Archive for the ‘Express 123’ Category

Thinking Green Sprouts

Posted by admin on August 27, 2010
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Thinking Green Sprouts

Are decisive elections and Governments a thing of the past? Now Australia is in limbo with a hung parliament, as Britain was a few months ago. But there’s some hope that with the influence of the energised Greens and some Independents, climate change action and a carbon price might well be on the cards. It’s what Grant King of Origin Energy would like to see, while Giles Parkinson and Ellen Sandell give their views on what’s possible. India is advancing with its climate action commitment and Asia gears up with a clean tech showcase. Small business gets a look in with UK climate policy and green jobs are on the way. Social enterprise shows how it’s done for renewable energy, while GE sets out the technology and investment for clean energy distribution. Some US states demonstrate that you can have cap & trade scheme even before the Feds decide to act, while the UN is facing up to improving the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). News of meetings and expos in Asia and Australia for Carbon Trading and Green Buildings, while Earthcheck and Travel Wild get together to showcase sustainable hotels and resorts. Even car service centres are cleaning up their act and the last word goes to greener funerals. To die for! – Ken Hickson

Profile: Grant King

Posted by admin on August 27, 2010
Posted under Express 123

Profile: Grant King

Origin Energy CEO Grant King is naturally disappointed with both the political limbo in Australia and because there’s no definitive commitment for the introduction of a carbon price. A carbon price clearly will cause fuel substitution, from more carbon intensive to less carbon intensive fuels – and that is the one shift that our economies have to make. Canberra might be in gridlock, but that isn’t stopping Origin from snapping up enough renewable energy certificates at bargain prices to last them up to three years.

By Giles Parkinson in Climate Spectator (25 August 2010):

Origin Energy managing director Grant King tells Climate Spectator editor Giles Parkinson that Canberra might be in gridlock, but that isn’t stopping the company from snapping up enough renewable energy certificates at bargain prices to last them up to three years.

But King warns that his company and all companies are likely to take the debatable course of ‘the lowest risk decisions’.

Meanwhile, King is convinced of the immediate potential of gas to provide baseload power in conjunction with renewables, pointing out that geothermal baseload power is still up to four years away.

He also argues that while warnings about electricity consumption in the advent of electric cars have merit, concerns about capacity are probably overblown.

Giles Parkinson (GP): Grant, thanks for joining us. What’s your reading on the current political situation and the implications for your business?

Grant King (GK): Look, without being too sort of evasive, clearly the electoral task is not yet done, and that’s extraordinarily unusual in an Australian context. So, we don’t know who the next government is and, frankly, I’m not going to speculate. I have no idea how it plays out. I only know what I read in the papers. So, clearly the electoral task is not yet done. It is possible that there are different outcomes which could have different implications for important public policy issues like climate change and carbon emissions, at large, and specifically in relation to the company. But to speculate today how they play out is just not possible because, as I say, the electoral task is not yet done.

GP: Sure. But you’ve argued strongly for a carbon price in the past and been fairly consistent about that.

GK: Yes.

GP: Neither mainstream party came to the election with a carbon price proposal. Were you disappointed in that?

GK: By definition we are because it’s impossible to advocate that that’s the most efficient solution and then be sanguine when it’s not implemented. But equally, you know, we do respect that the community elects its politicians and they make our policies. So, from my point of view, you look through the carbon price into the commitment that is bipartisan and that is that both parties took to the election a reaffirmation that they desire to reduce carbon emissions by 5 per cent on 2000 levels by 2020. My inclination is always to look to the area where there is bipartisan support and recognise that the difference between the parties is as to means rather than to end.

GP: Yes, but you’ve said in the past that important investment decisions need to be made now for the investment in Australia’s energy industry, and whether we have or don’t have a carbon price is going to influence what sort of decisions are made and what sort of costs are imposed.

GK: And that’s correct, so hopefully make some sense of that comment… I don’t believe it makes sense to argue nobody will invest in the face of uncertainty. Now, what people do when faced with uncertainty is make those decisions which risk the least amount of capital. In other words, you make the lowest risk decisions you can. And so to the extent that our governments have chosen a particular policy position, we will still see investment, but it will be different investment than that which would otherwise occur under some different policy setting, and the risk that we’ve always pointed to is that under the current policy settings, for example, we will build a system that has a lot more renewables, arguably a lot more wind. We’ll build into that system a lot more intermittency. We’ll put a lot of open cycle gas in to balance that system out. We’ll have much more volatile pricing as a result of that. And with renewables like wind, you know, the wind can blow all night when we don’t need the power for example, so we’ll have long periods of maybe even negative prices which will make subsequent investments in different forms of base load generation much more difficult.

So, there will be a set of consequences that arise from the current policy settings, but at the end of the day people will still invest and we’ll still have our power. You know people will still get electricity for example, but whether it would be the least cost, most effective system that you could have otherwise had is highly debatable.

GP: And with a carbon price, I think you argued that then you can actually go ahead with some of these baseload gas facilities, for instance.

GK: Well, we will, inevitably, because a carbon price clearly will cause fuel substitution and that’s from more carbon intensive to less carbon intensive fuels – and that is the one shift that our economies have to make. At the moment, to the extent that politicians are not doing that through a carbon price, they’ll try and do it through other means like efficiency or mandatory schemes like the renewable scheme. In my view there’s little evidence that people or policymakers can connect the costs that that will cause to incur in the system, compared with the costs that a carbon price might have caused in the system.

For the full interview with Grant King, go to climate spectator.


