Monthly Archives: September 2010

Australia Climate Change Committee welcomed

WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA)  27 September 2010

Australian Climate Change Committee welcomed by Australia’s largest energy chamber.

The WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) welcomes the announcement today by Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the membership and terms of reference for the new multi-party Climate Change Committee to help build consensus on how Australia will tackle Climate Change.

The Prime Minister said “the Committee will start from the position that a carbon price is an economic reform that is required to reduce carbon pollution, to encourage investment in low emissions technologies and complement other measures including renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

WA SEA continues to support a national emissions trading scheme based on scientifically established reduction targets as the best way to tackle the challenge of bringing down Australia’s emissions.

‘A combination of a trading system, paired with direct incentives for industry to reduce emissions through both energy efficiency and procurement of lower emissions energy, will actually diversify the economy and create a more robust environment for business. Energy efficiency is a critical component as it will reduce inflationary pressures that would otherwise occur through spiralling fossil fuel prices,’ says Prof Ray Wills, Chief Executive of WA SEA.

Investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy will deliver projects returning real profits in real operations with real jobs that deliver real, emissions-free energy, and help build a more efficient, more sustainable economy.’

We must fundamentally change the way we think about energy and how we do business. The economic naysayers who say climate change is simply inconvenient are still planning an economy based on paradigms and activities of the last century that simply do not add up, nor do they provide the solutions needed for this century.’

Climate change is real, the impacts are already proving dire and will only get worse, humans are causing it, and we need to stop,’ says Prof Wills.

As Australia’s largest energy chamber, WA SEA looks forward to working directly with the Climate Change Committee, and as a member of its business roundtable to establish a policy response to climate change that is builds a sustainable economy for Australia into the 21st Century.

WA SEA is particularly pleased with Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s inclusion and commitment to the Climate Change Committee underscoring that action on climate change is a core duty of the new Federal Government.
Media contact:   Prof Ray Wills  0430 365 607

Editors notes:
1.    Prime Minister’s media release on Climate Change Committee
2.    The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) is a chamber of enterprises has a growing membership of 260 industry members from a diversity of businesses, and the largest state-based industry body of its kind in Australia.
3.  WA SEA bringing you the Energising South East Asia Conference 23-26 March 2011, Perth.

Sustainable Development Using Solar Energy and Climate Design in Angola

22 September 2010

Following my recent trip to Angola upon the invitation of the Chinese Government, it occurred to me that there is a unique chance for Africa as it develops, to avoid the “unsustainable” practices of the western world that prevailed during the 19th and 20th centuries.

My treatment by the hierarchy of the Angolan Government and the leaders of the Chinese construction company was very respectful.

The use of water, the conservation of energy and the preservation of a natural environment was of high importance their quest to create a new future for the country.  They were all ears in what we had to present.  In many ways I felt that there was more enthusiasm and synergy with the ideas, solutions and suggested technologies I was presenting than I experience in Australia.

The country has been war torn for decades but finally peace has been restored and there is a feeling of optimism as the Chinese enterprises are exchanging the development of infrastructure and housing for access to minerals and oil.

The speed of progress made me even more aware of our stifling bureaucratic attitudes and processes in Australia.  It was refreshing not to encounter stubborn enslavement to often silly, anti-innovation type regulations.  Of course we are a safe,  clean society but in comparison we move at a very boring pace and there seems no respect for professionals with expertise as is the case with their government where all solutions are on the table for discussion and evaluation.

An expert in our country negotiating over the counter at a local government building or planning office in Australia has the same status as a housewife in curlers, to most belligerent power loving local government officers.  Maybe we have taken our ‘fair go’/egalitarian philosophies a little too far?

The Kilamba Kiaxi development 20 km south of Luanda, has already seen social housing rising above the monsoon flood plain at rate that is incomprehensible any where else in the world.  This is of course apart from China itself.

Tower blocks from 4 to 13 storeys have appeared where only 2 years ago there was only virgin bush and upon the approach visually takes up the whole horizon as one approaches the precinct.

When fully complete with the next stage of middle class to luxury villas the development will eventually house 600,000 to one million people eventually.  This will be complete with landscaping central business precinct and local neighbourhood commercial centres as well.  Within 5 to 10 years this will all materialize.  It is so impressive.  This would take at least 20-50 years anywhere else. It would probably take 5 years to get the sub division approved in Australia for instance.

There is at least $50 billion (USD) being committed already to new housing projects and many are work-in-progress in Luanda and to some degree all over the rural regions of the country.  It is changing so fast.

The fact is that after 30 years of agonizing war and hardship the country needs to move on fast.  The politicians need to keep fulfilling the needs and expectations of the people and not let them down.  The amount of squalor and shanty towns are currently out of control and the government realizes that this must change fast as people pour into Luanda from the rural areas in search of a jobs and a better life for their kids.

In meeting the Chinese architects and engineers in Luanda, it is obvious they are well aware of the climatic conditions and the challenges with the terrain.  It is impressive that the apartments are mostly 4 to 5 bedrooms to suit the current demographic of families in Angola.  Each apartment has external window access to natural ventilation.

However so much more can be done to improve future developments or social relevance and to create a social fabric that suits the temperament and culture of the people, as well as integrate renewable energy and climatic design into each development.

The vision needs to extend beyond when the oil peters out as an oil-thirsty world lines up to get their share of it.  They desperately need to address their collective and gregarious culture as well as providing far more outdoor living areas for community activities and family and extended family living.  Hopefully this is something we have to offer if we are involved in the master planning stages of these massive projects.

