Friday 16 July 2010

Demands to be paid for going green

Courier Mail
Tuesday July 13, 2010 Page: 24

Business is seeking financial incentives to slash energy usage and cut greenhouse gases as the Gillard Government considers a "green" policy blueprint. And industry experts want Canberra to back cutting-edge research and development to help companies make the transition to a low-carbon economy. The calls come as a national survey of companies rejected "heavy-handed approaches" - including a carbon trading scheme - until a global framework was completed.

Federal Cabinet will today consider a climate change blueprint with a heavy emphasis on a national energy savings scheme. And business is thought to be an important focus of the plan, expected to be unveiled within days by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Energy Efficiency Council chief executive Rob Murray Leach called on the Government to tackle energy market reform, including a requirement for electricity distributors to invest in energy efficiency reforms.

And he wanted Canberra to set "minimum targets" for the top 200 firms in Australia to cut their power usage. Senior ministers will today consider a raft of measures, including a scheme to drive energy efficiency across industry and households. Mr Murray-Leach argues energy efficiency measures have huge upside for companies even though management may baulk at the up front costs. But the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has sounded a warning note against any move by the Government to re-impose a carbon tax after last December's disappointment at Copenhagen.

"In the absence of a global consensus where other countries carry their fair share, the Government should look to policies which are measured, practical and more carrot than stick", ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson said. The ACCI head said business was keen on measures "where there is common ground on reducing environmental impact and business costs". He supported tax incentives but said, "taxing our economy with a carbon tax or unilateral emissions trading scheme has low business support in the current environment".

A national survey of 1000 businesses found energy costs were the biggest infrastructure concern. Some companies have already booked decent gains after investing in various energy efficiency measures including simple changes such as relocating heating and cooling functions at factories. Mr Murray-Leach mentioned one large firm that saved enough energy to power up to 100,000 households.

Business calls for energy cuts carrot

Canberra Times
Tuesday July 13, 2010 Page: 2

Business leaders have called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to forget about pricing carbon for the moment and instead provide tax incentives for energy efficiency. Federal cabinet meets today to sign off on the Government's climate change policy for the imminent election. Yesterday, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry released a survey showing 75% of business owners want action on energy costs. But they do not want to see either an emissions trading scheme (ETS) or carbon taxes in Australia until an international consensus can be found on climate change.

Chief executive Peter Anderson said business tax incentives should take precedence over "heavy handed" approaches to address the issue. "In the absence of a global consensus where other countries carry their fair share, the Australian Government should look to policies which are measured, practical and more carrot than stick", he said. "The recent change in Australian political leadership did not change the fact that the Copenhagen conference failed to reach a global consensus. "The Australian Government must adapt policy to this reality".

The national survey of more than 1000 businesses found that current support for an ETS was down to one in four. It also showed that business owners regarded energy costs to be their most significant infrastructure concern. The survey came as the Climate Institute Australia released a paper suggesting that uncertainty over the introduction of a price on carbon could cost Australians $2 billion a year in higher electricity prices by 2020. The research found that a decision to delay an ETS would add $60 a year to the average household bill.

Another poll, commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, showed that 45% of voters would be more likely to vote Labor if it promised to deliver an ETS sometime over the next year, Ms Gillard has already stated she would be sticking to her 'predecessor Kevin Rudd's plan to revisit emissions trading in 2012 with a scheme not set to kick in until 2013 at the earliest. She has also ruled out placing a price on carbon in any other form. Instead, the Prime Minister is expected to announce this week a range of renewable energy initiatives for individuals, households and business.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the Government would probably copy the Coalition's "direct action" policy for climate change. "It's now part of the style of Labor to play 'Me too' before an election", Mr Abbott said. "Labor me-tooed the Howard government prior to the 2007 election, they're now me-toeing the Coalition Opposition prior to the 2010 election". But Greens leader Bob Brown said today's Cabinet discussions must focus on how to best place a price on carbon. "Power prices are going up because we don't have a carbon price in this country and because we don't have action on climate", he said. "We're continuing to see the Greens, with a more progressive suite of policies, win greater support from the Australian public. "It's very predictable as the two other parties move to the right".

