Monthly Archives: August 2010

Perth and Peel Planning Vision can be Renewable

30 August 2010

Ray Wills, CEO
Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA)

Planning Minister John Day’s release today of a new planning vision and direction for Perth and Peel to guide the planning of the city to 2031 and beyond has been welcomed by the WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA).

WA SEA notes the Minister’s reference to compliance of the Directions 2031 document is in line with the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) national criteria for capital city strategic planning systems for Australian cities that are “globally competitive, sustainable, liveable, socially inclusive and well-placed to meet future challenges and growth.”

‘We must fundamentally change the way we think about energy, and planning for 2031 must simply be a part of planning the 21st Century,’ says WA SEA Chief Executive, Prof Ray Wills.

WA SEA calls for all future developments, whether completely new or urban renewal, be achieved with energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment through a combination of mandated measures and reduced taxes and fees to minimise transaction costs.

A growing raft of projects are already embracing sustainability to grow greater metropolitan Perth in a series of sustainable cities – City of Yanchep, Alkimos, the Stirling City Centre Project, North Port Quay, Cockburn Coast, to name a few.

Further, mandatory installation of the most affordable and appropriate technologies such as solar hot water, solar air-conditioning, heat pumps and geothermal on all new houses and buildings, and tied to all renovation approvals, as well as on all existing government facilities and public buildings, will deliver long term savings to building owners and tenants, and to the tax payer.

Growth brings many opportunities but also threatens to gridlock the city. Directions 2031 must bring on new transport policies that integrate all forms of public, personal and industrial transport.

Public transport utilising low and no emissions mass transit, and particularly light rail, is seeing significant growth in nations around the world, and Australia should ensure it delivers strong investment in infrastructure for the benefit of future generations of Australians.

Various light rail proposals including the Knowledge Arc, Perth Airport to the city, the Stirling City Centre Project, and the Perth Light Rail Project all have merit need to be fairly considered in the context of Directions 2031.

Cities around the world are looking to become more sustainable – existing cities like Reykjavik, Iceland, Portland, Oregon, and Malmö, Sweden, and glamorous new proposals like Masdar City, UAE and Tianjin Eco-City, China.

In WA some of our greenest places to live are already appearing in regional WA as a consequence of the deployment of renewable energy.

Now that Horizon Power has established a new power station in the town of Marble Bar, with one soon to be completed in the neighbouring town Nullagine, in the east, these towns are going quite green almost overnight.

‘Perth has an opportunity to grow with sustainability principles as a guide, and take advantage of the best renewable energy resources in the world to power Perth in the 21st Century – and keep up with regional WA,’ says Prof Wills.

Editors notes:
1.    Planning Minister John Day media release 

2.    Online listing of green cities  

3.    Examples of WA projects

4.    Marble Bar Nullagine project

5.    The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) is a chamber of enterprises that has a growing membership of over 360 industry members from a diversity of businesses. WA SEA is the largest energy industry body in Australia.

6.    WA SEA bringing you the Energising SE Asia Conference 23-26 March 2011, Perth.

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Measuring a Renewable Government – Scorecard Forecasts Election With More Cloud Than Sunshine

16 August 2010

Ray Wills, CEO
Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA)

Assessing Potential Governments

Last week, the WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) released a comprehensive list of cost effective and practical actions that can be taken across all sectors of the economy that will boost national productivity, reduce inflation and ensure continued strong growth within the Australian sustainable energy industry and across Australia’s economy for decades to come.

The document consolidated a raft of commentary released by WA SEA aimed at improving Australia’s energy efficiency and take up of renewable energy generation, including measures that remove barriers to business entry and deliver incentives to ensure a more sustainable economy.

WA SEA then prepared an election score chart to document how well election commitments from all major parties are tracking against WA SEA’s action list.

WA SEA has given all parties – Labor, Liberal, Nationals and Greens – an opportunity to respond to the rankings, and has taken feedback received from parties into consideration.

In the assessment, the chart was simplified to rank the Liberal and National Parties in coalition. While WA SEA notes differences between Nationals policy in Western Australia and what has been assessed as joint Coalition policy at a Federal level, these details have not been separately considered here.

The table draws together previous commitments by parties while in government and opposition, together with analysis of new election commitments sourced from policy statements and media announcements. A total of 20 policy categories have been scored based on an assessment of each measure scored out of 5, with a total possible score of 100.

The Greens received the highest score with 73, Labor scored 32, and the Coalition scored 11 out of 100.

