Friday 15 August 2008

Keynote Speaker Announcement

Clean Energy Council
24 Jul 2008

About the IEA
The IEA is the world's peak energy policy advisory body, advising the governments of its 27 member countries (including Australia, Germany, UK, Japan, Italy and France). It exerts considerable global influence on a broad range of energy matters. Its mandate incorporates the "Three E's" of balanced energy policy making: energy security, economic development and environmental protection. Current work at the IEA focuses on climate change policies, market reform, energy technology collaboration and outreaches to the developing world including China, India, Russia and OPEC.

This is the first time an IEA representative has attended a local clean energy event, representing significant recognition of Australia's growing participation in the world's response to climate change and energy sector transition - and the Clean Energy Council's place in meeting the challenge.

Nobou Tanaka bio:
Nobou Tanaka became the IEA Executive Director on 1 September 2007. Prior to that he was the Director for Science, Technology and Industry at the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

Mr Tanaka brings a wealth of energy industry experience spanning three decades:
  • He was responsible for Japan's involvement with the IEA and the G8 Energy Ministers' Meeting during the second oil crisis.
  • He developed international strategy as well as coordinating domestic environment policy and energy policy in the Kyoto COP3 negotiation.
  • In the late 1980s he helped establish Japan's comprehensive energy policy.
Mr Tanaka will be joined by a number of equally high-calibre international and local speakers. Sessions will address major issues surrounding the rapidly changing landscape of clean energy development in Australia, as well as provide strategies on how the industry can meet the growth demands in the medium and long term future.

Sponsorships and Exhibition spaces are also filling up quickly, showing the strong support from the industry for the event.

Please contact Annie Cronyn, General Manager, External Events on 03 9929 4103 or if you have any queries or would like to express interest in participating in the 2008 event.

E.ON and Dong swoop in to save London Array

London, 24 July

London, 24 July: The future of the London Array offshore wind farm looks more secure, after E.ON and Dong Energy agreed to buy out Shell's stake in the project.

In May, Shell announced its intention to sell its 33% stake in the £2.4 billion ($4.8 billion) offshore wind project in the Thames Estuary, which it was developing with German and Danish utilities E.ON and Dong Energy. The project is expected to have a capacity of 1,000MW when complete – or enough electricity to power a quarter of homes in Greater London.

Dong Energy and E.ON will each increase their stakes in the project, from 33% each, to become equal partners. The financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. However, Shell has promised to keep its staff in the project until the end of the year, "to enable a smooth transition and handover", according to an E.ON statement.

Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, said: "We're pleased that, together with Dong Energy, we've been able to secure the future of the project, and we'd also like to thank Shell for their contribution to the project's significant progress to date. "That also means that we hope to be able to keep the project on track and we should be able to complete the first phase by the end of 2012, subject to securing a number of important contracts, such as those for the wind turbines."

In a statement, Dong Energy said it was "pleased to be able to continue with the development of this project in collaboration with E.ON and that a swift solution has been reached with Shell to the benefit of the project". Shell caused some consternation when it pulled out of the project, saying it intended to refocus on onshore wind in the US. This included a rebuke from the UK's Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, in the House of Commons, who questioned why the oil giant withdrew in the same week it announced record profits.

Clean energy industry supports 2010 start to carbon reduction

Clean Energy Council
16 July 2008

NATIONAL: The Clean Energy Council said today that complementary policies will cushion the cost of emissions trading; and that the federal government's green paper outlining their carbon pollution reduction scheme is an important next step in developing Australia's climate change policy framework. The Council supports the 2010 carbon pollution reduction scheme (CBRS) start date and welcomes the inclusion of as many industries as possible, with others added when reliable data becomes available.

Rob Jackson, General Manager-Policy, said: "The Clean Energy Council supports a program for carbon pollution reduction, and highlights the need for complementary measures such as the 20% renewable energy target, a strong energy efficiency strategy, R&D funding and a plan for the upgrade of transmission infrastructure across the nation." "These policies will provide the investment certainty industry has been waiting for to invest in Australia's low carbon future."

"A comprehensive framework of carbon pollution reduction policies will lead to economy-wide opportunity, billions in new investment, accelerating innovation and tens of thousands of new jobs. "While these complementary measures will be critical in cushioning the cost of carbon pollution reduction, further transitional support for business, communities and individuals will also be essential." The Clean Energy Council looks forward to working with the federal government in the further development of the White Paper due later this year.

Wind vies to be next energy source

Is the next big industry coming to this part of Ohio already blowing in the wind? Some people are saying that the development of wind energy could provide incredible growth in manufacturing jobs in the state and provide landowners with the chance to catch the wind as a cash crop. At a meeting last week in Paulding sponsored by the Ohio Farm Bureau (OFB), Dale Arnold, OFB director of energy services, laid out the facts to interested farmers and other residents. Specifically, Arnold covered the characteristics needed for a good windfarm site, how the wind turbines work, and how property leasing usually occurs with energy companies.

Jennifer Smith, OFB organization director for this area noted,"It's so hot right now as a renewable energy resource. And Paulding County is a lower income area, so any way these people can use to make money, and these windmill people are paying to be able to use their property, and they are able to get that income."

Smith said the meeting was geared toward landowners in the southern half of Paulding County, but that many of the same characteristics needed for a windfarm site are found in Van Wert County as well. Nancy Bowen, Van Wert County economic development director, agreed,"Our area is perfect for windfarms." Windmills were fixtures on Midwest farms for many years. Some still operate today, although most have either been dismantled or stand in a state of disrepair.

But these are not the same windmills depended upon by previous generations. Commercial turbines stand 391 feet tall and are able to function normally in up to 56 mph winds. The turbines also don't stand alone. Smith pointed out that most commercial wind farms are looking to put up at least 10 structures at one site for efficiency.

The first utility-size wind farm in Ohio was begun almost five years ago near Bowling Green. The AMP-Ohio/Green Mountain Energy Wind Farm was dedicated Nov. 7, 2003. Since that time, rising oil and gas prices have continued to push alternative energy sources to the forefront of conversation in this country.

But is wind farming and related businesses really a big business opportunity? For most people the jury is still out on that topic. The Renewable Energy Policy Project predicts that the state could pick up a projected $3.9 billion in investment and 11,688 new manufacturing jobs, ranking second behind California in the number of jobs potentially gained from an increased investment in wind energy.

Arnold claims that by the year 2025 a quarter of the nation's energy needs could be provided by agriculture through alternative energies like wind and ethanol. Still, wind farms draw considerable fire from environmental groups who claim many birds are needlessly killed by the blades of the turbines. Others worry about possible decreased property values from being located near a wind farm. But, as Smith pointed out, that worry may be unfounded.

"I don't know of many people who don't like to watch the turbines," she commented. "At Bowling Green, people come there to see them. It's sort of a tourist attraction. I understand why they might worry, but I haven't met the people who think these are unsightly."

