Friday, 20 July 2007

Sunbeam me up, the future is here

Byron Shire Echo
Tuesday 17/7/2007 Page: 14

To wait or not to wait to install solar panels? That is the question. Syd Welling, of Sunbeam Solar Systems, will urge anyone who asks not to wait. The time is right to educate yourself about your energy requirements in your home and/or office and the appropriate solar system to accommodate them. With an increase in the government contribution (each household is now entitled to an $8,000 rebate) and with efficient and reliable grid interactive solar technology available, there is greater incentive than ever to reduce your carbon emissions and eradicate electrical bills for good.

With some households whispering about waiting for new solar cell technology, Welling has a compelling argument, too in-depth for this article, for would-be procrastinators. Syd explains, `The current grid interactive system is reliable, efficient and now more affordable. Think of all the carbon emissions we could be saving as a country while we all sit and wait for another five years for new systems such as sliver cell and other non-silicon based technologies which don't have advantages over the conventional and available system in any case. The grid interactive system is the most efficient use of solar technology.

`Did you know if Australian households switched to solar hot water and renewable energy sources we could reduce Australia's dependency on coal fired power stations by 50% straight up? Unfortunately the powers that be have vested interests in us remaining on the grid day and night.' Syd gets fired up when people question the efficiency of solar power, he says, `There is 1kW (kilowatt) of energy per square metre in sunlight. A solar panel extracts about 15.5%-16.5% of that energy from the sun.

A coal fired power grid is not even 1% efficient.' In a nutshell, the grid uses old sun inefficiently and a solar interactive panel on your roof uses new sun efficiently. Syd continues, `All of the energy that exists on Earth has come from the sun at one point or other. Coal fired power stations use energy from sun that fell on the earth eons ago, growing trees and carboniferous forests, which decayed over eons and eons forming coal. We now dig up that coal with a mining system that is about 50% efficient.

`Out of all the product that comes out of the mine about 30% ends up as recycled waste. So you end up with 70% of the mined product being burned in a process that's only 30% efficient. By the time you get through all the inefficiencies in the process, including those in the power plant to household journey, we get down to the fact that it's a fraction of I% efficient.' Add to that the obvious carbon emissions from the grid system and the fact that the power plant itself consumes an unimaginable amount of water for cooling and lubrication and you have a shocking and simple cycle of power plants inflaming the greenhouse effect, in turn compounding widespread drought worsened further by the water guzzled by the grid, resulting in less water in the natural land cycle to potentially relieve drought via rain.

By comparison, solar cells on the roof directly convert energy from the sun at the point of source into usable energy, comparatively as a dry compost toilet deals with waste at the point of source rather than piping it off elsewhere for someone else to worry about. Syd believes that it is important that consumers begin to focus on systems which offer solutions at the point of use. He believes it is up to us to localise responsibility. By decentralising consumer needs we become responsible for ourselves, taking the power back, so to speak. Syd adds, `When we take the initiative ourselves people in actuality take the lead.

Then it is true leadership. It comes back to individual responsibility - we can't wait for the government to make the changes necessary or anyone else. Besides, the government will only do what big business will do and big business will only do what there is demand to do.' If you are someone who wants to reduce their carbon footprint but perhaps is unsure as to which method is most cost effective and efficient, read on. Buying a hybrid car, for example, would cost $36,000-$44,000 and will save about two tonnes of CO2 per year. By comparison a 1kW grid interactive solar system will cost you $6,000 after the rebate and will save about seven tonnes of CO2 per year. Additionally, while a car depreciates in value, a solar system will only add value to your home, so it is always worth thinking on the bigger, longer term picture.

It is also worth noting that some solar panel manufacturers, although not all, use solar energy to produce their products, making the entire process clean. So by choosing wisely, the energy you will use in your home will have never polluted nor required water, will not produce noise, smoke or carbon emissions and will be free! Talk about peace of mind.