Red Energy to beat shutdowns

Tuesday July 13, 2010 Page: 39

A CRIPPLING power outage during the 2007 Victorian bushfires cost Red Energy thousands of dollars in lost productivity and sales, but put them on the road to meeting their future technology needs. The Australian-owned and opera ted energy retailer has experienced rapid growth from just four staff in 2004 to more than 300 today. The company supplies gas and renewable hydro-electricity sourced from the Snowy Hydro Electricity Scheme to more than 200,000 residential and business customers in Victoria, NSW and South Australia.

Red Energy is now wholly owned by the Snowy Hydro Ltd group. It has a main site in Richmond, Melbourne, and a satellite office in New Zealand. Having gradually added hardware to its server room, it ended up with disparate racks, servers and cooling units. Red Energy project transition manager Michael Cattenazzi said the data centre design was inefficient, at capacity and provided IT staff with little visibility and control. "We got to the point where we had seven minutes of available time in the event that we lost power", he said.

The 2007 bushfires saw a good part of Melbourne shutdown. "We got to the point then where power dropped completely, and all servers that were still up dropped", Mr Cattenazzi said. Red Energy had no communications or server accessibility during the event. "We were looking at least four hours that we were out of contact. Our customers couldn't contact us". The company brought in two portable air-conditioning units that were costly to run. "They have their failings as well because they extract an amount of humidity out of the air and therefore have to be emptied out every morning", Mr Cattenazzi said. "So you could come in on a Monday morning and server fans are screaming at you because they have got the rooms warmed up again".

Early last year, Red Energy looked at a solution to support its growing ICT demands. It opted to expand the server room and make provision for additional equipment. "As part of that, there was the need for making sure we had a proper UPS (uninterrupted power supply) system that could hold the business for at least an hour, and a proper cooling system that would cope with the demand of that particular room", Mr Cattenazzi said. Red Energy consulted with APC reseller Southern Cross Computer Services. "We had a general look around, but because of a relationship with Southern Cross and APC since the beginning of Red Energy, and the service that they provided, it was the logical step to continue the relationship", he said.

After a six-month implementation, which included expansion of its server room, Red Energy went live last September with APCs Infra Struxure data centre architecture consisting of pre-assembled components, including UPS, cooling, power distribution units, metered power rails and rack enclosures. As well as a 48 KVA (kilovoltamps) UPS, three 20kW In-Row Cooling units, two APC 40kW Aqua Cooler chillers and APC's environmental monitoring unit. The company has a highly efficient, scalable and reliable power and cooling capacity to support its business into the future.

Increased power redundancy from 12KV A to 32KVA with ability to expand to 48KVA gives increased uptime of more than an hour in the event of a power failure. It can closely monitor the data centre physical environment with key sensors and use remote management. "We effectively have the monitoring on our help desk and we can see how the systems are behaving and we get the alerts at critical stages giving us notice via SMS", Mr Cattenazzi said. The total project, which included construction and electrical work costs for the computer room, cost more than $350,000.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Green companies get the blues over official bungle

Tuesday July 13, 2010 Page: 28

THE end of the government's Greenhouse Friendly scheme - and the lack of a suitable replacement - has left: many companies in grave difficulties. The bureaucratic bungle is forcing buyers to look overseas for carbon credits and sending carbon-offset companies out of business. "It is a hard enough industry as it is without ill-conceived and bloody-minded policy positions that are illogical", said Andrew Grant, the CEO of Australia's biggest forest offset company, CO2 Group, which has $150 million invested in on-farm forest plantations.

So-called voluntary carbon schemes were accredited under the federal government's Greenhouse Friendly program until June 30. This was supposed to be replaced on July 1 by the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, which covered Kyoto-compliant carbon sequestration (storage) such as forestry, and the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) which covered voluntary, non Kyoto-compliant sequestration, such as storing carbon in the soil. The problem is that the CPRS was voted down, Greenhouse Friendly ended and the only scheme left was NCOS, which does not cover current carbon offset activities including forestry and renewable energy.

"If they deferred the CPRS, they should have deferred Greenhouse Friendly. That is all they needed to do", Grant says. "It is just a bureaucratic bungle. All the big buyers of voluntary carbon have to go offshore. They have no means by which they can recognise carbon abatement projects in Australia - they have just shut it down. Every carbon offset company I know bar a handful have gone out of business in the last six months".

