Friday 21 September 2007

Council looks at wind power trial

South Coast Register
Wednesday 12/9/2007 Page: 8

Shoalhaven City Council will this month consider a trial of domestic wind turbines in various locations throughout the Shoalhaven. Council has been approached by Bomaderry company Private Parts Pty Ltd to assist in a trial of wind turbines for generating sustainable energy. The approach came about as a result of council's economic development office working over the past two years with a company in Melbourne and matching its invention with the Bomaderry manufacturer.

A report to be discussed at council's policy and planning Committee last night stated that bringing the product to a commercial reality required some technical input from council's electrical engineering section, especially in the identification of suitable sites in the local area to trial the turbines. Several meetings with council's planning and development services staff have also been held to develop the regulatory framework for installing the domestic units, with a view to using the same regulations for the industrial units, currently in development.

The wind turbine will generate up to 1kW per hour or on an average day up to 7.5kW or about 50 per cent of the average daily household consumption. The actual unit has a 1.2m turbine fan and is approximately 1.5m in length including the trim tail. The unit has been under development trial, without load, in Bomaderry since mid-July.

The company's proposal is to trial up to 10 sites to be selected, some nearer the coast, some in Nowra itself and at least one in a more remote location, possibly the West Nowra Waste Depot. The company is currently finalising a financial arrangement package for council to consider as part of the trial, with details to be made available before the full meeting of council at the end of-the month. Private Parts intends to manufacture these units in the Shoalhaven.

Update on wind farm

Burra Broadcaster
Wednesday 12/9/2007 Page: 4

The Hallett Wind Farm is progressing well with the bottom two tower sections on the first 12 turbine towers now erected. These are easy to spot on the ridge line as they are 40 metres tall, but once in place they stand at around 80 metres tall. The first shipment of wind turbines has also left India and is expected to arrive during September and Project Manager, Steven Oswald says they have exciting times ahead. "A good time to see the turbines would be towards the end of September, a lot of progress will be visible then." he said.

Govt must take bigger role in climate debate - engineers

AAP Newswire
Thursday 13/9/2007

Australia needs to take a major leadership role in the climate change debate or risk jeopardising the country's future sustainable development, a report released today says. Engineers Australia says the federal government should ratify the Kyoto Protocol before or at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Bali in December, as well as set emissions targets. It says while the Kyoto Protocol has its defects, it and the UNFCCC initiative are at present the only comprehensive international mechanisms aiming for focused global action on climate change.

While the Sydney Declaration went some way to demonstrate Australia's leadership - within the constraints of the diplomatic reality of APEC - it failed to provide tangible examples of Australia's bona fides, Engineers Australia chief executive Peter Taylor says. He says Australia should shoulder responsibility for its share of the reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions needed to stabilise the world's climate.

"Australia should use its influence in international affairs to encourage early agreement on global action," Mr Taylor said. "Australia needs a robust national climate stabilisation policy which is supported by all governments and all political parties." The policy must include interim and long-term emissions targets and a robust emissions trading scheme, he said.

"We now that global warming is real, and we also know that arresting the impact of global warming depends on a mix of options that must include energy demand reduction and investing dramatically in renewable energy options," Mr Taylor said. "While Australian economic growth is highly dependent on exports of energy and energy intensive commodities, it is in our long-term interest to position Australia to not only lead with climate mitigation actions, but also to be well prepared to minimise the impacts of climate change on the Australian community."

Thursday 20 September 2007

State's green power surge

Adelaide Advertiser
Friday 14/9/2007 Page: 3

SOUTH Australia has recorded the biggest growth in the nation in green power consumption in the past year. The number of SA households and businesses which have subscribed to electricity produced by renewable sources, such as wind energy or solar power, has doubled since June 2006. During the same period the number of megawatt hours consumed which has been generated by green power has more than tripled.

The use of renewable sources - which unlike coalfired electricity plants, do not emit greenhouse gas emissions - will save 24,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. It is equal to taking 3400 cars off the road. Conservation Council of South Australia chief executive Julie Pettet said it was "absolutely fantastic" that the state led the nation. "Renewables and the need for renewables is consistently on the radar," she said.

"As a state, I think we are in many aspects environmentally friendly in a crisis and what that does, especially on the stage of energy and water, is get people to look at what their part in it is." She said the large amount of wind and solar energy produced in SA, which has the greatest number of wind farms in Australia, also encouraged local residents to subscribe.

Origin Energy retail general manager Phil Craig said subscription of green energy plans had increased exponentially since it became available 10 years ago. "In the last 12 to 18 months, the issue of climate change, linked with the drought, has become so important in people's minds," he said. "People are looking at their energy consumption and green energy products have started to make more sense." In SA, 36,095 households and businesses subscribed to green electricity, consuming 6940 megawatt hours, at the end of the June quarter, 2006.

This year, 63,791 households and businesses were buying green power, consuming 23,694 megawatt hours. Western Australia had the nation's second largest consumption growth in the past year, purchasing 2.5 times as much green power as it did in the previous year. New South Wales and Victoria both consumed 1.6 times as much green power in June as they did at the same time last year.

Frewville resident Kurt Riebe, 41, has subscribed to green power because he and his daughters Esther, 10, and Harriet, 7, are concerned about the environment. "We saw that it was one way of reducing our impact on the environment and Origin Energy was able to provide us with a green gas plan as well as green electricity, so we have covered all our energy needs," he said.

TXU shareholders approve buyout with green provisions
New York, 13 September:

Shareholders have approved TXU Corp's acquisition by a private equity group that has pledged to cancel coal plants and invest in clean energy.

