Thursday, 25 May 2006

Venture Capital Wakes Up To Envirobusiness

Ethical Investor, Page: 17
Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Cleantech is the new buzzword flying around the venture capital world and is broadly defined as manufacturing processes or product technologies that reduce pollution or waste, energy use, or materialuse in comparison to the technologies that they replace. Examples include such innovative and expanding technologies as solar photovoltaics, wind power, hybrid electric vehicles, fuel cells, biobased materials and advance water filtration. Increasingly, financial investors are taking more of an interest in the emerging ideas and efficiencies of cleantech. No longer is it just a matter of complying with the latest regulation - businesses are now seeing the financial benefits of such investments, which is clearly reflected in the growth of clean energy markets.

There has, without doubt, been an elevation in the importance and urgency of clean technology, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. US research has identified 4 key cleantech growth areas. Biofuels (global manufacturing and wholesale pricing of ethanol and biodiesel) will grow from US$15. 7 billion in 2005 to US$52. 5 billion by 2015. ASX listed companies leading the way include Australian Ethanol (ASX: AAE), Australian Renewable Fuels (ASX: ARW) and Australian Biodiesel Group (ASX: ABJ).

Wind power (new installation capital costs) will expand from US$11. 8 billion in 2005 to US$48. 5 billion in 2015, including Babcock & Brown Wind Partners (ASX:BBW) which has successfully grown from a single asset private investment vehicle to a listed fund with a portfolio of wind energy assets diversified across Europe, North America and Australia. Solar photovoltaics (including modules, system components and installation) will grow from a US$11. 2 billion industry in 2005 to US$51. 1 billion by 2015. Australian company Solar Heat and Power Pty Ltd builds the world's lowest cost large scale solar concentrators.

The fuel cell and distributed hydrogen market will growfrom US$1. 2 billion last year to US$15. 1 billion by 2015. Ceramic Fuels Cells Ltd (ASX:CFU), for example, has a unique fuel cell design based on work done within the CSIRO, from which the Company spun off in 1992 with the support of many contributing partners before listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2004. In that time, they have improved the design, systems and product configuration of their solid oxide fuel cells, whilst winning an international reputation in their field.

It is estimated that these 4 clean-energy technologies will grow fourfold within the next decade. We have seen increased interest by major corporations in adopting cleantech to drive productivity and reduce waste and the emergence of experienced management teams, who introduce innovative business techniques, assist in building investor confidence in the emerging cleantech sector. Global resource constraints and increased concern for climate change have played a major role in positioning clean technologies for sustained growth. The energy demands of the 2 new economic powerhouses, China and India, are stretching existing power sources to their limits.

Water shortages are prompting investment in water treatment and recycling technologies. The soaring prices of oil and gas have led to producers and users searching for new technologies. The advancement of new technologies has helped drive down wind energy production costs by 80% over the last 20 years and solar power has dropped to one-tenth the cost it was during the 1970s, while new technologies and innovations are proliferating. At the same time new, credible scientific evidence of climate change and its impacts has greatly increased community, government and corporate pressure to reduce co2 emissions.

Venture Capital (VC) and private equity activity in cleantech, the form of both dedicated cleantech funds and mainstream venture capital firms, has been a key contributor to this growth. US VC investing in clean energy has increased over 80% as a portion of total VC investment over the past 5 years to over US$900m in 2005. The Australian VC and private equity industry is showing signs of following suit. In Australia there are 2 dedicated cleantech venture capital funds, of which CVC Sustainable Investments Limited is open to retail investors.

To complete the story, other Australian mainstream venture capital firms are now allocating dedicated resources to the cleantech sector.

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

World to get 6C hotter: report

The West Australian, Page: 1
Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Global temperatures will rise by three times as much as many scientists have estimated, resulting in irrevocable changes for life on Earth, according to advice to the Federal Government, arming it with new ammunition to support nuclear power in Australia. Senior Government ministers lined up yesterday to spruik the benefits of nuclear power as a solution to global warming, despite repeated denials from green groups and energy experts that it was a saviour. The Government released a report it commissioned from the Australian National University, showing global warming would push temperatures up by as much as 5.8C within 90 years.

