Archived News for Green Sector Professionals - July, 2012
The City of Sydney has selected Solgen Energy to undertake a $6 million project to fit solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to more than 30 sites over the next two years to generate 12.5 per cent of the electricity needs of all City properties.
The panels will have a total electrical capacity of more than 1,250 kWp (kilowatt peak), making it Australia's largest building-mounted solar PV program, and covering some 9,000 square metres (greater than the area of a regulation football field - 6,800 square metres).
The panels could produce nearly 2,000,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity a year and are expected to reduce the City's annual carbon pollution by 2,100 tonnes.
Victoria releases Soil Health Strategy
A Soil Health Strategy developed by the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) has been released as a resource for organisations like Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs).
ACT Pest Animal Management Strategy released
Rabbits, wild dogs, feral goats, pigs, carp and other exotic pests will be the target of a new strategy designed to prevent and manage pest animals in the ACT and reduce the harmful damage to the environment.
Applications open for Clean Tech Investment Programs
Manufacturers who produce between 25,000 and 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and face a direct carbon price liability can now access dollar for dollar grants under the $1 billion Clean Technology Investment Programs.
City of Cockburn WA's Most Sustainable City
The City of Cockburn has been named Keep Australia Beautiful Western Australia’s most Sustainable City for 2012.
Green to oversee Browse appeals
The South Australian Environment Minister Bill Marmion has appointed Dr Roy Green to investigate more than 200 appeals received regarding the Environmental Protection Authority’s report on the Browse Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Precinct at James Price Point.
Dr Green has considerable experience in government and the petroleum industry, including chairing an expert panel for quarantine management at the Gorgon LNG Project on Barrow Island Nature Reserve.
“Dr Green is appointed as an appeals committee and will investigate all appeals received,” Mr Marmion said.
“He has previously been the chief executive of the CSIRO and deputy chairman of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), and as such, is considered to have an eminent standing to undertake the committee role.”
The process of investigating the appeals will include consultation with the EPA, appellants and the proponent. Once the committee has completed its investigations, a report is presented to the Minister, who will determine the appeals having regard to the committee’s advice.
Appeals against the EPA’s report closed on Monday July 30, 2012.
NT to implement all recommendations from Bushfires Review
The Northern Territory Minister for Natural Resources, Karl Hampton, has released the independent review of BushfiresNT, announcing that all of its 44 recommendations will be implemented.
ABS releases paper on emissions reduction schemes
The ABS has released an information paper Recording Emissions Reduction Schemes in ABS Statistics (cat. no. 5257.0.55.001 which details the statistical treatment of the measures legislated under the group of Acts that are known collectively as the Clean Energy Acts that came into force on 1 July 2012.
The ABS expects to include estimates of the Clean Energy Acts emissions reduction schemes in economic and environment statistics, commencing with the September reference quarter 2012. The ABS will also include estimates for the measures introduced with the Renewable Energy Act 2000 at the same time.
The statistical and commercial accounting treatments of emissions reduction schemes have been subject to debate internationally. The statistical treatment was decided at the 43rd meeting of the United Nations Statistical Commission in February 2012, which ratified the historic cost approach for recording transactions in the various schemes. Rather than follow the UN decision, the ABS has decided to apply a market value approach to recording transactions and positions. This is consistent with fundamental statistical principles as outlined in the internationally agreed System of National Accounts. The ABS believes that the market value approach will reflect more accurately:
Green light for Nyrstar subject to new technology
The South Australian EPA has issued environmental guidelines for Nyrstar’s Port Pirielead smelter setting out finalised variations to the licence conditions.
Research explains carbon storage in the Southern Ocean
A team of British and Australian scientists has discovered how carbon is drawn down from the surface of the Southern Ocean to the deep waters beneath.
Upgraded NSW Catchment Management Plans approved
Two of New South Wales’ 13 regional Catchment Action Plans have been now been upgraded and approved.
Central West and Namoi Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) were the first to upgrade and refine their Catchment Action Plans to take account of environmental, economic and social changes since they were introduced five years ago.
The other CMAs will now follow suit and their reviews are expected to be completed early next year.
The updated plans will include:
- more focus on areas that need to become more resilient;
- mapping priorities for investment and action to maintain and improve this resilience; and
- stronger collaboration with communities and relevant government agencies.
COAG considers report on environmental approval processes and electricity pricing
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting this week received a report from its Future Competition and Regulatory Reform Taskforce which has been consulting with peak business bodies and organisations including conservation groups which have an interest in environmental regulation reforms.
Increased UVB radiation destructive to marine life
Ultraviolet radiation has caused a steep increase in deaths among marine animals and plants, according to an international team including scientists at the Oceans Institute of The University of Western Australia.
Queensland declares support for environmental issues
Queensland’s Ministerial Environmental Roundtable has met for a question and answer session with representatives from a range of interest groups including the Queensland Conservation Council, Sunshine Coast Environment Council, National Parks Association and the Environmental Defenders Office.
Caring for Our Country funding announced
Environment Minister Tony Burke has announced funding 66 projects under the Caring for our Country program.
No coal mining for Margaret River
The Western Australian Government has taken steps to prevent future coal mining in the Margaret River area by terminating all pending applications for coal exploration activities within a 230-square kilometre zone.
The WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore said the decision followed Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) advice which indicated coal mining in the area posed an unacceptable environmental risk.
Based on that advice, the State Government rejected the Vasse Coal proposal last February.
“The Government has now decided that the advice should also be applied to the whole of the coal mineralisation extending through the identified 230-square kilometre zone and applications for coal exploration or mining should not be supported,” Mr Moore said.
“This decision sends a signal to the industry - applications will not be accepted to explore for or mine coal in this area."
Under the Mining Act 1978, the Minister for Mines and Petroleum can terminate or refuse applications if the Minister is satisfied on reasonable grounds that it is in the public interest to do so. This provision will be invoked if explorers are unwilling to withdraw their coal applications.
"I would emphasise that this decision is based on unique and local circumstances existing only in the Capes region. It will provide some future certainty for local residents and landowners without adding unnecessary sovereign risk to the State’s $107billion resources sector,” Mr Moore said.
The Minister said any future applications for exploration or mining activities for commodities other than coal in the Capes region would be reviewed on their own merits and would be subject to the same rigorous assessments before any approval would be considered.
Potential for electricity from the ocean: CSIRO report
A study by CSIRO has found that the waves in the ocean could supply about 10 per cent of Australia’s electricity by 2050.
Tarkine mine referrals to undergo EPBC assessment
Two mine referrals in the Tarkine in Tasmania will undergo environmental assessment under national environment law.
Companies avoid a million tonnes of carbon pollution annually
Members of Low Carbon Australia's Carbon Neutral Program have been praised for avoiding more than 1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution.
New members announced for Western Coastal Board
The Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith has appointed six new members to the Western Coast Regional Coastal Board to develop a coastal action plan for the region and provide advice on coastal development and use.
NSW Native Vegetation Regulations under review
The NSW government is currently reviewing Native Vegetation regulations and laws introduced in 2003 and 2005 to end broad scale land clearing in the state.