Friday 16 November 2007

Air project puts zap into class

Northcote Leader
Tuesday 6/11/2007 Page: 16

Wind farms have come to be associated with coastal cliffs and controversy. But a quietly ambitious project at Northland Secondary College has seen students put up four wind turbines along the school's Murray Rd boundary in East Preston. VET and pre-apprenticeship electro-technology students designed and built the turbines to power classroom computers. "I think it's a school's prerogative and responsibility to be changing the way we think, and the way students think about energy collection, conservation and end use," Northland Technology Education Centre program coordinator Tim Beare said.

The 200-watt turbines connect to power points in the electro-technology classroom and have been producing electricity for a month. Mr Beare said students next year would figure out what to do with excess energy from the turbines, which presently has to be dumped. It is hoped to use the energy to heat water. Mr Beare said the school had not received any complaints about noise from the turbines, which he said tended to be drowned out by traffic on Murray Rd.

Mr Beare's electro-technology classes have a strong sustainability bent. His students have also set up solar panels, and get regular "ear-bashings" on topics such as the carbon-footprint of the average teenage bedroom. He said there was no reason why schools could not rely completely on clean energy, but it would need "a huge injection of funds."

Outback power to go green

Courier Mail
Friday 9/11/2007 Page: 22

SOLAR thermal electricity generation soon to be used to power the northwestern Queensland town of Cloncurry is tipped to be the way of the future. And if it proves an engineering and financial success, the State Government will look at building green generators in other towns. Cloncurry's solar thermal electricity station will annually save about 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide currently produced by burning diesel to generate electricity.

Lloyd Energy Storage and the SMEC Group will pay $24 million and the Government $7 million to set up the station that will make Cloncurry the first town in Australia to be totally solar powered. Work is expected to start by April next year, with power flowing the following summer. Subject to feasibility studies, the system is expected to be suitable for any remote town or towns on the fringe of grid power, such as Thargomindah, Quilpie, Cunnamulla, Normanton, Charleville, Julia Creek or Richmond.

Premier Anna Bligh said that given the long-term benefits, she planned to take a personal interest in the project, especially as Queensland was ideally suited to use more solar power. The University of Queensland of Technology's Professor Gerard Ledwich said the technology was the best option available in terms of renewable energy. Solar photovoltaic cells were too expensive for large operations, wind was not a strong resource in the Outback and the cost of conventional power supplies was too high.

Professor Ledwich said the major advantages of solar thermal power was that it could store energy, making it able to operate 24 hours a day, and did not produce climate-changing greenhouse gases. Disadvantages were high setup costs and the fear that more than three days of heavily overcast weather could result in reduced supplies.

Ms Bligh said with Cloncurry having recorded Australia's hottest day - 53C in the shade in 1889 - there was little prospect of this occurring. "But the costs of running on diesel are horrendous and CO2 impacts also come into play," Professor Ledwich said. Under the plan, 60,000sq m of mirrors will reflect solar energy on to graphite blocks through which water flows. It is then used to drive a conventional steam turbine. The key to the system is that the graphite holds heat, allowing the station to deliver power at night and on overcast days. It is expected to deliver about 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

Siemens gets major wind turbine order from Canada

Dow Jones Newswires
Wednesday 7/11/2007

FRANKFURT (Dow Jones)--Siemens AG's (SI) power generation unit Siemens Power Generation, or PG, said Wednesday it will supply 86 wind turbines with a capacity of 2.3 megawatts each for the Wolfe Island Wind project, which is located near Kingston in Eastern Ontario.

The purchaser is a subsidiary of Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. (KHD.T), a company that is exclusively investing in renewable energy projects in Canada. With an installed capacity of nearly 200 MW, the wind project will have the potential to provide clean power to nearly 75,000 households. The wind farm is scheduled to be operational in fall 2008. So far this calendar year, Siemens has secured wind turbine orders totalling more than 750 MW in North America. The combined value of these orders exceeds USD1.1 billion, or EUR770 million.

Prior to the new order from Canada, Siemens had received five major U.S. wind orders with a total capacity of more than 550 MW in 2007. Customers include RES, Babcock and Brown Ltd. (BNB.AU), AES Corp. (AES) and MidAmerican Energy. Further project negotiations in the U.S and Canada are expected to be completed shortly, adding to the order backlog.

