Thursday 13 December 2007

Winds of change begin to blow

Herald Sun
Tuesday 11/12/2007 Page: 33

INSTALLATION of the first renewable energy power plant since Australia moved to ratify the Kyoto Protocol last week gets under way on Friday at a site near Ballarat leased to a joint venture of Spanish energy giant Acciona Energy and an ANZ Bank investment trust. Acciona managing director Brett Thomas said yesterday the $450 million wind farm would contribute green certificates to help Australia meet its Kyoto obligations from the end of next year.

The earthworks at the Waubra site have already been completed for the 128 turbines that will have the capacity to generate 192 megawatts of electricity, making it the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere. Singapore-owned Keppell Prince Engineering will deliver the first section of a steel tower from its Portland factory to Waubra later this week by road. Acciona announced yesterday it had awarded a $50 million contract to Keppell Prince to supply and install half of the turbines, with the balance of the project going to a Tasmanian company.

Ratifying Kyoto means the momentum created by the Victorian Renewable Energy Target to stimulate investment in wind energy will now carry over into the future," Mr Thomas said. The Waubra Wind Farm project was initiated under VRET, but in a broader sense it will help fulfil federal Labor's ability and commitment to meet its ultimate Kyoto target." The project is expected to displace about 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr Thomas estimated that if carbon is still trading around $40 a tonne when the wind farm is finished, revenue of about $24 million will be generated through carbon emissions trading alone. Half of that revenue would go to the energy infrastructure trust managed by ANZ Bank that owns 50 per cent of the Waubra Wind Farm project. Acciona said the new federal government policy requiring electricity retailers to buy 20 per cent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020 would boost the company's confidence in rolling out up to four new wind farms it was considering, in addition to the three it already has approval to start.

Keppell Prince general manager Steve Garner said his company had also received a boost from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's commitment to carbon emission and renewable energy targets. Keppell Prince expects 60 per cent of its business next year will come from the renewable energy sector as it turns out three towers a week for Acciona. It plans to employ another 40 to 50 people to add to its 100-strong wind tower workforce in February.

Mr Garner said the wind industry had experienced long gaps between projects as government policies on renewable energy had waxed and waned. "It's been tumultuous for a long time and we have had to carry a lot of employees while we waited for the next order, because it was cheaper than firing and hiring again." He said about 8000 tonnes of steel from Bluescope Steel would be used to build the towers which will be up to 80 metres tall.

Acciona is the largest developer, owner and operator of wind farms in the world, with 164 wind farms in nine countries representing over 4500 megawatts of wind energy installed or under construction. In Australia, it operates a 66MW wind farm jointly with Roaring 40s at Cathedral Rocks in South Australia, and has approval to build a 50MW wind farm at Woodlawn, NSW, and a 24MW wind farm at Berrimal, Victoria.

$85m bonanza

Portland Observer
Friday 7/12/2007 Page: 1

Portland-based Keppel Prince Engineering is set to pounce on the growing renewable energy market with contracts worth $85 million in the pipeline for 2008. It will provide work for an extra 40 to 50 workers in Portland giving the company an early Christmas present. The company has secured a $50 million supply and installation contract of wind turbine towers for Acciona Energy's 192 megawatt Waubra Wind Farm. It has also secured an $11 million contract with REpower for 22 towers at the Cape Nelson section of Pacific Hydro's Portland Wind Energy Project.

Keppel Prince general manager Steve Garner said the company was also in the final stages of negotiations and hoping to secure contracts for other projects including:
  • An $11 million contract to supply of 20 towers for Suzlon's Canberra wind farm, with delivery earmarked to start in June.
  • A $6.5 million contract to manufacture of 600 metres of steel line for the Bogong hydro power project in the Victorian Alps.
  • An $8 million contract to supply towers to a New South Wales wind farm project. Mr Garner said the first tower for the Waubra project would leave Portland next Friday.
The company will manufacture 64 towers for Waubra at its Portland base, with the other 64 towers for the project being manufactured by Tasmanian engineering firm Haywards. Mr Garner said Keppel Prince was pleased to work on the Waubra Wind Farm project. "We have had a difficult time keeping our skilled workers busy because of a slow down in the demand for wind turbine towers in the past couple of years," he said. "This contract helps us maintain our skills and build a business for the future.

"The steel towers for Waubra are being made in the fabrication and assembly workshops in Portland, keeping investment flowing into the region." Mr Garner said the additional employment being generated in Portland from the various renewable energy projects gave some hope of work for Vestas wind blade employees, given the pending closure of the blade factory on December 19.

"We will also be installing new equipment at Keppel Prince to cater for the increased work," he said. "We are currently producing two towers a week. .. hopefully from February that will increase to three towers a week." He said the Rudd Government's policy of increasing the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target to 20 per cent by 2020 would generate more renewable energy projects and work for Keppel Prince.

