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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-19 09:28:31
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:28:31
                    [post_content] => 

New Zealand leads the world in zero emission renewable grid electricity now at 85%. With a nice balance between geothermal, hydroelectric, unusually continuous wind power and some solar, the country has less intermittency of green power than most.

Transpower NZ, the government-owned power company, made NZD 208.4m profit in 2016-17 (AUD 190m) and has investigated grid-scale battery systems for near-term investment.

Battery storage under investigation

Building energy storage systems across New Zealand would represent an economic ‘game-changer’ for the country within the next few years, according to new research by national grid owner-operator Transpower.

The company said its research findings show distribution-connected or community-scale batteries are expected to be economic for homes and business from 2020— promising “real potential and benefits from batteries for New Zealand consumers”.

Now Transpower is preparing to conduct trials of battery storage systems, while working with industry leaders to push for market and pricing reforms the company said will be needed to “unlock the value of battery systems to maximise their value”.

Transpower’s general manager for grid development Stephen Jay said: “We are actively evaluating opportunities for using new technologies throughout our network. We are preparing for what that future looks like and this battery research is the first of a number of reports we will release looking at technologies that could possibly have an impact on our business.

“Battery projects at lower voltage distribution substations and at a consumer level are forecast to be economic in the next few years, due to the declining cost of battery systems,” Mr Jay said. “Over time, we believe they will also become economic for the high voltage transmission grid and this will then provide battery resilience across the whole supply chain.”

Mr Jay said Transpower is not planning large-scale high voltage trials with batteries “in the near term— but we will seek opportunities to work with and learn from others in joint projects where appropriate.”

According to Transpower’s study, the functionality of a battery as both a load and a generator at various times “will need to be examined, and regulatory and technical barriers to entry addressed”.

In the long-term, the study said battery storage at any location in the supply chain is expected to delay or replace the need to build additional thermal peaking plant and should over time reduce the cost of electricity to consumers.

Container-based battery storage systems in the order of 1-2MW “have the advantage that they can be implemented relatively quickly to target specific grid constraints in a controlled manner”, the report said. They can be ‘right sized’ for the first year of need, “with the possibility of increasing the storage capacity over time if load growth occurs”. This would “optimise initial capital expenditure and leverage the declining cost curve of future expansion”, the report said.

In addition, the report said ramping up battery storage projects would support national plans to boost the take-up of electric vehicles. According to Transpower, there are currently around 3,000 electric vehicles in the country, but government policy is targeting 64,000 vehicles by 2021-22.

“In future, we expect that electric vehicle batteries could have the capability to be part of a battery network, providing services when the vehicle is plugged in to charge overnight,” Transpower said.

With IDTechEx. You can download the Transpower report here.
                    [post_title] => NZ hits 85% renewables, profitably
                    [post_excerpt] => NZ Government makes $190m from electricity, focuses on renewables and grid battery storage.
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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-11 14:47:14
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                    [post_content] =>  



Australia should start work immediately on a new way to ensure reliable electricity supplies, according to a new Grattan Institute report.

Next Generation: the long-term future of the National Electricity Market calls for preparatory work on a ‘capacity mechanism’ to encourage investment in new electricity generation and reduce the threat of shortages and blackouts.

The report warns, however, that the costs of such peace of mind would ultimately fall on consumers through higher electricity prices. So a capacity mechanism should be introduced only if all other market reforms have been exhausted and supply is still under threat.

Through a capacity mechanism, generators would be paid not only for the electricity they produce to meet current demand, but for committing to provide power for years into the future. The market operator or retailers could contract for sufficient electricity to meet future demand, to ensure new generation and storage is built in time.

“Australians have endured a decade of toxic political debates about climate change policy, South Australians suffered a state-wide blackout last year, consumers across the country are screaming about skyrocketing electricity bills, and energy companies are shutting down big coal-fired power stations,” said Grattan Institute Energy program director Tony Wood.

“It is understandable that governments feel the need to ‘do something’. But the danger is they will rush in and make things worse. What Australia needs now is perspective, not panic.”

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) last week called for a ‘longer-term approach’ to ensure electricity supplies. The Grattan report identifies a capacity obligation on retailers as the most effective and lowest-cost approach.

The report calls for a three-step policy. First, the Federal Government should implement all recommendations of the June 2017 Finkel Review, including a Clean Energy Target or a similar mechanism to price greenhouse gas emissions.

Second, alongside the Australian Energy Market Commission’s work on the market’s reliability framework, AEMO’s annual assessment of future supply and demand should be extended to include a more comprehensive assessment of the future adequacy of generation supply.

And third, if the newly created Energy Security Board concludes that projected shortfalls are unlikely to be met under the current market design, AEMO should introduce a capacity mechanism.

“This pragmatic, planned approach offers the best prospect of affordable, reliable, secure and sustainable power for Australians,” Mr Wood said.
                    [post_title] => Grattan report calls for a capacity mechanism in electricity
                    [post_excerpt] => How to make sure Australia has enough electricity in the future: Grattan Institute report.
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                    [post_date] => 2017-07-10 13:53:29
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-10 03:53:29
                    [post_content] => 

The Queensland Government is throwing its support behind a new $60 million Atherton Tableland biorefinery that it says could generate 130 regional jobs and encourage diverse cropping in the region, however, politicians across the nation could well suffer from some voter backlash for their backing of the Adani mine in Queensland.

The good: sugar

Queensland Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham said the MSF Sugar biorefinery was part of a multi-million dollar investment in 21st century bio-futures plants that could generate more than 130 jobs in regional Queensland.

“The proposed MSF Sugar biorefinery is expected to generate 80 construction and farming jobs and an additional 50 operational jobs, delivering a further boost to the region’s economy,” Dr Lynham said.

“Powered by an onsite bagasse-fuelled 24 MW Green Power station, the combined biorefinery complex is expected to produce 110,000 tonnes of raw sugar, 200,000 MW of green electricity for the grid and 55 million litres of ethanol biofuel annually.”

The company will trial large-scale blue agave cropping as an alternative feedstock to sugarcane in the off-growing season, which could potentially allow the biorefinery to operate 12 months of the year.