WA SEA Election Scorecard 2010

Score out of a possible 5 for each of 20 policies, a possible total score of 100

1. A renewable energy industry
Development of a diversity of renewable energy projects distributed across all regions of Australia
ALP: 3 (Support)
Coalition: 2 (Limited support – cut to funding for Renewable Energy Future Fund)
Greens: 5 (Strong Support)

2. Skills development and jobs in sustainable energy
Training and education to deliver the skills and knowledge to grow Australian jobs delivering sustainable energy outcomes for all sectors of the economy
ALP: 0 (No stated policy)
Coalition: 0 (No stated policy)
Greens: 0 (No stated policy)

3. Mandated Renewable Energy Target (MRET) a trajectory, not an endpoint
Planning consider continuing strong growth of renewable energy after 2020 and beyond 20%
ALP: 0 (No stated policy)
Coalition: 0 (No stated policy)
Greens: 5 (Strong measures supported)

4. A national emissions trading scheme
ETS the best market tool to deliver a price on carbon and to allow industry to respond and deliver certainty
ALP: 3 (Supported)
Coalition: -1 (Not supported)
Greens: 5 (Strong measures supported)

5. A strong emissions reduction target
scientifically based emissions reduction target for the nation of 80% by 2050
ALP: 2 (Stated targets not reflective of science)
Coalition: 2 (Stated targets not reflective of science)
Greens: 5 (Policy reflective of science)

6. Government purchase renewable electricity and biofuels
Government procurement of renewable energy
ALP: 0 (No stated policy)
Coalition: 0 (No stated policy)
Greens: 4 (Range of measures supported)

7. Government to be Carbon Neutral by 2015
Government operations must be offset by appropriate action
ALP: 2 (Energy Efficiency in Government Operations- EEGO)
Coalition: 0 (No stated policy)
Greens: 0 (No stated policy)

8. Investment in transmission and use of distributed generation and district generation
Transmission to facilitate investment in large scale renewable energy projects
ALP: 3 (Commitment to invest $1 billion in connecting renewable energy to grid)
Coalition: 0 (No stated policy)
Greens: 5 (Strong measures supported)

9. Feed-in tariffs for renewable energy for domestic, small-scale and large-scale generation.
FiT delivers the most cost-effective investments
ALP: 1 (No national policy – some coverage via COAG to promote national consistency)
Coalition: 0 (No national policy – support by WA liberal National Government but not carried to Federal election)
Greens: 5 (Stated policy for gross FiT)

10. Initiatives maximise use of low emissions and no emissions transport.
inclusive of pedestrians and cycling, domestic and commercial and industrial vehicle fleets, and all forms of public and industrial transport
ALP: 3 (Support for bicycles, lower emissions cars and rail)
Coalition: 1 (No clear policy beyond small, targeted measures)
Greens: 5 (Strong policy supporting international best practice) 

11. Public transport including light rail
investment in infrastructure for the benefit of future generations
ALP: 4 (Support for light rail including through Infrastructure Australia criteria)
Coalition: 3 (Support for light rail project)
Greens: 5 (Strong measures supported)

12. Removing polluting vehicles
Applied to both commercial and domestic
ALP: 3 (Cash for clunkers – businesses not included)
Coalition: 0 (No stated policy)
Greens: 3 (Use of government procurement, stringent fuel efficiency standards)

13. Mandatory installation of no emissions heating and cooling in new and renovated buildings
deliver cooling, heating, and production of hot water without emissions
ALP: 1 (No mandated approach – some coverage in Green Buildings policy)
Coalition: 0 (No stated policy)
Greens: 0 (No stated policy)

14. Energy efficiency incentives
Expansion of existing and addition of new programs
ALP: 2 (Minimal new commitments)
Coalition: 1 (No new commitment)
Greens: 4 (Strong measures supported)

15. Energy efficiency and greenhouse gas labelling for all appliances, buildings and vehicles
mandatory energy efficiency reporting in advertising
ALP: 0 (No stated policy)
Coalition: 0 (No stated policy)
Greens: 4 (strong measures supported – no detail on labelling)

16. Mandatory energy efficiency for larger firms
regulates and incentivises uptake of otherwise cost-neutral savings
ALP: 1 (Minimal commitment)
Coalition: 1 (Minimal commitment)
Greens: 5 (Strong measures supported)

17. Sustainability principles applied to new property developments and construction projects
regulates and incentivises uptake
ALP: 1 (Minimal commitment)
Coalition: 1 (Minimal commitment)
Greens: 5 (Strong measures supported)

18. Minimum energy performance and mandatory disclosure for buildings – and precincts.
implementation of rating and monitoring the energy performance
ALP: 3 (Commercial office building energy efficiency disclosure scheme)
Coalition: 1 (Minimal commitment)
Greens: 5 (Strong measures supported)

19. Minimise transaction costs for sustainable energy outcomes
government taxes and charges should be minimised on sustainable energy products
ALP: 0 (No stated policy)
Coalition: 0 (No stated policy)
Greens: 0 (No stated policy)

20. Government support for ethical business conduct
industry code of conduct and clear customer codes
ALP: 0 (No stated policy)
Coalition: 0 (No stated policy)
Greens: 3 (Policy applies to publically listed companies)

ALP: 32
Coalition: 11
Greens: 73

WA SEA Election Scorecard 2010 – Scorecard current as at 16 August 2010

o Only public commitments made on behalf of parties are included in the table for scoring purposes.
o A negative score may be given where a Party’s policy position is to reverse or cut an existing measure or otherwise has the effect of setting back existing budgetary allocations
o WA SEA does not endorse any political party, but supports all policies supporting sustainable energy outcomes for Australia. The scores in the election scorecard reflect WA SEA’s assessment of party policies against sustainable energy outcomes. Voters are urged to raise these issues with whichever candidate they prefer to seek their support for the nature of policies outlined here.