Grant A King
Managing Director

Grant King was appointed Managing Director of Origin Energy at the time of its demerger from Boral Limited, in February 2000, and was Managing Director of Boral Energy from 1994. Prior to joining Boral, he was General Manager, AGL Gas Companies. Grant is Chairman of Contact Energy Limited (since October 2004), a councillor of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, a former director of Envestra Limited (1997-2007) and former Chairman of the Energy Supply Association of Australia Limited. Grant has a Civil Engineering Degree and a Master of Management.


A Well Hung Parliament for Climate Policy

Posted by admin on August 27, 2010
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A Well Hung Parliament for Climate Policy

It is starting to look like a hung parliament might just be better for climate policy than the majority governments we’ve had in the past, says young environmental of the year and climate observer Ellen Sandell, while the TheGuardian (United Kingdom) observes that the independent MPs might insist on climate change action as a condition of any king-making deal with Labor or the Liberal-led coalition as horse-trading begins in the wake of Saturday’s inconclusive Australian election.

Tom Young for Business Green in The Guardian (24 August 2010):

Independent MPs are meeting to discuss whether action on climate change should be a condition of any king-making deal with Labor or the Liberal-led coalition as horse-trading begins in the wake of Saturday’s inconclusive Australian election.

Rob Oakeshott, Bob Katter and Tony Windsor are aiming to decide what demands should be presented to the two parties in the likely event of a hung parliament. Climate change policy is reportedly a key part of their agenda.

At the latest count Labor was hopeful of holding 73 seats in the 150-seat parliament, while the coalition holds 70, both short of the 76 seats needed in the lower house to form a government.

Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent Andrew Wilkie are not taking part in the meeting, but are also said to be weighing up their options. Bandt is widely expected to align himself with the Labor party, but Wilkie has said that he could support either of the two main parties.

Oakeshott, who has emerged as a key negotiator in the group of three independents, yesterday called for action on climate change to form part of any deal. “That is one example of what we may be able to deliver for this country, which the last parliament couldn’t do,” he told ABC news.

Meanwhile, both parties are also looking to woo those Greens elected to the upper house, known as the senate, to ensure that legislation can be approved without opposition.

As a result, the Greens have some leverage with which to persuade a potential Labor or coalition administration to adopt more ambitious climate change policies, including a strong price on carbon and binding national emission and energy efficiency targets.

Prime minister Julia Gillard has signalled that she would like to introduce some form of carbon price if she forms the next government and is likely to set out ambitious proposals if she is required to call on support for her plans from the Greens.

However, Liberal leader Tony Abbott has consistently opposed any form of emissions trading or carbon tax legislation, instead setting out plans for an AU$2.5bn (US$2.2bn) emissions reduction fund.

Despite the fact that if elected as prime minister he may be forced to do a deal with the Greens in order to pass any legislation, Abbott today warned any continuing Labor government would effectively be a Labor-Green alliance. “I think that would be very bad for regional Australia,” he told the Australian newspaper, adding it would “almost certainly” result in a carbon tax


Ellen Sandell for The Age (25 August 2010):

Independents’ day: a nation waits

Independent MPs expected to hold initial meetings today with Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.

I was asked to write this article as an analysis of what the election results mean for climate policy in this country, depending on who won. The problem is, we still don’t know who won. However, it’s starting to look like a hung parliament might just be better for climate policy than the majority governments we’ve had in the past.

I spent most of Saturday night grappling with the odd situation we find ourselves in: a lower house controlled by three rural MPs and a Greens balance of power in the Senate. But it’s not just the outcome of the election that has implications for climate policy. The entire campaign and the context surrounding it are almost more important.

It’s not an accident that the Australian people have given power in both houses to minority parties and independents. In fact, it could be seen as a backfire on both major parties, who wrongly thought that appealing to minor issues and self-interest would work. Fortunately (or unfortunately for the major parties), Australians have more smarts and more integrity than that.

Both parties miscalculated which issues were most important to the electorate. At the end of the day, quibbles about the number of debates, negativity and small-issue politics simply didn’t resonate. What people wanted to hear about was integrity and vision, as well as larger issues such as gay marriage, climate change and mental health.

Should this come as a surprise? I don’t think so. 2007 was known globally as Australia’s “climate change election”. Most people predicted that in 2010, climate change would no longer be an issue. But with a strong swing to the Greens and no trust placed in either major party, it goes to show that people won’t drop important issues overnight. In fact, global and national issues are more important than ever before.

It’s been widely documented that young people are more interested in issues than ideology (see Don Tapscott’s bookGrowing Up Digital for a discussion on this matter). Young people might have low membership rates of political parties, but they are still engaged in politics, and this election was a perfect demonstration of that. For example, if you voted at Melbourne Town Hall on Saturday, you would have seen young volunteers from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) handing out “climate scorecards” – ranking the three major parties on their climate policies. At this particular booth, AYCC volunteers outnumbered all the political party volunteers combined.

AYCC, GetUp! and other non-partisan groups covered hundreds of voting booths across the country on election day. In failing to address the big issues that people are concerned about, political parties are losing grassroots organisers to organisations who are more focused on issues than blind party allegiance. They’re losing the kind of people that will get up at 5am, hand out how-to-vote cards all day, talk to their friends and family about politics and ultimately change votes. Without these passionate people to do the groundwork for them, political parties are left to rely on paid employees and stage-managed media appearances to get their message across, and as this election showed, that only goes so far.

As for what all this means for climate policy, there could still be a surprisingly good outcome this election.