For any unanswered questions about renewables and the coal industry, Syd Welling is a boundless source of facts and fascinations. He will be running an ACE course, Solar Power System for Home and Business, on Saturday August 11, 9.30am - 12.30pm for only $25 for those who are interested in being a part of solutions for climate change. Contact ACE on 6684 3374 or download an enrolment form from

If you want to arrange a consultation and quote with Syd Welling you can contact him on 6679 7228, 0428 320 262 or email

NSW: Sydney desalination plant construction to start this month

AAP Newswire
Thursday 19/7/2007

Construction of Sydney's desalination plant will begin within a fortnight... after the New South Wales government officially signed the contract. Leighton Holdings and its joint venture partner... Veolia Water... have been awarded the 1. 76 billion dollar contract to design... build... operate and maintain the plant at Kurnell for 20 years. The two companies already work together on the Gold Coast desalination project. Water Utilities Minister Nathan Rees says the plant will be 100 per cent powered by renewable energy... probably wind farms.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

With wind in his sails

Shepparton News
Tuesday 17/7/2007 Page: 1

The wind turbine is just one way Grant Taresch is setting a sustainability example at his vineyard, which he sees as a model for eco-farming. Grant Taresch is the first to admit the windchill factor at his Upton Hill winery, between Euroa and Ruffy, is a force to be reckoned with. The wind bites at the rocky countryside - and anything in its path - with the ferocity of a tiger, but luckily its oomph is not going to waste.

A 30m wind turbine churns to life after a brief power outage and starts spinning like a windmill on steroids. It generates double the energy needed to power the winery Mr Taresch and his wife Suzanne own and injects enough electricity back into the grid to power 34 houses. The turbine has been operational since January, but was a long time in the making. "I started on it five years ago and it's been standing there for a couple of years waiting for power grid connection," Mr Taresch said. "It was quite a big process because it was all new. I don't know whether there's any of the same machines in Australia." He bought the Bonus 150 kW wind turbine second-hand from Denmark, where it is widely used.

Since it arrived, the turbine has been reconditioned and Mr Taresch has been lucky to find a previous Bonus employee, now living in Melbourne, to help maintain it. He said the set-up cost the family $300 000, but it is part of a broader plan. "We did it because it makes sense," Mr Taresch said. "We want to run the place in a way that in generations to come, they'll still be able to run it in the same way."

Bearing failure on turbine no.2

South Gippsland Sentinel Times
Tuesday 17/7/2007 Page: 13

Wind Power Pty Ltd, the operators of Wonthaggi's controversial wind farm, last week brought in a large crane to its site south west of town ahead of starting repair work on turbine number two. The turbine has been out of action for quite some time following the failure of the main rotor bearing. General Manager of Wind Power, Vaughan Hulme, said the failure of the bearing was considered an unusual event by the manufacturer. "The type of bearing used is typical of those used in heavy mining machinery and not usually prone to failure. The manufacturer of the bearing considers it to be an unusual event and is replacing the bearing for us," Mr Hulme said. "The other turbines are continuing to operate very efficiently," he said.

The repair project will require Wind Power's contractors to remove the cone from the hub of the turbine rotor some 69 metres above the ground. A crane will then be used to take the rotor blades down so that the repair work can be completed. When the 42 metre blades are at their highest point in rotation, the height of the structures is about 110 metres. Work is expected to commence there on Tuesday this week, weather permitting.

Bald Hills progress
As for the company's 52 turbine, 104MW project at Bald Hills near Tarwin Lower, progress is being made. "There's not a lot to report at the moment except to say that we have approval to go ahead and we are working away at the project," Mr Hulme said. "We expect to have an announcement about Bald Hills in the coming months." According to details on the company's website, the plan is to develop all stages of the project at the one time to maximise economies of scale.

The turbines are to be located on two distinct areas of the Bald Hills site; the first an elevated site approximately 90 metres above sea level and approximately 10kms kilometres from the coast; the second located on the south end of the Bald Hills site approximately two kilometres from the coast. It is claimed that the project will provide construction work for 68 people, will cost in the order of $220 million to build and will supply enough power for 64,952 households.

