Friday 11 April 2008

`Coal key to green vision'

Bendigo Advertiser
Saturday 5/4/2008 Page: 12

Victorian Government will boost funding to sustainable energy projects and sign a memorandum of understanding with the US-based Clinton Climate Initiative, Premier John Brumby announced yesterday. Speaking at a climate change summit in Melbourne, Mr Brumby proposed a $72 million fund to breathe new life into large scale renewable energy projects across the state, such as solar energy, wave power, geothermal and biomass conversion.

The money will form the next stage of the Energy Technology Innovation Strategy grants. The Clinton Climate Initiative was run by former US president Bill Clinton's William J. Clinton Foundation, Mr Brumby said. Victoria will use the foundation's purchasing consortium to deliver items such as hybrid buses, use new financing models to accelerate the transition to low energy street lighting and procure alternative waste treatment technologies.

Victoria is heavily reliant on brown coal but Mr Brumby denied the state was addicted to it. "Our challenge now is to make it a fuel of the future. Some people say you can never do that with coal, I don't believe that," he said. Mr Brumby said turning coal into gas and synthetic diesel, while capturing the carbon underground in natural gas wells, would provide a carbon-neutral solution.

"That's the technological challenge," he said, adding some money may be available for this through the Clinton Climate Initiative. In his keynote address, the federal government's climate change adviser Professor Ross Garnaut said commercial success of Carbon Capture and Storage would be the key to a future for the coal sector.

"The very low cost of mining Victorian coal will give Victoria advantages, if we can get commercial Carbon Capture and Storage working well," he said. Mr Brumby also promised Parliament House would spend an extra $90,000 a year to pay for green power to supply the building. Victoria has set a target to reduce greenhouse emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, based on 2000 levels. The government will work towards a green paper on climate change, to be completed in six months.

Public forum to investigate community-run wind farm

Western Advocate
Saturday 5/4/2008 Page: 1

A COMMUNITY forum will be held this month to kick start a process that could eventually lead to Bathurst producing enough clean electricity to power the city's households. Preliminary studies have earmarked the broad corridor of land stretching from Lithgow to Blayney as likely to contain several sites that would be suitable for the construction of a community-owned wind farm. The forum will investigate the possibility of local stakeholders forming a company or managing a co-operative that would raise the capital necessary to build and operate the farm. About 12 two-megawatt turbines, each with an all-up cost of nearly $5 million, would be needed to generate enough electricity to power Bathurst.

The project sounds optimistic, but the forum will be informed about several overseas success stories and the celebrated Hepburn community wind farm project in southern Victoria, where two turbines will generate enough electricity to power 2300 of 2500 local homes. That project, managed by a board of nine local directors, has local government approval and state government funding and construction is hoped to start next year. Of course, this clean power is not directly channelled into houses - it is fed into the state's grid along with coal fired and hydro generated electricity and then drawn back through the normal system.

Many people get bogged down on this point but the principle is clear. Although there will be times when an area is supplying less to the grid than it is drawing from the network, it is reasonable to claim self sufficiency as long as there are enough periods of oversupply to compensate. The concept is still embryonic in Bathurst. Sites have not been short listed. The economics have not been rigorously investigated. Financial stakeholders have not come forward. Permits have not been obtained. Not even the local council has indicated formal support. But it makes a lot of sense. Consider the broad political and economic pictures.

Politically, power generation is front page news. New South Wales faces electricity shortages unless there is considerable investment in generation schemes but the state government does not want to tie up money or borrow funds to build power stations so it is pushing the unpopular policy of privatising the industry. At the same time, all governments will come under increasing pressure to reduce greenhouse gases and clean power generation is an important part of the solution. It is reasonable to assume the state government would welcome communities funding their own green power schemes because it takes the heat off them on two fronts.

Economically, the argument for wind farms is also compelling. Two megawatt turbines becomes cost positive after eight to 10 years. In other words, after eight to 10 years a turbine has produced about $5 million worth of power which is purchased by suppliers (such as Country Energy, who will be represented at the forum). A turbine has a life expectancy of about 25 years so it has potential to earn another $15 million or so until it needs to be replaced. It sounds like a recipe for making money while you help the environment.

Raising the $50 million needed to build 12 turbines seems daunting but superannuation funds and corporations who have been burnt by the share market crash and the American sub prime property crisis are wary of traditional investment options such as equities and property. They are looking for safe avenues to park millions of dollars.

A convincing argument could be presented extolling the virtues of such a community friendly and financially sound investment without denying small investors the chance to also buy into the project and receive dividends. One of the first jobs would be to identify a location. Bathurst's Climate Action Network has distributed flyers to landholders and already they have received several expressions of interest.

And why wouldn't they? A landholder may be temporarily inconvenienced during the construction phase but once a turbine is up and spinning, there is little downside. The landholder receives a fee for the use of their land and they can still run livestock or crop virtually to the base of the turbine.

There are several criteria for suitable sites, headed, not surprisingly by the need for year round wind. The site needs to be elevated but not at the top of an escarpment which can produce turbulence. Wind needs to be consistent but smooth. An elevated ridge or saddle hill is ideal. The site must have vehicle access, be within 500 metres of three-phase power lines, at least one kilometre from houses or buildings and have little vegetation. It is a huge project and will involve years of work before a sod could be turned but the longest journey starts with a single footstep.