We know that Rob Oakeshott was one of only two non-Labor MPs (along with Malcolm Turnbull) to vote with the then Rudd government in favour of its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. We know that New England independent MP Tony Windsor has been a strident critic of the coal industry and in 2008 sponsored the “Climate Protection Bill” in the Parliament, calling for 30 per cent cuts by 2020. We know that all three independents support increased clean energy and will be looking beyond pork-barreling or partisanship to make their decision on who to support. We know that the Greens in the Senate want to make climate action their first priority when they take over balance of power next July.

All these factors serve to indicate that climate action might become one of the key negotiating points for Prime Minister Julia Gillard or Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in their dealings with the independents. A price tag on pollution and increased renewable energy investment is not out of the question in the short term. The independents have indicated that they will back the party most likely to uphold stability. With climate change threatening to derail our economy, the party that commits to strong, lasting action on climate change is the most stable and responsible option, and putting a price tag on pollution is widely acknowledged as the most efficient way to achieve that action.

On first glance, it seems like madness that just three people can determine the climate policy of this country, which in turn will have an impact on the climate response globally. But then again, traditional politics in Australia has proven unable to get good climate outcomes so far. Who knows: this unconventional situation, as confusing as it is, just might do a better job.

Ellen Sandell is general manager of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and joint 2009 Young Environmentalist of the Year.


Farming, Forestry & Energy in NZ Style Trading Scheme?

Posted by admin on August 27, 2010
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Farming, Forestry & Energy in NZ Style Trading Scheme?

The very idea of an ETS, in any form, seemed inconceivable a week ago. But one focused on agriculture, and possibly the energy industry, could be a deal-maker, along with the broadband network. The great irony of this would be that agriculture was excluded from the ill-fated CPRS because the leading farming bodies couldn’t get their mind around the matter. So says Giles Parkinson in Climate Spectator.

Giles Parkinson in Cimate Spectator 24 August 2010

Australia may have a New Zealand-style emissions trading scheme – centred around agriculture – quicker than anyone might have expected before the election.

It is just one of the fascinating scenarios being painted by observers and analysts as the trio of country, or “populist agrarian”, independents prepare to begin negotiations with the mainstream political parties.

The very idea of an ETS, in any form, seemed inconceivable last Friday. But one focused on agriculture, and possibly the energy industry, could be a deal-maker, along with the broadband network.

The great irony of this would be that agriculture was excluded from the ill-fated CPRS because the leading farming bodies couldn’t get their mind around the matter.

But what has made a change entirely conceivable is the huge popularity of the recently introduced ETS among the farming community in New Zealand, and a wholesale change of attitude in the US.

This has been accompanied by a growing appreciation in Australia – including among the three independents in question – that a carbon trading scheme could provide enormous opportunities for farmers.

For the past several weeks, New Zealand government ministers and bureaucrats have barely missed an opportunity to trumpet the positive reception to that country’s ETS. The decline in forestry plantings has been dramatically reversed, and farmers are finding new and profitable uses for marginal lands, particularly those that have steep, erosion-prone and largely unproductive land.

Bloomberg reported late last week that New Zealand’s sheep farmers are flocking to a government carbon trading program because some of them are finding that it pays more to plant trees than sell wool and mutton.

“The New Zealand experience shows that bringing in an ETS could be very positive,” says Anthony Hobley, the head of climate change practice at legal firm Norton Rose. Hobley says that, while the US legislation didn’t get up, the idea of an ETS was receiving positive support from the agricultural community because of the way that it was designed.

One of the three country independents, Rob Oakeshott, made it clear yesterday that re-engaging the mainstream parties on the subject of an ETS would be one of his biggest priorities. The other two are likely to be sympathetic if it can be skewed in favour of their rural constituencies.

“The independents, on balance, seem to support action on climate change,” Deutsche Bank analyst Tim Jordan wrote in a report on Monday. He says an ETS could be accelerated, particularly under a minority Labor government.

The irony is that it would only need a small flick of the switch for either mainstream party to support such a measure. Tony Abbott would simply need to re-brand his party’s proposed “abatement market” for soil carbon, and allow it to include forestry, and for the units to be traded, rather than simply bought by the taxpayer.

That shouldn’t be beyond the bounds of a classic conservative agenda that trumpets free markets and small government. He could even use the opportunity to rebrand the “great big new tax” slogan and call it a “great big new asset”.

For Labor, it would simply mean bringing a much abbreviated CPRS back into the sort of timetable that had been envisaged when they were originally elected in 2007, even if it means bypassing the citizen’s assembly.

An agricultural-based scheme would be relatively simple – at least compared to Labor’s CPRS – and simplicity and clarity is key if a carbon price is to successfully introduced.

To make any sense at all, any ETS would need to include at least an energy-based carbon price, as either a tax or a market-based scheme. But that should not be too controversial, because it is now well accepted that the tens of billions of investment so desperately needed in the sector cannot be made without it.

In the energy industry, no one pretends that a carbon price of some sort will not emerge at some point: better for all to deal with it now.

The Greens, however, will be in a position from next July to demand less indulgence towards the heavy emitters than was offered in the CPRS, and might be convinced to allow a staged introduction – with mechanisms to bring in a softer tax-based scheme in other sectors over time – if that was the case. That is the sort of hybrid scheme that was entertained by US Congress before it was all put in the too-hard basket so close to the mid-term elections.

The influence of the country politicians, and their ability to guide the debate towards the substantive issues, rather than rhetoric, could provide a surprising and unique opportunity to develop good policy. That is the attraction of an influential third force.


Asia Invests in Clean Tech & Energy Efficiency

Posted by admin on August 27, 2010
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Asia Invests in Clean Tech & Energy Efficiency

The Indian government has sanctioned US$6.4 billion to finance climate change mitigation plans, including an energy efficiency certificate trading mechanism, where standards will be mandated for over 700 industries. If the industries fail they have to buy certificates to compensate. And with Asia emerging as a leading cleantech investment hub, Clean Technology World Asia in Hong Kong next week (Ipromises to attract attention from business through the region.

By Mridul Chadha for Ecopolitology on (25 August 2010):

The Indian government has sanctioned US$6.4 billion to finance the efforts to mitigate the perspective impacts of climate change on the environmentally sensitive and populous areas of the country.

These funds will be used to achieve the targets and goals mentioned in the National Action Plan for Climate Change released by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change in 2008. The plan of action to mitigate the impacts of climate change have been subdivided into eight broad categories covering the most critical areas.

These areas include energy efficiency, solar energy, sustainable agriculture, water conservation, sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem and building a knowledge base for understanding climate change and its impacts better.

Answering a question in the Parliament, the Environment and Forest minster Mr. Jairam Ramesh said that India would be among the most gravely affected areas in the world because of the changing climate. He said that the government needs to be more responsible and should bear in mind the possible adverse impacts climate change while negotiating for an international climate treaty.

Flow of Funds

The government has announced several initiatives through which this multi-billion dollar fund would be constituted. The government will soon launch the energy efficiency certificate trading mechanism. Under this initiative, energy efficiency standards will be mandated for over 700 industries and if the industries fail to achieve the standards they would have to buy certificates to compensate for the exceedance.

Another initiative, the renewable energy certificate program would also be launched soon. The government has mandated states to buy a minimum amount of electricity generated from renewable energy sources failing which, they would have to buy renewable energy certificates from authorized renewable energy power projects. This would ensure a steady and partially self-sustainable growth of the renewable energy sector.

The Clean Energy Fund is yet another financial resource at the government’s disposal. From July 1, 2010, the government started levying INR 50 ($1.1) on every tonne of coal mined or imported. This year an estimated $650 million is likely to be generated which could increase to over $2 billion by 2015.

These funds would be simultaneously used for funding various clean energy, pollution control and environment management projects. Projects like the National Solar Mission, afforestation projects to increase the carbon offsetting capacities of the Indian forests, projects associated with coastline management to counter rise in sea levels, eco-restoration of sensitive areas in the Himalayan ecosystem, improving the condition of the water resources and switching to energy efficient lighting systems are some of the projects that will benefit from this climate change mitigation fund.

US based Ecopolitology features fresh news and critical analyses of the politics of energy and the environment. Founded by Timothy B. Hurst in 2007 as a creative outlet and informal repository for some of his graduate research ideas, ecopolitology has grown into a much larger project than he ever anticipated. After joining Live Oak Media in September of 2009, ecopolitology opened its doors to regular contributions from several talented writers bringing their diverse passions and perspectives to this little experiment in new media and environmental politics.


Clean Technology Investment World Asia

Venue: Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong August 31, 2010 to September 3, 2010

Connecting Capital with Asian Clean Technology Innovations

Accessing Asian Clean Technology Investment, Licensing Rights, Partnerships and Capital with innovators, investors, governments and industry players

Clean Technology Investment World Asia is Asia’s definite platform where investors, financiers, energy users, governments, clean technology innovators and business leaders convene to identify investment opportunities, raise capital, access licensing rights to new innovative technologies and form strategic partnerships
This event will provide critical insights into how:

  • Institutional investors, venture capitalist, private equity, asset & fund managers, corporate venture capitalist, large scale energy user, angel investors, family office executives and high net worth individuals can tap into the investment potential of innovative clean technologies in Asia
  • Asian Clean technology companies can access capital from regional and global investors
  • Corporate companies can access innovative patents through licensing and other partnership models, invest direct into new start-ups or nurture entrepreneurs to develop innovative clean technologies

Clean Technology Investment World Asia 2010 will accelerate your connection to global capital, Asian innovation and source for potential partners. A priority event for all senior executives looking to tap on Asian Clean Technology Innovation or Capital. 

Our Track Record with Investors, Government & Clean Technology Companies 

Following the success of the Australasian Clean Technology Forum now in its 6th Asia, overwhelming investor demand to tap on the clean technology innovation in Asia has lead to the birth of an encompassing platform in Asia showcasing Asian clean technology innovation – Clean Technology Investment World Asia

Source:, and

Making Economic Sense of Going Green for Small Business

Posted by admin on August 27, 2010
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Making Economic Sense of Going Green for Small Business

A survey in the south west of England indicates that ‘green energy’ jobs could be the key to escaping the current economic downturn. Despite the recession, the number of people employed in the renewable energy sector grew to over 5,000 – a 78% increase. While the UK’s Energy Security and Green Economy bill must include measures to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) cut carbon emissions, according to a report Making Sense of Going Green.

Jessica Shankleman in BusinessGreen (23 August 2010):

The government’s upcoming Energy Security and Green Economy bill must include measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cut carbon emissions, according to a new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The report, titled Making Sense of Going Green, examines how SMEs can better contribute to the government’s low-carbon 2020 targets and recommends a range of measures, including expanding the government’s current green loan scheme for small businesses and offering incentives for firms that improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.

“The potential of the UK’s 4.8 million small businesses to contribute to the fight against climate change and drive green economic growth […] must be harnessed when the government publishes its forthcoming non-domestic Green Deal and Energy bill,” the report states.