At many informational meetings Arnold holds on wind farming, he is met with at least one or two people who are vehemently opposed to having turbines erected in their area. He once had to be escorted into a meeting by law enforcement due to the number and intensity of some of the anti-wind demonstrators. The meeting at Paulding, however, had no demonstrators or placards. The attendees were polite with no visible signs of protest.

"I didn't see anyone who was talking under their breath or looked like they were upset by anything," Smith reported. "The meeting was attended by a lot of farmers and landowners who were interested in making good use of their land, finding out about another possible way to make money, and to be a part of something "green" which is really popular today."

According to Arnold, a company needs 10 open acres to put up a turbine, although the actual operational footprint is just two acres. The site also needs to be in close proximity to current electric transmission infrastructure. Many areas of southern Paulding County and even northern Van Wert County are possible targets of companies looking to lease property.

Smith admitted that she wouldn't be surprised to see the tall white turbines popping up on the local landscape sometime in the future. "Many farmers are looking to find ways to make money from their land," she said. "For some it might even be a way to cut back a little on the work - lease some land for a wind farm and make money that way."

Windfarm agreement is good for both companies
Fri, Jul 4, 2008

For months it appeared that the wind had dropped out of the sails of what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm. But after months of intense negotiations, Delmarva Power and Bluewater Wind have hammered out a deal, and last week they signed the first contract in the nation between an offshore wind energy company and a power provider. The fate of the project appeared to hang in limbo after representatives of four state agencies tabled a vote on the original contract last December. Environmentalists and state officials lobbied for the project during the intervening months.

Then, Sen. Anthony DeLuca, D-Varlano, asked Delmarva Power President Gary Stockbridge and Hunter Armistead, head of the energy division of Babcock and Brown, Bluewater Wind's parent company, to talk. Just talk.

And it paid off. After two months of negotiations the two companies announced they had reached a deal. The state made a key contribution to the deal by changing renewable energy portfolio requirements, giving producers 3.5 renewable energy credits for every megawatt of energy produced. That means Delmarva Power will have to purchase fewer credits to meet state renewable requirements and Bluewater Wind will have more credits to sell on the market to other potential customers, generating more revenue.

Stockbridge said the renewable energy credit changes will give his company's ratepayers up to $100 million back over the course of the 25-year contract. Under the new contract, Delmarva Power will purchase half the power it would have under the original contract, but because of changes made by the Legislature to the renewable energy credits program, Bluewater Wind can sell power to Delmarva Power at the same price it offered originally, when the project was going to be larger. Bluewater Wind has the flexibility to expand the project to produce up to 600 megawatts of power. Combined with the renewable energy credits changes, Bluewater Wind has a financially viable project.

Bluewater Wind spokesman Jim Lanard said the renewable energy credits changes will enable Bluewater Wind to offer the same price as in the initial agreement, but the project will be smaller. Stockbridge said the deal is one both sides are comfortable with. He credited DeLuca with keeping the negotiations intact. "Senator DeLuca was not telling either side what to do. He reminded us we want to do what is best for Delaware and for our customers," Stockbridge said.

Armistead said this deal is better than the last because, unlike the original contract, both parties support it and are willing to go forward and make it work. Armistead and Stockbridge both praised DeLuca at their joint press conference announcing the deal. They said being able to work one-on-one and form a personal relationship helped the deal.

That's a change from last year when there were allegations parties were not negotiating in good faith. Although an arbitrator charged by the Public Service Commission with overseeing the process said such claims were untrue, the charges remained that Delmarva Power was trying to kill the deal. Lanard said, of last year's talks, "In the negotiating room, the tone was always professional and cordial. I thought we got along fine, but there were different points of view." Lanard said a lot of the tension in negotiations had to do with the deadlines negotiators needed to meet so the Public Service Commission and representatives of three other state agencies could review the contract.

This last, successful round of negotiations was held outside the realm of the state agencies, which will meet Tuesday, July 8, to begin to consider this contract. Changes to the structure of the contract benefited Delmarva Power, while keeping the project viable for Bluewater Wind. Armistead said going into these negotiations, "I was hopeful but not overly optimistic, because of how things had developed until then." He said he and Stockbridge got on well and once each company's concerns were out on the table, the talks opened up and became productive. "The last part of the process was enjoyable. It paid off that we dug in our heels," Stockbridge said.

Stockbridge said his company's concerns about fairness and cost have been addressed in this deal. With a non bypassable surcharge the cost of buying offshore wind, which Stockbridge said he still considers expensive, will be spread across all Delmarva Power customers instead of only standard-offer-service customers. Lanard said from the issuance of the request for proposals, Delmarva Power consistently said it wanted to purchase a smaller amount of power than Bluewater Wind felt was necessary to finance the project.

Lanard said, "Delmarva Power worked hard to protect its ratepayers' interests and Bluewater Wind did the same. We had to make sure we had a project that could be financed and built." He also gave credit to DeLuca for restarting the negotiations and to Lt. Gov. John Carney. Carney secured a commitment from Babcock and Brown to make Delaware the regional economic hub of its operations and for a grant to Delaware Technical & Community College for a program to train wind turbine technicians.

Powering into the future

Sunday Times Sunday
20/7/2008 Page: 4

THE global energy squeeze - which, in recent months, has fast-forwarded from threat to reality for most of the industrialised world - will present significant challenges for WA's resources sector. With oil and gas prices claiming record highs on an almost daily basis, and with carbon trading schemes poised for introduction throughout most of the western world, energy costs have nowhere to go but up. The current WA gas crisis, caused by a June 3 explosion at the Apache Energy installation on Varanus Island, may be a taste of what's to come as the world's energy users scramble for a share of the globe's rapidly diminishing supplies of fossil fuels.

Soaring energy prices will represent a windfall for WA's oil and gas sector, but for others that require competitively priced energy to maintain international market share, the outlook is not so rosy. Most industry representative groups believe the answer for WA is to simply ramp up exploration and development of our domestic natural gas reserves. But all agree such a ramp-up must start now and must be given government support.

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief executive Justin Walawski agrees that while there is no doubt energy prices are headed skyward, it's not all gloom and doom. 'If energy supplies tighten up, then clearly we're going to see increased prices.

But if there are mechanisms to increase the domestic gas supply, it's not an automatic conclusion that we are going to be faced with searching for alternative sources of energy in the short-term future," Dr Walawski said. "There are some opportunities that haven't yet been exhausted that would increase dramatically the supply of gas into the market in WA."

Dr Walawski said making sure those supplies were available to meet the challenges in a timely fashion would require the co-operation of all stakeholders, including the State Government. "The early development of some of these known reserves will be heavily reliant on technology and we need to create the right policy environment and incentives for companies to develop these reservoirs rather than go to other regions of the world where it's easier to both explore and produce," he said.

