Friday 7 March 2008

Success spun out of turbine project

Burnie Advocate
Thursday 6/3/2008 Page: 25

INNOVATION is a word that doesn't scare Robert Nichols. In fact Mr Nichols is a man who embraces innovation and it has earnt his business, Nichols Poultry, two awards at the North- West Commerce and Industry Awards, held on Saturday night. Nichols Poultry tied for top place in the Innovation in Business category and was also named winner of Best Agribusiness.

"It was rather a shock," Mr Nichols said. "We are very pleased with ourselves after many years beavering away. "It is the first time we have been associated with the awards and to get two awards was a very satisfying result." He credits his wind farm project, which he has been working on for a number of years, as playing a big part in their win in the innovation category.

Mr Nichols has long believed the answer to conserving energy is in the wind and later this month he will have his own wind farm generating renewable energy on his property. He told The Advocate last July that he expected the turbines to reduce energy costs by 60 per cent. It has taken three years of research and many trips overseas visiting farms who have harnessed wind-generated power. He is sure Nichols Poultry was the most unusual candidate entered in the awards.

"The idea of producing our own renewable energy for business is something rather unique and hopefully others will pick it up as time goes by." The project is now in the final construction phase and Mr Nichols hopes to have the turbines producing energy by the middle of this month. But it is a project that has required plenty of patience.

"It has been an incredibly steep learning curve, but we won some State Government support through a CleanBiz grant last year and that did buoy my confidence in the project," he said. "It helped me to continue with the project, but the whole way through it has been piles of contracts, headaches, difficulties. "The wonderful thing is that everyone I have come across throughout the project has had a positive outlook.

"While there are still a few hurdles to overcome, I can see myself producing renewable energy and we are at the stage where the final pieces are coming together and that is a really satisfying feeling." The future of the agriculture side of the Nichols family farm also has a bright future and the Sassafras/Wesley Vale Irrigation Scheme will boost that further should it be given a green light. "We would certainly be subscribing to the scheme," Mr Nichols said. "It will secure the future of our district.

"With wheat crops looking increasingly viable to grow, it has to be viable for farmers to look at irrigating them, whereas traditionally irrigation was never reserved for things like cereal." With his wind farm project nearing completion, Mr Nichols laughs heartily when asked about his future plans. "I'd love to do another wind farm project and try for one in a different location," he said. "I'm sure we would encounter more hurdles, but it would be a new challenge."

Tasmania is well placed to lead the nation in tackling climate change.

Burnie Advocate
Thursday 6/3/2008 Page: 20

Blessed with clean hydro power generation and with abundant wind for wind energy, we can start to set the standard on the national stage. Other coal-dependent and more populated states have got more at stake when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Premier Paul Lennon surprised a few people this week when he announced the Government would legislate to reduce Tasmania's greenhouse gas emissions.

Proposed new laws will set an emissions reduction target for the State of 60 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050. The Government will also audit its own emissions. The bill will also establish a new Tasmanian Climate Action Council that reports directly to the Premier. There has been no commitment yet to introduce interim targets.

Surely this makes sense and would give Tasmanians an incentive to immediately start making changes. As a nation, within a global context, we should have started yesterday. It has taken the State Government a while to even put climate change on its agenda. Let's hope its "Agenda 2008" is substance and not spin.

Who's the greenest of them all?

New Scientist
Saturday 1/3/2008 Page: 8

If the election rested on green credentials alone, the identity of the next US president might surprise you.

CLIMATE change is the biggest science issue in the world, and the biggest science issue in the upcoming US election. Who is the front runner? If you look at the parties, it's a no-brainer: the Democrats snatched control of both houses of Congress in 2006, and have so far made good on their promises to fight climate change. The Republicans under George W. Bush have a lousy record.

Nonetheless, the stakes couldn't be higher for the next president to commit to combating global warming. For one thing, the country still doesn't have a federal mandate to cap carbon emissions. Among the three leading candidates, you might assume that one of the Democrats - either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, is the most environmentally friendly. Both senators have made big promises to cuts emissions and fund clean energy research. Republican front runner John McCain has a set of climate credentials that arguably eclipses them both. He has railed against inaction on the issue since long before it was fashionable to do so.

Now that he's the presumptive conservative nominee, however, there are signs that the Arizona senator will backtrack. There is also an independent candidate, Ralph Nader, who supports a carbon tax - a fee charged for every tonne of carbon emitted - rather than a cap-and-trade system. That stance is widely considered politically untenable, and Nader got less than 0.4 per cent of the vote in 2004. So of the three main candidates, who is the greenest?

On the Democratic side, both Clinton and Obama are bolstered by their party's record. Last December the Democrats pushed through the Energy Independence and Security Act, requiring all can in the US to run for at least 35 miles on every gallon of gasoline by 2020. Several bills are also circulating that call for emissions cuts as deep as 8o per cent from 199o levels by 2050. If elected president, both candidates say they will work to make one of these bills law.

Whether any of those plans will actually work remains to be seen, says John Holdren, chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "Eighty per cent by 2050 is almost a theological argument. No one can know what the world will be like in 42 years," he says. "The important thing is that we get on a track to make deep cuts in emissions down the road." To do that, Holdren and other climate experts agree that by itself a cap-and-trade system is not enough.

Large funding increases for clean energy research and development are needed, as are improvements to energy efficiency across the board. Clinton and Obama have each promised to invest $150 billion over to years to commercialise clean energy technologies, and to double basic science research into clean energy and efficiency measures. Both claim they will ensure at least 25 per cent of US energy comes from renewable sources by 2025, and both have promised to raise fuel efficiency standards for cars. Both support legislation that would sanction auctioning the full allotment of carbon credits to greenhouse gas emitters. That would maximise funds that could then be used to develop clean energy technologies.

However, the candidates do have subtle differences in their senate records, with Clinton edging ahead. For instance, last year Obama raised concerns among environmentalists when he co-sponsored a bill that would promote the development of coal-to-liquid fuel technologies - essentially turning coal into a source of diesel fuel. Clinton, on the other hand, introduced the Zero-Emissions Building Act of 2007, which aims to make all new federal buildings carbon-neutral by 2030. As the race for the Democratic nomination goes to the wire, the votes of the science-savvy super-delegates could be vital.

Of the three then, who is best placed to implement an aggressive policy to curtail global warming? The surprising answer may be McCain. Clinton and Obama's big promises could bring other large emitters like China and India into line behind the US. That's important, especially as world leaders look to a new climate policy after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. But McCain is the only candidate battle-hardened by years of defending his climate change bills on the Senate floor.