The study cites research from the Carbon Trust which shows that if all UK businesses and public sector organisations undertook effective energy efficiency measures, they could save £3.6bn a year while slashing carbon emissions by 29 million tonnes.

Specifically, the report calls on the government to introduce a loan scheme for businesses that would see banks, energy and construction firms pay the upfront costs of major building energy efficiency upgrades; encourage firms in the worst G-rated buildings to invest in obtaining an F-rating; and waive planned increases to business rates for firms that improve building energy efficiency.

The report was released as the Welsh Assembly last week launched a package of measures to help SMEs profit from renewable energy.

Welsh environment minister Jane Davidson pledged to help small and medium-sized renewable energy installation companies access interest-free loans to cover the cost of gaining professional accreditation under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

The move was welcomed by the Renewable Energy Association as a positive step to encourage more firms and households to install microgeneration technologies and take advantage of the new feed-in tariff.

Businesses and households can only access the feed-in tariff if they use renewable energy technologies and installers that have gained MCS certification. However, some firms have complained that the cost of gaining accreditation can be prohibitive for small businesses.

“In this new and rapidly growing market, it is important that customers are protected, as the investments are significant both in terms of cost and brain power,” said REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell. “It is for this reason that there is a need for certification, but it must not be a barrier for installers and manufacturers. This scheme will help alleviate that.


Business News (24 August 2010)

Survey shows 78% increase in ‘green energy’ jobs

A survey  in the south west of England indicates that ‘green energy’ jobs could be the key to leading the Westcountry out of the current economic downturn. The survey of over 200 businesses shows that over the last two years, despite the recession, the number of people employed in the renewable energy sector grew to over 5,000 – a 78 per cent increase.

The survey, commissioned by Regen SW, found that there were now 5,100 people working directly in renewable energy. It also found that the value of the industry to the south west economy (GVA) had risen by 17 per cent from £215 million to £251 million.

“This survey demonstrates the huge opportunity for renewable energy to be at the heart of our future prosperity. The 5,000 plus people already employed should be just the start” said Merlin Hyman, Regen SW’s chief executive.  Merlin added: “We will see massive investment in the next decade in meeting our climate change targets. That investment could go to overseas energy and technology companies – or we could equip local companies to win the business and generate thousands of skilled long-term jobs.”

Merlin added: “Regen SW is working with over 700 businesses, local authorities and many other partners on a huge range of exciting projects from wave power to woodfuel to help businesses create green jobs. The survey shows this work is greatly valued by business. It is vital that we build on this work as the new local enterprise partnerships, which are charged with setting the vision for our local economy in the future, are set up.”

Regen SW identified a total of 731 businesses active in the renewable energy and/or energy efficiency sectors, which together directly support almost 10,000 jobs.  The findings reinforce a study by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills* which demonstrated that the environmental goods and services sector is an important component of the regional economy, and that the south west outperforms other UK regional economies of a similar scale such as Scotland and the West Midlands in terms of the level of activity in the sector.


Wind Drives Community Social Enterprise Investment

Posted by admin on August 27, 2010
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Wind Drives Community Social Enterprise Investment

The prospect of a wind farm often generates a lot of heated debate in a community. But in country Victoria, Australia’s first community-owned wind farm will begin generating heat of a different kind next winter. Simon Holmes à Court, chairman, Hepburn Wind says “we’ve unlocked a whole new class of investor – the community social enterprise investor.” The report on ABC’s Inside Business.

Report on Inside Business, ABC (22 August 2010):Play video (Windows Media broadband)Play video (Windows Media dial-up)

REBECCA NASH, REPORTER: The prospect of a wind farm often generates a lot of heated debate in a community.

Here in country Victoria a different approach was taken, and, as a result, Australia’s first community-owned wind farm will begin generating heat of a different kind next winter.

SIMON HOLMES À COURT, CHAIRMAN, HEPBURN WIND: We’ve unlocked a whole new class of investor. The community social enterprise investor.

We’ve shown that given the opportunity the community is willing to put in very patient capital into building their own renewable energy infrastructure.

The fossil fuel industry is losing its social licence. There’s not a lot of support for building more coal plants.

REBECCA NASH: Five years ago a small group of Daylesford locals resolved to build a wind farm the community could embrace.

SIMON HOLMES À COURT: In the scheme of the wind industry Hepburn is a very small project. We’re building only two turbines.

But what is amazing to everyone in town and what really captures our imagination is that it just takes only those two turbines to generate as much power as our town uses on an annual basis.

REBECCA NASH: A cooperative structure was chosen for the project.

SIMON HOLMES À COURT: The nature of cooperatives, one member one vote not one share one vote was very important in establishing the authenticity of the project that it really was community owned and not a corporate project or a commercial project in the first instance.

Hepburn Wind is a $12.9 million project. We originally expected that we would raise about half in debt finance and then of the remainder about half through the community and half through the institutional investors.

We found very low interest from institutional investors in the project and that’s a lot due to the scale of the project, we’re very small. So we redoubled our efforts in the community and the community, we’re very proud, put together nearly $8 million for the project.

We currently have 1,200 members, the majority of whom are local and the median share holding is about two to three thousand dollars.

REBECCA NASH: Community and investor education is a constant, with tours provided to other wind farms.

SIMON HOLMES À COURT: We’re still out there at least once a month just telling people about the vision for the project, dispelling any fears or myths about wind farms. A lot of people are really not sure about wind farms until they see them, until they stand underneath the turbine.