'Also, the licensing system in WA does not encourage companies working in the oil and gas sector to actively develop projects as it does in the minerals sector. In the minerals sector the policies and legislation are designed to provide incentives for companies to develop their prospects and if they don't, they lose that opportunity and lose that tenement. That's not the case in the oil and gas sector, where companies can hold on to their prospects without very much cost at all. "If we have circumstances where companies are holding on to reservoirs for very long periods of time and not developing them, then that's not in the best interests of the state."

John Nicolaou, chief economist with the WA Chamber of commerce and Industry, also believes greater exploration and development of domestic gas fields will keep WA's resources sector in energy for the foreseeable future. "Exploration activity in WA in oil and gas is increasing considerably and reached record highs in recent times, which highlights the fact that international conditions for this type of exploration in WA are very favourable," he said. Mr Nicolaou said he didn't believe rising energy prices would adversely affect the international competitiveness of WA's resources sector.

"We are in an era where the reality is that energy costs are rising and that impacts on miners throughout the world, so in terms of impact on our competitiveness as a state, it's all relative," he said. "We're in a global market and if prices are increasing, they're increasing across all countries. But we have a world-class resources sector, which is very efficient and has a great capacity to absorb cost increases."

Many have tipped that rising energy costs will cause a slowdown in China's manufacturing sector and hence a reduction in demand for Australia's raw materials. Mr Nicolaou is not so pessimistic. "China has had a competitive advantage for a long time in that labour costs have been very low and they are now grappling with rising wages and higher energy costs, which could impact on their capacity to produce unless they achieve productivity improvements which they have already started to do," he said. "I don't doubt

China's capacity to innovate and to take on more efficient production methods." At least one industry group is, however, warning against putting too much stock in WA's natural gas reserves. The DomGas Alliance, an organisation representing the majority of the state's current and prospective natural gas users and gas infrastructure investors, says unless the WA Government moves to quarantine more of our gas production, gas supplies for the domestic market could run out in as little as seven years.

The report says that contrary to claims by oil and gas exporters, Australia does not have abundant reserves of natural gas. "Despite having just 2.4 per cent of the world's gas resources, Australia continues to expand exports of natural gas while aspiring to be the world's second-largest LNG exporter," the report said. "Producers are aiming to increase WA's LNG production to 50 million tonnes per year by 2015. This represents a five-fold increase in LNG exports in less than a decade. If this target is realised, all gas which is accessible to the WA domestic market could be fully committed between 2015 and 2020." The alliance also warns that the bulk of Australia's undeveloped gas resources is located offshore and in deep water and many of the fields have gas quality issues that could make recovery uneconomic.

Simple steps to harness the elements

Sunday Age
Sunday 20/7/2008 Page: 5

BARBARA and Graeme Davidson are sitting in the new, bright back room of their 1930s Surrey Hills home. It is a cold, grey day but the room is light and comfortable, without artificial lighting or heating. They are thrilled with the environmental performance of their north-facing extension. "I just find every morning I come in here and it's a delight. It's airy, it's spacious," Mr Davidson says. The Davidsons finished their revamp almost two years ago. Now, renovations like theirs are set to become the norm. On May 1, the State Government introduced new regulations forcing additions and alterations, like new homes, to comply with the five-star energy standard.

The couple's contemporary extension added both a study and a large open room, with a kitchen, lounge and informal dining space. They also installed solar hot water and a rainwater tank that collects from the roof of their new garage. Andrew Wilson, the architect on the Surrey Hills home, is pleased with the results. He called his clients during a long hot summer spell and found, to his satisfaction, that they had barely used their air-conditioner.

According to Mr Wilson, environmental efficiency is just about good design. "This is not rocket science, at all," he says. "The sun is higher in summer and lower in winter. It's as basic as that." In the hotter months, wide eaves shade the large north-facing windows. Between each pane of glass, thick supports jut out to protect against the westerly afternoon sun. "In mid-summer you get no direct light into the building," Mr Davidson confirms. But in mid-winter, he says, the sun stretches right across the room.

Other eco-touches in the renovation include insulation beyond the five-star requirements and effective cross ventilation-airflow through the house to help natural cooling. Equally, in winter, the warm lounge room can be shut off from the rest of the house to keep the heat in. The garden, too, has a role to play. The Davidsons planted deciduous trees that will offer summer shade and allow winter sun.

The renovation maybe finished, but Mrs Davidson's plans continue. Keen to make the house even more efficient, she wants to put in a grey water system and solar panels. "I just feel we come from the generation that have used the resources, and I include myself in that," she says. "I've got grandchildren and I'm worried about what sort of world I'm going to leave them."

Carbon paper a potential train wreck

Summaries - Australian Financial Review
Monday 21/7/2008 Page: 4

The Australian Rail Association has criticised the Federal Government's decision to subsidise the trucking industry and not the rail industry when an emissions trading scheme (ETS) is introduced in 2010.

The association's chief executive, Brian Nye, said it was ‘bizarre' that train users had not been given similar protection under the ETS, ‘while car users causing pollution, congestion, and health impacts will be compensated.' The arrangements will also affect companies such as Asciano Group (which owns Pacific National), Queensland Rail, and Australian Rail Track Corporation.

Opposition transport spokesman Warren Truss also criticised the plan, which was yesterday defended by Transport Minister Anthony Albanese. He said rail's comparative position would have been vastly improved if the Government's measures to change the cost-recovery arrangements on heavy vehicle road charges had not been blocked by the opposition in the Senate.

PM's carbon target plans face rethink

Summaries - Australian Financial Review
Monday 21/7/2008 Page: 1

A proposal to give parliament the task of annually setting carbon reduction targets in an emissions trading scheme (ETS) looks set to be scrapped by the Rudd Government. The proposal is part of the Government's green paper on the form of an ETS. Senior ministers are reportedly concerned that the target would become a ‘rolling argument,' subject to political lobbying.

Earlier proposals for an ETS including Ross Garnaut's draft report suggested a system incorporating an independent carbon bank which would operate similarly to the Reserve Bank of Australia, making regular adjustments to targets based on medium term goals set by government. Shadow treasurer Malcolm Turnbull has accused the government of failing to ‘clarify…crucial details' before releasing its green paper on the scheme.

Minister for Climate Change Penny Wong has indicated that the government will be conducting an advertising campaign to promote the green paper but did not reveal the budget for that campaign, saying only that it would be nothing like what the Howard government spent on promoting WorkChoices, one of several Howard government advertising campaigns federal Labor were quick to criticise due to the expense involved.

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Massive clean energy reserves found

Monday 21/7/2008 Page: 7

QUEENSLAND has struck yet another bonanza with the discovery of an enormous reservoir of zero emission coal seam gas, 100km east of the outback town of Cloncurry. The discovery of the clean energy reserves in the new Millungera Basin by a Queensland government survey team comes just days after Canberra increased the pressure to embrace lower-emissions fuels by releasing its carbon trading green paper.

