Tag Archive | renewable energy

Where has all the food gone?

Over the past few week, even months we have been witness to growing shortages in the worlds food supplies. Not only in 3rd world countries but in established world leaders.

Couple this with the growing shortages in water and now rising oil prices I ask the question How?

We have been warned for a few years that the growing threat of Global Warming and changing weather patterns would lead to shortages in basic food items such as rice and grains. Recently we have seen this come to pass with just such shortfalls in many countries including America. The United Nations is calling for action to be taken.

Here is a statement from United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon:
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Breaking News for Coober pedy!

Cobber Pedy is an Opal Mining Town… It is not connected to town Power,

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And most of the population live underground to avoid the heat….

It is situated in South Australia and as you can see from the photo is Desert.

However the folks here are mining Opals… of the highest Quality.

It is a pretty town with great Characters and charm…

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This has just appeared on the Yahoo news  site…

Australia’s largest solar power station is to be built at Coober Pedy, in South Australia’s mid-north, to provide more than 10 per cent of the city’s electricity needs.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the $7.1 million project would feature 26 solar dishes, each one 14 metres high, to produce 1,860 megawatt hours of power each year.
Coober Pedy was chosen because it is not connected to the electricity grid and gets all its power from diesel generators.
The solar power station will cut diesel use in the town by 520,000 litres, saving 1,500 tonnes of greenhouse gases.Mr Garrett described the project as groundbreaking and an example of the federal government’s commitment to a clean energy future.
The federal government will provide $3.55 million for the station with other funding coming from the state government and private industry.  South Australian Premier Mike Rann said the project would consolidate the state’s reputation as a leader in renewable energy initiatives.
“It reinforces our willingness to collaborate and invest in practical solutions to climate change in our communities,” Mr Rann said.
“South Australia already provides nearly half of the nation’s wind power, more than 45 per cent of the nation’s grid-connected solar power and is home to more than 80 per cent of all geothermal exploration activity in Australia.”
The new Coober Pedy power station is expected to begin generating electricity by the end of 2009.

I ask the Question Why is it only 10% of the towns power
to remove the need to run Generators at all?
Well done to Federal Government and finally something good from Peter Garrett,
however there is along way to go…..

Biofuel – one step closer

With Global becoming more reality than Science Fiction and the worlds oil supplies dwinderling, the search for replacement fuel sources is underway in hast. The CSIRO Australia’s leading Scientific Research Group took up the challenge and is today one step closer to solving the mystery of what to do when the oil dries up as it enevitably will do. So how to replace fossil fuel oil with a Clean Green Environmennally friendly version which does the same job but with none of the nasty side effects? The CSIRO Scientists have combined their skills in Genetics with their expertese in Bio Chemistry to find a solutions which to date looks to be the most promising to date.

From the CSIRO Website Advances in Australia

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CSIRO scientists have identified two genes from wild plants, which when introduced into oil seed plants, like linseed, could see those plants producing oil for industry.

One gene produces an enzyme for creating epoxy fatty acids, a major components in the production of epoxy resins, adhesives and plastics.

The second gene produces an enzyme for creating acetylenic fatty acids which are important in manufacturing high performance, cold weather lubricants for engines and hydraulics.

“If we are able to source this finished product from crops, then obviously we will be cutting out the toxic products that are generated in the process of epoxidisation of the oil. So definitely it will be kinder and gentler for the environment.”

The genetically modified plants will mean the creation of new oil products which come from a renewable source, have no polluting waste and are environmentally friendly.

A short Video explaining the process is also available Video

Although I am not one for Geneticly modifying anything, I can see advantages with in this kind product what do think good bad or otherwise……

Is it a case of thinking outside the square?

Sustainable living

I have been away on a little adventure traveling around the West Coast of the State of Tasmania.
My family and I have been camping but in the traditional camping way….

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What do I mean by this? Well lets see…
No Caravan, fridge, generator, mobile phone, Television, or homely comforts…
We took Tent, fold up table and chairs, fold away table to cook, small BBQ, blankets etc, lantern, food, axe and that was about it…

One of the places we ventured was a little village known as Trial Harbour on the far west coast of Tasmania…. Yes I know so many people visit small village so what made this one special?

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Trial Harbour is not Connect to the Electricity Power Grid or the Telecommunition grid, or the Water or anything…. The entire town runs quiet happily from Solar and Wind Generated power attached to each of their homes. These also where not mere fishing shacks some where two stories with all the mod cons.
Small Wind Turbines and two or three solar panels on each home was all that was obvious to the passer bye. most homes had a Satelitte dish, and some also had a wireless attenna set up. So you could see the residents would have Television, Satelitte Phones, electricity, Wireless Internet.
There are no shops, or taps so all previsions need to be taken with you however it is just 25 kms to Zeehan to restock. There is a clean creek to restock water but you should bring your own bottles with you. The road in to Trial Harbour from the main road is 20km of Gravel  and when we went quite passable with a car. 
Along the sides of the road, you will notice bolders which are just sticking up everywhere. Huge granite bolders perched on the sides of hills and mountains, these are reminants from the last Ice Age. Many have been signed by Tourists…

There is a well set up camping area, with a clean pit tiolet and campfires established for use.

