Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

General Electric a “massive investor” in renewable energy worried about changes to Renewable Energy Target

General Electric boss calls for certainty over renewable energy target, SMH, October 23, 2014 Anne Hyland Jeff Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, one of the world’s largest investors in clean energy, has demanded the federal government provide certainty around its renewable energy target.

Mr Immelt in an interview with The Australian Financial Review said a “certainty of rules” was crucial for investment.

“These debates are all natural that are taking place in Australia and people can understand those,” he said. “But it’s important to know what the rules will be so people can invest around it.”

He said the sooner the uncertainty was resolved around the RET, the “better for everybody”………

General Electric has about $US10 billion ($12.6 billion) in cumulative investments in renewable energy assets globally, which are predominantly in wind and solar.

On its Australian website, GE had noted Australia was leading the world in its renewable energy policy and, as a result, wind energy in Australia was projected to the most commercially viable form of renewable energy over the next five to 10 years.

However, this could change under the government’s plans to alter the RET.

Mr Immelt said GE “began to invest massively” in clean energy after 2004 when it concluded that climate change was real…..

.The federal government’s proposal to almost halve the amount of renewable energy legislated to be to be produced by 2020 has been rejected by the Labor Party after it dismissed it as “completely unacceptable”…..http://www.smh.com.au/business/general-electric-boss-calls-for-certainty-over-renewable-energy-target-20141023-11aoc3.html

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Queensland’s solar industry, jobs, on North Coast threatened by changes to Renewable Energy Target

map-solar-QueenslandNorth Coast solar industry worried by changes to Renewable Energy Target ABC News 23 Oct 2014, The North Coast solar industry says it will be impacted by changes to the Federal Government’s changes to the renewable energy target (RET).

The target is currently set at 41,000 kilowatts of renewable energy by 2020, but the Government wants to reduce that to 26,000 to reflect falling demand for power.

The changes would only impact large-scale RET projects directly, with the small-scale scheme excluded………

Geoff Tosio from Bellingen Solar Depot said the even with the small-scale target excluded, his business will still suffer if the target is lowered.

“In regards to the renewable energy target being chopped down to a “real” 20 percent, if that’s going to happen, then how is that going to happen?” he asked.

“To say that’s not going to affect household solar is quite disingenuous.”

Mr Tosio said a particular concern is that large-scale contracts will be impacted.

“We would see a dramatic reduction in the medium size, commercial size, systems that we sell,” he said.

“So while I think it’s better than the previous position, we’ll probably still see a quarter of the industry go very, very quiet.

“And that will definitely have an impact on employment.”http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-24/north-coast-solar-industry-worried-by-changes-to-renewable-ener/5839124

October 25, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Hydro Tasmania soon to release its King Island wind energy feasibility study

wind-energy-globeKing Island’s wind farm fate closes in http://www.themercury.com.au/king-islands-wind-farm-fate-closes-in/story-fnj3twbb-1227095516599 HELEN KEMPTON MERCURY OCTOBER 20, 2014

THE King Island community should know by early next year if their remote Bass Strait home will also become home to the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere.

Hydro Tasmania has almost completed a feasibility study into its $2 billion, 200-turbine proposal and is expected to announce early next year if the project will go ahead.

The decision also hinges on the Federal Government not scrapping the Renewable Energy Target. Hydro Tasmania is one of 16 major renewable energy companies who have argued for the retention of the present RET.

The TasWind project is forecast to pump more than $7 million a year into the island economy and provide an estimated $220 million annual revenue boost to the state’s coffers.

Debate over the pros and cons of the proposal has divided the small community and Hydro Tasmania started its feasibility study after 58 per cent of residents indicated they wanted to move on to the assessment stage.

October 21, 2014 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

South Australia’s leading renewable energy system

Parkinson-Report-Graph of the Day: Australia’s renewable energy generation, REneweconomy, By  on 20 October 2014 “…………As RenewEconomy has noted on many occasions, South Australia has the highest level of variable renewable energy in Australia – quite possibly the world (in major economies), with an average 43 per cent wind generation in July, and days in September when wind and solar provided all of the state’s electricity demand, and more.

The AEMO study says that the SA power system can operate securely and reliably with a high percentage of wind and PV generation, including in situations where wind generation comprises more than 100 per cent of SA demand, as long as one of the following two key factors apply:

a) The Heywood Interconnector linking SA and Victoria is operational.

b)  Sufficient synchronous generation is connected and operating on the SA power system.

The AEMO study notes that South Australia already has the highest wind and PV generator penetration of any NEM region. As the graph shows, it has 1,470 MW of installed wind generation and 540 MW of PV generation. This represents about 50 per cent and 17 per cent of total installed wind and PV capacity in the NEM respectively.

In terms of residential rooftop PV installations, SA leads the NEM with a penetration rate of almost one in four of all rooftops. And the rate of penetration is likely to grow: the AEMO says that under favourable market and policy scenarios, it is projected that at least 1,000 MW of wind and 500 MW of PV capacity will be added in SA by 2020 – doubling the amount of rooftop solar, and lifting the amount of wind by two-thirds.

The AEMO notes that these developments are a “benefit” to both SA and the NEM. But it also underlines the importance of a strong interconnector with the rest of the NEM – for obvious reasons. Without it, the state would have issues with the required controls to ensure system security. (The report does not address this issue, but Germany is rolling out battery technologies that assume the role of “synchronous” generators and could usurp the primacy of fossil fuel generation. AEMO says the chance of a disconnection is so low is it rated as a “non-credible” event – but just in case ….http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/graph-of-the-day-australias-renewable-energy-generation-88841

October 21, 2014 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding online grid maps to boost renewables

logo-ARENAGrid maps to ‘boost renewables': ARENA https://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2014/10/17/renewable-energy/grid-maps-boost-renewables-arena  JOHN CONROY    ARENA yesterday announced $425,000 funding to create online maps of electricity network constraints to help better inform network investments and increase the use of renewable energy.   (EDIS on renewable energy’s crucial new tool, October 17)

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) would develop annually updated maps and make them freely available online.

“Currently there is a lack of clear, accessible and timely network information across the National Electricity Market,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“A consistent, standardised approach will be developed with Australia’s poles and wires businesses to make data more accessible and easier to understand and use.

“The maps will help renewable energy and demand management project developers to anticipate network constraints, reduce the need for new grid infrastructure and lower electricity bills. “The new maps may also enable faster development of renewable energy by showing where renewables and demand management can be more cost effective than network upgrades.” ISF Research Director Chris Dunstan said the energy sector is changing quickly and new tools are needed to manage this transition.

“The rapid rise of rooftop solar, local generation, energy efficient equipment and battery storage means managing networks is becoming both more challenging and more collaborative,” Mr Dunstan said.

“The three year project will provide a key resource for developing this collaboration between networks, customer and renewable energy providers.

“It has the potential to lower electricity costs, improve energy services and develop new markets for networks and renewable energy.”

Energy manager of demand management at state-owned Queensland network company, Glenn Dahlenburg, said the network is providing full support to the project to complement its existing efforts to engage broad market participation for developing alternatives to network upgrades.

“Ergon Energy sees these maps as a valuable tool to provide customers and stakeholders with information on the location and value of network improvement opportunities,” Mr Dahlenburg said.

The project has strong support from the network industry through partnerships with Ergon Energy, ElectraNet and TransGrid. Other project partners include ARENA, ISF, NSW Department of Trade and Investment

October 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Biofuels conference October 31 – impportance of biofuels for Australia

Biofuels: the forgotten element in Australia’s renewable energy sector, Transport & Logistics News,  October 16, 2014 On 31 October, the Biofuels Association of Australia will hold its annual conference ‘A New Energy for Biofuels’, which will serve as a timely platform for discussion regarding the fragile state of Australia’s developing biofuels industry.

With the future of the biofuels industry under threat as a result of the Australian Government’s about face on the excise tax on biofuels and the dumping of unsustainably-sourced Australian government subsidised foreign biofuels, this conference is set against the backdrop of ever-increasing costs of energy and fuel in Australia.

Australia is the world’s leading per capita contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with emissions from electricity production currently on the rise for the first time after six years of consistent reductions. The necessity of adopting policies mandating the development and implementation of renewable energy schemes was discussed at the recent UN Climate Summit in New York.

“While countries across the globe have embraced biofuels, Australia is reducing support for our own fledgling biofuels industry, backing away from an energy option which not only guarantees significant economic, environmental and public health benefits but which limits our dependence on foreign imported fuels and creates employment in rural areas,” said Gavin Hughes, CEO of the Biofuels Association of Australia.

In 2001 the then Howard coalition government laid down a world leading vision for growing the renewable sector, putting in place a target for Australian biofuel consumption and setting a Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (now RET) for clean power generation. Both the RET and the Biofuels target were designed to diversify Australia’s energy production mix to include greater investment in clean energy sources. Recommendations such as those contained in the RET review- if implemented – and the changes to biofuels excise support – will have a devastating effect on existing investments in Australia’s renewable energy sector, including the loss of thousands of jobs in the solar, wind and biofuels industries.

Today, a staggering 90% of Australia’s liquid fuel requirement is imported- a dramatic leap from 60% in 2000- and continues to increase despite advances in the potential to use domestically-produced renewable options such as biofuels. This near-total dependence poses a threat to national security as Australia would only be able to independently sustain its energy needs for three weeks without imported fuels.

While many of Australia’s leading trade partners such as China and India have enacted mandates to grow investment in biofuel utilisation, Australia is falling behind global trends as there are no government mandates in place to support the biofuels industry………….

Benefits of biofuels

The advantages of biofuels are extensive and well-known; they encompass benefits impacting the economy, the environment and public health. These include:

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions; lessened reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Economic development opportunities.
  • Energy independence and enhanced energy security.
  • Improved air quality and associated public health benefits. (According to the OECD, deaths associated with ambient air pollution in Australia have risen from 882 to 1483 over the period of 2005-2010.)
  • Job creation, especially in rural areas.

Speaking at the event will be:………http://www.tandlnews.com.au/2014/10/16/article/biofuels-forgotten-element-australias-renewable-energy-sector/

October 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

New South Wales town Uralla in the running for getting 100% renewable energy

renewable-energy-pictureUralla competes for more renewable energy  http://www.armidaleexpress.com.au/story/2625862/uralla-competes-for-more-renewable-energy/?cs=12  By LYDIA ROBERTS   15 Oct 14 URALLA is vying with five other towns to become the first in Australia to rely solely on renewable energy.Mayor Michael Pearce says the move will cut power bills for the town’s ratepayers and businesses. It could also mean wind turbines become a fixture on the Uralla landscape.

“We already have solar panels powering our aged-care facilities and heating our swimming pool; our community is telling us they want more renewable initiatives and this could fit the bill,” Cr Pearce said yesterday.

Non-for-profit company Starfish Enterprises has secured a $105,000 state  government grant to develop a blueprint for a  zero net energy town, ideally located in the Northern Tablelands.

While more than 100 businesses have tendered to draw up the blueprint, the next step in the process is to find a suitable town willing to become the first to switch to 100 per cent green power.

Uralla, Walcha, Glen Innes, Inverell, Bingara and Manilla have all expressed an interest in becoming the model town. Cr Pearce said Uralla stood a good chance of becoming the selected town because there was substantial community support for the idea.

The move would follow several towns in the United States and Germany, all of which have shifted to zero net energy. This means the towns are powered by LED lighting, bio-gas plants, daytime solar panels and energy efficient pumping systems.

Starfish executive director Adam Blakester said expressions of interests from towns closed next Friday.

“An average town of 5000 people would spend up to $20 million a year on energy,” he said. “If we can produce that energy locally and competitively, we create a new industry.”

 

October 15, 2014 Posted by | energy, New South Wales | Leave a comment

South Australia’s remarkably high renewable energy production

Map-South-Australia-windParkinson-Report-South Australia Achieves 100% Renewable Energy For A Whole Working Day Clean Technica October 13th, 2014 by Giles Parkinson (good graphs)_ RenewEconomy. There have been several instances in recent months when wind energy has accounted for all, or nearly all, electricity demand in South Australia. Last Tuesday, however, set a new benchmark – the combination of wind energy and rooftop solar provided more than 100 per cent of the state’s electricity needs, for a whole working day between 9.30am and 6pm.

The data comes from Hugh Saddler, at consultants Pitt & Sherry, and is part of his monthly overview of electricity market, emissions and pricing trends in Australia.

Saddler notes there were several periods in South Australia from Saturday September 27, and over the following days, when wind generation was greater than total state NEM demand. (South Australia has nearly half the country’s wind capacity with around 1.5GW of wind energy).

It occurred briefly on Saturday afternoon, for much of Sunday, and again, most strikingly, between about 9.30am and 6.00pm on Tuesday, September 30, a normal working day.

In reality, renewables contributed well over 100 per cent because they were generating and consuming their own electricity from rooftop solar – the state has 550MW of rooftop solar, with nearly one in four houses with rooftop modules.

That meant that “true” demand by consumers on that day, i.e. the amount of electricity being used by consumers, including rooftop solar, was in fact considerably higher than NEM demand — up to 20 per cent according to the Australian Photovoltaic Institute — because of the contribution of rooftop PV to total electricity supply…….

Interestingly, the South Australia government has already exceeded its target of generating 33 per cent of the state’s electricity needs from renewables (over a full year), and has now set a 50 per cent target by 2025. In reality, it will likely reach that mark well before that, particularly if the Ceres wind farm and the Hornsdale wind farm are built. It could even be the first mainland state towards 100 per cent renewables over the whole year.

Considerable volumes of electricity were exported to Victoria. “In simple arithmetic terms, though not of course in how the grid actually operated, the state’s electricity supply was 100 per cent renewable while coal and gas-fired electricity was exported,” he says…..http://cleantechnica.com/2014/10/13/s-australia-achieves-100-renewable-energy-whole-working-day/

October 15, 2014 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Whistleblower exposes the rorting in electricity charges

Conflicts of interest abound in the way energy companies charge

scrutiny-on-businessRorting in the power industry about to be laid bare, SMH,  October 13, 2014   Business columnist The government privatisation train is on course for a head-on collision with the parliamentary inquiry into “gold-plating” in the power industry.

At the very time the states are sprucing up their energy companies for sale, further revelations of regulatory rorting will be flowing thick and fast. Gold-plating, or excessive spending on poles and wires, has been shoring up industry returns for the past six years – and driving power bills higher, although demand for electricity actually has been falling.

Now a treasury analyst from Queensland electricity retailer Energex threatens to blow the lid on how the power industry “games the regulator” in unprecedented and gory detail. Cally Wilson walked out of her job at Energex three weeks ago and turned whistleblower, telling the press how her bosses had conspired to push up power prices.She says she was instructed to find a debt rate which would meet management’s targets — in other words, a high rate. “Unusually high” were her words.

The higher the WACC (weighted average cost of capital), the higher the return Energex could claim from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) — and therefore the higher it would charge its customers.

Her allegations of data manipulation are the catalyst for the announcement of the parliamentary inquiry into “gold-plating”. Continue reading

October 13, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

How the Abbott government has squashed Australia’s renewable energy industry

Abbott-destroys-renewablesAustralia Crushes Its Renewable Energy Industry SustainableBusiness.com News by Rona Fried, 7 Oct 14 Who would have predicted that Central America would become a renewable energy leader, while Australia lags way behind?

Starting from practically zero renewable energy, Central America will install over 2.3 gigawatts (GW) over the next five years, a huge advance from the mere 100 megawatts in 2013.

Mexico is by far the leader, with $1.3 billion invested in the first half of 2014, almost double that of 2013. But last year, the other Central American countries combined also saw $1 billion in solar and wind investments. While financing for renewables still isn’t easy, most of the countries are amending policies to encourage greater investment, says Michel Di Capua of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Australia’s Government Squashes Renewable Energy

In contrast, Australia is in the midst of killing its renewable energy industry because of its new Prime Minister’s archaic policies.

After repealing the country’s carbon tax, investments dived 70% this year as the government decides whether to also eliminate or scale back the Renewable Energy Target (RET). Year-to-date, just $238 million has been invested in seven projects, the lowest level since 2002, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Over the past year, Australia has dropped from #11 to #31 for investments in large-scale clean energy projects, even lagging  Algeria and Myanmar, New Energy points out.

Last week, rallies across Australia called for the federal government to uphold the country’s commitment to 20% renewable energy by 2020.  Meanwhile, South Australia is moving in the opposite direction. Already running on 32% clean energy – years ahead of its 2020 target – the local government says it will raise its Renewable Energy Target to 50% by 2025. …….

Companies On the Way Out

“We are talking about the destruction of an industry, with no apparent good reason,” Miles George, President of Infigen Energy, Australia’s largest public renewable energy company, toldRenewEconomy. His company could go under within months to be followed by many others, he says.

US-based Recurrent Energy has already closed its Australian office. It’s got 1.5 GW of large scale solar projects in the pipeline – worth around $3 billion – which won’t be developed without the Renewable Energy Target. With markets in other countries booming, many other companies including Acciona, First Solar, Yingli and Goldwind are also threatening leaving.

Solar Systems Pty tabled plans for a 100 MW concentrating PV plant and Suzlon is reconsidering its A$1.5 billion wind farm.

Abbott’s panel that’s reviewing the Renewable Energy Target consists of two climate sceptics and a fossil fuel lobbyist.

Emissions Rise

Immediately after Abbot axed carbon taxes, Australia’s emissions jumped 0.8% in just two months – the most in eight years, due to more use of coal, reports Sydney Morning Herald……….http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/25941

October 13, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Northern Rivers Energy (NRE)’s comprehensive Community Renewable Energy plan

highly-recommendedEnergy company plans for region to go renewable http://www.echo.net.au/2014/10/energy-company-plans-region-go-renewable/ Simeon Michaels  8 Oct 14 Northern Rivers Energy (NRE), Australia’s first community-based renewable energy retailer in the northern rivers, plans for the region to become fossil free within years.

Mark Byrne of the Total Environment Centre, which teamed with the Office of Environment and Heritage to provide the grant, told The Echo, ‘We had several excellent tenders, but the NRE tender won because they had the most sophisticated and thorough understanding of the ways that the northern rivers community could be involved in the company.’

As reported in Echonetdaily last week, this is the first Australian attempt to adopt the community energy company model that has had dramatic effects in Hamburg (Germany) and Colorado (USA).

community solarNRE company will focus on encouraging the wider take-up of solar energy, selling power at lower tarrifs and paying customers a fair price for their rooftop-generated electricity.

‘The potential is enormous,’ says NRE spokesperson Alison Crook. ‘The northern rivers already has a high level of take-up of solar PV.

‘We have a community that really understands what it means to support each other.

‘We are aware of the reality of climate change and want to do something constructive about it.

‘We can work with existing generators and there is plenty of scope for new projects.

Model for Australia

‘Our aim is to generate sufficient renewable energy to cover our use within the region – a long-term goal and a moving target, but a model for Australia.’ The $54,000 grant will assist NRE to develop its business plan, which is expected to focus on providing renewable energy at competitive rates while purchasing solar and other renewable energy at a fair price from existing residential, commercial and government system owners. Continue reading

October 8, 2014 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Abbott govt’s Review of Renewable Energy Target has caused slump in investment in renewables

Australia’s investment in renewable energy slumps 70% in one year  The Coalition’s review of the Renewable Energy Target has caused investment in clean energy to drop below that of Algeria, Thailand and Myanmar theguardian.com, Friday 3 October 2014 Australia’s investment in renewable energy projects has slumped below that of Algeria, Thailand and Myanmar, new figures have shown, with the sector “paralysed” by the government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target.

Just $193m was invested in new large-scale clean energy projects in the third quarter of 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Investment in the year to date is $238m.

This represents a massive 70% slump on 2013 investment and has resulted in Australia slipping from the world’s 11th largest investor in clean energy to 31st in 2014.

This ranking is below Algeria, Myanmar, Thailand and Uruguay. By comparison, Canada has invested $US3.1bn in large clean energy projects so far in 2014.

The slowdown in renewable energy investment is pinned squarely by Bloomberg on the government’s review of the RET, which mandates that 41,000 gigawatt hours of Australia’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2020………

Kobad Bhavnagri, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, told Guardian Australia that the renewables sector is “in the doldrums.”

The government’s position has caused this, it has had some pretty strong anti-renewables rhetoric, particularly anti-wind, and wants to close certain clean energy programs,” he said. “The review has been particularly protracted. The industry was fearful the recommendations would be extreme and they were. It has been shattering.

“I think the government has backed itself into a corner because the Warburton review lacks credibility. I don’t think it’s in Labor’s interest to agree to any changes to the target.”

Bhavnagri said that should the RET be scaled back rather than abolished, investment would resume but at around half its current level, meaning that $10bn would be invested between now and 2020.

The figures follow an analysis done by the Clean Energy Council and, separately, the Greens, which shows that New South Wales would suffer most if the RET was scrapped. An estimated $4.24bn in projected investment and 4,410 jobs in the state would be at risk if the scheme was dismantled.

“NSW will be the hardest hit if the RET is dumped, with huge negative implications for jobs growth, power prices and the environment,” said Greens senator Lee Rhiannon.

“The Greens will continue to work to retain and expand the Renewable Energy Target and to give the industry certainty.”http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/oct/03/australias-investment-in-renewable-energy-slumps-70-in-one-year

October 6, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy | Leave a comment

US Solar company hopes for an RET deal that will specifically benefit them

US solar company hopes RET compromise will allow projects to go ahead, SMH  October 3, 2014 Angela Macdonald-Smith US solar power company First Solar is optimistic a compromise will be hammered out on the Renewable Energy Target that will allow it to press ahead with up to $150 million of proposed projects in Australia, although other projects would still be delayed.

Jack Curtis, regional manager for Asia Pacific, said that 2-3 months ago the outlook for the RET legislation that supports the sector looked “more dire”, likely forcing an exit from Australia for the Arizona-based company.

But now he was more confident the legislation that supports the renewable industry would largely survive after the Coalition government distanced itself from the recommendations of the Warburton review into the RET…….

Government and Opposition spokespeople on energy and the environment met in Canberra on Wednesday for talks on the RET.

Opposition resources spokesman Gary Gray, who took part in the talks, signalled a compromise could be on the cards.

“There is a long-standing tradition of the government of the day and the opposition of the day finding common ground on renewable energy,” Mr Gray said on Thursday……

Both the Nyngan and Broken Hill plants being developed by First Solar and AGL are under construction and should come into operation next year.

First Solar is also planning a solar plant at Rio Tinto’s remote Weipa bauxite mine in Queensland, and it has similar ventures with a mining company and with a utility planned but not yet made public.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/us-solar-company-hopes-ret-compromise-will-allow-projects-to-go-ahead-20141002-10pg8b.html#ixzz3FDl5jgm8

October 6, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, solar | Leave a comment

Northern Region takes first step to community renewable energy

text-community-energyFirst step to first community renewable energy retailer http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/nre-awarded-54000-to-work-on-business-plan/2407390/   | 3rd Oct 2014 THE first step towards the Rainbow Region becoming Australia’s first community energy retailer has been taken with Northern Rivers Energy (NRE) being awarded $54,000 to develop a business plan.

Formed by a consortium of environmentally conscious citizens, Northern Rivers Energy NRE was awarded the grant from the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Total Environment Centre.

NRE spokeswoman Alison Crook said the company would encompass energy retailing, generation and asset management, and an educational energy literacy arm.

She said NRE would service the entire Northern Rivers Region, covering the Tweed, Kyogle, Byron, Lismore, Ballina, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley council areas.

“Here on the Northern Rivers we have all the ingredients necessary to demonstrate that communities can meet their energy needs without relying on fossil fuels and can live in greater harmony with the environment, and still flourish,” she said.

“The Northern Rivers already has a high level of take-up of solar PV. We have a community that really understands what it means to be a community and to support each other.

“If any region can show how the renewable industry can both create employment and reduce our impact on the environment, this region can.

“Once the NRE business plan and feasibility study are complete, community consultation will begin.”

Northern Rivers Energy aims

  • Provide renewable energy and purchase solar and other renewable energy from residential, commercial and government system owners at fair prices.
  • Facilitate community investment in medium scale renewable energy projects.
  • Provide and maintain renewable energy equipment.
  • Enable purchase of equipment by consumers through lease or finance arrangements.
  • Partner with social housing providers, caravan parks and retirement villages to facilitate access to renewable energy and efficient solutions for people on low incomes.

October 3, 2014 Posted by | energy, Queensland | Leave a comment

A $1.5 BILLION wind farm in jeopardy, as Australian govt plans slashing RET

Renewable Energy Target review leaves wind power in doldrums: Senvion http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/renewable-energy-target-review-leaves-wind-power-in-doldrums-senvion/story-e6frg6xf-1227074429666 THE AUSTRALIAN SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 A $1.5 BILLION wind farm, slated to be the largest in Australia, is at risk from potential changes to the national ­Renewable Energy Target, the proponent says.

Senvion Australia chief exec­utive Chris Judd said the 197-­turbine Ceres wind farm proposed for the Yorke Peninsula would be jeopardised if the federal government adopted changes proposed in the Warburton review.

The Abbott government is yet to finalise its response to the RET review overseen by businessman Dick Warburton, which recommended either closing the program to new entrants or moving to a demand-limited scheme that was ­reviewed each year.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the government would not make any changes that would adversely ­affect companies that had ­already invested in the sector.

Mr Judd said if changes removed the revenue stream for renewable energy, significant investment would be at risk. “We are still progressing with the project, but there is a cloud over it in regards to the ­Renewable Energy Target policy. We need the policy framework to be able to create an investment environment where people would view investment in renewable energy favourably.

“There is no logic in what has been put forward to make the case for change — the review confirms that the policy is working, creating jobs and lowering emissions.”

The wind-farm project, which will underpin 500 jobs, is among $4.5bn worth of investment in South Australia that Premier Jay Weatherill says is stalled as a result of the federal review.

“We have billions of dollars worth of investment queuing up waiting to occur, but it is stalled because the commonwealth government in an extraordinary act has decided to review the Renewable Energy Target,’’ he said.

Mr Hunt’s spokesman said the government was not scrapping the RET. “The government will not make changes that will impact those who have already made an investment — small or large — under the RET,” he said.

Brad Davy, a Senvion technician, said the Snowtown wind farm 150km north of Adelaide had supported many local jobs. “It’s been good for everyone, “ he said.

 

October 1, 2014 Posted by | South Australia, wind | Leave a comment

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