Friday 19 October 2007

Parties offer weak change on climate

Adelaide Advertiser
Thursday 18/10/2007 Page: 19

THE first comprehensive assessment of the climate and environment policies political parties are taking into this election campaign has some sobering results. The Australian Conservation Foundation's scorecard of major political parties on climate change, water and other environmental issues shows Liberal and Labor scores below 50 per cent. There is clearly a long way to go.

While Labor has committed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and the Coalition has not, looked at overall, the parties are failing on climate change and environment. Modest to weak climate change policies, poor protection for forests (including bipartisan support for the Tasmanian pulp mill, locking in forest destruction in the island state for decades) and a lack of action on water and sustainable cities mean both major parties have scored poorly. The Greens and Democrats are rating well and Family First's scores are low.

Modelling by Allen Consulting last year for the Business Roundtable on Climate Change (IAG, Origin Energy, BP, Visy, Westpac, Swiss Re and ACF) showed Australia can make deep cuts to greenhouse emissions and still have a healthy, growing economy. In fact the modelling showed the longer we delay serious action, the more it will cost. A 25 per cent renewable energy target, along with energy efficiency measures, would generate $33 billion in new investment and deliver 16,600 new jobs - many in rural and regional Australia. The other thing we really need to do is join the global effort by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

The threats of dangerous climate change to Australia - more severe droughts, heatwaves, bushfires and cyclones - and the annual $3.8 billion loss of Australian business opportunities, because we cannot gain credits under the Kyoto Protocol's carbon trading mechanisms, are strong reasons for Australia to reconsider its role as a Kyoto blocker. And there is another powerful reason too. We only have observer status in the crucial post-2012 discussions between the 174 countries that have ratified Kyoto, to be held in Bali in December. We are going into this meeting with one hand tied behind our backs.

To start the transition to a better, more sustainable future, all political parties and candidates need to commit to binding targets to cut emissions, they should legislate to massively boost the amount of electricity sourced from clean, safe renewable energy and should immediately ratify the Kyoto Protocol. They should rule out the use of dangerous, toxic nuclear reactors in Australia's energy future and selling uranium to the region. They should not delay restoring our rivers to health, protecting old growth forests and securing our urban water supplies. ACF urges all parties to go for a high distinction on these issues by campaign's end. Our children's future deserves nothing less. Voters expect nothing else.

Visit for more information.

Don Henry is ACF executive director

Realising a dream: Dream of community wind farm well on its way to reality

Hepburn Shire Advocate
17/10/2007 Page: 1

A NEWLY-formed co-operative is well on the way to realising its dream of establishing Australia's first community-owned wind farm, organisers say. The Leonard's Hill wind farm project isn't struggling to find investors, according to its proponents Hepburn Renewable Energy Association. Hepburn Renewable Energy Association spokesperson Koos Hulst said investors would be found by the first quarter of next year.

The State Government has provided one-million dollars, but another seven-million dollars needs to be raised by the community. Daylesford and District Landscape Guardians last week called on HREA to show where the money was coming from. Mr Hulst said HREA would listen to any concerns the community had about the wind farm even those of the guardians. "Since it's a community-owner wind farm we want to listen to other people's opinions, even if they're against ours," he said. Mr Hulst said he couldn't put a time frame on the project's completion. "It depends on a lot of things, it's not like buying candy, these are big, big machines," he said.

The wind farm, to be situated at Leonard's Hill about 10kms south of Daylesford, will have a capacity of four megawatts and produce enough electricity to power more than 2000 homes, nearly half the number of houses in the Hepburn Shire Council. The project will be owned by the members of a co-operative and profits will be shared among them. Inaugural project chairperson Simon Holmes a Court said the board was well equipped to steer the project's initial stages.

"There is a fantastic array of skills on the board. We've set up all our sub-committees and each subcommittee is working hard to make sure the project is professional and successful for the community." The two-turbine facility gained approval from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal in July.

Mr Holmes a Court encouraged people to make contact with the cooperative's board members. "Board members can be emailed directly from the HREA website. "We look forward to receiving feedback and ideas from the whole community." "There's still a lot of work to be done to get over our last major hurdle which is the capital raising. "We plan to launch the public capital raising early in the new year. "We're very focussed on getting the maximum number of community members to benefit from this fantastic community project."

Wind power cost already factored

Daily Advertiser
16/10/2007 Page: 7

POWERING Sydney's desalination plant with expensive wind energy has already been factored into a water bill increase for Sydney households, the NSW government says. The government yesterday called for proposals to supply the wind energy for the $1.7 billion plant. It is anticipated that 75 wind turbines will be needed to power the plant when it is operating at maximum output of 250 million litres of fresh water each day.

It comes after Water Utilities Minister Nathan Rees said in July that the plant would be 100 per cent wind powered. Premier Morris Iemma said the government acknowledged wind energy was more expensive than that derived from coal or gas. But, he said, its cost had been included by Sydney Water in its Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) application to increase water bills to pay for the plant. "The price for the desal is in the submission that Sydney Water has made to IPART," Mr Iemma told reporters in Sydney yesterday. "It's around $100 to $110 per household per annum."

Climate change to set pace for investing

Herald Sun
Friday 19/10/2007 Page: 85

CLIMATE change is an "economic force" that will drive a wave of investment opportunities and financial product innovation. A report by global investment bank Deutsche Bank says there will be a shift away from a carbon-based economy in the years ahead. "Climate change is an economic force which impacts on many parts of the economy," report author and Deutsche Bank Asset Management head climate change strategist Mark Fulton said. "Whether you believe the science or not, investible markets are being created by governments and these investible markets are getting significant and we think it will grow significantly over the next 20 to 30 years."

The market for low-carbon energy products is expected to reach about $US500 billion ($A559.3 billion) a year by 2050, according to the Stern Review on climate change. New York-based Mr Fulton said clean energy, or renewable markets - including geothermal, solar, wind and water power are already quite large. "This leads us to our four pillars of climate change investments that we think you need to understand in order to be successful in climate change investments," he said.

These four pillars include understanding the opportunities created by government regulation, carbon trading markets, corporate-related activity and the rise of new technologies. Deutsche Bank's asset management business this month launched the DWS Global Climate Change Fund in Australia. The fund has been around since 2006 globally, and invests in companies taking steps to adapt to or mitigate the impact of climate change. These include Evergreen Energy Inc, which makes technology to create cleaner and more affordable coal-based energy, and filtration company Donaldson Company.

The fund has just under 6 billion ($A9.6 billion) in assets under management and a portfolio that includes some 1000 securities, with an "alpha pool" of about 400 companies. Investments are limited to companies with a minimum market capitalisation of 200 million ($A318.3 million) and positive cash flows and earnings. There are no Australian companies in the fund so far.