"We are also looking at opportunities stemming from various wave energy projects," he said. At least three wave energy proponents are eying Portland as an ideal site for wave energy projects. Mr Garner said while it was great to secure work for the various renewable energy projects, the company's core base and number one priority remained its ongoing relationship and work with Portland Aluminium.

Full wind ahead New Zealand giant joins in Macarthur project

Hamilton Spectator
Saturday 8/12/2007 Page: 5

THE largest proposed wind farm in Australia - the 183-turbine, $600 million behemoth between Macarthur and Hawkesdale - has sprung into life. Since the wind farm was given State Government planning approval last October, news about its progress had been virtually non-existent. The then developer, Southern Hydro (later bought out by AGL Energy), said it would take up to 12 months to investigate the financing of the huge project.

On Thursday, AGL told the Australian Stock Exchange that New Zealand's largest generator of electricity, Meridan Energy, had joined its Macarthur project. "The heads of agreement with Meridan Energy will bring together the key skills of both parties to determine the most favourable final generating capacity of the project," AGL managing director, Michael Fraser, said. He said the Macarthur site was one of the 'premier wind generation sites in Australia'. The wind farm would generate up to 450 megawatts - enough clean energy capacity to power about 250,000 average homes.
Mr Fraser said if the Macarthur Wind Farm proceeded, it would make a significant contribution to the company's requirements to meet the Federal Government's renewable energy target. "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," he added.

"If the Macarthur Wind Farm is built, AGL's renewable generation portfolio will extend to well in excess of 1000MW - Australia's largest privately owned and operated renewable portfolio." Mr Fraser said Australia had a strong emerging retail demand for clean and low carbon emission energy and AGL was strategically positioned as a cost competitive supplier to this market.

If the wind farm proceeds it's expected to create 600- 900 jobs in construction and manufacturing over its two-year construction period. The turbines would be spread across 55 square kilometres of predominantly cleared farm land mid-way between Macarthur and Hawkesdale. A three-member panel sat for five weeks in Hamilton last February- March to hear submissions for and against the wind farm. There were 1295 submissions - with 88 per cent in support.

Wednesday 12 December 2007

Climate: it's worse than we think

Canberra Times
Monday 10/12/2007 Page: 9

The world's leaders must engage in a profound philosophical discussion about our future on this planet, writes George Monbiot

When you warn people about the dangers of climate change, they call you a saint. When you explain what needs to be done to stop it, they call you a communist. Let me show you why. There is now a broad scientific consensus that we need to prevent temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees above their pre industrial level. Beyond that point, the Greenland ice sheet could go into irreversible meltdown, some ecosystems collapse, billions suffer from water stress and droughts start to threaten global food supplies.

The British Government proposes to cut carbon emissions in Britain by 60 per cent by 2050. This target is based on a report published in 2000. That report was based on an assessment published in 1995, which drew on scientific papers published a few years earlier. Britain's policy, in other words, is based on papers some 15 years old. This target, which is one of the toughest on earth, bears no relation to current science.

Over the past fortnight, both British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his adviser, Sir Nicholas Stern, have proposed raising the cut to 80 per cent. Where did this figure come from? The last G8 summit adopted the aim of a global cut of 50 per cent by 2050, which means that 80 per cent would be roughly Britain's fair share. But the G8's target isn't based on current science either. In the new summary published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, you will find a table that links different cuts to likely temperatures. It suggests that to prevent global warming from eventually exceeding 2 degrees, by 2050 the world will need to cut its emissions to roughly 15 per cent of the volume in 2000.

I looked tip the global figures for carbon dioxide production in 2000 and divided it by the current population. This gives a baseline figure of 3.58 tonnes of CO2, a person. An 85 per cent cut means that (if the population remains constant) the global output for each person should be reduced to 0.537 tonnes by 2050. Britain currently produces 9.6 tonnes a head and the United States 23.6 tonnes. Reducing these figures to 0.537 means a 94.4 per cent cut in Britain and a 97.7 per cent cut in the US. But the world population will rise in the same period. If we assume a population of nine billion, the cuts rise to 95.9 per cent in Britain and 98.3 per cent in the US.

The UN panel's figures might also be out of date. In a footnote beneath the table, the panel admits that "emission reductions. .. might be underestimated due to missing carbon cycle feedbacks." What this means is that the impact of the biosphere's response to global warming has not been frilly considered. As seawater warms, for example, it releases carbon dioxide.

As soil bacteria heat tip, they respire more, generating more CO2. As temperatures rise, tropical forests die back, releasing the carbon they contain. These are examples of positive feedbacks. A recent paper estimates that feedbacks account for about 18 per cent of global warming. They are likely to intensify.

A paper in Geophysical Research Letters finds that even with a 90 per cent global cut by 2050, the 2 degree threshold "is eventually broken." To stabilise temperatures at 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial level requires a global cut of 100 per cent. The diplomats who started talks in Bali last week should be discussing the complete decarbonisation of the global economy.

