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May/June 2012

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Regulating clean energy

On the eve of commencing her position as Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Government’s new Clean Energy Regulator, EcoGeneration spoke with Chloe Munro about why she took on the role and some of her goals for her time at the helm of the Regulator.

Single-piece turbines catching the NZ breeze

Often the locations chosen to develop wind farms are among some of the harshest environments on Earth – as is the case at the Te Uku wind farm situated in a remote part of New Zealand’s North Island. At this site, Siemens has deployed 28 of its SWT-2.3-101 turbines.

IPART compares solar prices

In March 2012, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal released a report on the New South Wales’ Solar Bonus Scheme, which closed in July 2011, recommending a 'fair and reasonable' price for a solar feed-in tariff in the state, and for there to be an annual review of that price.

Australia in the international carbon market

The commencement of the Australian carbon pricing mechanism on July 1 2012 comes at a time of ongoing uncertainty within the international carbon market. Baker & McKenzie’s Simon Greenacre and Paul Curnow discuss how and why this uncertainty in international carbon market prices will impact the Australian scheme.

Auditing the NEM

by Jeff Angel, Executive Director, Total Environment Centre

A new study by the Institute for Sustainable Futures shows that Australia’s National Electricity Market needs to improve its environmental performance and increase levels of energy efficiency, underscoring the need to reform the country’s National Electricity Rules.

Does improving energy efficiency mean investing big capital?

by Chris Smith, Global Director of Sustainable Operations, DuPont Sustainable Solutions

Fortunately, the short answer to this question is ‘no’. Improving the energy efficiency of your workplace or business doesn’t mean investing huge amounts of money in capital equipment. In fact, more than 40 per cent of energy efficiency improvements can be made immediately with little or no capital investment.

Pacific Hydro calls for complementary energy policy reform

Renewable energy company Pacific Hydro, in a submission on the Federal Government’s Draft Energy White Paper, has called for a complementary reform package in energy policy and regulation to achieve long-term goals to transform the current energy sector to clean, renewable energy.

Solar safety first with a remote isolator

by Joe Hudson, Electrician and Founder of J. Hudson Electrical

A huge increase in the number of residential solar installations in Australia over recent years has led to a number of questions being asked: what are the safety implications to home owners, electrical workers and emergency personnel of these installations? What can be done to make them safer?

Ramping up hydro pumped storage schemes

Of all the renewable energy sources, storage of hydropower offers the most well-established and straightforward process, writes Mark Hayes, Managing Director of Hoshac Pty Ltd.

Shaking up offshore wind

French energy developer Technip, in association with wind developer Nénuphar, has recently launched the Vertiwind project. Free of the constraints related to the foundations of fixed wind turbines, the Vertiwind concept opens up new possibilities for offshore wind farms.

World’s longest offshore wind blade

LM Wind Power’s 73.5 metre long turbine blades have become the first 70+ metre blades in the world to be installed at an offshore facility.

Partnering for renewable project development

To meet the energy needs of 220,000 households, the Macarthur Wind Farm in western Victoria requires 140 wind turbines and 90 km of underground medium voltage cable. To ensure that the project is successfully connected to the grid, the Industry Capability Network has partnered Olex Cables with Macarthur Wind Farm to install the project’s cabling.

Making hot water ‘green’

Stiebel Eltron, a global designer and manufacturer of energy efficient solutions, tells EcoGeneration why environmental performance, efficiency, installation quality and running costs are key factors to consider when selecting the most efficient water heating solution for multi-dwelling residential buildings.

Green stars shine in Victoria

Victoria is home to two building projects that have received high accolades from the Green Building Council of Australia for stellar energy efficiency efforts. The Pixel Building in Melbourne’s central business district and the Victorian Government Services Office in Dandenong are both recipients of 6 Stars in the Council’s Green Star sustainability rating system.

Re-imagining the EV as an energy storage medium

La Trobe University recently entered into a joint research program with Indian electric vehicle manufacturer Mahindra Reva to develop an energy management system for industrial buildings that uses the electric vehicle in a novel way.

