Thursday 20 October 2011

Fuel cell cars edge into fast lane

Summaries - Australian Financial Review
17 Oct 2011, Page: 53

The Mercedes-Benz B-class F-cell is one of the first cars of its kind: a high performance, zero emissions vehicle that runs on hydrogen and oxygen fuel-cells. While the fuel-cells are currently very expensive, being constructed using expensive materials like platinum, European Union expert and Z GW board member Werner Tillmetz believes the advent of peak oil will be the turning point.

Speaking from southern Germany, Mr Tillmetz estimates that the world has used half of its oil reserves and has nearly reached the limit of how much oil can be produced per day, but the demand for cars grows exponentially. Mr Tillmetz, who was with Daimler for 15 years, says electric battery cars have a limited range, but foresees fuel-cells being used for longer trips and battery electric cars being used in cities. Christian Mohrdieck from Daimler says both options are being developed. It is worth noting that in Australia, an electric car would most likely use energy derived from a coal-fired power station.

Johannes Arnold from the DLR Institute of Technical thermodynamics believes that some kind of hybrid of the two systems is a likely outcome. General Motors, Toyota and Honda are focused on fuel-cells, while B MW and Volkswagen are moving towards battery electric. Mr Tillmetz says petrol stations would need to add a new product (in the form of battery exchanges or hydrogen pumps) as they did with diesel and liquefied petroleum gas.

Research by McKinsey & Co found that by 2030, consumers would pay a premium of between 7% and 20% for a clean energy car. Toyota, Honda, General Motors and Hyundai have talked of putting fuel-cell cars on the market in the next few years. Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche says his company will release such a vehicle in 2014.

Carbon compo alert

Adelaide Advertiser
17 Oct 2011, Page: 57

BUSINESSES buying carbon permits before July 2015 may not be compensated if a Coalition government is elected, deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop says. Opposition leader Tony Abbott said the Government's emissions trading scheme would be scrapped under a future Coalition government, a promise he said was "signed in blood". Ms Bishop said businesses should be warned against signing into the system. "The credits are nontransferrable, so we cannot see any reason why business would be buying credits before July 2015", she told ABC TV. "You cannot necessarily assume that a carbon credit would be able to attract the property right of just compensation".

Delaying tactics from the "Monkton" party? - BD

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Energy users can't have it all ways on renewable energy
18 October 2011

Even with significant over-estimation of the cost of renewable energy, a new report by the Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) still shows the cost has been modest, according to the Clean Energy Council. Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Matthew Warren said the cost of solar for example was now half what it was in the report.

"The EUAA report contains many positives about renewable energy and shows that Australia's investment in renewable energy had been prudent," Mr Warren said. "The report finds that renewable energy has been affordable, adding 2 per cent to electricity bills in 2010 and costing households a few cents a week all up. The cost of dealing with climate change is going to be more than business as usual, but so far renewable energy has been a pretty good deal for a clean and safe future. "Renewable energy is necessary if we are going to avoid using technologies such as nuclear power in Australia. That's why it has been backed by all major parties for more than a decade and enjoys the support of nine out of every 10 Australians," he said.

Australia's policies for promoting renewable energy are similar to those of most of our major trading partners. The report acknowledges that Australia's policies for promoting renewable energy are " comparison with the approach adopted in other countries, not unusual". Mr Warren said accelerated investment in clean energy technologies was important right now because they had to overcome a head start of more than half a century of investment and development of their rivals and will be needed by energy markets at scale in the near future.

"Australia is in still in the early years of building a new clean energy industry and transforming the way we generate and use electricity. What is remarkable is how quickly the cost of clean energy is falling and new technologies are arriving to market, and we've only just started. "The reality of climate change solutions is that they will cost more, but so far renewable energy has been a great investment and is already beginning to deliver jobs and investment in regional Australia."

Clean Energy Finance Corporation Chair announced
Tue, 18 Oct 2011

The Clean Energy Council has welcomed today's announcement of Reserve Bank Board Member Jillian Broadbent AO as Chair of the new $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). Clean Energy Council. Chief Executive Matthew Warren said today's announcement was "an important milestone" for the clean energy sector.