Last year the domestic voluntary carbon market was worth about $6m, but now Australian companies have no option but to buy overseas carbon credits. A spokesperson for Qantas said up to 10% of passengers booking online also opted to buy carbon offsets. "We got our credits from Fieldforce which was a Greenhouse Friendly accredited carbon offset provider", he said. Qantas soon will make an announcement about its new, overseas provider. "There are no certified credits being generated in Australia. It is unfortunate for the sector, but for us the key is to have a certified scheme that is credible for our customers", he said.

Greening Australia CEO Rod Bristow said the country's biggest environmental NGO set up a carbon sequestration business three years ago, contracting to provide Kyoto-compliant abatement. But the end of Greenhouse Friendly, and the lack of a replacement, has resulted in "a significant drop-off in business. We have had to downsize quite significantly". Three months ago Bristow wrote to then-prime minister Kevin Rudd suggesting a simple solution: to grandfather Greenhouse Friendly until the introduction of the CPRS. "But for whatever reason that was not the course of action the government wanted to pursue", he said.

Greening Australia is now faced with a contract risk. "We have signed contracts to put carbon in the ground that is Kyoto compliant, but now there is no regulatory regime under which we can have them certified. Government has caused us quite a significant problem". Global Sustainability director Caroline Bayliss said the voluntary carbon market has stagnated in the past six months. "Providers are frustrated. They are saying the government needs to fix this and it is easy to fix", she said. The only options for companies wanting to claim carbon neutrality were to buy overseas onsets or to look to NCOS. The problem with NCOS was that it covered non-Kyoto compliant sequestration like woody biomass and soil sequestration, "But there is no methodology for those yet", Bayliss said.

She said the value of carbon offsets had also fallen. "A project that was diversion of waste from landfill that was Greenhouse Friendly certified, was up until recently selling for between $16 and $20 a tonne. That is now around the $4 mark, because Greenhouse Friendly doesn't count for anything any more". Sara Gipton, chief executive of Greenfleet which has planted more than 6000 hectares since 1997, said the government changes had left her in a bind, "The forests are still growing, it is just who is getting credit for them that is the problem. We have no way, because of government administration, of proving to people that the forests are being used for the purpose that they were intended".

Ms Gipton said the government did not plan for the possibility that the CPRS might not go ahead. "That meant that all Australian-based Kyoto compliant-abatement falls into a hole. What we want is for them to fill that gap, so what we do and what people have trusted us to do, counts". But some see opportunity in the non-Kyoto compliant NCOS. Adelaide-based Leonard Cohen runs Canopy, which sees landholders revegetate their land using the carbon market.

Mr Cohen said there were great opportunities in the country's semi-arid and arid rangelands to sequester carbon through increased grass cover, shrubs and soil carbon through changed management. "If you change the way in which we treat those overgrazed rangelands, and the way in which we burn the savanna, we could save about 113 million tonnes of CO2, a year, which is twice the amount of CO2, produced by all of Australia's motor vehicles", he said.

Climate change needs a plain English guide

July 13, 2010 Page: 17

The science is solid but popular understanding of climate change lags.

Scientists at the University of East Anglia have emerged from the six-month "climategate" inquiry with their reputations for honesty intact. The challenge for scientists across the world now, however, is to communicate clearly the realities of climate change to a public that simply wants straight answers. The Independent Climate Change Email Review in Britain, led by Sir Muir Russell, a former top civil servant, concluded that "the rigour and honesty" of the UBA scientists "was not in doubt" and there was no evidence "that might undermine the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments".

There also was nothing found in the leaked university emails to undermine the reports of the world's leading climate change science research bodies or the IPCC. A report released earlier this week by the Netherlands Environment Agency also found the IPCC was "robust" and the handful of mistakes did not alter the conclusions that modern climate change was occurring and was caused in large part by human actions. Work will now begin on the Fifth Assessment report by the IPCC. More than 800 experts have been selected to lead work on the report, which will involve almost four years of work and is due to be published between 2013 and 2014. Eight scientists from CSIRO are among this highly qualified group.