Blue agave is said to grow well in dryland conditions with minimum irrigation required.

Dr Lynham said the government was providing funding that would primarily be used by the company to progress feasibility studies, to accelerate construction commencement of the proposed biorefinery.

Dr Lynham said Atherton’s MSF Sugar biorefinery was another step towards achieving the state’s plan for a $1 billion sustainable, export-oriented biotechnology and bioproducts sector.

Acceleration of the Atherton project came out of the government’s $4 million Biofutures Acceleration Program that offers support to companies to build commercial-scale biorefineries in regional Queensland to process materials such as agricultural and industrial waste.

“More than 120 parties indicated interest in biorefining in Queensland through the program and 26 submitted detailed expressions of interest,” he said.

Other biorefinery projects coming to regional Queensland from the Biofutures Acceleration Program are:
  • A biorefinery in another Queensland sugarcane region by US biotechnology company Amyris that would create 70 operational jobs. The company aims to produce 23,000 tonnes a year of a sugar cane-based ingredient called farnesene used in products including cosmetic emollients, fragrances, fuels, solvents, lubricants and nutraceuticals.
  • A planned $26 million expansion of United Ethanol’s Dalby Biorefinery facility by 24ML to 100ML, creating 50 jobs. The company also plans to conduct detailed scientific studies to improve the marketability of its high-value and high-protein animal feed product called ‘dry distillers grain’ later this year.
The bad: subsidising coal A new study has reinforced how cabinet ministers’ electorates strongly oppose coal subsidies. New polling of seven electorates belonging to senior federal cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, reveals strong opposition to a federal subsidised loan for Adani’s coal project, and support for instituting a moratorium on new coal mines. The Australia Institute commissioned ReachTEL to conduct surveys of 4,712 Australian residents across the electorates of Wentworth (Turnbull), Cook (Morrison), Curtin (Bishop), Dickson (Dutton), Flinders (Hunt), Kooyong (Frydenberg) and Sturt (Pyne) on the 8th of June 2017. Respondents were asked if they supported or opposed the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) giving Adani a one billion dollar subsidised loan for its coal rail line. 17-28% supported the idea while 51-70% opposed it. “Despite a push by some conservatives for coal subsidy polices, these results - in key blue-ribbon Liberal seats - show strong opposition to that very idea,” executive director of The Australia Institute Ben Oquist said. “It makes sense that the Liberal Party base would be so opposed to the idea of spending taxpayers’ money on subsidies for an industry as well established as coal mining. “What makes less sense is the idea that ministers who represent those seats, who believe in free markets and small government principles, would ignore both the politics and economics when it comes to Adani. “When asked more broadly about the idea of taxpayer subsidies for Adani, the opposition was even higher.”
  Cook Curtin Dickson Flinders Kooyong Sturt Wentworth
Support 10.7% 13.3% 19.7% 15.4% 15.2% 17.0% 14.6%
Oppose 70.8% 61.0% 62.2% 67.9% 66.4% 53.3% 70.1%
Don’t know/Not sure 18.5% 25.8% 18.1% 16.7% 18.4% 29.7% 15.4%
  In every electorate, more people supported a moratorium on new coal mines than opposed the proposal. 51% of the Prime Minister’s constituents support the idea with 31% opposed. “These results show that Malcolm Turnbull should be confident in staring down the pro-coal faction in his party room,” Mr Oquist said.
  Cook Curtin Dickson Flinders Kooyong Sturt Wentworth
Liberal/LNP 63% 65% 56% 54% 56% 56% 61%
Labor 37% 35% 44% 46% 44% 44% 39%
  [post_title] => Queensland to boost biofuels, Adani support questioned [post_excerpt] => $60M FNQ biorefinery to create 130 jobs, but support for Adani hits new lows. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => queensland-boost-biofuels-adani-support-questioned [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-10 15:28:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-10 05:28:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27569 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27284 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-02 11:24:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-02 01:24:51 [post_content] =>   NSW councils tentative on housing affordability package Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has welcomed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s ‘promising ideas’ in the state’s new housing affordability package but said the reforms were ‘somewhat light on detail’. The reforms include stamp duty concessions for first home buyers, changes to the first home buyer’s grant, higher taxes on foreign investors and accelerating council-led rezonings and development application approvals. "LGNSW congratulates the government on its efforts to do what it can to support housing affordability, and there's nothing we'd like more to do than to come out and praise their efforts,” LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said. "Unfortunately until there is more detailed information available it really seems to be a case of the devil will lie in the detail." Mr Rhoades said the sector welcomed many components of the package, including the ‘very positive’ move to lift the cap on development contributions to ensure new homes had the necessary infrastructure to support them, like footpaths, roads and parks. He also cautiously welcomed the announcement of funding of up to $2.5 million for ‘growth priority councils’ to help councils update their Local Environment Plans quicker. "It's great news that these ten to 15 councils will be supported to plan for future growth, but we are a little concerned at the suggestion that councils should accelerate the rezoning of land," Mr Rhoades said.  "Rezoning needs good strategic planning at a local level, and it's important that we don't give this up in the pursuit of speed at all costs.” He said it was unclear whether the government’s new guidelines around protecting the local character of communities would have much force. However, Mr Rhoades said councils were pleased the government had not moved straight to mandatory independent planning panels for deciding larger development applications. "These panels work very effectively for some councils, but other councils don't see the need for them - it really needs to be a matter of local choice.”   Digital marketplace for smart cities Local councils can now use the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) Digital Marketplace platform to collaborate on smart city projects, including smart lighting, rubbish collection and infrastructure modelling. The new functionality, which is expected to become permanent, was introduced to help councils find suppliers for the innovative products and services they need to deliver smart city ideas. “There is a great appetite for innovation within local councils, who are at the forefront of smart city initiatives,” Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said. “Already 25 per cent of registered buyers on the Digital Marketplace are local government and there are more than 400 sellers who can provide the digital expertise they need to transform their communities.” There are already some exciting projects up on the Digital Marketplace, such as Sunshine Coast’s underground waste collection project and Ipswich Council’s 5D data modelling, which brings together streams of data to build a five-dimensional view of the city’s infrastructure. The Marketplace is supporting the federal government’s Smart Cities Plan and complements the $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. Applications for the first round of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program close on 30 June 2017.  Eight Sydney councils will offer residents free energy advice Eight Sydney councils will offer free energy advice to residents through the Our Energy Future partnership, going live on World Environment Day, Monday 5 June. Eight councils are working with Our Energy Future: Inner West, Bayside, City of Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown City, Georges River, City of Parramatta, Randwick City, and City of Sydney. Our Energy Future (formerly Our Solar Future) will involve an energy advice website, phone line and free, no-obligation quotes on solar and assessment services. Users can find information such as trusted solar and storage battery retailers and installers and tips on improving the energy efficiency of their homes and workplaces. For a discounted rate, Our Energy Future experts can also conduct comprehensive energy assessments to offer more tailored advice.   Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) President Councillor Sally Betts said she was excited about the launch. “We’re delighted that Our Energy Future and SSROC have been able to come together with eight councils to deliver financial savings to our local residents,” she said. Our Energy Future is coordinated by Positive Charge, a not-for-profit social enterprise. “Our organisation has its foundations in working with local government to reduce emissions and increase the use of renewable and energy efficiency technologies,” said Manager Positive Charge Kate Nicolazzo. “We are thrilled to be partnering with SSROC to bring this award-winning service to Sydney-region residents,” she said. SSROC General Manager Namoi Dougall said, “Our Energy Future is a key element of SSROC’s Renewable Energy Master Plan, and will be run by Positive Charge for a 15-month pilot.” [post_title] => Around the councils: Digital Marketplace open for smart cities; Response to NSW housing reforms [post_excerpt] => And eight Sydney council's energy efficiency push. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => around-councils-digital-marketplace-open-smart-cities-response-nsw-housing-reforms [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-02 11:32:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-02 01:32:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27284 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26551 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-03-15 15:57:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-15 04:57:18 [post_content] =>     By Mace Hartley, executive director, Australasian Fleet Management Association (AFMA) Australia takes its time adapting to change. Electric vehicle benefits remain unrealised, so what more can we do? Impressively, 2016 was a record year for new vehicle sales driven largely by business and rental markets with private sales delivering the worst result since 2013. For the first time since 2013 non-private sales exceeded half of total new vehicle sales (excluding heavy vehicles). The Paris Agreement in November 2015 saw over 190 countries - including Australia, US, India and China - sign an agreement to limit global warming to well below 2.0 degrees Celsius, aiming for 1.5 degrees. The agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016 and was ratified by Australia on 9 November 2016. Australia set ambitious targets to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, which builds on the 2020 target of reducing emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels. Further, Australia committed to contributing towards the global goal of reaching net zero emissions by the second half of this century. Transport represents 18 per cent of Australia’s total emissions. Within this, road transport accounts for 85 per cent with the largest impact being cars and light commercial vehicles at 72 per cent. Given vehicles represent a huge portion of Australia’s emissions you would think sales of alternative fueled vehicles would increase. Whilst diesel has made inroads, electric vehicles (EVs) had their worst result since 2013 with step declines from 2014 and 2015, and LPG-only vehicles continue to decline as they are no longer available in Australia. (Table 1) So, what’s stopping the uptake of EVs? There are many factors, with high vehicle price, lack of suitable vehicles and charging infrastructure topping the list. Wealthy private buyers with higher disposable cash are purchasing Teslas and BMW i3s with few other options available, whilst non-private fleets struggle to find a vehicle fit-for-purpose at reasonable pricing with Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi iMEV no longer available. What’s going to change? The government has recently released two draft Regulation Impact Statements for discussion and feedback. They’re called “Improving the Efficiency of New Light Vehicles” which considers the introduction of mandatory fuel efficiency standards which 80 per cent of the global light vehicle market already has in place in the US, EU, Canada, China, South Korea and India (amongst others), and “Vehicle Emissions Standards for Cleaner Air”, which considers the introduction of more stringent noxious emissions standards for light and heavy road vehicles which again already exists in most developed countries. How will “improving the efficiency of new light vehicles” drive an increase in EV sales? The term efficiency in this case relates to the grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometer a vehicle produces. In 2015 the average efficiency of new light vehicles sold in the EU was 120g/km whilst Australia was 184g/km. There is a range of ways to introduce targets; an example from overseas, manufacturers must meet average efficiency targets across their entire vehicle portfolio. This means they can still offer higher emission vehicles but need to sell more low emissions vehicles such as EVs to reduce their overall emissions. In December, the government released its emissions projections for 2016 which includes a range of assumptions including that EVs will represent 0.5 per cent of new vehicle sales in 2020 and 15 per cent in 2030. For 2020 that’s an increase of 5,672 vehicles or 2,589 per cent over the 219 vehicles sold in 2016 and by 2030, an increase of over 176,000 vehicles or 80,594 per cent. There’s clearly much to be done. Mandatory emission targets may increase the number of EVs on offer but simply increasing availability won’t necessarily increase demand. Both state and federal governments will need to consider incentives to drive private and non-private demand. State government levers could include reductions in stamp duty, lower registration costs, dedicated road lanes and preference parking. The federal government already provides some incentive as EVs don’t pay fuel excise and other options could include removing FBT or lowering the luxury car tax for EVs. Whilst each of these measures will help, more is needed to reduce the purchase price of EVs in the short term before they reach price parity as the technology and demand matures. It’s true the cost of EVs is reducing, driven primarily by the falling cost of battery packs, which can account for about a third of the cost of the entire vehicle. In 2015, battery prices fell by 35 per cent and continuing reductions in battery prices are projected to bring the total cost of ownership of EVs below that for conventional-fuel vehicles by 2025, eight years from now! There is no doubt alternative fuel vehicles are important to Australia’s emissions targets but it’s unclear what’s going to jump start an increase in sales. There are many stakeholders working to support the uptake of low emissions vehicles, including the EV Council which has been established by industry to advise, advocate for and co-ordinate activities to support the uptake of electric vehicles, and the government continues to work through their options with the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions. Stay tuned!   Table 1: New Vehicle Sales (excl Heavy Vehicles)
  2013 2014 2015 2016
All Categories Total 1,104,531 1,081,899 1,123,224 1,145,024
Diesel 340,552 331,270 334,052 363,007
Electric 292 1,135 1,108 219
Hybrid 11,949 11,950 12,138 12,625
LPG 4,704 2,932 2,061 612
Petrol 747,034 734,612 773,865 768,561
         
All Categories Total 100% 100% 100% 100%
Diesel 30.83% 30.62% 29.74% 31.70%
Electric 0.03% 0.10% 0.10% 0.02%
Hybrid 1.08% 1.10% 1.08% 1.10%
LPG 0.43% 0.27% 0.18% 0.05%
Petrol 67.63% 67.90% 68.90% 67.12%
Table Note: This tables excludes Tesla vehicle sales as they choose not to contribute their data to VFACTS.   Stay ahead of the curve, don’t miss the 2017 Australasian Fleet Conference & Exhibition, May 11-12. Book Tickets: http://afma.net.au/conference2017/ Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter. [post_title] => Electric vehicles – How can we do more? [post_excerpt] => Jump starting an increase in sales. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => electric-vehicles-can [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-17 10:08:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-16 23:08:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26551 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 4 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26217 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-02-10 10:36:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-09 23:36:46 [post_content] =>   NSW public buildings could double as chill out areas for the elderly and other people at risk trying to escape this weekend’s predicted heatwave, says the Opposition. As the state contemplates sweating through temperatures of up to 45 degrees in inland areas, Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord has called upon NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to trial designating public buildings such as council chambers, libraries and art galleries as 'respite cooling centres' for the elderly and families. It has been done before. Mildura in Victoria has an emergency community cooling centre where the elderly can seek relief from the heat and the Canadian city of Toronto has opened cooling centers during heatwaves. Some Eastern European cities have heating centres during cold snaps. Mr Secord said public buildings with air-conditioning could stay open longer to provide shelter for people looking to avoid the extreme temperatures. “State governments need to have contingency plans for extraordinary events and extreme hot weather is one such event,” said Mr Secord. “We want to minimise the effect of heat stress on the most vulnerable in our society; this is about protecting them. Unfortunately, these soaring temperatures are set to continue – and they hit the young and the elderly the hardest.” He said it was easier for younger people and families to avoid the heat because they could go to shopping malls, the cinema, parks or beaches but the elderly and less mobile found this more difficult. NSW Health says those most at risk from the high temperatures are the elderly, pregnant women, babies and other children, people with chronic conditions and those whose immune systems are compromised. Meanwhile, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has predicted that demand for electricity in NSW will be the highest ever, peaking between 4.30pm and 6.30pm on Saturday, and expected to reach around 14,700 megawatts. NSW residents are being urged to reduce their energy use, where they can. Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin said people should turn up their air con to 26 degrees, adjust fridge temperatures and switch off appliances and lights, where possible. Mr Harwin said that despite the heat the electricity networks were comfortable there would be no break in supply. “We are working with AEMO, TransGrid and generators to ensure that all generation capacity is operating including coal, hydro, gas, wind and solar,” Mr Harwin said. “The government is taking additional steps to reduce peak demand, including in government operations. If required the networks will consider load shedding to manage peak demand.” Load shedding is where AEMO orders power companies to begin switching off customers’ power supply to protect the power system from black outs. “I am being kept up to date on the situation and if further action is to be taken we will make sure that the energy companies are informing their customers, and we will update the community as we know more,” he said. In other news, the Senate Select Committee into the Resilience of Electricity Infrastructure in a Warming World continues with a public hearing in Canberra today (Friday). The Committee will explore how Australia’s electricity networks will cope with increased power demands from severe weather events in the future, including exploring emerging technologies. The committee is due to report to the Senate on or before 24 March 2017.   [post_title] => Council chambers could be used as respite cooling centres during NSW heatwave [post_excerpt] => No blackouts, says government. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => council-chambers-used-respite-cooling-centres-heatwave [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-15 16:10:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-15 05:10:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26217 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25518 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-08 15:18:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-08 04:18:42 [post_content] => light-years-ahead2_opt Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Council's Light Years Ahead program     NSW local government environment stars have been busy over the past year, with projects encompassing a broad range of areas, including sustainable procurement; climate change action; asbestos management; communication, education and empowerment; roadside management and water conservation. The best of the best will be honoured in the annual Local Government Excellence in the Environment Awards later this month. The top two awards are for overall council performance and another celebrating the achievements of an individual council officer or councillor who has been a beacon to sustainability. Please see below for a full list of finalists. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 29 November 2016 at Doltone House, Darling Island Wharf, Sydney.   2016 Finalists Asbestos Management Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils - Western Sydney Asbestos Answers Facebook campaign Climate Change Action Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Holroyd, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, The Hills, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith Councils - Light years ahead Blacktown City Council - Cool streets Hunter & Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Strategy- Regional heatwave resilience project Penrith City Council - Cooling the city   Communication, Education and Empowerment   Leichhardt Municipal Council (Inner West Council) - On tour: sustainable food, fashion and fun! MIDWASTE - Frugal forest Rockdale City Council (Bayside Council) - Engaging the community: landing lights wetland restoration Waverley Council - Second Nature 'I'm in' community engagement campaign   frugal-forest_opt MIDWASTE'S Frugal Forest  Community Sharps Management City of Ryde Council – Sharps Disposal Invasive Species Management    Bankstown City Council (City of Canterbury-Bankstown) - Feral rabbit management in urban Bankstown Camden Council - Management of Australian white ibis at Lake Annan, Mount Annan Clarence Valley Council - Use community based social marketing for effective tropical soda apple management Palerang Council (Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council) - Weed identification and mapping from high resolution aerial photography   [caption id="attachment_25522" align="alignnone" width="500"]"Young Mountain Cottontail rabbit Sylvilagus nuttallii resting in grass. Boulder, Colorado, 2009." Former Bankstown Council has won praise for its management of feral rabbits.[/caption]   Natural Environment Policies, Planning and Decision Making     Palerang Council (Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council) - Remote pilot aircraft aerial imaging trial Sydney Peri Urban Network of Councils - Sydney food futures project   Natural Environment Protection & Enhancement: On-Ground Works Bankstown City Council (City of Canterbury-Bankstown) - Habitat box program Bathurst Regional Council - Restoring regent honeyeater habitat in the Bathurst region Blue Mountains City Council - Leura Falls catchment improvement project Orange City Council - Gosling Creek Reserve precinct floating island and hollows habitat Parkes Shire Council - PAC Park urban wetland construction Wagga Wagga City Council - Marrambidya Wetland Roadside Environmental Management    Ballina Shire Council - Chickiba Roadside Wetlands restoration project Lachlan Shire Council - Roadside corridor assessment and management guidelines Moree Plains Shire Council - Roadside environmental management plan Sustainable Procurement   Marrickville Council (Inner West Council) - Embedding sustainability into 'value for money'   marrickville-council-procurement_opt Former Marrickville Council's sustainable procurement campaign won plaudits   Resource Recovery    Broken Hill City Council - Increasing resource recovery for Broken Hill Campbelltown City Council - Annual free recyclables drop-off day     Waste Avoidance and Reuse    Lismore City Council - Lismore revolve shop and recycled market Parramatta City Council – The R3 program: resource, rescue and reuse Waste Education and Communication    Lachlan Shire Council - Lachlan Shire waste services rationalisation Warringah Council (Northern Beaches Council) - The Sort it Out campaign     Water Conservation Ballina Shire Council - Pressure and leakage management plan [caption id="attachment_25524" align="alignnone" width="460"]High pressure pipe leaking Finalist: Ballina Shire Council's Pressure and Leak Management Plan[/caption]     Local Sustainability Ballina Shire Council – Sustainability: serving the community of today whilst preparing for the challenges of tomorrow Camden Council - Sustainable Camden Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability Winner to be announced at the Awards on Tuesday 29 November     [post_title] => Full list of finalists: NSW local government environment stars [post_excerpt] => Sharing good ideas. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => full-list-finalists-nsw-local-government-environment-stars [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-11 10:15:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-10 23:15:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25518 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25380 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-10-25 11:33:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-25 00:33:42 [post_content] => panama High rises and hotel buildings in Punta Pacifica, Panama City, Panama. Photo: Gerardo Pesantez/World Bank   By Anthony Wallace

An urban environment expert at The Australian National University (ANU) is among leading scientists calling for a greater say on a new international plan for cities of the future, ahead of a major United Nations conference currently being held. Professor Xuemei Bai from ANU is one of the scientific leaders of the Urban Knowledge Action Network to be launched at the UN Habitat III conference in Ecuador. Cities already account for about 75 per cent of global energy use and contribute an equivalent share of greenhouse gas emissions.” Delegates from the world over are currently in Quito to adopt a new global framework that will guide sustainable urban development for the next 20 years – the New Urban Agenda (NUA). “Unfortunately science didn’t play a major role in the drafting of the NUA,” said Professor Bai from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.   Read more here. This story first appeared in Spatial Source magazine. [post_title] => Urban experts call for smarter approach to cities [post_excerpt] => New urban agenda. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => urban-experts-call-smarter-approach-cities [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-28 11:35:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-28 00:35:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25380 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25228 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-10-10 15:30:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-10 04:30:39 [post_content] =>   chau-chuk-wan-building_opt   Frank Gehry’s mind-bending love letter to bricks, the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), has added another award to its trophy cabinet, this time for engineering. Engineering consultancy Arup won the Bradfield Award its role in bringing to life the Gehry-designed building at the Australia Engineering Excellence Awards in Sydney last week. The building, which houses the UTS Business School, was named after Australian-Chinese businessman and philanthropist Dr Chau Chak Wing, who donated $20 million towards the project. Judges praised its five-star green rating – it uses green concrete, high performance glazing, energy efficient lighting and services - and its undulating, free-form façade. Engineers Australia Sydney General Manager Greg Ewing said the building showcased the best of multi-disciplinary engineering. “This is a leading example of the strength of building engineering in Australia. Innovative applications have played a vital role in pushing the design concept to its structural limits and the result is this stunning, functional and environmentally sustainable building,” Mr Ewing said. “This 12-storey landmark stood out for its distinctive undulating brick and glass exterior, and its equally irregular interior characterised by amorphous floor plates and sloping columns. Engineers Australia congratulates Arup for its deserving win and bold design.” The building, which Gehry has described as a treehouse, won the commercial brick building award at the 2015 Think Brick awards. The complicated construction involved five different custom-made types of brick, heavily corbelled – an architectural technique where individual bricks project as the façade curves, giving it a fluidity. The AEEA Sydney 2016 winners are eligible to enter the national Australian Engineering Excellence Awards on 23 November 2016 in Brisbane. [post_title] => Gehry’s ‘squashed brown paper bag’ building wins more awards [post_excerpt] => Dr Chau Chak Wing Building engineering feat. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 25228 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-10 15:32:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-10 04:32:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25228 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25205 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-10-07 11:04:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-07 00:04:02 [post_content] => Image of a couple of petrol fuel pump nozzles on the pump at petrol station. One is unleaded E10 and has a green nozzle while the other is Unleaded 91 and has a yellow and dirty nozzle. Focus is on the Unleaded E10 nozzle that is formulated with ethanol. By Darren House Petrol retailers will be encouraged to seek compensation to recover costs if the Queensland Government’s biofuel mandate fails as many industry operators have predicted. The mandate, which comes into effect on January 1, 2017, requires all fuel retailers with 10 or more sites (or fuel retailers with any site selling more than 2ML of petrol per year) to sell methanol-blended petrol (such as E10) and biodiesel. Three per cent of the total volume of regular unleaded petrol sales and ethanol blended fuel sales by liable retailers must be biobased petrol (ethanol). The diesel mandate requires 0.5 per cent of all diesel fuel sold to be biobased. Read more here. This story first appeared in C&I Week. [post_title] => Queensland biofuel mandate rattles industry [post_excerpt] => Doomed to fail? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => queensland-biofuel-mandate-rattles-industry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-07 11:07:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-07 00:07:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25205 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25139 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2016-09-29 16:34:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-29 06:34:44 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_25140" align="alignnone" width="300"]One of several collapsed electricity pylons near Melrose in South Australia's Mid North. ABC News / Tom Fedorowytsch photo. One of several collapsed electricity pylons near Melrose in South Australia's Mid North. ABC News / Tom Fedorowytsch photo.[/caption] Following the long and widespread electricity blackout in South Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took a swipe at Labor governments for their renewable targets, South Australia’s reliance on renewable electricity was widely defended, while NSW electricians are worried about it happening in that state. The Prime Minister Mr Turnbull said, reported in The Conversation, that there was no doubt that heavy reliance on intermittent renewables “does place very different strains and pressures on a grid than reliance on traditional base load power”. “Energy security should always be the key priority,” he said. “Now, I regret to say that a number of the state Labor governments have over the years set priorities and renewable targets that are extremely aggressive, extremely unrealistic, and have paid little or no attention to energy security.” He said this was not just SA but the same observation could be made about Queensland and Victoria. Queensland to the rescue The Queensland Government-owned transmission company, Powerlink Queensland, has offered assistance to South Australia to restore its electricity supplies, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. Ms Palaszczuk said Powerlink had offered to assist ElectraNet with recovery efforts after storms severely damaged its electricity transmission network. Powerlink, on behalf of the Queensland Government, owned a minority stake in ElectraNet until December 2012. “Powerlink is uniquely placed to assist ElectraNet,” the Premier said. “Powerlink has contacted their colleagues at ElectraNet to let them know that Powerlink is here to help as required.” Powerlink Queensland chief executive Merryn York said Powerlink was mobilising special temporary tower structures that can replace damaged towers in the short term and help restore electricity supply in the safest possible manner. “Our expert design team can also provide rapid design solutions to help rebuild damaged infrastructure,” she said. “Powerlink can also provide on-the-ground crews to travel to South Australia and assist with restoration efforts.” It’s not the wind power It was reported by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) that the cause of the outages was the high winds bringing down powerlines, which would have caused the same outages regardless of the nature of generation. The Greens called Mr Turnbull’s attack on renewables reprehensible and reactionary. “The storms in South Australia show we need more renewable energy to tackle climate change, not less,” said the Greens’ energy & climate change spokesperson, Adam Bandt. “Using a severe storm to attack renewables is a reprehensible act from a Prime Minister who should know better. “Climate change is threatening our way of life and driving storms like the ones that we’ve seen in South Australia. “The storms and power outage in South Australia are a wake-up call, showing the country what will happen if we don’t get off fossil fuels and on to renewables. The Climate Council has called South Australia’s storm ‘a disturbing preview of what’s likely to come if Australia fails to act on climate change’, ‘occurring in a warmer and wetter atmosphere’. Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth Australia said the South Australian storm was a wake-up call to act on climate change and disaster preparedness. “As emergency workers assist South Australians with the fallout from a historic storm that knocked down multiple power lines, causing a blackout across the state, national environment organisation Friends of the Earth say the storm is a wake-up call to act on climate change and disaster preparedness. “Playing politics while South Australians deal with an unprecedented natural disaster is dangerous and the community expects better. The facts are that climate change is set to increase the number of extreme weather events, yet ideologues have wasted no time in blaming renewables for the state-wide blackout,” said Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth's campaigns coordinator. “Analysis of the National Electricity Market shows wind generators were providing reliable renewable energy at the time the storm hit and were ordered to shut down alongside all other generators.” The professionals agree… The leader of the body representing electrical professionals in South Australia has hit back at claims by political figures that South Australia’s commitment to renewable energy was the cause of last night’s state-wide blackout, saying that they were ill-informed and malicious. “The people making these claims don’t know what they’re talking about,” Communication Electrical and Plumbing Union South Australia secretary John Adley said. “The outage is simply being used by friends of the coal industry to bash renewables. “It doesn’t matter how you generate your electricity, when 22 transmission towers blow over in an extreme weather event, the power goes off.” Mr Adley said that, if anything, renewable energy sources had the potential to create a more secure electricity supply system. “When you have widespread use of distributed generation technologies like PV solar in homes, the network is actually less vulnerable to events like this, because your supply is not purely linear,” he said. “But an event of this magnitude that was capable of tripping out the interconnector with Victoria is going to cause havoc on an electricity grid without regard to the type of technology used to generate the power.” … and are worried The axing of more than 2,600 front-line power workers since 2012 has left NSW at risk of falling victim to similar chaos to that experienced in South Australia during the past 24 hours, the Electrical Trades Union has warned. The union said cuts, overseen by the state and federal governments over the past four years, had drastically reduced the number of skilled workers available to respond to major incidents, natural disasters and wild weather, leaving the public at risk of lengthy power outages. ETU assistant secretary Dave McKinley said the number of front-line power workers across NSW had shrunk by a quarter since 2012, leaving the state increasingly vulnerable to the kind of extreme weather event that struck South Australia. “What has occurred in South Australia could easily happen in NSW,” Mr McKinley said. “Whilst it is impossible to prevent network damage caused by wild winds and extreme weather, the ability to restore power for consumers is dependent on having the skilled workers available to respond. “In NSW, we have seen more than a quarter of the entire workforce slashed in the last four years, including 1,385 workers at Ausgrid, 446 from Endeavour Energy, and 800 from Essential Energy. “When the next disaster inevitably hits, this loss of skilled workers will have a devastating effect on response times and the speed at which power can be reconnected, particularly in the event of a state-wide natural disaster. “The situation had been exacerbated by the NSW Government’s decision to respond to a recent ruling by the Federal Government’s energy regulator by further slashing the number of front-line power workers. “We are urging [the power companies] to take a good hard look at the resources they have available moving forward, so they can ensure they have the skilled workers and specialist equipment needed to respond to similar events when they occur in NSW.”   [post_title] => SA power cuts: Queensland offers help, NSW worries, renewables defended [post_excerpt] => Power blame continues. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 25139 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-29 17:19:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-29 07:19:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25139 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24861 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-09-01 05:00:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-31 19:00:45 [post_content] =>  Okegawa-centrale-Alexis_opt  ©Ciel&Terre International picture     Australia’s first council-operated, community-funded solar farm will be operating beside a sewage treatment plant in Northern NSW by Christmas. Lismore City Council is collaborating with Farming the Sun, a community solar energy initiative, and borrowing the money from around 40 - mostly local - community investors to build two 100kw solar plants on council land. One will float on a settling pond at East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant, the other will be on the rooftop of Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre. The pontoon at the East Lismore plant will be only the second floating solar system in Australia, the other being at a wastewater treatment facility owned by Northern Areas Council in Jamestown, South Australia. The council awarded tenders for the Lismore Community Solar project on August 3. Suntrix Commercial will design and construct the floating system, which is expected to produce around 178MWh of electricity a year and slash the council’s annual electricity bill by $24,000 and the Rainbow Power Company will build the other, which is forecast to produce around 138MWh of electricity and save $18,000 a year in bills. Environmental Strategies Officer at Lismore City Council, Sharyn Hunnisett explains that the idea for a floating solar plant was borne out of necessity, because the council had run out of space on the land. The location also works brilliantly because the plant is the council’s heaviest electricity consumer. “We couldn’t fit a solar system on any of the plant space,” Hunnisett says. “There’s a big expanse of water out the back and we went “ha! Let’s use that”. It means that the electricity will be used on site and you can extend the system in the future because the system is only a very small portion of the space.” Appealing to investors to come on board has generated much enthusiasm for the project, she says. “There has