP represents more than a doubling of the renewable quota' imposed by MRET over 2006 levels" He said ActewAGL customers could elect to pay a small premium through the Greenchoice program to supply renewable power. "The renewable power delivered through the GreenPower program is additional renewable power over and above the quota set under MRET," he said.

He said over the past financial year Greenchoice customer numbers grew by more than 60pc from 5,600 to 9,300. In 2006 ActewAGL sourced over 20 GWh of accredited GreenPower to meet the needs of Greenchoice customers from West Nowra Landfill Gas (25pc) Canundra Wind Farm (73pc) and Eildon Hydro Power Station (2pc). Meanwhile Epuron has commenced investigation into the feasibility of a wind farm at the Gullen Range, south of Crookwell in the NSW Southern Tablelands.

Marubeni Corporation commenced wind investigations at this site, extending from Kialla and Bannister to Guriundah, in 2002, however Epuron acquired the monitoring masts in April 2006. "With careful consideration and planning, Epuron believes the wind farm can be developed with positive benefits to the environment and community," Project Director Simon Davey said. He said Epuron valued the input of the local community, the council and other stakeholders in the planning of this project. The wind farm will be assessed under Part 3A of the Environmental Protection and Assessment Act, making the relevant consent authority the NSW Minister for Planning.

Increasing the share of market

Ballarat Courier
Thursday 26/7/2007 Page: 4

WIND farms will comprise a growing share of Victoria's energy supply over the next decade, according to VENCorp. VENCorp, the Victorian Government body which helps plan electricity and gas supplies for the state, said the installed wind energy capacity in Victoria was expected to be 1238 megawatts in 2016-2017. The existing installed capacity of the state's major wind farms according to VENCorp is 133.6 megawatts.

VENCorp estimated that during times of peak summer power demand, wind farms would deliver 23 per cent of their installed generating capacity. In 2007-2008 VENCorp has forecast for wind energy to contribute 88 megawatts during peak summer maximum demand times. with that figure growing to 285 megawatts in 2009-2010. According to VENCorp's 2006 electricity annual planning report, the spike in power demands in summer was "due to the increasing penetration of air-conditioners and warmer weather conditions in recent years, summer daily energy continues to grow faster than daily winter energy".

The Victorian Government's renewable energy strategies will have a major impact on annual energy forecasts. The Victorian Government has set a target to meet 10 per cent of Victoria's annual electricity consumption by renewable energy in 2010," the report said. "Investments in renewable energy, in particular wind generation, are projected to grow strongly in the next five years to 2010-11, but slow down thereafter."

Sunshine on my roof makes me money

Australian Financial Review
Thursday 26/7/2007 Page: 14

Starfish Hill was South Australia's first large-scale commercial wind farm when it was approved in 2002. Last year wind farms were the fastest growing form of renewable energy in Australia, making up nearly 8 percent of the country's renewable energy capacity, while hydro makes up 84 percent. There were 37 wind farms in Australia at the end of 2006, with another 13 commissioned, which will more than double wind energy's generation capacity from 651 to 1400 megawatts. The renewable energy industry is excited about the future after years of fighting to compete with cheap, polluting coal, and failing.

The Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy says Australia has the 'highest greenhouse-polluting electricity in the developed world', but change is on the way due to widespread concern about climate change. Both Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd have committed to a carbon emissions trading scheme by about 2012, which will boost renewable energy by pricing in the environmental and social costs of pollution into coal-fired power stations. More than 50 renewable energy companies are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, with share prices recently rising for Geothermal Resources, Babcock and Brown Wind Partners and Geodynamics, despite some technologies being unproven and many companies having no earnings history.

Wednesday 25 July 2007

Energy solution is glaring at us

Courier Mail
Wednesday 25/7/2007 Page: 28

THE state which taught the world how to dig up coal faster than anyone else could be powered almost entirely by discarded sugar cane, radioactive rocks and the sun, a thought-provoking book claims. Greenhouse Solutions, launched earlier this month by alternative energy guru Mark Diesendorf, paints a radically different future for Queensland where it truly lives up to its moniker "the Sunshine State".