"Not only is the Federal Government's clean energy legislation one step closer to becoming law, the appointment of Jillian Broadbent as Chair of the CEFC brings closer a key institution needed to help deliver the transformation of Australia's energy sector," he said. "The Clean Energy Council has been advocating since 2010 for the creation of a dedicated, independent carbon bank to underwrite multi-billion dollar investment into the clean energy economy and play a pivotal role in freeing up private sector capital.

"A well designed CEFC will unlock billions of dollars needed to deliver the clean energy future," Mr Warren said. "This is particularly important for stand-alone and hybrid renewable energy generation using solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy and marine energy, as well the infrastructure needed to improve the efficiency and operation of the networks," he said.

Mr Warren congratulated Ms Broadbent on her appointment and said the clean energy industry looked forward to working with her. "Our industry is ready to take Australia's energy sector into the next age of energy development. "The carbon price is a once-in-a-generation reform that will signal a new era of policy stability for the entire electricity sector, unlocking the billions of dollars in investment capital required to transform the way we generate, deliver and consume electricity over the coming decades," Mr Warren said.

QLD's last gasp on wind sales

Summaries - Australian Financial Review
14 Oct 2011, Page: 5

Despite is pledge to increase the use of renewable energy in Queensland, the Bligh government has defended the sale of wind farm assets that included Emu Downs in Western Australia in June. The 80 MW Emu Downs wind farm was a joint venture between the state-owned Stanwell Corporation and failed WA tycoon Ric Stowe's Griffin Energy. Emu Downs wind farm was sold to APA Group for $171 million, which was under its construction costs. Stanwell Corporation is being merged into other state-owned power generation companies Tarong Energy and CS Energy. Deputy Premier and Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the decision to sell wind assets was made in 2007. The $430 million proceeds from wind farm sales were put into the creation of the Climate Change Fund that allocates funds to renewable energy and energy efficiency. A spokeswoman for Queensland Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said the state has aimed for a 20% renewable energy target by 2020.

Monday 17 October 2011

CSR House cuts energy costs

Summaries - Australian Financial Review
13 Oct 2011, Page: 56

CSR group chief executive Rob Sindel said he believes his firm is close to building an eight star energy efficiency-rated house for the same price as a five-star dwelling. The company recently built an eight-star display home at Schofield in Sydney, using more energy-efficient glass, aerated concrete and insulation, which Mr Sindel said uses 80% less energy on cooling and heating. Mr Sindel said the advent of the federal government's carbon tax and rising electricity prices were making consumers more energy-aware. The house was designed by Gareth Cole Architects using Monier roof tiles. Viridian Glass, Bradford insulation, CSR gyprock and PGH Bricks.

$24.9m energy deal

Canberra Times
8 Oct 2011, Page: 2

Renewable energy company CBD Energy will buy Victorian-based energy retailer Neighbourhood Energy from Alinta Energy for $24.9 million. The deal will give CBD Energy access to Neighbourhood Energy's 65,000 mostly Victorian customers. The acquisition meant the company was now a retailer and generator of renewable energy-or vertically integrated-which positioned it to challenge major energy market players, CBD Energy managing director Gerry McGowan said. Neighbourhood Energy will be able to buy Renewable Energy Certificates generated by CBD Energy, representing extra income. Its shares closed up 1.2¢, or 14.6%, at 9.4¢.

The big issue solar power - Golden opportunity going begging

Sunday Age
9 Oct 2011, Page: 14

READING the article on alternative energy by Michael Bachelard and Deborah Gough ("Sun shines on all sources", 2/10) my thoughts drifted towards the mining tax debate! Huge multinational companies are making a fortune off the back of mining and yet there is seemingly not enough money to invest in alternative energy.

Here's a simple suggestion: how about we increase the tax on mining companies, who continue to make massive profits digging up our precious and finite natural resources, and put this money towards investing in clean energy for the future of all Australians! Clearly we got "suckered" by the spin the first time we had the mining debate, but it's not too late to put it right. Once the resources are gone we will have lost this opportunity.

Michael Cormick, Carnegie