As early as 2000 he refused to toe the party line, calling climate change "a very serious business." In 2003 he and Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut sponsored the first iteration of the Climate Stewardship Act, which would have limited US emissions to 2000 levels by 2010. It was defeated, but McCain's revisions kept surfacing in the Senate, complete with more stringent emissions targets. Last year he reintroduced the bill as the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act of 2007. It calls for a nationwide cap-and-trade system as well as funding for clean technology that would allow the country to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 6o per cent of 1990 levels by 2050.

Some of the bills now in Congress are tougher, but McCain's history of pioneering advocacy for regulations is undeniable. The question is whether his stance has weakened. In December, he was the only senator absent for a crucial vote on the Energy Independence and Security Act. At stake was an amendment that would require the US to get 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. The bill failed by one vote and the amendment was stripped out of the version that ultimately passed into law. McCain's message on the campaign trail has also weakened.

"Now he's using words very carefully and qualifying his statements. It suggests to me he's trying to open up some flexibility on climate change," says Neal Lane, former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. However, McCain is unlikely to beat a full retreat to the old Republican line, says Sherwood Boehlert, a Republican and former chair of "Clinton and Obama's big promises could bring other large emitters like China and India into line behind the US" the House of Representatives science committee.

In short then, McCain has the greenest credentials; the Democrats the greenest promises. And any will be greener than the current president. "Any of the three candidates would embrace serious climate change legislation," says Holdren. If he's right, a major climate bill - likely the Lieberman-Warner bill that passed through the Senate in December - could be signed into law in early 2009. Just as important will be the next president's role in maintaining a long-term commitment, says Holdren. "Whoever it is, he or she will have a great opportunity - and responsibility - to get us on the right track."

AGL expands turbines

Adelaide Advertiser
Thursday 6/3/2008 Page: 40

AGL Energy hopes to generate 345 megawatts of electricity from South Australian wind turbines in two years, as it flagged an extension of its Hallett project north of Adelaide yesterday. The company said it had acquired rights to build a third 30-turbine wind farm in South Australia at Mount Bryan (Hallett 3), near Burra.

Hallett 3 would produce up to 90 megawatts and be 15km from two other AGL wind farms - a 95 megawatt farm at Brown Hill (Hallett 1) and the 71 megawatt Hallett Hill farm (Hallett 2). AGL managing director Michael Fraser said providing Hallett 3 went ahead, AGL would be operating about 164 wind turbines in SA. "When fully operational we anticipate it will generate enough renewable energy to power about 43,000 average Australian households," Mr Fraser said.

Climate change before privatisation: Professor

Cooma Monaro Express
Thursday 28/2/2008 Page: 3

CLIMATE change should be placed as the number one priority above the debate of whether the electricity market should be privatised, according to an industry professional. Associate Professor in Energy Systems at the University of New South Wales Hugh Outhred told the Cooma Monaro Express that the potential costs of climate change would have a greater cost than any sell-off of the retail arm of the electricity market or the privatisation of Snowy Hydro.

"In my opinion, given the climate change problem we now face the NSW government should not proceed with the lease of the generators or the sale of the retail electricity arm until they get them in a much better shape to deal with the impacts of the climate change problem," said Professor Outhred.

"I argue the state would need to undertake a significant amount of work before any lease or sale is possible." Professor Outhred added that even Snowy Hydro should be less concerned with its ability to compete if the retail arm was sold-off as climate change threatened its viability. "I don't think initially Snowy would be badly affected by the sell-off, but it would depend on who the new owners are and whether they would have other generation assets, but the future is uncertain.

"Operation constrains could however be limited water inflows if climate change leads to the long term reduced rainfall in the catchment, then Snowy Hydro's role would become more limited." "Snowy Hydro can't do much about the lack of rainfall, so it poses a more significant risk than the sale of the electricity retailers." Professor Outhred did suggest that the fact that Snowy Hydro used a completely renewable energy resource worked to its advantage, however its ageing infrastructure could present another problem.

"There's no question that Snowy Hydro's assets would continue to be used and operated if the retail arm was sold off and I don't think there's any likelihood that Snowy Hydro would shut down as it's a very important generation asset." "Snowy Hydro has the fundamental advantage of being a hydro scheme as it doesn't have to pay for the water that ends up in the dams, they don't have to worry about buying fuel, the technology of a hydro power station is simpler than coal and is more reliable, and it's a low carbon emitter. "However the ageing of the dams and power stations means that there needs to be significant refurbishments to keep the assets operational."

Wind power stirs debate

Bega District News
Friday 29/2/2008 Page: 11

ISSUES of noise emanating from small wind powered electricity generators prompted extended debate at last week's Bega Valley Shire Council meeting. The debate followed a recommendation from the Planning and Environment Committee that an application to install a small wind turbine in a residential area be approved subject to compliance with a number of conditions.

In general council supported the application but in foreshadowing a motion Cr Janette Neilson said approval should be delayed to allow council time to develop an overall policy on wind power. Cr Keith Hughes said approval should not be deferred simply to allow council time to develop a policy. The foreshadowed motion by Cr Neilson was passed on the casting vote of the mayor Tony Allen.

Thursday 6 March 2008

Wind farm still possible: Yaloak project not out of the question

Moorabool Express Telegraph
Tuesday 4/3/2008 Page: 3

A CONTROVERSIAL wind farm proposal for Yaloak, rejected by the State Government two years ago, could be back on the agenda. The news comes after Planning Minister Justin Madden announced Pacific Hydro would not need to submit an environmental effects statement for any future applications at the Yaloak site.

The original application was turned down by then minister Rob Hulls on the grounds the company had failed to adequately consider Wedge-Tailed Eagle populations and visual amenity. Pacific Hydro executive manager government and corporate affairs Andrew Richards said the company could not confine if a second application would be submitted, or a time frame for when a decision would be made.

He said the company was still undertaking studies in the Yaloak area following recommendations made by Mr Madden. "We are still pursuing Yaloak as a project and we are still looking at the reports and re-designing the wind farm and looking at preparing those applications. "But in the context of a much bigger portfolio of projects now... it's a matter of what resources we have available. "We can't really talk about timing at this stage, but we still think it's worth pursuing." Mr Richards indicated that any wind farm proposed for Yaloak would be smaller than the original proposal of 50 turbines. "There's been a review, so we'll reduce the number of turbines - by how much, we don't know yet, but there'd be a reasonable percentage of turbines less than what we first anticipated."

