The Bullroarer - Wednesday 22nd October 2008

NZ Herald - Engineers warn of imminent oil shock

Engineers are warning politicians that the lull in oil prices will be short-lived, and New Zealand is headed for sustained job losses unless it boosts energy efficiency efforts. Senior North Shore City transport strategist Archer Davis, speaking on behalf of Engineers for Social Responsibility, said a conservative estimate of a 4 per cent annual decline in oil supply raises the prospect of a 12 per cent contraction of New Zealand's economy over 15 years.

ABC - Is Australia still asleep at the wheel?

SMH - Pump it up: petrol protest fuels giant jam

FOR about six hours yesterday it could have been an average autumn day in 2004, if the price of petrol was anything to go by. As a price skirmish erupted in western Sydney, two petrol stations dropped prices to below a dollar to protest against the way independent operators were being driven from the market by big companies and supermarkets.

People queued for hours to benefit from the stint, causing traffic delays in the Blacktown area. Angry drivers shouted and sounded their horns as frustration mounted. With the going rate about $1.46 a litre, the independently owned BP station on Sunnyholt Road dropped its price to 94.9 cents at one point. The joy was shortlived: it raised its price to $1.39 a litre in the afternoon.

Mining Era - Carbon Energy Plans To Set The World On Fire

Underground conversion of coal to gas, in a safe and profitable way, has been one of the mining world’s “Holy Grail” pursuits for the past 70 years, without much success. In the next few weeks the latest attempt to prove the commercial viability of underground coal gasification (UCG) will reach a critical point as a small Australian company, with impeccable connections, “fires” its first substantial trial. In theory, Carbon Energy will burn a deeply-buried coal seam to liberate a range of gases at its Bloodwood Creek test site in Queensland, some gas will be suitable for power generation and some suitable as a feedstock for ammonia production. If successful, investors in the company will be delighted, especially the two biggest shareholders, the Australian Government’s science agency and the country’s biggest fertiliser producer, Incitec Pivot.

Science Alert - The threat to and the dangers of coal

Coal is a huge industry in Australia. It employs more than 30,000 people and as many again in coal related industries such as transport, engineering services and the development and operation of infrastructure. More than 120 coal mines are in operation in Australia and that number is expanding with most growth occurring in Queensland and New South Wales.

TV NZ - Stewart Island turns to new energy

Stewart Islanders have launched an experiment to try and bring down their power bills. They're harnessing the power of the wind and the sun to reduce the use of diesel fire electricity generation. It's beautiful on the remote island, but costly. Electricity is three times the price on the mainland.

Twenty years after it opened, the island's diesel-fire generator still performs well. But diesel costs have soared, particularly for those on fixed incomes, inevitably susceptible to any changes in diesel prices. So they're trying something else, if only for a small-scale six month trial at this stage.

egoli - Origin enters green energy agreement

Origin Energy Limited (ORG) announced a supply agreement with ACCIONA Energy to build Australia’s largest wind farm at Waubra in western Victoria. Origin said the farm would have enough green energy to provide for 143,000 households each year. ... he companies said that construction of the Waubra Wind Farm was currently underway, with plans to complete the installation of the 128 ACCIONA Windpower 1.5 MW wind turbines by the end of this year. The farm is due to be commissioned mid-2009.

Energy Matters - Australian Renewable Energy Atlas Launched

Last Friday, Environment Minister Peter Garrett launched Australia's first interactive atlas designed to map all of Australia's renewable energy resources. The Renewable Energy Atlas is a user-friendly online tool showing highly detailed, nationwide information on all forms of renewable energy including solar radiation levels, wave and tidal information, ocean currents, biomass, wind speed and geothermal (ground) temperatures. It also includes data such as energy infrastructure, power lines and power plants, roads, land tenure and climate information such as rainfall

SMH - Solar power stops prices going through the roof

AS THE world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter per capita, you would think sun-kissed Australia would be getting stuck into solar energy like a seagull into a bag of hot chips. So why don't we all have solar panels on our roofs?

Critics who say it takes more energy to make a panel than the amount of energy the panel saves are wrong: energy payback takes one to four years, says a US Energy Department report. But are panels good for the hip pocket?

SMH - Doubts cast over solar rebate

A REBATE for solar panels is proving so popular there are concerns it could be axed or cut back. Households earning less than $100,000 qualify for an $8000 rebate from the Federal Government if they install roof-top solar panels to generate electricity.