Deutsche Asset Management investment specialist Rebecca Jacques said while there was no particular regional bias, the portfolio did have a large exposure to the US. "There are no limits as far as exposure," she said, referring to where the fund could invest. About 10 per cent of its holdings are exposed to Germany, and other areas include Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Japan. Ms Jacques said most of the fund participants are retail investors, who work with financial advisers. We tend to focus on more technical investors, who are interested and know how to play out Alpha sources in the investment arena," she said.

About 50 per cent of the portfolio is aimed at the clean technology sector, although that allocation could change. The Climate Change Fund has a minimum investment of $25,000. Deutsche Bank's global head of asset management Kevin Parker said he expected to see growing opportunities in sectors like renewable energy, water and agribusiness. We believe climate change will be an important consideration for investment decisions," he said.

The Deutsche Bank report, "Investing in Climate Change - An Asset Management Perspective", was released yesterday.

Thursday 18 October 2007

It's the stupid country

Tuesday 16/10/2007 Page: 13

Australian governments have little interest in developing new solar technology, writes Urs Walterlin.

THEY must be counting their blessings, the workers at CSG Solar AG in Thalheim, Germany. Demand for solar power is booming and the people in the eastern state of Sachsen-Anhalt are riding the wave of global change. So successful is the company in developing and manufacturing solar power technology, it recently started to operate around the clock.

Many people in the East had a rough time after the reunification of the two Germanys. The socialist economy was in tatters and there were few prospects for decent, well paid work. Then, in June 2004, came CSG Solar, first with only one employee. But soon demand for solar products expanded, and so did the need for labour. Today CSG Solar employs hundreds. Great for Thalheim. Bad for Australia.

These jobs could be in Horsham or Goulburn. "Crystalline silicon on glass" - solar technology is an Australian invention. It was developed at the University of New South Wales. But Australia lacked the determination and political will to effectively commercialise the brilliant invention. In 2004 CSG Solar purchased the rights. Aussie solar cells are now manufactured where staff eat bockwurst during their lunch breaks, not meat pies.

This is only one example of a phenomenon that surprises even long-term observers of this country. Be it the lack of superfast, cheap broadband everywhere, preventing new entrepreneurs from running a global business from the back of Bourke and breathing new life into struggling communities, or the failure to teach foreign languages in every school in the country, so future managers can say more than "yam cha" when they are trying to set up business in booming China, Australia seems willing to give away even the most obvious opportunities.

For 10 years, some of the most senior Australian politicians have called themselves "global warming sceptics". And they are still proud Kyoto-bashers. So it comes as no surprise that their sudden call to action fails to convince not only many observers, but experts too. A strong focus on so-called "clean coal" and the suggested construction of nuclear power plants look more like "greenwashing" the status quo. The solar power plant planned for Victoria, the so-called "Solar Cities" and the taxpayer-funded brochures asking us to switch off the flat screen TV - they look suspiciously like public relations exercises geared towards increasingly alarmed voters. Such projects certainly are important, but they are hardly the urgently needed kick-start to a fundamentally new way of thinking in a society addicted to plundering and wasting resources.

Meanwhile, Australian businesses wanting to grow by being part of the solution rather than the problem continue to be attracted by countries such as Germany and China. According to new research, solar technology companies are in the top league of Germany's businesses when measured against a set of indicators such as equity ratio and return on investment. Having to use cloudy Germany as an example for the success of solar power policy is quite bizarre.

Practically overnight, a government incentive system has created a new industry that is now top of the world. Last year, approximately 10,000 German companies were developing and manufacturing components for the photovoltaic and solar thermal energy market, employing 54,000 people. According to industry sources, this figure will climb to up to 200,000 by 2020. Thirty-five per cent of production goes into export markets; 70 per cent by 2020.

The Germans themselves are ferocious buyers of solar systems. Why? Owners can sell excess power back to the grid. That's how the average system is paid off within seven to eight years. Yet in Australia it takes between 15 and 20 years. Despite subsidies, the cost of solar power systems remains prohibitive.

"Why doesn't every house in Australia have to have solar power on the roof?" a 14-year old girl from Switzerland recently asked, uncomprehending. "It would make sense." Of course. The failure of the world's sunniest country to create irresistible economic stimuli for the renewable energy industry in order to become the world leader puzzles many observers. Not least because federal and state governments rightly spend billions for the development of other economic opportunities.

They certainly know that investment always flows in the direction where it is welcomed. But some politicians willingly allow hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs to be exported. Is it due to the "comfortable, lazy security of sitting on enough fossilised but dirty resources for hundreds of years", as one correspondent colleague thinks' Is it the iron grip traditional industries have on Australian politics' Or is it short-term thinking, the wish to be elected at the next election, at all costs. Perhaps it is the triumph of ideology and ignorance over reason and responsibility. The decision to build a pulp mill in Tasmania's Tamar Valley indicates that it is probably a mixture of all of these elements.

The damage the project and the continuing logging of native forests will do to Tasmania's highly valuable, sustainable environmental tourism, is an opportunity lost for future generations. Tasmania's reputation as a destination for business is already a victim. For international journalists who visited the island recently, it felt like being in a third world country where major aspects of public life are corrupted by an incestuous relationship between a merciless business and a morally bankrupt political class.

Even if the mill is as clean as Malcolm Turnbull asserts, why would European ecotourists fly around the globe if there is even only a perceived possibility that they will swim in water containing dioxin, drink wine tainted with chemicals and breath air polluted with toxins' They can do that at home, much cheaper, on their balcony, overlooking the autobahn.

Urs Walterlin is a Swiss-Australian foreign correspondent who reports from Australia and the South Pacific for newspapers in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

Farm report sees rich green fields

Canberra Times
Tuesday 16/10/2007 Page: 2

Farmers could be almost $3 billion a year richer if they invested in clean energy measures such as wind and carbon farming, according to a report by the nation's top science agency. The Agriculture Alliance on Climate Change commissioned the CSIRO to examine opportunities to provide fuel, as well as greenhouse-friendly food, to the national economy. Farmers could earn tip to $1.3 billion a year, including wind royalties of tip to $263 million, by harvesting clean, renewable energy and farming carbon, the CSIRO report found.

The total potential revenue, including biodiversity stewardship payments, was tip to $2.94 billion. The alliance has made several key recommendations, including setting a clean renewable energy target of 25 per cent by 2020. "The interests of rural businesses and landholders are likely to be best served by scenarios with more ambitious mid-term emissions reduction targets, along with higher carbon prices and policies that support renewable energy deployment in the near term," the alliance said.

"It is likely that a range of clean energy technologies will be able to meet projected demand for peak and base load power to 2050 and beyond." Last month, the Federal Government pledged 30,000 gigawatt hours of energy each year would come from low-emissions sources by 2020 - about 15 per cent of national energy consumption.

