Manilla Solar Co Launch

Creating a community-owned solar farm.

Farming the Sun is Australia’s largest community solar energy initiative.

Farming the Sun is a collaboration of organisations, coordinated by Starfish, who are working to establish the first community-owned solar farms in Australia.This would build on the past success of the initiative which continues to be Australia’s largest community solar energy initiative.

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North Coast consumption down – again

energy-usage-decline

There has been an ongoing decline in energy consumption over the past 24 months

Carbon emissions caused by electricity consumers on the north coast are down for the second year in a row, according to new data from the North Coast Energy Forum.

But the group warns that some of the factors such as milder weather haven’t so far been repeated this year and we may see a rise in consumption in 2014.

‘Our emissions have now reduced by about eight per cent over the two years from 2010–11 to 2012–13, from about 2.6 to 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 in the region from Port Macquarie to Tweed Heads,’ said Forum convenor Mark Byrne.

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Flyers Creek Windfarm approved

The state's Planning Department has given conditional approval to a windfarm at Flyer's Creek near Carcoar.

The state’s Planning Department has given conditional approval to a windfarm at Flyer’s Creek near Carcoar.

The Central NSW Renewable Energy Co-operative received an OEH grant of $60,000 under Community RE Grants scheme – they are potential owner of one turbine in this wind farm.

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Legal analysis of the national Direct Action Plan

Australian Government releases further details of its Direct Action Plan to reduce Australian greenhouse gas emissions.

The Australian Federal Government (Government) released a GreenPaper on Friday 20 December as part of its Direct Action Plan on climate change policy. The Green Paper outlines the Government’s preferred design for an Emissions Reduction Fund and invites further input from business and the community on the design elements outlined in the Green Paper by 21 February 2014, before a White Paper is released in ‘early’ 2014.

This Legal Insight summarises the Government’s preferred design and readers should assume that the Government is seeking input on all aspects of the design.

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http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/285576/Clean+Air+Pollution/Australian+Government+Releases+Further+Details+of+its+Direct+Action+Plan+to+Reduce+Australian+Greenhouse+Gas+Emissions&email_access=on

 

Solar reduced demand during heat wave

Victoria and South Australia have just gone through a week of very high temperatures and very high maximum electricity demand. There has been some debate as to what contribution if any solar PV has made.  Analysis shows that solar PV has made a significant contribution being responsible for reducing peak demand by 4.6 per cent.

Solar PV Contribution – Sunday 19th January 2014.

Solar PV Contribution – Sunday 19th January 2014.

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Solar Power ~ Nonstop, day and night, for five weeks

Solar tower efficiency 1.5 to 3 times more than other renewable energies.

The Gemasolar Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant near Seville, Spain.

The solar power plant near Seville, Spain.

The ground-breaking Gemasolar Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant with storage near Seville, Spain, has marked its second anniversary with another breakthrough – producing round the clock power for a record breaking 36 consecutive days.

The power plant, owned by Torresol Energy, has been producing energy for two years since its official opening on October 4, 2011.  It was the first large scale solar tower power plant to use molten salt, which captures heat during the day so that the plant can still produce energy at night.

Torresol said in a statement marking the anniversary that the plant has exceeded the expected results and has demonstrated the sturdiness of the design. Producing energy 24/7 for 36 consecutive days from solar energy “is something that no other plant has performed so far.”

Molten salt is used in solar power tower systems because it provides a low-cost medium to store thermal energy and operates at temperatures that are compatible with steam turbines as well as being non-toxic and non-flammable.

The ground-breaking Gemasolar Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant with storage near Seville, Spain, has marked its second anniversary with another breakthrough – producing round the clock power for a record breaking 36 consecutive days.

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Climate Change in haiku and watercolour

Greg Johnson’s 19 illustrated haiku is available as a pdf or in printable booklet form.

Science explained through art.

Reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) can be daunting, what if we could communicate the essence of this important information in plain language and pictures? Well, that’s just what one Northwest oceanographer has done. He’s distilled the entire report into 19 illustrated haiku.

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Australia reduces it’s energy demand

graph 8Jan14
Electricity demand in 2013 (financial year) was lower than in the peak year of 2009.

Energy demand drop explained.

Until 2010 the quantity of electricity used in Australia each year was greater than the year before. In the three years since 2010 the quantity used each year has been less than the year before.

Electricity usage in Australia is making progress towards a more sustainable footing, but it’s still a long road to a sustainable energy system.

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Down, down, our carbon pollution is down!

The graph shows a decline in peak demand.

Since 2010 there has been a decline in peak demand.

Carbon emissions from electricity sector consumption on the North Coast are down for the second year in a row, according to new data from the North Coast Energy Forum.As forum convenor Mark Byrne explains, “Our emissions have now reduced by about eight per cent over the two years from 2010-11 to 2012-13, from about 2.6 to 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 in the region from Port Macquarie to Tweed Heads.”“The electricity sector accounts for over one-third of Australia’s greenhouse emissions, so the decline in both peak demand and total consumption is good news. It’s in line with the seven per cent reduction in national electricity sector emissions after the introduction of the carbon price in 2012.”“This is likely due to the high uptake of rooftop solar systems on the North Coast, plus households and businesses being more energy efficient in response to skyrocketing prices.”

But the trend is unlikely to continue, warns Mark. “Mild summers and winters over the last few years have also played a part, and this summer’s heat waves are creating a surge in consumption as people switch on their air conditioners.”

“With the federal government planning to scrap the carbon price this year and a cloud now hanging over the Renewable Energy Target, it’s also possible that the trend to more renewable energy in the national grid will stall, and even go backwards.”

“It is therefore critical that we do whatever we can as individuals, communities and businesses to reduce our emissions to help reduce the severity of climate change. Most of our electricity still comes form outside the region, but there’s still a lot more scope for us to meet our own energy needs with solar energy, along with the emerging bioenergy industry.”

“This year, keep an eye out for small, affordable battery systems to store solar energy for evening and overnight usage, as well as innovative ways to buy local energy without being completely tied to a major retailer, such as community solar farms.”

The graph shows the decline in peak demand. Consumption figures were supplied by Essential Energy. The reduction in emissions was calculated by multiplying the total consumption figures for all major substations for each financial year by the average NSW emissions intensity for the period, which for NSW was 0.976

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Mark Byrne on 0403070442 or email markb@tec.org.au.

A dose of reality for Australian energy cost estimates

The cheapest avenue forward for Australia in a low carbon world – renewables.
The cheapest avenue forward for Australia in a low carbon world – renewables.

The Australian government’s main economic advisor has significantly revised its cost estimates for leading energy technologies in an update that should introduce a dose of reality to the energy debate in this country.

The Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics quietly released an update of its Australian Energy Technology Assessment in December. The first report came out in July, 2012.

In the latest report – concluded after “consultation” with various industry sectors – the cost of solar technologies has been revised downwards (in some cases by up to 30 per cent), in particular solar thermal with storage, while the costs of clean energy rival technologies such as carbon capture and storage and nuclear have been revised upwards.

Indeed, the report recognizes that onshore wind energy is already cheaper than new build fossil fuels.  BREE likes to frame the future by suggesting wind and solar will be cheaper on average than fossil fuels by the mid-2030s – but its graphs  are clear – by 2020, the lowest cost wind and solar installations (which are already being achieved overseas) will be cheaper than the lowest cost coal and gas (even without pricing carbon).

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