That first footstep will be taken at Bathurst RSL Club, 6.30pm, April 14. Be there.

Fast facts...

WHAT: A public forum to discuss the concept of establishing a community wind farm.
WHEN: Monday, April 14, 2008, 6.30pm to 9.30pm.
WHERE: Bathurst RSL Club auditorium.
WHO: Organised by Bathurst Climate Action Network.
COST: Free.

Protest group criticised

Albany & Great Southern Weekender
Thursday 3/4/2008 Page: 3

THE organisation proposing a wind farm in claims a local group is deliberately turning the community against it. Denmark Community Wind Farm (DCW) chairman Craig Chappelle said virtually every statement made by a spokesman for South Coast Landscape Guardians in the Weekender on March 27, was incorrect. "DCW is a registered not-for-profit organisation, whose constitution clearly states that the project is to be owned and operated by the community," he said.

"Otherwise the project wouldn't have received the subsidy that SLCG keep banging on about." Mr Chappelle said that with increased Federal and State Government attention on renewable energy, more money was available for projects such as the windfarm. DCW's feasibility study had shown that the project was viable, and would supply five times more energy than the 10 per cent claimed by SLCG. "We have identified a more practical access route that avoids the lime pit and will allow the public to freely visit the windfarm."

More jobs blow in the wind: Portland's energy sector gets boost

Warrnambool Standard
Friday 4/4/2008 Page: 5

AN expansion of Keppel Prince Engineering's wind energy sector will create up to 40 new jobs in Portland. The firm will invest more than $6 million into transforming the former Vestas blade manufacturing factory into an engineering and fabrication workshop. The project will see a $1.5 million third production line developed, which will increase the company's ability to make wind towers by 50 per cent. The new venture was announced yesterday as two State Government ministers toured the growing facility.

Regional and Rural Development Minister Jacinta Allan committed $200,000 to help kick-start the enterprise. "With the use of wind power and other alternative energies increasing this project will put the company in the box seat to secure further business opportunities," Ms Allan said. Keppel's general manager Steve Garner said the grant would help offset some capital and training costs. One major purchase slated is a new 100-tonne crane worth $1.5 million.

The former Vestas site has come full circle in recent years, with the Danish blade-making firm eventually purchasing the site. From mid-2005, the factory grew to employ 130 people before it closed its doors last December. Keppel Prince has since employed about 25 former Vestas workers, with the new venture expected to provide opportunities for many more former employees to stay in the industry. Mr Garner said the expansion would also help current staff who had been working in confined spaces to develop two wind towers per week. With the expansion, the firm will be able to create a further tower each week.

Students blown away by Blayney Wind Farm

Champion Post
Friday 4/4/2008 Page: 11

A group of Year 7 students from Parkes High School learnt what it means to be green when they visited the Blayney Wind Farm. Students from the high school were treated to a talk and tour around the Blayney Wind Farm which produces green energy for electricity retailers to purchase and provide to customers. The excursion is the final component of a renewable energy project the students commenced in year six.

Country Energy organised the excursion on the school's behalf which included a tour of the wind farm, talk from Eraring Energy. and the opportunity to learn about green energy. Regional general manager, Chas McPhail said it was wonderful to see school groups wanting to learn more about green energy and more simply, how a local wind farm works. "Having the wind farm in Blayney provides the opportunity for our local customers to see a renewable energy wind farm working and to have that first hand connection with the farm. "I would encourage any school group wanting to learn more about green energy to call us and organise an excursion to the farm Chas said.

Jay Quince, head teacher from Parkes High School said the students absolutely loved their visit to the wind farm. "The visit to the Blayney Wind Farm gave the students the opportunity to see the operational side of generating green energy," Jay said. Country Energy purchases green energy from the wind farm on behalf of the retailer's countrygreen customers. The energy purchased is then fed into the Country Energy network helping to reduce green house gas emissions.

Solar expert wants same support as coal

Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 5/4/2008 Page: 10

ONE of Australia's leading solar engineers has criticised governments for a lack of support for the industry, contrasting it with the strong backing given to clean coal in the race to cut greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation. "If we have a level playing field we will win," said Richard Corkish, the head of renewable energy engineering at the University of New South Wales. In Victoria this week, the federal Minister for Energy, Martin Ferguson, launched the southern hemisphere's largest clean coal experiment, which is backed by big coal and gas companies, six universities and state governments.

An International Energy Agency report has predicted that a commercial clean coal plant is unlikely to be operating before 2020. Just days earlier California was rolling out the largest commercial solar power project in the world, which will serve 162,000 homes south of Los Angeles. The $1 billion project by Southern California Edison will put advanced photovoltaic solar generating cells on 6 million square metres of commercial roof space.

Renewable energy costs more than traditional power. But California has deemed that by 2010, 20 per cent of power must be from renewable sources. Australia's Mandatory Renewable Energy Target is 20 per cent by 2020. This target is driving Southern California Edison to pay a tariff to commercial building owners to install the solar panels.