But an extraordinary surge in applications has led to the Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, refusing to guarantee that the rebate has a future. She also refused to say if the rebate would be offered in three months' time. The Government is receiving 30 times as many applications for the rebate as it budgeted for, a estimates hearing was told yesterday.

SMH - New jobs in a clean economy

It is shaping up to be the boom sector of the future. So-called green collar careers in renewable energies, recycling industries, green services and any other jobs contributing to better environmental outcomes are expected to grow rapidly over the next few decades.

Many of today's green jobs hardly existed 10 years ago. In the 1990s, jobs such as those of carbon trader, solar panel installer or green energy auditor sounded to many like science fiction. To really expand the future green-collar economy, skills and training initiatives - up-skilling and re-skilling - will also be necessary.

That is the finding of research commissioned by the Dusseldorp Skills Forum, a not-for-profit body, and carried out by the CSIRO. The report, Growing The Green Collar Economy, says green-collar job growth should offset and possibly exceed job losses caused elsewhere by cuts to carbon pollution.

The Australian - State charges to discourage exporters

QUEENSLAND'S plans to ease coal export bottlenecks might face hurdles from Bowen Basin coal miners. The Bligh Government is spending more than $3 billion to lift the capacity of the region through rail and port upgrades in an effort to ease bottlenecks, but according to a Macarthur Coal executive, miners are not happy with usage costs being floated.

The Australian - Uranium project's costs rise

URANIUM One says the cost of its Honeymoon project will rise after the mine was put on hold pending the search for a partner. Construction of the South Australian mine, recently estimated to cost about $76 million, was expected to get under way in January with production to start in the second quarter next year, Uranium One's executive vice-president for Australia and Asia, Greg Cochran, said yesterday.

Uranium One, based in Canada, suspended development of Honeymoon earlier this year as it sought a partner for all of its Australian assets to share costs. The mine was originally due to start production late this year.

Peak Energy - Full Spectrum Solar

Peak Energy - The Green New Deal, Part 2

Peak Energy - Cuba's 20 billion barrel oil discovery ?

Peak Energy - Future Still Bright For Coal Seam Gas ?

Peak Energy - Morgan Stanley's Tidal Powered Data Centre

Peak Energy - OTECSteading: The New Tuvalu

Peak Energy - Tidal Power in Nova Scotia

Peak Energy - Ikea: A White Knight For Green Buildings

Peak Energy - Order 81 and The Terminator Gene

The article" Oder81 and the terminator gene" is a complete miss-representation of plant breeders rights. The terminator gene is a myth, never has been developed in any plant variety, was a "concept" that was never developed.
Hydrid seeds ( some maize, cotton, canola)are not sterile, but do not produce the hybrid vigour in later saved seed generations.
Most wheat varieties protected under PVR or PVP are true breeding and definitely NOT sterile. Australian, Canadian, US and EU farmers all farm under PVR or PVP laws.

Thanks Neil.

I've never been entirely sure how real these things are, but Monsanto certainly did seem keen to develop the technology (several times) in the past...

Neil wrote: "but do not produce the hybrid vigour in later saved seed generations"

I think someone on TOD said that maize hybrid seeds produce significantly less in the second crop (the figure used was 50% I think). That may not be a 'terminator' seed variety, but the intent is clearly there and partially implemented. Companies like Bayer CropScience have driven beekeepers to ruin across Europe with their trademark Gaucho seeds. The likes of Mosanto use financial leverage to force the use of their products in countries like India. These companies pilfer ethnobiological expertise and try to sell it back to the people from which they stole it with slight genetic modicifications. See stories relating to Thailand and their jasmine rice varieties. They outlaw people from using varieties that have been used for thousands of years like certain apple types in Europe. These companies clearly use criminal tactics knowingly and have sizable lobbies throughout Europe, the US and Australia to help them. They undermine local susistance farming by flooding markets with GM seed then gather at symposiums with Orwellian titles like "Biodiversity Conference" (in Bonn, Germany this year) and discuss how they can better hold the world's population at their ransom by means of their stolen intellectual property rights.

From where I'm standing, they do not need any apologists. The big agriculture companies in Australia, Canada, the US and EU are a scourge on the earth, 'terminator' seeds or not.