Labor has backed a 60 per cent carbon emissions cut from 2000 levels by 2050. The alliance called for boosting biodiversity conservation on private land from 6 to 14 per cent nationally. Members of the alliance include the Australian Conservation Foundation, West Australian Farmers Federation and the Climate Institute Australia.

Renewable Energy

Cooma Monaro Express
Thursday 11/10/2007 Page: 9

A study published by the American Solar Energy Society (Jan 2007) shows that a combination of efficiency measures and existing renewable technologies can reduce greenhouse gases by up to 80% by 2050. The reassuring findings are that "clean coal" and nuclear power are not necessary and that efficiency gains account for 57% of the final emissions savings. Efficiency involves making new and existing buildings more energy efficient, using insulation, efficient lighting and electrical appliances and a range of other measures such as solar hot water that will allow us to maintain our standard of living but at a much lower cost to the environment.

This report is very encouraging as the renewable technologies - wind, solar, concentrated solar, biomass and geothermal - have already been developed and are ready to be brought up to scale, whereas nuclear power is dangerous and inherently unsustainable, and "clean coal" has not been proven, is decades away and will not be ready in time to solve the problem of global warming.

The good news for renewable energy is that the costs are falling while the costs of fossil fuel energy are rising. In Australia the wholesale price for power from coal plants has doubled in price due to water shortages, and will increase further when there are realistic charges for CO2 emissions and for the huge volumes of cooling water they use. Renewable technologies, on the other hand, are becoming cheaper due to economies of scale and because of technological improvements.

Solar power is growing at more than 30% annually and the price is falling by 18% for every doubling of global installations. Renewables will be cost competitive by 2020 or sooner but until then they will require subsidies. Wind and solar power do not produce power if the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. There is a lot of research effort going into finding ways to store power. Meanwhile most baseload power will come from existing coal plants until solar and wind energy can be stored and geothermal and biomass energy come on line. Wind can supply baseload power if wind farms are dispersed as the wind is always blowing somewhere.

Unlike energy from fossil fuels - oil, coal or gas - renewable energy is a never-ending and abundant resource that doesn't produce greenhouse gases. Generating power from renewables will not deplete the energy resources that will be needed by future generations. There are now other independent studies that have produced findings that show that renewables can solve the global warming threat without nuclear or new "clean coal" technologies. It is time to get on with our new renewable energy future.


Most like wind farms - study

Yass Tribune
Wednesday 10/10/2007 Page: 9

A new study has found communities in the Southern Tablelands are overwhelmingly supportive of wind farm projects to combat global warming. The survey of 300 people in the Goulburn - Crookwell - Yass areas found 89 per cent of local residents were in favour of wind farms being developed in the Southern Tablelands, including 51 per cent who were strongly in favour, Epuron Pty Ltd Executive Director Andrew Durran said last week. Mr Durran said the region includes an existing wind farm at Crookwell and contains sites for the majority of proposed wind farms in NSW so those surveyed were clearly well informed about the realities of wind energy projects.

"What we have found is an overwhelming majority of people - 96 per cent - view wind energy favourably, particularly in the face of widespread concern about the threat of global warming," Mr Durran said. "Furthermore, 83 per cent of people agree they would be happy to see a wind farm built on farm land near where they live. In fact, 71 per cent of people favoured a wind farm located just 1km from their home. These are people who are already living close to wind farm projects and well publicised proposed projects"

Clean energy advances could make farmers almost $3bn richer: CSIRO

AAP Newswire
16/10/2007 National

CANBERRA, Oct 16 AAP - Farmers could be almost $3 billion a year richer if they invested in clean energy measures such as wind and carbon farming, according to a report by the nation's top science agency. The Agriculture Alliance on Climate Change (AACC) commissioned the CSIRO to examine opportunities to provide fuel, as well as greenhouse-friendly food, to the national economy. Farmers could earn up to $1.3 billion a year, including wind royalties of up to $263 million, by harvesting clean, renewable energy and farming carbon, the CSIRO report found. The total potential revenue, including biodiversity stewardship payments, was up to $2.94 billion.

Following the CSIRO report, the AACC made several key recommendations, including setting a clean renewable energy target of 25 per cent by 2020. "The interests of rural businesses and landholders are likely to be best served by scenarios with more ambitious mid-term emissions reduction targets, along with higher carbon prices and policies that support renewable energy deployment in the near-term," the AACC said. "It is likely that a range of clean energy technologies will be able to meet projected demand for peak and base load power to 2050 and beyond." Last month, the federal government pledged 30,000 gigawatt hours of energy each year would come from low emissions sources by 2020 - about 15 per cent of national energy consumption.

Labor has backed a 60 per cent cut from 2000 levels by 2050. The AACC called for boosting biodiversity conservation on private land from six to 14 per cent nationally. "Environmental stewardship payments have the potential to address climate-related pressures on both landholders and ecosystems," it said. "Implementing an ambitious, voluntary stewardship scheme could more than double the area of actively conserved native vegetation through total outlays of $740 million to $1,360 million per year, some of which might be funded through the carbon value of the native vegetation protected." The AACC also recommended creating environmentally sound offsets in the rural sector, as part of a national emissions trading scheme (ETS).

"Policy makers should engage the agriculture sector in the design of an emissions trading scheme so that ... agriculture has a say in how and when agriculture is included as an active participant in an ETS and complementary policies so that the sector is rewarded for early action," it said. Both the government and Labor have embraced a national emissions trading scheme. Members of the AACC include the Australian Conservation Foundation, West Australian Farmers Federation and The Climate Institute Australia.

The CSIRO - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation - is Australia's national science agency.

Wednesday 17 October 2007

Regional solar centre planned

Northern Times
Friday 12/10/2007 Page: 5

About $10 million is expected to be invested in a project to be completed over the next two years at Bridgewater. A solar energy research and development facility will be developed by Solar Systems on land at the corner of Cemetery Road and the Calder Highway.

While the planning application has not yet been approved, Solar Systems managing director Dave Holland said the company has received some very detailed and positive feedback from the local community. We are very hopeful the planning application will be approved," he said. "We've spoken to (Loddon Shire Council) and the State Government." Mr Holland said the company expects to commence construction if and when the planning application is approved.

That could take one month or several months - if the application is approved in November then we will start construction in November," he said. Solar Systems finished consultation with the Bridgewater community on Saturday. The first phase of the project will see a one hectare field of heliostats and a tower up to 35 metres high plus the installation of the facility support infrastructure. The second phase involves the construction of a two hectare field of mirrors and a tower up to 75 metres high.