"The tremendous growth of our wind business is evidence that wind energy will continue to contribute toward a more diverse mix of environmentally compatible power generation sources," said Randy Zwirn, Chief Executive of Siemens Power Generation, Inc. and member of the PG group executive management.

"Globally, cumulated wind energy installations are forecasted to increase from 60 gigawatts in 2005 to more than 150 GW in 2010 and more than 300 GW in 2020. The Siemens wind business is well positioned to meet this growing demand. In fact, we are growing faster than the global market, not only in North America but also in other important markets in Europe and Asia," added Zwirn.

"We are also market leader in offshore installations and we intend to continue investment and expand capacity in our wind business in order to ensure that we position ourselves as one of the top players in the industry." Since Siemens entered the wind market just three years ago, the company has become the second largest wind turbine supplier to the U.S. market. This year Siemens will greatly exceed the number of wind turbines it installed in 2006 in the U.S.

With an average annual growth rate of approximately 25%, the North American market is expected to continue to be the second largest regional market in terms of total installed capacity, just behind Europe. According to the Global wind energy Council, the U.S. market will be the most important national market in the world during the 2007-2010 period.

Canada is expected to rank among the five largest wind energy markets over the coming decade, according to an Emerging Energy Research study. To meet the fast-growing demand for clean wind energy in North America, Siemens has opened a new 30,000-square-meter turbine blade manufacturing facility in Fort Madison, Iowa. The first wind turbine blades manufactured at this new Siemens factory have already been delivered to the Babcock and Brown Sweetwater 5 wind farm in Texas. The Siemens wind business is one of the leading suppliers of wind turbines in the industry with more than 3,300 employees worldwide.

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Winds of change going at full throttle

Thursday 8/11/2007 Page: 6

ALL puns aside, PR manager of Roaring 40s, Josh Bradshaw, says it's easy to be "blown away" by the sight of their wind farms. What's even more impressive than seeing their enormous turbines going full throttle is the speed at which the renewable energy company has grown. In just two years, Roaring 40s has opened 13 sites across Australia, New Zealand, China and India. It is now actively investigating several other potential markets throughout Asia.

An Australian Export Awards finalist, Roaring 40s is a result of a partnership between energy giants Hydro Tasmania and China Light and Power. Despite their rapid rise, Bradshaw says they still have a long way to go: "In Australia, wind energy accounts for less than two per cent of our energy use, where quite conceivable it could be 20 per cent without any issues with the network or availability. "wind energy works best in conjunction with other forms of energy like solar and geothermal. It has never been the case that wind will be the panacea." Its four Australian wind farm sites include Cathedral Rocks and Waterloo Wind Farm in South Australia, and Woolnorth and Musselroe in Tasmania. "We're blessed with some really wonderful wind resources, particularly in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania," Bradshaw says.

The energy produced at Woolnorth is enough to power 70,000 homes each year. Another site,
Shuangliao Wind Farm in China, produces enough clean energy to power up to 100,000 homes and saves around 110,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. "In Asia and China there's strong government support and big targets for renewable energy," Bradshaw says.

Growing public awareness about climate change has fuelled a greater acceptance of alternative energy sources, according to Bradshaw: "We like to think we're changing the way people think about energy. We're challenging people to think about the energy they're using. "Recent polling by AC Nielson found two-thirds of Australians are happy to pay more for their electricity if they can guarantee it comes from a renewable energy source. "One of the best ways to go forward in the energy sector is in renewable energy." While currently focusing on wind energy, Roaring 40s also maintains an interest in developing sustainable hydro-powered electricity and monitors emerging clean energy technology such as geothermal power generation.

Prior to constructing wind farms, it conducts market and country analysis, site identification and pre-feasibility studies to determine the best sites. Part of the planning involves assessment on the environmental impact, such as the effects on waterways, vegetation, animals and birds. "The effects are examined on a case-by-case basis as every site is different," Bradshaw says. "There's very little impact in terms of actual site infrastructure. "To get the site back to its original state involves removing the turbines and it pretty much goes back to where it was before." Most areas they develop in Asia have access to the power infrastructure, but otherwise they build additional lines to transfer the energy to consumers.