Dr Corkish said Australian governments needed to examine the idea of paying commercial buildings and home owners to install photovoltaic panels that can feed into power grids - a policy that has led to an explosion of solar power in Germany and Spain. So far South Australia is the only state to agree to the tariffs.

"We're very good at commercialising [solar] technologies but they're tending not to be implemented in Australia because coal is too cheap here," Dr Corkish said. "If we had the sort of support we have seen in Spain and Germany we can do it here. We would have a big market and a big industry."

Garnaut floats Gippsland as greenhouse gas trap

Saturday 5/4/2008 Page: 4

GIPPSLAND could be developed into a high-tech industrial hub in the global fight to tackle climate change, the government economic adviser on climate, Ross Garnaut, says. In a speech to the State Government's climate change summit, Professor Garnaut said the Latrobe Valley and Bass Strait had an extraordinary number of sites suitable for storing greenhouse gas underground. Politicians and scientists are banking on the success of experimental clean coal technology- capturing greenhouse gas emitted burning fossil fuels and trapping it kilometres beneath the Earth's surface - to avoid the worst effects of climate change without ending the world's reliance on coal-fired energy.

Professor Garnaut said Victoria, like much of Australia, was exceptionally vulnerable to climate change but also exceptionally placed to win economically as the world adapted. It could make Gippsland the centre of a major national industry, a high-tech industry of carbon sequestration, storing carbon dioxide from other parts of Australia, even internationally," he said. Australia's first big Carbon Capture and Storage project was launched this week near Warrnambool, with a goal of burying 100,000 tonnes of gas piped from a naturally occurring gas well.

Backers estimate it will be about 10 years before carbon storage becomes commercially viable if trials prove successful. Critics argue it will be impossible in the short term to assess whether gas will leak with potentially disastrous effects. Professor Garnaut dismissed claims by NSW Treasurer Michael Costa that cutting greenhouse gas emissions would cost the country up to $430 billion, and slash the size of the economy by 4%. In the latest stanza in a stoush with the NSW Government, Professor Garnaut said Mr Costa was obviously very good" at coming to conclusions quickly.

He said he would spell out the estimated cost in a draft report to federal and state governments in June. Victorian Premier John Brumby said there would be a debate about how much fighting climate change would cost, but that a 4% cut would be small cost compared with the expected doubling of the economy over the next 30 years. In a veiled swipe at the NSW Government, Professor Garnaut said only people not prepared to accept overwhelming scientific evidence denied climate change existed. You have to be a believer against the science to think the right thing to do is nothing, and I think this issue is too important for that sort of misplaced belief," he said.

Thursday 10 April 2008

Boost for wind farm

Hepburn Shire Advocate
Wednesday 2/4/2008 Page: 6

AN ENERGY production analysis has given the proposed Leonard's Hill Wind Farm a boost with independent tests confirming the project could power more than 2000 houses. The board of Hepburn Wind received the data after industry leader, Garrad Hassan Pacific Pty Ltd, completed the extensive calculations over the past 12 months. The energy assessment analysed the wind data from the monitoring mast, which has been on the Leonard's Hill site for well over a year. Hepburn Wind's Koos Hulst said the results were a major step forward for the project. "We're delighted with the findings of the energy analysis.

It's great news. It has really reiterated the strength of this project and reminded us that renewable energy can power a town and help cut greenhouse gas emissions at the same time," Mr Hulst said. "It's also reaffirmed what we've known for some time, this project is going to make money for our community," he said. Board member and Daylesford architect Per Bernard described the energy analysis as "a very thorough scientific process that confidently predicts what the wind park is actually going to produce."

Mr Hulst said the energy assessment demonstrated the Hepburn Community Wind Park's two turbines should produce enough energy for just under 2300 houses, almost the total number of houses in Hepburn Springs and Daylesford. Meanwhile, the Spa Country Landscape Guardians have called on wind farm company Wind Power Pty Ltd to provide a project update for its proposed Tuki Wind Farm site. The company wants to build a 19-turbine wind farm at Stoney Rises. Wind Power director Andrew Newbold told The Advocate the project remained a focus of the company, but was still in its planning stages.

For more information about Hepburn Wind visit

Cape Bridgewater project nears end

Warrnambool Standard
Friday 4/4/2008 Page: 5

CONSTRUCTION of Cape Bridgewater's wind farm is almost complete Touring the site yesterday, Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor found nearly all of the 29 wind towers ready to begin creating energy. Work on Stage 3 of the project, at Cape Nelson, has also begun after gaining planning approval in January.

Mr Batchelor said Pacific Hydro's total Portland project would provide enough electricity for 90,000 homes. It will also prevent 550,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year from being emitted had that electricity been produced using brown coal. Nearly two-thirds of the resources for the Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm have been sourced locally, with 49 regional businesses involved.

Council pushes ahead with wave power plan

Border Watch
Friday 4/4/2008 Page: 7

Port MacDonnell is still being considered as a potential site for a wave energy technology project, with Grant District Council soon to meet with Carnegie Corporation, to further state their case for hosting the plant. Grant District Council chief executive officer Russell Peate said council had already offered in principle support for the Carnegie Corporation's CETO wave energy project to be established in Port MacDonnell. While the Carnegie Corporation is still considering and investigating other possible locations around the country, Mr Peate said council had been continuing their contact with the organisation to express their interest in the project.

