Thursday, March 29, 2012

Can't do clean energy in Queensland?

One big area of change with the election of the LNP government in QLD will be in sustainability and climate change. Probably the easiest way to summarize it is that (baring the feed in tariff) the Queensland government will no longer be taking action on climate change or promoting clean energy*.

This means that along with the Office of climate change, the:
Queensland Climate Change Fund
Queensland Renewable Energy Fund
Queensland Smart Energy Savings Fund
Queensland Future Growth Fund
Solar Initiatives Package
Solar Flagships Program
Waste Avoidance and Resource efficiency Fund
Local Government Sustainable Future Fund

are all being scrapped.

These LNP plans didn't get much airing during the campaign, mostly because they weren't released until a day or two before the election. 

Most galling for supporters of clean energy will probably the the LNPs decision to pull out of the 250 mega watt Solar Dawn project in western Queensland. If this ends up killing the whole project another big loser, along with the environment and prospective employees, will be the University of Queensland, which, I have just discovered, was to get $60 million in research funding to use the Solar Dawn plant as a test bed for research into improvements and innovations in solar thermal technology.

Cambell Newman has stated that state based schemes are now unnecessary because of the impending national carbon price. However, I assume this is not a tacit admission that carbon pricing will be effective in tackling reducing greenhouse gas emissions, although it most likely will be.

Although there is some truth some Newman's argument, it also misses a very important point. Which is that climate action will bring with it investment in clean energy and pollution reduction technology. Investment means money and jobs for the states it occurs in. Call them what you want but states provide subsidies, co-investment, tax breaks and build infrastructure all the time to attract investment to their state. Not doing this in QLD just means we'll be less attractive to invest in.

The LNP policy document (view here) does state the government will instead help business access the $10 billion + dollars for clean energy that is part of the carbon price/ clean energy future package. However, since the state LNP opposes the clean energy future plan and the federal Lib-Nats plan to scrap the clean energy package if elected, this appears to be a policy the LNP hope not to implement. And again without the full support of the state government it is less likely QLD will get that money now anyway. 

There is also concern amongst conservation groups that the new LNP government will allow more pollution from farming to reach the great barrier reef due to their "regulation busting". With a new report indicating that the herbicide Diuron is being found way above safe levels on the reef at the moment, the impact of agricultural runoff on the reef will be an ongoing concern.

* If I'm wrong on this please comment and I'll make a correction.

This post represents my personal view and before anyone gets upset note that I've have been critical of Labour governments in the past as well.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Household energy links from Dr David Mills

Here are some of the links for more information and government rebates Dr David Mills showed in his talk earlier this month on reducing your household energy use.

- Power your home or business with Green Energy (this is Green Energy in addition to the MRET: mandatory renewable energy target).

ClimateSmart Home Service
- Popular scheme to help households save on the electricity bill and help the environment at the same time.

Solar Hot Water
- states based rebates are still available to switch to solar hot water and slash your power bill

BCC Ezygreen program
- what's available from the Brisbane City Council

Green Vehicle Guide
- provides mileage and air pollution rankings for all new cars on the road. Find the most fuel efficient cars on the road.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Want cheaper clean energy for your home or business?

Howard Nielsen and Green Street are putting together a renewable energy bulk buy for South East Queensland, with the aim of allowing you to power your home or business with Renewable Energy (also called Green Power) at a lower cost.

Here's the details:

Want to buy renewable energy at lower than usual prices?

Green Street is partnering with PowerGroup to negotiate the best possible renewable energy bulk purchase from energy providers in South-East Queensland.

The Renewable Energy Bulk Buy (REBB) Scheme relies on householders and business owners registering their interest in buying green energy. The retailers then tender to supply the energy.

We believe that if tens of thousands of householders and business owners register for the REBB Scheme, this will apply enough pressure to energy retailers to bring green power prices down below that for coal-fired power. Their tender prices to REBB registrants should be very competitive. The registrants then decide to accept or reject the best tender offer.

All you have to do is go to either or the Green Street Renewable Energy Bulk Buy Scheme webpage and fill out the registration form. This costs nothing (other than about 2 minutes of your time).

This is a ground-breaking opportunity to pay less for green power, while reducing carbon emissions and putting the pressure on energy providers to produce more renewable energy. This is a classic win-win situation.

People already on green power or producing their own solar power should also register: you may be able to make further savings. 

Green Street are a reputable organisation dedicated to sustainability and obviously the more people who register interest, the better the deal. So if you are interested, please take 60 seconds to register. Note that registering does not commit you to take up the eventual winning tender, so you really have nothing to loose.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Transition Kenmore at the Moggill Markets

Some pictures of Transition Town Kenmore's successful stall at last weekends Moggill Markets.

Photos and captions by Gary

The Stall

These look interesting
Buying some plants
Having a chat

See you there again soon!

Friday, March 2, 2012

TTKD March Meeting: Sustainable Home Energy Use – The Facts

How many times have you heard the myth that solar energy won’t work unless your roof is facing north, or that more energy is used in making solar power systems than they ever produce?  In his presentation energy and sustainability expert Dr David Mills, will shed light on these and many other myths.

Dr Mills will also discuss what you can do, by showing where the best home energy savings can be found and how you can achieve a zero carbon home for zero cost.

We all want to use less energy without sitting in the dark, so whether you want to save the environment, save on your electricity bill, or both, our march meeting is sure to be illuminating.

 Thursday March 15
7.15pm for a 7.30pm start
Kenmore Library Meeting Room

Background: Dr David Mills
Dr David Mills has a Honours Degree in Environmental Science with a major in Environmental Policy and Economics and a PhD from UQ on the potential for renewable energy in Australia.

David has numerous publications on sustainability issues and has expertise in understanding how energy is used at the household level and looking at what households can do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, as well as knowledge of; greenhouse policy, energy industry reform, renewable energy, water savings measures, building regulations, impact assessment and broader sustainability issues.

David was responsible for developing Queensland’s sustainable housing regulations and has been instrumental in a range of sustainability initiatives including water savings requirements for new housing and commercial buildings, thermal energy performance standards and the proposed phase out of electric hot water systems. His work in Government and commitment to the environment has been acknowledged through multiple awards.

David held the position of secretary of the Queensland branch of the Australia and New Zealand Solar Energy Society (ANZSES) for over 11 years. He was the Convener of the last ANZSES solar energy conference held in Brisbane, Solar 2000. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Catch Transition Kenmore at the Moggill Markets

Transition Kenmore will be back at the Moggill Markets this Saturday the 3rd of March. We'll be swapping and selling produce from our own gardens and talking about Transition. So feel free to come and say hi.

For those not familiar, the Moggill Markets is our local farmers market held on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month at 550 Brookfield Rd from 6.30am till 11.00am. So if you like buying "straight from the paddock" in a relaxed setting you should check it out.

Some of us at Transition Kenmore fancy ourselves as backyard farmers and so our stall gives us the chance to provide a backyard garden products exchange service and offload surplus mangoes, pumpkins and saplings etc! For any other backyard farmers out there, bring along your surplus fruit and veggies or plants from your garden to swap for something else or sell to those without anything to swap.

If anyone wants to help us promote TTKD by helping man our stall, or if you have some produce from your garden you would like to swap or sell please contact us at: transitionkenmore'at'

See you there!