Friday 17 August 2007

Wind energy support turns up at Scotts Head

Coffs Coast Advocate
Friday 17/8/2007 Page: 19

THERE'S a renewable energy that is proving to be more than just a lot, of hot, air. And, if you ask Michael Jones, the answer is blowing in the wind. "I believe that's it, not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," he said. "This area has good potenial for using wind energy." The Grassy Head resident, is so keen to see wind energy propel into popularity, he is organising a local wind energy group. The group held their first meeting yesterday in Scotts Head. "A wind turbine can generate the same amount of energy as solar power, for around hail the price," Michael said. "In Australia, we have better potential for wind energy than Spain, who is generating 27 per cent of all their electricity from wind. It makes a lot of sense to utilise wind to produce energy."

Michael and his family live on a 30-acre property, and are planning on installing a wind energy system to power the house. "An average household uses approximately 12 kilowatts a day. A two kilowatt turbine working at maximum velocity would rim household lights, computers, a fridge, stove and other appilances," he said.

When working as an ecologist, Michael became aware of the effects of climate change. "I was mapping mangroves in the Northern Territory, and saw them expanding landward. I look this as a sign of sea eve rise," he said. "Then when I read The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, I found it very worrying." These events spurred Michael to give presentations on climate change to local community groups, and become interested in alternative forms of energy. He said he would like to see wind turbines become common features on small holdings. "Just like you see television aerials on every house, I would like to see wind turbines become commonplace," he said.

To generate wind energy, you need an area with relatively high average wind speeds, and little or no turbulence. Like solar panels, wind turbines produce power from a renewable energy source. They basically consist of a set of blades connected to a generator or alternator; whether directly or via a gearbox, which produces power as it is turned by the rotating blades. The power from the turbine is used to charge batteries for later use, and a regulator is required for use with wind turbines. Grid interactive wind energy systems are less common, but are available.

Mobile Recycling Facts:
  • Australians uprade or exchange their mobile phones every 18 to 24 months, resulting in nearly 16 million old mobile phones cluttering people's homes and offices across Australia, of which four million no longer work.
  • Mobile phones are not biodegradable and contain small amounts of potentially hazardous substances such as cadmium in NiCad batteries which if not managed properly can be harmful to the environment.
  • By recycling mobile phones, more than 90 per cent of the mobile phone product materials can be extracted and reused such as plastics, gold, silver, copper and nickel.

Switch to Greenpower and make a difference

Milton Ulladulla Times
Wednesday 15/8/2007 Page: 12

CURRENTLY eight per cent of the national electricity grid is generated by accredited renewable sources. The Federal Government has set a mandatory target of about 10 per cent. Accredited renewable sources (Greenpower) include wind, solar, hydro and biomass.

The Shoalhaven Clean Energy for Eternity (CEFE) group believes this target doesn't go far enough. What do you think? Clean Energy for Eternity is committed to 50 per cent renewable energy by the year 2020. We do not want future generations to be left wondering why the tough decisions were not made now. The time to act is today. Shoalhaven residents can make all the difference. To look at it economically, supply will influence demand. Demand will eventually reduce the price. Increased demand has created 182 new Greenpower generators since 1997. Greenpower generators in the Shoalhaven (as of June 2007) include:
  1. Callala Bay Public School (solar);
  2. Shoalhaven High School (solar);
  3. Kangaroo Valley Power Station (hydro);
  4. Bendeela Power Station (hydro);
  5. West Nowra landfill gas (LFG - bioenergy).
The potential for renewable energy generation is enormous. What about new building developments in our local area? Will they incorporate solar energy generation? The prevailing north easterly wind would be a fantastic resource to capture with small wind turbines that sit neatly on roofs. What about our local schools, shops, sporting facilities? The challenge is an exciting one with endless possibilities. This includes employment and tourism opportunities.