Roaring 40s then operates and maintains the site for its full life-cycle which, in the case of wind energy, is a minimum of 20 years. Aside from the environmental benefits, wind farms also have benefits for the communities in which they are located. These include short to medium-term jobs during the construction and long-term positions during the farm's operation.

There are also flow-on benefits for other businesses in the community. "During construction there might be about 150 guys onsite for about 12 months, staying in the local accommodation and eating out - all these extra people there spending their money," Bradshaw says. Due to the impressive spectacle of wind farms, they also attract tourists to the area: "There's someone who brings bus loads of tourists to Woolnorth. It's a very beautiful sight when the turbines are going full-time."

Silverton locals give windfarm a cautious nod

Barrier Daily Truth
Thursday 8/11/2007 Page: 3

Silverton residents have aired their concerns about the windfarm which a company is proposing to build near the Mundi Mundi Plains. The windfarm - set to be the biggest in the southern hemisphere with 500 turbines - has been proposed by green energy company Epuron Pty Ltd.

The company's Executive Director, Andrew Durran, met the Silverton Village Committee on Tuesday night to introduce himself, tell them what was on the table and answer their questions. "From our perspective, the meeting went very well. It is a valuable part of the process," Mr Durran said yesterday. "We're very serious about engaging with the community. It's the only way to find out all the issues. "Most people don't have experience with windfarms.

A lot of the questions asked were what we call standard questions, as they come up each time we've done this, and that's very understandable. "There was a good deal of support evident. Some people are concerned but overall it was positive." Silverton resident John Dynon attended the meeting and had a similar outlook,"I think it's a good idea. It seems like they aren't going to be building on the front ridge where the tourists will be, so that's very good," he said.

While residents had expressed concerns about noise, the building process and traffic, these were balanced with the promise of employment, Mr Dynon said. Mr Durran said he would be taking the concerns of residents on board as the project moved forward. At present there is a broad plan in place. "One thing we can't do much about is visuals. The turbines have to be on top of hills, because that's where the wind is," he said. "We have done this before. Noise is very easy to control. We can build it far enough away to not bother anyone.

We can avoid any sensitive flora or fauna easily. We will survey the area and build around it. Traffic routes can be built to minimise impact. "Some questions were new. We were asked where the water would be coming from for concrete and how this would affect mining leases. Those are things we can now look into." Mr Durran hoped the meeting would be the first step in an ongoing dialogue. "We have decided what we are going to do. We want to build on that location and we aim to do the best job there that we can," he said. "That's why it is important for us to get the information from the community that they know and we don't.

It's equally important for us to get across what we know about windfarms. People need to know what they'll be seeing before they see it." To that end, Epuron Pty Ltd will visit the city on November 28 to hold an open house meeting. "We will have Epuron Pty Ltd and our consultants there to talk about the project with the public," said Mr Durran. "By then we will have our initial draft and mock-up photos of the site for viewing and we can talk it through one-on-one with the community before it is finalised" About four months after that Epuron Pty Ltd hopes to have its final plan ready so a development application can be submitted in March.

Approval is expected to take until the end of the year, with the first turbines commissioned in 2010. Stage one will involve construction of between 75 and 100 turbines. "The good thing is that when the first turbine is connected its working and generating power straightaway. With a coalfired plant you need to wait for the last nut to be in place before you can use it," said Mr Durran.

Both the Liberal and Labor parties have flagged their commitment to green energy through election promises. Both sides of the NSW Government are also supportive. NSW needed to start generating more power in the short to medium term or face rolling blackouts, Mr Durran said. He acknowledged that the windfarm was a challenging prospect for those who wanted the landscape left unspoiled. "This is always a challenge for environmentally-minded people. We can't hide the turbines, and we can't build them underground. "There are always some negatives to a development. People have to weigh up the effects of climate change against building a wind farm on a visual area. "Everyone makes up their own mind and everyone lands on the issue differently. "I consider myself a strong environmental advocate and I do this."

AGL to build another wind farm

Townsville Bulletin
Wednesday 7/11/2007 Page: 27

AGL Energy Ltd is set to build another wind farm in South Australia. The 71-megawatt wind farm will be at Hallett Hill, 170km north of Adelaide, and will have a development cost of about $166 million. The project will create 150 jobs during the construction phase, and will be the third wind farm under the management of AGL. The farm is expected to become commercially operational around November 2009.