It was previously thought the rise would be at the lower end of a range between 1.4C and 5.8C. As a result, the world could expect more extreme weather, having greater effects on human health, the destruction of species and rising sea levels.

The findings were backed by research in the US, which also predicted a vicious cycle of greenhouse gases leading to high temperatures and warmer weather and causing the natural release of more greenhouse gases. The Australia Institute, a leftwing think tank, said Port Stephens, in NSW, and Westernport Bay, in Victoria, were ideal locations for nuclear power plants. Australia Institute executive director Clive Hamilton said any site for a nuclear plant had to be on the coast to provide cooling water and close to power lines, transport and major urban centres. He rejected suggestions he was being foolhardy in naming sites, saying:"The Prime Minister said he wants a national debate and you can't have a debate about it in the abstract. You can't have a nuclear industry unless you have plants somewhere."

John Howard will face pressure to outline plans for an inquiry into nuclear power, which he is expected to announce after he returns to Australia tomorrow. Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said it could be argued that Australia's uranium exports effectively neutralised its greenhouse emissions. But University of New South Wales institute of environmental studies senior lecturer Mark Diesendorf said nuclear power was no more efficient in producing energy than coal and both were less efficient than wind.

He said nuclear power added to demand for coal-fired power because it required the vast amounts of existing energy such as coal to build nuclear plants and to mine uranium.

Challenge to cut energy use

Bunbury Herald, Page: 5
Tuesday, 23 May 2006

A UNIQUE energy challenge which will see four South West schools endeavour to cut back their energy consumption by 20 per cent within five years was launched last week. Wind turbines and solar panels will be installed at Dalyellup Primary School, Amaroo Primary School and Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School with solar panels being installed at Bunbury Primary School in an effort to cut back on the use of fossil fuels. The schools will also focus on energy-saving practises as part of the Worsley Alumina Energy Challenge. Curtin University will undertake research into the technical performance of the energy installations while Edith Cowan University will research theeducational and social aspects of the energy challenge.

ECU education lecturer and research supervisor Sandra Wooltorton said the research would look at the long-term sustainability of the project and how projects such as this could be maintained to ensure they remained viable over the long-term. Worsley Alumina health, safety and environment manager Gerry Riyner said the challenge had been in the works for 12 months and was the first step towards addressing energy consumption issues and finding more efficient ways to use energy. The wind turbines and solar panels will be funded by Worsley Alumina and are expected to be installed later in the year.

Too dear, too slow: report

The Australian Financial Review, Page: 8
Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Nuclear power is twice the price of coal, more costly than renewable technologies and not the answer to climate change, say environmental groups and a leading energy modeller. As the government debates the uranium industry's economic viability a report to be released next week, with modelling from McLennan Magasanik Associates, has found nuclear power is not competitive without significant subsidies. The report commissioned by Renewable Energy Generators Australia (REGA) said nuclear power would cost $70 per megawatt hour, double the price of coal. This price falls to $60 by 2050, which is still 10 per cent more expensive than clean coal technology, known as carbon capture and storage.

REG A chief executive Susan Jeanes said these costs included the storage of nuclear waste at world best practice standards. "We want Australia to debate nuclear power because we know it doesn't stack up," she said. Erwin Jackson, from the strongly anti-nuclear Australian Conservation Foundation, said studies that supported nuclear power failed to recognise the hidden costs of the uranium industry. "Who's going to pay for the increased security, the decommissioning of reactors, building up government departments and training people in an industry that has no history here?" he asked.

Mr Jackson said nuclear power could not be commissioned soon enough to tackle climate change and would divert money away from renewables that had the potential to power every home in the country. "Renewables are cheaper and don't produce harmful waste, " he said. This is supported by the REGA report, which forecasts wind power to cost $40 per megawatt hour by 2050, while geothermal would be as cheap as coal in 40 years.