The Shoalhaven CEFE will lobby our local government to gain their commitment to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2020. We want them to encourage renewable energy generation in our local area. If you think the Shoalhaven Council should take the challenge contact them and let them know. Bega Valley and Eurobodalla councils have already made the 50/50 by 2020 commitment. If they can do it, we can do it!

If you wish to contact us please email on

Climate Change meeting in Narooma

Narooma News
Wednesday 15/8/2007 Page: 4

LAST week a few 'good souls' - gathered to listen to climate change expert Erwin Jackson from the Climate Institute Australia, along with community educator and mother Philippa Rowland from Clean Energy for Eternity and Independent Candidate for Eden - Monaro Acacia Rose speak about climate change and implications for the region.

Last Tuesday's meeting was the result of the CWA NSW Annual meeting in Jindabyne when local CWA member and Agriculture and Environment representative Shirley Dellamarta met Acacia. 'This was an excellent opportunity for people to hear about the importance of immediate action on climate change,' Ms Rose said. 'Erwin Jackson and Philippa Rowland have a good grasp of the science of global warming and CO2 emissions' 'Erwin Jackson identified the trend towards global warming and said that scientists are concerned about the Greenland ice sheet melting.' 'The sudden collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica took scientists by surprise and indications are that if Antarctica melts it will cause a six metre sea level rise and if the Greenland ice sheet melts it will cause an additional six metre sea level rise.'

Ms Rose said 'The United Nations has already identified that over 150 million people live below the, one metre mark and 250 million are living below the five metre ASL mark.' 'The CSIRO report and study at Bateman's Bay is timely and we need to develop contingencies now to deal with potential sea level rise and increased storm events that will affect the coastal infrastructure and homes.' Erwin Jackson said that the Climate Institute Australia had assessed the policies of both major parties and they are clearly inadequate to deal with global warming.

Acacia Rose spoke about her first hand experiences of warming with the drying out of alpine vegetation and the potential for an alpine 'ecosystem crash' that would mean loss of vegetation and soil possibly far worse than intense grazing above the tree line. 'I am putting out the "Nott Target" of 50:50 by 20:20 as an achievable economic target for Australia.' 'We can begin by reducing emissions by 15 per cent over the next three years and then 10 per cent every three years until 2020 and at the same time increase our Mandatory Renewable Energy Target.'

'My vision for Australia is that every school becomes completely sustainable with solar, water tanks, permaculture garden and composting waste system or similar,' Erwin Jackson said Shirley Dellamarta thanked the speakers and encouraged people to talk about climate change and do something about it themselves at the individual level and as a community. CEFE meanwhile had 200 people attend a meeting in Cooma last week meant to encourage that shire to join the three other South Coast shires committed to the 50:50 target.

Trade in GHG permits and credits up 45%

London, 16 August: Volumes in the world's carbon markets were up 45% year-on-year to 1.2 billion tonnes in the first six months of 2007, according to research from Point Carbon. Carbon allowances and permits worth €15.8 billion ($21.2 billion) were traded in the first six months of 2007 compared with €22.5 billion in all of 2006, an increase of 41% in annualised terms, according to the Oslo-based analyst company.

The European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) saw two-thirds of the traded volume, with the equivalent of 775 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) changing hands at a financial value of €11.5 billion. The EU ETS, the world's first international emissions trading scheme, which was launched in January 2005 to help the EU meet its targets under the Kyoto Protocol, requires companies to emit less CO2 than their target or buy carbon permits to make up any shortfall.

The EU ETS covers more than 10,000 power stations and other stationary sources of greenhouse gas emission in the EU's 27 member states. Most of the growth in trading was in forward contracts for the second phase of the scheme, which runs from 2008 to 2012. In the UN-administered Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), involving projects in developing countries that limit or reduce GHG emissions, 372Mt CO2 was traded, to the value of €4.1 billion. The secondary market in issued CDM credits doubled from 40Mt and €571 million in all of 2006 to 80Mt and €1.3 billion in the first half of 2007.