This had led to Carnegie Corporation agreeing to meet again with Grant District Council "They will be visiting in mid-April to further discuss the proposal with myself and other council representatives," Mr Peate said. He was confident the Port MacDonnell region would be an appropriate site for the new technology and was hopeful the Carnegie Corporation would continue to consider the region in their investigations.

"We're still very positive that we are still being considered and that we can move forward with this," he said. The possibility of attracting the wave energy project to the South East would continue the region's commitment to renewable energy, building on the success of both wind energy and geothermal energy plants in the Wattle Range Council area. "Hopefully this area can continue to be highlighted as an area of clean, green energy," Mr Peate said.

How to slash emissions without pain

Friday 4/4/2008 Page: 1

VICTORIA could slash its greenhouse gas emissions by using technology that is already available, according to a report to be launched at today's State Government climate change summit. The report, commissioned by the Government, says emissions could be cut by as much as one third by 2020 without substantially reducing the state's reliance on brown coal. Consultants the Nous Group found emissions should stop rising between 2005 and 2015 purely due to existing government policies and the rising use of forests as "carbon sinks."

Most of the cut would come from efficiency drives - improving energy use in business, agriculture and transport, including making cars more environmentally friendly. After 2020, further cuts would depend on renewable energy and the success of clean coal technology, mainly storing carbon dioxide emissions underground. Modelling suggests the cut in greenhouse gases could reach 47% below 2000 levels by 2050.

Climate Institute Australia policy director Erwin Jackson, a discussion leader at the summit, said the report was encouraging. "We have the technology, now the question is: do we have the political will?" he said. Despite the State Government's optimistic report, leading climate scientist Professor David Karoly said he was sceptical about clean coal and called on the Government to use the summit to address the state's reliance on high-polluting brown coalfired power stations.

Professor Karoly - a coauthor of the UN's Nobel prizewinning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, now working at University of Melbourne - challenged Mr Brumby's claim Victoria was a leader in the global fight to tackle climate change.

"Victoria is leading the way in terms of brown coal. It's leading the way in high emissions per person (from energy) because of the brown coal." The climate change summit will bring together 120 experts and industry figures to debate issues including how to cut energy and transport emissions, position Victoria to capitalise on growing industries, and help poor households cope with rising electricity and petrol costs.

The Government will promise a climate change draft policy paper by the end of the year, to completed in mid-2009. Climate scientists argue growing evidence suggests Victorian and federal pledges to slash emissions by 60% by 2050 do not go far enough to avert the potential consequences of climate change - species extinction, rising seas and mass starvation. In an interim report last month, government climate adviser Ross Garnaut said the science indicated a 70-90% cut was needed.

Speakers to day include former chief Australian scientist Robin Batterham, who will argue the financial benefits of new energy technologies have been overstated, potentially increasing the price of dealing with climate change.

In his discussion paper to be presented to the summit today, Professor Batterham - who is also Rio Tinto's chief scientist - says major new technologies such as geothermal power are expensive and carry high risks in early commercialisation. "This all suggests we have to discount some of the optimism of those who are pushing new technologies and, equally, discount some of the forward projections of cost reduction from those that have been in the marketplace for many years," his paper states.

Sustainable development network to be established

Loddon Times
Wednesday 2/4/2008 Page: 2

A Loddon Mallee sustainable development network will be established to coordinate the response of State Government agencies, local government and other relevant bodies to climate change, renewable energy and drought. The network is a concept developed by the Loddon Mallee Regional Managers Forum. The forum consists of State Government regional managers and local government chief executive officers who meet regularly to discuss matters of regional importance.

In principle support has been provided by members of the forum to establish the network and work is occurring to provide clarity about the objectives of the network. It is hoped the establishment of such a network will assist in coordinating and informing all organisations working on issues surrounding climate change, renewable energy and drought.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Small turbines, but the thinking is big

Earthmover and Civil Contractor
March, 2008 Page: 50

In the first installation of its kind outside Britain, five Swift mini wind turbines, are operating around Adelaide. They're on top of the State Administration Centre, Wakefield House, the Central Market and the Roma Mitchell Arts Centre in the CBD; the other is further north atop a resources centre at Salisbury.

Renewable Devices Swift Turbines Ltd (RDST), a small company based in Edinburgh (UK), has designed and brought to market the Swift roof-mounted wind turbine, which has a rated power output of I.5kW - between a third and a half of a household's electricity requirements. Installations started in August 2004, and more than 200 Swifts have now been supplied.

In 2006, when Adelaide's five were installed, Premier Mike Rann said they would be given a year-long trial to determine the power output in local weather conditions and in different built environments. If successful, a further 20 mini-turbines would be approved for installation on government buildings.

That OK has happened and the 2007 state budget included $33 1,000 to cover installation costs. Premier Mike Rann wants the state to have 20% of electricity coming from renewable energy sources by 2014. He points to the fact that SA already leads the nation in wind power and has 45% of Australia's grid-connected solar power.