The geothermal energy find also comes amid jockeying by local and international companies, such as BG Group and Shell, for a foothold in Queensland's booming coal seam gas sector. Premier Anna Bligh said the Millungera Basin discovery which is 300km long and up to 50km wide was "one of the most exciting resource finds this century", which could hold clean energy sources for enough low emissions power for the entire northwest region of the state.

"Other rocks of this age in other basins have significant coal seam gas and water resources, and the granites uncovered signal the potential for new sources of geothermal energy that have the potential to generate one-fifth of Australia's total electricity needs over the next 25 years without producing any carbon dioxide emissions," Ms Bligh said.

Geothermal or "hot rock" energy pushes cold water from the surface over heat captured in the earth before harnessing the resulting high-pressure steam to drive electricity turbines. Experts have estimated that Australia could draw nearly 7 per cent of its electricity from hot rock power stations by 2030 after Geoscience Australia's analysis revealed the country's geothermal energy source to be about 1.2 billion petajoules far eclipsing our 140,000 PJ of total proven and probable gas reserves.

Geologists discovered the new basin, which is believed to be up to 540 million years old, underneath the younger Carpentaria Basin. Further surveys will be conducted to find out the size, shape and depth of the basin in addition to drilling to assess the geothermal potential of the site. The Government will soon decide which blocks of land will be released for tender for geothermal and gas exploration. Likely bidders for the geothermal exploration permits include Western Australia's Torrens energy, Victoria's Greenearth Energy, South Australia's Petratherm and Brisbane-based GeoDynamics.

GeoDynamics, one of the most advanced geothermal companies in Australia, is working to harness geothermal energy from hot fractured granites deep beneath the Cooper Basin oil and gas fields, near Innamincka in the far north of South Australia. Before the discovery of the new Queensland reservoir, South Australia had been the centre of Australia's geothermal activity, but a key reservation about the success of geothermal energy in Australia to date has been the fact that the Cooper Basin resource was so far from the major load centres along the coast a claim that GeoDynamics officials have disputed.

Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said any significant mineral or energy resource discovery in the region would be a huge benefit to the North West Mineral Province and to nearby Cloncurry and Julia Creek. Swiss mining giant Xstrata has flagged its intention to acquire new operations in the Mt Isa region as part of its plan to double its copper business over the next five years. Other companies such as Exco Resources and Cudeco also have operations in the region.

Nuclear power can cut emissions and still maintain supply

Monday 21/7/2008 Page: 11

THE unseemly haste associated with the implementation of Australia's emission trading scheme seems to be driven more by political aspirations and the pseudo-science of special interest groups than sound environmental concern.

On a recent visit to Australia, Jeffrey Sachs, distinguished professor of sustainability from Columbia University, pointed out the futility of a highly politicised debate on emissions trading. He said that the science, technology and economics of any optimal new "clean" energy policy should be properly simulated, studied and understood by all national stakeholders. Sachs endorses nuclear energy as the pivotal clean technology.

The Australian Government could well learn from Australia's uranium trading partners as it shapes its energy and climate change policies. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong should endorse the energy technologies that provide real energy security and offer the largest emission reductions at the lowest cost. Her aspiration for "renewables" and "clean coal" clearly does not fit this template. nuclear energy does.

The call for the Government to formulate a sensible energy policy, which will provide Australia with energy, water and hydrogen security and an emission trading scheme at minimal cost is growing. nuclear energy endorsement has come from former NSW premier Bob Carr, and chairman of the Commonwealth Bank and the Great Barrier Reef Trust John Schubert, as well as from Paul Howes, national secretary of the Australian Workers Union. Following the G8 summit in Japan, climate scientists and energy experts were quick to comment on the fact that Australia was the odd nation out."

Fifteen of the 16 participating nations were already committed to or were planning to adopt civilian nuclear energy to battle global warming. From the G8 "host group", Italy, which had for decades imported cheap and reliable nuclear energy from France, has recently announced its own program for domestic nuclear energy production. The other seven nations all had made a major investment in nuclear energy over the past 40 years.

From the "invited observer" group, China, India, South Korea and South Africa already have major and rapidly expanding nuclear industries. And Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia have firm plans for a program of nuclear development. Australia alone, through political prejudice, lack of education and the pressure of special interest groups, is denying the nation the domestic adoption of this best of all technologies for the provision of energy security and low-cost emission trading.

Just before the summit, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that his nation would build a second 1650 MW(e) "Generation 4" nuclear energy plant to supplement the one at Flamanville due to enter service in 2012. These units will provide electrical energy 30% to 50% below the cost of gas or coal.

For France, each of these units saves 2 billion cubic metres of natural gas every year when it replaces a gas-fired plant and 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide when it replaces a coal power plant. For more than 35 years nuclear energy has been providing cheap, clean energy security for France. In 2008 it supplies 78% of the country's electricity as well as providing reliable base-load power for surrounding European countries.

nuclear energy technology has received strong endorsement at recent conferences held by industrial groups in Australia and overseas. At the Emissions Trading Conference sponsored by the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, the managing director of EnergyAustralia, George Maltobarow, wanted nuclear energy to be recognised as a less costly alternative to "renewables" and "clean coal" in any Australian carbon trading scheme.

At the same time in Barcelona, the European Union's electricity industry executives held a major conference on the "Decarbonising Europe Trading Scheme." Of the delegates, 49% chose nuclear energy as the key technology to lower carbon emissions. 24% chose carbon capture and sequestration and 6% chose "renewables." And the carbon capture advocates recognised that this technology still does not exist. For energy security and lowest cost emission trading, the Rudd Government should follow Europe.

With regulatory protocols in place Australia's first five nuclear energy stations could be built and commissioned in eight to 10 years. They are only "too expensive" and "too slow" if seen through the prism of political prejudice. Already the world's 442 nuclear energy stations are averting the emission of about 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Australia - the planet's worst per capita emitter and also its premier "dirty coal" exporter - can only adopt a Kyoto-based ethical "high ground" in the climate change battle by embracing nuclear energy. As a significant bonus, the nation will receive clean, green energy security at a generating cost of about three cents per kilowatt hour. Without nuclear energy the purchase of 8000 kWh of electrical energy a year in Australia will still leave a "carbon footprint" of about 300 kilograms of fly ash and nine tonnes of carbon dioxide. A similar transaction in France would result in 25 millilitres of valuable radioactive waste. Without nuclear energy, Australia's emission reduction targets of 20% by 2020 and 60% by 2050 may prove unattainable and the nation may be destined to decades of global disadvantage.

Leslie Kemeny is the Australian foundation member of the International Nuclear Energy Academy. He is a consulting nuclear scientist and engineer.