The challenge of clearly communicating climate change to a public understandably alarmed about the associated changes to our world is as real in Australia as it is for people in other countries. Sir Muir has put the challenge for scientists into plain English: "They should learn to communicate their work in ways that the public can access and understand". Tackling the challenges of climate change will require us all to understand not just the science of climate change but also what options we have to respond to it and mitigate further change. We must not just talk about the future, because there are essential steps that have to be taken now if we wish to prepare for the changes ahead. We must be clear about what is happening now and that information must be available to everyone.

Scientists working for CSIRO and other organisations have been studying and observing the many changes to our climate for a number of years now. Recent debate about climate change has led to CSIRO receiving high demand for practical information from the public, industry and government. The message has been clear: tell us what is happening now as well as about the likely climate in the future. CSIRO joined forces with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to publish the State of the Climate snapshot earlier this year to update Australians about how our climate has changed over recent decades and what those changes mean. The snapshot can be accessed at the CSIRO website:

Across Australia, there has been a 65 % increase in very hot days (that is, the annual number of days with maximum temperatures greater than 40 degrees) and a 55 % decrease in very cold days (maximum temperature below 10 degrees). While Australia's rainfall is highly variable, characterised by periods of drought arid periods of wet, recent drought in the south-west of Western Australia and in south-eastern Australia has been particularly prolonged. In the south-west, autumn and winter rainfall has declined between 10 % and 20% since the 1970s, while in the south-east similar reductions have occurred since the  1970s.

Our sea levels have risen around the country since  1993 with increases of 7 - 10 mm a year in the north and west, and 1.5 - 3 mm in the south and east. This is not a forecast but part of the snapshot of recent changes in Australia. If global greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow at rates consistent with past trends, warming is projected to be in the range of 2.2° to 5° by 2070. The consensus among CSIRO's climate scientists and those across the globe is that these and longer-term changes show climate change is real and happening now. In fact, climate scientists have been convinced by the evidence about this for years, but we recognise that "There has been doubt among some people in the community".

It is important for all Australians to have confidence in the understanding of climate change that has been developed at CSIRO and other agencies. The State of the Climate snapshot provided Australians with plain-English information about how climate has been changing within our lifetimes. People need to understand these recent movements, and those expected, to plan for adapting to a shifting climate and to take action to reduce the extent and impact of climate change.

Australian company snubbed for solar panel job

The Federal Government has come under attack for failing to include Australia's only domestic producer of solar panels in a Commonwealth tender. The $1.5 billion Solar Flagship program is committed to building up to four large-scale solar power plants in Australia. But Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) spokesman Tim Ayres says Australian company Silex was overlooked and the Federal Government has chosen overseas competitors instead.

"This company is going to be a successful company into the future but this is an important opportunity to use a Government program to deliver for Australian manufacturing", he said. "The great risk is climate change policy won't lead to leading edge manufacturing jobs - if we're going to be a country that makes things these sorts of opportunities shouldn't be missed". Mr Ayres says Silex was overlooked because it could not compete with overseas competitors on cost. The AMWU estimates the contract would have delivered 250 direct solar manufacturing jobs and that the Commonwealth needs to kick-start domestic providers, instead of looking to competitors like China and the United States.

Good design sense

Sunday Canberra Times
Sunday 11/7/2010 Page: 26

I SEE there are more outrageous claims from the Housing Industry Association about mandatory energy ratings. Are we really expected to believe that the move from a five to six-star minimum would add another $100,000 to an average $400,000 to home build? The HIA has opposed Every single energy efficiency initiative around Australia for years. In 1999, it damned Queensland's first 3.5-star minimum, outraged that it would make it virtually mandatory that ceilings were insulated.

We faced an incredible battle finding enlightened builders here in Canberra But now our six-star home heats itself to 22 degrees and more every sunny winter's day, regardless of outside temperatures less than 10 degrees. With the tuning expenses a good home design saves our additional build costs - far lower than HIA's claim - are being repaid in just a handful of years. And our home is far more comfort· able to live in.

Alan Kerlin. Harrisor.