Wind powers Melbourne tram

Portland Observer
Monday 31/3/2008 Page: 9

THE St Kilda Beach to East Brunswick tram is now powered by "green" electricity bought from Pacific Hydro's wind power. Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky announced the "wind-powered" Yarra Tram service on Friday as a part of the State Government's bid to promote environmentally friendly public transport and energy. "The Brumby Government currently buys more than 10 per cent GreenPower, and this will increase to 25 per cent by 2010," Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings said.

"We are determined to increase the proportion of our electricity supplied through renewable resources from four per cent to 10 per cent by 2016. We're working to make this happen through our VRET," he added. The tram can carry 180 passengers, removing the equivalent of 150 cars off the road according to the State Government. Pacific Hydro currently operates wind farms at Yambuk and Codrington, and is building further farms at Cape Bridgewater and Cape Nelson.

Desal energy options

Bunbury Mail
Wednesday 2/4/2008 Page: 6

SEVEN renewable energy companies have been short-listed to tender for the supply of at least 160 megawatt hours of green power each year for the new seawater desalination plant to be built outside Binningup. The companies all harness energy from wind farms or biomass, or waste wood burning. Another three companies have been invited to submit proposals for the supply of up to 40 megawatt hours annually of power using new green technology, including wave power and innovative biomass projects. The successful tenders are expected to be finalised by the end of August.

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Tapping the wind market

Engineers Australia
March, 2008 Page: 45

Roaring 40s, a company formed in 2005 through a partnership between energy companies Hydro Tasmania and the China Light & Power (CLP) Group, is a renewable energy developer in Asia and Oceania, with a planned generating capacity of 1000MW by 2010. The company currently has 13 sites in operation or in planning in Australia, New Zealand, China and India.

As part of its growing portfolio in Asia, developments are well under way for the company to establish a strong presence in India. The company already has an office in Mumbai and has been gaining a strong understanding of local market conditions and different regulatory environments. Roaring 40s managing director Mark Kelleher has pointed out that India is one of the global leaders in embracing wind energy and that the company is "very pleased to be working to help India achieve its renewable energy targets."

The Indian wind market has historically been driven by tax investment through accelerated tax depreciation. It has been dominated by local turbine manufacturers and the formidable challenge of land procurement has often made it an unattractive proposition for foreign developers. However, Roaring 40s has become a pioneer in this market and it now owns the 50.4MW Khandke Wind Farm.

Last month, Paul Fulton, Roaring 40s' technical services manager; Silke Schwartz, senior renewable energy consultant with Hydro Tasmania; and I visited India to provide engineering support to the Mumbai office, and review technical data and assessments for the contract negotiations of two wind turbine proposals.

During the technical evaluation we visited both manufacturing facilities and operating wind assets, while resources workers on the nacelle of a wind turbine during inspection at Dulia back in Hobart analysed the site selection and wind data. Contract negotiations were then handled by Mahesh Makhija, Roaring 40s' Indian business head, and Avinash Rao, a representative from CLP India.

So what do Australian engineers have to offer in this diverse and challenging development environment? Firstly, external personnel are often well positioned to offer independent engineering appraisals, delivering engineering context, with reference to the more established markets of Australia and, via association, Europe. Secondly, while presenting many opportunities, entry into the Indian market also carries a responsibility to demand sustainable development, especially given the relative lack of regulative requirements.

Uneven comfort

Australian R&D Review
March, 2008 Page: 6

The Swinburne National Technology and Society Monitor (SNTSi\1) has provided its 2007 snapshot' of public perceptions of new technologies, science and technological change. The main findings arc that Australians are comfortable with the rate of technological change in general, but the degree of comfort varies for specific technologies. They are much more comfortable with the thought of wind farms than with the thought of nuclear energy in Australia.

Significant differences in comfort ratings for nuclear energy are related to gender and political affiliation - men and Liberal voters are more comfortable with nuclear energy than women and Labour voters. The degree of comfort with genetically modified (GM) plants and animals for food is relatively low, but is higher for GM plants for food than with GM animals for food.

Australians trust scientific institutions and the non-commercial media for information about new technologies. They report high levels of trust in their family doctors and report similar levels of trust in medical specialists as in scientific institutions. They do not trust government institutions, major companies or the churches, and have the least trust in the commercial media.

The specific aims of the SNTSXM are to gauge public attitudes and perceptions of emerging technologies and science in order to compare Australia with other countries, examine attitudes toward controversial technologies (e.g., stem cell research, DNA paternity testing) and emerging technologies with important social consequences (e.g., the digital divide, internet relationships). The surveys also examine patterns of change in attitudes and perceptions over time, and explanations for these changing patterns.

More information:

GreenPower not just that load of rubbish

Goulburn Post
Monday 31/3/2008 Page: 3

HOUSEHOLD garbage from Sydney's householders is producing enough electricity to power 20,000 homes every year. And it is all being generated at Veolia Environmental Services' Woodlawn bioreactor at Tarago. State Minister for Energy Ian Macdonald said EnergyAustralia was buying the electricity produced from the methane gas now being captured from the bioreactor located deep inside the former Woodlawn mine.

The bioreactor came on line late in February and currently has 1MW of generation capacity which will progressively increase to an expected 25MW at its peak. "One of the main advantages of the bioreactor compared with normal landfills is that it maximises gas production and captures the gas produced when waste breaks down," Mr Macdonald said. "Landfill gases contain methane, which is 21 times more potent in its greenhouse warming potential than carbon dioxide.