AGL managing director Michael Fraser said the project reinforced the leadership position the company was taking in Australia's renewable energy sector. When commissioned in 2009, the wind farm will provide enough renewable energy to power 40,000 average Australian households and abate approximately 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide," he said.

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Fit for a powerful role

Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday 7/11/2007 Page: 15

Renewable energy should not be dismissed as "intermittent" or a poor cousin to the so-called baseload power generated by fossil fuelss and uranium, say environmental groups and some energy experts. While conceding renewable energy can supply some electricity, the Prime Minister, John Howard, and existing energy suppliers have repeatedly argued that only coal-fired or nuclear energy can provide reliable round-the-clock electricity.

But critics say that is a myth that enables incumbent energy generators to retain their grip on the electricity market and one that distracts from the need to generate, distribute and use electricity more efficiently. "We could have 100 per cent of our electricity coming from renewable energy in coming decades if we really wanted to, assuming solar and geothermal sources play a significant role," says Mark Diesendorf from the University of New South Wales.

The debate about how much renewable energy could flow into Australia's electricity grid was renewed last week when the Federal Opposition announced that it would aim for 20 per cent by 2020. Labor set no restrictions on the types of energy that would be involved. The Federal Government has a 15 per cent target, which includes so-called clean-coal technology. However, in the early years, most of that electricity is expected to come from wind turbines.

Some contribution would also come from bioenergy - burning waste crops - a technology already being used around the world. In the longer term, solar power - such as the solar thermal technology being developed in California by the Australian expatriate David Mills -would come into play. Baseload alternatives to coal power could be provided by efficient energy use, bioenergy, wind energy, solar thermal electricity with thermal storage, geothermal and gas, Diesendorf says.

He says large-scale wind energy from geographically distributed sites was not intermittent, although it may require additional low-cost, peak-load back-up from gas turbines. "Opponents of renewable energy, from the coal and nuclear industries and from `not in my backyard groups, are disseminating the fallacy that renewable energy cannot provide baseload power to substitute for coal-fired electricity," he says.

"Even government ministers and some journalists are propagating this conventional wisdom, although it is false. The political implications are that, if the fallacy becomes widely believed to be true, renewable energy would always have to remain a niche market, rather than achieve its true potential of becoming a set of mainstream energy-supply technologies." One of the ironies of the baseload argument, says the NSW Greens MP John Kaye, is that in the 1970s NSW had an excess of 24-hour power because of the lack of demand for electricity at night.

Power stations have plenty of unused capacity late at night but must keep the plants generating power because they take days to shut down. To soak up the excess electricity that was generated, householders were offered off-peak hot water, where water in tanks was heated overnight. Kaye claims NSW could side step the construction of a new coal-fired power station by banning the installation of electric off-peak hot water systems in homes.

An analysis of the state's power needs done by the Greens was supported by an assessment made by the National Electricity Market Management Co, which said the forecast need for 327 megawatts of extra generation capacity by the summer of 2010-11 could be supplied by reducing demand. "The Iemma Government is being panicked into electricity industry privatisation and a new, expensive and polluting baseload power station by the supposed threat of blackouts," Kaye says. "There is no capacity gap that cannot be met by increasing energy efficiency."

Sewage savings

Canberra Times
Wednesday 7/11/2007 Page: 7

A small community in northwest England is hoping to become the country's first carbon-neutral village and is considering the power of poop to help make it happen. The 1000 residents of Ashton Hayes have been working on cutting their "carbon footprint" since 2006 and have already managed to slash the amount of carbon emissions the village produces by a fifth. So far village residents have managed to curb their emissions through careful use of electricity, investing in green power devices for their homes and cutting down on unnecessary carbon emitting activities.

Most people switched to energy-saving light bulbs; many started car-sharing and cut down on flights. The keenest put solar panels or wind turbines on their roofs and have even set up "carbon clinics" to offer help. The villagers realise the next 20 per cent of emissions will be harder to cut than the first. Ashton Hayes produced 4765 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year before the project began, already below average for a village of its size.