The SESKA Geothermal Project

CSIRO is developing Australia’s largest direct-use geothermal demonstration site at the Australian Resources Research Centre in the Perth suburb of Kensington.

Direct-use digs the funding vibe

In a boost for Australia’s direct-use geothermal sector, $1.6 million in Victorian Government funding has been granted to the University of Melbourne and its industry partners, Geotechnical Engineering and Direct Energy, for the installation of 30 to 40 ground-source heat pumps in buildings across the state.

Choosing the right direct-use geothermal system

As previously reported in EcoGeneration, Valentin Software recently launched a program that determines the most suitable direct-use geothermal system for deployment at a given location. EcoGeneration gets an update from Valentin on how the software has been received by the industry, and also learns more about the technology itself.

The power of decentralised energy

The Intelligent Grid Research Program – a collaboration between the CSIRO and five Australian universities investigating technologies and practices to make electricity networks smarter, greener and more efficient – is now complete. EcoGeneration’s Melanie Ryan speaks with one of the program’s research directors, Chris Dunstan from the Institute for Sustainable Futures, to learn about its key findings.

Smart grid or mildly intelligent grid?

by Peter Goggin, Director, SmartGrid Partners

In early smart grid activities, there has been too much emphasis on investment in information and communications technology, creating a solution looking for a problem. More effort is needed in defining critical problems so that innovative solutions can be designed – let’s get the grid to ‘mildly intelligent’ before it can be truly ‘smart’.

Options for the grid in Australia’s energy future

In a report released by the Grattan Institute, entitled No easy choices: which way to Australia’s energy future – technology analysis, Australia’s potential for large-scale deployment of renewable energy technologies is reviewed. EcoGeneration looks at the report’s findings on the deployment of grid technology, grid development and decentralised energy, and how the grid can be better integrated with renewable technologies.

Mastering PV opportunities in Australia

The next round of the EcoGeneration Master Classes will be led by solar expert Nigel Morris, Director of Solar Business Services, and will give attendees detailed insight into the dynamics and drivers of the Australian photovoltaic market.

Uniting clean technology at the Cleantech Forum

EcoGeneration was at the 8th Annual Australasian Cleantech Forum in Melbourne, from 27–28 February 2012, where clean technology companies were united to discuss issues impacting investment in the industry.

Rocking out at WAGES

The West Australian Geothermal Energy Symposium, held in Perth on 2–3 April 2012, invited scientists, technical experts, policymakers and potential end-users to promote and expand the understanding and utilisation of geothermal energy in Western Australia.

Up close with Michael Ottaviano

Michael Ottaviano is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Australian wave energy developer Carnegie Wave Energy. Michael oversees all activities that Carnegie undertakes including the commercial and technical aspects of Carnegie’s operations, engineering and design, intellectual property, finance, and administration.

The Prince Charles Hospital cogeneration project

The 1.6 megawatt cogeneration plant combines hot water, steam and electricity generation utilising a natural gas fired reciprocating engine. The technology is monitored both locally and remotely, and preventative maintenance is performed by hospital staff and the engine manufacturer.

Sustainable building worldwide with products made in Germany

Schüco International KG is a global provider of solar, window and façade systems from Germany. Active in Australia since October 2011, Schüco offers a wide range of photovoltaic products made from high-quality materials, which meet the highest demands in terms of energy efficiency, security, comfort and design.

Coming up in EcoGeneration July/August 2012: solar

EcoGeneration previews the profile of Willoughby City Council’s Albert Avenue Car Park Solar Project that will appear in the July/August edition of the magazine. The project was made possible thanks to development and construction by Solgen Energy, Schott solar photovoltaic modules and SMA grid-connected inverters.

New standards for solar hot water

The Federal Government, in agreement with the building sector, has resolved to eliminate poor energy performance practices through a national standard approach to minimum performance requirements for new buildings and major refurbishments.

Gelliondale Nursery Pine Propagation Project

In 2010, Gelliondale Nursery in Victoria installed a hydronic thermal generator powered by sawdust for the Nursery’s greenhouse, in order to reduce annual running costs, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and ensure energy security for the site, given rising fuel costs.

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