Objector Kevin Ramholdt said he was not surprised the wind farm proposal had not been laid to rest, but hoped Pacific Hydro would decide soon whether there would be a submission. "We thought seeing they had invested so much money into it, that they wouldn't go away that easily," he said. "It's really just a waiting game now. "I'm sick of hearing about wind farms, but because you know the proposal could come back you've got to keep abreast of things; keep your knowledge base going-"

Moorabool Council has vowed to keep the community informed about any new proposals and Mr Richards said Pacific Hydro would endeavour to keep them informed. Pacific Hydro said the community would also be consulted if a new application was submitted.

Hesitancy on feed in law adds to climate miseries

Canberra Times
Wednesday 5/3/2008 Page: 11

A strong, well-designed law needs to be enacted in the ACT now, James Prest writes.

Climate change poses a serious test for all governments. In the ACT, we face the same test. It is one which Professor Ross Garnaut, the Stern Review and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have each warned its is now far more serious than was previously believed.

But is the ACT taking the issue of climate change that match more seriously than before? In the first action plan of the ACT Climate Change Strategy, Weathering the Change (2007), a commitment was trade to a number of actions, few of them genuinely far-reaching. The exception was a visionary promise to legislate to "introduce feed-in tariffs" to assist citizens and companies who install grid connected renewable energy equipment such as solar panels. Such feed-in laws require electricity grid operators to pay independent generators of renewable electricity a premium price over a guaranteed time period for any electricity they feed into the grid.

These laws are not new and untested. In fact, they are the prevalent model for renewable energy laws worldwide. They have been enacted in more than 41 jurisdictions. They have driven a massive increase in investment in renewables in countries such as Germany and Spain. Germany's feed-in law, introduced in 1990 has led to a massive boom in investment. There was an increase in its solar capacity from 64 million kWh in 2000 to two billion kWh in 2006.

Feed-in legislation is necessary for the ACT to produce its own green power, reducing the reliance on coalfired electricity from NSW and Victoria. Perhaps more importantly, it would provide a stimulus for local investment and innovation in renewable technologies. As Sir Nicholas Stern noted,"innovation in the power generation sector is the key to decarbonising the global economy."

However, the ACT Government is in danger of wavering on the feed-in law. Chief Minister Jon Stanhope agrees that he made the commitment, but he is now stating that his Government is not sure which model to adopt. He said last week "there are some difficulties inherent in this entire proposal that need to be ironed out before we charge into it." As if to distance himself from the proposal, he is not introducing the law himself, but has relied upon the hard work of MLA Mick Gentleman to bring forward and promote a private member's Bill.

The Government is to be congratulated for its commitment to the idea of a feed-in law, but we mast ensure that a strong, well-designed feed-in law is enacted, one which takes account of international best practice. By wavering on the model, the ACT Government is in danger of failing to exhibit leadership on global warming. It seems some interests are scared that solar feed-in legislation might work too well. Without a feed-in law, the ACT is likely to miss out on its share of rewards from growth industries such as solar photovoltaics - where global grid connected capacity grew by 52 per cent just between 2006 and

A purely market-driven approach will ignore technologies that could ultimately deliver huge cost savings in the long tern. By not funding alternatives, we will "lock in" high carbon electricity generating capital stock for decades. Some have emphasised the social equity implications of a feed-in law. While important, this has been blown out of proportion. In Germany, government figures show that the feed-in law accounted for only 3.6 per cent of the average electricity bill in 2006, despite nine billion Euros ($A14.7 billion) of investment in renewable energy in that year. The average cost per household per month in 2006 was just over $A3.25.

In the ACT, the share would be far less. A recent discussion paper by the Chief Minister's Department overstated the average system size, artificially restricted the billing pool to residential customers only, and overestimated the extent of response to the measure. The flip side of the social equity issue is the principle of intergenerational equity. This has received little attention so far. We must ensure our actions do not limit the options of future generations. In short, that we don't steal the future from our children. This principle is central to international laws such as the Convention on Climate Change.

Gentleman in particular deserves congratulations for introducing a feed-in law. He deserves the full support of all the Assembly. The model of feed-in law needs to be a strong one. It should provide sufficient guarantee of return to investors over a 10- to 20-year period, high enough tariffs to provide an attractive incentive, and should apply across a broader range of technologies and contexts than just residential solar photovoltaics installations.

With the economic and environmental threats posed by climate change, there is a real need to begin taking bold steps. Harvard Business School economist Michael Porter has observed that companies and our leaders "must start to recognise the environment as a competitive opportunity- not as an annoying cost or a postponable threat."

Jantes Prest is a lecturer and researcher at the ANU's Centre for Climate Law and Policy.

Nigh hopes for Musselroe wind farm start this year

North Eastern Advertiser
Wednesday 27/2/2008 Page: 1

REPORTS that the Musselroe Wind Farm is to proceed have drawn a positive response from Federal Labor Member for Bass Jodie Campbell, and Dorset Mayor Peter Partridge. Ms Campbell said that the Rudd Labor Government's commitment to increase Renewable Energy Targets to 20% by 2020 will stimulate the commencement of the $350million project.

A spokesman for Roaring 40s, the company responsible for the project, agreed that the increased Renewable Energy Targets were a step in the right direction, and will provide the renewable energy industry with renewed growth and investment. "However, the Musselroe development was proceeding as planned prior to this announcement," the spokesman said.

It is understood that the 40-50 turbines have yet to be secured, but the project has commenced pre-construction activities and it is hoped that full-scale work can begin in the second half of the year. Ms Campbell said the 20% target is the equivalent of powering Australia's 7.5million homes for a year. "This isn't just about global warming and climate change, the Rudd Labor Government's Mandatory Renewable Energy Target creates significant new economic and job opportunities here in Tasmania. "After the neglect and criticism of our renewable energy sectors and workers by the former government, Labor's target will draw millions of dollars in investment into Northern Tasmanian and help create sustainable new jobs," Ms Campbell said.

Meanwhile the Dorset Council is renewing its push for State and Federal road funding in the far North-East area. The Mayor Peter Partridge told ABC radio this week that the wind farm and the Musselroe Resort both need better quality roads once they are complete. "We need to negotiate with Roaring 40s and the government and do some upgrade on road works and sealing works which are something we've been looking for for a long time. "So all of the activity out there will help build a case for that work," Cr Partridge said.

Will eagles dare?