"The Woodlawn bioreactor captures the harmful greenhouse gases produced and uses it to generate electricity for homes and businesses. "Once fully operational, the plant will prevent the equivalent of 675,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year. "That's the same as taking more than 195,000 cars off the road every 12 months" The results of an independent study of the Woodlawn Bioreactor last year revealed that better than 92 per cent of all methane produced from the waste in that area was being harvested (for further use).

"Household waste from Sydney is transported by rail to Tarago where it is then trucked into the site," Mr Macdonald said. "Once the waste breaks down, the landfill gas is captured by three horizontal gas blankets, 17 gas wells and other collection infrastructure including a 70-metre wide sump, treatment pond and storage tanks. "The captured landfill gas is fed into the onsite generation which converts the gas into electricity for customers to buy." By entering into this agreement, EnergyAustralia is earning Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and green power rights by supporting this renewable energy generator.

A second generator was expected to come on stream about August and the balance to be commissioned over approximately six monthly intervals during the next 10 years. Veolia Environmental Services has also received approval for the construction of a wind farm on the site, which once operational, will produce enough electricity to power more than 17,000 homes, and save 120,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases every year. Combining the bioreactor and wind farm, the site will generate sufficient green electricity to supply over 37,000 households with power.

Asked when the wind farm would operational, Veolia's national communications manager Renee Fry said while no turbines had as yet been installed, a wind monitoring device was on the site. "In relation to timing for construction, we cannot commit to an exact date, but we would estimate the wind farm will be operational within the next two years," she said. Since it was a project independent of the bioreaetor electricity generation, a customer for the wind farm energy was yet to be announced.

Lal Lal wind farm bid

Ballarat Courier
Tuesday 1/4/2008 Page: 3

A PLANNING application for a 64-turbine wind farm at Lal Lal has been lodged. WestWind Energy lodged the application last month and is awaiting the State Government's planning process. The project is made up of two sections, with 40 turbines to be built near Yendon and 24 turbines near Elaine. The wind farm will potentially produce enough energy to power 75,000 households.

Community liaison manager Angela Sutcliffe said it was likely the proposal would go to a planning panel for consideration before a decision was made. She expected it would follow a similar process to the company's Mt Mercer Wind Farm which received approval in April last year. If Lal Lal Wind Farin is approved, it will potentially mean another two wind farms in the Ballarat region, which will mean a bit of impact the Ballarat and region communities can have on addressing climate change," Ms Sutcliffe said. "It's an exciting possibility from our point of view, and we are really supportive of the open planning process."

Bangkok talks touch on emission reduction targets
London, 3 April

Around 1,000 representatives from around the world are in Bangkok this week for a UN meeting to discuss a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. Ideas put forward by the various delegates so far include the auctioning of Assigned Amount Units (emissions credits granted by the UN to countries under the Kyoto Protocol), radical changes to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and sectoral-based targets.

There has also been much debate about how the burden of reductions needed should be shared, with developing countries such as Venezuela saying that developed countries should shoulder responsibility for 'historical emissions'. Brazil and South Africa have proposed that developed countries look to make actual emissions cuts, while developing nations should look to stabilise emissions growth. Japan has proposed that there should be a move towards sector-based targets, which the EU, New Zealand, China and Canada said should support – but not replace – national targets.

But the EU also suggested that "advanced developing countries" should move from offsetting to sectoral-based reductions, in response to a suggestion by the Japanese representatives that the fundamentals of the CDM need to be re-examined for a new agreement, as at present the projects are hosted by countries without emissions caps. This effectively allows those with binding caps to offset their emissions as opposed to actually reduce them.

The Japanese delegation also called for extending the CDM to include both nuclear and Carbon Capture and Storage projects, the latter of which is already under discussion and supported by Australia.

China proposed that the additionality test – whether the project brings about emissions reductions that would not have happened without the CDM – be removed from certain project types. This was despite an earlier comment from the same delegation that the environmental integrity of the mechanism must be preserved.

At an industry event in Copenhagen last month, there was speculation that some late-starting renewable energy CDM projects in China may fail such a test as the prospective revenue from the sale of electricity is large enough to warrant the project happening in the absence of the carbon financing.

Huaneng to build China's largest wind farm
Mar 30, 2008

BEIJING, March 30 (Reuters) - China's Huaneng Group will start in June building the country's largest wind farm of 300 megawatts, a Chinese paper said, as the world's second-largest energy user seeks to grow its tiny renewables sector. The project, with a total of 200 turbines to be erected in a 100-square-kilometre area in Fuxin city of northeast Liaoning province, is slated to start generating power before end of the year, China Economic Herald reported on Saturday.

The wind farm will help cut carbon dioxide emission by 750,000 tonnes and sulphur dioxide by 4,000 tonnes a year, the paper cited the provincial environmental authority. The report did not provide an investment figure, but said the farm will produce 600 million kilowatts hour of electricity and 400 million yuan ($57 million) of revenue each year. Huaneng Group is the parent of Hong Kong-listed Huaneng Power International Inc, China's largest electricity producer.