Corbell attacks Lib climate 'sceptics'

Sunday Canberra Times
Sunday 11/7/2010 Page: 4

THE ACT Government has attacked the Opposition over its stance on the environment, accusing Liberal leader Zed Seselja of bowing to climate change sceptics within the party. The Opposition has heavily criticised the Government's measures to encourage sustainability, including an advertising campaign for energy reduction, the solar feed-in tariff, and most recently increasing the cost of car parking. However, Mr Corbell said it was hollow criticism because Mr Seselja had failed to outline an alternative environmental policy. While admitting Government action, such as parking fee increases, was bound to be unpopular, Mr Corbell said revenue would go towards funding a sustainable city.

He said the criticism pointed to a disturbing trend in the ACT Liberal Party on environmental policy, foreshadowing darker motives. "I'm concerned they will walk away from strong greenhouse gas reduction targets", Mr Corbell said. "We've seen some indications they may do that through some comments Mr Seselja made in the past 12 months. "In the report of the standing committee on the environment and climate change into greenhouse reduction targets, he said he's not convinced that the targets the committee recommended are appropriate. "

Mr Corbell said the comments made it clear the Liberals were softening their position on climate change. "When new look at those comments combined with their position on the feed-in tariff, car parking and bus travel it's quite clear they are watering down their commitment to climate change and sustainability across the board. I think it's quite clear the climate sceptics are reasserting their authority within the Liberal Party and Mr Seselja is having to bow to that". Mr Seselja was unavailable for interview yesterday but his office issued a statement attacking Mr Corbell. "The Opposition Leader will not be dignifying this baseless attack with a response, particularly from Minister Corbell, whose incompetence is rivalled only by Minister Joy Burell", the statement said.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Strong wind halts work on turbines

Hobart Mercury
Monday 121712010 Page: 5

THE final stage of the installation of the nation's most powerful wind turbines on a commercial building was halted yesterday by strong wind in Hobart. The ironic turn of events unfolded when a gusty northerly wind forced workers to down tools atop the Marine Board building about 11am. Project manager Rob Manson said workers managed to install poles for two of the four vertical turbines which will generate 10% of the building's power.

However, Mr Manson, who is also the I Want Energy corporate manager, said conditions were tipped to improve by the end of the week. "It is a very ironic situation that the very reason we're installing these turbines is also the reason why we were unable to complete the work. It just justifies the reason why they are ideal". He said. "But hopefully, looking at the outlook, conditions are set to improve and we should have all four in place by the end of the week".

The Marine Board building is the first of three southern Tasmanian businesses set to harness the natural resource. The ANZ building in Hobart is expected to have turbines installed by October and Lindisfarne Medical Centre's installation should be complete by the end of the year. Mr Manson said more and more businesses and homeowners were wising up to renewable energy. "We are getting multiple calls every day - businesses, institutions and homeowners". He said. "We've installed 20 turbines in Tasmanian residences in the past 18 months and the commercial sector is starting to really pick up too".

Mr Manson said it was not only a great move for the environment but also for Tasmania, with the expansion of the sector set to create jobs. "At the moment the turbines are constructed in Shanghai [China] but we have an opportunity to create a manufacturing industry in Tasmania", he said. "We're not trying to create products to compete in places like Europe, but specifically for our country. "At the moment, every school in Australia has access to a $50.000 renewable energy grant, so that could create a great opportunity. It could be perfect timing, given the skilled welders who will be out of work when Austal Ships closes up soon". Alternative Energy Minister Nick McKim praised developer Robert Rockefeller, who owns the Marine Board and ANZ buildings, for delivering renewable energy sources in Hobart.

PM is listening on climate change, so start yelling
Friday 9, 2010 Page: 1

"It's a good time to lobby", said the head of one industry group yesterday to Business Spectator's Giles Parkinson, Why? Because Wong and co, bereft of an ETS, are throwing open their doors to "lobbyists and special interest groups in a last-minute attempt to cobble together a credible climate change policy to take to a snap election", that's why, Government officials have been calling for ideas from specialists in the banking community, renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors, as well as NGOs and various industry groups, as it seeks to put forward a package of "direct action" measures to reduce emissions,

Of course, as Parkinson points out, the government has been told over and over again by just about anyone who knows anything that whatever "direct action" initiatives that might be put in place, its impact will be much reduced, and more expensive, without a carbon price, Gillard "opened the door" to the mining industry, So now's her chance to further prove what a good listener she is, and to whom she listens to, Because there's no shortage of people yelling, This morning's Australian Financial Review suggests that the government is considering an interim carbon price, an energy efficiency target scheme and emissions performance standards for new power stations,

