The Bullroarer - Thursday 6th November

The Age - Running on empty: deserts could solve energy crisis

"If you look at a map of solar radiation reaching the Earth, then Australia is the continental area that has the greatest intensity of sunlight because we have the desert region," Dr Pittock said yesterday.

"There is a huge potential. If you had all of the intensity of the sun over a 50-kilometre area, you could supply all of Australia's electricity."

Dr Pittock will call for solar thermal power plants to be built near regional communities, particularly job-starved indigenous communities, to meet the Federal Government's 2020 target of 20% of energy coming from renewable sources. - Oil, gas finds could bring labour crisis
The kind of problem that you want to have:

Substantial oil and gas resources would almost certainly be found in the Great South Basin but the discovery could push Southland's labour shortage to critical levels, a report commissioned by the Southern Institute of Technology says.

The report, prepared by engineer and former Unitech chief executive Dr John Webster, says most informed observers believe substantial oil and gas resources will be found in the Great South Basin, offshore from the coast of Southland and South Otago.

The Age - We languish in our habits and must see life afresh

To change the way a mature adult sees and does in the world requires unpicking and restitching a myriad of (pre)conceived notions, behaviour patterns and social supports.


Permanent material growth as an aspiration
This now no longer makes sense. Other routes to satisfaction, wealth and to dissolving inequity must be found, democratically. Raw population growth as encouraged by former federal treasurer Peter Costello is one of the profoundest of PIs in a country where each citizen generates such an unsustainable ecological footprint.

Convenience understood as the minimisation of human effort
This must be replaced by maximising wellbeing defined as person/planetary health.


At a detailed level, fringe benefits tax rewards excessive car use, frequent flyer points reward flying, 4WDs attract reduced tax, long-distance trucking is favoured over rail freight, personal travel cost reimbursements are made to private car users but not to cyclists nor to users of public transport periodical tickets.
To live sustainably we must identify and transform existing social and intellectual practices, making them consistent with sustainability. New intellectual and social lenses are needed to correct the astigmatisms in our current ways of seeing.

Radio NZ - Oil search near Queenstown

An international energy company is to begin drilling for oil behind the Remarkables mountain range.

ABC - Rees understands transport 'cynicism'

The New South Wales Premier, Nathan Rees, says he understands why residents in Sydney's north-west are cynical about his Government's transport promises.

The Government today shelved its $200 million duplication project for a stretch of the Richmond rail line, part of the costcutting measures due to be announced in next week's mini-Budget.

It comes just three days after officially axing the $12 billion North-West Metro plan, despite predictions the area will grow by more than 300,000 people by 2031.

NZ Herald - Powerco buyer seeks more opportunities

The Australian infrastructure investor which has bought half of New Zealand energy distributor Powerco says its presence here allows it to investigate other opportunities.

QIC Infrastructure has bought 50 per cent of Powerco from Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Group, which will net the debt-loaded investment fund $400 million.

The sale values Powerco at $2.05 billion, says Sydney-based Babcock Infrastructure. It will retain Powerco's gas distribution unit in Tasmania, valued at $200 million.

ABC - Desert-based renewable energy could supply nation: expert

Dr Pittock says the projects could provide employment in remote Aboriginal communities.

"One of the advantages is that you've got a lot of remote communities, particularly Indigenous communities, which are in desperate need of jobs," he said.

"If you located a thermal power station, for example, near one of those communities and you had on-the-job training, it would be very similar to some of the schemes that are being proposed at the moment."

The Age - Running on empty: deserts could solve energy crisis

Dr Barrie Pittock, a lead author with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former head of CSIRO's climate impact group, says deserts could also create a substantial clean energy export industry focused on Asia.

He today will tell an Alice Springs deserts symposium that Australia is better placed to develop clean energy than almost any other nation, mainly due to its capacity for large-scale solar and geothermal power plants.


He cites engineering firm WorleyParsons' plans to build the world's largest solar thermal plant in Australia by 2011, and another 33 large-scale solar thermal plants by 2020. - Biodiesel energy crop field days in Southland

Biodiesel New Zealand is hosting a series of South Island field days in November to give potential oilseed rape growers an opportunity to learn more about the crop and progress made by the business since its first harvests earlier this year.

Solid Energy’s renewable fuel business has several thousand hectares of South Island land in a variety of European oilseed rape cultivars, the majority sown in Autumn. Andrew Simcock, Biodiesel New Zealand’s General Manager, says the business is building a portfolio of contracts for oilseed and is interested in talking to landowners about sowing autumn 2009 crop. - Tidal power project progresses

A project to generate power from tidal turbines in Cook Strait expects to have a pilot programme underway by 2011.

The Age - Cattle farmers to meet govt over rail

Queensland farmers will meet with the state's transport minister on Thursday morning to discuss growing concerns over Queensland Rail's (QR) commitment to the transport of cattle and grain.

AgForce representatives will meet the minister, John Mickel, seeking reassurances after rumours that QR will stop transporting cattle to focus on the more lucrative coal market.

The Australian - BG delays Kazakhstan plans despite huge profits

BG Group has become the latest big oil and gas company to announce a delay in a key development project, citing falling crude prices and rising industry costs.

Canberra Times - Coming clean on beating carbon emissions targets

Within days of its release, the Treasury modelling of the economic implications of the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme has come under attack.
The impact of an estimated weekly increase in energy price of about $7 for domestic consumers has been criticised as being too great for the poorer sectors of the Australian community. And energy experts and engineers claim that the economic penalties of the scheme on both domestic and industrial energy users have been grossly underestimated.

At the heart of the criticism is the controversial issue of basing Australia's future energy supply on ''clean coal'' and ''renewables''. Associated with both these technologies are a massive uncertainty and risk factors relating to their economic, technical and environmental credentials.

Radio NZ - Foreign oil palm project in PNG to be launched next year

A foreign consortium-backed oil palm project is expected to be launched early next year in the central Kerema district of Gulf province of Papua New Guinea. - Building Guide: How To Minimise Construction Waste

ITM Building Guide: Sustainable Building
This guide provides builders and homeowners with information on energy and water efficiency, improving indoor air quality and selecting environmentally preferable building materials.

ITM Building Guide: How To Minimise Construction Waste
This guide provides builders with simple, cost-effective and practical ways to minimise construction waste.

Proactive Investors Australia - Uranium hopeful Toro Energy gets funding from Oz Minerals

OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL) has agreed to subscribe for its full entitlement under the 1 for 3.8 renounceable rights issue. Around 130.2 million shares in Toro will be issued at a price of 20c per share to raise around $A26 million via a renounceable rights issue to shareholders to advance its Australian uranium projects.

The Age - Sweden, Australia back clean energy fund

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Sweden has agreed to contribute $US4.7 million ($A6.92 million) to a financing facility that aims to promote clean energy in the region.

With the contribution, Sweden joined Norway and Australia as the third contributor to the multi-donor Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility, which is administered by the Manila-based ADB.

The fund aims to improve energy security in Asia and seeks to help countries shift to low-carbon economies by investing in technologies and practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

G Magazine - Green energy and the bad economy

"We're in a crisis because of oil prices and climate change, and now we're in a crisis because of the capital markets," Paul Maeder from global venture capital firm Highland Capital told Time. "This is where innovation happens - where the existing power structure hits a crisis point. I'm really happy,"