The facility will be used for ongoing technical testing and technology optimisation. Mr Holland said it is expected that about seven full time staff will be based at the facility in the long run". The site will probably be operating and producing power by mid next year," Mr Holland said. Bridgewater was reportedly chosen from a number of potential sites. We wanted to source our power from the other side of the (Great Dividing Range) but, because we will have staff commuting from Melbourne,we didn't want to be too far away," he said. Solar Systems bought the land privately.

State Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Gavin Jennings announced the project, and a $22 million solar manufacturing plant to be built in Melbourne. The two projects will establish Australia and, in particular, Victoria as a world player in the rapidly growing solar energy market," Mr Jennings said. This investment clearly demonstrates that renewable energy technology is good for Victoria's economy, as well as the environment." Solar Systems managing director, Dave Holland said Australia is a world leader in renewable energy technologies.

This announcement demonstrates Australia's ability to lead in the research and development, commercialisation and manufacturing of renewable energy technologies," he said. Mr Jennings said the two projects would stimulate growth in the sector. "The Victorian Government recognised the significance of this project in October when we provided $50 million for it," he said.

Mr Jennings said the Brumby Government is committed to securing Victoria's energy future, whilst maximising industry competitiveness, creating job opportunities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our Energy Technology Innovation Strategy has been very successful in driving the development of new energy technologies such as the Solar Systems $420 million large-scale solar power station," he said. We expect to see increased investment in renewable energy in the coming years as electricity retailers begin to purchase 10 per cent of their energy from renewable sources by 2016." Mr Holland said Solar Systems is "very much" looking forward to commencing work on the project.

Positive reaction to wind

Ararat Advertiser
Friday 12/10/2007 Page: 1

ARARAT - Pacific Hydro has reported a positive response to its planning application to the State Government for a 75 tower wind farm at Crowlands. A number of information days have been held and will continue, including one in Ararat last Thursday. The site for the proposed wind farm is in the Pyrenees Shire about 25 kilometres north east of Ararat, along the ridge top between Crowlands and Glenlofty. The area consists of cleared grazing land with low density population.

The planning application seeks approval for a maximum of 75 x 2.3 megawatt wind generators. At this maximum size, the wind farm would produce 430 gigawatt hours of zero emission electricity each year. This is the equivalent to the annual power needs of 80,000 Victorian households, or the combined needs of Ballarat and Bendigo.

Pacific Hydra's community relations manager Emily Wood said around 50 people attended the information session in Ararat, viewing the application and asking questions about the project. "Everyone seemed very pleased with the project and just wanted to check where things were up to," Ms Wood said.

Displays at the session included summaries of the application as well as the full report. Photo-montages were also displayed from a range of locations, along with maps of the area, access tracks and layout of the windfarm. "We are encouraging the community to have their say about the project," Ms Wood said. "Interestingly, many people commented that they thought if they were happy for it (the wind farm) to go ahead they shouldn't put a submission in, when this is not the case. "If you would like to see the project go ahead, you can also put in a submission."

An economic forum was held on the same evening, run by Industry Capability Network (ICN) in conjunction with Pacific Hydro. ICN is an independent, not for profit service for the manufacturing, engineering and services sector funded by the State Government. It provides a register of local businesses that government contractors can look at to find the services they need locally. Ms Wood said 30 people attended this session to hear about the project and the kinds of jobs that will be created if the wind farm receives planning approval.

Pacific Hydro has conducted a number of these forums, with another scheduled for next Thursday, October 18 in Stawell, between 3pm and 8pm at the Stawell Town Hall. Ms Wood said Pacific Hydro prefers to employ locally - with a standard minimum of 40 percent local content - and will require a range of skill areas to enable the project to be constructed, including civic works, electrical cabling, concreting, hire of trucks and traffic management. "So while the project is not yet approved, we are starting to talk about this stuff early so that we can keep in touch with businesses who are interested and also ensure there is enough time to allow business to plan," Ms Wood said.

Tomorrow the information sessions move to Elmhurst, from 10am to 2pm at the Elmhurst Recreation Reserve, then on to Beaufort next Wednesday from 3pm to 8pm at the Community Resource Centre, followed by Stawell on Thursday and Crowlands on November 1 from 3pm to 8pm at the Crowlands Hall. The Crowlands Wind Farm planning application went on display on September 21 and is on display for six weeks.

Roaring 40s: Austrade Services Award

Sunday Examiner
Sunday 14/10/2007 Page: 69

In just over a year since commencing exports, Roaring 40s has become the largest foreign wind energy developer in China, and one of the leading renewable energy development businesses in Asia and Oceania. Its team of highly trained personnel provide a suite of services across the full spectrum of the project life cycle, from project development, financing and investment management, through to construction, operation, and ongoing maintenance.

A critical factor in its success in China has been its ability to develop strong ties with the Chinese government and secure joint venture arrangements with two of the country's largest energy generating companies. Head office is firmly entrenched in Hobart, but it has already established international offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Mumbai to complement its export initiatives. With global warming and a finite supply of fossil fuels creating increasing demand for clean, green alternative energy sources, the future is bright for this new force in renewable energy.

Wind fires water plant: New green turbines to power desalination in Sydney

Daily Telegraph
Monday 15/10/2007 Page: 3

SYDNEY'S controversial desalination plant will be supplied with power from 75 wind turbines from as many as six wind farms to be built across the state. The $1.7 billion project will demand almost one-fifth of the country's wind-generated energy, providing the biggest ever boost to the state's green energy industry. Water Utilities Minister Nathan Rees will today issue a request for proposals from energy suppliers to power the 400,000MwH plant.

It follows a briefing by Sydney Water to 22 renewable energy providers earlier this month about supplying green energy to power Sydney's desalination plant. Mr Rees said proposals would be accepted from any provider accredited to supply clean, green energy to the national energy market: "As I have said repeatedly, Sydney's desalination plant will not produce a single kilogram of CO2 emissions.

"We will purchase 100 per cent accredited, clean, green energy from the renewable energy market to run the plant." Such a huge energy buy is probably the single biggest shot in the arm the green energy industry has ever had in Australia." Concerns were previously raised that the desalination plant would absorb almost all of the country's green power supply. It has since emerged that it will take only a sizeable chunk - and with renewable energy now a federal hot topic the industry is expected to grow rapidly enough to feed the plant.

There are currently six NSW wind farm projects that are ready to be built - located in Teralga, Crookwell, Woodlawn, Cullerin, Conroys Gap and near Goulburn - but they have not gone ahead because of uncertainty about carbon credits and emissions targets. Mr Rees said the desalination plant would almost certainly result in most or all of them being constructed soon.

The plant will require the output of approximately 75 wind turbines when it is running at maximum," he told the Daily Telegraph. "It's likely that such a huge new customer in the green power market will see more wind farms built in NSW in the near future." The plant's green energy demand comes on top of Sydney Water's recent announcement that the rest of its operations would become carbon neutral by 2020.