"Seven per cent of households in Queensland have solar hot-water heaters. That's astonishingly low," the University of New South Wales Institute of Environmental Studies expert said. "Potentially three-quarters of households could be fitted with them, which would substitute for one large coal-power station. "Commercial buildings could take a large amount, such as schools and hospitals and other low-rise buildings, and a lot of industrial heat is needed at the low temperatures generated by solar hot water such as in food processing."

While hot-water heater technology is already here, Dr Diesendorf said few people realised large-scale solar thermal power plant technology was also already in existence. "A large-scale demonstration plant was built in California 20 years ago and it's still going," he said. "The great advantage of this technology over photo-voltaics (solar panels) is it's fairly cheap to store heat in water, rocks or thermo-chemicals overnight, so you can generate 24 hours a day. In 10 to 12 years prices will come down to where wind energy is at today.

"It depends a lot on government, but I think beyond 2014 we will start to see large solar power stations in Australia, while there will be no clean-coal plants or nuclear-power stations significantly before 2020." Crop waste, particularly bagasse from sugar cane, was also likely to play a bigger role in coming decades. "There's a good 1600MWh (megawatt hours) of power in that. This is not negligible stuff, its the equivalent to two Kogan Creek-sized coal-power stations," Dr Diesendorf said. "It still needs a driver from government.

These power stations will be smaller because you can't afford to transport crop waste too far, so the power will probably be in the order of 10t a kWh (more than twice brown coal)." He predicted the first 1000MW geothermal power station would probably be on line by 2014, most likely in South Australia where the Olympic Dam uranium mine was tipped to be the first customer.

He said geothermal power from radioactive hot rocks buried kilometres underground in outback Australia was a serious source of baseload power, particularly for central Queensland, and could generate electricity for as little as 6C a kWh. Even wind had a future in Queensland, although the greatest potential was in southern states where winds were strongest. Experience in Denmark showed it could generate 20 per cent of its needs from wind without major problems on calm days. "South Australia has trouble at the moment only because all its wind farms are coastal and point in the same direction and they don't have enough interstate connections to share power when the wind isn't blowing," he said. "Large-scale wind farms spread over a large area tend to smooth out fluctuations."

Wind farm hearing `No' to tanks

Warrnambool Standard
Wednesday 25/7/2007 Page: 7

DEVELOPERS of a proposed wind farm near Purnim have opposed CFA requests to install water tanks on the site to assist firefighters. Yesterday, Wind Farm Developments director Alistair Wilson told a Moyne Shire Council hearing that he opposed the request to install static water tanks because firefighting equipment would be unable to reach a tower blaze, rendering the tanks useless.

The company is planning a 13-turbine project three kilometres north of Purnim across 800 hectares which will supply enough electricity for 21,000 homes. Plans ignore the shire's requested buffer zone from boundaries of three times the towers' height (405 metres) with the developer opting to use a VicRoads measurement of 150 metres. The closest home to the wind farm is 886m away, three homes are within one kilometre of turbines and 29 homes are within 2.5km.

Unlike the Government approved Macarthur wind farm or the smaller project proposed for Hawkesdale, the $63 million Drysdale development would feed power to the Terang power station if approved by council. Mr Wilson told the hearing in Mortlake that the wind farm had the capacity to feed power down the Warrnambool line to power homes if there was a fire at the Terang power station.

John B. Howard and Marilyn Homman told councillors they were concerned about the wind farm's effects on livestock. Cr Brenda Hampson said: "Farming is the livelihood of many people and I'm concerned if you are not listening to the CFA. We have had fire sweep through the community and it's been devastating. I'd hate to think it would happen again if you were not listening to the CFA."

Tuesday 24 July 2007

State engineering award for CATCON

South Eastern Times
Thursday 19/7/2007 Page: 1

THE Lake Bonney stage two Wind Farm construction team - CATCOM - has been recognised with a State engineering award for such innovative measures as providing 212 million litres of water for drought-affected livestock. The company has been awarded a 2007 Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) South Australian Earth Prize for its $19.8 million work along the Woakwine Range, which began midway through last year. They have been applauded for their excellence in civil construction as the judges took into account their project management, construction techniques and environmental management.