Project chief Garry Charnock said he now plans to build a "MicroGrid" near the church to power the village using wind energy, wood chips or methane from village waste. He has enlisted help from local water provider United Utilities, which already has a prototype method for generating methane from village sewage. The water company spent £22 million last year developing the technology, which generates electricity by capturing and burning methane released by decomposing sewage.

United Utilities carbon manager Chris Matthews has invited a delegation from the village to inspect the progress at its research and development lab at nearby Ellesmere Port. The path towards poop power first began with Charnock, an environmental consultant who convinced the village's parish councillors to hold a meeting on a cold night in January to discuss the idea. Some 400 people - three-quarters of the village's adult population - crammed into the school to hear him speak and express their support.

That's when a flurry of the first initiatives sprang up across the village empowering residents who, like most people, had already been thinking about their environmental impact. "Why did people take to it? I think that people suddenly felt that an organised thing gave them some sort of permission to do things that they knew they wanted to do, but weren't inclined to do on their own - safety in numbers," village resident Richard May said.

Charnock has tried to make a conscious effort to avoid formal structures so the project can evolve naturally. Consequently, there are a number of initiatives like that of the village school, which has an eco-club where student "eco-monitors" are charged with turning off lights and computers. "We are just a bunch of people in a village seeing what we can do," he said.

Swedish retailer drops palm-based biodiesel because of environmental concerns

Bioenergy Business
07 November, 2007

OKQ8, a chain of Swedish filling stations, has postponed the launch of its Eco20 biodiesel because of concerns over the environmental effects of the palm oil-derived product. According to OKQ8 environmental manager Camilla Slunge Dowling, the company was not satisfied that palm oil could be produced without destroying rainforests. Environmental groups have been campaigning against the use of palm oil, particularly that produced in Indonesia, where the planting of oil palms is the leading cause of rainforest loss, according to a recent UN report.

Marcus Colchester of the Forest Peoples Programme, a UK-based rights organisation, said: "We now need to see major changes in industry practices and government policy and implementation. There must be an end to forest and peat land destruction for palm oil and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples who are still losing their land to monoculture plantations."

Finnish biodiesel producer Neste Oil was to have supplied the biodiesel to OKQ8. Simo Honkanen, Neste Oil's vice-president for joint ventures and business opportunities, told bioenergy Business that he believed it was possible to ensure palm oil was produced sustainably. The company currently buys palm oil from Malaysia and. to ensure that the oil can be traced back to its source,"we have been putting much effort into developing a chain of custody", he said.

Nonetheless, Neste Oil is working with OKQ8 to use alternative feedstocks such as animal fats and rapeseed oil. Both these raw materials can be used in the company's 170,000t/year plant at Porvoo, which uses the hydrogen-based NExBTL process to produce a high-quality hydrocarbon diesel, said to outperform existing biodiesel grades.

Neste Oil is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an initiative that is establishing a sustainability standard for producing palm oil. The RSPO certification system is due to be unveiled at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 20 November, but the first ‘certified' palm oil will not be produced until March 2008, the RSPO says.

International players, more turbines boost US wind

Environmental Finance

New York, 8 November: A record 4,000MW of new wind energy generating capacity will be installed in the US by the end of 2007, thanks to a greater supply of turbines, a growing number of international players and new sources of financing, said an industry group. The American wind energy Association (AWEA) in Washington D.C. predicted the 4,000MW total on Wednesday, saying it would break the old record of 2,454MW installed in 2006. With the 2007 projects, total US wind capacity will exceed 14,000MW, according to the AWEA.

About 550MW of the 2007 projects were expected to begin operation in 2006, but were delayed by military concerns about their effects on radar, noted AWEA spokeswoman Kathy Belyeu. All were cleared for construction in 2007. In addition, greater turbine supplies have eased the shortage that has hampered development, Belyeu added. Spanish firms Acciona Energy and Gamesa now manufacture turbines in the US, while US firm Clipper Windpower Australia has expanded output and Denmark's Vestas is building US manufacturing capacity. Another Danish firm, Nordex, now sells turbines in the US, as does Germany's REpower.

International project developers are also stimulating activity, Belyeu said. These include: Acciona Energy, which acquired EcoEnergy; Energias de Portugal, which bought Horizon Wind from Goldman Sachs; Spain's Iberdrola, which acquired PPM Energy in its purchase of Scottish Power, and has bought several smaller wind companies; and E.ON of Germany, which acquired Airtricity's US wind division.

