Monday, October 04, 2004

Australia's PM Conspired against Alternative Energy Investment?

Australia's "The Age" newspaper alleges that the Australian Federal Government and fossil-fuel industry executives discussed ways to stifle growing investment in renewable energy projects at a secret meeting earlier this year.

Prime Minister John Howard called the meeting on May 6, five weeks before releasing the energy white paper on June 14.

The white paper favours massive investment in research to make fossil fuels cleaner, at the expense of schemes boosting growth in renewable energy.

Mr Howard called together the fossil-fuel-based Lower Emissions Technology Advisory Group to seek advice on ways to avoid extending the mandatory renewable energy targets scheme.

The Government has touted the scheme as a key plank in achieving its Kyoto Protocol target to hold greenhouse emissions at 108 per cent of 1990 levels.

The Government continues to refuse to ratify the protocol, despite Russia's decision last week to ratify and bring the protocol into legal effect.

Russia's move further isolates the United States and Australia.

Most countries, including big emitters India and China, support the protocol.

The mandatory renewables target is the only legally enforceable measure among Australia's otherwise voluntary policies to encourage lower emissions.

But according to minutes taken by Rio Tinto's acting chairman, Sam Walsh, the Industry and Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane, told the May 6 meeting the scheme had worked too well.

The scheme requires power companies and large consumers to source an extra 9500 gigawatt hours of electricity from renewable sources by 2010. The 9500 kilowatt-hours target amounts to less than 1 per cent of projected electricity generation in 2010.

Mr Macfarlane said "investment in renewables was running ahead of the original planning", and was generating renewable energy certificates ahead of original projections.

The Government-commissioned Tambling review, tabled last January, warned that unless the scheme was extended beyond 2010, investment in renewable energy generation would stall after 2007 and Australia would be locked out of technical advances that would reduce costs.

The review panel recommended doubling the target to 20,000 megawatt hours by 2020.

It said the economic cost would be 0.08 per cent of GDP, but consumers were willing to pay more for clean power.

But Mr Howard told the May 6 meeting that a $1.5 billion low-emission energy fund was more attractive, as extending the renewables scheme would cost industry $1.7 billion.

The industry representatives agreed with the Government's idea, which was similar to a fund set up by the United States Department of Energy.

The Prime Minister said the mandatory target had been a burden on industry, but "it was not credible to ignore" the Tambling review.

He said there was a real need to propose credible alternatives that would pass "the pub test".

Mr Macfarlane supported a levy on all consumers over 10 to 15 years to create the new $1.5 billion technology fund.

The white paper released five weeks later, however, proposed that the Government provide $500 million, with the rest from industry on a two-for-one dollar basis.

The minister closed the meeting stressing the need for "absolute" confidentiality to avoid a "huge outcry" from the renewable energy industry.

Australian elections are being held on October 9th.

The Age Article on PM John Howard and Alternative Energy in Australia


Anonymous Anonymous said...


In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy sources must change.
"Energy drives our entire economy." We must protect it. "Let's face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy." The American way of life is not negotiable.
Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, etc. The source of energy must by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, etc. including utilizing water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption.

The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy. (This can be done by amending building code)

In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task.

This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (This will also create a substantial amount of new jobs). It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.
"To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality."

Jay Draiman, Energy Consultant
Northridge, CA. 91325

P.S. I have a very deep belief in America's capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis--the one in 1942--President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs) the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X's 5 hrs per day X's 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 24 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence.

Installing renewable energy system on your home or business increases the value of the property and provides a marketing advantage.

9:52 pm, January 14, 2007  

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