Everybody needs good neighbours … to produce renewable energy, Benjamin Preiss The Age, 12 Sept 16 Linda Parlane got more than energy from the sun when she installed solar panels on her roof. She harnessed the power of her community. Ms Parlane bought her solar panels back in 2009 through a bulk-buy community scheme in Coburg………
She is now a board member of the Moreland Community Solar co-operative and wants to see more local projects, including ventures established through community investment. But she fears community energy projects have come unstuck in recent years after running into legal and administrative hurdles.
Moreland Community Solar is among a collection of environment, energy and lobby groups calling on the state government to ensure small to medium-scale community projects play a bigger role in reducing carbon emissions.
A submission to the government prepared by the Community Power Agency is urging it to establish “clean energy community hubs” that can provide advice to local groups and help them strike up relationships with renewable energy developers. It also recommends financial support for community-produced energy.
The state government has called for submissions as part of its plan to have 40 per cent renewable energy by 2025. NSW has a 20 per cent target by 2020-21. The government will use a “competitive auction process” in which renewable energy developers can bid for contracts to run their projects. The Community Power Agency wants community energy projects to account for up to 10 per cent of the overall renewable energy target.
Community energy projects take many different forms. Several years ago residents in Daylesford and Hepburn set up a community co-operative to establish a two-turbine wind farm that now produces enough energy to power more than 2000 homes.
In Bendigo a crowdfunding campaign was launched to buy solar panels for a local library.
Community Power Agency director Nicky Ison said many Victorians wanted to produce renewable energy at a local level. “Community groups have great ideas,” she said. “Once they’ve turned those ideas into something financially viable there are so many people who want to invest in these projects.”Ms Ison said community energy projects also resulted in stronger relationships within communities. “It’s bringing neighbours together.”
The groups supporting the submission include progressive lobby group Getup, Solar Citizens, Yarra Community Solar, Moreland Community Solar co-operative and the Central Victoria Greenhouse Alliance. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/everybody-needs-good-neighbours–to-produce-renewable-energy-20160911-grdp6z.html
Victorian unconventional gas exploration ban to end fracking and CSG extraction, ABC News, 30 Aug 16 The Victorian Government is introducing legislation to permanently ban exploration and development of unconventional gas in the state, including coal seam gas and fracking.
- Legislation will permanently ban development, production of all unconventional gas in Victoria
- Moratorium on conventional gas extraction to be extended until 2020
- Government says ban will protect Victoria’s agriculture sector
The legislation — the first of its kind in Australia — will be introduced into State Parliament later this year.
Premier Daniel Andrew said the ban would protect the reputation of Victoria’s agriculture sector and alleviate farmers’ concerns about environmental and health risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.
“We’ve listened to the community and we’re making a decision that puts farmers and our clean, green brand first,” he said.
The legislation will also extend the moratorium on conventional onshore gas until 2020, but offshore gas exploration and development will continue.
The Government said the decision, which responds to a parliamentary inquiry, acknowledged the risks involved outweighed any potential benefits……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-30/victoria-to-ban-csg-fracking-and-unconventional-gas-exploration/7796944
A landmark high-rise apartment tower in Southbank whose glass exterior is wrapped in solar cells will provide its residents with “off-the-grid” power stored in Tesla-like batteries, its designers say.
The 60-level building will be the first skyscraper in Australia environmentally engineered to include solar cells in the facade, creating a far greater surface area for catching the sun’s rays.
“We get an enormous area of solar panels by comparison to running them across the roof,” said Peter Brook from Peddle Thorp, the architects behind the design.
The curved exterior of the building has been orientated to deliberately capture the sun’s movement from east to west throughout the day, a feature that had created an “elegant tower”……..http://www.theage.com.au/business/property/first-solarpowered-apartment-skyscraper-to-rise-in-melbourne-20160819-gqwv76.html
Majority of Victorians support urgent shift to renewable energy, poll finds https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/18/majority-of-victorians-support-urgent-shift-to-renewable-energy-poll-finds
A ReachTEL poll commissioned by Friends of the Earth shows 68% of the state, including a majority of Liberal voters, want to see an end to reliance on coal, Guardian, Michael Slezak, 18 Aug 16, The vast majority of people in Victoria – and even a majority of Liberal voters – support the state moving towards 100% renewable energy “as a matter of urgency,” a new poll has found.