"We're seeing a spectacular growth in the carbon market. This is good news because CO2 trading is an essential tool in the fight against human-induced climate change," said Endre Tvinnereim, senior analyst at Point Carbon. "The EU ETS and CDM have almost the same market share as last year, but the strong growth in the secondary CDM market and in the EU ETS Phase II have made the market much more dynamic."

Majority support wind farms

Moyne Gazette
Thursday 16/8/2007 Page: 3

There have been only three public submissions relating to the Ryan Corner wind farm.
MOST people were in favour of wind farms but those against them were sometimes very vocal in their opposition, a hearing on a wind farm proposed for Ryan Corner near Port Fairy has been told. TME Australia consultant Alan Wyatt made the statement in response to a query from a member of the independent panel hearing TME Australia's application to install 68 wind turbines at Ryan Corner.

The panel member had asked why there were vastly different reactions from the public to various wind farm proposals. The Ryan Corner proposal has so far provoked little public opposition with only three public submissions to the panel received so far. None of those who made written submissions asked to speak at the panel hearings in Port Fairy last week on the proposal. The panel member said the public's reaction to the proposed Ryan Corner wind farm was different to that of the Bald Hills wind farm in south Gippsland. That proposal attracted about 1500 objections.

TME has told the panel that studies involving at least 300 people had looked at their perception of wind farms and found most were in favour. Mr Wyatt said those who did not like wind farms were sometimes very antagonistic and their strong opposition was not a true measure of the community's feelings about a wind farm proposal. "Studies of at least 300 people are far more reliable than four of five or 10 people that might be antagonistic," Mr Wyatt said.

TME had told the panel hearing its perception studies found people believed wind farms were in "man modified landscapes that can absorb change". TME also told the panel the Ryan Corner wind farm would have a low visual impact on the Princes Highway. It said windbreaks, plantations, roadside vegetation and stony rises would filter the views of the wind turbines so the wind farm would have limited visual impact on surrounding towns such as Port Fairy, Yambuk and Orford. The major visual impact would be on houses adjacent to the wind farm. The panel will make a recommendation to the State Government that will decide whether to approve the wind farm.

Push for 150 turbines

Ballarat Courier
Friday 17/8/2007 Page: 4

MORE than 150 wind turbines are being slated for construction between Skipton and Beaufort. Wind Power, who is backing the push to construct the wind farm, is behind a similar push to construct 19 turbines near Smeaton. Company director Andrew Newbold said the company was looking at constructing between 150 to 200 turbines, and if successful the $700 million Stockyard Hill project would be one of Australia's largest wind farm developments producing enough power for 250,000 homes. Mr Newbold said the company had begun its planning reports and environmental impact studies.

The first community meeting will be held this Saturday. However not everybody is happy. The Western Plains Landscape Guardians Association formed in February after hearing of the proposal and group spokesman Warwick Read said invitations to the information session were received late. You can't help but feel it was deliberately done," he said. "People are signing up in droves because they want the money. It's just sad and these developers don't care. 't'hey are chasing the dollars. The size of the project is growing every weekend and I don't think there is one neighbour who has been consulted about it."

About 45 landholders between Beaufort and Skipton had signed up to have turbines, and the project had grown because of community support, Mr Newbold said. "There is a hell of a lot of local support for it. We have got to go through all the planning reports and all the environmental studies which we have commenced," he said. "We would be anticipating at lodging a planning application next year. We will be gauging what the people want from it at the community information day." The information day will be held this Saturday at the Lake Goldsmith Steam Rally Hall, Carngham Lake Goldsmith Rd, Lake Goldsmith front 10am to 3pm.

Thursday 16 August 2007

$110m wind farm on track: Portland final stage starts next year

Warrnambool Standard
Thursday 16/8/2007 Page: 7

WORKS on the $110 million final stage of Portland's wind energy project will start early next year. Pacific Hydro yesterday announced it had finalised a significant purchase agreement for the Cape Sir William Grant and Cape Nelson wind farms. While works for the Cape Bridgewater stage continue, the commitment means the total $330 million project will be finalised by 2009. The future of the third and final stage was in doubt before last year's state election.