It is not impossible. In a previous article, I showed how by switching the whole economy over to the use of electricity and by deploying the latest thinking on regional supergrids, grid balancing and energy storage, you could run almost the entire energy system on renewable power. The main exception is flying (don't expect to see battery-powered jetliners), which suggests that we should be closing rather than opening runways This could account for about 90 per cent of the necessary cut.

Total decarbonisation demands that we go further. Preventing 2 degrees of warming means stripping carbon dioxide from the air. The necessary technology already exists: the challenge is making it efficient and cheap. Last year, researcher Joshuah Stolaroff, who has written a PhD on the subject, sent me some provisional costings, of £256-458 ($A590-1055) per tonne of carbon. This makes the capture of CO2 from the air roughly three tithes as expensive as the British Government's costings for building wind turbines, twice as expensive as nuclear energy, slightly cheaper than tidal power and eight times cheaper than rooftop solar panels in Britain.

But I suspect his figures are too low, as they suggest this method is cheaper than catching CO2, from purpose-built power stations, which cannot be true. The Kyoto Protocol, whose replacement the Bali meeting will discuss, has failed. Since it was signed, there has been an acceleration in global emissions: the rate of CO2 production exceeds the UN panel's worst case and is now growing faster than at any time since the beginning of the industrial revolution. It's not just the Chinese. A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that "no region is decarbonising its energy supply."

Even the age-old trend of declining energy intensity as economies mature has gone into reverse. In Britain there is a stupefying gulf between the Government's climate policy and the facts it is creating on the ground. How can a 60 per cent cut be achieved if new coal plants, new roads and a third runway at London Heathrow Airport are built? Underlying the immediate problem is a mach greater one. In a lecture to the Royal Academy of Engineering in May, Professor Rod Smith of Imperial College explained that a growth rate of 3 per cent means economic activity doubles in 23 years. At 10 per cent it takes just seven years. This we knew. But Smith takes it further.

With a series of equations he shows that "each successive doubling period consumes as much resource as all the previous doubling periods combined." In other words, if our economy grows at 3 per cent between now and 2040, we will consume in that period economic resources equivalent to all those we have consumed since humans first stood on two legs. Then, between 2040 and 2063, we must double our total consumption again. Reading that paper, I realised for the first time what we are up against.

But I am not advocating despair.

We must confront a challenge that is as great and as pressing as the rise of the Axis powers of the 20th century. Though the war often seemed impossible for the Allies to win, when the political will was mobilised strange and implausible things began to happen. The US economy was spun round on a dime 1942 as civilian manufacturing was switched to military production. The state took on greater powers than it had exercised before. Impossible policies suddenly became achievable.

The real issues in Bali are not technical or economic. The crisis we face demands a profound philosophical discussion, a reappraisal of who we are and what progress means. Debating these matters makes us neither saints nor communists - it shows only that we have understood the science.

George Monbiot is a columnist with the Guardian.

Big market shares put ACCC in frame

Australian Financial Review
Tuesday 11/12/2007 Page: 12

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman, Graeme Samuel, received a telephone call yesterday from NSW Treasurer, Michael Costa, who stressed the importance of competition issues ahead of the NSW Government's electricity privatisation plans. In the Premier State, three state-owned companies are responsible for around 33 percent of the power generated for the Australian electricity market, the largest of which is Macquarie Generation, who produces 40 percent of NSW's electricity needs and close to 15 percent of that required in the east of the country.

If a trade sale of the retail divisions of EnergyAustralia, Integral Energy and Country Energy is to eventuate, the most probable bidders will be AGL Energy, Origin Energy and TRUEnergy. Meanwhile, in the wake of the ACCC's unsuccessful legal bid to veto AGL's purchase of a minority interest in the Loy Yang power station, the question now exists as to whether or not the competition regulator will be willing to follow up the matter of existing stakeholders trying to get onto the share register of a floated vehicle.

$50,000 in grants

Ararat Advertiser
Tuesday 11/12/2007 Page: 1

ARARAT - Pacific Hydro's Sustainable Communities Fund has injected $50,000 into the Ararat community. The fund provided a total of $50,000 to 17 local community organisations through its latest round of grants. Pacific Hydro executive manager, Andrew Richards said the largest grants went to projects that support families and children in the Ararat Rural City. "Pacific Hydro is passionate about our work in communities and the Sustainable Communities Fund ensures we can provide support to groups who are working to achieve positive outcomes in their community," Mr Richards said.

"This year we are very proud that funding being provided will ensure that some important projects that support families and children will be completed." Groups sharing the largest grants included the Ararat and District Horse and Pony Club. Jack and Jill Kindergarten, Elmhurst Playgroup, St Andrew's Kindergarten and the Ararat YMCA.

Jack and Jill Kindergarten was awarded the largest grant, it received $9,873 towards its playground upgrade. Kindergarten director Kristine Hughes said she was excited to receive the grant and it would enable the playground upgrade to be completed. "We've been planning for the last 15 years knowing that we'd have to re-develop our fort." Ms Hughes said. "The volunteer committee raised $20,000 towards the rebuild, and that's done. "With this we'll be able to complete the renovation." Funds will be used to create a cave and tunnel under the fort, for planting in the gardens and creating a pole forest.