China, keen to boost the use of clean energy and cut its heavy reliance on coal, earlier this month doubled its target for installed wind power capacity to 10 gigawatts by 2010 from its previous goal of 5 GW. As of late 2007 China had 4.03 GW of wind power capacity, which announced for less than 0.6 precent of the country's total power generation capacity. China relies on coal for nearly 80 percent of its electricity needs.

Navajo Wind Power
March 28, 2008

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., March 28 (UPI) -- The Navajo Nation could play host to hundreds of windmills on its Arizona reservation near Flagstaff under a renewable energy plan. The Arizona Republic reported that the windmills, standing 400 feet tall, would be erected as part of an agreement between the Navajo Nation and Citizens Energy, a Boston company. The Dine Wind Project would be the first commercial wind farm in the Grand Canyon State, the newspaper said.

The agreement resulted from negotiations among Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr., other key tribal officials and Citizens Energy Chairman Joseph Kennedy II, a former member of Congress.

Shirley said in a statement that the wind farm will "bring prosperity for the Navajo people and build our energy independence while providing jobs and other benefits for the Navajo Nation." Navajos will have "a significant ownership stake" in developments, reaping $60 million to $100 million over the project's lifetime, the tribal statement said. The operation is planned in the Gray Mountain area, about 50 miles north of Flagstaff.

Environment is a ‘top 10’ risk to business
London, 27 March

An increasing concern about the environment has been ranked in the top 10 strategic risks to business in a recent report from consultancy Ernst & Young. The firm used the term 'radical greening' to describe the increasing environmental challenges that could result from stricter regulations, changes in consumer attitudes and extreme weather events.

"In the short term, barring unexpected developments, the strategic challenge centres on how much 'radical greening' companies should undertake. Going green is expensive, but could pay dividends if consumer tastes and regulation shift quickly," the report said. New green laws could, for example, make non-green real estate assets obsolete, while caps on greenhouse gas emissions present a major threat to utilities.

The report warns: "The pace and extent of this new 'green revolution' is hard to predict – but what is almost certain is that some firms will get the right fuel mix, real estate portfolio, or carbon footprint, while others will go either too radically green or, more likely, not green enough." Other risks identified by Ernst & Young include: regulatory and compliance risk; global financial shocks; aging consumers and workforce; emerging markets; energy shocks; and cost inflation.

Monday 7 April 2008

Tilting at windmills

Daily Telegraph
Monday 31/3/2008 Page: 69

IT'S nice when you can stand toe to toe against the world's best and come out the winner. Sydney "smithie" Paul Goldie feels this way after winning a multi-million dollar contract to supply the German giant Siemens more than 1100 tonnes of precision engineered steel forgings for its subsidiary Winergy. What's more, one of the oldest industries in the history of civilisation is now playing a part in a new era, as the world grapples with environmental challenges and climate change.

The gear components forged by Botany-based CGC Kymon will be used in Winergy's wind turbines that are spread around the North Sea. And all the steel used in these gears is recycled - from old car bodies, fridges - which then goes on to help create clean energy. "In the past there were environmental problems with wind turbines," said Mr Goldie. "They were noisy and birds flew into them and were killed. "But what the Germans have done with their turbines is that they are 90m high and the blade is 30m in diameter. And they spin at 20 revs per minute. "There is no noise and there is no effect on birds.

Only a really dumb bird would fly into a turbine going that slow." Most of Europe, apart from France, is abandoning nuclear energy and adopting wind power, Mr Goldie said. Germany has more than 16,000 wind turbines and produces 40 per cent of world's total wind power. "You see them everywhere, and there is no noise," he said. Winning the contract was a long process, and is a testament to the fact that Australian business can withstand intense scrutiny and supply products that meet exceptionally high standards.

After all, Mr Goldie said, Siemens doesn't want to be sending engineers up a 90m pole to repair the broken teeth of a gear. Siemens contacted CGC Kymon in February 2007, asking if they were interested in taking part in some trials that would test the company's ability to produce what it wanted. The trials took about eight months and were successful so in January this year, Siemens sent out a quality assurance audit team to examine how the company operated.

"They looked at all sorts of things, our employment laws, occupational health and safety," said Mr Goldie. "It was very detailed, but they came back to us with 10 out of 10 in all categories. That was a feather in our cap. Quality assurance is everything." Siemens told him his prices were as good as the Chinese but quality was higher.

CGC Kymon has had plenty of time to work on the quality. It's been operating for 90 years, since 1918 when Mr Goldie's grandfather established it with two partners. Mr Goldie eventually bought out the other partners and as a former "bean counter" now runs the company. His passion is the forge and he says he's now a half decent tradesman. Mr Goldie is also proud of the fact that the forge has its own green credentials, being powered by natural gas.

Free permits to pollute not a smart move

Sunday Canberra Times
Sunday 30/3/2008 Page: 25

ISSUING free permits to pollute the atmosphere with greenhouse gases is not a smart move. Which is why it is crucial that the Federal Government accepts the recommendation of its chief adviser on climate change, Ross Garnaut, that all permits to emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide be auctioned.

Coal-fired power generators insist they need free emissions permits or the nation will face a drastic electricity shortage. But Garnaut says that when generators were issued with free permits in Europe they increased electricity prices and pocketed huge profits. The whole idea of the carbon cap and trade system to be introduced in 2010 is to cut emissions and encourage the use of low-emitting technologies by putting a price on gases such as CO2 (via tradeable permits that reward low emitters).