Scone Advocate
Thursday 28/2/2008 Page: 3

PROPOSED wind turbines set to be constructed in Scone may pose a threat to what conservation group, Hunter Landscape Guardians have described as the last remaining Wedge-Tailed Eagles in the Scone area. However, literature supplied by the Australian Wind Association (Auswind), stated virtually all man made structures present a risk to birds, yet the risk from wind turbines would be very small when compared to structures such as communication towers, buildings and transmission towers.

According to Auswind, studies in the United States have shown only 0.01 to 0.02 per cent of total collision related bird deaths came as result of turbines, while the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, alone killed between 375,000 and 500,000 birds. Director of Climate Risk Doctor Karl Mallon, has conducted extensive research into the impact of wind turbines on birds and said studies have shown that if companies do environmental impact studies properly, wind farms should pose minimal impact on birds.

"Any structure will have an impact on birds, even French windows, but that impact can be very low if proper checking into migratory flight paths and feeding grounds on the proposed site is done correctly," he said.

He also said it was important to consider the repercussions of not swapping to green energy "Research into climate change indicates there will be a severe impact on birds including changed behaviour, migration dates, nesting seasons and feeding times. Timing of behaviour is generally changing all around the world." According to Dr Mallon, a change in timing can be disastrous for birds which are breeding in areas that can not provide food sources at different times of the year.

"Unfortunately the bigger picture is that we are looking at the extinction of some species. There is no excuse for putting wind farms in poor locations, but the long term impact of climate change is fixed." However, Hunter Landscape Guardian Carmelle Lymbery said the fact there are only four Wedge-Tailed Eagles in the Scone area means they must be protected.

Australian bird expert, Dr Eric Woehler who spoke to the ABC recently, shared the opinion saying wind turbines were `black holes' for Wedge-Tailed Eagles. In the article, he was quoted as saying the 67 strong windfarm in Woolnorth Tasmania was a one-way ticket for eagles.

"The tips of some of the very large blades are 45 metres long, and some of these are traveling at approximately 300 kilometres an hour, it's just too fast for the birds to avoid', he told the ABC. Mrs Limbery said she and her husband had hand fed one pair of Wedge-tails through seven years of drought and to see them taken away would be heart breaking. "Barry and I have been here for 28 years and we will keep fighting to try and stop it. "They're just taking our lives away," she said.

Praise for community

Scone Advocate
Thursday 28/2/2008 Page: 3

PROPONENTS of the proposed Kyoto Energy Park, Pamada Pty Ltd, have expressed their thanks to the estimated 200 people who attended the Community Information Day held last week in Scone. Pamada Director Mark Sydney, said he was very pleased that residents had taken the opportunity to learn first hand about the Energy Park. "From those that did attend it is obvious that most residents, even those opposed to this proposal, are supportive of renewable energy and sustainability," Mr Sydney said.

Mr Sydney said he was aware some residents were concerned about possible impacts of the wind turbines, and that was why the company had specialists looking at aspects such as noise, impacts in wildlife and visual amenity. "To make definite comments before these studies have concluded would be premature," Mr Sydney said.

In response to questions regarding the proposed site, Mr Sydney said the NSW Sustainable Energy and Development Authority (SEDA), identified the location in 1995 as one of 11 sites in NSW highly suitable for the generation of electricity from wind. "The project is still very much in progress and as part of the continuing investigation phase we are consulting with residents so that the community's comments can be taken into consideration," Mr Sydney said.

Wednesday 5 March 2008

Festival to showcase energy innovation

Phillip Island & San Remo Advertiser
Wednesday 27/2/2008 Page: 22

Individuals and communities are running ahead of governments when it comes to making real efforts to step more lightly on the environment to 'reduce, recycle, reuse' and to be innovative and creative enough to leave the earth in a better shape that we find it today. The Wonthaggi Energy Innovation Festival, to be held on Friday. February 29 and Saturday. March 1. will bring many of these people together. to share ideas and consider new ones. Local school students have built model solar powered boats and cars, which will be demonstrated at the festival.

The innovative designs have been created for the Victorian Solar Model Vehicle Challenge. And over 15 primary school teams will pit their energy efficiency skills and designer billy carts in a series of challenges against the clock. The festival will showcase companies, community groups and individuals that are acting now, providing advice as well as products such as solar hot water, environmentally safe cleaning, insulating materials, slow combustion pellet fires and electric and hybrid vehicles.

There are companies like Energycore, about to install heating and cooling at Newhaven College, making use of the pleasant ambient temperature at 35 metres below ground. Well known Landcare and environmental activist Moragh McKay will be discussing the proposed South West Gippsland Renewable Energy Cooperative, and the group is looking for those who might consider working with others to establish renewable energy projects in the area. Moragh recently returned from investigating such projects in Britain and Europe.

The festival will also provide a forum for people to hear both sides of the proposed Wonthaggi desalination Plant, providing an opportunity to ask questions and consider the facts. The debate, getting underway at noon on Friday, will include speakers from Your Water Your Say and plant supporters. Visitors can also discover how to use vegetable oil as fuel through the conversion of diesel vehicles to diesel/vegetable oil hybrids. They will also learn all about converting to natural gas, about lighting for the future and have the opportunity to take part in a tour of the Wonthaggi wind farm.

The Wonthaggi Energy Innovation Festival, with free entry, brings innovative energy, building and sustainability displays and exhibitions to the Wonthaggi recreation reserve. The associated Human Powered Grand Prix, running on Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2, has traditionally been a mecca for schools, educators and transport innovators. Some 80 teams, including five from South Australia, will compete in that feat of people power, endurance and innovative design.

There is a wide and growing circle of enthusiasts participating in this sport, including school and community teams who attend a racing calendar of events all over Victoria and South Australia. Many of the community teams are former school students who just don't want to leave it behind once they leave school. Parents and supporters follow the teams. often staying for several days before and after the event and creating a wonderful atmosphere as they fill their temporary campground and racetrack.

Wonthaggi's event has become a must for an increasing number. It is known for its exciting track which involves lots of thrills on the fast corners, its community atmosphere and for sticking to the quiet "pedal powered" category of vehicles. rather than the noisy hybrids of some races. The event sees secondary school students racing human powered vehicles over a 1.4km street circuit along Korumburra road. Wentworth road and the recreation reserve. The race will get underway at noon on Saturday, with the teams continuing for 24 hours until they speed towards the finish to the roar of the crowd at noon on Sunday.