Ms Hughes said that the grant would enable works to be completed in the playground - these would have otherwise been put on hold until funds could be raised. "Without the grant we would be waiting another 20 years probably," Ms Hughes said. "Like all Ararat community groups it's all funds from the community (that are needed to carry out works). "To be able to access these funds from Pacific Hydro is fantastic." St Andrew's Kindergarten director/ teacher Susan Hurley echoed Ms Hughes' comments saying its grant of $5.000 would make a big difference to facilities at the kinder. "We are planning to use it as part of a three stage outdoor project." Ms Hurley said.

This will be stage one, we will use it for the construction of shade sails over the playground." Ms Hurley said students will then be able to access the outdoor playground all year round. Ms Hurley said that the grant eased the strain on the kindergarten to come up with the funds. "It means that we can go ahead on it now as opposed to six months down the track," Ms Hurley said. Ararat and District Horse and Pony Club will use its $4,000 to improve the amenities at its Elizabeth Street home.

Club secretary Leonie Tellefson said the funds would be used to install a shower and new toilets. Ms Tellefson said that the Pacific Hydro funding alone would not complete the project, it would be completed in stages. Pacific Hydro's Sustainable Community Fund provides a proportion of revenue from the Challicum Hills Wind Farm to support education, sporting, cultural and environmental projects within the Ararat Rural City.

The program, which will run for the life of the wind farm, has been operating for three years and has already provided in excess of $100,000 shared across 25 different community organisations working within the Ararat Rural City. "We always receive very large numbers of applications for a range of very worthwhile projects." Mr Richards said. "I'd like to thank the Ararat Rural City for their guidance and assistance which has been invaluable in the very difficult short-listing process." Cheques were presented to the 17 grant recipients at a ceremony at the Ararat Town Hall last week.

Help green the planet

Coffs Coast Advocate
Saturday 8/12/2007 Page: 73

NIMBIN'S Rainbow Power Company is on the cusp of a boom that's been 20 years in the making. The company formed in 1987 at a time when the greenhouse effect was, to many people, mere catch phrases of the green movement and the prospect of climate change was hotly debated. "Carbon emissions were not in the popular language then, but we knew we had to get smarter on how we're treating this planet, and it's unfortunately all come to fruition," Rainbow Power Company administration officer Karen Welsh said. "We'd be much better off if we'd introduced the sorts of policies we're trying to introduce now 20 years ago." Not that they haven't been trying.

The Rainbow Power Company sells a broad mix of green energy systems, ranging from solar panels, small hydro- electric systems and wind turbines through to appliances such as a solar cookers, water-powered fans, and environmentally-friendly toilets. The company not only sells locally, but exports as well. It has been involved in a number of renewable energy programs around the world, such as setting up solar powered water pumps in Papua New Guinea, solar powered communications equipment in Somalia, setting up hydro- electricity for a village in Ecuador, and solar powered electric fences in France.

But it's the Australian rebates for renewable energies that is driving the new boom. Rebates introduced in July provide up to $8000 for households setting up renewable energy systems and up to half the cost of setting up those systems for remote properties. The new Labor Government went to the election pledging low-interest loans of up to $10,000 per household to set up renewable energy systems. That means the Rainbow Power Company is expecting a surge in business and is now recruiting a new sales person and a new solar installer.

Ms Welsh said the company expected to open up still more positions in the new year. From an employee's point of view, Rainbow Power Company is a bit different. Export manager Dave Lambert said the company modelled itself on a workers' co-operative, adopting many of the practices of such co-ops. Those practices included a standard base-rate of pay for everyone in the company regardless of their position, although people in specialist positions did get allowances; for example, a solar panel installer gets a $15 per day tool allowance.

All workers at the company were encouraged to buy shares and take an active role in its growth and direction; only people working in the company - who were also shareholders - were able to vote at company meetings; and every voting shareholder had an equal voice, regardless of the number of shares they owned.

Tuesday 11 December 2007

Wind power group formed

Guardian News
Thursday 6/12/2007 Page: 1

Home owners around the Nambucca region aim to lead the way on the renewable energy front. A group of local people passionate about stopping climate change and becoming energy self-sufficient has formed the Yarrahapinni Wind Energy Association. The group is the brain-child of Yarrahapinni nursery owner Michael Jones and, in the beginning, will focus on providing information to the public about the advantages of using wind as a clean, natural energy source.

Eventually, Mr Jones said he would like to see the group facilitate wind turbines for people who want them to power their own homes, or form co-operatives to build turbines for neighbourhoods. "A lot of people in the Valley are worried about the consequences of abrupt climate change, which has been predicted to happen in the next 10 years, if nothing is done to change the way we produce energy," he said.

"Wind has been proved effective in generating power for other countries - Spain is producing more energy from wind now than from any other source," he said. "We have good resources, as far as wind is concerned, better than Spain." According to the `wind atlas', showing wind speeds around NSW, the Mid North Coast is prime energy-producing country, with steady, strong breezes.