REBECCA NASH: Now the turbines are on their way, the next step is finding a buyer for their electricity.

SIMON HOLMES À COURT: To the retailers we’re talking to we might represent one,two or three days of their annual demand. So we’re not so interesting from an energy sale but what we do offer is a large group of members who would be prepared to sign on as customers.

There’s obviously value to a retailer in gaining customers, but there’s also value to a lot of retailers in being associated with successful community based renewable energy project.

REBECCA NASH: Hepburn Wind has welcomed new federal legislation which separates domestic and commercial renewable energy certificates.

SIMON HOLMES À COURT: Unfortunately we still have a very significant surplus of renewable energy credits that will take quite a few years to wash through the system.

There are a lot of projects that are ready to go except for financing where financing is keyed off the energy market prices so a lot of projects are waiting for a recovery in the market and won’t get up.

REBECCA NASH: Another hurdle is the differing planning laws in Australia.

SIMON HOLMES À COURT: Around the country the planning frameworks are in flux and there’s quite a lot of uncertainty. A lot of the planning issues have long been solved in Europe, and Australia’s still working their way through it.

REBECCA NASH: Hepburn Wind is setting up a non-profit organisation to help other community energy projects get off the ground.

SIMON HOLMES À COURT: Not a week goes by without another community calling us up and saying how do we start, how do we build our own project and communities need to know how to do it. They need large access to information resources. They also need assistance with capital raising.

REBECCA NASH: For Hepburn Wind members, the last five years have been empowering in more ways than one.

SIMON HOLMES À COURT: There’s a real appreciation that we can get on and take constructive action right now. We don’t have to wait for government, we don’t have to wait for a CPRS. We can take action today on climate change.


Here’s a release from Hepburn Wind in the Friday 13 August 2010:

As the federal election campaign drags on, Hepburn Wind is sparing us the hot air and

“moving forward” with real, “real action” with a big local member drive on Election Day.

Over 1300 people have already joined Hepburn Wind, together sending a strong message

that communities want a clean energy future. Hepburn Wind wants to make sure that as

many as possible have the chance to join this exciting project, an Australian first.

“Hepburn Wind is about taking direct community action to reduce our reliance on dirty coal

for our power. While our politicians make election promises we want as many people as

possible to join us and show that communities are getting on with it” local director Vicki

Horrigan said.

“By joining Hepburn Wind you are not only making an ethical, green investment but you

become part of a community network working for sustainable solutions. Local membership

is just $100 and will return dividends over the next 25 years — that’s not much to ask for a

better future for our children.” Vicki said.

Hepburn Wind will have a special registration and information stall at the Daylesford

Primary School on polling day. Application forms and information about the project will be

available from 10am – 4pm on Saturday 21 August. Locals are invited to bring along $100 for

membership and join up on Election Day.

Construction on the locally-controlled two turbine wind farm is scheduled to begin in

October and is expected to produce more clean energy annually than used by the houses in


Hepburn Wind is building Australia’s first community-owned wind farm. Our two turbines on Leonards Hill, 10km south of Daylesford, Victoria, are expected to be operational in the first half of 2011. Expert analysis predicts that the wind farm will annually generate more power than used by the houses of Daylesford.


Smart Grid & Clean Energy Solutions on Paris Agenda

Posted by admin on August 27, 2010
Posted under Express 123

Smart Grid & Clean Energy Solutions on Paris Agenda

GE technology available today can be employed to create reliable, sustainable and more efficient energy networks. This is the message from GE to a major event in Paris this week which brings together members from over 80 countries to discuss electrical generation and transmission of high voltage networks. The energy industry is facing some significant challenges in order to deliver upon the European Union’s ambitious commitments to fight climate change and promote renewable energy.

Business Wire from Paris (23 August 2010):

Technology available today can be employed to create reliable, sustainable and more efficient energy networks. That will be the message that John McDonald, director, technical strategy & policy development, digital energy for GE Energy Services will deliver to delegates at a GE workshop during this year’s CIGRE event in Paris.

The energy industry is facing some significant challenges over the next 10 years in order to deliver upon the European Union’s ambitious commitments to fight climate change and promote renewable energy up to 2020 and beyond.

Back in December 2008, the European Parliament and Council reached an agreement on the package that will help transform Europe into a low-carbon economy and increase its energy security. By 2020, Europe must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, produce 20% of its energy from renewable sources and increase energy efficiency by 20%, according to the proposals–or “20/20/20″.

“GE is already deploying solutions that are enabling more efficient ways to make, move and use energy while reducing carbon footprints on six continents. GE’s smart grid solutions are changing the ways utilities, governments, businesses and consumers interact with energy,” confirmed McDonald.

Technology innovators, academia and business leaders from the Energy Industry will meet to discuss these challenges at an invite-only event hosted by GE at the Concorde Lafayette Hotel on the 24th of August. The workshop coincides with the CIGRE (International Council on Large Electric Systems) event in Paris from the 23rd to 27th of August 2010 at the Palais des Congres. CIGRE is a permanent international, non-government, not-for-profit association founded in France in 1921.

The event brings together members from over 80 countries to discuss and develop technical knowledge in the field of electrical generation and transmission of high voltage networks. “GE is committed to helping shrink carbon production while increasing the energy capacity and reliability,” McDonald said. ” Many of the solutions we are demonstrating at this event have already been deployed and are making a difference today, helping the industry meet targets for increased renewable energy generation and grid efficiency.”