The Liberal Party opposed a renewable energy target promoting cleaner sources of power. Pacific Hydro's Andrew Richards yesterday said Labor's strategy to deliver 10 per cent of the state's energy from renewable sources by 2016, had been crucial. "Without the Victorian target, we would not be able to commit this level of investment," he said. "This demonstrates the important economic and environmental benefits that renewable energy targets deliver." Works for the contentious Cape Bridgewater project are on schedule, with the first of its 29 wind towers to go in later this year.

The majority of access roads and wind tower foundations have been completed. Work at the substation beside Portland Aluminium is continuing. Mr Richards said the 195-megawatt project, which included Yambuk, would produce enough electricity for about 125,000 homes. It would also avoid about 920,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas each year. When approved in 2002, the Portland wind energy project was the biggest in the southern hemisphere. The Cape Bridgewater site caused much controversy because of fears its natural beauty would be destroyed by the turbines.

AGL pulls out of wind farm plan

Ballarat Courier
Thursday 16/8/2007 Page: 5

THE Victorian Government says its renewable energy targets are still on track despite plans to dump a financially enviable $140 million wind turbine farm. AGL Energy Limited yesterday officially abandoned plans to build the 48 turbine Dollar Wind Farm in Victoria's southeast, 10 months after placing its application on indefinite hold. AGL cited financial concerns with the project.

"Even considering the current and any future emissions trading environment, the economics of the project are less compelling as compared with other projects under investment consideration by AGL," the company said in a statement yesterday. "Renewable energy is AGL's core business and we will continue to explore and develop a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants."

Wind farm plan dumped

Thursday 16/8/2007 Page: 5

ENERGY giant AGL has dumped a controversial $140 million wind farm planned for South Gippsland. The company put the 48-turbine Dollar wind farm on hold last October and yesterday confirmed it was pulling out altogether. AGL said the project was less financially attractive than others under consideration. The project, near Foster, had been strongly opposed by Gippsland residents.

AGL has planning approval for another wind farm, between Macarthur and Hawkesdale in western Victoria, which will be the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. The project would have contributed 79 megawatts to the State Government's target of 10 per cent renewable energy by 2016. Energy Minister Peter Batchelor's spokesman, Bill Kyriakopoulos, said the Government remained committed to the target.

Go Solar, Wind Or Geothermal If You Want Renewable Energy With Life-cycle Efficiency
August 13, 2007

Science Daily — Do the overall efficiencies of renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal add up in terms of their complete life cycle from materials sourcing, manufacture, running, and decommissioning" Researchers in Greece have carried out a life cycle assessment to find the answer.

Increasing energy consumption and a growing world population implies shrinking reserves of fossil fuels. While the use of fossil fuels brings with it the problem of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. Our continued dependence on fossil fuels coupled with the pressing global issue of climate change has pushed the concept of renewable energy sources to the top of the agenda.

In looking for alternative energy supplies, there is more to simply adding up the outputs, according to Christopher Koroneos and Yanni Koroneos of the Laboratory of Heat Transfer and Environmental Engineering, at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. They argue that a whole life cycle assessment of any environmentally friendly energy supply must be carried out to ensure its green credentials are valid. Writing in Inderscience's International Journal of Global Energy Issues, the researchers point out that land use and materials employed are just two aspects of renewable energy development that can have an adverse impact on the otherwise positive environmental picture.

There are three viable renewable energy resources, say the researchers - solar energy, wind energy and geothermal energy. They have applied the techniques of life cycle assessment (LCA) to each in order to determine the total environmental impact and to compare this with the effects of equivalent energy release from fossil fuels. The LCA approach allows an assessment to be made of the flow of material and energy used in the construction, operation and ultimate decommissioning of a renewable energy supply. It also takes into account the manufacturing of components, the possible extraction and supply of fuels as well as waste generated in these processes.