The polling comes as the state government works to rewrite the Climate Change Act, including pre-2050 emissions reduction targets.
More than 68% of Victorians said they agreed or strongly agreed that “Victoria needs to transition its energy use from coal to 100% renewables as a matter of urgency”, according to the ReachTEL poll of 1,137 people conducted on 4 August and commissioned by Friends of the Earth.
That was in line with previous national polls. But when the researchers drilled down to the views of people who supported different political parties, they found consistent support for an ambitious state-based renewable energy target. Continue reading
Xenophon calls for SA and Victoria to set up their own electricity emissions trading scheme, ABC News, By Nick Harmsen , 18 Aug 16, The Victorian and South Australian governments should establish their own joint electricity emissions trading scheme if the Federal Government refuses to put a price on carbon, Senator Nick Xenophon says.
The South Australian senator told an industry conference in Port Pirie that such a scheme would drive down prices.
“The sooner that COAG acts, or alternatively the Victorian and South Australian governments, the sooner consumers and businesses will have real relief in power prices with enhanced reliability,” he said.
“It could and should happen this year.”
Senator Xenophon said he had discussed the proposal with South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis, and had written to the federal Minister Josh Frydenberg, urging the issue be discussed at a national meeting of energy ministers this Friday.
Proposal first discussed seven years ago
Rather than advocating a nationwide carbon pricing scheme, Senator Xenophon said the Federal Government should resurrect a scheme first put forward in 2009, during Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s time as opposition leader.
“We, as in Malcolm and me, jointly commissioned Frontier Economics to come up with an alternative emissions trading scheme to [then prime minister Kevin Rudd’s] carbon pollution reduction scheme,” he said.
That scheme would effectively see dirty power generators pay cleaner generators to run more……..
South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said Senator Xenophon’s proposal had already been considered by numerous bodies, including COAG. “I am sure this idea is one of the many things we will discuss on Friday at what is an incredibly important COAG meeting,” he said.
“The main point I agree with Mr Xenophon on is that this is an urgent issue that requires the ministers to take back power in decision making, form a consensus and agree to a reform of the energy market.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-17/electricity-emissions-trading-scheme-plan-for-sa-and-victoria/7751324
Councillor Arron Wood can understand why more businesses don’t put solar panels on their roof.
It’s not because they don’t want to save money. And it’s not because they don’t want to do the right thing. “The biggest barrier to wider uptake [of solar power] is the complexity of going through the process,” says Cr Wood, the chairman of Melbourne City Council’s environment committee.
Which is why, he says, opening North Melbourne Football Club’s new solar panel bank – 800 panels set across the club’s roof and that of the neighbouring council-run recreation centre – is a major breakthrough.
“There’s this sense that footy speaks to all parts of life in Melbourne, so partnering with … North Melbourne footy club might drive others to think ‘Maybe this is something we can do’,” he says.
The panels on the club’s roof will produce enough electricity per year to run 70 average Melbourne homes. North Melbourne’s chief executive Carl Dilena said the club expected to cut its energy use by almost a quarter as a result of installing the solar panels.
But as many Melbourne home owners know, solar does not always come cheap, at least initially. The system cost almost half a million dollars to install, and was partly financed by the council, via the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The club contributed about $67,000 of the funding, with the rest coming from the city council.
It is the first partnership the council has undertaken with an outside party – all other installations it has done have been on council-owned building rooftops.
The council is working with Sustainability Victoria to find businesses interested in reducing either emissions or energy bills that have previously considered going solar.
“The driver for a lot of businesses isn’t saving the environment, it’s to save dollars and that’s completely fine,” says Cr Wood.
The Victorian MP maintained his stance against the moratorium this week, leading environmental critics to say he was out of step with the rest of the state — and his Victorian Coalition colleagues.
The State Government is preparing to release its gas policy, expected before parliament resumes on August 16. The Victorian Coalition has already said it wants the moratorium extended until 2020.
Mr Frydenberg first flagged his concern about Victoria‘s moratorium in February when he was resources and energy minister.
This week he said the shift away from coal was not a bad thing, but the South Australian energy crisis proved there was a need for a reliable base power source, which should be gas.
“We shouldn’t have blanket moratoriums on unconventional gas like we have in Victoria and NSW because you need more gas and gas suppliers,” he told the Australian Financial Review.
Friends of the Earth’s Cam Walker said this was “profoundly out of step” with Victoria, where 73 communities have declared themselves gas field-free, many in Coalition-held seats. “The argument that gas is a bridging and back-up fuel is outdated,” he said.
The Age, Simon Johanson, 2 Aug 16, The first stage of the massive 2500-dwelling, mixed-use commercial redevelopment of the former Amcor paper mill site in Fairfield will be built with 60 homes fitted with Tesla battery packs, inverters and solar panels. The full-line energy installation will not be an optional extra for home buyers but a standard inclusion in all three- to five-bedroom homes, Glenvill development director Travers Nuttall said…….http://www.theage.com.au/business/property/melbournes-first-teslatown-to-be-built-in-mega-alphington-development-20160729-gqgr0w.html
Green bonds the new black in the market as environmental financing surges, ABC News, 26 July 16 By business reporter Stephen Letts The environmentally sensitive shoots developing in the global bonds market appear to be heading for a serious growth spurt with another record quarter of “green bonds” issuance.
In a research note on the sector, the credit ratings agency Moody’s found environmentally focused green bond issuance in the June quarter hit a record $US20.3 billion ($27 billion), well above the $US16.9 billion ($22.5 billion) recorded in the first quarter of the year.
Added together, the two quarters raised almost 90 per cent more capital than in the first half of 2015.
“The global green bond market is now poised to reach $US75 billion ($100 billion) in total volume for 2016 and so set a new record for the fifth consecutive year, given the strong issuance already observable in the first two weeks of Q3,” Moody’s senior vice president Henry Shilling said.
That fresh flow in the third quarter includes $300 million worth of bonds from Victoria put out to tender earlier this month, the first green issuance from an Australian state or federal government……
Clean energy projects dominate the market
The increasing demand has been supported by many big pension funds now carrying mandates that stipulate portfolios must hold required levels of environmentally friendly investments.
Around two-thirds of green bond proceeds in the quarter were directed to renewable energy and energy efficient projects, with clean transport accounting for a further 17 per cent of the money raised.
The US dominated issuance, with 23 per cent of the market, followed by the big development agencies such as the World Bank, with 17 per cent, although China is expected to bounce back to its dominant position in the market with $US3 billion worth of bonds in the pipeline for sale in coming months……. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-27/green-is-new-black-in-the-bonds-market-environmental-finance/7664414
Australian Mini-Suburb ‘Tesla Town’ Project with Powerwalls gives a glimpse into future sustainable communities, Electrek, Nathaniel Kobza, 15 July 16 Near Melbourne, Australia lies an incredible suburban project underway dubbed Yarrabend. This development is currently home to 60 houses and is planned to eventually hit around 2500. What is unique about this venture is not only the art, food or shopping that will be near it, but that all of the houses will come standard with Tesla Powerwalls and solar panels. Via the Heidelberg Leader, Nick Marinakis, sales and marketing manager of the Glenvill development team for Yarrabend, states that the suburb…
will achieve the highest possible ESD rating under the UDIA (Urban Development Institute of Australia) Envirodevelopment scheme, a first for an infill development site in Melbourne.
UDIA’s chief executive, Danni Addison, said that a big reason that this will receive the highest rating is because it will “be one of the most environmentally sustainable developments in Australia.” Further, Ms. Addison goes on to explain:
Some areas that are a standout include water reduction of 43 per cent, landfill reduced by 80 per cent and the potential to reduce energy use by 34 per cent. The Powerwalls, combined with solar panels, will mean that future residents will be able to benefit in a variety of ways, including dramatically smaller power bills and knowing that the majority of their energy usage is coming from a clean and renewable source…….http://electrek.co/2016/07/15/australian-mini-suburb-tesla-town-project-with-powerwalls-gives-a-glimpse-into-future-sustainable-communities/
Record-breaking, brolga-friendly, $650m wind farm gets government green light, The Age, July 19 2016 Benjamin Preiss Victoria’s most productive wind farm generating enough power for 140,000 households will be built in the south-west after the state government approved the plans.