On 7 September, shareholders of the Dallas, Texas-based company voted 340 million shares, or 74%, to approve the merger with Texas Energy Future Holdings Limited Partnership. TEF is a group of investors led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) of New York and Texas Pacific Group (TPG) of Fort Worth, Texas.

TEF proposed the merger in February 2007, promising to cancel eight of 11 coal plants planned by TXU . Environmental groups had condemned plans to build 9,000MW of coal-fired power stations, but so had institutional investors, who feared future greenhouse gas regulation. Most accept the compromise that will see TXU build three plants totalling 2,200MW.

Those are under construction and should begin operating in 2009, said TXU spokesman Thomas Kleckner. They will incorporate 'super-critical' technology, which burns coal more efficiently than traditional, pulverised coal plants. TXU has also said it will build the plants so they can incorporate carbon capture and storage technology when it becomes available.

TXU is now soliciting contractors to build two Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle plants of probably 250MW each, Kleckner said. One will burn Texas lignite – a low-grade coal – while the other will burn low-sulphur coal from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. These will capture carbon dioxide, which can be used for enhanced oil recovery in Texas, TXU has said.

In renewables, TXU's Luminant subsidiary signed an agreement in July with Shell WindEnergy to develop 3,000MW of wind capacity in Texas. They will explore using some of the power to compress air underground, which can be used later to generate electricity. This could overcome the complaint that wind is an 'intermittent' resource that is not always available when needed.

The prospective new owners said they would also increase TXU wind energy purchases and would invest $400 million in energy conservation. The companies expect to complete the merger in the fourth quarter of 2007. TXU shareholders will receive $69.25 in cash for each share of common stock held.

Monday 17 September 2007

The first renewable-energy outside broadcast for Victoria
Monday, September 17, 2007

If the best radio takes chances, then the morning show today was great radio. Rather than our usual safe studio environment, Dave Lennon went to View Street, outside the Bendigo Art Gallery, for an outside broadcast marking the occasion of the Renewable Energy and Regional Australia conference. And, appropriately for the conference subject, instead of drawing power from the mains, our outside broadcast set-up was powered entirely by renewable energy.

While ABC Darwin might have beaten us to the title of Australia's - or even the world's - first solar-powered broadcast, it was Victoria's first and a world second, as far as we know.

The main source was direct solar energy, with four solar cells on top of a specially-built trailer; the two backup sources were the trailer's batteries, charged earlier by solar power, and a couple of reclining bikes that Weeroona College students use to generate power for their test vehicles in events like the Energy Breakthrough at Maryborough.

State Premier John Brumby was the opening keynote speaker for the conference, which has drawn speakers and attendees from across the country. He also paid a visit to our outside broadcast site, talking with ABC Victoria mornings presenter Dave Lennon about research and development in battery development.

"We are doing some great research in Victoria in battery technology," he says. "The key of course to why batteries are so important is, the sun doesn't shine all the time, and the wind doesn't blow all the time. If you can develop better batteries to store energy, then you overcome many of the challenges that normally push up the cost of renewable and intermittent energy sources.

"New technology R and D, of which Victoria is a national leader, is part of the solution as well. "You're seeing [battery improvement] with motor vehicles...with the hybrid vehicles. You can get extraordinary fuel economy - but every three or four years, you have to trade in all the batteries. "I think the best example is mobile phones - 15 years ago, 20 years ago, they were like a housebrick and the batteries were that large. They're now a very small lithium battery and you can have a mobile phone that, depending on how much you talk, will last for days and days and days.

"So it's R and D that's going to drive this, and I mentioned in my speech this morning the importance of research and development, and it is through research and development that you'll get the technology that converts these intermittent sources of power into sustainable, 24/7 power sources going forward."

Having done the interview, the Premier moved from the radio desk that consumes power to the trailer that generates it over to the reclining bikes that generate it. He and ABC Victoria State Director Randal Mathieson hopped on the bikes, putting out about 17 amps initially. There was one small problem though - a chain on the Premier's bike broke at just under 20 volts of power output.

The broadcast was a success, and the conference continues, wrapping up at 4.30pm tomorrow, 18 September 2007

Pioneering wave farm approved

The Press Association
Mon, 17 Sep 07

The Government will give planning approval for the world's first large scale wave farm off the UK coast. It means the £28 million project, developed by the South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA), has cleared the last major regulatory hurdle.

Funding for the project off Cornwall - a giant seabed electric socket - has already been approved by the RDA. The consent announcement will be made by John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Chairman of the RDA, Juliet Williams, said: "This announcement is a huge step forward for Wave Hub. It is a vote of confidence in the RDA's ability to create a groundbreaking renewable energy project in South West England that will lead the world in the development of wave energy technology."

Wave Hub is a world first and will include an onshore substation connected to electrical equipment on the seabed about 10 miles off Hayle via an under-sea cable. Companies developing wave energy technology will be able to plug into Wave Hub to test their wave energy devices on a scale never seen anywhere before. Four companies have already been chosen to use Wave Hub.

A new independent economic impact assessment, commissioned by the RDA, has shown that Wave Hub could create 1,800 jobs and £560 million in the UK economy over 25 years. Almost 1,000 of these jobs and £332 million would be generated in the South West of England.

Wave Hub could generate enough electricity for 7,500 homes, directly saving 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over 25 years. This would support the South West's target for generating 15% of the region's power from renewable sources by 2010.

The consent announcement has been welcomed by Maria McCaffery, chief executive of the British Wind Energy Association, the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries.