Shopping Centres To Take Advantage Of Australia's Natural Advantage - The Sun

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29th June 2010, 01:53pm - Views: 688







Media release text:


Australia and the world face a genuine challenge to arrest the growth of CO2 and other

Greenhouse Emissions. 


On that there is real agreement between the two sides of politics. Federal Opposition

leader Tony Abbott has matched the Government target to reduce carbon levels by

2020.


We at MyBoulevarde today announce our plan to take advantage of Australia’s natural

advantage - sun — something we have in abundance.  We’ll help the government -

whichever one is elected later this year - achieve its emissions targets by mining the

sun.  We plan to build four solar power stations, each twice the size of the existing two

biggest Australian solar power plants.  

Much of the electricity generated can be used in the shopping centres themselves. 

Any surplus  will supply less polluting and less wasteful energy to fuel households

and businesses in their local areas.

I’m enthusiastic about our plan, because I think climate change is real. According to 

Dr. James Hansen, the NASA scientist who first told Congress that global warming

was real back in the 1980s, writing in the latest "global surface temperature analysis"

from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, new measured global temperature

record will be set within the next few months.  Contrary to popular belief, global

warming has not stopped nor even slowed down in the past decade. 


MyBoulevarde shopping centres will drive creativity and innovation, helping to

secure the reputation of Australian business as being at the forefront of the battle

to cut the wasteful use of fossil-fuel based energy which is causing climate change.


The uncertain politics of climate change are a dampener on investment.  I think

business has to lead by example.  I understand that politics represents perhaps the

greatest challenge to achieving an ecologically sustainable outcome. While the

scientific evidence is becoming increasingly clear, and the economic levers exist to

trigger shifts in consumption and investment toward low-carbon technologies, political

realities do not lend themselves to the sort of decisive action which now appears

necessary.   The Coalition have referred to their measures as a "solar sunrise for

Australia"; the Labor Party is prepared only to back programs in targeted regional



areas. 


We at MyBoulevarde are yet to see either.  Whist we announce today our intention to

go it alone, we could do much more with Government support. 


None of our shopping centres is in a Labor Party approved solar city growth area.  But

each of our shopping centres can become a Clean Energy Employment Hub. We

believe in the role of business as a driver of the economy and of social change, and we

believe in the power of the individual. We know that engaging communities by showing

what can be done where they live is key to encouraging collective action.  


It’s time to take an iron bar to the old way of thinking which puts Australia’s population

growth primarily in the big cities of the eastern States, which are right now groaning

under their own weight.  Solar power in regional Western Australia will build regional

development and make use of the two most important resources for housing a growing

population- land and energy. 

 

Our plan will be nationally significant, multiplying by three times the amount of major

solar power generation, reducing emissions, cutting dependence on foreign oil and its

pressure on our exchange rate and allowing reduction in the use of

domestically-produced gas. 


Government investment in regional solar will help produce a new generation of green

collar jobs, and I call upon both the Government and the Opposition to support the

MyBoulevarde solar plan.


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Background


There is now a universal focus on global warming and climate change that provides

further opportunities to develop financially viable industries through the instigation of

new policies and regulation favouring low carbon fuels and emission-reducing

practices. An economy that is increasingly carbon constrained will give preference to

less carbon intensive, and eventually carbon neutral sources of energy and

commodities. At the same time oil prices are increasing, which provides clear

economic opportunities for alternative fuels such as solar power.




The last time global temperatures were 1 degree C above today’s values, sea levels

were 8 meters higher than they are now, and hippopotamuses and crocodiles

flourished in London. At that time CO2 was more than one third less than it is already,

so the impacts caused by the present levels of CO2 will be far larger. The last time

temperatures were 3-5 degrees higher than today, sea levels were around 30 meters

higher than now. 


The starting point has to be Minister Garrett’s topical speech: SPEECH TO THE 3RD

INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ENERGY SOCIETY CONFERENCE, ASIA PACIFIC

REGION AND THE 46th AUSTRALIAN NEW ZEALAND SOLAR ENERGY

SOCIETY CONFERENCE Sydney Wednesday November 26 2008


A key part of our commitment to a ‘Solar Australia’, more than 12 months ago, was

that we would aim to double the approximately 30,000 solar rooftops around

Australia within eight years.


It is worth reflecting that we are now on track to double that number by the end of

the current financial year. That is, we will have achieved an eight-year goal in a

little over 18 months.