Whoops nuclear icon felled

The West Australian, Page: 28
Tuesday, 23 May 2006

The cooling tower from a former nuclear power plant in the US has been blown to smithereens at a time when nuclear power is being touted as a saviour from global warming. The controlled destruction of the Trojan plant tower symbolised the end of a shambolic episode in Oregon history. For most of the past three decades, the tower loomed as a symbol of all that was sneaky, leaky and insanely expensive about nuclear power. The softening of political opposition to the nuclear industry that seems to be occurring elsewhere has not occurred in the States of Oregon or Washington.

For that, the Trojan plant, which began making electricity in 1976 and was closed in 1993, has much to answer. Besides chronic technical, safety and reliability problems, it cost local ratepayers more than $US400 million to build and is costing them $US410 million ($550 million) to decommission. In a spectacularly ill-conceived scheme, work began on five other nuclear power plants as part of a consortium of utilities called the Washington Public Power Supply System, which quickly became infamous as Whoops. Whoops, indeed.

Construction of five plants - only one of which ever produced electricity, none of which were then needed - led to what, at the time, was the country's biggest municipal bond default. Ratepayers across the North-West are still paying for Whoops in their electricity bills - a catastrophe that in one five-year stretch pushed up electricity rates about 600 per cent. The demolition was a major step in Portland General Electric's long, costly and embarrassing effort to extricate itself from the plant. Problems ranged from chronic steam leaks to an exceedingly unfortunate location - on a major earthquake fault, sitting on the southern bank of the West's biggest river and just upwind from Portland, the second biggest city in the North-West.

Highly radioactive fuel rods remain in storage at the site because the Federal Government has still to decide where they can be safely buried. PGE spokesman Scott Simms was eager to talk about how his company had shifted focus to wind power and high-efficiency, gas-driven turbines. Asked about the irony of knocking down a nuclear plant as other utilities were planning to build them, Mr Simms said that Trojan was"outmoded compared with anything that might be built today".

Panel reports

The Spectator (Hamilton), Page: 17
Saturday, 20 May 2006

THE three-man panel hearing submissions on the proposed Macarthur wind farm (183-turbine) has handed in its report to the Department of Sustainability and Environment. The report will be assessed by DSE officers before being sent to Planning Minister, Rob Hulls, for a decision. The three man panel - Doug Munro, Robin Sanders (chair), and Alan Thatcher - sat for four weeks at DPI Hamilton in February and March. They were given eight weeks to consider the dozens of submissions made to the hearing.

It's likely to be at least a month before Mr Hulls makes a decision, but given the track record of the Victorian Government, it's expected Australia's largest wind farm will give the green light.

Scientist casts doubt on nuclear benefits

ABC News Online
Monday, May 22, 2006. 4:00pm (AEST)

A NSW scientist says building a nuclear plant will not have a short-term effect on harmful gases. Scientist casts doubt on nuclear benefits. Scientists say it could take at least 10 years to build a nuclear plant to meet Australia's growing electricity needs. And that may be too late to address the issue of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. If the Federal Government finally gives the green light to a nuclear plant, Frank Muller from the University of New South Wales says the framework to manage nuclear power needs to be put in place.

He says it could take a decade before it is built and providing electricity. "So it actually takes even longer to provide a greenhouse benefit than it does to build a power plant," he said. Professor Muller says nuclear power stations are expensive to build, and safety is a major issue. However, some scientists say nuclear energy is the most greenhouse friendly and despite the lengthy time it would take to build a plant, it is still an electricity source that needs to be explored.

Meanwhile, a federal Opposition frontbencher says the move towards nuclear power generation could increase the risk of a terrorist attack. The Prime Minister has called for a full debate on the issue of nuclear power, as well as uranium mining and enrichment. Labor MP Kelvin Thomson disagrees, saying the Government should be focussing its interest on renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. "The problem with nuclear power is that more of it that is around, the easier it is for terrorists to get access to it," he said.

