Thursday 16 October 2008

New wave of economical power

Daily Telegraph
Tuesday 30/9/2008 Page: 45

economical powerCLEAN power group Carnegie Corporation says more than a third of Australia's base-load power needs could be economically generated by wave technology. Australia has a potential near-shore wave energy resource of about 171,000 megawatts, four times the country's installed power generation capacity, Carnegie Corporation said yesterday citing a report it commissioned from RPS MetOcean. "This report further supports Carnegie Corporation's view that Australia has the world's best wave energy resource a resource we hope will be utilised through technologies such as CETO for base-load power generation," managing director Michael Ottaviano said.

CETO technology uses submerged units anchored to the sea floor that move with the motion of passing waves, driving pumps which in turn pressurise seawater that is delivered ashore through a pipeline. The high-pressure seawater is used to drive hydroelectric turbines and generate base-load electricity. Carnegie Corporation said a "conservative" 10 per cent of Australia's calculated near-shore wave resource was estimated to be economically extractable.

Climate ripe for change

Herald Sun
Wednesday 1/10/2008 Page: 19

THE Garnaut Climate Change Review is now complete. Its brief was to "examine the impacts of climate change on the Australian economy, and recommend medium to long-term policies and policy frameworks to improve the prospects for sustainable prosperity". To me, the concept of sustainable prosperity is the key to turning climate change mitigation into a win-win scenario. I'll explain why, but first, some background.

Ross Garnaut, the economics professor from the Australian National University who had oversight of the review, was criticised by many climate scientists for proposing weak carbon emissions reduction targets. After all, the mainstream science says we are close to, or have already overshot, the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide that causes dangerous climate change. Yet Garnaut's initial proposal would have us increasing carbon dioxide by another 44 per cent. This is a compromise goal, but one he considers feasible.

After all, the difficulty in reaching international agreements on how each nation might wind back their carbon output is immense. This mismatch between the policy and the science poses a significant problem. With it, we cannot hope to avoid most of the really serious economic and environmental impacts of global warming. Garnaut calls it the "diabolical problem".

But what if we are looking at the problem from the wrong way around? What if the diabolical problem is really just the ultimate gold-plated opportunity for the next economic revolution? A reliable and continually growing supply of cheap, easily generated energy was the driving force behind the industrial revolution and modern communications age.

This, in turn, has brought us high standards of living, amazing technological breakthroughs and sustained economic growth. The catch is that this cheap, reliable energy has come from fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Huge stores of carbon, buried safely for millions of years, are now being released back into the air by us at an astounding rate. Hit the climate system with a shock like this, and it hits back. Hard. Experts also admit to another, little discussed problem.

Our energy infrastructure needs an overhaul to replace ageing equipment and increase its capacity to supply more energy to an expanding economy. Then there is the peaking of fossil fuel supplies. We are close to the point where we've reached maximum global oil production. And demand from China for oil is growing fast. Prices are rising as a result, and they're not ever heading back to the inexpensive days of the 1980s and 1990s. It's not only oil. It's also coal.

Traditional sources of energy, based on fossil fuels, are becoming scarcer and more expensive. Their extensive use also causes dangerous climate change. Put this way, the decision to invest heavily - and rapidly - in renewable energies such as geothermal (hot rocks), solar thermal (desert mirrors), wave and wind energy, and rooftop photovoltaic systems, is a no-brainer. These technologies offer the only way to achieve an ongoing, growing energy supply.

What's more, unlike carbon-based energy, they are getting cheaper, not more expensive. The Garnaut Review recognises these core issues, but its focus remains too heavily directed towards emissions reductions targets. I'd argue that if we concentrate most of our effort on helping the market get the renewable energy solution right, then carbon emission will fall rapidly as result. It's an emergent property of fixing the energy supply. It doesn't need to be an explicit aim. Oh, and we get a prosperous, sustainable economy to boot. Win-win.