been so much interest, a really good response. When the investment launched last year it had well over 100 people registering their interest and we only needed 40. People really want it to happen.” Hunnisett said the loan would be paid back to shareholders in seven years at 5.5 per cent interest. The council will start to make its money back in ten years. “What’s great about the project is that the council has recognised it’s more than just a solar system. It’s a community energy project. It’s a small price to pay for leadership in sustainability.” The council eventually hopes to generate most of the power used by the sewage treatment plant. No mean feat when you consider that the plant’s electricity bill weighs in at a massive $230,000 a year. Lismore City Council, which has committed to being self-sufficient in renewable energy by 2023, is keen to share its experiences and expertise of community renewable energy projects with other councils and businesses who may wish to replicate the project. Farming the Sun is intending to hold workshops for other councils and businesses to show them how to drive the business model used. [post_title] => Community funds floating solar panels at sewage plant [post_excerpt] => Lismore leads the way. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => community-funds-floating-solar-panels-sewage-plant [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-01 11:55:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-01 01:55:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24861 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24794 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-08-26 11:19:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-26 01:19:47 [post_content] =>  Forte_opt  Lendlease's Forte, Melbourne Docklands.    From homes that can be unfolded and assembled without machinery to carbon positive modular houses and contemporary beach shacks, the prefab market in Australia is looking exciting, sustainable and beautiful. While multi-storey buildings have usually grabbed less attention in the prefab space, attention to larger housing solutions is gathering momentum. Now the University of Sydney and construction heavyweight Lendlease have been awarded a $3 million Commonwealth government grant to research pre-fabricated multi-storey housing. The five-year industry-led project, bankrolled by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-P) program, will design and build prototype housing using high-tech renewable materials and use cutting edge manufacturing methods. Prefab buildings are not a new idea. The Roman’s used some prefabricated elements to build parts of their forts from around AD43 when they conquered Britain and prefab housing was transported to the British colonies from the first quarter of the 17th century, including Australia. Prefab housing is probably most famously linked to providing homes and employment for soldiers returning after World Wars and keeping up with the baby boom. It is not a new area for Lendlease either. The company already has experience in the prefabricating high-rise buildings and has a Western Sydney factory where it manufactures the Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) used in prefabs as part of its DesignMake business. The company designed and built the world’s tallest prefabricated timber building, Forte, in 2013. The 32.17m tall building (10 storeys) in Melbourne Docklands is made from CLT. It has a five green star as built rating and includes sustainability features, including rainwater tanks, car sharing and energy efficient lighting and appliances. It also sold well and was occupied quickly, a result which Lendlease will no doubt be eager to replicate in its new project. Prefabrication is also essential to Lendlease’s gateway project at Barangaroo, where it will design and build a six-storey commercial building totally from timber - called International House Sydney. The new research project with Sydney University deepens its commitment to prefab buildings and sustainability. Chief Executive Officer, Lendlease Property, Kylie Rampa, said the demand for affordable and innovative housing meant the building industry had to come up with imaginative, new housing solutions. “We aim to bring to market an innovative housing system that is design-led, which will help address affordability issues, while developing advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques for future housing construction,” Rampa said. Associate Professor Mathew Aitchison at Sydney University’s Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning said the project was a great opportunity to spearhead innovation in  the residential construction market, which had remained largely static in the last 100 years. “We will focus on developing multi-storey prototype houses that can be adapted for manufacture and customised project to project,” Prof Aitchison said. “At the same time, we are looking at ways to reduce risk and waste, while increasing the efficiency, safety, quality, sustainability and diversity of market-ready housing. “Despite major advances in other manufacturing sectors, innovation in residential construction is lagging,” Prof Aitchison said. “This project seeks to drive efficiency and safety benefits and boost Australia’s competitiveness internationally, where we have seen a notable increase in advanced manufacturing in building over the past decade.” The aim is to develop a range of solutions for the multi-storey housing market that answer the twin calls of increasing urban density and the demands of the residential market. Rampa said the new jobs, skills and technologies would be created through the project, which would also open up export opportunities “for prefabricated housing to meet the sophisticated needs of homebuyers and builders.” The research project brings together industry leaders in Australian housing and construction including Lendlease and the University of Sydney’s Innovation in Applied Design Lab, located in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning. [post_title] => Federal government millions for prefabricated multi-storey housing [post_excerpt] => Sydney Uni and Lendlease team up. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-government-millions-prefabricated-multi-storey-housing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-08-26 11:58:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-08-26 01:58:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24794 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24176 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-16 21:50:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-16 11:50:35 [post_content] => clean energy pic_opt   A desire by councils and local government leaders to look financially conservative and debt free is holding back investment infrastructure renewal and sacrificing big savings that can be made from clean energy upgrades and projects, says the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). The federally backed green financier says an apparent reluctance to take-on specifically earmarked low cost debt aimed directly at local governments is resulting in higher than necessary infrastructure running costs at a time when investments in solar, energy efficiency and so called micro-grids ought to be driving costs down. According to a newly released Market Report by the CEFC, Clean energy opportunities for local government, Mayors and General Managers need to “urgently consider tailored debt finance to improve their energy performance and reduce emissions from old and poorly maintained assets.” “By restricting investment to what can be paid for from current-year or retained income, councils face an accumulation of inefficient, out-of-date or sub-optimal infrastructure on their balance sheets,” CEFC Local Government sector lead Melanie Madders said. “Much of this