"I'm not satisfied that in this day and age you can be absolutely certain that terrorists can't access it."

Monday, 22 May 2006

Barry Cohen: Power policy running on wind and sun

The Australian,
May 22, 2006

Labor party zealots such as Anthony Albanese and the Left have never had any real energy options

THERE was a time when one's energy needs were satisfied by cutting down a tree and rubbing two boy scouts together. Then came the industrial revolution and coal and oil took over, thus ensuring tens of thousands died annually in mine disasters or from coughing up their lungs. Oil created tensions between those who had it and those who didn't. Both fouled the air and were big contributors to greenhouse gases, global warming and climate change.

As federal shadow minister for the environment (1977-80) and environment minister in the Hawke government (1983-87), I had to advise my colleagues about alternatives to this carbon scourge. Coincidentally, at the very moment Australia was getting excited about selling lots of uranium, the Soviet Union was having difficulty keeping up with the West both militarily and economically.

On cue, the Left decided there was no greater evil than the nuclear threat. It initiated an anti-uranium campaign with a fervour unmatched since its opposition to the Vietnam War.

With mining unions on one side and the Left on the other, the Labor Party found itself in a bind. After a prolonged debate it came up with a policy that would have tested Solomon. Three mines, it decided, was kosher, four mines a definite no-no. I had some difficulty explaining the logic of this to anyone with an IQ above room temperature. The present shadow minister for the environment, Anthony Albanese, is keeping the dream alive.

With coal, oil and nuclear energy off the agenda, Australia did not appear to have a lot of energy options available. Fortunately, there was one that was clean, green and available. Snowy Hydro and the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission had shown that hydro-electricity was the perfect answer to our energy needs. There was one small problem. The most recent successful example of hydro-electricity generation had resulted in the drowning of one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the world - Tasmania's Lake Pedder.

Nor were nature lovers impressed with the Tasmanian HEC's assertion that Lake Pedder was now much bigger and therefore much better suited to water sports and fishing.

They were even less impressed when the HEC announced shortly afterwards its plan to dam the wild Franklin River for more hydro-electricity that no one seemed to want. The battle to stop the damming of the Franklin River became the environmental cause celebre for almost a decade, climaxing with Labor's 1983 election victory. Labor lost all five Tasmanian seats while picking up green votes on the mainland.

I introduced the first legislation of the Hawke government, the World Heritage Act, to stop the dam proceeding. Its passage ensured a High Court challenge, which the government won four to three. Henceforth the words hydro-electricity and dam were not mentioned in polite society. From then on my discussions with leaders of the conservation movement were interesting.

"We seem to be running out of energy options?" I asked them rhetorically. Invariably I would be met with that patronising smile they reserve for the lesser of the species who fail to see the error of their ways. "Minister!" they replied in their most condescending manner, "there is wind and solar. " I resisted the temptation to point out to them that they appeared to have journeyed to Canberra without the benefit of either.

Eventually I ceased to be environment minister but my successors were subjected to the same arguments with increasing passion as global warming and climate change became the environmental issue. In recent years wind power enthusiasts became excited as more and more wind farm projects came on stream. Their excitement abated when they saw one or until birds and bats started bumping into them.

When the Coalition's environment minister, senator Ian Campbell, announced that he was giving the thumbs down to a $220 million wind farm project in Gippsland because one rare orange-bellied parrot might be killed each year, the burgeoning anti-wind farm movement was ecstatic.

Cynics suggested his decision had more to do with a promise made to the electorate of McMillan in the 2004 federal election that wind farms would not be tolerated. "Windies", on the other hand, were quick to point out that cars killed hundreds of thousands of birds annually and no one was suggesting we cease using cars. To his credit, Campbell has been consistent. He has asked the Regional Services Minister, Warren Truss, to stop funding a wind farm in Denmark, Western Australia, which just happens to be in the electorate of Wilson Tuckey. We have all learned it is unwise to cross Tuckey.

