Archive for the ‘Express 108’ Category

Coalition for a Change?

Posted by admin on May 14, 2010
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Coalition for a Change?

A new Coalition Government in London with a smorgasbord of challenges, including climate, energy and the economy; the US grapples with the latest climate change bill which the President supports, and Australians are delivered a budget which shows the Government has drastically watered down its commitment to climate change action and a clean energy future. We have some angry reaction from green and clean groups, as well as Tim Flannery. Renewable energy gets a boost, but it is nowhere near enough. We profile a clean energy leader who is still waiting for Government recognition of what we can get from the waves around our shores. Looking longer term, scientists are seeing an even hotter future for life on earth in 300 years and the International Energy Agency says globally we could produce 25% of our electricity by solar in 2050.  There’s research into powering sailing ships when the wind stops and how to make better use of algae for jet bio fuel. Strategic Direction gets recognition for its energy efficient Data Centres; ecospecifier gets into South East Asia, and Singapore funds recycling of demolished buildings. The Government clarifies its voluntary carbon offset standards and carbon neutral programs, while Greenpeace gets into the picture with coal ships and protests. From the Los Angeles Times, we get a Lucky Last insightful piece on a clean energy future in light of fossil fuel disasters. Could you ask for more? – Ken Hickson

Profile: Michael Ottaviano

Posted by admin on May 14, 2010
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Profile: Michael Ottaviano

Here’s the man who believes Australia’s southern oceans are the best on the planet to drive a renewable energy revolution that could cut the nation’s greenhouse emissions and provide a reliable source of base-load electricity. But Carnegie CEO Michael Ottaviano says so far this innovative wave energy project has been denied Federal Government grants and there’s a danger that the Australian-owned and -developed technology will move overseas where more generous regimes encourage wave power development.

This article appeared in the middle of the 2010 Budget coverage in The Australian on 12 May 2010, which clearly shows that in spite of commitments to renewable energy and emissions reductions, the Australian Government is once again ignoring ideal opportunities for investment and endorsement. Will this go the way of other home-grown clean energy initiatives, like solar businesses Ausra and Suntech?  

By Sid Maher in The Australian:

MIKE Ottaviano believes Australia’s southern oceans are the best on the planet to drive a renewable energy revolution that could cut the nation’s greenhouse emissions and provide a reliable source of base- load electricity.

At Garden Island, off the West Australian coast, Mr Ottaviano’s Carnegie Wave Energy is developing a power plant that harnesses the eternal movement of the ocean to provide emissions-free electricity.

But Carnegie has so far been denied grants as part of the federal government’s renewable energy programs and the Australian-owned and -developed technology is in danger of being deployed overseas where European nations have more generous regimes to encourage wave power development.

Last November, Carnegie was beaten by Ocean Power Technologies to build a flagship wave energy plant. The market was surprised when the US company was preferred for a $66.5 million grant, over Carnegie Wave Energy, BioPower and Oceanlinx.

But Mr Ottaviano has been pressing ahead with a pilot plant for Carnegie’s technology at Garden Island, though he is now eyeing overseas opportunities.

He says the Carnegie technology is “radically different” to other wave-power technologies.

The wave plant is submerged and avoids the inevitable destructive effects of wave surges.

The underwater plant pumps water to an onshore facility that uses standard hydro-electric equipment to generate electricity.

The Garden Island plant will produce enough power for 3500 homes. But beyond the first plant, where the technology is ultimately proven will depend on government policy.

“We may be forced to deploy offshore,” Mr Ottaviano said.

He said the $652million renewable energy fund was a positive for the renewables industry and developing technologies such as wind and geothermal.

The beauty of wave power is the ocean’s constant motion means it is always able to generate electricity. This means it is able to be used for base load power generation. Other renewables, such as solar energy and wind power, are mostly unsuitable for base load generation. The Clean Energy Council has also called for tax concessions for renewable energy companies. Chief executive Matthew Warren said it wanted the commonwealth to create a geothermal, wave and tidal equivalent of the solar flagships program.

Under the $1.5 billion solar flagships program, the government has provided one-third of the capital cost of two large solar plants.

“If it works for large-scale solar, it’s logical you would experience the same in ocean wave and geothermal,” Mr Warren said.

Dr Michael Ottaviano is Carnegie’s Managing Director and joined the board of Carnegie Corporation Ltd on 1 September 2006. He has been employed by Carnegie Corporation Ltd since 9 January 2006 initially as the General Manager of Technology and Innovation.

He has previously worked in research and development and was a divisional manager for a private Australian engineering company. Prior to joining Carnegie, he was a Senior Manager specialising in Technology and Innovation consulting at a global accounting and advisory firm.

He has advised companies on new product development, intellectual property, innovation portfolio management and technology commercialisation across various industries and ranging from start-ups to ASX-listed companies with market capitalisations in excess of $1billion.

He completed his Doctorate in Business Administration in the field of Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Dr Ottaviano is also Managing Director of Seapower Pacific Pty Ltd.

Source: and

Budget Steals from CPRS to Pay for REFF

Posted by admin on May 14, 2010
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Budget Steals from CPRS to Pay for REFF

The government will invest more than $652 million over four years in a Renewable Energy Future Fund to drive the development and deployment of clean energy technologies. Households will also be encouraged to become more energy efficient. It will be paid for, according to media reports, from the almost $3 billion worth of savings gained by the deferral of legislation for the emissions trading scheme, the CPRS.  

Christian Kerr in The Australian 12 May 2010:

THE government will invest more than $652 million over four years in a Renewable Energy Future Fund to drive the development and deployment of clean energy technologies.

The renewables industry has warned that with no carbon price to drive investment, hopes for new, commercially viable sources of clean energy will wither on the vine if the government does not provide additional financial support for the sector.

The government hopes to assuage their concerns with the new fund, designed to support the nation’s transition to a low-pollution economy ahead of the start of an emissions trading scheme. It will be paid for from the almost $3 billion worth of savings gained by the deferral of legislation for the ETS until at least the end of 2012.

“Climate change remains a core challenge for the future – for this nation and for all nations,” Wayne Swan said in his budget speech last night.

The Treasurer said the government accepted the science of climate change and the need for combined global and domestic action.

That is why we have accepted a target range of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by between 5 and 25 per cent by 2020.”

He told parliament the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme remained “the cheapest and most effective way” of tackling climate change.

“As we continue to work to build the necessary domestic and international consensus for carbon markets, we will roll out the most substantial renewable energy plan this country has seen – consistent with our decision to increase the renewable energy target to 20 per cent by 2020,” the Treasurer said.

The Renewable Energy Future Fund will form part of the government’s Clean Energy Initiative.

It will be used to provide additional support for renewable energy projects of all sizes.

“This fund will leverage private sector investment to support renewable energy projects and the development of low-emissions technologies,” Mr Swan said.

“It will also be used to enhance Australia’s take-up of energy efficiency, including helping households and businesses reduce their energy consumption.”

The budget provides a total of $652.5m from next financial year for the fund.

The fund will provide support through partnerships between the government and the private sector to make critical, early-stage investments to help gain extra private funds to support the commercialisation of renewable technologies. Details of the specific commitments for the fund will be announced in the future.

However, the government flagged in the budget overview that wind, solar and biomass projects would be likely to receive support.

Money for the fund will be delivered through a range of government departments and agencies, with the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency co-ordinating its progress and priorities.


Katie Bice in Herald Sun 12 May 2010:

HOUSEHOLDS will be encouraged to become more energy efficient under the largest renewable energy program ever seen.

The $652 million Renewable Energy Future Fund will support research and development into new low-emission technologies.

But the program only came about through funding freed up by the shelving of the Emissions Trading Scheme – and specific details of the commitments are yet to be announced.

The Government says climate change remains a major challenge and the new program will help with the transition to a ETS.

The recycled money is part of an expanded $5 billion Clean Energy Initiative.

With the ETS on the backburner, the Government has turned its attention to educating the public.

About $30 million will be spent over the next two years in a series of print, television and radio announcements to educate Australians about the science of climate change.

The Government did not announce any plan to replace the ETS with a new scheme.

Funding intended for the defunct home insulation program and the solar hot water rebate will be redirected to renewable energy.

But the cash was not enough to save a number of other environment projects.

There will be a $200 million cut over three years to the Green Car Innovation Fund, which was aimed at encouraging Australian companies to produce technology to lessen greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.

Funding was also shaved from a scheme to promote rebates for rainwater tanks and grey water systems.

The Government said the cuts were due to “lower than expected demand”.


No-one’s Smiling Now: Breach of Faith on Climate Action

Posted by admin on May 14, 2010
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No-one’s Smiling Now: Breach of Faith on Climate Action

Green groups are not happy with the latest budget. Government has taken the axe to environmental programs that save water and help farmers go green. WWF says people should be bitterly disappointed that this government has abandoned its national and international leadership on climate change, while Tim Flannery says this Government has failed to deliver effectively on any environmental issue.

Cathy Alexander for AAP in Sydney Morning Herald (11 May 2010):

The federal government has changed tack on climate change, replacing the emissions trading scheme with more money for wind farms and solar panels. But green groups say it’s just not enough to take on global warming.

That money has been recycled into a new green fund. The budget has also taken the axe to environmental programs that save water and help farmers go green.

Water-savvy programs that offered a $500 rebate for water tanks and paid cities to recycle water were stripped of $249 million.

Bush preservation programs like Caring for Country and Landcare have lost a combined $161 million in funding.

Don Henry from the Australian Conservation Foundation said the budget in no way made up for the government’s disappointing decision to can the ETS. “It’s not a pass for climate action and the environment.” The new money for renewable energy was welcome but “only a drop in the bucket compared to the action that a price on pollution would achieve”.

John Connor, chief executive at the Climate Institute, said the “disappointing budget” plus the ETS delay meant Australia’s greenhouse pollution would continue to rise. “We’ve seen some deep disappointments in this budget, and in the last couple of weeks, about this government’s promises to the Australian people,” Mr Connor said.

Another hot topic is how much aid Australia will give poorer countries to tackle global warming. Rich countries have pledged to find $US30 billion ($A33.22 billion), and Australia promised to pay its fair share.

The budget shows hundreds of millions will be spent on climate aid, with a focus on the Pacific and Indonesia. But the money will come out of the existing aid budget, and some leaders from the developing world say the climate dollars should be new money.


By David Coady on ABC (12 May 2010):

Former Australian of the Year Professor Tim Flannery has criticised the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, for breaching the trust of the electorate on climate change.

Professor Flannery says Australia needs to move towards renewable energy.

He says the environment is headed towards the equivalent of a heart attack and he does not have any faith that Mr Rudd is going to take action.

“I could go to the Prime Minister now and say, ‘Look, why don’t we put some policies together to address climate change effectively,’” Professor Flannery said.

“And even if he accepted them, I wouldn’t have any faith that he would actually deliver on them because we’ve already seen this breach of faith.

“That’s the fundamental problem: it’s not the delay of the climate thing, as bad as that is, it’s the breach of faith with the electorate that’s the problem.”

Professor Flannery says the effects of climate change are already apparent around Australia but the Government has not done enough to deal with it.

“They need to deliver on their policies, they really do,” he said.

“And we have seen nothing from this Government to deliver as far as I can see effectively on any environmental issue.

“So it’s been very deeply disappointing, I think, for me to see all of this happen and it does have moral implications.

“I mean trust is the basis of all of our transactions and in politics it’s particularly important.”


WWF announcement (12 May 2010):

Failure to commit to an emissions trading scheme by 2011 and cuts to the flagship environmental program Caring for Country indicate the Government is abandoning its commitment to tackle climate change mitigation and letting the environment slide off its agenda.

“The Australian people should be bitterly disappointed that this government has abandoned its national and international leadership on climate change,” said WWF Conservation Manager Gilly Llewellyn.

“According to the budget papers the government may never legislate an emissions trading scheme, yet there is no contingency plan to meet the Government’s commitment to reduce emissions between five to twenty five per cent by 2020.

“The $652 million renewable energy future fund is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount required to create a clean economy in Australia and a fraction of the amount that would have been raised by an effective emissions trading scheme.”

The federal budget also includes cuts of over $300 million for environment programs, one fifth of which comes from the flagship environmental Caring For Our Country program.

“While WWF welcomes the $18 million for a National Plan for Environmental Information, without increased investments in environmental protection and management, this risks being an exercise in writing the requiem for species going extinct on the watch of this government,” said Ms Llewellyn.

At least 1575 species of Australian animals and plants were listed as being at risk of extinction under national law in 2007. Rapid, effective steps are needed to secure their critical habitats, but ironically in the International Year of Biodiversity, this budget takes us backwards.

WWF welcomes:

  • $335.4 million in international climate change financing commitment under the Copenhagen Accord
  • $102.7 million in additional funding to Green Loans program
  • $12 million over two years to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
  • $8.1 million to complete the now overdue marine bioregional planning process
  • $2.4 million for negotiating and implementing arrangements for securing the Pacific regions valuable fish stocks.



Scenario 2300: Half the Earth Too Hot to Live in

Posted by admin on May 14, 2010
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Scenario 2300: Half the Earth Too Hot to Live in

A worst-case scenario of global warming, in which temperatures would soar some 21 degrees, is that much of the world may simply become too hot for humans to live in, according to new research published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research suggests that without action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, average temperatures could rise as much as 10 to 12% by 2300.

AAP Report in The Age (11 May 2010):

HALF the Earth could become too hot for human habitation in less than 300 years, Australian scientists warn.

New research by the University of NSW has forecast the effect of climate change over the next three centuries, a longer time scale than that considered in many similar studies.

The research suggests that without action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, average temperatures could rise as much as 10 to 12 per cent by 2300.

The research, produced in partnership with Purdue University, in the US, is published today in the American scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

”Much of the climate change debate has been about whether the world will succeed in keeping global warming to the relatively safe level of only 2 degrees Celsius by 2100,” said Professor Tony McMichael, from the Australian National University, in an accompanying paper published in the journal.

”But climate change will not stop in 2100 and, under realistic scenarios out to 2300, we may be faced with temperature increases of 12 degrees or even more.”

Professor McMichael said that if this were to happen, then current worries about sea level rises, occasional heatwaves and bushfires, biodiversity loss and agricultural difficulties would ”pale into insignificance” compared to the global impacts.

Such a temperature rise would pose a ”considerable threat to the survival of our species”, he said, because ”as much as half the currently inhabited globe may simply become too hot for people to live there”.

Professor McMichael and co-author Associate Professor Keith Dear, also from ANU, described the study as ”important and necessary” because there was a need to refocus government attention on the health impacts of global temperature rise.

There was also a real possibility that much of the existing climate modelling had underestimated the rate of global temperature rise, they said.

Dr Dear said scientific authorities on the issue, such as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), had struck a cautious tone in forecasting future temperature rise and its impact.

”In presenting its warnings about the future, the IPCC is very careful to be conservative, using mild language and low estimates of impacts,” Dr Dear said.

”This is appropriate for a scientific body, but world governments, including our own, should be honest with us about the full range of potential dangers posed by uncontrolled emissions and the extremes of climate change that would inevitably result.”



By Doyle Rice for USA Today (10 May 2010):

Report: Climate change could render much of world uninhabitable

A worst-case scenario of global warming, in which temperatures would soar some 21 degrees, is that much of the world may simply become too hot for humans to live in, according to new research published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We found that … a 21-degree warming would put half of the world’s population in an uninhabitable environment,”says study co-author Matthew Huber of Purdue University.

While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that the result of business-as-usual warming would be 7 degrees by 2100, eventual warming over several centuries of 25 degrees is feasible, says Huber.

The new research calculated the highest tolerable “wet-bulb” temperature that humans can withstand.

“The wet-bulb limit is basically the point at which one would overheat even if they were naked in the shade, soaking wet and standing in front of a large fan,” says study lead author Steven Sherwood of the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

The researchers found that humans and most mammals experience a potentially lethal level of heat stress at a “wet-bulb” temperature above 95 degrees sustained for six hours or more.

(The more familiar air temperature is known as the “dry-bulb” temperature; wet bulb temperatures can be used along with the dry bulb temperature to calculate humidity.)

Researchers say that while wet-bulb temperatures of 95 degrees never happen now, they would begin to occur with global-average warming of about 12 degrees, calling the habitability of some regions into question.

“We show that even modest global warming could therefore expose large fractions of the population to unprecedented heat stress, and that with severe warming this would become intolerable,” the authors write.

“If warmings of 10 degrees C (18 degrees F) were really to occur in next three centuries, the area of land likely rendered uninhabitable by heat stress would dwarf that affected by rising sea level. Heat stress thus deserves more attention as a climate-change impact.”


Strategic Directions Re-Designs Data Centres; Singapore Recycles Buildings

Posted by admin on May 14, 2010
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Strategic Directions Re-Designs Data Centres; Singapore Recycles Buildings

Leading Australian ICT Master Planner Strategic Directions, which has designed energy efficient data centres powered by alternate energy sources and technologies,  has been invited to join the prestigious International Data Centre Institute of AFCOM, the world’s largest independent data centre industry body. Ecospecifier which has set up an operation and website for Singapore and South East Asia, tells us about a new Singapore Government funded initiative to recycle waste materials from demolition of buildings.

Announcement from Strategic Directions:

Leading Australian ICT Master Planner Strategic Directions – the design authority behind the recently opened $220 Million Polaris Data Centre at Springfield near Brisbane – has been invited to join the prestigious International Data Centre Institute of AFCOM, the world’s largest independent data centre industry body.

Strategic Directions is the first Australian company (and the first organisation outside the USA) to be invited to join the internationally recognised Think Tank.

Strategic Directions has designed a geothermal powered data centre (with zero carbon emissions) for Queensland based ASX Company Geodynamics and is also involved in designing a family of world class, energy efficient data centres powered by alternate energy sources and technologies, including wind, solar, biomass and hydro. 

The Data Center Institute (DCI) was formed in 2001 by AFCOM with a charter is “to provide leadership and direction for the global Data Centre industry.”

Data centres are already acknowledged as one of the heaviest industrial users of power – the design of energy efficient, alternate energy data centres for the future is gaining the attention of Governments and Organisations around the globe.

The invitation to join the DCI followed AFCOM CEO Jill Eckhaus and AFCOM Founder Leonard Eckhaus’ first visit to Australia last year – and Strategic Directions Technical Director Mike Andrea’s presentation at AFCOM’s International Data Centre Forum in Nashville, Tennessee, USA in early March.

Mr. Andrea’s case study highlighted the modular design and operational delivery of the $220 Million Polaris Data Centre, Australia’s only purpose built free standing Data Center – a Joint Venture by the Springfield Land Corporation and Suncorp, located at Greater Springfield near Brisbane. The POLARIS Data Centre is one of only 5 data centres selected recently by the Australian Federal Government, to provide interim Data Centre space to major Government Agencies.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) this month gave Greater Springfield its National Award for the best Planned Community in Australia. The Springfield Land Corporation also took out the UDIA National Presidents Award. Strategic Directions is the ICT Master Planner for the Greater Springfield project which includes the Polaris Data Center. During her tour of the facility last year, Ms Eckhaus commented, “I believe that when it comes to data centre design Australia has a lot to teach the rest of the world.”

DCI Board members, all leading data center industry experts, include AFCOM’s CEO Jill Eckhaus & Founder Leonard Eckhaus; APC’s CTO James Simonelli; Bick Group’s EVP Tad Davies; CA’s Product Management Advisor Sam Somashekar; Connectivity Technologies Inc.’s President Tim Hazzard; Fujifilm’s VP of Marketing Rick Gadomski; Intel’s DC Architect John Musilli; NORTEL’s Global Data Center Manager Paul Greenley; NER Data Products’ SVP Scott Steele; and Siemens’ Head of Commercial Real Estate & Data Center initiatives Maureen Versen.

Founded thirty years ago this year, AFCOM members today include most of the Fortune 500 Companies, plus many Government Agencies and NGOs throughout North America. AFCOM has just announced it is expanding into Australia and Asia Pacific with local chapters in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

The next industry position paper to be released by the Data Centre Institute concerns Cloud Computing and will be issued later this month.

The Strategic Directions Group includes ICT Master Planners and Strategists, providing vendor independent strategic advice to Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies and ASX Companies. The Company maintains a specialist Data Centre design and planning Practice and has been involved in the design, development and operation of some of the most advanced data centres in the country including the Treasury Data Centre in Canberra.

They were the design authority for the POLARIS data centre, one of only 5 data centres selected recently by the Federal Government, to provide interim Data Centre space to major Government Agencies.


Ecospecifier which has set up an operation and website for Singapore and South East Asia, tells us about a new Singapore Government funded initiative to recycle waste materials from demolition of buildings. Here’s the story:

THE Building and Construction Authority (BCA) announced a new $15 million Sustainable Construction Capability Development Fund during the opening ceremony of Samwoh’s Eco-Green Park.

The fund is part of the effort to encourage industry players to adopt Sustainable Construction (SC) practices and technologies, and eventually steer the industry towards self-sustenance in the demand and supply of SC materials in Singapore.

‘Depletion of natural resources in the long run will very likely lead to higher material prices. We must take pro-active steps now to enhance the resilience in the supply of our construction materials.’ said Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for National Development (MND) and Education, after announcing the new fund.

Developing capabilities in recycling waste materials from demolition of buildings and in the use of recycled materials for construction will be the focus of the SC fund.

The BCA hopes that the fund, which will support training, promotion and education programmes within the industry, and more extensive test-bedding of SC technologies and materials, will lead to industry players integrating SC into designs, building processes and business operations.

The fund will also be used to support an expected increase in demand for SC materials.

Adoption and upgrading of new technologies among demolition contractors, recyclers and ready-mix concrete suppliers, to adapt to the SC materials, will also be supported by the SC fund.

Ms Fu highlighted MND Research Fund for the Built Environment, used to fund Samwoh’s newly opened Eco-Green Park, as an example of a project that would qualify for the new SC fund.

Samwoh’s Eco-Green Park is hailed as the first building in Singapore to use recycled concrete aggregates (RCA) in its structural concrete elements.

The three-storey building cost $4 million to construct, and the flooring of the top storey is composed entirely of RCA.

Samwoh continues to test and develop new construction materials recycled from waste arising from the demolition of buildings and roads.

When asked if the fund would grow in the future, Ms Fu stated that this was just the beginning and SC was an area that would see long term attention.


Ecospecifier announcement:

Welcome to ecospecifier South East Asia, a new service to South East Asia with a data and knowledge base commencing at over 200 eco-products, eco-materials, technologies and resources, the leading global source of sustainable development & life-cycle assessed green product information.

Linking independent information with a powerful search interface, ecospecifier does your materials research for you, delivering innovative sustainable product solutions with unique difference.

Categorising products according to rating scheme compliance for tools such as Green Mark and Green Building Index, ecospecifier helps you reduce the time and costs of implementing Best Practice Green Buildings & Developments relevant to:  Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam & Thailand.

Source: and

Solar Will Compete with Coal & Nuclear Globally by 2030

Posted by admin on May 14, 2010
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Solar Will Compete with Coal & Nuclear Globally by 2030

This week we learn from International Energy Agency that solar power could produce up to a quarter of global electricity by 2050 and be competitive with coal and nuclear plants by 2030. Prior to the Budget release, the Australian Government announced it had awarded $92 million to two large-scale solar energy demonstration projects, one in Queensland and the other in South Australia.

By Tiffany Hsu in Los Angeles Times (12 May 2010): 
International Energy Agency reports that solar power could produce up to a quarter of global electricity by 2050.

The agency released two “roadmaps” for photovoltaics technology and concentrating solar power – or solar power stations — during the Mediterranean Solar Plan Conference in Valencia, Spain. Together, the two types of solar systems could generate 9,000 terawatt hours of energy in 2050.

Concentrating solar power will be dominated by North America, North Africa and India, some of the world’s sunniest regions, the agency’s Renewable Energy Division said. It will be able to compete with coal and nuclear power plants by 2030.

Solar photovoltaics technology is expected to provide around 11% of global electricity by 2050, avoiding 2.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year – or the equivalent weight of around 340 million male elephants or 77 million whales like the one in Dana Point Harbor.

The technology is currently responsible for just 0.1% of electricity generation around the world.

The study, which was requested by the G8 member nations in a 2008 meeting as part of a series of 19 energy technologies, covers the science, financing and policy necessary to make photovoltaics an integral part of the global power infrastructure.

Solar photovoltaics generate electricity by converting sunlight using arrays of cells.

The agency recommends that governments establish long-term targets and policies around the technology to encourage investments and installations. Incentives and financing schemes, such as funding opportunities for rural projects in developing countries, would also help.

Right now, just four countries can produce more than one gigawatt of electricity from installed photovoltaics systems: Germany, Spain, Japan and the U.S. But countries such as Australia, China, France, Greece and India are catching up.

In many regions by 2020, power from photovoltaics is expected to be about as cheap as electricity from existing sources – a pricing point known as grid parity.

Global photovoltaics capacity has already been ballooning by an average of 40% each year since 2000. And public expenditures around the world for photovoltaic research and development have doubled over the same period, from $250 million in 2000 to $500 million in 2007.


Report from the Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society (ANZSES):

The Australian Government has awarded $92 million to two large-scale solar energy demonstration projects.

Combined with investment from the successful applicants, the two projects will deliver about $320 million in solar energy investment in Australia and more than 60 megawatts equivalent of solar peak load generation capacity, within the next four years.

These projects will save almost 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

The two projects are:

-  23 megawatt solar boost to coal-fired turbines at Kogan Creek, near Chinchilla in western Queensland ($32 million), using Ausra (now Areva) Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector technology; and

-  a 40 megawatt concentrated solar thermal demonstration plant at Whyalla, South Australia, using Australia’s own “Big Dish” technology ($60 million).

Additional details of the projects follows:


• CS Energy Pty Ltd – $31.8 million

The CS Energy project at Kogan Creek in Queensland will demonstrate the Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) solar array technology developed in Australia by Ausra Pty Ltd. This technology is now being marketed world-wide by the Areva Group. The project will be attached to the existing Kogan Creek A Power Station to provide a 23 megawatt equivalent superheated steam solar boost to the coal-fired turbines. This will allow an increase in energy output as well as saving around 35,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. CS Energy is a Queensland Government-owned corporation.


• N.P. Power Pty Ltd (Whyalla Solar Oasis Consortium) – $60.0 million


The Whyalla Solar Oasis Consortium will demonstrate Wizard Power’s ‘Big Dish’ concentrated solar thermal power generation technology developed at the Australian 2 National University in 1994. The 40 megawatt demonstration plant at Whyalla will utilise 300 ‘Big Dish’ solar thermal concentrators that will be built on site using Wizard Power Pty Ltd’s proprietary factory-in-the-field concept.

The technology is easily scalable and a successful demonstration of the ‘Big Dish’ technology will open the way for further deployment of the technology, both within Australia and overseas. The project will generate power for about 9,500 average households and save about 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. The Whyalla Solar Oasis Consortium consists of N.P. Power Pty Ltd, Sustainable Power Partners Pty Ltd and Wizard Power Pty Ltd.

ANZSES welcomes this funding announcement, and congratulates the two projects selected.  We look forward to seeing the emergence of large scale solar as a result of this announcement.


Keep Sailing Even When the Wind Doesn’t Blow

Posted by admin on May 14, 2010
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Keep Sailing Even When the Wind Doesn’t Blow

Imagine this: Wind energy is gathered in the sails and the propeller operates as a turbine. This turbine is connected to an electric generator which charges up electric batteries which can be used to propel the vessel when there is no wind, avoiding using the internal combustion engine. Researchers in Spain are working on it.

Elhuyar Fundazioa reports for Eureka (11 May 2010):

Project for sailing vessels to manoeuvre in ports using electric energy from wind

The car is not the only vehicle that can be propelled electrically.

Lecturers at the Higher Nautical and Naval Engineering Technical School, Basque Country, Spain,  (Mikel Lejarza, Jose Ignacio Uriarte, Miguel Ángel Gómez Solaetxe and Juan Luis Larrabe) are part of a research team working on an innovative project to have a sailing boat that can undertake port manoeuvres (such as mooring and unmooring) using electric energy obtained from the movement of the wind in their sails when sailing, thus reducing the use of fuel and the emission of waste and noise.

All the prototype equipment will be on board the Saltillo, a vessel belonging to the University of the Basque Country itself and with its base in the port of Santurtzi. It is 24m in length and has a displacement of 80 tons.

They began the project in 2008, with funding from the Saiotek programme of the Basque Government Development Agency (SPRI), and which has financed the project in the last months of 2008 and all of 2009.

Having the research skills in this field, they are working against the clock, given that their goal is to have the prototype operational in two years.

As Juan Luis Larrabe explained, the idea is for such vessels to take advantage of the energy from the wind movement in order to generate electricity: “The wind energy is gathered in the sails and the propeller operates as a turbine. This turbine is connected to an electric generator which charges up electric batteries in such a way that, when you want to propel the vessel and there is no wind, you can use this stored energy while avoiding using the internal combustion engine”.

It is a hybrid model and not exclusively electrical (the latter would mean reduced operational range, apart from the fact that the great volume of batteries required today would make it unviable). “You still have to have the traditional engines on board, but the idea is to use them as little as possible”, explained Mr Larrabe.

In this first phase, most of the theoretical work required by the project was undertaken. As Mr Larrabe stated, “in order to characterise the vessel from a mathematical perspective and draw up a preliminary design”. That is to say, they calculated what the various elements taking part in the hybridisation of the boat should be – the hull, the propeller, the hull-propeller interaction, the electrical/electronic machinery and the internal combustion engine.

Then they put all this data together to “carry out simulations with different strategies of hybridisation to find out which of these might be the most efficient, from a theoretical perspective, for this vessel”. They have also designed a navigation course from the port and which will be used in upcoming and more practical stages of the project.

Effectively, the team aims to begin the second stage shortly, to validate in practical terms this work of theory-based design and choice. To this end, an energy audit has to be drawn up first, i.e. seeing what the fuel emissions and consumption are for the Saltillo with the diesel propulsion it currently runs on and studying the navigation course with a standardised operational profile. In this way they can compare this data with that obtained in the future and, in this same scenario, with the hybrid models that they have mathematically designed.

For this second simulation stage, the team will need the help of students from the school. Moreover, both for this phase as for the third – in which the prototype will be finalised -, it is essential to have funding. To this end, they are looking to collaboration with ancillary enterprises in the Basque naval engineering sector, a sector for which the project is a highly interesting one given that, as Mr Larrabe reminds us, “it could well be a new business model for a sector that is none too healthy”.

The hybrid vessel proposed by the team would have various advantages when the project finally gets under way. Apart from the evident ecological and economic benefits – these related to fuel savings -, those referring to safety have to be also considered. Outstanding in this section is the fact that the manoeuvres of the vessel are more reliable, having various available sources of energy, in case of any incident arising. As Mr Larrabe explained, “now we will have energy stored in different ways; in batteries, but also as has been done traditionally, with fossil fuel. In this way we gain in safety”.


Reef Groundings & Coal Ship Protests in the Greenpeace Spotlight

Posted by admin on May 14, 2010
Posted under Express 108

Reef Groundings & Coal Ship Protests in the Greenpeace Spotlight

Greenpeace says coal ship groundings on the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland could become more frequent if planned expansions of coal terminals go ahead. Meanwhile, charges against Greenpeace over a coal port protest last year have been dropped and a photo exhibition, which is about to do the rounds, documents the occupation of two coal export terminals in Queensland. This can be seen in Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney.

Two items by Melissa Maddison for ABC News (10 May 2010):

Charges against the international environmental organisation Greenpeace over a protest at the north Queensland coal port of Hay Point south of Mackay last year have been dropped.

Greenpeace was facing two charges related to one of its ships being in a navigational area without a pilot and the failure of the ship’s captain to notify the harbour master of its movements.

The charges were withdrawn in the Mackay Magistrates court on Monday morning due to insufficient evidence.

Greenpeace chief executive Linda Selvey says she is relieved.

“There would have been potential implications for both our charitable status and our ability to use ships for our important campaigning work,” she said.

The ship’s captain Vladamir Votiacov pleaded guilty to four maritime charges and was fined $8,000.

Greenpeace says coal ship groundings on the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland could become more frequent if planned expansions of coal terminals go ahead.

Work is underway to double capacity at the Abbot Point terminal near Bowen, in the state’s north, to 100 million tonnes, but could be as high as 230 million tonnes based on demand.

Preliminary planning will start later this month on the next round of expansions at the Dalrymple Bay terminal south of Mackay.

Chief executive Linda Selvey says the grounding of the Shen Neng 1 last month should serve as a warning.

“We’ve seen from the Shen Neng that that can happen, that ships can collide in the Great Barrier Reef, with potential for very dramatic and terrible consequences for the reef and therefore also for Australia’s future,” Ms Selvey said.

Esperanza – taking action” is a Greenpeace Photo Exhibition for Brisbane, Canberra & Sydney

This photo exhibition documents Greenpeace’s occupation of two coal export terminals in Queensland.

Photographer Belinda Pratten, Greenpeace CEO Linda Selvey and some of the activists involved will be on a Q&A panel.

Join us for an inspiring exhibition of photographs taken onboard Greenpeace ship, MV Esperanza.

Peaceful direct action is core to Greenpeace campaigns. But what actually happens as these actions unfold? And how do the activists feel when they’re on the frontline standing up for the environment?

Our photo exhibition, ‘Esperanza – taking action’, documents the occupation of the Hay Point and Abbot Point coal terminals in Queensland. These terminals are used to export polluting coal. While Prime Minister Rudd was leading the 2009 Pacific Island Forum in Cairns, Greenpeace activists called on him to stop expanding Australia’s coal exports and to reduce our emissions.

Political leaders worldwide are failing to provide a safe, renewable energy future. As a result, civil disobedience and peaceful direct actions demanding strong leadership on climate change are on the rise.

Photographer Belinda Pratten and some of the activists involved in Greenpeace’s actions at Hay Point and Abbot Point will join Greenpeace CEO, Linda Selvey, for a Q&A session.

Places are limited so please RSVP. Be sure to include the names of your guests.


Date: Thursday 20 May
Time: 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Speeches commence at 7pm
Location: Bleeding Heart Gallery (Old School of Arts building), 166 Ann Street Brisbane
RSVP: To Manuel Gomez or 02 9263 0333


Date: Launches Friday 11 June
Time: 6pm – 8pm. Speeches commence at 6.30pm
Location: Huw Davies Gallery, PhotoAccess, Manuka Arts Centre, Manuka (Google Map)
RSVP: By Tuesday 7 June to Manuel Gomez or 02 9263 0333
The exhibition is free and open to the public from Saturday 12 June until Sunday 27 June. Opening times: Tuesday-Friday: 10 – 4pm. Saturday-Sunday: 12 – 4pm.


Dates and venue to be advised.

Source: and

New UK Government Gets Aldersgate Advice For First 100 Days

Posted by admin on May 14, 2010
Posted under Express 108

New UK Government Gets Aldersgate Advice For First 100 Days

The new Conservative-Liberal Democratic Coalition Government in the UK has a big job on its hands to manage a struggling economy and handle big issues like climate change. New Minister Chris Huhne, who takes on energy and climate change, would be wise to read the helpful advice from Peter Young’s Aldersgate Group on what needs to be done in the first 100 days of the new Government.

Chris Huhne joined the Liberal Democratic Party after the City of London career and many posts as a financial journalist – including a time as the Guardian’s economics leader writer. After entering parliament in 2005, he went on to sway leftwards and it nearly secured him the job of party leader but most believe that was expediency and now he is in the centre. He was Lib Dem environment spokesman.

Here’s a few identified issues and opportunities: Nuclear power is a major point of disagreement between the parties, with Lib Dems vehemently opposed; green investment bank – all main parties are agreed, but details are sketchy; coalition has adopted the 10:10 campaign’s commitment to cut central government carbon emissions by 10% in 12 months; increase renewables target and “huge increase” in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion.

Here’s the advice from the Aldersgate Group: Priorities for the first 100 days of government
This report sets out a list of key priorities for the new administration’s first 100 days. Although the three leading parties have taken up the policies of a Green Investment Bank and measures to improve resource efficiency (both covered in the previous Aldersgate reports), none of the manifestos reflect the true depth and rapidity of change that the UK economy must undergo.

No-one expects the Government elected in May 2010 to enjoy an easy ride. It will inherit a financial deficit which will dominate policy thinking for years to come.

Yet this deficit was brought about because the banks were acting unsustainably, beyond the

security of their true assets, just as today we consume resources way beyond the sustainable

asset base of our planet. If reducing our financial deficit is a key priority for the new Government,

addressing our environmental deficit should be too. Indeed the urgency is greater as prevention is

always more palatable than cure.

Over the last year the Aldersgate Group has spent the greater part of its effort addressing the

three biggest obstacles we saw to accelerating the pace of transition to a low carbon and resource

efficient economy, namely finance, skills and efficient use of resources. Since writing our three

individual reports last autumn it has been heartening to see a growing policy coherence on these

issues, such as the announcement of the Green Investment Bank, the consultation on Meeting the

Low Carbon Skills Challenge and the serious consideration given to resource efficiency in Defra’s

recent Climate Change Plan. But these are merely the first tentative building blocks placed on the

sound foundations of the Climate Change Act. The storm is brewing and we are nowhere near

putting a roof over our heads.

For that reason we wanted to update and consolidate our recent thinking into a series of

recommendations to help the new Government understand what we need to do to change pace

at this vital time. If you look at any graph on greenhouse gases, carbon or resource management,

one thing is universal: during the next five years, the likely lifespan of this next parliament,

the lines all need to change direction.

We need to stop the past profligacy and start building a future economy which can bring growth, wealth, jobs and exports without living beyond our asset base, or for the UK, our fair share of the planet’s assets. Our demand is to use the first 100 days to set the course irrevocably towards a low carbon and resource efficient future.

One point I want to highlight is that no-one must use the reduced emissions caused by the

recent recession as evidence of less urgency to act. Quite the contrary, this is an opportunity

to accelerate the transition by building new jobs and consumption habits which are sustained

by realistic demands on our climate and resources.

Low carbon investment is still a good proposition even in financially stringent times, because building low carbon power generation, closing the circuits of our resource flows, investing in economy-wide energy efficiency, decarbonising transport, enhancing our green skills and fairly pricing carbon emissions will all help solve the financial deficit, and build up our resilience and competitiveness. We can and must out-pace our competitors in these new markets. The new Government must be swift and committed, and I hope that this report gives some directions for early actions. We need that

green roof in place, so we can enjoy a vibrant, sustainable and inclusive economy.


Peter Young

Chairman, Aldersgate Group

The priorities for the first 100 days of the new Government should be:

1. Get the price right

Prices must reflect environmental realities. The current carbon price is not sufficiently stable, high or credible to stimulate the required investment in low carbon technologies. The first Budget of the new parliament should include a floor price mechanism to underpin the EU ETS carbon price, reduce perverse subsidies for environmentally damaging activities and issue a long-term commitment and timetable for green fiscal reform.

2. Don’t rely on pricing alone

Although important, pricing remains a blunt instrument. We think government should aim both to reduce the UK’s carbon intensity and to help UK business become a world leader in resource efficient products and services. Well designed and effective regulation is necessary for both these objectives. The new Government should publish an immediate national energy efficiency delivery plan and make a clear commitment to mandatory carbon reporting that would help drive competitiveness through greater transparency and comparability.

3. Simplify the regulatory framework

Too often, environmental policy has been an ad hoc response to an isolated challenge. This is rarely effective and often creates unintended consequences elsewhere. The Government should publish a review on how to rationalise the large number of complex environmental regulations (and regulatory bodies) that are creating unnecessary administrative burdens and ensure public spending reductions include rigorous analysis of potential long-term environmental benefits.

4. Mobilise the finance

A more effective approach to pricing and regulation would still leave significant barriers to a rapid economic transition. For example, the achievement of carbon targets for 2020 and beyond presents a major financing challenge for the UK economy, estimated at over £70 million a day. To help bridge this gap, we welcome the cross-party commitment for the creation of a Green Investment Bank but urgent action is now needed. The new Government should set up a shadow institution without delay, rather than waiting on asset sales to make finance available. The level of capital should be increased using revenue from the sale of EU ETS auction permits, and primary legislation passed within a year of the election.

5. Develop the industrial strategy

Alongside an upgraded Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, the UK should develop its strategic planning for technologies post-2020 and initiate a supply chain strategy with specific targets for job creation, manufacturing capability and export growth in targeted industries. It should also enhance its skills strategy to accelerate ambition and delivery. To help meet these new targets, the first Budget of the new parliament should include enhanced capital allowances, tax breaks and National Insurance reductions for green industry. As resource efficiency and related innovation increasingly become primary benchmarks of a successful economy, the UK will need to expand its industrial strategy to address critical resource constraints and ensure long-term competitive advantage.

6. Improve accountability across government

Wide-ranging environmental challenges cannot be effectively addressed through segmented government. Departmental carbon budgets are welcome and should be monitored by the Climate Change Committee. The Treasury should assume a greater leadership role, expanding the scope of its carbon budgets and making the design of environmental regulation a key objective in the management of the economy. A resource productivity drive must also be supported across all government departments.

7.  Incorporate a lifecycle approach                                                                                              Effective management of resources necessitates a consideration of the whole resource cycle. UK waste policy must move away from a linear model and look towards ‘closing the loop’. More progress would be made by expanding the remit and resources of the Sustainable Consumption and Production Unit in Defra. The UK’s £175 billion public procurement budget is a massively underused lever for progression towards a low carbon, resource efficient economy. The new Government should implement an immediate policy of serious and lasting carbon reductions across the government estate that seeks to outperform carbon budgets.

8. Plan a just transition                                                                                                                        The radical decarbonisation of the economy has the potential to be a major source of wealth and employment. It will also involve massive and complex changes that will create losers as well as winners. The role of the Forum for a Just Transition should be expanded, so that it reviews the social impact of carbon budgets and has a formal advisory role to the Green Investment Bank. The Goverment should also initiate a comprehensive street-bystreet domestic energy efficiency scheme to reduce carbon emissions and fuel poverty.