The company understood the design and construction of the reinforced concrete foundations for 53 wind turbine towers and the installation of 40km of connecting underground electrical and fibre optic cabling. As part of their contract, CATCON had to build access roads to each site as well as a hard stand area which could support the cranes to lift the 80 metre towers, 45 metre blades and nacelles (generators) into place. CATCON general manager, Steve Moreau said the annual CCF awards were supported by his company and he was pleased the project was honoured in this way.

According to Mr Moreau, CATCON had between 60 and 70 company personnel and sub-contractors on the windfarm tasks on any one day. He said the CCF award was also a fitting recognition for their efforts. Of the 53 turbines in Babcock and Brown's Lake Bonney stage two, 29 have already been erected. The erection project is on schedule, and is due for completion in February. The first operational stage of Babcock and Brown's Lake Bonney has 46 smaller turbines while the nearby Canunda Windfarm has 23 and is run by a separate company, International Power.

Babcock and Brown site representative, Glenn Leman has also commended CATCON on the standard of their work. Mr Leman said the company had completed the windfarm's civil engineering works in a timely fashion, When judging the annual awards, the CCF took into account site-related problems faced by CATCON. Although excellent in terms of wind generation capacity, the site contained swamp lands, a high water table, hard rock and low load-bearing capacity subsoil material.

In two places, the civil works contractors required major ground remediation four metres below the natural water table. CATCON faced a number of other challenges during the 10-month build process, which ended in April. Among these were the rigid deadlines for the farm's connection to the national electricity grid and the commitment to complete trench works within 24 hours to reduce landowner and farmer concerns about injuries to livestock.

CATCON also extended site roads, beyond contract requirements to divert concrete trucks from public roads. The company also took exceptional efforts to avoid environmental disruption by realigning access tracks, site exit locations and cable trenches to run along hill crests. These efforts avoided disruption of fertile farming lands and the visible scarring of the landscape along the Woakwine Range. The natural terrain consisted of steep inclines and marshy areas.

The remote location is more than 400 km from a capital city and this created long lead times in the delivery of equipment. From time to time, there were pump breakdowns and the weather conditions ranged from mid-winter to the height of summer. As the 53 tower bases and access roads were built over an area measuring 11km long and 1.5km wide, there were safety and logistics issues on a regular basis. Individual radios and global positioning systems were used by CATCON personnel and other contractors to good effect.

Adverse weather conditions had the potential to create concrete cold joints in the tower foundations. With large volumes concrete pours required during extremely hot and windy conditions at exposed locations, more than 20 pours consistently occurred in the hours before dawn. Each foundation base required 400 cubic metres of concrete and this equates to 80 trucks with a five tonne load. In some places, the batching plant was 10 km away from the base and so timing of truck movements was critical. Fire ban days also impacted on the construction project as ground clearing and welding were prohibited.

In the swamp lands, dewatering was undertaken by using large pumps and ground spears in the foundation impact zone. The water was then expelled through two holding tanks to settle and extract the accumulated silt. More than 221 million litres of clean water was collected and pumped to two fenced areas for the use of sheep and cattle from neighbouring farms. This solution provided much needed relief to the livestock during the drought while resolving CATCON'S technical design problems. CCF awarded the Adelaide-based company its award for projects with a value between $5 million and $20 million. The national CCF awards will be announced at a ceremony in Alice Springs in October.

Ballarat shines in solar program

Ballarat Courier
Monday 23/7/2007 Page: 5

BALLARAT is to become part of a multi-million dollar initiative to help reduce greenhouse gases. It was recently announced Ballarat would become a part of the central Victoria Solar Cities project. At a cost of $41 million the project brings together a consortium of councils, cities and private business to trial ways to increase energy efficiency and encourage homes and businesses to install solar hot water systems and panels. Federal Treasurer Peter Costello announced the government would contribute $15 million to the project. Ballarat will also be one of two cities to trial a 300 kilowatt solar park for the project.

Powercor Australia, the University of Ballarat, the City of Ballarat and the Hepburn and Pyrenees Shire Councils are among those in the consortium. Ballarat City Council chief executive officer Richard Hancock said it had taken several years for the bid to be formed and approved for funding and the solar project was also a part of the council's longer term strategy for planning and renewable energy. Not only will Ballarat benefit, but so will Bendigo and the broader region. It may well lead to changes in planning schemes where things like solar energy systems for hones might become more standard," Mr Hancock said.