Allow me at this point to declare an interest. In the middle of all this brouhaha I had not long taken up residence in Bungendore, near Canberra, when I received a notice from the NSW Department of Planning that a 63-turbine wind farm was proposed a few kilometres north of our idyllic rural abode.

Before you could say NIMBY, No Wind Farms signs started appearing throughout the village of Bungendore. Now there's a surprise. What to do?

There are not a lot of options. I could support the wind farm and take the alternate route to Sydney, thus avoiding seeing it. Alternately, I could propose a nuclear reactor or pray that solar, which provides less than 1 per cent of the world's energy needs, becomes economically viable. As a last resort I could sell the car, stop flying, freeze in winter and fry in summer. On balance, I think I'll go with the wind farm.

Barry Cohen, a federal Labor MP from 1969 to 1990, was environment minister in the Hawke government.

Victoria turns to green power

The Australian Financial Review, Page: 5
Monday, 22 May 2006

Plans by the Victorian government to source 10 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources within four years will have little effect on the state's energy-intensive industries or on retail prices, a new report says. The study by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, whose members include AGL and BP, said power prices would rise 1.3 per cent, an increase of $1 a month for the average household. Victoria generates 95 per cent of its electricity from coal and is the highest polluting state in the developed world, on a per megawatt basis, environmental critics say.

The business council's executive officer, Ric Brazzale, said the price rise was barely a "blip" at a time when energy-intensive industries were highly profitable. "If ever there was a time to move away from coal it's now," he said. The Victorian scheme aims to drive more than $ 1 billion of investment into the renewable industry and is a direct response to the federal government's refusal to extend its Mandatory Renewable Energy Target. The federal government introduced a 2 per cent renewable energy target in 2001 but it was watered down after lobbying by industrial users fearful that higher electricity prices would make them uncompetitive.

"Our study shows that this is not the case," said Mr Brazzale. "Victoria can move away from coal with little cost to the economy. "This is supported by an earlier report from the Allen Consulting Group and CSIRO, which found that Australia could move to a 60 per cent cut in emissions by 2050 without significant reductions in economic growth. Legislation setting the 10 per cent target is expected before the Victorian parliament within months and comes after South Australia set a 15 per cent renewable energy target. This follows China setting a 15 per cent target by 2020 and nearly half the US states, including California, imposing mandatory targets.

The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics estimates Victoria's greenhouse emissions will rise 30 per cent by 2030 unless the state moves away from coal-fired power generation. The Victorian plan would provide sufficient energy to power 400,000 households. The green power is likely to attract a subsidy of between $35 and $40 per megawatt hour, making it competitive with coal.

Spelling it out for us: what needs to be done for eternity

The Canberra Times, Page: 2
Monday, 22 May 2006

It was while reading Tim Flannery's book The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change on a 42 degree day on Tathra beach that Dr Matthew Nott decided it was his time to think globally and act locally. The potent combination of warnings about global warming and a record hot New Year's Day on the South Coast beach spurned the local orthopaedic surgeon into action. Dr Nott was back on the beach yesterday with 3000 other people to make a statement he hopes will hold true: Clean Energy for Eternity. The 3000 supporters, about double the population of Tathra, formed the statement in the sand, with their efforts recorded by photographers in aircraft above.

Dr Nott said the gathering was "not a bunch of stirrers" but a good cross-section of the community, from police officers to lawn bowlers, school children to volunteer firefighters. "I think we've really tapped into something with this, " he said. Dr Nott said Clean Energy for Eternity meant "keeping the coal in the ground-no fossil fuel". "We've got to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions, that's what I would describe as dirty energy.