$90bn needed to cut greenhouse emissions, says AGL boss

Weekend Australian
Saturday 1 July, 2010 Page: 27

AGL Energy chief executive Michael Fraser has estimated that as much as $90 billion worth of investment in new gas-fired power stations and renewable energy sources would be needed to slash Australia's greenhouse emissions by 15% on 2000 levels. Mr Fraser said the capital costs of the cuts could include $20bn to $30bn in building gas-fired power stations, $20bn to $30bn in complying with the government's target of 20% renewable energy by 2020, and a further $20bn to $30bn in providing electric cars. Mr Fraser said a broad-based emissions trading scheme was the best way to cut emissions.

While a comprehensive national energy efficiency trading scheme was likely and there was already a renewable energy target, the ETS was the missing piece of the puzzle, he said. Former prime minister Kevin Rudd shelved his emissions trading scheme after the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks. Julia Gillard is expected to detail her plans for combating climate change soon, although the Prime Minister has ruled out imposing a price on carbon emissions before 2012.

"This is a very long-term issue involving very large investments", Mr Fraser said at a business lunch in Sydney. "We also can't just turn off all of our coal-fired generation just like that. We need certainty and a sensible transition path. "We need to ensure security of supply and that we make the transition to a low-carbon environment in a measured fashion because price shocks and security of supply issues will only bring the politics of this undone". Mr Fraser said that greenhouse emissions were an issue that could not be ignored. "They won't just go away. They will just get worse", he said.

The costs would be lower and the benefits higher if Australia started moving to a low-carbon economy now, he said. Australia's energy exports could shift away from coal towards uranium and liquefied natural gas. But it was unclear whether these industries could reap the same economic Sllccess as coal exports, so it was important to invest in so-called clean coal technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Generators flick the switch to on

Weekend Australian
Saturday 1 July, 2010 Page: 3

Australia's electricity industry has unveiled a huge program for power generation development over the next decade and beyond, offering opportunities for thousands of engineering, construction and services jobs as well as long-term employment in plant operation. Confronted with the need to meet a more than 21% increase in power demand by 2019 on industry estimates and a more than 60% increase by 2030 on federal government projections generators are working on 217 development proposals across Australia,

The projects include wind farms, renewable generation based on biomass and solar power, a massive amount of gas-fired production and a few coal burning plants. The 2010 Energy Supply Association of Australia yearbook reports that the plans add up to 45,190MW in generation capacity compared with 50,814MW of current grid connected plant plus 5167MW of non-grid plant. The association says that this is in addition to 2000MW of capacity commissioned during 2008-09, the year under review, and includes 3134MW of plant being constructed at present and 3444MW of generation under advanced planning.

Now that the amended renewable energy target has been approved by federal parliament, being passed on the last day of sitting in June, the industry expects a burst of wind farm development. The Clean Energy Council says the RET approval will lead to $20 billion in investment and create thousands of new jobs, many in regional Australia. In a report prepared for the CEC, Roam Consulting estimates that the legislation will see 8200MW of renewable energy capacity installed: 7000MW of wind turbines, 700MW of biomass and 500MW of geothermal power.

The Clean Energy Council claims the RET-driven developments will reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 380 million tonnes by the end of the decade, "the most significant climate change initiative in Australia's history." The state with the leading interest in wind is Victoria, where investors have 46 projects (4400MW capacity) lined up, followed by NSW with 21 projects (3780MW, including one of the world's biggest proposed developments, involving 1000MW, planned for Silverton, near Broken Hill, by German company Epuron and Macquarie Capital Group).

In third place is South Australia, whose Premier, Mike Rann, has voiced ambitions to make the state the eastern seaboard hub for wind power, with more than 5000MW in capacity. At present there are 21 projects, totalling 1900MW, under consideration for SA. In addition, wind farm investors have seven projects planned for Queensland (922MW), eight in Western Australia (647MW) and three in Tasmania (678MW).