I would highly recommend Trial Harbour for a camping Holiday to anyone venturing to Tasmania. It has the best Surfing in the country. The Southern Ocean hits land here with the most incredible waves. There is a sheltered beach for the kids although caution must be taken as conditions can change very quickly and there is no hospital or lifeguards so you are on your own in that respect.

Trial Harbour I must say is a lesson for anyone in sustainable living and proves a home can quiet comfortably be run from the resources nature has provided.
A town can run on the same principles shown here and with a little planning and forethought we can all live off the grid and still be in contact with the outside world.

Making it Rain

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In Tasmania our electricty comes from Hydro Tasmania. A Renewable energy source which uses water Turbines to create Electricity. There are huge manmade catchment lakes built throughout the Central Plateau areas to give a ready supply of water to keep the power on.

So how does it work?

Here in Tasmania, as well as in the Snowy Mountain Regions of New South Wales, use a method known as Cloud Seeding. 

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 Cloud seeding was first demonstrated by Schaefer from the General Electric Laboratories on 13 November 1946. The first case of documented man-made rain occurred near Bathurst, Australia in February in 1947 by CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization – Australia).

This works by Flying into Cumuliform Cloud or Stratiform Cloud and depositing one of three substances in the Clouds:

Silver Iodideis very similar in structure to naturally occurring ice. Water deposits form on the surface of the silver iodide crystal and the ice crystals continue to grow as if they were naturally occurring ice crystals.

Dry Ice (CO2)acts to cool the water far beyond 0ºC thereby causing the cloud droplets in the air to freeze, thus growing as water freezes on the surface of the ice.

Hygroscopic saltsSalts (KCl, NaCl) attract the water vapour to themselves, growing larger and eventually forming into raindrops.

Hydro found that Silver Iodide is the most suitable but also can use Dry Ice.

So why not use this method to save the rest of the country from drought you may ask, I know I did:

Unfortunately not all clouds are suitable.

  • Significant levels of supercooled liquid water have to be present in the cloud.
  • The cloud must be deep enough and the temperature must be within a range suitable for seeding.
  •  The wind also has to be below a fixed value.
  • Once all the criteria are met, cloud seeding can be successfully utilised to produce rainfall.

So does Cloud Seeding Affect Rain Fall to the area outside the seeded areas?

The Short answer is NO! it does not appear to affect rainfall but please Read the report below to find out more:

The Australian Cloud Seeding Research Symposium concludes on 9 May, 2007.

The Big Question is

“IS IT HARMFUL to the environment and Humans?”

This is a huge questions. I was listening to the ABC Radio 2 weeks ago when I heard that Cloud Seeding was possible responsible for an increase in Ammonia levels heres the article:

Snowy Hydro rejects cloud seeding pollution claim

Posted Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:19pm AEST
Updated Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:18pm AEST

Snowy Hydro is casting doubt on a study that blames cloud seeding for polluting New South Wales high country lakes.

National parks and wildlife ecologist Dr Ken Green has told a Jindabyne meeting that the $20 million cloud seeding trial might be linked to a big increase in ammonia levels in alpine waterways.

Dr Green says the increased ammonia had already caused algal blooms, high nutrient levels and changes in acidity.

But Snowy Hydro spokesman Paul Johnson says there is nothing to back up the claims.

“Snowy Hydro is yet to see any scientific basis or data in relation to those statements,” he said.

“I think you have to take that into account and understand in the absence of any reporting data these claims by Dr Green are not scientifically sound at the moment.”

So This may well be the future for our water, for our farms and could well help solve the problems of Renewable energy and drought in the years to come.

What do you think?

Largest Wind Farm in Australia

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This Project get a great big  hi5 comments

News Article from the Sydney Morning Herald….