The researchers demonstrate that some renewable energy systems based on wind energy and geothermal energy do have valid green credentials in electricity production. The efficiency of these systems is comparable over the complete life cycle than the equivalent fossil fuel system. However, the conversion of solar energy to electricity using photovoltaic solar cells is less efficient in terms of materials production, running, and recycling than non-renewable energy. However, economies of scale come into play with solar power and a large enough area of solar cells would outstrip the fossil fuel system.

The team also points out that the life cycle pollution of solar systems is much, much lower than any conventional system although thermodynamic efficiency is lower. "A significant advantage of the use of renewable energy systems," say the researchers,"is that they are environmentally friendly because overall they result in lower dangerous pollutant emissions, this and one other major factor, they are essentially inexhaustible."

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Inderscience Publishers.

Wednesday 15 August 2007

Turbines in Purnim Shire OK on plans

Warrnambool Standard
Wednesday 15/8/2007 Page: 11

A $63 MILLION wind farm will be developed in Purnim after Moyne Shire yesterday approved the project - the closest to Warrnambool. The Drysdale Wind Farm will span 800 hectares of grazing property about 17 kilometres north-east of Warrnambool. A condition of the development's approval included the installation of two water tanks on either side of the farm for firefighting, after councillors raised concerns about fire protection on the site at a hearing last month.

Wind Farm Developments said the 29.9 megawatt project would power about 17,000 homes, contribute three per cent of Victoria's Renewable Energy Target and offset more than 90,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year - the equivalent of taking 21,000 cars off the road. Purnim resident John Howard objected to the plans, telling councillors yesterday the wind farm would significantly affect his farming operation. It would have implications for the location of two radio towers near his home (now before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) and affect any future relocation of his home.

Moyne planning approvals manager Russell Guest said there was leeway to move the radio towers toward the turbines because they currently did not stand at the minimum agreed distance. Cr Bruce Couch said he wanted greater turbine buffer zones and he had concerns about the possible impact on yellow-tailed black cockatoos. However, the farm received support after councillors were reassured that water tanks for firefighting purposes would be installed on the site.

Huge China wind deal

Hobart Mercury
Wednesday 15/8/2007 Page: 9

TASMANIAN energy company Roaring 40s is to help build one of the biggest wind farms in the world after striking a deal with one of China's largest energy generators. The Tasmanian company will be involved in the construction of a 1000MW wind farm in the Jilin Province, China. Roaring 40s recently signed a Joint Development Agreement with the China Datang Corporation. Tasmania's Energy Minister David Llewellyn said the project would develop more wind energy than Australia's entire installed wind energy capacity and that it confirmed Roaring 40s as the leading foreign wind energy developer in China.

"This will be the seventh wind energy development that Roaring 40s is involved with in China and. with that country serious about its adoption of large scale renewable energy technology, it's expected there will be more opportunities in the future." Mr Llewellyn said. The first stage of the development will commence early next year. This one stage will supply enough energy for almost one million hones and offset more than a million tonnes of CO2 every year. Roaring 40s is expected to start work on the $250 million Musselroe Bay wind farm in Tasmania also early next year.

Govt report on warming a failure, scientist says

Canberra Times
Wednesday 15/8/2007 Page: 7

The Federal Government should boost investment in renewable energy and ban building new coalfired power stations in Australia if it intends to take climate change seriously, a leading energy scientist has said. Dr Mark Diesendorf, director of the University of New South Wales's sustainability centre, described a new report by the House of Representatives science and innovation committee on carbon capture and storage technologies as "a failure of nerve" in tackling Australia's contribution to global warming.

The committee "clearly lacked the courage to make the obvious recommendation" from the majority of evidence presented to them, he said. "There is a huge gap in this report - a missing recommendation. There should be no more coal-fired power stations built in Australia - that's the logical recommendation they should have made." Research showed Australia could cut CO2, emissions from stationary sources, such as coal-fired power stations, by 50 per cent by using existing renewable energy technologies with small improvements".