AGL plans asset sales to rebalance portfolio

Weekend Australian
Saturday 1/3/2008 Page: 34

AGL Energy is poised to sell major assets as it continues to rebuild after the Alinta carve-up of 18 months ago. Chief executive Michael Fraser confirmed yesterday that AGL's 10 per cent stake in PNG gas fields was set to be sold. The company was also considering the future of its investment in the Loy Yang A power station the most efficient of Victoria's brown coal generators as well as selling its equity in Queensland Gas Company.

AGL Energy, the nation's biggest electricity and gas retailer, reported a first-half loss because of a slide in the value of hedging contracts for the purchase of power and the sale of oil. In the half year to December 31 the loss was $22.9 million, compared with a profit of $3.4 million in the equivalent months of 2006. Earnings before one-time items and derivatives slid 6.5 per cent to $183 million. Mr Fraser repeated that the result was in line with the company's announcement to the market last October, guidance that led to AGL Energy's stock being savaged and ultimately the sacking of then CEO Paul Anthony.

AGL Energy said yesterday fullyear "underlying" profit was on track to meet the revised forecast of $330 million to $360 million. But ratings agency Standard & Poor's remained unimpressed, confirming its BBB negative credit measure and negative outlook on AGL Energy, saying this reflected a "temporary weakening of AGLE's financial performance and uncertainty on the timely execution of AGLE's strategies to substantially strengthen its balance sheet well before the end of calendar 2008."

"We expect AGL Energy to take immediate action to begin the sales process of some non-core assets in order to reduce its debt by $600-$700 million over the next six months," the agency said. Mr Fraser said AGL Energy was considering selling its interests in oil and gas fields in PNG, and planned to sell all its pipeline interests once the benefits of owning the assets were achieved.

The company's merchant energy business, which includes power generation, had a 21 per cent jump in first-half operating profit to $238.9 million, but retail earnings were essentially unchanged. "These results confirm that AGL has a strong underlying business," Mr Fraser said. Later he said the company was actively rebalancing its portfolio in the light of the federal Government's impending greenhouse emissions trading scheme. This meant its investment in Loy Yang would be reviewed.

Gas would continue to grow along with renewables, and coal's contribution would decline. He noted the energy future was clouded, depending on the takeup of wind power and the need to cover its contribution to national electricity supply through peak shaving gas-fired generation plants. Mr Fraser said also he believed the deal between BG Plc and QGC, in which AGL has a 27 per cent stake, to build a coal seam methane - fuelled LNG plant in Gladstone would change the dynamics of LNG in Australia.

It was unlikely that all four LNG plants proposed for Gladstone would go ahead, with the BG plant likely to stimulate the aggregation of CSM supplies from a number of producers. AGL Energy's investment in QGC, which cost around $300 million, was now worth $800 million so the board was considering whether to realise the capital gain for other projects. The gas supply contracts with QGC would not be affected, Mr Fraser said.

Wind farm expansion hinted

South Eastern Times
Tuesday 26/2/2008 Page: 2

AN EXPANSION of the Woakwine Range Wind Farm has been hinted by the international investment bank which owns 100 of the giant turbines worth more than $200 million. Babcock and Brown Wind Partners recently completed the second stage of its Lake Bonney Wind Farm. [The other company which owns 23 adjacent and near-identical turbines is International Power and its investment is called the Canunda Wind Farm].

There has been speculation in the past decade that Babcock and Brown Wind Partners will expand northwards along the WoakWine Range with its third and fourth stage. The international parent company of Babcock and Brown Wind Partners is Babcock and Brown Limited and it has recently reported a 58% profit increase to $643 million for the 2007 financial year. The contribution of the Lake Bonney wind farm to this result was not stated in the annual report.

However, Babcock and Brown CEO Phil Green said in his annual report that world-wide wind farm expansion was a priority. "In light of the the demand for infrastructure assets globally and in particular renewable energy assets, we believe our development pipeline currently has significant embedded value not recognised by the market. "Babcock and Brown has a wind energy development pipeline in excess of 16,000 megawatts globally to be delivered over the next two to eight years," said Mr Green.

He said his company had a high quality wind energy portfolio which was diversified by wind region, geography, regulatory regime, turbine manufacturers and development initiatives. "Investment in the pipeline including operating wind farms still on the Babcock and Brown balance sheet at the present time is approximately $1.2 billion. "We remain committed to the ongoing expansion and development of our portfolio. "wind energy is based on proven technology as is evidenced by the fact that the cost of wind energy is now equivalent or close to equivalent to gas-fired power production costs at newly installed facilities in most major energy markets.

"This will see demand for new wind energy capacity remain strong. "We believe a significant valuation gap has emerged between the value attributed by the stock market to Babcock and Brown's assets in the sector and the value achieved for these assets on the open market in recent trade sales and stock market listings. "Our portfolio combined with the Babcock and Brown Wind Partners is in the top three in the world in terms of megawatts and is of the highest quality in terms of deliverability," said Mr Green.

Babcock & Brown Wind Net Profit A$3.2M

Dow Jones Newswires
Thursday 28/2/2008

SYDNEY (Dow Jones)--Australian wind farm developer Babcock and Brown Wind Partners Group (BBW.AU) said Thursday net profit for the six months to Dec. 31 was A$3.2 million, up from a revised loss of A$0.9 million a year earlier. Revenue for the global wind energy company increased by 57% to A$76.5 million from A$48.6 million, and it announced an interim distribution of 7.25 cents per unit, up from 6.25 cents a year ago.

Net operating cashflow fell to A$29.4 million from A$41.5 million, after the company spent A$360 million on three U.S. wind farms, A$318 million on wind farms in Australia and Europe and A$118 million on construction projects during the half year. Managed by international investment and advisory firm Babcock and Brown Ltd. (BNB.AU), which holds a 12% stake, Babcock and Brown Wind Partners owns and operates a portfolio of 76 wind farms across six countries with a total installed capacity of around 3,200 megawatts.

Graphite energy

Port Lincoln Times
Tuesday 26/2/2008 Page: 5

REVELATIONS about graphite being a reliable green energy source puts the mine site at Uley near Sleaford, south of Port Lincoln, in good stead for mining to start. Mining was supposed to begin this month, with Eagle Bay Resources ready to begin, but it is waiting for joint venture partner Mikkira graphite to set the direction. Eagle Bay Resources chairman Jim Craib visited the mine last week and said there was about 384 million tonnes of graphite in the area.

He had been in Adelaide for the International Solar Cities Congress from February 18-20 before coming to Port Lincoln. "There seems to be a great drive to use solar power, wind power, wave power, but the biggest problem is it does not guarantee power," he said about the congress. "This conference really spelt out those limitations as well as encouraging people to use the power." Although Mr Craib had not seen it himself, graphite could reputedly generate 24-hour electricity through heating 10- tonne blocks to about 1800 degrees.