A western NSW wind farm dubbed the largest in Australia could be up and running by the end of 2009, the company behind it says.
Renewable energy group Epuron announced its proposal today to install about 500 wind turbines north-west of Broken Hill, in far western NSW, saying they could generate enough electricity for 400,000 homes.
Epuron executive director Andrew Durran said if the NSW Government approved the wind farm near Silverton, the project could be operational in stages by late 2009.
The company will submit a development application for the farm in March next year, with approval expected by the end of the year.
Construction would begin early in 2009.
The $2 billion project could produce up to 4.5 per cent of NSW annual energy needs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, the company said.
“Silverton Wind Farm will be one of the largest in the world once it’s operating, with the potential for almost 1000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity,” Mr Durran said.
“NSW is an excellent state for wind farms. It has an excellent wind resource, it has a very strong transmission system, and it has got the largest energy load, so from our perspective NSW has a great potential for wind technology.”
Mr Durran said he had also spoken to the communities of Silverton and Broken Hill, with most people showing support for the project.
The operation and maintenance of the facility would create 100 permanent jobs in the area, he said.
Meanwhile, four landholders had already agreed to host the wind turbines.
“The townspeople in the area recognise the jobs and economic benefits from this project,” he said.
“They also recognise that to date their towns have relied on mining as a income source. This provides a new income source for the region.”
However, Mr Durran said the differences between the federal and NSW clean energy targets were a concern, as they created confusion and delays for renewable energy providers.
Under the Federal Government’s national Clean Energy Target, announced last month, 30,000 gigawatt hours each year would come from low emissions sources by 2020 – about 15 per cent of Australia’s energy consumption.
Prime Minister John Howard said the Government would consult with states and industry in designing and implementing the scheme, which he said would take effect no later than January 2010.
The federal plan would replace state-based schemes, he said.

The ‘i’ have been dotted and all the ‘T’ crossed ,lets see if the Federal Government can work together with the states to get this fantastic project of the ground and support innovative business who are trying to do their bit…. can we afford to wait until 2010 or should we start now?

There is always a NATURAL WAY

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Ever since I was a small child I have been surrounded by animals,
creatures in all shapes and sizes and I guess this started me on the
road to understanding or trying to understand the world around us. 
My Grandfather had a huge Vegetable Garden in the backyard and
trees and flowers everywhere, people would ask him to help them in
their yards and for hints and tips on keeping it healthy.  The yard was
a magical place to grow up, with lizards, snails, worms, snakes, spiders,
cicardas, and all manner of bugs.
I remember asking him when I was about 6 yrs old, why he had so many
bugs in the garden when my friends had so few and what they did? he told me:
“The lady bugs eat the Afides on his prize winning roses, the flowers keep the
cabbage moths busy, the worms made food for the plants to eat, the mulch kept
the soil nice and damp and the cicardas help keep the pests and wasps of the fruit.”
He would always tell me never use chemicals, there is always a natural way….
This was nearly 40 years ago.  He would companion plant, pull up weeds, dig in
mulch and generally use the tools nature gave him to grow the vegetables that
we would eat all year round.
My parents had cats, dogs, birds, and fish so I was always in company of some
creature or another, we never had mice or rats, issues with tomcats or spiders in
the house. The cats kept the mice away, the Tomcats and Prowlers where kept
away by the Dogs and the Spiders eaten by the birds…..
It was a very natural and wonderful thing to learn about our symbiotic relationship to world around us.
This lifestyle was in the city, with all normal issues of work and school that go along
with it.
In recent times I have tried to raise my children in the same spirit,
we would take them camping, exploring, swimming in the rivers, rock climbing, caving,etc. 
They have visited some of the most beautiful places this country has
to offer and it has paid dividends for all of us.

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One day driving home from a shopping trip, we decided to visit a friend who
lived just off the main road, having not called in for a while. 
On the way to her house  we drove past what had been terrific bushland
but now it flaterned not a tree was left standing.
My daughter was in the back seat, she was about 3 years old,
she started to scream and sob, as if great pain, it was so bad we had to stop,
thinking she had injured herself in someway. 
We took her out of the car, asked her what was the matter,
all the while looking for some indication of what had caused this. 
All she could do was point at the trees. 
So we calmed her down and took her for a walk through the devastation
of what had been beautiful bushland, you could almost hear her heart breaking
when we found a dead possom.  She asked
“where are the other animals?”, “where are they living?”,
“why are all the trees gone?”, “it isnt fair they didn’t do anything!”

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How do answer such question from a child, So the truth was the only answer
and I explained the reason for this was a new housing estate, and shopping centre,
her reaction shocked even me and thats not easy,
she said nothing just walked back to car sat down put her belt on and that was it,
she was CROSS!
When we arrived home, not stopping at the friends house,
she took out our travel book and looking at the pictures
she used her pencil to mark all the places there were no trees,
then she marked all the places there were homes and shopping centres,
drew a line between them all and then gave it to me.
I said to her what is this you had better explain, so she did:
“These places have no trees and no bush and no animals live here,
so here is where the houses go.
These are the shops for the people to go shopping,
and these lines are the roads to take them there.
Look I didn’t cut down ONE Tree. Can I send my map to the
Tree choppers so they can see where to build their houses?”
So this Blog is my hopefully my way of showing the Treechoppers for her,
and a Tribute to my Gandfathers inspirational teachings.

There is always a NATURAL WAY