The parliamentary report, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, says carbon capture and storage has the potential to reduce the negative impact of man-made greenhouse gas emissions and recommends building large-scale demonstration projects to test technologies. It said most of the technology was already known and available, but there was a lack of experience in developing them to the commercial scale required. It recommended Australia build a pilot plant to demonstrate all aspects of the process from coal conversion, carbon capture, treatment, transport and burial underground.

Dr Diesendorf said a large-scale carbon-capture demonstration plant would cost billions compared to the comparatively small investments needed to roll out renewable energies. "Such a large-scale plant is the province of super-powers. It is a delusion of grandeur and a waste of money. We have renewable technologies like wind, solar and hot rocks geothermal that are proven and available now." Boosting government investment in renewable energy would also create thousands of new jobs in regional towns across Australia.

The chairman of the House of Representatives science and innovation committee, Liberal backbencher Petro Georgiou, said a carbon-constrained world would have a huge impact on Australia's ability to benefit from coal exports and relatively cheap electricity. "As the production of energy from coal creates significant greenhouse gas emissions, it is important that Australia pursues CCS [carbon capture and storage technology] as a means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and ensuring Australia's prosperity in the future."

The committee's report has been attacked by four Coalition politicians, all members of the science committee, who issued a dissenting statement claiming it contained misleading information about the causes of climate change. The four MPs - Dennis Jensen, Jackie Kelly, Danna Vale and David Tollner - embarrassed Prince Minister John Howard by declaring they were climate-change sceptics. They claimed man-made climate change was a myth because "global warming [was] observed on other planets" such as Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter. Mr Howard has distanced himself, telling Parliament he did not agree with the group's statements.

A town with grand ambitions

Condobolin Argus
Wednesday 8/8/2007 Page: 3

Condobolin is actively working towards combating global warming, greenhouse emissions and climate change. As part of a leading edge initiative, people in and around the town should in future also be able to assist our city-neighbours with their carbon trading requirements and provide them with an energy source not based on fossil fuels. In a recent presentation to Penrith City Council, Chairman of the Lachlan Renewable Energy Alliance (LREA), David Hall, explained how Lachlan Shire's land resources could be used to benefit our town as well as the global environment.

Based on 20 years of research by Peter Milthorpe, former Senior Research Agronomist with the DPI, the LREA is investigating growing mallee and harvesting it regularly as an energy and oil resource. The initiative presents significant possibilities for Lachlan Shire which covers over 15,000 square kilometers. "Around ninety percent of the land is cleared for cropping and grazing" said David. "If 5% of the cleared landscape were planted to mallee, there would be over 280 million trees. These trees would be harvested every 12 to 18 months to produce 1.8 million tonnes of biomass. As an energy resource, this would be sufficient to power up tens of thousands of homes with electricity each year."

"One of the things we talked to the Penrith Councilors about was that the farmers here have the land which is needed for the solution to providing carbon offsets", outlined David. "Carbon credits could prove to be a small bonus to farmers. In addition to revenues from oil and biomass, there should be extra margins available for farmers from sales into the carbon market - making mallee growing even more attractive as a potential new source of a more sustainable income." "We've a potential product here that produces energy that can be burned to produce electricity," says David. "The plants are harvested providing a regular income, but the beauty is that re-planting is unnecessary".

It is only the young regrowth which is regularly harvested and the root system remains intact storing away small amounts of carbon each year as it continues to grow and develop." The biomass created can be pelletised into a burnable "Biofuel" and the eucalypt oil is sold off. Both of these processes occur with very low emissions. The LREA is now well into stage one of their project, which is the creation of an initial business plan. The draft plan is expected to be completed by early September.

Tuesday 14 August 2007

Wind farm urged

Warrnambool Standard
Tuesday 14/8/2007 Page: 3

PLANS for a 13-turbine wind farm near Purnim have the backing of Moyne Shire officers. At a meeting in Port Fairy today, councillors will vote on the recommendation that they approve the $63 million project. The development would inject about $70,000 a year in rate revenue for the shire.