Barry Brook is Sir Hubert Wilkins Professor of Climate Change at the University of Adelaide

Report urges council to harvest wind in the CBD

Wednesday 1/10/2008 Page: 7

Orange-Bellied Parrots, beware: wind turbines are being considered by the Melbourne City Council as a way of reducing the city's carbon footprint. A report adopted by the council last night discusses options for micro turbines on the roofs of Melbourne's tallest buildings, and suggests looking at sites including Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra for more large-scale projects. The report is aimed at reducing the city's net carbon emissions to zero by 2020.

It says the micro turbines do not in themselves significantly reduce the emissions of a building. "But if a strategy was adopted of installing micro wind turbines on all of Melbourne's tall buildings, this would collectively contribute considerably to carbon reductions," the report says. It suggests a study to identify which buildings would be suitable and requiring all new developments to include a proportion of on-site renewable or low-carbon energy supply.

Cr Fraser Brindley, who chairs the council's environment committee, said the wind turbine suggestion was a "distraction". The report's more achievable and cost effective recommendations were for the council to establish a municipal energy authority to supply energy locally through distributed systems, he said. However, the zero by 2020 target was unlikely to be met unless the council started committing to it in the budget, Cr Brindley said. In 2005-06, excluding freight, the city produced 5.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, an increase of 59% from 2002. With no action, Melbourne emissions are tipped to rise to 8 million tonnes in 2020.

No short-term disaster for coal-fired plants: report - Canberra pressured to dump payouts

Wednesday 1/10/2008 Page: 6

CLIMATE adviser Ross Garnaut has made a mockery of claims that coal-fired power plants will have to close under emissions trading, showing that most will remain profitable until at least 2020 whatever target is chosen.

Professor Garnaut's final report puts pressure on the Federal Government to abandon its plans to compensate coal-fired power generators, projecting that 93% of today's brown-coal power generation will continue if, as he expects is the most likely case under a global deal, Australia cuts emissions by 10% below 2000 levels.

A 25% emissions target - the minimum advocated by climate scientists - would result in nearly two-thirds of brown-coal power generation still operating at the end of next decade. The modelling suggests the industry has time to adapt to a cleaner future. It is in stark contrast to claims this week by International Power Australia, owner of Victoria's 40-year-old Hazelwood power station, that even a soft start to emissions trading would force closure.

Under Professor Garnaut's vision, Australia's energy supply will change from being one of the world's dirtiest to being nearly greenhouse emissions free by mid-century. The change would cone through emissions trading and massive spending on development and infrastructure for lowemissions technology: $2.7 billion a year as part of a global commitment of $124 billion a year.

But slashing energy emissions will take time, and depend on the success of "clean coal" technology, predominantly carbon capture and storage, or burying carbon dioxide emissions kilometres beneath the surface, but also developing the use of vegetation as a greenhouse store.

"Priority should be given to the resolution of whether a near-zero coal future is even feasible, either partially or in total," the report says. "If it is not, then Australia needs to know as soon as possible so that all who depend on the coal industry can begin the process of adjustment." Most of the cuts in emissions before 2020 would come from households using less electricity as prices soar, and buildings and appliances becoming more efficient. Most new energy production would be gas, which has lower emissions than coal but more than genuinely clean forms of energy.

The aluminium industry would carry a disproportionate share of the pain as it chose to abandon Australia for countries where electricity will be considerably cheaper. Professor Garnaut says this would not be "carbon leakage" - industry moving offshore without cutting their emissions - as predicted by business groups, but a shift to running on clean hydro-electricity in Papua New Guinea and central Africa.

By the 2020s, a technology shift would kick in, with clean coal and renewable energy forms, particularly geothermal, or "hot rocks", and perhaps large-scale solar thermal expected to become economically viable. Nuclear could also come into play, but unless clean coal proves a failure or is dramatically more expensive than predicted, Professor Garnaut does not believe it is a path that Australia will go down given its large range of energy options.

Low polluters could be hurt most

Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 30/9/2008 Page: 23

COMPANIES with relatively low carbon emissions could suffer the most under an emissions trading scheme, through cost increases passed on from suppliers, private sector research shows. Although heavy polluters have dominated the debate over Government assistance, consultants from Business Development Partners say higher prices for carbon-intensive goods could shave up to 48 per cent off pretax profits of companies further down the supply chain.