Windmill captures Mallee's spirit, pride

Murray Valley Standard
Tuesday 17/7/2007 Page: 23

THE spirit of the Mallee has been captured with a bold new art feature of a windmill in central Karoonda. The sculpture, appropriately titled `Spirit of the Mallee', has been made out of railway and farming machinery to provide a tribute to the history of wind energy. Sculptor Donato Rosella said the windmill played a significant role in the Mallee and the feature would almost be like a shrine to wind energy. "If we didn't have the windmill we wouldn't have water... without water for the sheep and humans the Mallee couldn't exist," Mr Rosella said. "This is our history." A group of community volunteers has contributed to the construction, giving the structure a sense of community ownership and something, as Mr Rosella said, to be proud of. "You can call it tourism, but also local pride," he said.

District Council of Karoonda East Murray mayor Kevin Burdett said the feature would be an interesting part of the town's appeal. "It's going to certainly be a talking point," Mayor Burdett said. "The travelling public will have something to talk about besides the rain." The funding for the structure was supported by the Country Arts SA through the Regional Arts Fund, an initiative of the Federal Government, and Australia Council for the Arts.

Lameroo and Pinnaroo are also in the process of building an artistic structure under the `Spirit of the Mallee' theme. Mallee arts and health community development officer Judy Schroeder said the structures represented the amalgamation of the Mallee Health Service between the three communities and would be recognised as an icon in each of the towns. It is expected all the structures will be completed in the near future.

Kurnell to be wind-powered

Goulburn Post
Wednesday 18/7/2007 Page: 3

THE State Government has reconfirmed its commitment to build the Kumell Desalination Plant, saying it would be powered 100 per cent by wind energy, which the Government would buy. However Water Utilities Minister Nathan Rees said would not be drawn into whether the plant would be powered by Southern Tablelands-based windfarms. "When it is running it will produce zero greenhouse gas emissions and be 100 per cent powered by wind energy," a spokesperson said.

"There are currently five wind farm projects in various places in NSW that already have development approval but have not yet been built by the proponents and several more are in the planning approval process right now." The spokesperson said the announcement to buy the green energy that would run the desalination plant could kick start several local wind farms that were on hold until their proponents were sure of a reliable market for their energy.

`Even though these companies have invested a good deal in securing land and getting approvals, it is unlikely that these projects will be built until the companies are sure there is a reliable and large enough market for the clean renewable energy to justify the millions of dollars in construction costs," the spokesperson said. "That's why the NSW Government's announcement it will purchase 100% of the energy to run the desalination plant from clean, green wind energy is the greatest shot in the arm to the renewable energy sector for many years. "Such a large customer for wind energy means these projects suddenly become viable.

Renewable energy gets Budget boost

Bayside Weekly Magazine
Wednesday 4/7/2007 Page: 4

APPLICATIONS to establish renewable energy operations in Redland Shire would be welcomed, following the announcement of a new incentive program as part of the 2007-2008 Budget. Mayor Don Seccombe said while not every type of project would be suitable for the shire, the council was looking to encourage as many varieties as possible. He said the expectation was enquiries would come from wind or wave powered plants, with nuclear and `clean coal' projects almost certain to be non-starters.

"I don't think anyone wants nuclear power plants on the foreshores of Redland Bay," he said. "We recognise that only certain types of renewable energy infrastructure will be suited to the Redlands, such as wind, solar or wave or tidal power, depending on the scale of the operation." Despite this, Cr Seccombe said the council wanted to support, promote or provide incentives for development of appropriate large-scale renewable energy initiatives throughout the shire.

"The level of Council's contribution will be determined through a merit-based assessment by Council staff and can be both financial and resource-based support." He said the council also supported efforts and initiatives of local businesses and residents towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Green power proposal in the wind

Hunter Valley Town & Country
Monday 16/7/2007 Page: 6

Vacy is a long way from the windy landscape of Holland but it is hoped two tried-and-tested wind turbines from the land of windmills will put the tiny village on the map in terms of the generation of clean, green power. Paterson-based company Green Power has been given the go ahead by Dungog Shire to erect two 45m wind turbines, with rotor diameters of 31 in, on a small knoll half way up the western side of Mount George, 250m below Eaglereach Resort, at Vacy.

It is hoped the power generated by the wind turbines will be fed into the regular grid to be on-sold to customers throughout the region. "The thinking is that these two (wind turbines) will be the first of several," Green Power's director Allen Dunlop said. "The idea is not to have a bank of turbines along a ridge but one or two here and there. "There's plenty of real estate between here and the Great Dividing Range" Mr Dunlop said the wind turbines, which had already spent 15 years generating power in Holland, were far from outdated. "In Holland they are everywhere," Mr Dunlop said. "These were sold not because they were outdated but because (the owner) moved to a bigger capacity." The NSW wind atlas identifies the area around Vacy as having an average annual wind speed of about 6.5m a second.

Therefore, it is estimated the wind turbines will generate about 1100 megawatt hours of green power a year - enough to run 185 average households and reduce the amount of green house gases by 1160 tonnes a year. The wind turbines will be erected on a property owned by Mr Dunlop and run as a beef farm by his daughter. Green Power has secured a connection agreement with Country Energy but is yet to sign a power purchase agreement, which must be done before construction work can begin, to allow the power to be on-sold to customers. Mr Dunlop is using the project as a "test case" and, if it proves successful, he will link with Green Power's parent company, Power Serve, to expand the generation of clean power throughout the region.

Shedding light on hot topic

Maroondah Leader
Tuesday 17/7/2007 Page: 6

CLIMATE change is the hot topic at the moment and Maroondah residents are being invited to learn all about it. A free information session - The Science, Politics and Solutions on Climate Change - is being held at the Karralyka Centre in Ringwood East on Sunday, August 12.

The session will include two speakers: Dr Peter Christoff from the University of Melbourne's School of Social and Environmental Enquiry and vice president of the Australian Conservation Society; and Mark Wakeham, a clean energy campaigner with Greenpeace, who has been involved in campaigns for renewable energy across Australia. The session runs 2-4.30pm.

Details: Maroondah Council on 9298 4360 or Yvonne Rooney, Maroondah Climate Change Action Group on 9879 6594.

Pacific Hydro offers funding

Ararat Advertiser
Tuesday 17/7/2007 Page: 4

Ararat - Australian renewable energy company Pacific Hydro announced the third round of its Sustainable Communities Fund was open and called for applications from local organisations working within the Ararat Rural City area.

Community relations manager, Emily Wood, said that the program had already achieved some great results supporting a range of community activities in the Ararat Rural City. "The Sustainable Communities Fund is available to all community groups and organisations working to make a positive and lasting contribution to their community. Previous successful applications have included the upgrade of sporting facilities in Willaura, an educational forum in Lake Bolac and support for a bush fire recovery program," Ms Wood said.

The Sustainable Communities Fund, which provides the community with a percentage of revenue from the sale of electricity from Challicum Hills Wind Farm, has already provided over $80,000 to community organisations within the Ararat Rural City area. Applications are considered in the areas of heath and welfare, education and training, sporting and recreation, and arts and culture and can be submitted until Friday August 24. "While it is never possible to fund every application, we take into account local community priorities when short-listing and allocating funding," said Ms Wood.

Application forms along with the program guidelines are available on Pacific Hydro 's website fund or by calling Emily Wood on 03 9615 6440.

Previous Sustainable Communities Fund recipients include the Ararat YMCA, Buangor Primary School, Elmhurst Recreation Reserve, Fiery Creek Festival, Lake Bolac Eel Festival, the Ararat Clay Target Club and the Moyston Fire Brigade. To find out further details about the Sustainable Communities Fund, and to download an application form, visit the website. The application period closes on Friday August 24.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Keeping your cool

Mornington Peninsula Leader
Tuesday 17/7/2007 Page: 3

GREATER use of airconditioning will cause blackouts by 2030, warns the latest report commissioned by the State Government from the CSIRO. If all Australian houses are built to zero emission standards - not requiring airconditioning - by 2016, this will lessen the effects of more severe weather forecast from human-forced global warming. Companies from Britain and elsewhere are already building houses compliant with the 2016 code, some with cost increases of only 2 per cent more than similar, traditionally built houses. Now passed into law, the code sets minimum standards for both energy and water efficiency. In addition, the British Government has agreed that any home achieving Level 6 sustainability rating will be exempt from stamp duty.

One type of zero emissions house is warmed and cooled with the help of Energain-coated panels installed on interior walls and in ceilings that absorb and release heat depending on the temperature. Another type contains a mechanical heat recovery system that removes moist, stale air from rooms and passes it over cool, fresh air from outside to regulate constant comfortable air temperatures. With the addition of solar panels and wind turbines, houses will soon be entirely self-sufficient, generating electricity on-site, says Matthew Wright, spokesman for Beyond Zero Emissions, based in Brunswick St, Fitzroy.