Mr Rees said the agency would have 20 per cent of its energy demands met by renewable sources within two years, thanks to the installation of hydro-electric and cogeneration plants to run sewage treatment plants and water pipelines across Sydney and Wollongong. "Ultimately, Sydney Water will eliminate or offset more than 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off the road," he said. Sydney Water will be inviting submissions for its request for proposals until October 31. Following this process, a detailed tender will be issued next month, with a contract expected to be signed in early 2008.

Tuesday 16 October 2007

Communities to have a say in wind farm deals

Wednesday 10/10/2007 Page: 3

AUSTRALIA will lead the world with the launch today of a wind farm accreditation scheme designed to include documented consultation with the community. The scheme, created by the Clean Energy Council, will involve an independent audit to ensure that any proposed wind farm complies with industry guidelines. The Clean Energy Council's chief executive, Dominique La Fontaine, who will announce the scheme at the annual Auswind conference, said it would give the community added confidence in proposed wind farm projects. "Transparent and documented community consultation helps build trust and ongoing local relationships," she said.

The independent auditing process assists regulators and planners fulfil their responsibilities. And of course the industry benefits through consistent practices and continual improvement. " Steve Sawyer, head of the world's leading wind energy body, the Global Wind Energy Council, told those at the first day of the Auswind conference that governments would increasingly look to wind energy as they discussed a post-Kyoto agreement on emissions reduction.

Mr Sawyer said Australia should look to the US, which ranks only behind Germany in terms of installed wind capacity. The US is nearing as the leader in installed wind capacity and is likely to eclipse Germany," he said. "I hope to see Australia on this list very soon." Mr Sawyer said mature energy sources such as wind would play a greater role as countries began to negotiate an emissions reduction target when the Kyoto Protocol expired in 2012. 'As governments get serious about post-2012 agreements, they will be coming to us and saying can you do more because they have no other solution by 2020," he said.

If you believe what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says, then we can have a divergence of opinions on the way forward. But what we need to worry about now is what we do by 2020 and a lot of things, like carbon capture and storage, won't be able to make a significant impact on cuts by 2020.

Derek Kidley, energy sector leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said he thought it would take five to seven years, if the right policy settings were in place, before Australia made it into the top 10. PwC's Global Utilities Survey, released earlier this year, showed a sharp increase in the number of executives who believed wind energy would form a large share of their energy consumption in the next five years.

In 2006, only 17 per cent thought so," he said. "That figure for 2007 jumped up 48 per cent. Wind is definitely on the up and is seen increasingly as a solution around the globe." Mr Kidley said PwC was an example of the generational change that would drive a switch towards renewable energy. "I work for a company where the average age of employees is 28," he said. We have made a commitment to be carbon neutral by July 5 next year. "That has been called for from within and we, like any other business, will not retain our people unless we change. There is a greater response by companies because this is what consumers are also calling for. That will be the driver for change."


Whipping up the wind

Herald Sun
Thursday 11/10/2007 Page: 40

THE wind energy industry has called for the overhaul of the electricity grid to favour renewable energy. It also welcomes a debate on zoning to make some areas, such as pristine coastlines, off-limits to wind farms. "Rather than demand that renewable energy work within existing regulations under the National Electricity Market, perhaps the grid rules could be altered to more effectively deal with wind energy," Roaring 40s managing director Mark Kelleher said.

Mr Kelleher was speaking at this week's Auswind 2007 conference, which brought delegates to Melbourne to hear energy experts discuss the expansion of wind energy generation. Roaring 40s operates windfarms in Australia and is also building them in China and India. Mr Kelleher said renewable energy was now mainstream in some parts of the world and it was time to revolutionise Australia's energy mix. "Governments and managers of the network will benefit from a major overhaul of transmission design to lend a positive bias to renewable energy," he said.

But Shane Breheny, chief executive of Powercor, Victoria's largest electricity distributor, does not believe grid companies stand to gain from a revamp. "I don't agree we need a major overhaul," Mr Breheny told BusinessDaily. "Distributed generation (electricity that is not sourced from centralised coal-fired power stations) can be beneficial to grid operation, but only if it is not intermittent." Mr Breheny said that, although he supported incentive arrangements and solutions to energy problems rather than regulations, the impact of "intermittent" generation on network performance had to be addressed.

TRUEnergy, the operator of both coal-fired and wind generators, also welcomed rewriting the transmission access rules to dismantle barriers to variable energy from wind and solar. "Let's have a look at connection rules ... let's consider changing them so they present a level playing field for smaller, more remote generators, such as windfarms," TRUEnergy portfolio director Carlo Botto said. Mr Botto added that the renewables sector would be willing to forgo development at some sites if it were reassured that in other areas the regulatory process would be streamlined. Auswind head and Clean Energy Council chief executive Dominique La Fontaine yesterday launched Certified Wind Farms Australia, a stringent code for developers.

NZ generators face ban

Friday 12/10/2007 Page: 2

NEW Zealand electricity producers, including Contact Energy, will face a 10-year ban on building gas-fired or coal-fired generators to help the nation meet its Kyoto Protocol emission reduction targets. The measures may affect $NZ1 billion ($A845.6 million) of investment in two projects planned by Contact and government-owned Genesis Power.

State-owned generators would be barred from building gas-fired plants, and a decision on whether to extend the ban to Contact and other private generators would be made this year, Energy Minister David Parker said yesterday. NZ already produces about 70 per cent of its power from wind, hydroelectric and geothermal generators. The Government wants to raise that to 90 per cent by 2025 and is blocking construction of cheaper gas-fired power stations to speed investment in wind turbines and steam fields.

Toora wins at State level

Wednesday 10/10/2007 Page: 7

Toora has progressed from its regional level win to take out the State level award from Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria [KABV] Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Awards in the Community Government Partnership category. Toora Progress Association representatives Kathy Whelan and Peter Lee, who had travelled to the awards ceremony held at Benalla on the weekend, accepted the award on the town's behalf. KABV Chief Executive Wendy Jones said, "Using seed money provided from Stanwell, the operators of nearby wind turbines, the community was able to win access to 'dollar-for-dollar' grants.

"At the end of a three-year period, Toora was able to boast a new skate park, a covered pool and improvements to the community hall and Prom View Lodge nursing home." Ms Jones added that the long running awards program can, "prove that small things make a difference." She pointed out that despite the drought, it was a very competitive awards year, and that, "people throughout regional Victoria continue striving to find ways to create a more sustainable environment."

Other towns winning categories at the State level were Echuca, Stuart Mill, Beechworth, Wandong, Heathcote Junction, Lorne, Tallarook and Lara. The individual Dame Phyllis Frost Award went to a resident of Beechworth.