Mr Jones said, ideally, the wind turbines would run through backward-running power meters, which would put the energy into the power grid. He said sometimes wind produces more than you need to run a home, and sometimes less. That system would allow users to still have access to the grid when needed, but substantially cut down on power costs. "With the rate batteries improving all the time, in a few years, it might be possible to have a completely stand-alone system, which would be great - no black-outs," he said.

The Yarrahapinni Wind Energy Association had a strong response at its first meeting in November, with people turning out from as far as Bellingen to discuss the possible use of wind in the future. Mr Jones said one of the objectives of the group would be to lobby all levels of government for financial assistance for the wind industry, including grants to set up turbines and feedback tariffs for wind-generated electricity. He already has a site picked out for his future `Whisper 500' wind turbine up on the top of his hill. He said it would produce 18 kilowatts a day, more energy than is needed in the average home.

Wind farm expansion

Bendigo Advertiser
Monday 10/12/2007 Page: 3

LONDON - Britain is planning a massive expansion of its offshore wind farms to power every home in the country. The government will choose a number of sites in waters off the British coast to build the wind farms, which will produce 25 gigawatts of electricity by 2020. The move will mean that Britain's offshore wind farm industry will be twice the size of any other country's and put it on track to meet a target of having 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources within the next 13 years. Secretary of State for Business John Hutton was expected to outline the proposal at a conference in Berlin today, the Independent on Sunday reported.

Clean Power: Kyoto gives industry new drive, $20bn energy boom

Adelaide Advertiser
Monday 10/12/2007 Page: 43

AUSTRALIAN clean energy businesses are preparing to inject an additional $20 billion into new projects over the next decade, following the Rudd Government's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Until now, the Australian renewable energy industry has lagged the rest of the developed world, and even some developing countries like China and India, due to a lack of political will and regulatory support. But the cloud has been lifted.

"Australia's back in the game," Clean Energy Council head Dominique La Fontaine said at a UN climate change conference in Bali, which new Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will attend with five senior ministers this week. "Europe, the U.S. and even China have all been booming and Australia's been lagging, but we're going to see massive growth now as we play catch-up." Rudd last week said he wanted Australia to take a lead role in Bali to thrash out a roadmap for a global warming pact to replace Kyoto beyond

He agreed on the need for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and set a target of getting 20 per cent of Australia's energy from renewable sources by the year 2020. This is expected to drive demand for clean technology like wind, solar and geothermal power plants that account for just 8 to 9 per cent of total power consumption -paltry compared to the U.S. and Europe. Coal currently generates more than 80 per cent of Australia's electricity, and accounts for 50 per cent of household and industry greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr La Fontaine, part of the official Australian delegation in Bali, said the renewable energy target would trigger an additional $20 billion worth of investment in Australia, create 50,000 new jobs and the equivalent of 100 clean power stations across the country. The move to ratify Kyoto would also see Australian companies expand overseas operations under a scheme known as the Clean Development Mechanism, through which they're now eligible to earn carbon credits to sell on the global market by investing in clean technology projects in poorer nations.

Previously, Australian companies had to set up joint ventures with overseas partners to access this income stream, which increases project revenue by up to 20 per cent, making projects commercially viable and helping to cover risks associated with investing in developing economies, business leaders said.

Wind farms to power Britain

Adelaide Advertiser
Monday 10/12/2007 Page: 2

BRITAIN is planning a massive expansion of its offshore wind farms that it is hoped will eventually power every home in the country. The Government will choose sites in waters off the British coast to build the wind farms. They will produce 25 gigawatts of electricity by 2020. The move will mean Britain's offshore wind farm industry will be twice the size of any other country's and put it on track to meet a target of having 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources within the next 13 years.

Secretary of State for Business John Hutton was expected to outline the proposal at a conference in Berlin tomorrow, the Independent on Sunday newspaper reported. "By 2020, enough electricity could be generated off our shores to power the equivalent of all the UK's homes," excerpts from his speech published in the newspaper said. "The challenge for government and for industry is to turn this potential for our energy and economy into a cost effective reality. "This will be a major challenge." The announcement has come just weeks after Mr Hutton reportedly knocked back plans to expand Britain's sources of renewable energy.

Community projects become a reality

Burra Broadcaster
Wednesday 5/12/2007 Page: 6

Several community groups in the Mid North recently received grants towards a variety of projects as part of the AGL Hallett Wind Farm Community Fund. AGL project manager, Steve Oswald, presented the successful applicants with their cheques over morning tea at the Northern Areas Council on Wednesday November 28. Community groups and volunteers in both the Regional Council of Goyder and Northern Areas Council regions were encouraged to apply for the funds, which will be granted annually for the next 25 years.

A total of $15,000 in funds has been designated to successful applicants across the two council areas as part of the AGL Hallett Wind Farm Community Fund. Mr Oswald mentioned plans for an identical fund to be established for the Hallett Wind Farm, in which another $15,000 will be made available annually to communities within the Regional Council of Goyder. Manager of community development at Northern Areas Council, Stacey Goodes, described the funds as "a big bonus to community groups."