The Energy Supply Association of Australia yearbook reports a large interest in investment in gas generation. It says there are 57 generation projects using natural gas or coal-seam methane being considered across Australia. This includes 3000MW of gas-fuelled generation being built or considered for western Victoria by three companies, AGL Energy, Origin Energy and Santos, and almost 6000MW of gas-fired plant in Queensland proposed by ERM Power, Origin Energy and Transfield Services. As well, a possible 2400MW of gas generation or 2000MW of coal-fired plant is proposed for development in NSW. The next steps for the state hang on resolution of the Keneally government's privatisation plans, reviews by the environmental regulator of proposals and the election in March 2011.

We need a price on carbon: AGL chief

Adelaide Advertiser
Saturday 1 July, 2010 Page: 76

THE head of renewable energy company AGL Energy Ltd says a price on carbon is needed to guarantee the security of Australia's energy future. AGL Energy chief executive Michael Fraser says Australia's resource and energy-focused economy means business and political leaders have to consider the impact of climate change. Ignoring the issue risks being caught out by changes in global energy consumption patterns, he says.

"Any change to the energy sources the world consumes will have a significant impact on our economy, both from an export perspective and from a domestic consumption perspective," he told an American Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Sydney yesterday. "We cannot simply assume the world of today will continue."

He said it was "almost inevitable" climate change and energy security would drive a reduction in the consumption of high, emission energy sources globally, Mr Fraser said continuing global demand for Australia's energy resources would rely on the supply of lower carbon intensive products, "It is my firm view that a broad-based cap and emissions trading scheme is the best way to deliver least-cost solutions for reducing emissions."

Mr Fraser said the Federal Government should implement such a scheme as soon as community consensus can be achieved, The introduction of an ETS would encourage the replacement of coal-fired power stations with gas and the conversion of motor vehicles from petrol to renewable electric. He estimated it would cost $60 billion to $90 billion, or 1% of GDP over the next decade, to construct gas-fired power stations, replace cars with electric vehicles and meet the 20% renewable energy target by 2020.

Solar tariff sunshine Grid feed payback may be improved

Hobart Mercury
Saturday 1 July, 2010 Page: 3

TASMANIANS may be paid more for producing solar energy.
Householders in NSW are rewarded for all the power put back into the grid but Tasmanians are only rewarded when they put more back into the grid than they have consumed. However, the State Government is considering moves to provide a better system for solar power users, Alternative Energy Minister Nick McKim said he was committed to improving the situation and working on creating a system like that in NSW. "I will continue to support a gross feed-in tariff and to encourage both energy efficiency and tile production of renewable energy at both a local and commercial scale," he said,

Aurora Energy also flagged a move by tile Government to pay people more for tile power they harness from the sun. "Aurora Energy understands the State Government is finalising details of a feed-in tariff policy for energy retailers in Tasmania," Aurora Energy spokesman Richard Wilson said. The move comes after a recent study by Choice magazine found it could take up to 45 years for solar panels to pay for themselves in Tasmania, based solely on the feed-in tariff just on surplus power,

However, critics of the Choice article say cheaper power bills by having the sun augment household usage means systems can pay for themselves in as little as eight to 10 years, after rebates, Choice found solar panels in Tasmania were the least affordable in thE country because of the low price paid to households when they sold power back into the grid. Tasmania's rate of 20¢ akW-hour is well below that of other states, with residents in NSW receiving 60¢ akW-hour.

Tasmanian solar panel supplier Rod McInnes said Choice had used incorrect figures. "The base cost of the system in their survey is around two times higher than what the actual cost is," he said. "Additionally, the survey is based on power price increases of 3% each year, which is way understating the reality." Tasmanian Greens energy spokesman Kim Booth said the party remained committed to its policy of a $1000 rebate for solar power purchases, "We are disappointed the Government has not seen fit to implement the policy," he said yesterday. "But tile two Green Cabinet members remain committed and are working hard to convince their Cabinet colleagues of the need for a competitive solar rebate,"

Turbines join sheep and cattle

Canberra Times
Saturday 1 July, 2010 Page: 10

The striking wind turbines' blades are 45m long, rotate atop 80m towers and reach speeds of about 250km/h at their tips, And Bungendore district farmer Brian Osborne has 27 of them perched on his sheep and cattle farm on the eastern shores of Lake George. The turbines are owned by renewable energy company Infigen Energy as part of a 67-turbine wind farm.