The findings come as Professor Ross Garnaut releases the final report from his climate change review today. The report will include Treasury modelling on the economic impact of a carbon pollution reduction scheme. Carbon-heavy industries such as aluminium will be cushioned by free permits to emit carbon, but the effect of carbon pricing on sectors without such assistance is uncertain.

The study said a carbon price of $20 a tonne could translate to $11.5 billion in extra costs for business - or 9.6 per cent of pretax company profits - based on 2006 figures. This increase was equivalent to petrol rising to $2.65 a litre,it said, compared to recent levels of about $1.55. Construction businesses could be the hardest hit, with carbon costs eroding 48 per cent of the sector's pre-tax profits. Prices of building materials would rise sharply because of their high carbon intensity, and competition between builders would prevent them passing on these costs to customers, it said.

"The construction trade services are a large consumer of steel, concrete and wood products, all of which are emissions intensive inputs to produce and transport," the report said. "The introduction of a carbon price will see an unprecedented shift in the economics for companies in many industries as a result of these changes in input prices." Makers of other consumer and commercial goods - such as electrical appliances, textiles and mining machinery - could also be exposed to carbon costs worth between 18 per cent and 44 per cent of pretax profits, it said.

Last month Professor Garnaut said the Government should aim to cut Australia's 2000 carbon emissions by 10 per cent by 2020, which sets the carbon price at $34.50. But 16 Australian scientists from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are calling on the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, for more aggressive cuts. The Government will indicate the pace at which it intends to cut emissions by the end of this year.

AGL sets for more wind in its sail

Summaries - Australian Financial Review
Tuesday 30/9/2008 Page: 24

Wind assets will be AGL Energy's next investment focus as renewable energy certificate (REC) liabilities pressure AGL to ramp up its green generation as an alternative to buying RECs on the market, estimates Merrill Lynch. A downturn in price is unlikely given the current RECs fervour and the Rudd government's clean energy targets, but the unprecedented 2005 REC slump is still in recent memory.

Alternatively, AGL could sell its power generation portfolio immediately. It has already sold two Hallett Wind Farms in South Australia to Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Perpetual-Wilson HTM. JPMorgan analyst Mark Greenwood last week detailed the impact of the Federal Government's proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS) on Australia's liquefied natural gas players after saying that Woodside Petroleum chief Don Voelte may have gone over the top with his statement that ETS could kill off the Browse Basin LNG project.

Greenwood proposes that coal seam gas play Queensland Gas Co would take a 18.4 percent hit by 2010 based on a $20 a tonne carbon tax. Santos would be the next hardest hit due to the high carbon content of its Cooper Basin operations.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Power shift puts nuclear back in race

Tuesday 30/9/2008 Page: 2

NUCLEAR power is surfing a new wave of growth in Europe, as governments and electricity generators search for reliable, low-cost alternatives to coal and its emissions of carbon dioxide. Last week's $27.5 billion acquisition by Electricite de France of British Energy and its ageing network of nuclear plants is another sign that nuclear is back, as 30 years of opposition to building plants gives way to priorities in the fight against global warning.

EDF plans to build four reactors in Britain, the first by 2017, to replace coal-fired power stations likely to become uneconomic under European Union plans to make power stations pay for their carbon dioxide emissions after 2012. France's electricity supplier, now a public-private hybrid, also has ambitious plans to expand nuclear power in China, the US and South Africa. It is already building a state-of-the-art, 1600-megawatt plant at Flamanville, on the coast of Normandy, and another plant is being built in Finland.

France is the world's nuclear specialist. It generates 78% of its electricity from nuclear power and produces a sixth of the world's nuclear power output. Once reviled for its choice of nuclear over coal, it now feels it has been proved right. China plans to build 40 nuclear plants by 2020. US Undersecretary of State William Burns revealed this month that India had promised to buy 10 nuclear plants from US suppliers, implying a big expansion of its nuclear industry after the recent lifting of global sanctions.

