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May/June 2011

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Solar Australia – our first dedicated solar industry magazine

The publishers of EcoGeneration are delighted to announce the launch of a new magazine: Solar Australia, dedicated to coverage of every aspect of this country’s solar industry.

The Australian carbon price arrives

On 24 February 2011, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a proposal for a two-stage carbon pricing mechanism. Long awaited by the clean energy industry, the proposal could spell an increase in investment in renewable energy infrastructure across Australia.

The Australian carbon price and its green jobs potential

by Julien Lacave

How many jobs can the new green economy create in Australia and, conversely, how many jobs will be lost in traditional sectors because of the internalisation of pollution costs created by a carbon price?

Martin Ferguson: at the clean energy helm

EcoGeneration's Katherine St Lawrence and Sally Commins recently spoke with the Federal Minister for Energy, Resources and Tourism in Melbourne on the state of the Australian carbon price, investment in renewable energy and the prospect of a national feed-in tariff.

How performance-based PV RECs could transform the solar industry

by Warwick Johnston, Vice President, Solar Energy Industries Association

Skewed incentives under the Renewable Energy Certificate scheme currently make no distinction between what a photovoltaic system claims to do – that is, its nameplate capacity in kilowatts – and what it actually achieves. It’s a problem that is weighing down the solar industry in Australia with a case of photovoltaic system obesity, but which could be solved with the introduction of a healthier diet of system metering.

Listening to the planet and building a sustainable energy economy

Placing a price on greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere will not solve global climate change and environmental destruction by itself, but it gives us a language in which to express our values, writes Dan Kammen, the World Bank’s Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, and Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy, University of California, Berkeley.

Political heavyweights join impressive line-up

The latest round of clean energy heavyweights have been announced for the EcoGen 2011 Conference and Exhibition, adding to the dynamic conference program of speakers, networking sessions and workshop training taking place from 5–7 September at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Energising South East Asia

In March, the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia hosted the Energising South East Asia Conference and Exhibition at the Perth Convention Centre. EcoGeneration was there to capture the best moments.

Lane Crockett – the future of wind energy in Australia

Lane Crockett, General Manager of Pacific Hydro Australia, sees a bright future for wind energy generation in Australia and a strong place for Australia in the international clean energy market.

What’s up with wind?

As the wind industry continues to prosper, it can be difficult to keep up with developments and milestones. Look no further – here EcoGeneration interviews leaders from three of the world’s top wind energy companies: Suzlon, REpower and Goldwind.

Getting it to the grid

In 2009, New South Wales electricity grid owner and operator, TransGrid, and wind energy company, Infigen, collaborated to connect to the grid the largest renewable electricity generator commissioned in the state since the Snowy Hydro Scheme — the Capital Wind Farm.

Wind farms in Queensland: real property issues for developers

by Tony Baldwin, Partner, and Tammy Berghofer, Associate, HopgoodGanim Lawyers

Following the Federal Government’s proposal that a fixed price on carbon will be in place from 1 July 2012, and an emissions trading scheme to follow, investment in the renewable energy sector is expected to increase in 2011 and 2012.

The residential energy efficiency lag factor

by Rachel Purchase

In May of this year it was anticipated that the Federal Government would roll out a national energy efficiency mandatory disclosure scheme for existing residential buildings. At present, this roll out has been postponed indefinitely. EcoGeneration spoke to some energy efficiency experts to shed some light on the matter.

Tax Breaks to incentivise sustainability

The Federal Government’s new Tax Breaks for Green Buildings program will improve the energy efficiency of buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the nation’s shift to sustainability, says the Green Building Council of Australia.

Building an intelligent system

by Robin Mellon, Executive Director – Advocacy and International, Green Building Council of Australia

The Green Building Council of Australia is often asked whether new technologies and systems have the most potential to help with climate change, or if it’s the green buildings themselves.

How do you rate it? Australia’s green building rating tools

A number of rating schemes have been developed in Australia to assess the energy consumption and environmental impact of commercial and residential buildings. Sustainable Built Environment’s Chris Begert looks at three of the better known rating tools: Green Star, NABERS and NatHERS.