A report on the agenda makes no mention of councillors' concerns, aired last month, which included the amount of firefighting equipment based on the 800ha property. The proposed 29.9-megawatt wind farm falls under the shire's planning authority and not the Victorian Government's. Also on today's agenda are recommendations to refuse several permits to build residential homes or subdivide farming land.

WMO highlights world of weird weather
London, 9 August:

Record extremes of climate and weather events have been recorded around the world since the beginning of 2007, according to the World Meteorological Organization. In a press notice, the WMO links these weather extremes to climate change, noting that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that such events have become more frequent in the last half-century, and the trend looks set to worsen in the next half-century. "Climate change projections indicate it to be very likely that hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent," the WMO said.

In January and April this year, average land temperatures rose to what are likely the highest level since records began, the WMO said. Temperatures were 1.89°C warmer than average in January, and 1.37°C warmer than average in April. Other examples of extreme weather include the Indian monsoon season. During the first half of the season (June-July), weather stations reported twice the usual number of monsoon depressions, causing heavy rainfall and flooding in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Meanwhile, the first ever documented cyclone in the Arabian Sea made landfall in Oman on 6 June, where it killed 50 people and affected 20,000 more. In China, floods and landsides caused 120 deaths and affected 13.5 million. Meanwhile, England and Wales saw the wettest May-July since records began in 1789, with floods causing nine deaths and at least $6 billion of damages.

Severe flooding also hit Mozambique in February, killing 30 and forcing the evacuation of 120,000 people. Heavy rainfall in Sudan since the end of June caused the Nile to breach its banks and damaged more than 16,000 houses. Uruguay was hit by the worst flooding since 1959 in May, which damaged crops and buildings and affected over 110,000 people. South-eastern Europe, meanwhile, was hit by two extreme heat waves in June and July. Temperatures soared above 40°C, breaking previous records and killing dozens of people. On 23 July, Bulgaria saw temperatures rise to a sweltering 45°C.

Monday 13 August 2007

Gas, wind farms to be sold

Courier Mail
Saturday 11/8/2007 Page: 69

THE State Government has put Enertrade's gas business and five wind farms on the market to help fund its proposed $300 million Queensland Climate Change Fund.

State-owned power generators Stanwell and Tarong own the wind farms, with Stanwell holding the Windy Hill farm near Ravenshoe in north Queensland, another operation at Toora in Victoria and 50 percent of Emu Downs, 200km north of Perth in Western Australia. Tarong owns the Starfish Hill on the Fleurieu Peninsula and the Mount Millar wind farm on the Eyre Peninsula, both in South Australia.

Enertrade's gas business includes the North Queensland Gas Pipeline that transports coal seam gas from Moranbah to Townsville and a right to build another line, from Moranbah to Gladstone. Enertrade's gas business also includes the Moranbah gas processing plant and a portfolio of gas purchase, transport and supply contracts.

The wind farms are likely to be attractive to the likes of Babcock and Brown Wind Partners and other alternative energy suppliers while APA Group will no doubt look at the existing pipeline and the Gladstone right of way. Expressions of interest in Enertrade are due in early September and final bids will be required by late October.

The Government said yesterday the opportunity to build the Central Queensland Gas Pipeline could be sold with Enertrade's merchant gas business or with its other pipeline.

Carbon dated: expert

Newcastle Herald
Saturday 11/8/2007 Page: 24

PUSHING on with coal-fired power would be a grave mistake for the Hunter, an expert warned yesterday. Professor Peter Droege, a conjoint professor at the University of Newcastle and chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy Asia Pacific, said there was no economic justification for coal.

Its continued use was merely the product of an alliance between coal interests and political leaders. The Sydney-based professor, who was in Newcastle to speak to business leaders and professionals in City Hall, said converting to renewable energy would lead to economic, social and environmental gains. Most of all, it would benefit employment.