"The order books of the world's nuclear suppliers are full, and there is a long waiting list," said one well-placed observer. "China is the most important player, but there are big ambitions in the US. EDF has big plans for expansion in Britain. Sweden has reversed its commitment to phase them out and is looking at building more.

"Italy is looking at it. Only Germany is still committed to close its plants, but they're talking about changing that." In a landmark report in June, the International Energy Agency estimated that if the world was to meet the target of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at least cost, it would need to open a nuclear plant every fortnight for the next 40 years - along with similar shifts to greater energy efficiency, renewable energy and carbon capture and storage.

Nuclear expert Pierre Zaleski, of the Dauphine University of Paris, said the new generation of nuclear plants was more efficient than those of the 1970s. while the fast-breeder reactors now under development would use one-80th of the uranium to produce the sane power. Environmental veteran Brice Lalonde, who co-founded Friends of Earth and was environment minister under the Socialist Party, is one of several prominent French leftists who have crossed sides to work for President Nicolas Sarkozy, in his case as France's ambassador for climate change negotiations.

Once a leading opponent of nuclear power, he now sees it as inevitable. "I've fought against nuclear power plants," Mr Lalonde told BusinessDay. "I feared they would lead to contamination and accidents. "Now I must admit that, 30 years later, the damn things are working very well. If you want to fight climate change, you have to have every available weapon. You cant escape it. You have to choose the lesser of two evils."

Garnaut gives rival lobbies his final answer

Canberra Times
Tuesday 30/9/2008 Page: 8

Professor Ross Garnaut will issue his final report into emissions trading today, with conservationists pushing for tough environmental protection and business groups urging strong support for economic growth. In May last year, state Labor governments and the then federal Labor Opposition commissioned Professor Garnaut to provide advice on the most economically efficient response to climate change. Professor Garnaut has issued a discussion paper and three draft reports containing recommendations on most key issues.

The final report is expected to contain fresh data on the impact of emissions trading on the energy sector, transport and forestry. Professor Garnaut's most important draft recommendation is that Australia should aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent within 12 years - or by 5 per cent if a global agreement on tackling climate change cannot be reached. He believes Australia should aim for a global atmospheric concentration of 550 parts of carbon dioxide per million.

Both recommendations prompted a storm of criticism from green groups, who have lobbied him to toughen tip the targets in the final report. The Federal Government says Professor Garnaut's report is merely a guide to what form its official climate change strategy will take. The Government's own process is now under way. Its draft plan, contained in a green paper issued in July, is to be supplement by a final plan, in the form of a white paper due out by year's end.

Today's final report will present up-to-date modelling on the impacts of climate change, but the main conclusions have been flagged for some time. The emissions trading scheme that forms the central response to the challenge of climate change in the initial Garnaut Report and the Government's green paper drew heavily on the Shergold Report commissioned by then prime minister John Howard in 2006.

One of the key links between them has been the influence of former Treasury official Martin Parkinson, who headed the Shergold secretariat and now heads the Department of Climate Change. But, for all the recent attention to climate change, the fact is that there has been little original thinking on this problem for a long time.

Treasurer Paul Keating commissioned the Productivity Commission - then called the Industry Commission - in 1991 to report to the government on how Australia would best prepare itself to respond to future rises in temperature estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to be somewhere in the range of 1.9 to 5.2 degrees.

The 1991 report, The Costs and Benefits of Reducing Greenhouse Gases, came up with with familiar sounding points. The 251-page report said the cost of acting on climate change would be "around 1.5 per cent of Australia's national product", with the greatest impact coming from the impact on the nation's coal sector.

The report stated:
*Difficulties arise due to the global nature of the problem, with nations tempted to freeload on the efforts of others,
*Difficulties will also come from managing the issue in countries at different stages of economic development;
*International consensus is unlikely in the foreseeable future, but unilateral action would bring great costs for negligible benefit.