Issuing free permits to big emitters will undermine the entire scheme. Reducing emissions to 60 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050, as the Government intends, is unlikely to have a. huge economic impact. Australians will feel far more pain if the global credit crunch causes a recession. If an emissions permit rises to $30 per tonne of CO2 within a few years, this will add 7.2c to a litre of petrol, much less than normally can occur now.

Its impact will not require big compensation packages for low income earners. Governments will also be able to use some of the proceeds from permit sales for the development and deployment of low-emission technologies, and for helping make energy efficiency gains by improving public transport and subsidising home insulation.

Research into developing "clean'' coal should not be confined to capturing and storing emissions from power stations, as Garnaut seems to prefer. That technology is unlikely to prove a winner. Serious funding should also go to promising technologies such as carbon fuel-cells, among others.

Water Corp shortlists wind and waves

West Australian
Monday 31/3/2008 Page: 19

Groundbreaking wave and biomass technology is being considered to help power WA's second desalination plant near Binningup, north of Bunbury. The Water Corporation yesterday shortlisted 11 proponents seeking to provide up to 200 megawatt hours of energy, enough to run the 45GL, $1 billion desalination plant due to produce drinking water by the end of 2011.

Eighteen proponents lodged expressions of interest in providing 160 megawatt hours from proved renewable energy technology or 40 megawatt hours from unproved technology. The seven shortlisted for the proved technology proposed wind farms or biomass plants burning waste wood. The unproved technology, four proposed wave power or biomass projects.

Carbon catchers launch coal's brightest hope

Monday 31/3/2008 Page: 2

AUSTRALIA will take a major step into a carbon-constrained world this week when a world scale carbon dioxide sequestration plant is commissioned in Victoria. Carbon captured from polluting coal-fired power plants and then stored underground is the hope for the future of coal as a power source. The Government's climate change adviser, Professor Ross Garnaut, singled out Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in an interim report last week, saying revenue from a carbon trading scheme could be used to fund the new technology.

While there are three commercial carbon storage plants operating in the world - Weyburn in Canada, Sleipner in Norway and In Salah in Algeria - other test efforts have been small, only storing a few thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide. The new Victorian project, at Nirranda near Warrnambool in the Otway Basin, will eventually store 100,000 tonnes, enabling the injection, storage and surface behaviour of the stored carbon dioxide to be monitored for future commercial application and linkage to carbon capture at power plants.

The $40 million pilot scheme is receiving keen government, business and foreign attention. Martin Ferguson, the federal Minister for Resources and Energy, and his Victorian counterpart Peter Batchelor will be at the formal commissioning on Wednesday. The project has also received support from New Zealand, Canada and the US. Big miners and petroleum companies have joined the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) to operate the Otway Basin project. They include BHP Billiton, Xstrata, Woodside, AngloCoal, Rio Tinto Solid Energy, BP, Chevron and Shell.

CO2CRC chief executive Peter Cook said the commercial scale project - the world's largest geosequestration research effort - would use gas piped from a nearby field to inject into the depleted Nirranda field and stored two kilometres below the surface. Sound waves bounced off rocks would reveal the behaviour of the stored carbon dioxide. "Once we have about 10,000 tonnes stored in a month or two we will have the first results," said Dr Cook.

Guide reveals more choice in carbon-offsets market

Monday 31/3/2008 Page: 2

THE market for carbon offset providers that are helping business and individuals to become carbon neutral is continuing to grow. The first update of the carbon offsets guide, a joint initiative between Victoria's Environment Protection Authority and RMIT, shows a 13% boost to those servicing the offsets market. The offsets guide shows that more than 16.7 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalents worth more than $45.9 million were traded by Australian offset providers during 2006-07. It is an area that is expected to grow rapidly as Australia heads towards an Emissions Trading Scheme.

This month federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said a consultation paper on emissions trading would be released in July and legislation could be drafted by the end of the year. Last week the Federal Government's chief climate change adviser, Professor Ross Garnaut, released a discussion paper on emissions trading that encouraged business to prepare for its introduction.

Four new carbon offset providers have been added to the carbon offsets guide. Greenpass, accredited by the NSW Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme (GGAS), provides accredited offsets from methane capture projects. Greenpig, accredited by the federal Department of Climate Change's Greenhouse Friendly program, provides accredited offsets from forestry-related projects. Hydro Tasmania sells accredited offsets through NSW GGAS. Low Energy Supplies and Services (LESS) sells Greenhouse Friendly accredited and NSW GGAS accredited offsets from energy efficiency projects.


Desal a drain on energy

Adelaide Advertiser
Monday 31/3/2008 Page: 15

THE State Government is being urged to power Adelaide's desalination plant using renewable energy amid revelations it will be one of the top 10 electricity consumers in South Australia. The State Government has not yet committed to using renewable energy, such as wind and solar, to power the plant. Greens MLC Mark Parnell said the root of the water crisis was climate change. "To make climate change worse in order to create new water is a tragic irony," he said. Water Security Minister Karlene Maywald said the plant was still in the design phase.