aging infrastructure is energy inefficient, meaning councils have higher operating costs and a higher carbon footprint than necessary. Some councils also have zero-debt policies, which are putting the cost burden of inefficient long-life assets onto current ratepayers, rather than sharing these costs with future ratepayers who will also share in the benefits.” The environmental lender, which sources capital from private markets, wants local governments and their state government masters to shake the traditional aversion to debt, particularly zero-debt policies, to put infrastructure balance sheets to work to drive down costs. In particular the CEFC wants cities and municipalities to start using accredited energy efficiency consultants to start auditing council building and facilities to investigate what kind of real savings – that typically quickly outweigh capital costs – can be made to drive down expenses… as opposed to trying to make political and public relations capital out giving themselves a debt free rubber stamp. “Depending on a council’s energy consumption patterns and energy upgrade opportunities, the savings from clean energy investments can offset the loan repayments, improving council operating budgets while meeting environmental goals,” Ms Madders said. “This kind of sustainable borrowing is integral to prudent long-term asset management, which is especially important given the significant infrastructure challenge that councils face. Importantly, the cost savings and emissions reductions from clean energy projects continue after the debt is repaid.” A major advantage many councils have, especially in remote or regional areas, is the potential to run what are known as microgrids which allow power to be distributed between council owned buildings and facilities, bypassing the traditional power network. Because regulations about bypassing traditional electricity utility poles and wires are usually behind new technology (this Radio National panel talk sets out the issues nicely) councils are ahead of the curve compared to everyday consumers because they can distribute power they generate between their own facilities and buildings ‘off-grid’. “Local grids or ‘microgrids’ allow local renewable generation and energy storage systems to be shared across buildings to maximise the efficient use of resources. For example, power from rooftop PV installed on a building with spare roof space could be shared with a neighbouring building with less roof space; or batteries could be installed in a nearby building with free basement space so that locally-generated electricity could be stored to better match demand,” the CEFC report says. “Microgrids can improve energy efficiency, reduce total energy consumption, reduce the environmental impact of electricity generation and improve the reliability of supply.” There are also simpler measures at hand to reduce lights-on costs at councils according to the CEFC. While LED lights are now a mainstream technology, the report argues there’s still some way to go. “There are an estimated 2.3 million streetlights in Australia, and the annual cost of supplying and maintaining public lighting exceeds $250 million,” the CEFC report says. “While several councils have adopted LED streetlights, there are barriers to making the change and a significant switchover task remains – by one estimate, only 11 per cent of streetlights have been converted to LEDs.” Those savings should be illuminating, to say the least.   [post_title] => Zero-debt fetish flushes away infrastructure efficiency savings: Clean Energy Finance Corporation [post_excerpt] => Operating costs a drag on balance sheets. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => debt-isnt-a-dirty-word-for-clean-power-efficiency-savings [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-20 10:39:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-20 00:39:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24176 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28071 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-19 09:28:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:28:31 [post_content] => New Zealand leads the world in zero emission renewable grid electricity now at 85%. With a nice balance between geothermal, hydroelectric, unusually continuous wind power and some solar, the country has less intermittency of green power than most. Transpower NZ, the government-owned power company, made NZD 208.4m profit in 2016-17 (AUD 190m) and has investigated grid-scale battery systems for near-term investment. Battery storage under investigation Building energy storage systems across New Zealand would represent an economic ‘game-changer’ for the country within the next few years, according to new research by national grid owner-operator Transpower. The company said its research findings show distribution-connected or community-scale batteries are expected to be economic for homes and business from 2020— promising “real potential and benefits from batteries for New Zealand consumers”. Now Transpower is preparing to conduct trials of battery storage systems, while working with industry leaders to push for market and pricing reforms the company said will be needed to “unlock the value of battery systems to maximise their value”. Transpower’s general manager for grid development Stephen Jay said: “We are actively evaluating opportunities for using new technologies throughout our network. We are preparing for what that future looks like and this battery research is the first of a number of reports we will release looking at technologies that could possibly have an impact on our business. “Battery projects at lower voltage distribution substations and at a consumer level are forecast to be economic in the next few years, due to the declining cost of battery systems,” Mr Jay said. “Over time, we believe they will also become economic for the high voltage transmission grid and this will then provide battery resilience across the whole supply chain.” Mr Jay said Transpower is not planning large-scale high voltage trials with batteries “in the near term— but we will seek opportunities to work with and learn from others in joint projects where appropriate.” According to Transpower’s study, the functionality of a battery as both a load and a generator at various times “will need to be examined, and regulatory and technical barriers to entry addressed”. In the long-term, the study said battery storage at any location in the supply chain is expected to delay or replace the need to build additional thermal peaking plant and should over time reduce the cost of electricity to consumers. Container-based battery storage systems in the order of 1-2MW “have the advantage that they can be implemented relatively quickly to target specific grid constraints in a controlled manner”, the report said. They can be ‘right sized’ for the first year of need, “with the possibility of increasing the storage capacity over time if load growth occurs”. This would “optimise initial capital expenditure and leverage the declining cost curve of future expansion”, the report said. In addition, the report said ramping up battery storage projects would support national plans to boost the take-up of electric vehicles. According to Transpower, there are currently around 3,000 electric vehicles in the country, but government policy is targeting 64,000 vehicles by 2021-22. “In future, we expect that electric vehicle batteries could have the capability to be part of a battery network, providing services when the vehicle is plugged in to charge overnight,” Transpower said. With IDTechEx. You can download the Transpower report here. [post_title] => NZ hits 85% renewables, profitably [post_excerpt] => NZ Government makes $190m from electricity, focuses on renewables and grid battery storage. 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Clean energy