Coal chief's fears on permits

Adelaide Advertiser
Monday 21/7/2008 Page: 61

Xstrata Coal chairman Peter Coates is concerned there will not be enough free permits to protect industry under the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme. Mr Coates, who also sits on the boards of Santos and the Minerals Council, said the impact of that would be big for Xstrata and its shareholders. "I couldn't tell you the exact impact because we don't know what the carbon price will be," he told Sky News. "All I can say is there will be an impact." Mr Coates said the Government planned to allocate about 30 per cent of permits released to the emissions intensive trade exposed area. Of that, about 12 per cent will be given to farming with the balance for industry, he said.

"Our only concern is there will not be enough to properly protect industry because, at the end of the day, our overriding concern as Australians is we have to make sure there is no carbon leakage," he said. "We have to make sure we don't drive carbon intensive industry offshore. That is to no one's advantage." Mr Coates said the developed world was driving coal use. There was no slowdown in sight, with coal use expected to rise 70 per cent by 2030. "There is no solution to this issue without a clean coal solution. The Government knows that." he said.

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Green loans at discount rates

Adelaide Advertiser
Monday 21/7/2008 Page: 33

CHEAP loans for energy efficient home improvements are expected to be available from next year. One of the Labor Government's election promises was to provide cheap loans of up to $10,000 for people who want to install solar panels, water tanks and other green products, such as insulation, awnings, grey water recycling and gas hot water heaters.

A spokesman for Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett said last week that the loans would be available early next year. They will be available to all families earning less than $250,000 a year to enable them to make their homes more energy and water efficient. The spokesman said the scheme would cut up to $800 a year from energy and water bills and increase the value of homes.

Gore's oil challenge

Hobart Mercury
Saturday 19/7/2008 Page: 13

FORMER US vice-president Al Gore has called for a "man on the moon" effort to ditch oil and switch all of the nation's power production to wind, solar and other carbon-free sources within 10 years. He said this goal would solve global warming as well as economic and national security crises caused by dependence on fossil fuels. You connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever rising energy prices," he said.

`Green' electricity goes up in smoke

Adelaide Advertiser
Saturday 19/7/2008 Page: 3

ELECTRICITY customers who signed up for green power with two of South Australia's major energy retailers are being delivered power predominantly sourced from coal and gas. The green power offerings of TRUEnergy and Origin Energy have been reduced because of the drought and marketing standard changes. TRUEnergy has reduced the amount of renewable energy it sells to households from 100 per cent to 10 per cent. Customers have to pay an extra $5 a week if they want a 100 per cent GreenPower plan.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, in determining the market status of "green power", ruled last December hydroelectricity was not a new technology to combat emissions and could not be referred to as green power. Origin Energy in March reduced its percentage of renewable electricity to 25 per cent from its 100 per cent green electricity plan because the drought lowered hydro electricity production in the eastern states.

TRUEnergy, from this month, is providing only 10 per cent renewable power on its green electricity plan because of new accreditation standards. It was using hydroelectricity to supply 90 per cent of the plan's power but hydro-electricity does not qualify for the Federal Government's GreenPower accreditation scheme.

TRUEnergy spokeswoman Sarah Stent said the company changed its plan because it wanted to increase the uptake of accredited GreenPower to lower greenhouse gases. "We have decided to specifically target our product offerings by no longer marketing a combination of accredited and non-accredited energy," she said. Origin Energy spokeswoman Yvette Reade said the drought had made hydroelectricity hard to source. "We offered a 90 per cent hydro and 10 per cent accredited green product and then upped that to 25 per cent accredited green product, with the rest being sourced by ordinary power," she said.

New hot rock field of dreams - Vast thermal power find

Sunday Mail Brisbane
Sunday 20/7/2008 Page: 5

A MINERAL-rich basin has been discovered in northwest Queensland that Premier Anna Bligh predicts could provide low-cost energy to a quarter of the state. The Millungera Basin, 100km east of Cloncurry, could be worth billions of dollars if its geothermal - or hot rocks - energy lives up to its potential. The Premier yesterday described it as one of the "most exciting resource finds this century." She said it could also mean cheaper energy for Queensland households.

"The discovery of a new, untapped basin of this size is rare anywhere in the world," the Premier told The Sunday Mail yesterday. "It is possible that this basin could hold clean energy sources that could provide low emissions power for the entire northwest region." Experts said Millungera could rival the energy potential of the Copper Basin on the Queensland-South Australia border- More than $8 billion has been invested in the Copper Basin - Australia's largest onshore resources project, discovered in 1963 and containing 630 gas wells and 340 oil wells.

Ms Bligh said the underground resource, which geologists found using cutting-edge technology that enabled them to "see" 60m beneath the surface, could also hold huge amounts of low emission coal seam gas. "Other rocks of this age in other basins have significant coal-seam gas and water resources and the granites uncovered signal the potential for new sources of geothermal energy," she said.

"The added bonus of a potential new water source would be the icing on the cake." geothermal energy is produced from heat generated and captured from deep inside the earth, and the Government has invested $140 million in developing the industry, which Ms Bligh said could generate one-fifth of Australia's total electricity needs over the next 25 years without producing any carbon dioxide emissions.

Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said further surveys would be carried out to better define the size, shape and depth of the basin. "We will shortly consider which blocks of land could be released for tender for geothermal and gas exploration," he said.

CSIRO report `hidden

Sunday Mail Brisbane
Sunday 20/7/2008 Page: 5

THE Queensland Government has been accused of sitting on a CSIRO report that says renewable sources could supply all the state's electricity needs. Campaigners say lack of action by Energy Minister Geoff Wilson in the year since the report was presented smacks of protectionism of the coal industry, which feeds 80 per cent of Queensland's power generation. They are calling for some of the extra $578 million from coal royalties to be invested in clean energy development.

"There are vast resources from largescale solar thermal, solar photovoltaics, wind or hot fractured rocks," the CSIRO report concluded. "They could supply all required electricity generation and abate all greenhouse gas emissions." Toby Hutcheon, chief executive of Queensland Conservation, says the report should have been a green light to the Government developing a clear strategy on renewable energies. "It's disappointing that a CSIRO report is on the minister's desk and little is being done to develop that," he said.

Hydro will benefit as water value rises

Hobart Mercury
Friday 18/7/2008 Page: 4

INCREASED electricity prices due to carbon trading policies is likely to help Hydro Tasmania in coming years, chief executive Vince Hawksworth said yesterday. Speaking to the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association biennial conference, Mr Hawksworth said that renewable energy would be worth more and the value of water would increase.

"Electricity prices are likely to go up because coal-fired power stations are having to pay for the carbon they use," he said. "Those power stations will need to recover that through higher prices, but if you are a hydro producer the electricity prices will be higher but the costs are lower because there is no carbon used." "Our renewable energy will be produced at a lower cost so it could benefit Hydro Tasmania and our shareholders." "Tasmania's future in a carbon constrained world can be a good one." He said about 80 per cent of Australia's electricity was not from renewable sources.