"It's all part of trialing the new technology to see what the issues are. Certainly one of the challenges for Ballarat is we experience more cloud cover compared to other areas in the country, but we are pleased to be a part of it." Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions president Nick Lanyon said he was "delighted" Ballarat had been selected for the project.

The awareness about climate change is enormous and people are now looking to see what they can do," he said. The interesting thing is that many people's response to climate change is they look at what they can do around their house, they look at solar hot water, they look at insulation and they look at fluorescent light globes. The big problem is nine per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the home, and given most of our homes aren't energy efficient, it's great people will now have the opportunity to do retrofitting and measure their efficiency." Project director Michael McCartney said the project would bring benefits to the community and 2500 households would be targeted to become more energy efficient and trial new products.

Kyoto push

Whittlesea Leader
Tuesday 24/7/2007 Page: 20

A Labor MP is urging residents to sign a petition calling on the Federal Government to take action on climate change. Scullin Federal Labor MP Harry Jenkins is collecting signatures to pressure the Howard Government to sign the Kyoto Protocol, increase renewable energy targets and invest in clean energy research. The petition will be tabled in Parliament next month. It can be signed at Mr Jenkin's McLeans Rd office in Bundoora, or copies can be obtained at or by phoning 9467 8055.

Winning combination

July, 2007 Page: 28

John Holland and Veolia Water have again immersed themselves in the world of desalination, winning the bid to develop Sydney's $960 million desalination plant and seawater inlets at Kurnell. The companies, along with Sinclair Knight Merz and Maunsell make up the Blue Water Consortium which has been named the preferred tenderer to design, build, operate and maintain the 250 megalitre per day plant for 20 years. A fully owned subsidiary of Sydney Water will own the plant.

The plant is the largest and most significant capital works project undertaken by Sydney Water since Warragamba Dam and is expected to create around 800 jobs. With plans for no net greenhouse impact, the wheels are now in motion to enter a 20-year contract for the provision of wind energy to supply 100% of the electricity to run the plant. Already involved in the GCD Alliance building the Gold Coast desalination project, John Holland and Veolia Water believe specialist knowledge in both tunnelling and water will be incredibly valuable in delivering the project. Work is set to begin on the project later this month and will take 26 months to complete.

Monday 23 July 2007

Pacific hydro awaits panel

Ballarat Courier
Saturday 21/7/2007 Page: 36

AN APPLICATION for the Pyrenees Shire's third wind farm is before the State Government. Wind farm company Pacific Hydro plans to build the 72-turbine wind farm at Crowlands, south of Landsborough. The company completed its Challicum Hills wind farm nearby at Buangor in 2003.

The Crowlands project will be 140 megawatts in capacity, and is expected to produce more than the residential electricity use of Ballarat and Bendigo combined. The wind farm will add to other wind farms at Lexton and Waubra; while a fourth wind farm has been proposed for Stockyard Hill. The Crowlands Wind Farm application will go directly to a state panel for approval because it is more than 30MW in capacity. The application process is expected to take nine months.

On Tuesday night, the Pyrenees Shire Council resolved to place a submission supporting the project, when the state panel calls for it. Mayor Gabriel Horvat said the council supported the proposal because the community seemed to be in favour. But he was concerned the shire was starting to become blanketed in wind farms. "When the issue of wind farms popped up, we were in favour of wind farms and renewable energy, but what we don't want is the whole shire blanketed with turbines," Cr Horvat said.

"We feel that is starting to happen." Pacific Hydro representative Emily Wood said the project had been in the pipeline for several years and the company was now waiting to hear from the State Government. She said the company appreciated the community's feedback during consultation. "We look forward to making an announcement on the wind farm, to give people an opportunity to view the plan and make submissions," Ms Wood said.

Local residents form clean energy branch

Milton Ulladulla Times
Wednesday 18/7/2007 Page: 17

A GROUP of local residents concerned about the impact of climate change have formed the Shoalhaven branch of Clean Energy for Eternity (CEFE). The group believes that to help our children have a bright future, we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Members of the group are exploring ways they can reduce their energy consumption and looking at ways they can support alternative energy sources such as solar and wind powered energy.