The commission recommended active participation in international negotiations. It also recommended the use of "market-based instruments to pursue a consensus target". It specifically advocated tradable permits as the most efficient policy instrument. But it noted that while "tradable permits are thus very attractive in principle, there are some difficulties to overcome in devising a workable system".

`Closure of power stations on cards'

Tuesday 30/9/2008 Page: 2

THE chief of one of Victoria's main brown coal power stations has said the plant in its present form would be forced to close under the proposed emissions trading scheme. Graeme York, the chief executive of International Power Hazelwood, said the Hazelwood station was one of several in the Latrobe Valley that could not survive a carbon price in its current guise.

"We accept that Hazelwood, and in fact all of the Latrobe Valley power stations, they are not going to continue to operate for the rest of what would have been perceived to be their life without reducing their emissions significantly," he said. Mr York was commenting after International Power Australia put in a submission to the commonwealth's green paper on emissions trading warning that a charge of as little as $5 per tonne of CO2, emissions would affect the viability of its power stations.

"We fully support the idea of emissions trading, but what we need to have is some sort of transition," Mr York said. "In our own submission we put forward a proposal which identified some of the higher emitting assets for timed closure and (to) have an agreement to ultimately close those assets. "It would be closure of Hazelwood as we know it, and it would be over a period of time. "With emissions trading, the asset is going to need to go through some sort of change and that's why we are investing in projects to try to reduce emissions." A $370 million program to retrofit low-emissions technology to the station is being undertaken at the moment.

Mr York said although the station had fuel to operate until 2036, its lifespan would be more likely to end in 2020 without a soft start to emissions trading. "Our concern is if there's not a smooth transition then we will end up with major shocks to all of the Victoria generators," he said. The Hazelwood station employs 400 workers, while International Power's Loy Yang B station, also in the Latrobe Valley, employs 140. The Victorian Government hopes carbon capture and storage can be quickly perfected to allow the state to continue its dependence on brown coal and the cheap electricity it produces.

Oh buoy, wax your board for wave power

Tuesday 30/9/2008 Page: 4

THE market loves a "green" story, regardless of how convenient or inconvenient the truth may be. The latest green tale comes from Perth's Carnegie Corporation, which released details of an "independent report" stating wave power could provide 171,000 megawatts of electricity for Australia - four times our existing power generation.

Carnegie Corporation managing director Michael Ottaviano said the report, by London based RPS MetOcean, found that Victoria has an "estimated near-shore wave energy resource of 18,000MW, almost double the state's total installed power generation capacity". "Harnessing Victoria's waves could generate 20% of the state's current power needs," Ottaviano added. The market lapped it up, with Carnegie Corporation rising 26%, or 3.5¢ to 17¢ on the news.

But it seems Carnegie Corporation has a different interpretation to Full Disclosure about what constitutes an independent report. In this case, Carnegie Corporation paid RPS MetOcean to do the work. When pressed on how much Carnegie Corporation paid RPS MetOcean, Ottaviano refused to answer. "Of course I can't disclose that," he said. "Like with all our supply contracts, I can't reveal the figures paid." Supply contract - an interesting choice of words.

Also tucked away in the executive summary of the report is the following tidbit of information: "Wave data was sourced primarily from NOAA WaveWatch III modelling and compared to available measured data for seven sites across southern Australia." In English, that means the power estimates are based on computer modelling, and the only real data has come from seven buoys floating off Australia's 36,000 km coastline. That's one every 5140 km.

And how many of those buoys are located in Victoria, where Carnegie Corporation hopes 18,000MW of power can be generated? None. Nada. Zip. The closest two are at Cape Sorell, on the west coast of Tasmania, and Eden in NSW. There's another at Kangaroo Island and four are in WA.

Ottaviano stands by the report. "It has been done by RPS MetOcean, a respected company, using tried and tested methods backed by facts and actual wave data gathered from 11 sites," he said. Except it's seven sites, not it. Indeed, the estimates are largely based on WaveWatch III computer modelling - which British meteorological bodies say "has been found to overestimate the size of waves". "Yes, I am aware of that," Ottaviano told Full Disclosure.