But there was still a lot of uncertainty about how steep any increases in electricity would be. "That will not be known until the white paper is produced," Mr Hawksworth said. He said that the amount of rainfall would be critical to how much improved margin electricity could be produced. He said that in 2007-08 Hydro had been forced to import 2500 gigawatt hours of electricity via Basslink because of lower inflows into Hydro storages. "We are receiving 10 per cent less water than we were four to five years ago and generating 9000 gigawatt hours rather than 10,000 GWh," lie said.

The project to find a further 1000 gigawatt hours of electricity was important because of the likelihood of increased prices. "If long-term yield has dropped what can we do to maximise what is falling," he said. "There we are upgrading canals, improving ways we gather water, small hydro plants and when we refurbish existing plant we can do it to get more energy," he said. He said that it would cost about 1000GWh for $400 million investment over 10-15 years. Treasurer Michael Aird said the government has made no decision regarding future electricity pricing for the Bass Strait Islands.

Wind power reduces debt

Daily Telegraph
Friday 18/7/2008 Page: 85

Allco Finance Group has completed the sale of its US Tehachapi wind farm assets and cut its senior debt by $230 million as a result. Allco announced last month that it and its co-investors had agreed to offload the Californian wind farm, considered one of its best overseas assets, to a US consortium for $346 million. The sale has resulted in an anticipated after tax net share of sale proceeds for Allco of approximately $163 million.

Alternative fuels taxes may be scrapped

Friday 18/7/2008 Page: 4

NEW taxes on alternative fuels including LPG could be delayed or scrapped by the Rudd Government under a compensation deal to balance the inflationary impact of its carbon trading scheme. In a separate measure, Treasurer Wayne Swan has also confirmed that the Government will continue funding an LPG vehicle conversion scheme until 2015, to help "working families" who need to travel long distances.

The Rudd Government pledged yesterday that users of liquid petroleum gas or LPG will be offered tax relief under the compensation measures, despite the fact that excise does not at present apply on it. One option is to delay or modify the planned introduction of a 2.5 cents-a-litre excise on LPG and other alternative fuels from 2011, which is set to rise to 12.5 cents a litre by 2015.

The Government has already pledged a cent-for-cent reduction in fuel taxes to compensate for the impact of the carbon trading scheme with a reduction in excise the most likely measure. But the fact that excise is not currently applied to LPG, which generates 10 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions on average than petrol, sparked fears this week that the price would rise under a carbon trading scheme without relief for motorists. But Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said relief would be offered and the precise mechanism would be determined.

The principle to our commitment to motorists in relation to fuel, to petrol, applies also to LPG. However, we will need to consult with the industry about what the best way to deliver that will be," she said. The most likely option is to delay or scrap the planned introduction of excise on LPG in 2011. The Howard government had planned a phased introduction of excise on the alternative fuels from 2011, beginning with a 2.5 cents-a-litre impost rising to 12.5 cents a litre by 2015.

But Mr Swan's office confirmed yesterday that the planned hike to LPG taxes was now classified as a measure announced by the previous government "for which a final decision has not yet been reached." The Government's taxation review, headed by Treasury secretary Ken Henry, is also considering the proposed excise. Despite speculation in the leadup to the May budget that the Government might scrap the LPG vehicle scheme's $2000 grant offer to the cost of converting new cars that use petrol or diesel to LPG, Mr Swan extended funding for the scheme.

In a letter to the Australian Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association, obtained by The Australian, Mr Swan also confirmed after the budget that the Government was now committed to the scheme through to 2015. "The Government recognises that some families need to travel long distances and that helping to mitigate some of the costs of converting to LPG allows families to take advantage of lower LPG prices," he said.

"The scheme will continue until 2015." LPG Australia chief executive officer Stephen Woodward said he was not overly concerned with any lag between the planned introduction of a carbon trading scheme and the application of excise to LPG in 2011. "They've probably got it in their minds that by the time we start putting a carbon tax on LPG the excise on LPG will apply and they are probably thinking they have 2.5 cents a litre in excise to play with," he said.

For the average Australian motorist who cannot afford a Toyota Prius, converting their existing car is the biggest single thing they can do to reduce their emissions. We're confident the Government recognises that."

Reliance on coal could scuttle us

Friday 18/7/2008 Page: 13

It would be shortsighted of Australia to rely on coal and not other energy sources.

THE Rudd Government's green paper on a "carbon pollution reduction scheme", and the methods to achieve this reduction, have some strongly innovative elements. But there is a continued emphasis on investment in offsets and abatement from large-scale carbon capture projects to significantly extend the life of our coal industry. This poses three huge risks to the Australian economy.

Are we sure that we want our children to shoulder them? The first big risk is that carbon capture and storage isn't proven. Experts believe it may take until 2015 or later to prove the technology, if then. The second big risk is that it may not prove cost effective. Evidence is accumulating that carbon capture and storage may prove uneconomic because renewables such as solar, geothermal power and wind are falling in price very rapidly.

But the biggest argument of all for caution - yet hardly ever spoken - is that there simply may not be enough coal to go around. This could lead to global shortages, price spikes, economic disruption and a rush to other energy sources - meaning billions of dollars of stranded investments. Incredibly for an energy resource that the world depends on, global coal statistics are shockingly poor. Take China.

Since 1992, the nation has mined roughly 20% of its reported reserves. Yet, China hasn't changed its reported reserve figures since that year. The United States and Australia have reasonably credible reserves, but other nations with large reported coal assets are Russia, India and South Africa. How reliable are their figures? Put bluntly, neither the world nor Australia should commit to carbon capture and storage until there is a better global accounting of the underlying energy resource.

This matters. The world, led by China, is rapidly consuming coal. China is now a net importer of coal despite being the world's largest coal producer. What would happen to all those new Chinese coal-fired power stations (now opening at the rate of one a week) if domestic reserves turn out to be inadequate to meet demand? One outcome could be a scramble for coal resources at any price. That, in turn, could mean a queue of coal ships off Newcastle in NSW of 100 ships, or maybe 200 instead of 50 to 60 now.

It could mean blackouts and brownouts in China with huge implications for global supply chains. If an energy crunch induced by a coal shortage happened in China, there could be a global contractionary contagion effect, similar to that which the world is seeing as a result of American subprime mortgages, except potentially much bigger.

One response to such a risk would be to bet on the "Lucky Country" scenario, in which Australia would be blissfully unaffected by this international energy turmoil, because it has large coal supplies relative to domestic consumption. That may be true. But Australia operates in a global market. If bad global coal reserve figures lead to inadequate future capacity planning, which then leads to global shortages, resultant price spikes may bring short-teen windfall gains in Australia's terms of trade.