Administered by the Northern Areas Council, the grant assistance means that a lot of previously wishful projects in the local community have now become a reality. The successful applicants of the Community Fund within the Northern Areas Council included the Jamestown and Areas Basketball Association, who received $3,000 for new junior uniforms, which a couple of young basketball players were sporting at the presentation morning.

Jamestown Lawn Tennis Association was granted a useful $2,700 towards a water conditioner for irrigation as the water restrictions and a salty bore prevented the club from watering their courts, while the Jamestown Bowling Club was granted $500 for sub-floor ventilation to prevent termites. A new tumble mat will be purchased for Jamestown Kinder gymnastics who received a $2,000 grant, while the Spalding Swimming Centre was granted $1,000 towards the cost of a pool safety course for the volunteer supervisors, and the Jamestown Showground received an upgrade to its power supply.

Ellen and Don Mudge of the Jamestown Development Association, who received $1,500 toward the cost of advertising and entertainment for the Christmas pageant, described the fund as "absolutely fantastic." "To receive that much money for the pageant is such a blessing," Mrs Mudge said. Through the Community Fund, Mr Oswald said AGL aims to bring a positive impact to the communities in which they are involved. "AGL has invested significantly in South Australia and the company takes its responsibility as an active and contributing member of the community very seriously. The community grants are a tangible way of demonstrating our community awareness in small through to significant ways," Mr Oswald said.

Having commenced construction on the Hallett Power Station in 2001 through to the construction phase of the Hallett Wind Farm and their recent commitment to the establishment of a Hallett Wind Farm, AGL aim to generate enough "green energy" to power over 90,000 homes. "We are thrilled to see so many volunteers who go out of their way to make their communities a better place to live," Mr Oswald said. A presentation for successful applicants within the Regional Council of Goyder is expected to be held in the next month.

Positive wind farm response: 200 people offer project feedback

Moyne Gazette
Thursday 6/12/2007 Page: 5

A COMPANY proposing to build a 100-turbine wind farm near Mortlake said it had received positive feedback to the idea at a recent information day in the town. Acciona Energy, a global renewable energy company, said it received a positive response from the Mortlake and surrounding communities at an information day last Thursday. Acciona Energy hopes to install up to 100 wind turbines on two sites - one located 9.5 kilometres east of Mortlake and the other located five kilometres south of Mortlake.

The wind farm would be capable of producing enough green electricity to power about 86,000 households, or a city the size of Geelong. Acciona Energy has been operating in Australia since 2002 and is currently building the Waubra wind farm, near Ballarat. It also has a number of proposals and projects in the development phase, as well as an operating wind farm at Cathedral Rocks in South Australia. The company expressed its thanks to more than 50 people who attended the community information day at the Mortlake Soldiers Memorial Hall and to the 140 people who returned feedback forms throughout November.

Acciona's environment and stakeholder relations manager, Stephanie Rice, said the feedback from local residents had been highly supportive of the project and of renewable energy in general. Those at the community information day came from Mortlake and the neighbouring communities of The Sisters, Kolora, Noorat, Terang and Darlington. Ms Rice said most people were supportive of the project because it would help combat climate change and create jobs and benefits for the regional economy.

She said the feedback forms showed the majority of respondents - 83 per cent - were concerned about climate change and 80 per cent would support a wind farm in their local area. Acciona Energy has also commissioned a social research company to independently gauge the views of the wider community surrounding the project areas.

The results will be presented as part of a community consultation program that will continue next year. Acciona Energy intends to submit a planning application for the wind farm to the State Government by March next year. Acciona Energy operates in more than 30 countries on five continents. It invests in the development and management of sustainable infrastructures, services and renewable energies, including wind, small hydro, biomass, solar and biodiesel.

Grange boss committed to project

Albany Advertiser
Thursday 6/12/2007 Page: 4

Grange Resources is committed to a modern sustainable mining project, according to managing director Geoff Wedlock. Following the announcement of an option agreement with the Water Corporation for a recycled water supply, Mr Wedlock said the project was progressing favourably. "This announcement also fits well with the potential development of wind generated power capacity near Southdown, in addition to the available grid power," he said.

The water agreement will provide the mining company with a minimum of 5000 kL of water per day, two-thirds of the mine's total water requirement. A water treatment plant will be constructed by Grange at the Southdown site to upgrade the waste water's quality for use as industrial process water. A Water Corporation spokesman said the agreement provided an opportunity for the company to support new industry and increase the use of recycled water in WA.

Grange Resources company secretary Neil Marston said there were two wind generation companies currently looking into the viability of providing a wind farm near Southdown. "They will be conducting field testing in the near future," Mr Marston said. He was unable to name the companies involved in the possible wind projects but said the smallest farm would produce 100mW of power at 100 per cent output.