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Award Winning Biofuels Project

13 August 2010

Ray Wills, CEO
Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA)

The WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) congratulates Curtin University researchers who have made a breakthrough in converting biomass, such as mallee, into “clean” combustible gaseous fuels that can be used to generate a continuous source of electricity, commonly referred to as base load electricity.

Linda Kristjanson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research & Development, presented the 2010 Curtin Commercial Innovation Award for the best new innovation award to Professor Chun-Zhu Li and his team today.

Li, the Professor and Director of Curtin Centre for Advanced Energy Science and Engineering, Curtin University of Technology is a world leader in energy research. Prof Li took up the position of Director in early 2009 to develop novel low emission energy technologies, covering both fossil fuels and renewables.

‘Improvements in biomass-based renewable energy is critically important as there are great opportunities across rural and regional Australia for farmers, communities, and potentially some mine sites, to be self sufficient on energy from renewable sources,’ says Prof Ray Wills, Chief Executive of WA SEA.

‘The technology is also relevant to the growing energy needs of many third world nations – allow energy growth with out additional greenhouse gas emissions, especially Africa, northern India and western China,’ says Prof Wills.

Biomass-to-power is the world’s third largest form of renewable energy after wind and solar. Investment in new capacity in this sector was $10.4 billion 2009, up 16% on 2008.

‘WA SEA welcomes the innovations that in Western Australia can take advantage of oil mallees, small trees abundant in WA and actively planted and farmed to minimise dryland salinity.’

‘The inclusion of mallees as a part of a sustainable, integrated cropping system maximizes farm yield and optimises environmental benefits on landscapes degrading through salinity and soil erosion. Mallees have a number of benefits including reducing water tables and creating wind breaks – and renewable fuel.’

Editors notes:

1. What the world is doing in renewable – United Nations Environment Programme report
2. WA SEA Policy framework via WA SEA website
3. The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) is a chamber of enterprises that has a growing membership of over 350 industry members from a diversity of businesses. WA SEA is the largest energy industry body in Australia.
4. WA SEA bringing you the Energising SE Asia Conference 23-26 March 2011, Perth.

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Campaign to Rebuild the Solar Energy Society in Western Australia

11 August 2010

Garry Baverstock AM
Interim President of AuSES- WA Branch

I joined ISES WA Group in 1978. It was a very important organization in those days.

After the Second World War many world leaders, including President Eisenhower of the USA, realized that fossil fuels would only last about 100 years for transport and we needed to project ahead and discover the alternatives for sustainable energy for planet earth. This happened in 1952 at an International Conference hosted by the Americans. The international body, ISES formed 2 years later and has continued for over 50 years.

Since then with the growing awareness of Climate Change caused mainly from coal fired power stations strengthens the original mandate. I believe that it is now even more important to have a society that moves the political, scientific and economic agenda forward. It provides a function that Industry Associations alone cannot do.

Renewable energy in all its forms as a derivative of solar energy is the eventual main answer to Climate Change. We simply must move forward and our community needs a high ground ethical basis from which to work. AuSES provides this.

A key function of our society has been education, public awareness and mentoring of our up and coming scientists, engineers and architects. Apart from providing the forum for this interaction through technical talks, and conferences, there has always been a high level of mentoring the during the early hay days of the society. I was fortunate to encounter people like the late Ron Brown, John Riley, Clarry Small and Dr Bob Lawrance (still alive) in the early days of my career and I learned a great deal. Interaction with Interstate and International members just expanded my knowledge further.

Unfortunately over the last 2 decades this important function has diminished and needs to be restored as our society in WA has existed in name only. I believe it has happened due to a lack of this very important ingredient of “mentorship”.

Dr Bill Parker and I have decided to do something about this. Apart from taking over the vacant positions of President and Treasurer as an interim position for a period of 12 months starting from 1st January, 2011, we plan to do a number of things:

1. Address uni students to join the society by providing encouragement and mentoring as part of a campaign
2. Increase membership by targeting key mature figures in the industries and professions, including uni lecturers to form the basis of the mentor group
3. Provide technical talks and social gatherings to create a healthy level of interaction.

Now, what do we need from you?:

1. Putting a commitment forward for yourself to act as a mentor in order to increase memberships from the younger members of our society.
2. Offer to contact a mature person to act as a mentor, not already a member, to become a member for that purpose.

We need generation change and a smooth transition. Activities will follow, but we must first put the horse before the cart. I hope you will put your hand up and support this approach. Recruit one new mentor and one young student each and we would have the most vibrant membership base in the country.

The future of this world is now at stake. Solar and renewable energy is no longer a nifty idea! We need to move on. There is a lot of innovation and action needed that the society can offer.

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