Dry winter puts wind farm ahead of schedule

Northern Argus
Wednesday 10/10/2007 Page: 38

The lack of substantial rain this spring has had an upside in the construction of the Trust Power wind farm on the Hummocks and Barunga Ranges west of Snowtown. The project is well on schedule as rain has not interrupted the construction crews undertaking earthworks for the roads and the foundations of the 42 turbines to be installed on the wind farm. Trust Power spokesman Andrew Dickson said there were more than 40 people working on the construction site.

The civil works sub-contractor Built Environs has employed a number of the workers from the region around Snowtown. In the long term the wind farm will employ five to seven operations and maintenance technicians, who will probably be based in Snowtown, Mr Dickson said. "We expect the first turbine will be operational by January- February," Mr Dickson said.

The turbines under construction are exactly the same as the turbines being built at Hallett. In both cases the wind turbines are manufactured and supplied by an Indian owned company, Suzlon Energy Australia Pty Ltd, the world's fourth leading manufacturer of wind turbines. The blades, rotors and nacelles are made in Suzlon's factories in western India, but the towers sections are manufactured by Air Ride Pty Ltd at its factory in Adelaide. Local businesses such as Hummocks Station have been busy providing accommodation to work crews working on the intensive construction phase of the project.

Green Antartic Princess

Pace - Process & Control Engineering
October, 2007 Page: 4

Schneider Electric is providing the electrical distribution and building utilities management for Princess Elisabeth, the first "Zero Emission" scientific research station. The station was presented by Schneider Electric and the International Polar Foundation (IPF) in Brussels, before its installation in the Antarctic. It will exclusively use renewable energy: solar - via photo- voltaic panels - and wind energy. This process avoids all emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

In this way, 50,000 metric tons of CO2 are economised every year in the framework of contracts managed by - Schneider's Building Automation Business Unit. "For Schneider Electric, participating in the extraordinary adventure of the Princess Elisabeth Antartica research station is a highly significant action. Alongside the IPF, we share the same values - environmental responsibility, concern for the planet and the absolute need to reduce CO2 emissions. "This is the first time that our products will encounter such extreme conditions, with temperatures of -40°C and under remote control for four months of the year", said Jean-Pascal Tricoire, President and CEO of Schneider Electric.

Monday 15 October 2007

Carbon debits

Bulletin with Newsweek
Tuesday 16/10/2007 Page: 38

The government's failure to protect jobs in renewable energy is leaving the industry out on a limb.

STATE AND FEDERAL governments would contend that all jobs are valued equally. But it would seem that some jobs might be more equal than others. Or at least that governments go to greater lengths to save them. In the past two weeks, an estimated 1000 jobs in the new and rapidly growing energy efficiency industry in NSW have been lost. The cause was a dramatic slump in the price of carbon traded in the NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme (GGAS), the world's oldest and second-largest carbon trading scheme.

Freddy Sharpe, chief operating officer of Easy Being Green, the biggest and most successful of the companies operating in that space, blames the price fall mostly on the failure of governments to provide certainty to a new market. It's ironic, he says, because the government had made a large step forward by announcing that the state schemes would be migrated into a new national trading scheme. It's just that it couldn't explain how that would be done, so traders feared the state-based carbon certificates would lose their value, and sold them down accordingly.

Easy Being Green specialised in the installation of energy-saving light bulbs and efficient shower heads in homes. These installations would generate carbon credits, which Easy and other companies such as Neco and Fieldforce would then sell into GGAS. While these carbon credits traded at around $11 to $13 a tonne, this and a handful of other companies doing similar work made good money. When the price slumped to $6, the margins disappeared.

"Easy Being Green showed that it was really easy to engage consumers on energy efficiency," Sharpe says. "We could create and register large volumes of carbon credits. That took the market by surprise. Maybe we were too successful for our own good" Easy Being Green has all but closed down its home-based energy efficiency business, with the loss of 140 permanent staff and 100 contractors.

Neco was forced to sack 55 - mostly in regional areas - of a total of around 90. "It's been a tough ride," says Ben O'Callaghan, Neco's carbon services director. "If the government is serious about this market, then they need to set targets, and be clear on regulation." This is not the first time this has occurred in the new carbon economy. Governments insist they do not want to "pick winners" in this new regime, but it is clear that they are already making such choices. A decision last year not to meaningfully expand the renewable energy target kicked the stuffing out of what was shaping up to be a successful new industry, and forced many players instead to concentrate their expansion overseas.

However, a pre-election backflip on the issue by the federal government has held out hope of major new developments, and has caused a big leap in the value of the certificates traded under that scheme to more than $40 a tonne. It is hard to imagine any government allowing 1000 jobs suddenly to disappear from the coal industry with such little comment, particularly if it was caused by sudden movements in the carbon market.

Indeed, the government has supported the coal industry with an estimated $8bn to $9bn of annual subsidies - including exemption from diesel excise and road construction. Still, this has not been enough to save the industry shedding almost a third of its workforce in areas such as the Latrobe Valley over the past two decades, mostly due to increased mechanisation. "The idea that climate change is the major cause of job loss in the industry is just wrong," says Tony Mohr, climate change campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation. "Governments tend to be more protective of existing jobs than new jobs.

There is a bias about protecting existing industries rather than new ones." But he says if climate change cannot be controlled, job losses will be dramatic. Witness the loss of jobs in the farming sector during recent droughts, or the 54,000 jobs that could be lost if the Great Barrier Reef is destroyed. The renewable energy industry, Mohr argues, is a heavy employer. In Germany, for instance, more than 200,000 people are employed in the sector. But for that to occur in Australia, policy certainty is needed. "It's symptomatic of the policy void we have in Australia," says Mohr. "If you want to start a renewable energy business, you want to be able to look with confidence five to 10 or more years into the future, not just the next two."

Generating windbags

Newcastle Herald
Tuesday 9/10/2007 Page: 8

By Joanne McCarthy:

FOUR weeks ago I was standing on a lookout above the Mundi Mundi plains west of Broken Hill. The photos show my hair blowing about because it's a windy place, and on the day we visited it was quite cool. It's the place you visit to get some sense of the vastness of outback Australia. You stand at the lookout, which is really nothing more than a dusty parking area on the side of the road, and look towards the horizon. And in between those two points there are flat, dry plains with little vegetation.

The historic mining town of Silverton is not far from the lookout. You drive west out of Broken Hill, past the road that takes you to the late Pro Hart's gallery, and near the caravan park where we stayed beside one of the most impressive cemeteries I've ever visited, and a flat road takes you through a relatively flat landscape until you reach Silverton, which is mainly flat except for a slightly sloping area topped by a couple of art galleries. Excuse the repetition, but you can't get away from the word flat when you talk about this part of the world.