Meanwhile, established financial firms are increasingly investing in wind, while hedge funds and private equity firms are adding to "a big influx of financing over the past two or three years," Belyeu said.

State Renewable Portfolio Standards drive much of the development, but the AWEA supports the national Renewable Electricity Standard proposed in the recently introduced House energy bill. It would also like a long-term expansion of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides 1.9 cents/kWh to renewable energy generators. The PTC is due to expire after 2008.

IEA predicts ‘shocking’ rise in global energy demand

Environmental Finance

London, 8 November: The world is failing to curb the growth in energy demand, leading to an increase in projected greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned. Climate change could spin out of control, with a 6°C increase in global temperatures by 2030, if governments fail to implement new policies to restrain energy demand, the agency said yesterday.

On current trends, annual global GHG emissions from energy will reach 42 billion tonnes by 2030, producing a 6°C increase in temperature, largely driven by massive growth in energy demand from China and India, concluded the IEA's World Energy Outlook 2007 report. This is a 2 billion tonne increase on the projection made by the IEA in its 2006 report.

World energy demand will be 50% higher than today in 2030, the report says, with almost half of this demand driven by India and China. Within the last two years, China's emissions alone have gone from 35% of US emissions to overtake the US as the world's biggest emitter, the IEA noted. By 2030, India will be the third largest emitter in the world. Meanwhile, unless producers pump investment into global oil fields, the report says that a gap between expected output and expected demand of around 12.5 million barrels of oil a day by 2015 could lead to a supply crunch.

Speaking at the launch of the report in London, Nabuo Tanaka, executive director of the IEA, called its findings "shocking... particularly given the political capital that has been invested to improve the situation in the last few years." He added: "It is time to act." He said the report "demonstrates more clearly than ever that, if governments don't change their policies, oil and gas imports, coal use and greenhouse gas emissions are set to grow inexorably through to 2030 – even faster, in fact, than in last year's Outlook."

Fatih Birol, chief economist for the IEA and lead author of the report, stressed that China and India have a right to the economic growth that is partly leading to this rush forward in energy demand and carbon dioxide emissions. "One third of current emissions in China are embedded, to be exported outside of China," he said, noting that China's role as the production line for the world means that much of its energy is consumed in manufacturing goods to be sold in Europe and North America.

Tanaka added: "This is a legitimate aspiration that needs to be accommodated and supported by the rest of the world." As well as plotting out probable energy and emissions growth resulting from current policy, the IEA produced an alternative scenario – which sets out what would happen if proposed policies on energy efficiency, energy security and climate change were put in place.

The alternative scenario could cut demand for oil by 14 million barrels a day by 2030. Simply by applying European standards on the efficiency of air conditioning units and fridges, China could reduce electricity demand equivalent to two Three Gorges Dams by 2030. However, this would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 34 billion tonnes in 2030. Although this represents a 19% reduction on current trends, this would still result in a 3°C increase in temperature, higher than the 2°C target adopted by the EU.

According to the IEA, in order to keep temperature increases within the two degree limit considered necessary to keep climate change in check, every new coal or gas-fired power generation built after 2013 would have to be fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage technology, and 30 nuclear energy plants and 17,000 wind turbines would have to be built every year until 2030. The IEA currently expects renewables to grow from 2% of world energy supply to 4% in 2030.

However, Sven Teske, energy expert at Greenpeace International, cautioned: "What the IEA projects may happen is not inevitable and fails to take into account realistic options for limiting carbon dioxide emissions in both China and India." He added: "To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, all countries urgently need to act," said Teske. "Big emitters like the US must lead the way, starting at next month's UN climate talks, in Bali."

Monday 12 November 2007

AGL Energy to put some more wind in its sales

Tuesday 6/11/2007 Page: 3

AGL Energy has expanded its renewable energy portfolio, announcing plans to build its third wind farm in South Australia at a cost of $166 million. Days after selling its 33 per cent stake in West Australian gas retailing business Alinta AGL for $522 million, the embattled energy supplier will build a 71-megawatt wind farm at Hallett Hill, 170 kilometres north of Adelaide.