"But we have been deliberately conservative in our estimates because of that." Not as conservative as the nation's previous Prime Minister, who rode wave power into the last election. "Wave energy, such as that being developed by Carnegie Corporation in Perth, is a leading innovative renewable energy technology," said John Howard back in October, before pledging $5 million to the company.

Wave power could run nation

Sydney Morning Herald
Monday 29/9/2008 Page: 6

THE power of waves close to Australia's southern coastline can be harnessed to provide over a third of the nation's electricity, research suggests. The energy swirling through the Southern Ocean could supply the nation's power needs many times over, although only a fraction can be harvested cheaply, a report by engineering consultants RPS MetOcean says.

The independent assessment was commissioned by wave electricity company Carnegie Corporation, which hopes to draw investment in a demonstration facility off Fremantle. It is also examining a potential wave farm site off Eden on the NSW South Coast.

The report estimated that about 17,000 megawatts can be reaped through wave farms in areas with a water depth of less than 25 metres. "The World Energy Council estimates that the energy that could be harvested from the world's oceans is equal to twice the amount of electricity that the world currently consumes," said Carnegie Corporation's managing director, Mike Ottaviano.

Monday 13 October 2008

Don't go soft on climate, PM warned 16 scientists pressure Rudd

Sydney Morning Herald
Monday 29/9/2008 Page: 1

IN A move that will test the Rudd Government's climate credentials, Australia's leading climate scientists have written an open letter to the Prime Minister urging him to impose deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions and back a tough global agreement that will avoid dangerous climate change. The 16 scientists, who all worked with the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warn "there is no time to lose" and call on Mr Rudd to slash Australia's emissions by at least 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.

Their intervention comes on the eve of tomorrow's final report by the Government's climate change adviser, Professor Ross Garnaut, and challenges one of his key findings. Professor Garnaut has already advised Mr Rudd to make a slower start to cutting emissions - 10 per cent by 2020 - even though he recognises the risk of weaker targets globally.

In their letter sent to Mr Rudd on Friday, the scientists, some of whom are leading climate experts for the CSIRO, argue against the slow start. "Failure of the world to act now will leave Australians with a legacy of economic, environmental, social and health costs that will dwarf the scale of national investment required to address this fundamental problem," they warn.

The scientists include Dr John Church, a leading authority on rising sea levels who recently stepped down as chair of the joint scientific committee of the World Climate Research Program. Dr Church is also a senior CSIRO researcher but he and other scientists from the organisation signed the letter as individuals.

Also among the signatories are Dr Roger Jones, from the CSIRO, who is advising the federal Treasury and Professor Garnaut's climate change review, Professors Nathan Bindoff and David Karoly, who worked on the most recent reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Professor Tony McMichael, from the Australian National University, who advised the panel on the human health impacts of climate change; Professor Matthew England, joint director for the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales; and Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a global expert on climate change and the Great Barrier Reef.

The scientists say an Australian target of 25 per cent would be "an equitable contribution" to the global effort to avoid dangerous climate change. "As a group of Australia's leading climate change scientists, we urge you to adopt this target as a minimum requirement for Australia's contribution to an effective global climate agreement," they write.

The letter poses a major dilemma for Mr Rudd and his Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, who is due to attend a critical round of UN climate talks in December. In his last report, Professor Garnaut advised the Government to support a global agreement that would stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at 550 parts per million, even though this risked dangerous climate change.

Professor Garnaut acknowledged the scientific consensus argued that a lower target of 450 parts per million was necessary keep the global temperature from rising above 2 degrees and avoid dangerous climate change. But he argued world powers were not ready to make such cuts and that supporting the 450 target now, rather than in the future, could scuttle the UN climate talks.

The scientists' letter, however, warns: "In the long run, greenhouse gas concentrations need to be stabilised at a level well below 450ppm. In order to stay below 2 degrees C, global emissions must peak and decline before 2015 so there is no time to lose." Professor Nathan Bindoff, one of the letter's signatories, told the Herald the scientists had enormous respect for Professor Garnaut's work, but he said: "We're deciding now what the future climate will be at the end of this century. The question about acting now is really important. The cost of procrastinating is at the heart of this problem."