But it will do so at the risk of worsening global economic short term pain and would probably drive coal prices so high that other countries - unable to source adequate coal at any price - turn to quick-to-construct renewable energy resources such as wind, wave, solar and geothermal power. And we are left behind.

In the end, the global economy will adapt. The question is how fast, how smartly, and with how much pain. It would be far smarter to spend the next few years expanding Australia's real, proven and commercially operating renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power.

This is a key element that the Government and Ross Garnaut must be thinking harder about driving forward. The time to think about carbon capture and storage will be when the underlying reserve is proven and credible and certain to be around for long enough to justify the investment. That certainty isn't there right now.

Barry Brook is Sir Hubert Wilkins professor of climate change and director of the Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability at the University of Adelaide.

Using less energy more effective than biofuels

Adelaide Advertiser
Friday 18/7/2008 Page: 85

MASSIVE government subsidies for biofuels are not helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report released yesterday.

The U.S., EU and Canada spent US$17.6 billion in public money to support energy crops in 2006, and will more than double that over the next 10 years, according to estimates by Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. But this failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport by more than 1 per cent, the OECD said, recommending governments would see more savings from a lower-cost push towards cutting energy use overall.

"biofuels produced from wheat, sugar beet or vegetable oils rarely provide greenhouse gas emission savings of more than 30 to 60 per cent, while corn/maizebased ethanol generally allows for savings of less than 30 per cent," the report said. "The costs of cutting emissions by saving energy are lower than by switching to alternative energy sources, in particular biofuels," it said.

Clean Energy Council says follow the leader - Canberrans paid top dollar for producing clean energy

Clean Energy Council
14 JULY 2008

The Clean Energy Council says a nationally consistent gross feed-in tariff is a critical climate change policy now more than ever; as over half of Australia's states and territories have unique feed-in tariff laws. "No matter where you live, Australians should all have access to the same incentives and benefits for acting on climate change. The Clean Energy Council is seeking a nationally consistent gross feed-in tariff to stimulate the take up of small scale renewable energy" says Irena Bukhshtaber, GM – Communications, Clean Energy Council.

As of 2 July 2008, ACT homes and businesses with small, grid-connected systems, such as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels or micro wind turbines, will be paid top dollar for all the energy they produce. This is known as a gross feed-in tariff.

The ACT's gross feed-in tariff is set at more than three times the current cost of electricity and will lead to increased take-up of renewable energy throughout the territory. "Canberra is certainly leading the way but we already have three different feed-in tariff schemes in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. A national approach would be a better solution." "Incentives like this are operating successfully overseas and stimulating the rapid take-up of clean energy, reducing reliance on emission-intensive fossil fuels."

"Stationary energy is responsible for half of Australia's emissions, so any climate change solution needs to first target the energy sector. The industry will continue to seek nationally consistent policies." The Council of Australia Governments (COAG) has flagged discussion of a nationally consistent feed-in tariff for their next meeting due in September.

The Clean Energy Council will be discussing the details of feed-in tariffs at the national ATRAA Conference & Exhibition in Melbourne from 31 July – 2 August 2008. The event is open to the public on Saturday 2 August 2008.

For more information visit

Extra $9.6m for hot rocker

Courier Mail
Wednesday 16/7/2008 Page: 40

ALTERNATIVE energy hopeful GeoDynamics will reap an extra $9.6 million for a project after meeting a milestone in a "hot rock" venture. It comes after the GeoDynamics project in South Australia has faced many delays over the years in attempts to tap power from underground hot rocks. Brisbane-based GeoDynamics yesterday announced meeting the milestone that triggers an extra funding commitment from joint venture partner Origin Energy. The milestone was met when GeoDynamics finished drilling a third hole and conducting a test on time and within budget. It brings the total commitment from Origin Energy to $150 million. GeoDynamics shares yesterday closed up 3G at $1.55.

Monday 11 August 2008

Catching the wave of renewable energy

Canberra Times
Wednesday 16/7/2008 Page: 1

Australian renewable energy technology will play a key role in helping Britain meet its interim greenhouse emission reduction targets. Sydney-based company Oceanlinx is one of four wave energy device developers chosen to take part in creating the world's first large-scale wave energy farm, 16km off the coast of Cornwall. The $58 million project, to be installed offshore within two years, will grant each company a lease of 2 sqkm of sea area to test their technology on a large-scale.

The four different types of wave energy generators will be connected to a giant electric socket, known as a Wave Hub, on the seafloor. Cables running from the Wave Hub to land will feed 20 megawatts of renewable electricity into the national power gird - enough to power 7500 homes and save 24,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

British surfers have complained the Hub will "drain energy" from the waves they ride along the Atlantic coast, reducing wave height by 11 per cent. But New Zealand physical oceanographer, Dr Kerry Black, estimates the impact on wave height will be less than 5cm off a metre-high wave. Britain is determined to establish its credentials as a global leader in renewable energy innovation, and the public company behind the Wave Hub project - the South-West England Regional Development Agency claims it could transform the wave energy technology industry. They're hoping it will make Britain the location of choice" for companies developing wave energy, attracting expertise and long-term foreign investment in renewable energy innovation.

This is public sector investment at its best -taking the long view, taking risks the private sector can't take, and making significant investment in the technology we need to tackle climate change," chief executive of south-west England's renewable energy agency, Matthew Spencer said. Oceanlinx is a world-leader in wave energy technology, chiefly due to the Denniss-Auld turbine invented by the company's founder, mathematician and oceanographer, Dr Tom Denniss.

A year ago, the company's wave energy technology was named by the International Academy of Science as one of the 10 most outstanding technologies in the world. But like many home-grown renewable energy innovations, the rest of the world seems more excited by the future clean energy delivery prospects of the Oceanlinx turbine than governments in Australia. Hawaii has signed a deal for three of the company's floating wave energy converters and Rhode Island - the smallest state in the United States - wants a pilot plant.

A power company on the Oregon coast is negotiating with Oceanlinx to build a 15 MW wave energy park, and Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission (the world's biggest electricity provider) is conducting a feasibility study for two new wave plants using the Australian technology.

Back home, there's a pilot plant at Port Kembla, a feasibility study for King Island and negotiations to establish a 27 MW wave energy project off the Victorian coast at Portland. "Australia has great wave energy potential, but has lagged a little behind the rest of the world because of the low cost of coal. But if you took all the existing energy technologies back to a level playing field, wave energy is actually the cheapest," Denniss says.

The Earth's oceans are the world's largest solar energy collector and energy storage system, covering 70 per cent of the planet. The World Energy Council estimates the amount of energy generated by ocean waves, currents, tides, swells and thermal gradients could supply all the world's current electricity needs, more than 5000 tines over. "It's estimated that in 50 years, wave energy will be providing around 20 per cent of the world's energy needs. The potential is huge," Denniss says.