The news signals the intention of new managing director Michael Fraser to continue with predecessor Paul Anthony's plan to increase AGL's renewable energy generation capacity. The Hallett Hill wind farm will begin operating commercially in November 2009, create 150 jobs during construction and take AGL's commitment to renewable energy to 1000 megawatts.

The Hallett Hill wind farm will significantly add to AGL's capability to self-supply its renewable generation needs, and the operation of all three (South Australian) wind farms will supply a substantial component of AGL's obligations under the Federal Government's Mandatory Renewable Energy Target scheme," Mr Fraser said.

AGL has put considerable work into building a renewable generation portfolio that will deliver substantial environmental and financial benefits in a future carbon-constrained world." At the annual meeting on Thursday, Mr Fraser will give AGL shareholders a progress report on last month's profit downgrade of up to $70 million.


Time to clean up our energy

Herald Sun
Tuesday 6/11/2007 Page: 19

IN just one day the future for Australian jobs and the economy looks a whole lot brighter. With the ALP announcement last Tuesday of a 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020, the bar has been raised on the Coalition's 15 per cent-by-2020 plan. Politicians are finally taking the issue seriously. The ALP's Renewable Energy Target means that one-fifth of our electricity will come from clean, zero-emission, renewable sources by 2020.

Australia could become a clean energy superpower, with as many as 100 clean energy power stations built around the country using Australia's diverse and abundant renewable sources like wind, solar and geothermal. If we can start building up the industry from the beginning of next year, in 12 years we will double the amount of renewable energy we make today - more than 60,000 gigawatt hours in total, enough to run 7.5 million homes. The scale of this growth will foster Australian innovation and build up priceless knowledge.

The ALP target is both affordable and achievable, and would create up to 50,000 jobs and $20 billion in new private investment. At last Australia can get back in the clean energy game and bring our energy mix into line with the rest of the world. Europe, Canada, many US states and even China have all announced 20 per cent clean energy targets as a minimum. Australians have always been known for our new ideas and technological breakthroughs.

Many companies, including the Clean Energy Council's 410 members, have been building up their organisations while waiting for government policies to catch up. Unfortunately, some have had to look overseas for growth. Now the combination of a Renewable Energy Target and other climate change policies like emissions trading will unleash Australian creativity to meet the challenge back home. Half of Australia's dangerous greenhouse gas emissions come from energy production.

Setting aside a piece of the energy pie just for clean power is the smart way for us to help the economy modernise and get ready for a low carbon world. Together with energy efficiency and emissions trading, we can secure our jobs, economy, environment and our future. A national target will also simplify and streamline the various state schemes into a single, robust renewable energy goal for Australia - one we can visibly measure and achieve.

Climate change is well and truly on the world agenda. Last year Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth won an Academy Award and only last week Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio released his own climate change movie. In a couple of weeks the world's top climate scientists, as part of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will publish their fourth report assessing the state of the world's climate.

At the last federal election,climate change barely rated a mention. This time it's rightly in the top three concerns for voters. Things are changing fast and there's a lot we're all trying to understand quickly. But we can meet the challenge. As individuals, communities, countries and governments, we must play our part in cleaning up our energy consumption. Just two years ago we watched TV instead of YouTube, and we phoned instead of using Facebook. We now have iPods and the internet, computers and online communities. Everything we love runs on electricity - but fossil fuels power is a 100-year-old technology.

Isn't it time our power stations caught up with our PowerBooks? Let's come clean with our energy and make sure an ever-growing proportion of electricity generation is clean, renewable and as modem as we are.

Dominique La Fontaine is the CEO of the Clean Energy Council, Australia's clean energy peak industry body

Greenhouse Alliance wants hard targets

Ballarat Courier
Tuesday 6/11/2007 Page: 4

HARD targets for greenhouse gas emissions and energy from renewable sources need to be set by the next Federal Government. So says the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, which is calling on the party elected to govern at the upcoming federal election to set targets to "match the scale of the challenge."

The alliance is made up of 14 local governments, including the City of Ballarat, and nine business, government and community organisations. Alliance chairman Ian MacBean said Central Victorian communities and businesses were feeling the effects of the water crisis and understood the potential impact of unchecked emissions and climate change.