The first step the group has taken is to audit their personal energy use, including a waste audit organised by Shoalhaven City Council. They will use the results as a benchmark and look at ways to reduce their energy use over the coming year. The group believes there are lots of simple things that individuals can do, such as change over to 100 per cent accredited Greenpower, change their light globes to compact fluoros, wherever possible buy locally produced food and walk instead of drive the car for short distances.

CEFE was formed in Bega in May 2006 after local orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Matthew Nott, invited the community of Bega Shire Valley to make a human sign on Tathra Beach spelling out 'Clean Energy for Eternity'. CEFE then set a target of 50/50 by 2020, meaning a 50 per cent reduction in energy produced and 50 per cent use of renewable energy by the year 2020. CEFE now operates in Bega Valley Shire, Eurobodalla Shire and Snowy Mountains. Both Bega and Eurobodalla Councils have taken on the 50/50 by 2020 target with much support from the business communities in those areas.

Evidence shows that to mitigate the effects of global warming people need to act quickly and act collectively as a community. There can be benefits to acting quickly on climate change. We can be supporting emerging renewable energy industries, creating a healthier local environment and strengthening our community. Many local businesses will be able to benefit, for example, in providing services to help people retrofit their houses to make them more energy efficient. If you would like to know more about Shoalhaven CEFE email group convenor Kim Thompson at littleearth@

You Can Make A Difference:
  1. Switch off the lights you don't need, replace old globes with compact fluorescent.
  2. Take shorter showers, install a water efficient showerhead, buy a rainwater tank.
  3. Buy Greenpower, support/invest in renewable energy projects, install renewable energy on your house, understand your electricity bill.
  4. Buy energy efficient appliances, install a solar hot water system when your old one retires, turn-off standby appliances.
  5. Walk and cycle more, drive less, car pool, take public transport if you can, look into bio-'diesel and hybrid vehicles.
  6. Renovate and build energy efficient houses, insulate your home, make use of passive solar design and save money every year on your domestic running costs.
  7. Consume less, don't buy over-packaged items, support your local food producers, buy Australian and reduce the 'food miles'.
  8. Support business that is rising to the challenge of climate change, take responsibility for your carbon footprint.
  9. Talk about it with friends, write a letter to your local representatives, join a climate action group, support a climate action group.
  10. Vote for the politicians who are willing to tackle the most serious issue of our time and who demonstrate their commitment to acting on climate change.
We can help our children have a clean energy future tomorrow.

Verve aims to be carbon neutral in 20 years

West Australian
Saturday 21/7/2007 Page: 14

One of WA's biggest polluters, Verve Energy, has set itself the ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral within 20 years as part of an expensive makeover which could see it shift focus to renewable power. In a move which highlights the way companies are getting on the front foot in the debate over greenhouse gas, Verve Energy said its zero-- emissions goal was an aspirational target that was likely to go beyond any future government-legislated targets. The plan would remove or offset the 11.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas which it emits a year - equivalent to taking 2.5 million cars off the road.

Verve spokesman Greg Denton said a major change was needed to meet community expectations and government targets, and it was confident its new direction would help it develop skills it could sell to other companies. "We are signalling to the world, this is where we are going to be putting our efforts, to be producing energy in an environmentally sustainable way," Mr Denton, Verve's general manager of trading and sustainable energy. said.

"Verve's energy role going forward as an electricity generator has changed. And over 20 years we want to be in the state where we are focused on zero-emissions technology." Mr Denton said it was possible that Verve's new vision could lead it to focus primarily on renewable energy sources but he claimed it would not necessarily turn its back on coal, which powers 65 per cent of its current electricity supply, because it expected major breakthroughs in clean coal technology. "I don't know what path we'll end up going down," he said. "What I do know is what path we are looking for.

It may be for us that we end up being a business that is focused on wind farms which uses existing technology and integrated wood processing. It might be that we become the worldwide expert in biodiesel electricity generation. "We are a commercial enterprise so we won't do anything that we can't make money out of. We've got the aspiration of being really good at zero-emissions technology. And in a world where zero emissions are valued, we think we can succeed in that space. " Verve has invested more than $100,000 on clean coal technology research and breakthroughs are expected in the next few decades. It has spent a further $100 million to reduce its emissions by upgrading plants.