"They are talking about powering the whole of Cloncurry that way. "If it works it is going to be astounding. "It has implications that every mine site in the outback, all the (pastoral) stations, will be able to have permanent electricity." Mr Craib and executive director Jonathon Salomon were visiting Sydney after Port Lincoln to meet with Mikkira graphite about getting the Uley mine running again.

Tuesday 4 March 2008

Carnegie buys technology

Business News
Thursday 28/2/2008 Page: 6

WEST Perth-based Carnegie Corporation has bought two new technologies, further strengthening its position as a diversified clean technology developer and operator. The two technologies - solar thermal and wind aerofoil - add to the company's portfolio of investments in wave, clean coal, solar and wind energy. The solar thermal technology collects and stores energy from the sun and draws heat as required for zero emission power generation. The wind aerofoil technology involves the use of an aerofoil, which is a wing or blade whose shape controls stability, direction, lift and force.

Currently in the computational modelling stage, the aerofoil shows improvement in efficiency is possible and applications may go beyond wind turbines into turbine technology more generally, according to Carnegie. Invented by Carnegie's chairman Alan Burns, both technologies are in the small scale prototype and provisional patent stage. Mr Burris is the inventor of a number of technologies either currently in commercial operation or under development. The technologies to date have been developed by a private research company in Perth.

Carnegie will pay no consideration for the technologies but will fund their development and pay a 2 per cent royalty on revenue earned by the technologies. The company has been operating in Perth for over 10 years and has a clean technology hub spread over five locations in Western Australia. Carnegie managing director Michael Ottaviano said Carnegie was in the unique position of being diversified and the only listed company involved in wave technology. "We will continue to add and acquire more clean technologies that fit with our development capabilities in Perth," he said.

In August 2006, Carnegie spun-off its mineral sands assets into the AIM-listed Carnegie Minerals Plc in order to concentrate on its clean energy activities. It currently retains a 45 per cent interest in Carnegie Minerals, which has projects in The Gambia and Senegal. Carnegie Corporation has continued to focus its efforts on expanding its exposure to the rapidly growing clean technology sector, and is on track to have wave powered CETO units operating off Fremantle by the end of 2008

Tackling warming within the rules

Thursday 28/2/2008 Page: 14

THE international community has recognised the urgency and seriousness of climate change as one of the most profound challenges facing our planet. The Bali Action Plan which was agreed by 187 members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change refers explicitly to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It refers explicitly to that report is conclusion that the warming of the climate system is unequivocal." This conclusion was based on thousands of scientific studies that have observed climate-related phenomena across the world.

In the Bali Action Plan, these 187 member states have acknowledged that addressing this unequivocal warming of the planet is an urgent global priority. They also agree that deep cuts in global emissions will be required to address climate change, as well as a long-term goal for emissions reductions. The European Union has been a world leader in recognising the dire threat posed by climate change and in proposing innovative measures to tackle it.

In 2005, the EU introduced the first and still the only multi-country carbon trading scheme. In 2007 the EU already made a commitment to reduce its overall emissions by at least 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and to cut up to 30 per cent under a new global climate change agreement if other developed countries made comparable efforts. It has also set itself the target of increasing the share of renewable energy use by 20 per cent by 2020. On January 23, the European Commission proposed a further package of measures detailing how the EU would achieve these targets.

Among the principles to be applied, the EC considers that the costs of change and the consequences for the EU's global competitiveness, employment and social cohesion need to be considered. In releasing the package, the EC emphasised that its top priority was to obtain an international agreement on a post-Kyoto Protocol framework, working in partnership with all other members of the UNFCCC to jointly develop a robust response to the climate change challenge.

A new international agreement is in the interests not just of the EU but also of the global community, as exemplified by the Bali Action Plan. If and only if an international agreement were not achievable, the EC proposed a package of alternative measures to address climate change.

Under these proposals, a review of climate policy measures would take place in 2011 (two years after UNFCCC members have committed to concluding a global climate agreement). The EC has put a series of possible policy options on the table to be considered as part of the review, none of which, it must be said, automatically will be adopted or applied. These options include the free allocation of permits for Europe's energy-intensive industry or carbon equalisation measures such as the application of Europe's emissions trading scheme to imports in relevant sectors.

The key objective in implementing carbon equalisation measures as one of the possible options on the table would be to combat "carbon leakage", whereby EU polluting industry moves to other parts of the world where there are no emissions reductions, thus leading to a net increase in global emissions. It would do this by focusing on the imports that result from this form of activity and transfer. There is no point in imposing tough measures internally that result in emission production transferring internationally for no environmental gain. This is not intended to start a trade war, as some may think, but only to avoid the alienation by courageous measures taken by the EU and for the benefit of the world's citizens.

The EU has made clear that it remains committed to World Trade Organisation rules and any measures that are eventually introduced which depend on the outcome of international climate change negotiations and of the 2011 review will be fully compatible with such rules. The choice that is sometimes advanced between the economy and the environment in the climate change debate is a genuinely false choice. Put simply, if there is no planet, then there is no economy.

If we can avoid dangerous climate change by stabilising emissions by mid-century the imperative clearly laid out in the IPCC fourth assessment report we will not only brighten the prospects of our planet's future but we will also create new jobs in low carbon industries, which will build on present economic prosperity. The EU, working with its partners in the UNFCCC, is committed to ensuring that the future development of the planet is sustainable, in the interests of this generation and future generations.

Bruno Julien is ambassador of the EU delegation to Australia and New Zealand in Canberra.

RMS launches European windstorm loss index
London, 21 February

Risk Management Solutions (RMS) has launched the first parametric index in Europe for assessing the insured losses from windstorms.

A parametric index is one that uses wind speeds to estimate losses, as opposed to usual loss estimation methods, which are based actual insurance claims. RMS said the new index will help the insurance industry make better estimates of losses from windstorms and help to structure products – such as catastrophe (cat) bonds, industry loss warranties (ILWs) and derivative contracts – that transfer risk from the insurance industry to the capital markets.

"As the market for insurance-linked securities has grown, the industry has been searching for loss indices to help structure deals," said Peter Nakada, managing director of RMS Consulting, a risk modeling firm based in California. "In the US, cat bonds and ILWs have been structured off an index called the Property Claims Service, but until now there has been no reliable and objective equivalent for windstorm risk in Europe."