"The alternative was using a range of energy sources including geothermal, solar, wind and nuclear while trying to reduce overall consumption. "We do need a debate about each of these things. "And he would "absolutely" welcome a controversial wind farm in his community. Dr Nott said an earlier questionnaire he'd conducted found 96 per cent people in his local area believed they could make a difference to global warming.

"People are positive and want to help, they just need to know how. "

Winds of fortune blow Timor's way

Sunday Examiner, Page: 3
Sunday, 21 May 2006

TWO months ago, seven East Timorese workers disembarked from their first ever aeroplane flight, touched the ground at Burnie with relief arid then blessed themselves. Today the men are part of Tasmania's biggest building project - the construction of the third and final stage of the Roaring 40s Woolnorth wind farm. The buffeted plains of Tasmania's far North-West tip are about as non-tropical as you can get and the East Timorese are feeling the cold. But they said the reception they have received in Circular Head has been warm.

"This is the first time we have left our home, the first time we have seen wind towers and the biggest project we have worked on," Josa da Carvalho Ancieto said on site this week. Mr Ancieto is working on the construction of the control building at Studland Bay where another 25 wind turbines are being erected in a joint venture construction job between Hazell Bros and Areva. His colleagues are working on the transmission line wliich will carry power from Woolnorth to the Tasmanian electricity grid, operating excavators and rollers, laying cable and fixing steel on the turbine footings. By year's end, Tasmania's only wind farm will boast 62 turbines and generate enough energy to power all the houses in a city the size of Launceston.

Nine of the 25 concrete pads have been poured and under ground cabling work will begin next week. The East Timorese workers are employed in Dili by Caltech which is headed by French-Canadian Jean Vezinaother. Their boss was a little nervous about how the East Timorese would fit in on a Tasmanian construction site. But he need not have worried the workers are soaking up Australian culture reacquainting themselves with Hazell Bros personnel they have worked with in East Timor and making friends "We like a beer after work Josa da Carvalho Ancieto said with a grin.

"But just one or two. Beer is good for sleeping not working." Mr Vezina said the East Timorese workers had put a lot of effort in before embarking on their six-month stint at Woolnorth. Five nights a week over two months the men studied English after work. Other cultural changes took a
little longer to grasp. "It was the first time the men had left. The inland, their first time on a plane and we were a little worried about how they would cope with the travel timetable," Mr Vezina said. The men themselves were so intent on making it to the airport on time, they devised a sleeping rotation system at the hotel to ensure someone was awake at all times.

The average full-time construction worker in East Timor earns about $3000 a year. The apprentice wage they are being paid at Woolnorth is about 10 times higher than what they earn at home. But it was not the lure of extra money which attracted them to the job. "We did not tell them how much they would be paid until they arrived," Mr Vezina said.

However the Tasmanian stint represents a huge opportunity to workers from a country where 42 per cent of the population live below the poverty line. Hazell Bros human resources manager Jon Schwaiger said the East Timorese workers would gain skills in Tasmania which they could then take home and pass on to others. But Mr Vezina said the aim of the overseas work programme was not just technical training. "It is good for them to see construction projects of this scale but it is also about the social interface," Mr Vezina said.

"What they probably gain most is pride. Their time in Tasmania will be talked about for generations."

Meeting In The Wind

The Examiner, Page: 9
Saturday, 20 May 2006

State Energy Minister David Llewellyn met federal Industry Minister lan Macfarlane in Darwin yesterday to discuss the future of wind energy in Tasmania. Mr Llewellyn said Mr Macfarlane had agreed to consider further submissions on the issue and that they would met again in the coming weeks. The meeting comes after two multi-million-dollar wind farm developments in Tasmania have been put in doubt after the Renewable Energy company Roaring 40s said it was not financially viable to proceed. The company blames the Federal Government's decision not to extend the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target from 2 per cent for the shelving of all its future developments across Australia.

Mr Llewellyn said yesterday that he had briefly met Mr Macfarlane at the energy ministers' conference.