The $650 million wind farm, to be built near Dundonnell, will have 96 turbines. Once completed, it will produce enough power to supply the combined populations of Ballarat and Warrnambool.
The project will create an estimated 300 jobs during construction, with 16 positions once it is built…….The wind farm’s layout was designed to accommodate brolga breeding and flocking habits, according to the government………http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/recordbreaking-brolgafriendly-wind-farm-gets-government-green-light-20160719-gq8o3t.html
Australia’s Largest Solar Crowdfunding Campaign a Success, http://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2016/07/australias-largest-solar-crowdfunding-campaign-success/ Pro Bono, Ellie Cooper, 14 July 16 For-purpose business, The People’s Solar has helped iconic Melbourne Not for Profit, the Abbotsford Convent raise $120,000 for its renewable energy project in the biggest crowdfunding project of its kind in Australia. The People’s Solar, part of Energy for the People, is a platform for delivering community-owned solar power to schools and Not for Profits.
Director and co-founder Tosh Szatow told Pro Bono Australia News this was the biggest solar crowdfunding project of its kind in Australia to date. It was also the largest project his business has been involved in.
“It’s really exciting. We’ve raised something like $250,000 now over two years, so the amount of money we’ve raised for projects has been doubling every six months, and that includes the project with the convent,” Szatow said. “We’ve now completed about 10 projects, it’s the biggest by some margin and it’s really confirmed for us that we can fund really big projects like this.
“And the other exciting thing is the organisations we’re working for would otherwise find it really hard to find the money to pay for solar power, and so it’s really great to know we’re able to help those organisations.”
The Abbotsford Convent, spread over 16.8 acres, has green space and historic buildings, which are said to house Australia’s largest multi-arts precincts. “It’s an iconic building in Melbourne… that’s really well loved by people in Melbourne, and the activities that are hosted at the convent are really important to the community,” Szatow said.
“As well as support for the creative arts and music, painting, sculpture and it’s a really valuable public asset. There’s a large green space which is a real oasis for people in that community. So there were a lot of reasons to get behind it.”
He said the $120,000 solar panel installation, half of which was crowdfunded through Pozible and the other half matched through a donor, would make a huge difference to the convent.
“It will save up to about $15,000 a year, and I believe that’s enough to fully fund the maintenance of their public open space so that’s all the gardening and upkeep on the gardens,” he said.
“So that’s a huge saving to their bottom line. And because it’s a Not for Profit organisation, it runs entirely on donations, saving that $15,000 every year is going to make a huge difference over the course of the panels lifetime.” The mission of Energy for the People is to help foster a “democratic” energy market where all Australians can access renewable energy. Szatow said The People’s Solar was started to focus on social impact and community benefit.
“[We were] talking with a lot of organisations that were struggling to find the money to go solar even though solar power has a pretty good financial payback. We were really looking for a solution to that,” he said.
“And I think more broadly there’s a really strong ethic in what we do with Energy for the People. We’re really keen to give back to the communities that we do work in, and solar is a really nice way of executing that and bringing together our skills and capability in clean energy with our interest and enthusiasm for the community side of things.”
Climate change: how Victoria trumped New South Wales in the great renewable energy race
Wind and solar energy projects are set to be the big winners of the state’s ambitious renewable energy targets, Guardian, Giles Parkinson 6 July 16
Victoria’s ambitious renewable energy targets will see a doubling of the state’s wind energy capacity.
Two years ago Rob Stokes, the then environment minister for New South Wales, promised that his state could become Australia’s answer to California in the clean energy industry.
“We are making NSW No 1 in energy and environmental policy,” Stokes, a Liberal,told the Clean Energy Week gathering in Sydney in July 2014.“When it comes to clean energy, we can be Australia’s answer to California.”
It was a bold vision, and a laudable one, but it didn’t turn out that way.
Investment in large-scale renewable energy, apart from some federally funded large-scale solar projects, has all but dried up. In May, a report by the Climate Council rated NSW as the “worst place” for renewable energy investment in Australia.
It’s ironic because NSW has the biggest pipeline of undeveloped renewable energy projects in the country. But now other states are seeking to grab a bigger share of the renewable energy pie, particularly as traditional industries of car manufacturing and steel-making face an uncertain future.