The Paradex Europe Windstorm index combines wind speed measurements in specific locations with industry exposure data and uses the modelled relationship between wind speed and damage to calculate insured loss estimates. The index covers residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural lines of business across Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Albert Selius, New York-based managing director at Swiss Re, said: "Cat bonds can involve a vast amount of documentation about how the parametric triggers will work. By embedding all the calculation mechanics into an index, the documentation for each security becomes far more straightforward, so the bond can get to market much quicker." The index provides an initial loss estimate 10 business days after an event, and settles definitively no more than 40 business days after. Because it is an objective standard for trading windstorm risk, securities that are structured on the index should become more liquid, RMS said.

Nakada said: "We believe this index could be the catalyst for a parametric revolution, where substantial amounts of peak peril hazard risk will be transferred to the capital markets." The first products using this index are expected to be announced later this year. "We are in contact right now with a number of people looking at using this," Nakada said. They were primarily looking to structure ILWs, but one cat bond is under development, he added.

Windfarm Rumpus: Group backs project
15 Feb 2008

A green campaign group has hit out at activists opposed to a windfarm. The Sustainable Energy Alliance (SEA) has backed an application to build 20 turbines at Thaksons Well farm in the Vale of Belvoir. Spokesman for the group Brian Widdowson said: "As a resident in the area, I am, as well as many others, fully in support of the application. Wind power is truly renewable, it also provides long term energy security."

The alliance, which is part of a national group, visited the site last week to display banners and show support for the project. It said the wind farm, if built, will produce enough clean energy to meet the demands of up to 12,800 households each year. This will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by about 52,000 tonnes annually. The decision on whether to build the turbines rests with South Kesteven District Council but last month, Melton Council recommended the proposals should be rejected because it will spoil the view.

An anti-windfarm group, Belvoir Locals Against Turbines (Blot) has been gathering pace in Bottesford, amid fears that the proposed development at Thaksons Well, will have a knock on effect further down the vale. But not everyone is opposed to the renewable energy source.

SEA co-ordinator Jonathan Lincoln said: "Energy conservation and renewable technologies such as wind, solar and hydro offer us a solution, of these wind power is the most easily implemented and most cost effective. "The building of this wind farm in a bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is a step in the right direction and a step we must take." South Kesteven's planning meeting will be held on March 11 in Grantham.

US moving towards ban on coal-fired power plants?
15 Feb 2008

by Lester R. Brown

Plans to build 151 new coal-fired power plants in the United States are running into an avalanche of opposition, says Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute. He believes it may signal the final end of coal power and a turning point in tackling climate change.

In a report compiled in early 2007, the US Department of Energy listed 151 coal-fired power plants in the planning stages and talked about a resurgence in coal-fired electricity. But during 2007, 59 proposed US coal-fired power plants were either refused licences by state governments or quietly abandoned. In addition to the 59 plants that were dropped, close to 50 more coal plants are being contested in the courts, and the remaining plants are likely to be challenged as they reach the permitting stage.

What began as a few local ripples of resistance to coal-fired power is quickly evolving into a national tidal wave of grassroots opposition from environmental, health, farm, and community organizations and a fast-growing number of state governments. The public at large is turning against coal. In a September 2007 national poll by the Opinion Research Corporation about which electricity source people would prefer, only 3 per cent chose coal.


Newfield plan going before VCAT: Wind farm appeal

Warrnambool Standard
Wednesday 27/2/2008 Page: 7

PLANS to build a $50 million wind farm at Newfield could become a reality if Acciona Energy has its way. The Spanish company has announced it will appeal against Corangamite Shire's decision not to grant a planning permit. At its January meeting, the council voted to reject the wind farm proposal based on social and visual impacts. However, Acciona managing director Brett Thomas was confident the appeal would have a good chance at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The Newfield Wind Farm was a "best practice" development that met all federal, state and local planning requirements, he said. "This is an important renewable power project that will contribute to action against climate change and help meet Australia's commitments under the Kyoto Protocol," he said. The proposed wind farm would be eight kilometres inland from Port Campbell and have 15 1.5-megawatt turbines standing 110 metres high. Mr Thomas said the farm would annually offset 70,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions - equivalent to removing about 16,000 cars from the road.

"Newfield has significant resources for clean energy generation," Mr Thomas said. "It will occupy less than one per cent of the 300-hectare site and all normal land use and farming activities will continue around the base of the operating wind farm." Mr Thomas said the farm's proposal had been developed in "close" consultation with the community. "The wind farm layout considers community feedback and the results of detailed independent environmental studies."

Monday 3 March 2008

Turbines work a treat

Northern Guardian
Wednesday 27/2/2008 Page: 3

The approach of Cyclone Nicholas on Sunday February 17 was the signal to lower three wind turbines at Coral Bay. Verve Energy Sustainable Energy operations superintendent Ken Littlewood said while the turbines had been lowered many times during testing, this was the first time they had been lowered to avoid damage from cyclonic winds.

"After the cyclone passed Coral Bay, and the Code Red was lifted, the wind turbines and diesel power station were inspected," Mr Littlewood said. "They worked a treat, unscathed." The wind turbines were back in operation Friday February 22.

The ability to lower the turbines was a feature of the wind over diesel project built in Coral Bay to capitalise on the excellent wind resource. While the turbines were on the ground and tied down, the community's power was maintained by the diesel generating units. "Much of Coral Bay's electricity comes from the wind and wind turbines, with the benefits of lower greenhouse emissions and reduced diesel bum," Mr Littlewood said.

Power industry calls for $10b investment

Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday 27/2/2008 Page: 4

AUSTRALIA'S electricity consumption is rising at double the expected rate, leading the power industry to call for up to $100 billion to be invested in new electricity generation and efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Household energy prices, already rising steeply because of the effects of the drought on water supplies, are expected to spiral higher as a carbon trading scheme starts operating in 2010.

A new report produced for the industry, Powering Australia, warns that if the nation's power stations are forced to employ clean coal technology, the cost of wholesale electricity could rise by half and bills for consumers by a quarter. In NSW, household energy bills are already expected to rise by up to a quarter by 2010 as the state fund established to protect consumers is phased out.

Power retailers across NSW say they cannot afford to offer customers binding contracts because they cannot compete with the lower rate set by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal. The number of people committing to contracts is dwindling. An EnergyAustralia spokesman said only "about two people" of the thousands of customers offered energy agreements to take up once their existing agreements expire had done so. "We're saying that if you want to remain a contract customer, here's what we can offer. However, if you want a much better deal you can go on to standard supply rates," the spokesman said.

