I switched to Powershop recently, I had several satisfactory years of fully renewable energy with AGL. But now I am especially glad about the switch. Apart from Powershop being cheaper and more efficient – it IS dedicated to renewable energy. And alas, looks as if AGL has now gone well and truly over to the dark side. (See the article further down this page.)
ETU branch urges members to back Powershop http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/breaking-news/etu-branch-urges-members-to-back-powershop/story-fnn9c0hb-1227105301934 JOHN CONROY OCTOBER 28, 2014
The Electrical Trades Union – Victorian Branch (ETU) has announced that it will be recommending an electricity offer with new Victorian market entrant and renewable energy backed electricity retailer Powershop to its members.
ETU State Secretary Troy Gray said: “We are urging our 20,000 strong membership in Victoria to switch to Powershop to show their support for the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and Australia’s renewable energy future.”
“For us it was a no brainer. Powershop has been ranked the greenest energy company in Australia by Greenpeace, they are backed by 100 percent renewable energy generator Meridian, they are the only energy company to put up a fight to defend the Renewable Energy Target and the jobs and investment it creates and they are 100 percent carbon neutral too.”
“Our research indicated that companies, like Powershop, who support the RET, are 20-30 per cent cheaper than those who oppose it. The Warburton Review of the RET failed to make the case that the RET drives up power prices and with Powershop we know that our members can back renewable energy and the RET and save money.
“Importantly, by encouraging our members to switch to Powershop, we can also help break the cycle of the big three energy companies (AGL, Origin and Energy Australia) ripping off our members with rapacious deals and self serving energy policies.”
“For too long, our members, and other consumers across Victoria, have been in the grip of an oligopoly that has kept them at arms length from their own energy usage data. The emergence of Powershop, enabled by the RET, has brought unprecedented levels of innovation and choice to a broken market.”
Powershop is backed by Australasia’s largest renewable energy company, NZ-based Meridian Energy. It launched on the Victorian market in February 2014 and has recruited over 20,000 customers to date. Powershop says it is a modern power company that’s designed from the ground up with the sole purpose of empowering consumers and saving them money.
The company has been working to make the case that renewable energy reduces the cost of electricity for consumers. When Renew Economy reviewed submissions to the RET review from energy companies in June 2014, Powershop was found to be “the only retailer to call unequivocally for the current (renewable energy) target to be retained.”
The ETU will not be receiving a payment from Powershop related to this offer to its members. ETU members switching to Powershop through this offer will each receive a sign up credit payment.
Residents to declare Dartmoor and Drumborg in Victoria ‘gas field free’ http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/residents-to-declare-dartmoor-and-drumborg-in-victoria-gas-field-free/story-fnkfnspy-1227093367623 CIMARA DOUTRÉ WEEKLY TIMES NOW OCTOBER 17, 2014
TWO Western Victorian communities will today declare themselves ‘gas field free’.
A number of minor and micro party politicians will attend the events at Dartmoor and Drumborg.
It takes the number of Victorian communities to have declared themselves as gas field free to 31.
Dartmoor farmer Michael Greenham said the response to invitations was heartening.
“Unfortunately several of the major party representatives for Lowan, South Coast and Western Victoria are not able to attend, but some minor party and independent candidates will be there,” Mr Greenham said.
“In talking with them, everyone is on the same side of the see-saw on this issue of shale gas fracking — it’s just a matter of how far along the seat they sit.
“Our communities just want to make sure prospective parliamentarians keep moving down our ‘total ban’ end, to ensuring there is no budging when the heavyweights of the unconventional gas mining companies start jumping up and down on the other end. “
The Victorian Government has a moratorium on all onshore gas exploration and fracking in place until July next year.
This week, Energy Minister Russell Northe unveiled a new website to allow landholders to search for mining licenses that cover their property.
Victorian Labor pledges to fund renewable energy and to ensure a Renewable Energy Target for Victoria
Vic Labor to fund ‘new energy’ technologies http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/breaking-news/vic-labor-to-fund-new-energy-technologies/story-fnn9c0hb-1227082408352?nk=6c424c7410ec34b2f61e3ed41d392e3a JOHN CONROY
OCTOBER 07, 2014 The Victorian Labor opposition has identified renewable energy as a key growth sector in a new jobs plan.
Labor’s Back to Work policy released yesterday commits the party to “Establish a $200 million Future Industries Fund to drive the six high-growth sectors.” This fund will support “new energy technologies.”
The party also announced a $200 million Regional Jobs Fund that will support job-creating projects, including “companies investing in renewable energy.”
Friends of the Earth welcome the focus on renewable energy in the lead up to a state election on November 29.
“Renewable energy is a high-growth, job-creating sector globally. Victoria’s economy can benefit from the shift to renewables, but only with political leadership,” said Friends of the Earth renewable energy spokesperson, Leigh Ewbank.
The Back to Work policy announcement comes a week after Labor candidate for the hotly contested seat of Ripon, Daniel McGlone, supported a Victorian Renewable Energy Target. Mr McGlone told The Maryborough Advertiser:
“Daniel Andrews has made a commitment that should the RET be scrapped at a federal level Labor will revist the VRET and re-instate it,” he said. “I’m obviously going to be deeply in favour of that.”
Yes 2 Renewables say credible energy policy must include a state target for renewable energy, saying the renewable energy sector was languishing due to uncertainty around the federal government’s RET.
Spanish renewable energy firm sets up Melbourne-based subsidiary, THE FIFTH ESTATE 23 September 2014 Spain’s Elecnor Group has ignored the current political climate in Australia’s renewable energy sector and launched an infrastructure subsidiary based in Melbourne. ……..
Elecnor Australia’s first project is the $164 million solar photovoltaic farm in Moree, New South Wales for the Moree Solar Farm Company Pty Ltd, part of Fotowatio Renewables Venture. The joint venture originally included Pacific Hydro, which announced in August it was withdrawing from the project due to the policy-driven uncertainties impacting the renewable energy industry.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has contributed $101.7 million towards construction and operation of the project, and $47 million has been provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Covering 191 hectares, the farm will comprise 232,960 panels with a forecast annual output of 150 gigawatt-hours direct into the main energy grid, enough to power about 15,000 homes. It is expected to be complete and commissioned by the second quarter of 2015.
In a media statement, Elecnor said Australia will be a base for it to expand operations in the Asia-Pacific region, focusing on developing business infrastructure and renewable energies………
The Moree project has already created a number of positions to be based at the town, with the firm earlier this month advertising for an assistant project manager (engineer), a construction manager, six technical engineers as sub-contract supervisors, mechanical and electrical engineers, a civil engineer, two draftpersons, accounts and administration, purchasing and logistics.http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/business/investment-deals/spanish-renewable-energy-firm-sets-up-melbourne-based-subsidiary/67877
VCAT approves Berrimal Wind Farm changes http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-15/vcat-approves-berrimal-wind-farm-changes/5743290 15 Sep 2014,
Victoria’s planning tribunal has given the green light to changes to a renewable energy company’s plans for a 24-turbine wind farm in the Buloke Shire.
Acciona’s Berrimal Wind Farm had the support of the Buloke Shire but needed approval from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to make the amendments to its original planning permit.
The project is located between Wedderburn and St Arnaud and is expected to generate 72 megawatts of electricity.
Buloke Shire’s chief executive officer, John Hicks, says the $150 million project will benefit the municipality in a number of ways.
“That will provide six ongoing jobs for maintenance and looking after the turbines, plus the economic development that’s available to other people in the shire because of the added business,” he said.
“There’s also the benefits of rates coming into the shire which relieves the burden on other ratepayers.”
However, Acciona says all its projects, including the Berrimal Wind Farm, are on hold because of the uncertainty caused by the Federal Government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target.
Napthine government accused of attacking renewable energy incentives August 31, 2014 Josh Gordon State political editor for The Age. The Napthine government has been accused of systematically destroying renewable energy as green groups prepare for a ground offensive targeting key electorates ahead of the November 29 election.
A report by Environment Victoria claims the government has made 25 attacks on clean energy, including “extreme” restrictions on wind farms, removing the 20 per cent emissions reduction target from the Climate Change Act, cutting and restricting the solar feed-in tariff, scrapping a commitment to replace street lights with energy efficient light bulbs, cancelling the solar hot water rebate and opposing the carbon tax.
Since the November 2010 election, the environment has remained on the periphery of state politics. In the latest Age/Nielsen poll, it ranked sixth on a list of nine key issues for voters, behind health, education, jobs, financial management and public transport.
But with the Abbott government considering breaking an election pledge by scaling down Australia’s renewable energy target, the state government is believed to be examining various options for an environment policy to counter voter concerns.
attacks were announced to the public before the 2010 election, and it is difficult to see how they have benefited the people of Victoria.”
The antagonistic claims follow a submission to the federal review of Australia’s renewable energy target by the Napthine Government. It argues the renewable energy target – ensuring that at least 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity is derived from clean sources – should be scaled back and suggests gas-fired power and power generated using waste wood from native forest logging should be counted……..
Mr Wakeham said renewable energy had increased its share in spite of state government policy, largely because of the federal renewable energy target, something which the state government’s colleagues in Canberra want to destroy.
Environment Victoria is preparing to target key marginal electorates – including some of the crucial “sandbelt” seats on the eastern side of Port Philip Bay – using hundreds of trained volunteers.
Environment Victoria chief executive Mark Wakeham accused the government of running an agenda to destroy clean energy because it was “joined at the hip” with coal companies, risking billions of dollars of investment.
“Most of Victoria’s policy agenda for a cleaner and more efficient energy mix has been deliberately dismantled over the past four years,” Mr Wakeham said. “
Sandi Keane: Citizens unite against Alcoa’s dirty brown coal mine and pitiful power plant
The Victorian Napthine Government’s dismal record on stewardship of the environment is only equalled by its blatant disregard for the health and welfare of some of its citizens — especially the most vulnerable, our children. In May this year, with its smelter operation due to close this month, Alcoa was issued a fresh licence to generate and sell its electricity into the grid. This filthy, sulphur-belching brown coal plant at Angelsea on Victoria’s iconic Great Ocean Road – now up for sale – operates just over one kilometre from a primary school and 500 metres from residents’ homes.
This is the Government that demanded two kilometre setbacks for clean energy wind farms. In spite of the 2011 Senate finding and twenty reviews since proving no link between wind turbines and illness, the Government’s complicity in fostering these debunked claims saw an estimated $3 billion in wind investment go into free-fall.
So much for Victoria’s slice of the future low carbon economy. That’s the price Victorians and future generations will pay for the lax donor laws in this country that allow vested interests, like mining and developers, to launder millions into Liberal party campaign coffers through so-called trusts (as recently revealed by ICAC in New South Wales) and, thus, dictate policy outcomes. …
Denis Napthine once damned the Labor Government as “hypocritical when it comes to climate change” but has watered down the bilateral agreement with the former Labor Government of a 20 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 to just “aspirational” only. As the saying goes: ‘If you take the King’s shilling, you do the King’s bidding.’
Like the RET, the Racial Discrimination Act was created with bipartisan support, was popular and had operated successfully for over 10 years.
Anger at the ideological changes to the RDA bubbled up from the local level, such as in the multicultural Sydney electorate of Reid where Liberal MP Craig Laundy championed his constituents’ concerns. He argued strongly and publicly that his own government was on the wrong track and that the changes to were wrong.
Laundy’s stand was vindicated when the changes were ultimately overwhelmed by the tide of public protest they provoked. A similar passion, but this time over renewable energy, was felt last week by Dan Tehan, Liberal MP for Wannon in south-western Victoria . Continue reading
Sydney and Melbourne going green despite uncertainty over future of Renewable Energy Target
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-26/sydney-and-melbourne-going-green-despite-ret-uncertainty/5625976 By Lisa Tucker Australia’s biggest cities are setting ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions despite signs the Federal Government will wind back the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
The review into the country’s RET is expected to make its recommendations next week.
But when it comes to going green, Melbourne and Sydney are on the same page and are determined to make it happen, whatever direction Canberra takes.
The cities are rolling out solar panels, installing LED light systems and designing energy efficient buildings.
Sydney plans to reduce its emissions by 70 per cent by 2030 while Melbourne aims to have zero net emissions in just five-and-a-half years.
City of Melbourne Councillor, Arron Wood, says environmental action is at the forefront of everything the council is doing.
“We’re certainly making big inroads, but to reach that goal by 2020, there’s some pretty big numbers,” he said.
“[But] I am absolutely vehemently opposed to any relaxing of the renewable energy target. It’s done wonderful things in terms of renewable energy investment.
“Interestingly enough we talk about the cost that renewable energy targets add to people’s bills, but when you look at the wholesale cost, it’s one of the only measures which is actually putting pressure on wholesale electricity prices.”
Renewable energy key factor in reducing emissions.
Sydney’s goal is to produce 70 per cent of its electricity needs from tri-generation, a more environmentally friendly, low-carbon production method with solar and wind power making up the rest.
Melbourne is aiming for a renewable energy contribution of 50 per cent.
“Really, you do have to have a large proportion of your energy mix coming from renewable to have a hope of reaching that target,” Cr Wood said.
“Even the Urban Forest Strategy, which is about cooling our city: we’ve got a target of doubling the canopy cover in the city by 2040.
“That’s really about decreasing ambient temperatures and meeting the urban heat effect. But what it does is, it also makes the city look good.”
Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore says any change to the target will make Sydney’s goal more difficult to achieve.
“It’s much better if the national Government is also committed to taking action on climate change,” Ms Moore said.
“We already know with the winding back of the carbon pricing that it’s making it harder to achieve our tri-generation precincts in Sydney. So that would have an effect.”
Ms Moore says the steps being taken have the community’s full support.
“We are the most urbanised country in the world and we know that our cities are where 70 per cent of emissions occur,” she said.
“I think it’s really incumbent upon city leaders to commit to taking this action and follow through on it.”
Wind companies question planning office response ENERGY companies will be allowed to make minor changes to wind farm planning permits from next month. Weekly Times 22 July 14, The move — which will pave the way for up to 964 turbines to be built across the state creating up to 2376 megawatts of wind energy — has been labelled a “change of heart” by Greens leader Greg Barber.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy said “we’re making a small adjustment to the planning scheme to allow existing wind farm planning permits to be amended, which may assist with upgrading turbine technology”……….http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/politics/wind-companies-question-planning-office-response/story-fnkerdda-1226997709510
Energy builds for Yackandandah renewables target http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2014/06/27/4034789.htm By Nick Fogarty
Members of TRY heard about Wildspoldsried – which produces three-times its total energy needs from renewables – at a community energy congress in Canberra last week. TRY spokesperson, Matthew Grogan, said their hope is that Yackandandah will be producing 100 percent of its own energy needs from renewables by the year 2022.
“We’ve got incredible fossil fuel resources … it’s tried and true technology and there’s a lot of it there,” Mr Grogan said. “But we know the damage that it causes and it’s at crisis point, the damage that that’s causing. “In addition to that brown coal we’ve also got one of the world’s best profiles of solar energy.”
TRY is encouraged by the fact that north-east Victoria receives more solar radiation than Germany, the world’s largest producer of solar energy. The switch to renewables has also brought financial benefits for Wildspoldsried, Mr Grogan said, from “energy tourism” and the sale of excess power back into the grid.
Wildspoldsried made the switch with stunning speed, having aimed for a target of 100 percent renewables within 10 years, but achieved the goal in five years. It’s early days for the Yackandandah group, but a community-owned petrol station and an already-high uptake of solar among residents shows a willingness to look for alternatives.
Yackandandah is not alone in its vision, with around 50 other Australian communities attending last week’s congress.
Mr Grogan said TRY had already approached local supermarkets (the area’s largest energy users) and funding bodies to sell their vision. “We know the technology is out there, we know solar panels are coming down and batteries are coming down as well in price,” Mr Grogan said. “It’s a really exciting phase to be honest, we’re just approaching it with a lot of creativity and taking any opportunities as they arise.”
City of Melbourne aims to become carbon neutral leader June 12, 2014 SMH, Tom Arup and Aisha Dow As the conversation turns to the death of Melbourne’s trees the city’s influential head planner, Professor Rob Adams, chokes up. He takes a moment, then continues. “The evidence is so obvious,” he declares, “You don’t have to go to the scientists, you just have to look at the trees in Melbourne.”
Adams is talking about climate change. And despite its wealth and culture Melbourne’s city heart is not immune to its impacts. Nor is its contribution to the problem insignificant.
In response Melbourne City Council has set perhaps the most ambitious climate change goal in Australia – to produce zero net emissions from the CBD and surrounding suburbs under its oversight by 2020.
Needless to say it is a level of ambition not matched by state and federal governments.
In fact Adams – credited with revitalising the CBD over recent decades – is upset about what he describes as the federal government’s retreat on the issue.
“Why don’t I get depressed, when I look at my little grand daughter who is eight months old?” he says.
“I think they are going to be shamed into action, I think it is going to be so embarrassing to be in the space they are in, with the assets and the ability they have got, they’ll have to move out of that space and back into the real world.”
“And I feel that strongly. We see it. The reason we have an urban forest strategy is I watched our trees dying. And, and …”
Without intervention 27 per cent of Melbourne city trees are expected to be lost in 10 years due to heat, disease and old age. But they are not the only element of city life threatened by a warming planet.
Council research on the impact of January’s record-breaking heatwave – which scientists project will occur more frequently as climate change worsens – found city retailers lost $37 million over four days as shoppers stayed out of the 40-plus degree heat. Last year flood modelling, based on end of century sea-level rise of 0.8 metres, found average annual inundation bills in Southbank could alone rise from $3 million in 2011 to $20 million by 2100 if prevention is not taken.
With high stakes and high ambition city council this year updated its plan for the zero emissions goal. It is a document of many concrete measures, plenty of promises and the occasional motherhood statement. An implementation plan is due later this year.
Chair of Melbourne’s environment portfolio, Cr Arron Wood, says one option to meet the target would see Melbourne switch to 50 per cent renewable energy. Most of that power would be fed into the city from large solar and wind farms located in regional Victoria, he says.
About 1500 megawatts of renewable energy would have to be generated, enough for 480,000 average homes. To do this it would take 15 massive solar plants of the type currently being built on 250 hectares of farming land near Nyngan in regional NSW.
It is Cr Wood’s goal to eventually have some of the city’s biggest energy users – hospitals, universities and sporting precincts – directly powered by renewable energy farms located far beyond the city edge. A much smaller amount of energy, enough to power 10,000 houses, could be generated from solar panels on warehouses and commercial buildings inside the municipality of Melbourne………. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/city-of-melbourne-aims-to-become-carbon-neutral-leader-20140613-zs5xy.html
Renewable Energy Target review sparks fears for wind farm http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-11/renewable-energy-target-review-sparks-fears-for/5514354 11 Jun 2014, Investors in Australia’s first community-owned wind farm near Daylesford say the venture could fail, if changes are made to the Renewable Energy Target. The Federal Government has ordered a review into the pledge of producing 20 per cent of power from renewable sources by 2020. People involved in the Hepburn Wind project met members of the review panel in Daylesford yesterday. Hepburn Wind’s founding chairman, Simon Holmes Court, says scrapping the target would cost locals thousands of dollars. “I can’t sugar-coat it – the project will not be able to continue in its current form,” he said. Hepburn has operated turbines since 2011. Director David Perry says the cost would not just be financial. “Perhaps the most painful thing would be to have all that time and passion over the years lost,” he said. The panel toured the wind farm and congratulated Hepburn Wind on its work.
Napthine government wants gas included in renewable energy target June 3, 201 Tom Arup Environment editor, The Age Australia’s renewable energy target would include gas-fired power – derived from fossil fuels – under a controversial proposal by the Victorian government.
The state also suggests the target should also be scaled back to reflect falling demand for power……….
Greens Leader Greg Barber said including gas in the target would be “a huge hit to the earth …….”If Premier Denis Napthine has convinced himself that gas is a renewable energy source, then he is confused,” he said. “Adding gas to the renewable energy target means it is no longer about renewable energy.”
The Victorian opposition said the government should be fighting to maintain the target in current form.
Labor energy spokeswoman Lily D’Ambrosio said: “As it stands, the [target] provides investment in new industries and will create thousands of jobs for Victorians. We wholeheartedly support that – Denis Napthine should too.”……..
The Victorian submission puts it at odds with renewable energy firms and NSW, which supports the target as it stands but wants the timeframe to achieve it pushed out…….
Environment Victoria campaigner Nick Aberle said keeping the target would allow Victoria to tap into billions of dollars of clean energy investment, creating skilled jobs in regional areas. “There is also good evidence that keeping the target will ultimately lead to lower electricity prices for consumers,” Dr Aberle said.
In a separate submission, the City of Melbourne strongly backs the retention of the target as it stands. It says the policy is pushing down wholesale electricity prices, benefiting consumers including manufacturers in the city.
The Melbourne City Council submission also says the advent of renewable energy technology, such as rooftop solar panels, has strengthened the resilience of the energy grid and both put curbs on demand and lowered prices during extreme heatwaves.http://www.theage.com.au/environment/energy-smart/napthine-government-wants-gas-included-in-renewable-energy-target-20140603-39gs0.html
Wind future up in the air with renewable energy target uncertainty http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/2301438/wind-future-up-in-the-air-with-renewable-energy-target-uncertainty/?cs=12 By KARA IRVING May 22, 2014, THE developer of the Ararat Wind Farm project believes the federal government’s renewable energy target (RET) review has caused uncertainty among green energy developers, investors and retailers. RES Australia is behind the $450 million Ararat Wind Farm to be built on the Pyrenees Highway about 17 kilometres from Ararat. Head of development Annette Deveson said the ongoing RET review had stirred uncertainty in the green energy sector.
“We are working very hard to get the Ararat Wind Farm ready for construction,” Ms Deveson said. “But the government is causing uncertainty in the industry and for us.” The federal government is currently reviewing the RET to examine the operation, costs and benefits of the scheme.
The RET was developed to ensure 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020.
Although a decision had yet to be made about the renewable energy targets, Ms Deveson said the review had caused difficulties for prospective green energy developers. “They are not out there in the market looking for new projects,” she said. “As a business you are uncertain of your future market.”
Ms Deveson said the potential change impacted on investor confidence. Ararat Rural City Council last Friday made a submission to the RET review to pledge the importance of the project.
Mayor Paul Hooper said it was likely the wind farm would not be built because of the review. “The project will create 13 full time jobs after the construction has finished,” he said. “About $75,000 will be put back into community grants.”Mr Harper said the Ararat community would miss out if the project were to cease.“We will not see those benefits come to town, nor the long term employment opportunities,” he said.
“The community misses out.” firstname.lastname@example.org