Last month Victoria became the latest Labor government to announce renewable energy targets over and above the federal target, announcing it would aim to have 25% of its electricity served by renewable energy by 2020, and 40% by 2025.
That compares with a national target that translates to about a 23% by 2020, and the Australian Capital Territory’s 100% target by 2020, Queensland’s 50% target by 2030 and South Australia’s 50% target by 2025, a percentage it is likely to reach later this year.
ut Victoria’s target appears the most ambitious of the lot, simply for the sheer number of new wind and solar farms that will be needed to meet the target. And it also intends to have legislation in place from next year that will ensure the target is met.
The 40% by 2025 target translates into some 5,400MW of new renewable energy capacity to be installed within the next 10 years. That will be almost exclusively wind and solar farms and is three times as much renewable energy capacity as the state has installed up till now and nearly equal to the national target for 2020.
“This is an ambitious target but a very achievable target,” says the Victorian energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio. She intends to adopt the system of “reverse auctions” pioneered successfully by the ACT, which will have some 600MW of large scale renewables in place by 2020 to meet its own 100% target.
Already, under a previously announced tender designed to support wind projects, the Victorian government has signed contracts that will help two windfarms be built over the next year – a 13-turbine windfarm at Kiata near Horsham and a 44-turbine windfarm at Mount Gellibrand near Colac………https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jul/06/climate-change-how-victoria-trumped-new-south-wales-in-the-great-renewable-energy-race
Two new wind farms gain Victorian government support http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/two-new-wind-farms-gain-victorian-government-support-20160705-gpz37f.html Benjamin Preiss STATE POLITICAL REPORTER FOR THE AGE TWO NEW VICTORIAN WIND FARMS WILL BE BUILT WITHIN TWO YEARS AND WILL RECEIVE AN EXTRA SOURCE OF INCOME FROM THE STATE GOVERNMENT.
The new wind farms will produce enough energy to power 80,000 homes. They will be located at Kiata near Horsham and Mount Gellibrand near Colac. The Kiata wind farm will have up to 13 turbines, while Mount Gellibrand will host up to 44. Both projects are expected to be operating by 2018.
The government says it is using its purchasing power to support these wind farms through so-called renewable energy certificates. The state government has committed to purchasing some renewable energy certificates from these two wind farms, giving them an additional revenue stream. Certificates are allocated to wind farms as part of the national renewable energy target. Producers of renewable energy can also sell the certificates to energy retailers.
Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the government was rebuilding much-needed confidence in the renewable energy industry. “We can build a strong, sustainable, renewable energy industry that powers our broader economy, creates well-paid jobs and reduces our environmental impact,” she said.
Last month the government committed to a renewable energy generation target of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025. Planning Minister Richard Wynne is also considering six applications to amend existing wind farm permits so they can increase their turbine size.
Wind farm boom looms as Premier Daniel Andrews looks to boost clean power, The Age, Adam Morton, 16 June 16, Senior Writer Victoria would have 40 per cent clean electricity in less than a decade – nearly tripling the current level – under an ambitious plan announced by the Andrews government.
The government has set targets to ramp up wind power and large-scale solar power, paid for through an increase in household and business electricity bills and spending from the budget.
With private spending on clean electricity largely stalled due to a lack of confidence in federal government support for a national renewable energy target, the Andrews government believes its policy will make Victoria the centre of a revitalised industry. It estimates that, at the peak of construction in the middle of the next decade, there will be about 4000 workers helping to build the target’s 5400 megawatts capacity of clean energy.
To put that in perspective, there are 18 wind farms with planning approval in the state, but not built.
The government says its target will improve the viability of the industry enough to build all of them – and nearly as many again – within nine years.
On top of this, one-fifth of the new generation capacity built would be solar plants in the state’s north.
In a statement, Premier Daniel Andrews said meeting the targets – 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025, up from 14 per cent today – would bring about $2.5 billion of clean energy investment into the state.
“The world is shifting to renewable energy. It creates jobs, drives growth and protects our environment, and Victorians want to be at the forefront,” he said……http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/wind-farm-boom-looms-as-premier-daniel-andrews-looks-to-boost-clean-power-20160614-gpj3f9.html