He developed the idea of a turbine to extract wave energy in the mid-1990s, and describes it as "acting like a giant blowhole." Water moves up and down inside a chamber, and the turbine is driven by the air flow. A sensor system measures the pressure exerted on the ocean floor by each wave as it approaches the capture chamber, and sends a voltage signal identifying the height, time and shape of each wave. It produces "around the same level of noise as a household vacuum cleaner" and has no moving parts underwater.

"There's nothing to affect ocean wildlife, and we've screened off any sections of the turbine open to the air with mesh, so there's no danger to sea birds." Like many Australian renewable energy companies, Oceanlinx has relied on foreign venture capital to expand its operations. The company was established in 1997, and received a $750,000 grant from the Federal Government two years later. Two US energy companies and three European investment groups specialising in energy technology innovations provided the venture capital for the company to grow. "We have more interest around the world in the technology than we can service at the moment. The market for its is unlimited," Denniss says.

Small scale wind turbines are predicted to be another boom growth area in renewable technology, with vertical axis turbines out-performing the conventional, and controversial, giant propeller-blade style turbines. The smart money is not on wind farms, but roof-mounted microgeneration turbines. A British energy study estimates small scale wind generation can provide 40 per cent of the country's energy needs by 2050.

Australian technology could be a winner here too. Perth inventor, Graeme Attey, better known as the man who designed the phenomenally successful Dirtsurfer (a kind of streamlined snowboard with wheels), has developed a barrel-style wind turbine that could sell for about $700. He estimates five turbines should generate enough power to supply the average suburban home, and recently received $34,000 from the WA Government to help commercialise the technology.

The biggest renewable energy technology project to be undertaken in Australia is the $800 million EnviroMission solar tower, near Mildura in north-west Victoria. It will be a massive solar power station, capable of producing up to 200 MW of clean electricity, or enough to power 200,000 homes. China has invested $11 million in the project, and will own 75 per cent of an Australian-based company developing new solar tower technology for China. The 1km high solar tower power station, will be surrounded by a "skirt" of solar collector panels 7km wide.

The project received support from the Howard government in the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, but last month the company claimed the project had stalled due to insufficient federal support and they are now concentrating on projects in China and the US.

"Under the previous government they changed their policy from really renewable to low emission and that meant a lot of clean coal, and the prime minister's favourite thing, nuclear," a company spokesman told the ABC. "We would be looking to the new Government to see a firm change to renewable and we will be lobbying that Government very heavily." Meanwhile newspapers in the US last week were celebrating new plans to build an Australian designed "bloody big solar tower" somewhere in the country's southwest.

The History Channel took up the story and calculated 630 solar towers "would power every home in the US making America energy independent." The construction cost would be "over $US500 billion, roughly half the cost of the Iraq war."

Pope Benedict is also backing renewable energy, installing solar cells on the roof of the Vatican's main auditorium as the first step in a plan to make the Holy See the world's first carbon neutral country. Asked about climate change during a recent press conference, Pope Benedict replied it was not his intention to "enter into the technical questions which politicians and specialists have to resolve, but to offer essential impulses for seeing the responsibility, for being capable of responding to this great challenge."

Renewable energy can keep people on land

Canberra Times
Tuesday 15/7/2008 Page: 2

Farmers considering selling up and leaving the land are being encouraged to turn to renewable energy instead. Greens senator Christine Milne said yesterday she was not surprised by reports that only 411 had applied for $150,000 exit grants, and just 32 of those had been processed and paid as of late last month.

"Farming for most people is a real connection with the property that they live on, the lifestyle, the biodiversity, just the identification with the land. It's a really strong thing, and people don't just walk off their properties unless they absolutely have no choice in the end," she said. The Government should encourage farmers to stay on their land and get an income from farming renewable energy instead.

"The Government would need to take the transmission lines out to where those remote areas, where these large-scale renewable energy farms are, and that would be the community's contribution to making it happen," she told ABC Radio. "Once you've done that, you'd have these farmers being able to significantly reduce their stocking rates or whatever else they're doing on their land, in combination with renewable energy and watch the cheques roll in.

"So it's an ideal solution. It helps us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, it helps its build largescale renewables and it keeps rural communities viable." National Farmers Federation chief executive officer Ben Fargher said this could be part of the solution, and he wanted farmers to get "the tools to adapt to changing climate and build on the work they've already done, in terms of new technology and new genetics and new systems and diversification.

ASX set to run carbon trading

Tuesday 15/7/2008 Page: 28

THE Australian Securities Exchange is the frontrunner to operate a futures market worth up to $12 billion to support a national emissions trading system. Legislation expected to be passed late next year will require a marketplace for companies to buy and sell carbon certificates required by the scheme. The ASX was perfectly positioned to facilitate this activity because of its existing infrastructure and client base, emerging markets general manager Anthony Collins said.

"ASX already runs a very large energy futures market," he said. "All the likely permit holders under the scheme are already trading over-the-counter and exchange-based futures contracts, so it's going to be very easy for them to access our infrastructure to manage their risks and compliance." The ASX will also be able to integrate the required settlement functions into its Austraclear system.

"They're going to be traded, but they also need to be settled. "To get the certificate you need to pay the money. "Austraclear is integrated into all the back-office systems to settle electricity and gas accounts and we'll put the permits into Austraclear. "This will be an interface for the national registry that will hold the permits so people can settle their spot and derivatives transactions efficiently and safely." Mr Collins priced an emissions trading market at about $12 billion, based on the federal Government's indications that the scheme would have 70 per cent coverage of the market about 420 million tonnes of carbon, priced at $30 a tonne.

The ASX would be able to get any system up soon after the legislation was introduced, with minimal effort. Mr Collins stressed that the $12 billion value was not the actual cost of starting an emissions trading scheme. The National Generators' Forum estimates that $150 billion is required to meet a 60 per cent reduction on year 2000 estimates by 2050, or about $3 billion a year. This far exceeds earlier reports that reported businesses would spend $7 billion by 2015. The Government will set up the registry in charge of selling off the permits.

But it wants the financial markets to service the scheme, regardless of whether they use existing infrastructure. "They're not going to mandate somebody to build a new exchange, or that people have to trade in a particular way," Mr Collins said. "They'll say here is the registry, here are your obligations and they very much expect the market to figure out the methods of trading. "The Government's objectives are to get the design of the scheme right, to get the right coverage and trajectory, and once the permits are either auctioned or allocated, they get compensation and other issues dealt with.

"I get a sense they're pretty relaxed and confident the market will service the scheme." The market operator also expects a wave of investment as companies developing the technology to support green energy initiatives raise capital on the ASX. "It's a growing sector, if you look at companies investing a lot in these new technologies, such as AGL and Origin Energy. "You're looking at market capitalisation of $13 billion to $14 billion. "They're an important part of the ASX, but there are at least 15 to 20 start-up companies also listed with us developing these clean technologies, such as clean coal, hot rocks and solar."