"It's been shown in the US and also in Europe that for each job lost in the coal sector, you gain three jobs in the renewable sector," Professor Droege said outside City Hall. It doesn't take many people to run a coal-fired power station plant or a coalmine. "It's mostly mechanised... the employment potential is very low." Renewable energy offered more and higher-skilled jobs.

Australia's dependence on fossil fuel would lead inevitably to the country lagging in technological innovation. More money would have to be invested to make the commercial, residential and industrial energy sectors efficient, which could halve energy requirements. Professor Droege said the Hunter had ample opportunity to supply itself with power produced in the region from renewable sources such as wind, biofuel and solar power, which could happen in the next 20 years.

Nature offsets globe warming
NATURAL weather variations have offset the effects of global warming for the past couple of years and will continue to keep temperatures flat through 2008, a new study shows. But global warming will begin in earnest in 2009, and a couple of the years between 2009 and 2014 will eclipse 1998, the warmest year on record, in the heat stakes, British meteorologists said. The study used data on the ocean and the atmosphere to generate forecasts of climate change. AFP

Tsars of alternative energy

Australian Financial Review
Saturday 11/8/2007 Page: 22

While the Republic Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has made the US state a magnet for clean energy entrepreneurs and sees the industry as a great economic opportunity, the Australian government still believes any efforts to tackle global warming will cripple economic growth. But even though some sustainable power experts, such as former Sydney University scientist David Mills, have moved to the US, there are still people and businesses in Australia with a vision similar to the California governor's. Success is far from guaranteed in the pursuit of alternative energy, however. But there have been some interesting developments of new technologies, including one by Sylvia Tulloch's company Dyesol, which uses light focused on a titania pigment and a ruthenium dye to produce electricity.

Several companies are on the hunt for a commercially viable way of producing electricity from hot dry rocks beneath the earth's surface, a source that Geoscience Australia estimates could supply 25,000 times the electricity Australia uses now. The biggest of these companies, Geodynamics, is aiming to complete a large-scale demonstration plant within five years. Carnegie Corp is working away at commercial realisation of its goal of generating electricity from wave energy. While the idea is not new, the company is using an innovative approach discovered by West Australian inventor Alan Burns in 1975.

Michael Ottaviano, Carnegie's managing director, is aiming to establish the commercial deployment of the technology, called CETO. Ottaviano says there are sites available for such a project around Australia's coast. He is also seeking to use the wave-generated electricity to help run a desalination plant, such as the planned WA and Victorian plants, or BHP Billiton's possible desalination plant for supplying its huge Roxby Downs mine in South Australia. The potential of the technology is good enough for the federal government, which has provided a minor research and development grant, to lay an indirect claim on it in the title of a report unveiled by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.

Another group working on a technology with good potential is the solar energy team at the Australian National University. In 2000, Andrew Blakers and Klaus Weber thought of finding ways to slice the silicon used in photovoltaic cells in such a way as to expose a bigger surface area to sunlight. Origin Energy is now working with them to help develop the idea, now called solar sliver technology.

At Victor Smorgon Group's Energetix, humble algae are hoping to provide a new alternative to energy production. Peter Edwards, managing director of the group, reveals algae can produce considerably more biodiesel than canola, and far more than palm oil. He should know - Energetix already makes biodiesel at a plant in Victoria. Edwards says Energetix is spending significant amounts of money on a profitable commercial development of algae-based biodiesel.

Renewable power gets more nods

Courier Mail
Monday 13/8/2007 Page: 11

QUARTERLY sales figures for green power show ordinary Australians are voting with their wallets to pay for clean electricity. In the past year, green power sales had grown 47 per cent, said Australian Conservation Foundation climate change campaigner Tony Mohr. In Queensland, the number of green power customers had gone up 40 per cent in 12 months. "At the same time both major parties have failed to expand Australia's paltry 2 per cent renewable energy target," Mr Mohr said.

When people choose accredited green power, their energy retailer is obliged to source the equivalent amount of electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The figures show 565,977 ordinary Australians are buying green power - collectively preventing almost 4.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions entering the atmosphere annually.