Wave-power trial bid Tassie in mix for new green energy

Hobart Mercury
Monday 29/9/2008 Page: 7

TWO-THIRDS of Tasmania's energy needs could be generated from waves, says a renewable energy company. Carnegie Corporation is in talks with the State Government about setting up a wave energy trial in Tasmania. The West Australian company will release an independent report to the stock exchange today, estimating Australia has a wave-energy resource of 170,000 megawatts, including 17,000MW in Tasmanian waters.

Of that, the report found 1700MW. or 68 per cent of the state's energy needs, was economically extractable. Managing director Michael Ottaviano said Tasmania had a wave-energy resource as good as any in the world. "Front a Tasmanian point of view, wave energy aligns so well with other renewable [energy] and in particular Hydro which has been hit more recently with water shortages," Dr Ottaviano said.

He said his firm had spoken with the State Government. However, he said other states, including Victoria and Western Australia were competing for commercial trials. The technology is called CETO, after a Greek goddess. Submerged buoys move with the motion of passing waves to drive seabed pump units which deliver pressurised seawater to the shore via a pipeline.

The high-pressure seawater is used to drive hydro-electric turbines and can also be used to supply a desalination plant. The company hopes to have the technology ready for commercial application by next year and predicts it could be competing with the coal industry as a base-load power generator in five to 10 years. Dr Ottaviano said the technology was already cost competitive with other renewables such as wind and solar energy but had the advantage of constant supply.

Greens energy spokesman Kim Booth said the technology had enormous potential. "It think that would be a fabulous thing that the Government ought to have serious look at." he said. "It is the sort of thing they should have done instead of spending $92 million a year on the Basslink cable." In May, Hydro Tasmania signed a memorandum of understanding with Sydney BioPower systems to generate tidal and wave power to 500 homes on King Island and Flinders Islands. A Hydro spokeswoman said the company had not had contact with Carnegie.

Making a clean break

Monday 29/9/2008 Page: 40

AFTER two years as The Australian's environment writer Matthew Warren has been poached to be the chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, which represents the renewable energy industry in Australia.

Some tree huggers were shocked in 2006 when Warren, after 14 years in the environmental policy field, switched from the NSW Minerals Council of Australia to The Oz's environment round. Despite highly publicised run-ins with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change head Rajendra Pachauri and Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, Warren has been widely regarded in the media as a tough but fair analyst of the evolving environment debate in Australia.

Moderation way to go: retailer-generator TRUenergy

Monday 29/9/2008 Page: 2

THE Federal Government needs to adopt a moderate emissions reduction trajectory, and support for a renewable energy target must be maintained, says energy retailer and generator TRUEnergy. In its submission to the emissions trading green paper, TRUEnergy says incentives need to be provided to encourage renewable energy investment on top of the Government's commitment to start its carbon pollution reduction scheme in 2010.

The Government has committed to extending its mandatory renewable energy target scheme (MRET) to require that 20% of Australia's electricity supply conies from renewable energy sources by 2020. TRUEnergy managing director Richard Mclndoe told BusinessDay he would wait for Treasury to release its economic modelling next month.

But he said a trajectory similar to government adviser Professor Ross Garnaut's 10% reduction in emissions by 2020 would be appropriate. TRUEnergy has matched the Government's commitment to reduce its emissions by 60% by 2050. Mr Mclndoe said the uncertainty around an emissions trading scheme had made it difficult to get funding for low emissions investment. "For the last 18 months it has been almost impossible to get any traction with board and bankers in investing in large capital projects because we don t know what the trajectory is going to be and we don't know the price," he said.

"It is starting to compromise the viability of those new investments because if you wait too long your existing assets start to deteriorate." He said it was unreasonable to expect generators to turn around their emissions profile immediately after the Government's white paper is published at the end of the year. "A moderate trajectory would be the sensible policy because you have MRET which is bringing that new technology into the market," he said.