Our members and their communities are looking to the next government to deliver national policy and legislation which will support them in their efforts to ensure our region has a secure and sustainable future," he said. Dr MacBean said new industries based around renewable energy and energy efficiency could offer huge benefits to Central Victoria and could bring many jobs to the region.

New wind farm on the way

Adelaide Advertiser
Tuesday 6/11/2007 Page: 13

ENERGY company AGL will build its third windfarm in South Australia, the facility to become operational by late 2009. The 34 turbines will generate 71 megawatts and be built at Hallett Hill, 170km north of Adelaide. The wind farm is one of three under development in SA, where six already operate. AGL managing director Michael Fraser said the new facility would make AGL the nation's largest private renewable energy supplier. "The Hallett Hill wind farm will significantly add to AGL's capability to self supply its renewable generation needs," he said.

At a cost of $166 million over two years, the project will create 150 jobs when construction begins in January next year. The wind farm will be built about 20km from the 45 turbines at AGL's Brown Hill project. "These two projects, combined with Wattle Point, will bring the total number of wind turbines under AGL's management in South Australia to 134, with a total capacity of 257 megawatts," Mr Fraser said.

"The wind farm will provide enough renewable energy to power 40,000 average Australian households and abate approximately 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide." Premier Mike Rann said the new development showed that SA was within reach of renewable energy targets set for 2014. "We are well on track to achieve the legislated target of 20 per cent of our state's power generated from renewable sources by the end of 2009," he said.

Hallett Hill will also be eligible to supply renewable energy under proposed federal schemes. The project will be structured so either a sale similar to that undertaken for AGL's Brown Hill wind farm or other funding structures can be pursued by the company. A decision is expected on the future ownership structure towards the end of the 2008 financial year. AGL will contract all electricity output and green credits and will maintain the operations and management contract.

Future lies in harvesting sun, wind: AACC

Burdekin Grower
October, 2007 Page: 8

AS the federal election campaign officially gets under way, a new report released this week by the Agriculture Alliance on Climate Change shows that the future for rural Australia lies not just in traditional crops and stock, but in harvesting the sun and the wind and carbon farming. The AACC commissioned the CSIRO report which shows that farmers could be enjoying up to an extra $2.94 billion every year by getting involved in delivering Australia's clean energy economy.

The AACC asked the CSIRO to look at the opportunities of providing fuel, as well as more greenhouse friendly food and fibre and environmental services into the Australian and global economies. CSIRO identified a number of opportunities:
  • Providing renewable energy infrastructure like wind and bioelectricity under policies such as a clean, renewable energy target of 25 per cent by 2020.
  • Assisting the agricultural sector with finding and delivering greenhouse gas savings from its own activities by rewarding early action.
  • Creating (accredited and verified) environmentally sound offsets in the rural sector as part of a national emissions trading scheme.
  • Increasing active biodiversity conservation on private land from six to fourteen per cent across Australia.
CSIRO also found that by harvesting clean renewable energy and farming carbon, farmers could earn up to $1.3 billion a year including wind royalties of up to $263 million. The total potential annual revenue, including biodiversity stewardship payments is up to $2.94 billion. This report shows that although farmers and rural communities have been on the frontline of climate change impacts, the future of rural Australia lies in climate solutions like harvesting wind, solar and carbon farming.

However these rural based solutions and other mitigation actions won't happen without the right policies from Government to cut greenhouse pollution and drive the shift towards a clean energy future. AgForce chief executive officer Brett de Hayr said AgForce, as a member of the alliance, was keen to embrace the potential to harvest the sun and the wind, undertake carbon farming and provide biodiversity services in addition to traditional crop and stock production.

Mr de Hayr said the AACC commissioned CSIRO report showed farmers could enjoy up to an extra $2.88 billion annually by becoming part of the solution to Australia's climate change response in terms of biodiversity, emissions trading and renewable energy. "Australian farmers, particularly those in Queensland, are largely responsible for Australia's ability to meet its Kyoto emission targets already, and is the only sector to significantly reduce its emissions," Mr de Hayr said. He said agriculture needed to be part of the discussions to ensure the right policies are developed by Government to drive the shift towards a clean renewable energy future supplied largely by rural Australia.