It is no surprise they filmed the Mad Max movies in the Silverton area. The land is stark, the sky is brilliant and clear, and Silverton is the kind of eerie, strangely disjointed place that sticks in your mind. As eerie as Wilcannia, but for different reasons. It has a collection of historic buildings, which stand quite splendidly distant from each other like single stumps of teeth in an old bloke's grinning mouth. There's an old church, and a tiny old brick school with a sign hanging outside to note the fact that writer and social welfare campaigner Dame Mary Gilmore once taught there.

There's Silverton's famous pub, with its Mad Max car parked outside. On the day we visited you could hardly see the ear for the flock of Harley-Davidsons that had come to roost there, so we drove on. Silverton is an odd place, but the migratory habits of the grey nomads - travelling retirees who are pouring a lot of money into regional Australian towns these days - means it will stay on the map for a good while to come.

It was in the news yesterday for a $2 billion wind farm proposal on the edge of the Mundi Mundi plains a few kilometres north of Silverton. The Epuron Pty Ltd plan for 500 wind turbines under construction from late 2009 will be a significant shift towards renewable energy in Australia. The proposal is 10 tines larger than the next largest wind farm approved for NSW, and the company predicts it could generate enough energy for 400,000 houses. It could also reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

All well and good, but the proposal has very neatly exposed one of the biggest hurdles facing green energy producers. Government.

David Wood is a University of Newcastle conjoint associate professor. His field of expertise is wind technology. The Epuron Pty Ltd proposal was wonderful news for the renewable energy industry, he said. But it is also a big gamble on the company's part because of uncertainty about real - as opposed to poll-driven political-speak-federal and state government support for coal alternatives by way of mandatory clean energy targets. It doesn't matter which major party we're talking about. Both Labor and Liberal have distinguished themselves by their mixed and lousy messages on this front. Look at the money trail and it doesn't take much to work out why.

The mining boom has allowed the Federal Government to amass billions of dollars. Coalmining is propping up the ailing NSW economy as well. "Clean coal" research is providing a handy blind for politicians who don't take seriously community support for alternative energy sources. It's easier to say there's money going into trying to clean up a dirty but relatively cheap energy source, than to provide reasonable regulatory frameworks in which alternatives can compete. Professor Wood has seen some of the brightest Australian ideas about renewable energy leave this country for development in America, China, Japan and Germany. "Government support for renewable energy at all levels has been negligible," Professor Wood said. The talk by politicians is largely hot air.

Australia third-worst on environment

October 11, 2007

AUSTRALIA'S environmental performance is the third-worst among 21 of the world's rich nations, an independent report has found. The dismal ranking came as the head of the United Nations think tank on climate change said Australian government moves towards the Kyoto Protocol had the rest of the world poised with welcome home gestures.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Yvo de Boer said it was not possible to amend Kyoto. But if Australia were to ratify the agreement as it was, the international community would be “putting the yellow ribbons in the tree”. “Clearly, it's a disappointment that Australia decided it could not ratify the Kyoto Protocol and I respect that position,” Mr de Boer said. “Having said that, it makes it all the more important to listen very carefully to what Australia feels would be a post-2012 agreement that really makes sense, whatever party wins the elections.”

Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the Government would sign an updated version of Kyoto, which expires in 2012, if an effective international agreement is reached. The Government signed Kyoto but then joined the US in refusing to ratify it, saying it placed burdens on Australia not faced by its developing-world competitors. Critics have branded Mr Turnbull's comments as pre-election posturing to win back support from voters leaning toward Labor, which vows to ratify the greenhouse blueprint.

Meanwhile, the US ranked lowest on environmental policy, with Spain one place higher and Australia and Canada tied at third-last in the 2007 Commitment to Development Index launched in London today. CDI author David Roodman said Australia's poor environmental performance was largely due to global warming issues. “Australia has the highest emissions of greenhouse gas per person,” Mr Roodman said. “Australia, like the US, has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which is the international community's most serious commitment to climate change. “That's where it falls down.”

Mr Roodman said he would welcome any decision by Australia to ratify Kyoto. “We would reward it in the index,” he said. “Australia right now is losing points because it has not ratified Kyoto.” The CDI, is produced annually by the Centre for Global Development, an independent Washington research and policy organisation. It ranks 21 high income industrialised countries on how well their policies and actions support poor countries' efforts to build prosperity, good government and security.

The Netherlands topped the overall index on the strength of its aid-giving, falling greenhouse gas emissions and support for investment in developing countries. Other big aid donors Denmark, Sweden and Norway followed, with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Finland tied for fifth and Japan last. The report said Australia's score was driven by its leading role in peacekeeping efforts, low trade barriers against exports from developing countries and relatively open migration policies. On the negative side, Australia gives only a small share of its income in foreign aid.

Scientists Label APEC Declaration "Weak"

Australasian Science
October, 2007 Page: 15

The Sydney Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development, released at, the APEC meeting in September, has received a poor response from leading scientists working in fields related to global warming and the technologies that may prevent it.

"After many years of denying that climate change was an issue or even existed, it is refreshing to see Howard and Bush finally coming to the table to discuss what will be the defining issue of this century," said Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Centre for Marine Studies at the University of Queensland, and one of the world's most cited coral reef scientists. "At last they seem to get what people have been telling them for over a decade," he continued. "Overall, however, the APEC Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development is weak and elusive of the major issues and responses that are needed."

Dr Mark Diesendorf of the University of New South Wales Institute of Environmental Studies was even harsher, saying the Declaration "contains nothing of substance". After condemning the use of an "aspirational goal" rather than a firm target, Diesendorf noted: "Even if the aspirational goal were achieved, the proposed reduction in energy intensity is likely to involve a large increase in greenhouse gas emissions. This is because energy intensity is defined as energy consumption divided by GDP.

Even if global energy intensity is decreased by 25% by 2030 (as proposed in the Declaration), while global GDP doubles, emissions could increase by 50%. Thus the Declaration is actually a cloak for disguising business-as-usual." Wasim Saman, Director of the Sustainable Energy Centre at the University of South Australia, was more positive, describing the Declaration as "a significant first step forward. The emphasis on energy efficiency and transportation is particularly welcome as immediate positive results are possible." However, Australian Conservation Foundation President and Griffith University Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe said: "The Sydney Declaration looks more like the Kirribili cop-out".

Like several other scientists, Lowe compared the Sydney Declaration with the Kyoto Protocol, which is now almost 10 years old, and noted that while the science had advanced since then the Australian and US governments have yet to catch up. The official budget for security at APEC was $169 million, more than 5 years worth of federal investment in renewable energy research and development.

Prof Andrew Blakers, coinventor of the Sliver solar cell and Director of the Australian National University's Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems, was one of those most directly affected by government cuts to solar research and said: "There is a remarkable disconnect between the urgent need, the potential and the reality" of solar energy in Australia.