It has also spent about $100 million in the past decade to develop renewable sources of power to offset 5 per cent of the 11.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases it emits each year. Mr Denton said future changes would be aimed at changing the way it produced electricity so that it emitted fewer greenhouse gases, rather than focusing on offsetting emissions from inefficient generators.

Keys to climate control

Courier Mail
Saturday 21/7/2007 Page: 25

THE Australian Government is aware that its principal favoured technology for reducing gas emissions, coal power with carbon capture and sequestration, will not be available for many years. Therefore, to set a greenhouse target and to introduce carbon pricing to achieve it, would benefit renewable energy technologies such as solar hot water, wind energy and bio energy from agricultural and plantation forestry residues.

"These are not favoured technologies, since unlike coal and uranium mining, the renewable energy industry is still small and so cannot in the short term generate large profits and hence large contributions to national revenue via company tax. "Furthermore, the small- and medium-sized companies comprising the renewable energy and efficient use industries cannot afford to make large political donations." These are the words of author Mark Diesendorf. They may also explain why he is a former principal CSIRO research scientist.

So, with the muzzle off, Diesendorf is free to roam and rant. None of it is crazed or delusional either. Rather, it makes perfect and logical sense. Diesendorf believes that "a large reduction in greenhouse gases could be achieved from existing technologies with small improvements". However, he remains bewildered that "macroeconomic models of national economies are much less realistic than climate models, yet politicians and some big businesses have high confidence in the former". This is backed up with some bluntness: "Humans are still completely dependent upon natural processes for air, water and food, but live as if they were independent of them".

Yes, like David Strahan, acclaimed overseas author of The Last Oil Shock, Diesendorf is no fan of neo-liberal economics either. He also reckons a major calamity lies within current macroeconomic models as they "attempt to describe inherently nonlinear phenomena by means of a systems of linear equations". However, Diesendorf is not content with his own observations. He also quotes The Stern Review, the research paper responsible for turning the United Kingdom into a world frontrunner on curtailing the global crisis: "Climate change presents a unique challenge for economics; it is the greatest and widest ranging market failure ever seen". With an Australian-centric focus on the climate crisis, Diesendorf's "how-to" manual takes place in three parts.

Part A could be considered an introduction or review of the "human-induced greenhouse effect" and the projected impacts of this on our economy, society, health and of course our environment. He describes the environment as a chair falling backwards. All life on Earth is currently sitting in the chair. At the moment the chair is slowly rocking backwards. As most children realise, this recline cannot go on forever, there is a finite point of travel, a threshold, or a "tipping point". At some time the chair will go past its balance point, out of control, things will accelerate. And so, all life on Earth will be dumped from the chair.

Scientists believe that the inevitable impact may cause total annihilation of both the environment and all the life it supports. It is here, through his own conservative study, A Clean Energy Future for Australia, that Diesendorf takes aim at a solution. He reckons that with slight modifications of current technologies, our country could halve its carbon dioxide emissions from all forms of stationary energy by 2040. Although his focus is not on emissions resulting from transport and despite it being in line with leading European countries, he admits that this plan will fall short. It will not be able to provide a stable and safe environment for fixture generations. However, it easily allows enough time for all current coal-powered stations to be phased out and replaced with cleaner alternative forms of power generation.

Part B is by far the most expansive. It is an in-depth exploration into all the available sustainable technologies. With notable devotion, Diesendorf explodes the myth that wind energy generation is incompatible with mainstream electricity generation.

Part C is a listing of international, national, state and local government policies regarding climate change. From this there is a conclusion that no one policy will provide the solution but that it must come from a mixture of strategies, policies and actions. Although it is no surprise that Diesendorf has little faith in the corridors of power, it is refreshing that he provides a chapter "about facilitating social change to achieve a better society and environment in the face of reluctance and even outright opposition by governments". It is a tome, a little heavy in academic tone, terminology and acronyms. Yet, for the organic learners among us, the coherent format, and sprinkling of creative analogies enables robust levers towards understanding. It should be compulsory reading for every voting Australian in 2007.