EnergyAustralia is offering customers electricity at between 18 and 26 cents a kilowatt hour on its energy contracts, because of the volatile wholesale industry price, while standard supply agreements offer electricity at between 12 and 18 cents a kilowatt hour. A spokeswoman for Integral Energy, another major supplier, said the trend was national. "Costs in the industry have nowhere to go but up," said Brad Page, chief executive of the Energy Supply Association of Australia. "But we don't think it has to be all bleak for consumers.

There are opportunities to use energy more wisely." Mr Page, whose organisation represents 40 electricity and gas supply businesses, said some in the industry expected wholesale prices to jump 20 per cent as soon as a national emissions trading scheme is introduced. Powering Australia, produced by the National Generators Forum, says greenhouse gas producing fossil fuels power 93 per cent of the Australian economy, most of it created by burning black and brown coal.

If the demand for power continues at the current rate without clean technology, greenhouse gas emissions from power stations will rise by almost half by 2030, it says. The report poses difficult questions for the federal Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong, who on Monday released greenhouse gas projections, arguing that Labor's policies would substantially reduce emissions from electricity by 2020.

The new figures rely heavily on power industry players investing in renewable energy because of Labor's target of 20 per cent mandatory renewable energy. The figures also rely on a substantial jump in energy efficiency. Even so, on Senator Wong's figures Australian emissions will rise 20 per cent by 2020. In the new climate negotiations, Europe is asking Australia to cut its emissions 20 per cent by 2020. The National Generators Forum argues that efforts by the Government to cut emissions too quickly could incur major costs including "closure of power stations and rises in power prices."

Community wind farm on agenda

Hills & Valley Messenger
Wednesday 27/2/2008 Page: 4

A WIND farm owned and operated by the community is one of many projects being considered as part of Onkaparinga Council's five-year plan. The council is looking at renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare the region for global warning. At last week's meeting the council endorsed a draft Climate Change Strategy which included an action plan for alternative energy technologies.

Onkaparinga's sustainability program leader Maggie Hine said a community forum would be held on April 3 to discuss the possibilities. "We're planning to bring over speakers from Victoria to see whether there is enough interest for community-owned generation in the city," she said. "If there is then the council will undertake a feasibility study which looks at appropriate locations and financial resources." Other targets in the strategy include being a carbon free council by 2013, a review of the council's emergency plans and an annual audit of the Snapper Point cliffs.

Ms Hine said the plan outlined actions the council would need to undertake to adapt with changing weather conditions. "Scientists are telling us the region will get warmer, dryer and there will be a certain level of sea rise so we need to think about what that means for coastal, native and water resource management."

Waking up before it all go, goes

East Torrens Messenger
Wednesday 27/2/2008 Page: 20

Professor Ross Garnaut's interim report on climate change last week was described variously as a reality check, shock treatment and a wake-up call. In light of his call for radical reductions in carbon emissions, it's impossible not to feel that collectively, all our efforts to turn off unnecessary lights and the air-con have not made a speck of difference.

Government, industry and our own hip pockets are so totally greenhouse gas dependent, it's going to take a complete change in culture to disconnect the link between economic growth and greenhouse gas. We need to take a long, cold shower.

As Adelaide hosted the third International Solar Cities Congress last week, the State Government announced it would become the first carbon-neutral government, offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 by buying green power and other carbon offsets. The Premier wants to boost the renewable energy industry and inspire other industries and governments to switch to renewable energy sources.

Congress speaker Professor Peter Droege said we had to get rid of our "coal (powered) dependency." Lesser measures, he said, were "dangerous because they make us look like we did something... it makes us feel good but it's not tackling the main issue." Former Adelaide Thinker in Residence and solar energy expert Herbert Girardet, who gave the keynote address, provided a classic left-field idea that would dramatically cut emissions by SA drivers by as much as half.

After spending eight weeks here in 2003, he was familiar enough with local issues to recommend converting the soon-to-close Mitsubishi factory to manufacturing solar electric cars, which other auto companies overseas are gearing for. These cars could be charged overnight by the family home's solar panels, or even a backyard wind turbine. "It's a little bit utopian," Prof Giradet admits. "But that type of world can be within our grasp now in a matter of five to 10 years."

Overseas company could monitor farm

Colac Herald
Friday 22/2/2008 Page: 8

Scientists in Germany will be able to monitor the site of a proposed Colac district wind farm thanks to a new wind mast. Workers have finished installing a new 100-metre-high wind mast at Mount Gellibrand, north-east of Colac. The tower will end wind readings via mobile modems to Germany for analysis.

Wind farm spokesman Tim Gore said the tower would "possibly" become a permanent feature on the wind farm. "A wind farm could be managed from anywhere in the world," Mr Gore said. "This wind tower could be here permanently to measure wind speeds through the farm," he said. Mr Gore said it took three days to construct the wind mast. "This is all about micro siting of the wind turbines and finding out the best position to place them," he said.

A 60-metre mast on Mooleric Road was the first mast on the farm to measure wind speeds and direction. "This wind mast is good because it is about the same height as the wind turbines will be" Mr Gore said. "We haven't measured wind at 100 metres at this site yet," he said. The proposed 116- turbine wind farm will span approximately eight kilometres by five kilometres and will transfer energy to electricity lines underground. The wind farm's future was uncertain last year when Wind Hydrogen Limited pulled out of a contract to buy the wind farm.

Wind Hydrogen Limited cited lack of government support for renewable energy as its reason for pulling out of the deal. A spokesman for Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman said the Federal Government had set a 20-per-cent renewable energy target. "It creates a much better environment for companies to undertake these ventures," the spokesman said. "The Rudd government has allocated half a billion dollars to a renewable energy fund for research and development so companies or companies combined with academic institutions can be provided with subsidies to undertake much-needed research and development." he said.

Turbine application

Colac Herald
Friday 22/2/2008 Page: 8

A British company has taken aim at the second hurdle to establish a wind farm near Winchelsea. Surf Coast Shire Council has received an application for a planning permit to build a wind farm 10 kilometres north-east of Winchelsea. The applicant, International Power Australia, wants to build 14 two-megawatt wind turbines on 700 hectares of farm land. The proposed wind farm would produce enough electricity to power 14,000 homes.

The Federal Department of Environment and Heritage last year gave the project the first level of approval, deciding the wind farm was within federal environment laws. The council will accept submissions about the wind farm proposal until March 11. The farm will not need State Government approval because it will produce less than 30 megawatts of power.