AGL wind agreement

Friday 7/12/2007 Page: 4

AGL Energy has agreed with New Zealand's Meridian Energy on the possible development of what would be the largest wind energy project in either Australia or New Zealand. The proposed wind farm at Macarthur, in south-west Victoria, would have a capacity of as much as 450 megawatts - enough to power about 250,000 homes, AGL said in a statement to the stock exchange. If this project is built, AGL will have more than 1000MW of wind generation.

The Australian Government wants 20% of all power to come from renewable sources by 2020. "If the Macarthur wind farm goes ahead, it will make a significant contribution to AGL's requirement to meet the Federal Government's expanded Mandatory Renewable Energy Target scheme," AGL boss Michael Fraser said.

Monday 10 December 2007

Our green dream

Manningham Leader
Wednesday 5/12/2007 Page: 5

DONCASTER Hill could become a self-sustaining village with wind turbines, a water recycling system and solar panels on buildings and bus stops if an innovative new proposal gains support. Sustainability Victoria has approached Manningham Council for help to develop a Smart Energy Zone (SEZ) plan for the precinct in a bid to slash greenhouse gas emissions when the council's vision for a highrise estate on the hill is realised.

The council's Doncaster Hill strategy, which aims to turn Doncaster Rd into a boulevard lined with energy-efficient highrise shop and apartment complexes, is starting to gain momentum. Now the council is being encouraged to make its grand plan even greener. Sustainability Victoria's SEZ project manager Steven Peters said he was working with the council to develop business cases for local energy production such as small-scale suburban wind generation.

He said Doncaster Hill could be an ideal pilot site. "It is a new development so it is a lot easier to put in things there rather than retrofit on to an existing system," Mr Peters said. "And there is such a strong focus on sustainability in their (council's) plans." Sustainability Victoria has $4 million of State Government funds for green projects such as solar, wind and thermal energy production.

Manningham Council planning and environment director Paul Molan said there was potential for Manningham to be a leader in sustainability and pointed to council's roof as a possible site for wind turbines or extensive solar panelling. Mr Molan said larger-scale ideas included sewer mining, where stormwater is re-used for watering parks and gardens. The Doncaster Hill Hotel, due to start construction mid-2008, could be one of the first to go green. Developer Ron Di Pietro said he hoped to generate electricity through wind turbines and solar panels on the hotel's roof. Mr Di Pietro said it would be costly and more government incentives should be provided, but that Doncaster Hill could be a flagship project.

Worldwide race to bury our carbon emission mistakes

Geelong Advertiser
Thursday 6/12/2007 Page: 23

IN western Japan, researchers fuss over tubes that look like coiled strands of linguini. But this is no cooking class: the scientists are trying to pull carbon dioxide - the leading cause of global warming - from power plant exhaust. The work, on filters that separate CO2 from other gases, is part of an expanding global race to trap greenhouse pollutants and bury them deep underground, an experimental and costly technology known as Carbon Capture and Storage, or CCS.

In the biting cold of Europe's North Sea, Norway operates the world's first offshore carbon capture plant. Australia, the world's fourth largest coal producer, has more than a dozen planned projects. The United States, meanwhile, is leading a $1.7 billion quest to build a zero emissions, coal-based power station. The struggle to transform fossil fuels into a clean energy source will figure prominently at the major two-week UN climate change conference in Bali.

"I think Carbon Capture and Storage will play an important part in a longterm response to climate change," Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the conference, said. "Countries like China and India will continue to rely on abundantly available coal, and therefore you have to find a way of economically using that coal in a clean way." The programs aren't without critics.

Much of the focus of global warming efforts is on reducing production of CO2, not storing it. Many environmentalists argue that the billions spent on researching carbon storage should go instead to developing renewable energy sources. Safety concerns abound. Some fear the carbon dioxide could seep out of its underground storage, contaminating groundwater or poisoning the air. Carbon stored at the bottom of the ocean, as others have proposed, could wreak havoc with marine ecosystems.

The technology is expensive, will take years to develop, burden future generations with maintaining underground storage areas and only perpetuate the world's dependence on fossil fuels, critics say. "What we see is a diversion of money away from renewables toward CCS and coal, and that's not the way we want to see things move forward," said Gabriela von Goerne of Greenpeace's climate and energy unit in Hamburg, Germany. "The technology is not in place, it's under development, and we don't have time. We need to cut emissions right now and not in 15 or 10 years."

Even proponents acknowledge they will have to overcome huge hurdles to combine coal burning operations with carbon storage. Because of the cost, the technology requires a large financial incentive-such as the high tax placed on carbon emissions in Norway - to make economic sense for energy companies. But backers say that carbon storage would allow us to have our coal and burn it too - and that that's the only realistic course in a world so dependent on fossil fuels.