Carbon fibre taking off

Tuesday 17/7/2007 Page: 22

ULTRA-LIGHT, rust-proof, 10 times stronger than steel and hailed by some as the key to energy efficiency, carbon fibre may soon be traded as a commodity on global markets, according to some industry expectations. The view arises as carbon fibre is poised for potentially huge growth in the airline and motor industries. Demand for it is also soaring from manufacturers of everything from golf clubs and fishing rods to wind farms and bullet-proof vests.

Competition for high-quality carbon fibre is intensifying faster than its mostly Japanese producers predicted and an international market with liquidity and transparency could bring the supply and demand balance under better control, the industry argues. High-end carbon fibre is sold by producers direct to end users, but both sides believe the creation of a carbon-fibre spot market is crucial. Rising demand has pushed highend carbon fibre prices up more than 65 per cent since 2004. Japan dominates the industry, its top three textile companies producing 70 per cent of the world's carbon fibre.

Investors have been eyeing the rising carbon-fibre demand curve for some years, but when 787 Dreamliner was introduced last week it marked the beginning of a new era. Half the aircraft's weight is represented by carbon-fibre composites and the same ratio will be true of Airbus's A380. The aircraft industry represents a fifth of the world's carbon-fibre demand of 28,000 tonnes a year and analysts estimate aircraft-related demand could expand 500 times in coming years.

But Toru Nagashima, president of Teijin, one of the world's biggest producers of carbon fibre, said other uses were being developed. As those demands pile up, the complexity and capital intensity of making high-quality carbon fibre would be exposed, he said. Carbon fibre's growth relies heavily on prices being manageable at present, so the technology is adopted. An international commodity trading system for carbon fibre might emerge as a result.

As well as its use in civil engineering, for strengthening bridges, carbon fibre is used in making windmill (windfarm) sails. UBS analyst Takaaki Muramatsu predicts a doubling in carbon-fibre demand by the windmill industry between now and 2010. Yet the greatest effect on carbon fibre use is expected in 2011, when the motor industry, for reasons of fuel efficiency and safety, moves from aluminium to carbon composites for car bodies and parts, Mr Nagashima said. Toyota and Honda are among car makers interested in greater use of carbon fibre.

Wind Hydrogen

July, 2007 Page: 59

Renewable energy hopeful Wind Hydrogen has opened a $12 million IPO to fund its portfolio of proposed projects in the United Kingdom and Australia. In its prospectus, the Sydney-based company said it aimed to develop wind farms in attractive regimes and where feasible, in conjunction with its patented hydrogen balance system.

Chairman Neville Wran said hydrogen and wind energy complemented each other. "Hydrogen balancing provides a means of addressing the issue of wind variability by creating hydrogen through electrolysis from off-peak wind energy, and combusting that fuel during high demand peak periods;" Wran said. Upon its expected August 10 listing date, Wind Hydrogen intends to have a $32 million market capitalisation.

Monday, 16 July 2007

In the wind

Central Western Daily
Monday 16/7/2007 Page: 8

AN application for a wind monitoring tower near Rydal would almost certainly be the precursor to a bid for a full scale wind farm, Lithgow Council has been told. Council has been moving slowly on developing wind farms without yet setting any guidelines and this was again a handicap at the latest meeting of the Financial and Services Committee.

Nichols' wind farm to be something to crow about

Burnie Advocate
Monday 16/7/2007 Page: 7

ROBERT Nichols reckons the answer to conserving energy is in the wind. The owner of Nichols Poultry at Sassafras will soon have his own wind farm to generate renewable energy. He may well be the first in Australia to build an energy processing plant for the daily running of his business. "It would effectively reduce energy costs by 60 per cent," Mr Nichols said. "Most businesses would say `wow' to that. "I've done the research and I haven't come across any other business who's doing this." It's taken Mr Nichols three years of research and overseas trips visiting farms and he's now in the final stages of buying turbines.