Solidifying Australia’s CST future

Mark Twidell, Executive Director of the Australian Solar Institute, spoke recently with EcoGeneration’s Sally Commins about the concentrated solar thermal research projects being undertaken at the Australian National University and CSIRO, as well as the future of the solar thermal industry in Australia.

Speaking solar thermal with an expert

Recently EcoGeneration caught up with Werner Weiss, Chair of the International Energy Agency’s Solar Heating and Cooling Program and Managing Director of AEE Intec – Institute for Sustainable Technologies. Mr Weiss discusses, advances in solar thermal technology, the differences between the European and Australian solar scenes, and the origins of his clean energy interests.

CST project: ANU

The Australian National University is undertaking a concentrated solar power project, which aims to develop and commercialise a roof-mounted hybrid solar concentrator composed of both photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies.

CST projects: CSIRO

CSIRO has the largest concentrated solar thermal research team in Australia; there currently are approximately 30 scientists, engineers and technicians working on research projects in the industry.

Concentrated solar power: are we there yet?

by Dr Andrew Skumanich and Shannon K. Fulton

The recent tragedy in Japan has brought front and centre the issue of secure energy production. Even the ‘standard’ baseline energy sources, in this case nuclear power, were not only offline, but also potentially hazardous. This could give additional impetus to concentrated solar power, which has the potential for baseline power, and without the hazards. But is it ready yet?

Beyond power generation: geothermal for heating, cooling and hot water

by Yale Carden, GeoExchange Australia

The geothermal discourse in Australia to date has largely centred on energy generation and efforts to decrease our reliance on coal-fired power generation. However, the spectrum of geothermal technologies extends beyond energy generation and in some instances does not require unique geology, high ground temperatures or deep drilling programmes.

Design considerations for geothermal air conditioning and space heating

by Mark Ballesteros, Director, EarthConnect

Ground source heat pumps have been declared the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean and cost-effective space conditioning systems available by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Yet, the potential of ground source heat pumps is only starting to be recognised in Australia.

Getting to the bottom of it: drilling for ground-source heat pumps

by Rachel Purchase

As geothermal ground-source heat pumps become a more popular heating and cooling option in Australia, drilling companies nation-wide are adapting to provide relevant drilling services. Tracto-Technik and Vermeer are two such companies digging in to the new opportunities geothermal space heating and air conditioning present.

Phoenix Contact makes light work of cable connections

Phoenix Contact has released a device called SUNCLIX that makes the process of connecting cables from solar modules to inverters a much easier process.

S-5!® The Right Way!

S-5! ® specialises in mounting framed photovoltaic modules directly to standing seam metal roofs, and has become a market leader in the industry.

Introducing the new SunPower inverter series

SunPower is proud to announce the launch of the SPR-350F and SPR-400F inverter series.

Apollo Energy introduces SunLock

In late 2010 Apollo Energy launched its solar panel mounting system, SunLock.

CNPV completes 7 MW utility-scale solar power project in Shandong Province, China

As part of the Chinese National Golden Sun Demonstration Project, the 7 megawatt project was designed, developed and implemented by CNPV to fully demonstrate the real-life capability of solar power generation.

Imaca presents the Neopower Solar Hot Water System

Imaca has spent the past two years researching and developing the highly efficient Neopower Solar Hot Water System.

A big positive for the Australian solar industry

The solar industry is booming. Solar energy retailers are located all over Australia and, for most, the phones don’t stop ringing. Of course, the continuing reduction in government rebates has a large part to play in this consumer frenzy.

Up close with Derek Gerrard, Managing Director and Co-founder of Greensense

Greensense is an Australian-based sustainability consultancy. Mr Gerrard has worked with some of Australia's largest companies in providing innovative approaches to making business sense of sustainability.

Cummins Power Generation: trigeneration for the children

Cummins Power Generation has been contracted to install a trigeneration system at the new Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, currently under construction.

The Ecovillage at Currumbin

Grid-connected; solar PV, energy efficiency; Queensland

Driving innovation in the sustainability industry

Let us hope that we are able to build and use this language of energy and environmental clarity. In this respect, the story begins to get brighter and brighter.

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