$70m help for climate

Daily Telegraph
Thursday 6/12/2007 Page: 21

THE State Government yesterday announced $70 million in funding for two climate change and renewable energy programs. Premier Morris Iemma said $40 million would be given to a Renewable Energy Development Program, aimed at encouraging new technologies from the drawing board to the market place. "A low emission future depends on our capacity to generate clean, green energy and this program provides financial backing for new ideas and technologies," Mr Iemma said. Schools, community centres, town halls and other public buildings would also be able to access a $30 million pool of funding for water and energy saving projects.

Report backs energy system

Business News
Thursday 6/12/2007 Page: 38

WESTERN Australians can be confident their certified renewable energy purchases through energy retailers such as Synergy and Alinta come from renewable sources, according to an auditor general's report.

The report, which examined whether renewable energy bought and sold by state government agencies actually is from renewable sources, found that the renewable energy bought by WA consumers was certified with Renewable Energy Certificates through the federal government's Mandatory Renewable Energy Target and the state's GreenPower program.

Both programs are designed to encourage consumers to contribute towards extra generation of electricity from renewable sources through retailers' purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates, which in turn places a premium on renewable energy purchases by consumers. Examining whether the GreenPower program has increased the supply of renewable energy in WA, the report says that, since 2001-02, electricity generated by accredited renewable sources on the South West grid has increased from 1 per cent of total energy generated to 5 per cent at June 2007.

The mandatory target and GreenPower programs have contributed to this increase. But while supply of renewable energy has increased, the sales of GreenPower to both commercial and residential customers remains significantly lower than in other states. Only one in every 164 WA households was buying GreenPower at June 30 2007, compared with rates of between one in nine and one in 17 in other states.

WA had the lowest number of residentialcustomers buying GreenPower out of all the states, with 4,988 people buying green energy, and the second lowest number of commercial customers at 635. Energy retailer Synergy says its green energy customer numbers have increased 19 per cent since the introduction of its EasyGreen product on October 1, with a 149 per cent increase during the past year.

Synergy's active marketing in recent weeks of its EasyGreen product, which allows customers to set a dollar amount to be applied to their Synergy account for the purchase of renewable energy, has led to an additional 1,300 customers signing up purchase green power. "We are committed to increasing the sale of renewable energy in WA, and this finding can give the public the confidence to contact Synergy and sign up for one of our green energy options, knowing without a doubt it is coming from renewable sources," Synergy's Andrew Gaspar said.

The report also examined the use of individual contracts to buy electricity equivalent to the output of a particular renewable generator. Particular reference was made to Water Corporation claims that the power used at its kWinana desalination Plant is offset by renewable energy generated at the Emu Downs wind farm near Cervantes.

While Synergy buys 66 per cent of the electricity generated by wind farms to fulfil its contract with the Water Corporation, along with 66 per cent of the Renewable Energy Certificates produced by Emu Downs, the certificates were not part of the transaction between Synergy and the Water Corporation. Therefore, the report says, the contractual arrangement to power the desalination plant does not ensure that additional renewable energy is generated. In response to the report, the Water Corporation said its contract with Synergy for energy from Emu Downs was key in enabling the project to reach financial close, therefore ensuring that a significant renewable energy project was constructed in WA.

Mining union urges target for carbon capture technology

Thursday 6/12/2007 Page: 10

THE powerful mining union will today call for a mandatory target of 5% of electricity to be generated from low-emissions coal technologies by 2020 to help tackle climate change and protect coalminers' jobs. The Labor Government has already set an ambitious renewable energy target of 20% by 2020. But in a report to be launched today, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union will call for an additional target of 5% of electricity to come from Carbon Capture and Storage, to ensure companies invest in the nascent technologies.

Carbon Capture and Storage involves capturing the carbon dioxide emitted when burning fossil fuels and burying it underground, usually in depleted oil fields or deep aquifers. Although there are projects in Australia that demonstrate the technologies, such as the $30 million Otway Basin project in Victoria, the method needs to be developed on a larger scale.

The union's national president, Tony Maher, said coal companies would not invest in the technologies, which are not now commercially viable, unless they had a guaranteed market share. The report says: "We propose this target because it is abundantly clear that the first generation of these new Carbon Capture and Storage power stations will not be commercially competitive with current power sources, and that an emissions trading system over the next decade will not in itself provide certainty to ensure their development.

They need certainty that they will be able to sell their electricity." The CFMEU is also calling on Australian coal companies to increase investment in Carbon Capture and Storage technologies. It proposes that the industry increase its levy for new technologies from 20 cents per tonne of coal to $1 per tonne.

Mr Maher said multinationals such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata should be investing more. "They have a moral obligation because they have made s---loads of money out of the resources boom," said Mr Maher, who is representing the CFMEU, the ACTU and the Australian Government at the United Nations climate change conference in Bali.

"Global mining companies, which are largely based in this country, should bear the biggest burden of developing coal capture and storage." The report also calls for the creation of a Carbon Capture and Storage taskforce to focus the efforts of government, industry and researchers. "While some call for extreme responses like banning coal altogether, the real challenge is to accept that developing nations, in particular India and China, will be reliant on coal for some time and we need to reduce the impact of this energy source on the environment," Mr Maher said.