Mr Osborne is paid rent for the space taken up on his farm, "It's good to see the wind being put to some use, That's what I like about it," he says, "But I've become interested in climate change and the environment since all this has been going on and the need for alternative energy, not just because of climate change but because oil is running out and look what's happened in the Gulf of Mexico,"

Mr Osborne says harnessing the wind to produce electricity makes sense. "They're talking now, in the cities, where it's applicable, that more people will be driving electric cars. "At the moment, they have hybrid [cars], but there'll be plug-in electric cars in the not-to-distant future and they will need a lot of power,,, "And it will be preferable that it all comes from renewable sources rather than coal. "In case anyone's frightened that the coal miners will be put out of a job, that won't happen, "We're only talking about the increase in demand, never mind replacing anything that's there already."

Monday 12 July 2010

Nuclear plant must stop killing fish
July 7, 2010

TORONTO, July 7 (UPI) -- A Canadian nuclear power plant has been ordered to stop killing fish by the millions or risk losing its operating license, government officials say. Ontario Power Generation, operator of the Pickering plant, must reduce fish mortality in Lake Ontario by 80%, the Toronto Star reported Wednesday. Nearly 1 million fish and 62 million fish eggs and larvae die each year after being sucked into the water intake channel that is part of the cooling system of the power plant, completed in 1986.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has ordered annual reports on fish mortality and the effectiveness of steps being taken toward improvement. Mark Mattson, president of a grassroots environmental advocacy group working to protect the health of Lake Ontario, calls the plant's cooling system the worst of available technologies. "It sucks in clean water along with fish, eggs and larvae, then spits it back at close to hot tub temperatures", Mattson said.

Woodside in power talks with Tidal Energy
7 Jul 2010

Woodside Petroleum Ltd has undertaken informal discussions with renewable energy company Tidal Energy over the possibility of using its technology to provide power for the oil producer's James Point LNG project, the Australian Financial Review reports. Tidal Energy is the operator of a stalled $400 million tidal river energy project in the Kimberley region, which it says could supply a small portion of the proposed LNG operation's total electricity requirements. While a Woodside Petroleum spokesperson told the AFR the talks were not formal enough to be called negotiations, the move has prompted Tidal Energy to seek environmental approval from the federal government. Earlier this year, Woodside Petroleum chief executive Don Voelte said the Kimberley coastline could become a major gas hub in four or five years after final approval for the James Point project, expected in 2012.

Wind blows in energy for Shanghai

BEIJING, July 7 (Xinhuanet) -- China's biggest offshore wind farm started transmitting power to the national grid yesterday morning through a submarine cable, authorities said. The Donghai Bridge Wind Farm off Shanghai's coast, consisting of 34 3MW wind-driven generators, can fuel more than 200,000 city households. The capacity of the wind farm was only 102MWs, less than 1% of the city's current total power capacity of about 18,200MWs from traditional fuel electric plants.

But Shanghai Electric Power Co Ltd, the city's power supplier, said it was a good start for the application of clean energy in Shanghai. "The operation of the Donghai Bridge Wind Farm provided good experience for the development of new energy," said Li Chonghe, vice general manager. The company said that with the operation of the Donghai wind farm, the city could save about 86,000 tons of coal and reduce CO2 by more than 234,700 tons every year. Construction of the wind farm, located at the east side of the Donghai Bridge, was started in September 2008 and finished this February. Before operations officially started, the wind farm was on a trial run for more than a month, the company said. The first batch of power generated by the wind farm is being transmitted to the World Expo site.

Meanwhile, construction of the Donghai wind farm's second phase has been approved for the west side of the bridge, authorities said. The total capacity of the second phase was also designed at about 100MWs, the company said. The company said it plans to build another four offshore wind farms: one in the Pudong New Area, one in Chongming County and the other two in Fengxian District. The total capacity of wind power could reach 1,100MWs after the farms are finished. The city's power capacity now amounts to 26,640MWs after including 8,440MWs brought in by the national grid from other provinces. Power demand is expected to peak at 26,000MWs during workday rush hours on extremely hot days this summer, officials said.