Huge wind farm for Mad Max country

Sydney Morning Herald
Monday 8/10/2007 Page: 8

A GIANT $2 billion wind farm proposed for western NSW could double the number of turbines operating in Australia and provide as much electricity as a large coal-fired power plant. Epuron Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of the German renewable energy group Conergy AG, will today announce plans to build as many as 500 turbines, generating enough electricity for 400,000 homes. They would be built on the ranges that rise around the Mundi Mundi plains, north-west of Broken Hill. The wind farm would be 10 times bigger than the next largest wind farm approved for NSW and could reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. It would produce up to 4.5 per cent of NSW's energy needs in a typical year.

The site - not far from the small town of Silverton, which is best known as the backdrop for films such as Max Max II and A Town Like Alice - was chosen following CSIRO research showing western NSW had some of the best wind resources in the country. The low population density was also attractive. The announcement follows news last month that the Federal Government would set a national mandatory clean energy target of 30,000 gigawatt hours of electricity a year by 2020. There is also legislation before the NSW Parliament mandating a 15 per cent target for renewable power for the state by 2020. There is some concern the federal target would result in less renewable energy because it would replace state-based schemes projected to generate almost 41,000 gigawatt hours of energy by 2020.

Epuron Pty Ltd was "taking a bit of a gamble" proceeding with the plan in the face of uncertainty about government regulation, the company's executive director, Andrew Durran, said. "It will rely on strong government legislation to enable us to build it but we have looked at what is going on in the power industry and at the direction governments are taking," Mr Durran said. The CSIRO found wind speeds in the area were competitive with wind farms in better known wind regions such as Tasmania and South Australia.

It was very exciting to find such a strong wind resource in western NSW, the chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, Dominique La Fontaine, said. Ms La Fontaine said investors needed clear indications from governments about energy policy and it would be disastrous if state renewable energy schemes were put on hold because of a delay at the federal level. Epuron Pty Ltd has begun negotiations with four landowners in the area to lease land and has held informal talks with state government departments. It hopes construction will start in late 2009. The operation and maintenance of the wind farm is expected to create between 50 and 100 direct jobs, with an injection of at least $15 million a year into the local economy, the company says.

Time to catch the wind

Herald Sun
Tuesday 9/10/2007 Page: 8

AUSTRALIA is in danger of being left behind in the multibillion dollar renewable energy market, the head of the world's leading wind energy organisation said yesterday. A national approach to renewable energy is needed in Australia to replace the patchwork of state-based targets, Global Wind Energy Council secretary-general Steve Sawyer told the Herald Sun. "There needs to be a federal system to encourage development quickly across the states. You need a clear framework," he said.

He called on the Federal Government to significantly boost the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target from 2 per cent to encourage investment in renewable energy. He said it was not too late to reap the financial benefits from the renewable energy sector, which is booming in China and the US. "Australia can get in on that boom, but there needs to be a clear government commitment to set frameworks to attract investment," Mr Sawyer said. Total investment in new wind energy plants and equipment was about $23 billion last year and is expected to grow to $30 billion this year. Mr Sawyer will speak about the global state of the wind energy industry at the Auswind 2007 conference, which starts in Melbourne today.

Plan for 500-unit farm

Ballarat Courier
Tuesday 9/10/2007 Page: 10

A WESTERN NSW wind farm dubbed the largest in Australia could be up and running by the end of 2009, the company behind it says. Renewable energy group Epuron Pty Ltd announced its proposal yesterday to install about 500 wind turbines north-west of Broken Hill, in far western NSW, saying they could generate enough electricity for 400,000 homes. Epuron Pty Ltd executive director Andrew Durran said if the NSW government approved the wind farm near Silverton, the project could be operational in stages by late 2009. The company will submit a development application for the farm in March next year, with approval expected by the end of the year. Construction would begin early in 2009.

The $2 billion project could produce up to 4.5 per cent of NSW annual energy needs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by three million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, the company said. "Silverton Wind Farm will be one of the largest in the world once it's operating, with the potential for almost 1000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity," Mr Durran said. "NSW is an excellent state for wind farms. It has an excellent wind resource, it has a very strong transmission system, and it has got the largest energy load, so from our perspective NSW has a great potential for wind technology." Mr Durran said he had also spoken to the communities of Silverton and Broken Hill, with most people showing support for the project.

The operation and maintenance of the facility would create 100 permanent jobs in the area, he said. Meanwhile, four landholders had already agreed to host the wind turbines. The townspeople in the area recognise the jobs and economic benefits from this project," he said. They also recognise that to date their towns have relied on mining as a income source. This provides a new income source for the region." However, Mr Durran said the differences between the federal and NSW clean energy targets were a concern, as they created confusion and delays for renewable energy providers.

Minister asked to explain low-wind beliefs

Tuesday 9/10/2007 Page: 7

THE nation's biggest wind farm with the ability to power up to 400,000 homes could be operating near Broken Hill by 2009, despite NSW Industry Minister Ian Macdonald's belief that his state does not have enough breeze. Renewable energy group Epuron Pty Ltd said yesterday it would spend $2 billion to install about 500 wind turbines northwest of Broken Hill, in the far west of the state. Mr Macdonald said the NSW Government, which must approve the project, would look positively at the wind energy proposal.

But Epuron Pty Ltd's demand that the Government guarantee it will only buy renewable energy from within NSW could prove a stumbling block. At present, renewable energy generation can be purchased from other states. And Mr Macdonald said the Government had no intention of changing the legislation, with experts saying NSW was not a high-wind state. "We are a national grid after all, so where the source of the power comes from isn't exactly the most relevant issue," Mr Macdonald said. He said the most important issue was meeting renewable energy targets.

Climate campaigner and Australian of the Year Tim Flannery said last night Mr Macdonald should be asked to explain the basis of his belief that NSW was not a high-wind state. He said it had been thought NSW did not have the wind-generating ability of southern Australia, but Epuron Pty Ltd's investment plans proved the area around Broken Hill was a "world-class wind province". Professor Flannery's comments came as he revealed new figures from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showing that greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere already have "the potential to cause dangerous climate change".

He told the ABC's Lateline that scientists had expected this threshold 455 parts per million of CO2 equivalent to be reached in a decade. But the IPCC's "synthesis" report, due next month, showed it was reached in mid-2005. We are already at great risk of dangerous climate change. It's not next year or next decade it's now," Professor Flannery's said, calling for urgent action to cut emissions.

Epuron Pty Ltd said its wind farm project could produce up to 4.5 per cent of NSW's annual energy needs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by three million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. However, NSW Premier Morris lemma warned that the Howard Government's uncertainty about a national emissions trading scheme could hold up the investment.