McDonald is CIGRE’s U.S. National Committee vice president for technical activities and has 36 years of experience in the electric utility transmission and distribution industry. He received his B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. (power engineering) degrees from Purdue University and received Purdue University’s 2009 Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineering (OECE) Award.

As a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Smart Grid Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC), NEMA’s Smart Grid Council and as the chair of the NIST SGIP (Smart Grid Interoperability Panel) Governing Board, McDonald is expected to deliver the latest insights into the challenges and potential solutions for sustainable energy success from across the globe.

Attendees will learn how smart grid upgrades enable a host of benefits, including increased energy productivity, uncompromised energy security, increased use of renewables such as wind and solar, increased energy efficiency, lower carbon emissions and the ability to manage and meet growing demand.

About GE

GE is a diversified infrastructure, finance and media company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, health care solutions and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company’s website at

GE serves the energy sector by developing and deploying technology that helps make efficient use of natural resources. With nearly 85,000 global employees and 2009 revenues of $37 billion, GE Energy is one of the world’s leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies. The businesses that comprise GE Energy–GE Power & Water, GE Energy Services and GE Oil & Gas–work together to provide integrated product and service solutions in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; and other alternative fuels.

In a Reuters report late last year (2009), General Electric Co said it aims to boost its investment in clean-tech research and development to $1.5 billion a year by 2010, the largest U.S. conglomerate said on in its annual “Ecomagination” report.

The maker of products ranging from electricity-producing wind turbines to energy-efficient compact-fluorescent lights, wants to grow green-business revenues to what it called a “stretch” target of $25 billion next year, up from $17 billion in 2008 and $6 billion in 2004.

When GE unveiled the Ecomagination initiative in 2005, it set an initial revenue target of $10 billion by 2010. By last year it had raised the 2010 benchmark to $25 billion.

The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company last year spent $1.4 billion on green research, up from $700 million in 2004.

GE said it expects stimulus spending in the United States, China and elsewhere around the globe to create about $400 billion of new demand for green technologies and clean-energy products, including wind turbines and solar panels.

Source: an

States Go It Alone with Cap & Trade Plus Wind & Solar

Posted by admin on August 27, 2010
Posted under Express 123

States Go It Alone with Cap & Trade plus Wind & Solar

States don’t have to wait for Federal Government to mandate it. A cap-and-trade program already exists in the US. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) involves 10 Northeastern states and a US$2 per ton on carbon emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, a Nobel Prize-winning US scientist says the world could soon enter an era in which renewable wind and solar power will be the globe’s main sources of energy.

UPI News Track Health and Science News (24 August 2010):

Scientist: Wind, solar energy is future

A Nobel Prize-winning U.S. scientist says the world could soon enter an era in which renewable wind and solar power will be the globe’s main sources of energy.

Walter Kohn, who shared the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, told a meeting of the American Chemical Society that total oil and natural gas production, which today provides about 60 percent of global energy consumption, is expected to peak about 10 to 30 years from now, followed by a rapid decline, an ACS release said Tuesday.

But ongoing research and development of alternative energy could lead to a new era in human history in which two renewable sources — solar and wind — will become Earth’s dominant contributors of energy, Kohn said.

Global photovoltaic energy production increased by a factor of about 90, and wind energy by a factor of about 10, during the last 10 years, Kohn said. He expects vigorous growth of these two effectively inexhaustible energies to continue.

Kohn, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, cited students on his campus who spent their own funds to convert an athletic building to total solar power.

“When it comes to providing leadership by young people in the area of energy conservation and energy efficiency and global warming — they are fantastic,” he said. “It is a major social commitment for our times.”


Gina Marie Cheeseman for Care2 (23 August 2010):

US States and Regions Taking Up the Charge to Reduce Carbon Emissions

As prospects for Congress to pass climate legislation this year dim, states are taking up the charge to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Take last week’s hearings in New Mexico to create a cap on GHGs as an example. New Mexico’s Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) held five days of hearing testimony on a proposal by New Energy Economy (NEE). The EIB will hold more hearings to listen to testimony from groups opposed to the NEE proposal.

In 2008, the NEE petitioned the EIB to regulate the state’s GHG emissions. The NEE’s proposed cap on GHGs would be phased in, and first applies to gas and oil industry and energy generation sources that emit over 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, and would be required to reduce emissions by three percent a year from 2010 levels, beginning in 2012.

“I think with the failure of federal action on climate change, it is going to be incumbent on states to lead, and having an opposition witness notice that, that’s pretty important,” NEE executive director John Fogarty said in an interview.

A cap-and-trade program already exists in the U.S. It is called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and 10 Northeastern states participate. The program consists of a $2 per ton on carbon emissions from power plants. Although the cap is small, it will increase. Furthermore, carbon permits are auctioned off by state governments “which has allowed states to raise about $88 million for efficiency and renewable-power programs,” according to The New Republic.  

An analysis by Point Carbon estimated that the RGGI and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a cap-and-trade system for seven Western states and four Canadian provinces that will begin in January 2012, could meet about 41 percent of the Obama administration’s 2020 target of reducing carbon emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels. The two programs expected to bring in about $100 billion until 2020 for public investments in renewable energy.

The WCI will require regional GHG emissions to be reduced by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. It will be completely implemented in 2015, and will cover almost 90 percent of the GHG emissions of its participating states and provinces.

Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that the U.S. “certainly has to introduce carbon prices either by cap-and-trade or carbon tax” to meet the 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 target. Until that happens, expect regions and states to implement their own emissions reduction programs.


Overhaul CDM for Carbon Credibility & Environmental Integrity

Posted by admin on August 27, 2010
Posted under Express 123

Overhaul CDM for Carbon Credibility & Environmental Integrity

The European Union’s top climate official this week called for a major overhaul of the UN’s carbon credit mechanism amid concerns from environmental groups. The Clean Development Mechanism “has been successful in some aspects but has also given rise to criticism with regard to environmental integrity,” European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said. CDMs and carbon trading are a major focus of the Carbon Forum Asia from 27 – 28 October in Singapore.

AFP report in The Age (26 August 2010):

The European Union’s top climate official this week called for a major overhaul of the UN’s carbon credit mechanism amid concerns from environmental groups.

The Clean Development Mechanism “has been successful in some aspects but has also given rise to criticism, for example, with regard to environmental integrity,” European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said.

“As a first step towards a more advanced carbon market the CDM therefore needs a major overhaul,” Hedegaard said in a statement.

The commissioner said she would propose new restrictions on the use of credits from industrial gas projects under the EU’s emission trading scheme after 2012, the end of its current trading period.

Under the CDM, companies in rich countries can claim carbon credits to offset against their own greenhouse-gas emissions if their project qualifies as an initiative that reduces emissions in a poor country.

The credits can then be bought and sold, like any asset.

But environmental groups have asked for a revision of the mechanism, arguing that it lacks balance, has actually led to growth in the potent HFC-23 greenhouse gas and subsidised the chemical industry.

“The international debate has made it quite clear what changes to the CDM are needed … and also what successor mechanisms should be put in place to make the carbon market an even more powerful instrument to reduce emissions,” Hedegaard said.


Carbon Forum Asia Report from Singapore:

As of July 2010, the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) has registered over 2,300 CDM projects globally, an increase of more than 35 percent over a year ago. More than three-quarters of these projects are registered in Asia and the Pacific, spelling once again the abundant opportunities in the region’s carbon trading markets.

With the Kyoto protocol nearing its expiration date in 2012, climate change negotiators are focusing their attention on reaching a definitive agreement for a global fight against climate change. These, and other exciting developments in the emissions trading and global carbon markets will be the centrepiece of the discussions at the fifth edition of CARBON FORUM ASIA, from 27 – 28 October 2010 in Singapore.

Returning with an even more incisive conference program and comprehensive trade fair, CARBON FORUM ASIA 2010 will once again bring together representatives from more than 50 countries in a key gathering prior to the climate change talks in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of this year.

As the Carbon Market continues to grow and the need for a new international treaty becomes more intense, the leading Trade Fair and Conference in Asia is expecting to welcome some 1,000 international participants over the two days.

“Asia has dominated the supply side of the global carbon market over its short but dynamic history,” said Henry Derwent, President and CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). “But key Asian countries are now on the brink of adopting emissions trading; so investors and market players must now gauge Asian demand as well as supply. CARBON FORUM ASIA is the place where the experts set out the trends and the politics that will define what could be the most exciting new market of the 21st century”.

Asia still a key driver in global CDM market

While China and India account for more than 60 percent of 1,780 registered Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in Asia to date, emerging economies like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines are also notable contributors to the world’s CDM market.

With some 150 international companies and organizations such as Enel, Endesa, Vattenfall, Orbeo, Rhodia Energy Services, TÜV Rheinland, DNV, Baker & Mckenzie and Deutsche Bank expected to be represented at the CARBON FORUM ASIA Trade Fair, visitors to the event will gain a unique and comprehensive perspective of the Carbon Market activities across the globe.

Australia, Germany, Japan and Singapore are some of the countries who will be hosting official country pavilions, providing visitors with a more focused view of the carbon market regulations, initiatives and innovations in each country.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will once more continue to gather project owners from developing countries in a special projects pavilion where Carbon Market sellers and traders can easily identify the opportunities available in these economies, while gaining insights into the types of projects dominating the global CDM investment market.

Held just prior to the important round of climate change talks in Mexico, CARBON FORUM ASIA continues to play a key role in shaping Asia’s viewpoints and contributions to the global climate change abatement efforts.

With over 130 speakers from key global and regional private and public organizations, and authoritative players in the emissions trading landscape, such as World Resources Institute, WWF, China Clean Development Mechanism Fund Management Center, Malaysia’s Biomass-SP, National Australia Bank, Chevron, Shell, Asian Development Bank, IETA, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, UNFCCC, World Bank, and Mexico as the COP16 Host, the CARBON FORUM ASIA Conference will define the key issues impacting the outcome at Cancun.

Covering topics spanning the latest developments in markets around the world, how Asia will fit into the global market of the future, the role of CDM at a time of global change, climate and carbon financing, venture capital, forestry and renewable energy, the CARBON FORUM ASIA 2010 Conference aims to provide participants with insights into the decisive and critical topics influencing the global discussion on emissions trading and climate change.

The Asia-Pacific carbon market crossroads

CARBON FORUM ASIA 2010 is expected to attract about 1,000 participants from across the globe, providing the perfect avenue for networking and exploring further opportunities and innovations in the multi-billion dollar Carbon Market.

Jointly organized by IETA and Koelnmesse, CARBON FORUM ASIA 2010 will be held on 27 and 28 October at the Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore.

CARBON FORUM ASIA 2010 is the opening anchor for the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), which features a week-long calendar of energy-related trade fairs, conferences and dialogues, expected to draw more than 10,000 participants.

Last year’s CARBON FORUM ASIA showcased over 60 projects and drew 924 participants from 106 countries.

Source: and