He hopes his own wind farm will be built by the end of this year. "Preserving precious natural resources is a passion of mine," Mr Nichols said. "The wind turbines we're looking at aren't massive, we're not looking at building a Woolnorth in Sassafras. "It will be capable of producing 200 kilowatts of energy, that's a big chunk of power. "It'll cut down on the energy we use from the grid."

Mr Nichols said he hoped other businesses would consider going above environmental requirements as part of how they operate. "I hope other businesses would look at this. "It's strange to me we live in such a windy state but we don't see too many wind farms. "There looks to be a hike in energy costs over the next few years of about 10 to 15 per cent. "I look forward to having at least 60 per cent of my energy costs reduced." Mr Nichols said through his research he had found Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands to have the most amount of wind farms on properties.

Climate challenge

Albany & Great Southern Weekender
Thursday 12/7/2007 Page: 7

THE Albany Community Environment Centre (ACEC) has taken on the challenge of addressing climate change in Albany. It is hoping Albany will become a leader in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, without waiting for government to introduce changes. ACEC spokesperson Helen Knewstub said that apart from saving energy, residents could save money on their monthly bills. "We are already in a great position with the option of using natural power via the Albany Wind Farm," ACEC spokesperson Helen Knewstub said.

The group took its first step recently by hosting `Save Water and Power' speaker, Rob Gulley, from Environment House in Perth, who addressed community groups and undertook home energy audits. Ms Knewstub said he pointed out that one unit of electricity was equal to one kilogram of greenhouse gases (GHG). "The Save Water and Power talk empowers people to take charge of their energy consumption at home in a number of ways," she said. "People can save power on their bills by choosing efficient appliances, and keeping them running efficiently.

"By doing simple things such as insulating the hot water pipe from water heaters, people can keep water warmer for longer, reducing their overall power consumption" Ms Knewstub said that with Albany's population around 30,000, if all the work places and homes saved a few units of energy, a minimum of 10,000 kgs of GHGs could be saved, as well as money off power bills. "Businesses and government agencies could make substantial savings," she said. "I'd like to see equipment such as boiling urns and microwaves turned off at the switch overnight and weekends when they're not being used." For more information, Ms Knewstub can be contacted on 98425121.

Wind for WApower

Fremantle Herald
Saturday 14/7/2007 Page: 10

ROOFTOP wind energy could soon generate over four per cent of WA's electricity needs. That's the claim of Murdoch University boffins who are looking at ways to harness the Fremantle Doctor, the strong gusty breeze that comes scudding in over WA's coast just about every day. Murdoch's engineering department, in collaboration with Melville council, has been awarded $28,000 to research the best way to harness the wind. Sensors will be placed on council buildings and computers will work out cost-effective and environmentally-friendly ways of using the technology.

Dr Jonathan Whale, one of the researchers, says "rooftop wind systems have enormous potential [for] micro-generation. .. in urban environments." Premier and WA science minister Alan Carpenter said "It would be a fantastic outcome if these projects... allowed householders to use the wind to generate their own electricity. .. save money. .. and reduce emissions," he added. The WA government wants to lower greenhouse emissions 60 per cent by 2050.

Time to find out community views

Ballarat Courier
Saturday 14/7/2007 Page: 9

You can never meet everybody's concerns but we are hopeful of providing the best wind farm proposal if it goes ahead.

THE first of several meetings to gauge community attitudes towards a controversial wind farm proposal near Smeaton will be held next week. Members of a community reference group were selected earlier this month and will liaise with developer Wind Power about community attitudes towards the project. Wind Power is proposing to build 19 turbines in the Smeaton area.

The CRG will be an opportunity for an views to be heard about the proposal, Wind Power general manager Vaughan Hulme said. We have to provide feedback on the questions that came out of the information day and we hope to understand how the community concerns can be met and the most effective methods of communicating with members of the community," he said.

We can look to developing the proposal in ways that best address the community's concerns. You can never meet everybody's concerns but we are hopeful of providing the best wind farm proposal if it goes ahead." Of the several members selected for the panel about half are from the Spa Country Landscape Guardians Group who are strongly opposed to the development. SCLGG spokesman Will Elsworth is on the CRG, and said he was critical that the meetings have been closed to the public and media.