This will be the main challenge as we and colleages get further involved with future social and luxury housing developments in this country.

Garry Baverstock, AM

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A Green House – Australian Response to Climate Change a Crucial Role for New Federal Government

11 September 2010

Ray Wills, CEO
Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA)

Australians want to see a serious commitment to action on global warming, and the new Prime Minister must work with the Greens and Independents to make the Australian Parliament, the operation of government, and the Australian economy more sustainable says by the WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA).

‘Australia has voted and by electing a Parliament with green credentials, Australians have sent a clear message it is time to act on climate change, make Australia more energy efficient, and build renewable energy generation to power Australia in the 21st Century,’ says WA SEA Chief Executive, Prof Ray Wills.

‘The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been in operation for twenty two years. The world should have acted on global warming in the last century when science delivered the first strong warnings on global warming. Not enough action has been taken, and we are now out of time to avoid significant climate change. But, we must act decisively now if we want to avoid even more dangerous change in our climate,’ says Prof Wills.

‘We must fundamentally change the way we think about energy and how we do business. And we must act,’ says Prof Ray Wills.

‘To this end, specific incentives must be developed to deliver renewable energy projects outside of the National Energy Market and to islanded grids and isolated domestic and commercial energy users,’ says Prof Wills.

WA SEA calls on the new Gillard Government to work with COAG to develop a nationally consistent feed-in tariff (FiT) for renewable energy. The introduction of a FiT in overseas countries has led to significant growth of the renewable energy industry, particularly solar. A gross metered FiT mst be made available to all forms of renewable energy with tariffs set at different levels to reflect the value of embedded generation in domestic, commercial and industrial scale generation. Feed in tariffs are an effective market mechanism that will ensure the most efficient renewable energy technologies, as these deliver the most cost-effective investments under a FiT.

WA SEA, Australia’s largest energy chamber, says a new Federal Government must also walk the talk – measures being encouraged for business and the community must be rolled out and demonstrated as a greater priority in government operations. All government departments and agencies must be instructed to increase energy efficiency and install renewable energy on all existing government facilities and other public buildings. Further, the Government must ensure new buildings built on the public purse are energy efficient buildings and powered by renewable energy.

Further, mandatory installation of the most affordable and appropriate technologies such as solar hot water, solar air-conditioning, heat pumps and geothermal on all new houses and buildings and across new precincts, as well as requirements of all renovation and brown field redevelopment approvals, as well as on all existing government facilities and public buildings, will deliver long term savings to building owners and tenants, and to the tax payer.

The new Government has in place a target of generating at least 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply generated from renewable sources within less than ten years. Getting there will require immediate action to put in place the market structures that will allow business to respond and build the required generation facilities to meet the target according to WA SEA.

‘Responding to climate change will create new business, new employment opportunities, and a more sustainable economy in both urban and regional Australia.’

‘Renewable energy generation, combined with measures for better energy efficiency, means future proofing our economy and will produce a sustainable economy with fewer inflationary pressures for Australians,’ says Prof Wills.

‘Australia’s renewable energy sources are vastly greater than our fossil fuel resources, renewable energy is generally more labour intensive, and by the nature of the source, more broadly distributed across regions. With a better employment factor, renewable energy projects can lead to growth of local communities in rural Australia, and bolster a broad range of skills in agricultural regions.’

‘We do not have decades to respond to climate change – we have already had decades. It is time to take the heat out of this problem, and how we produce and use energy is the key to solving it.’

WA SEA congratulates all Minister’s on their appointments and notes that sustainable government will only be delivered with the collaboration of all portfolios:

Full Gillard Government Ministry:

Prime Minister: Julia Gillard
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer: Wayne Swan
Foreign Affairs: Kevin Rudd
Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations: Chris Evans
Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Arts: Simon Crean
Defence: Stephen Smith
Health and Ageing: Nicola Roxon
Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs: Jenny Macklin
Infrastructure and Transport: Anthony Albanese
Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy: Stephen Conroy
Innovation, Industry and Science: Kim Carr
Finance and Deregulation: Penny Wong
Schools, Early Childhood and Youth: Peter Garrett
Attorney-General: Robert McClelland
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: Joe Ludwig
Sustainable Population, Communities, Environment and Water: Tony Burke
Resources, Energy and Tourism: Martin Ferguson
Immigration and Citizenship: Chris Bowen
Trade: Craig Emerson
Climate Change and Energy Efficiency: Greg Combet
Human Services, Social Inclusion: Tanya Plibersek
Home Affairs and Justice, Privacy and FOI: Brendan O’Connor
Employment Participation and Childcare: Kate Ellis
Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Sport, Social Housing and Homelessness: Mark Arbib.
Small Business, Assistant Minister for Tourism: Nick Sherry
Veterans Affairs and Defence Science and Personnel: Warren Snowdon
Assistant Treasurer, Financial Services and Superannuation: Bill Shorten
Mental Health and Ageing: Mark Butler
Special Minister of State: Gary Gray
Defence Materiel: Jason Clare

Editors notes:

1. The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) is a chamber of enterprises that has a growing membership of over 360 industry members from a diversity of businesses. WA SEA is the largest energy energy chamber in Australia.

2. Prof Ray Wills is Chief Executive of the WA Sustainable Energy Association, Australia’s largest energy industry chamber, and Adjunct Professor with The University of Western Australia’s School of Earth and Environment where he contributes to the academic program and lecturing on the science, economics and politics of environmental change.

3. WA SEA bringing you the Energising SE Asia Conference 23-26 March 2011, Perth.

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