Adelaide aims to be solar city of the future

The Adelaide Advertiser, Page: 15
Saturday, 20 May 2006

We're lucky to live and work in our "City in the Park" that's unique in the world. But our environment is at risk from global warming, the greatest threat facing our planet. South Australia has already taken significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Wehave set a target of sourcing 15 per cent of electricity from renewable energy.

We're on track to reach that target by the end of this year, so we have increased our goal to 20 per cent within a decade. We're going further, too, becoming the first state that will enshrine in law a 60 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. SA is already leading the nation in wind generation, generating more wind power than all other States and Territories combined. We also have more than 45 per cent of the nation's grid-connected solar power.

In other areas, the Million Trees program is seeing three million trees planted throughout our city in a series of urban forests, helping to improve the carbon-absorbing capacity of our green fringe. We've installed solar panels on government buildings on North Terrace, including Parliament House, the Art Gallery, the SA Museum and the State Library, and on Gilles Street Primary School - one of more than 250 schools to be getting solar power. We're going to continue that solar roll-out, funding the installation of panels on the new Adelaide Airport, and Adelaide has been named one of the nation's "Solar Cities of the Future". And solar installations are part of the Adelaide landscape with solar lights installed in Victoria Square generating electricity during the day, and lighting up Adelaide's first sustainable square at night.

And similar lights are popping up around the city on Halifax St and the East Parklands. Adelaide is also going to play host to the International Solar Cities Congress in 2008. We're doing more to harness the wind, too, installing mini wind turbines on government buildings to take advantage of the wind-tunnel effect. We have a much cleaner city because of our nation-leading container deposit scheme and our moves to scrap non re-useable plastic bags.

And we're reducing pressure on our precious water resources. As part of the Water proofing Adelaide program, from July, all new homes must have plumbed rainwater tanks, and we're providing rebates of up to $400 to plumb rainwater tanks into existing homes. Everyone who lives and works in the city can do their part. Instead of driving to work, you can catch one of our fleet of trains and diesel buses, which we have converted to biodiesel - making it one of the cleanest fleets in Australia.

You can ride your bike to work on our network of green cycle paths, which we're expanding along the Glenelg tramline. And in the State Government we're doing our bit, converting half our car fleet to more environmentally friendly fuels by 2010 - stopping more than 2000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere. Westill have a long way to go, but next time you're going through our Parklands let them be a reminder of what you can do locally about the threat of climate change.

Shire adopts green power

The Herbert River Express, Page: 1
Saturday, 20 May 2006

Hinchinbrook Shire Council offices and facilities will run on 10 per cent renewable power after councillors voted to spend $38,700 on a 'clean energy' program. Under the three-year Ergon Energy silver environmental package, the council will pay an extra $1075 a month on their power bill, and will receive a business energy review worth $5000. The move is expected to lower the council's greenhouse gas emissions by up to 1290 tonnes. Deputy Mayor Arthur Bosworth said the program would allow the council to assess the effectiveness of its energy consumption.

"At this stage we don't know how much we waste or how much we use, " he said. "We live in an environmentally-sensitive part of the world and the local authority recognises that fact and this is a way for us to show our environmental credentials. "We are the environmental conscience for the rest of australia, so we need to be seen to be green and aware of what's going on in relation to greenhouse gas emissions. "The program uses power derived from renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and biomass, largely in the form of sugarcane bagasse.

The 'clean' electricity is fed into the grid along with conventional electricity, and is passed on through normal poles and wires. Ergon Energy spokesman John Fowler said the council's adoption of the program showed their commitment to the environment. "I think the Hinchinbrook Shire Council is going to be at the forefront of councils in regional queensland who are taking this initiative," he said. "The council should be congratulated.

"Mr Fowler said much of the renewable energy used in Hinchinbrook would be sourced from a wind farm at Ravenshoe. Speaking at the council meeting, Cr Sherry Kaurila said the program would work out at a cost of 9 cents extra per person each month for every man, woman and child in the shire for the three years.