This scheme will be the centrepiece of our efforts as we set about reducing

Australia’s carbon pollution by 60 per cent of 2000 levels by 2050.


He didn’t say anything about commercial usage. This is surprising, given the federal

Government’s proposed increase in renewable energy targets and the development

of a national CPRS.  In our view, Australian public opinion means that clean energy 

has strong policy support. Technological advances in clean energy are defined by the

coalescence of three major drivers: a strong energy price cycle, growing public

pressure to control CO2 emissions, and an encouraging environment for private

investment in research and commercial development of clean energy technologies,

supported by both sides of politics.


The average size of a household grid-connected solar PV system is about 1.5

kilowatts which has a PV panel area of about 12 square metres. A system of this size

has a cost typically around $19,000.  We plan to have a total of some 16 THOUSAND

square metres in total at a cost of some $16.8 million.  Imagine a town of 3000 people

-

like Karratha- run solely on solar: that’s what we plan to do.  It might be only 1/7000

of Australia’s energy needs, but it will make the regions we serve in Western Australia



the best, in terms of renewable energy production, in Australia.  


The situation is serious.  Somewhat dated (1999) research into global greenhouse

gas emissions by the Australia Institute shows that Australia has the highest

emissions per person in the industrialised world. Based on official data submitted to

the United Nations, the analysis shows that Australians emit on average 27.9 tonnes

of greenhouse gases each year, more than double the average of 12.8 tonnes for all

industrial countries.


Recent reports by the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change have clearly

stated that there is a direct link between industrialised anthropogenic activity and

climate change. More recently, and of specific relevance to WA, the Indian Ocean

Climate Initiative has demonstrated the decline in rainfall across the southwest of WA.


The capital costs per kilowatt using solar are falling dramatically: the unit cost of a

kWh of solar is also falling as technology improves. Our plants combined will be bigger

than the proposed  grid–connected 154 MW Heliostat Concentrator Photo Voltaics

plant (HCPV) which is due to be commissioned in Victoria in 2013. Like that plant, it is

planned that ours will use heliostats (mirrors) to concentrate solar radiation by a factor

of 500, onto high–efficiency PV cells developed by Boeing for satellite energy

systems. The output is 1500 times the power output of the same area of a

conventional PV cell. The cost of power generated is expected to be three–quarters of

that from traditional PV technology.


Here are the digestible facts about solar energy, current and potential, in WA:


WA has considerable solar potential, with about 300 sunny days per year.


There is no commercial development of solar power in Utah.


Cost of development and access to transmission lines are the biggest

obstacles.


There is a definite need for actions like ours.  We won’t need transmission lines -

most of our power will be used on site.


According to Stewart Needham’s 2009 research paper for the Australian

Parliamentary Library, “The potential for renewable energy to provide baseload power

in Australia,” 

In 2005-06 Australia's power stations produced 257 terawatt hours (TWh) of



electricity (243 TWh public supply plus 12 TWh for off-grid producers), and output

is growing at about 3.3 per cent per annum. Of this gross amount, about 18 TWh is

used by the power stations themselves, leaving 237 TWh actually sent out (net

production). A further 17 TWh is lost in high voltage transmission and 9 to10 more

in energy sector consumption, leaving 210 TWh for final consumption (or 187 TWh

apart from aluminium production).

Demand is projected to rise to 415 TWh by 2029-30, an average annual growth of

2 per cent.This projection accounts for policy measures in operation in 2007, but

not for the current Government’s proposed emissions trading scheme or increased

renewable energy target.


Clearly the dictates of climate change do not allow this to be produced by fossil fuel

production.


We will support our retailers through solar hot water, energy efficiency, free energy

audits and smart meters. We will fund our projects through innovative financing.  Of

course we would like to see projects made possible through a combination of

Infrastructure Australia, State Government and private industry funding. 


Production is planned to exceed 12 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually with our

shopping centres’ combined greenhouse gas emissions reduced by more than 12,000

tonnes. This will go a long way to achieve our plan of making them emission-neutral

by 2020.


This is not greenwash.  We will  provide assessment and reporting of carbon outputs

and ensure that credible and meaningful information is publicly and readily available .

We favour the use of the Lend-Lease Carbon Disclosure Tool. This is a simple excel

spreadsheet which allows property owners to use energy bills to input information.

The key output of this tool is therefore transparent, undistorted and useful information,

to be used across all current legislative requirements. In addition, this information can

be used to fairly compare buildings through the provision of a moderated or

normalised benchmark. This benchmark will transparently adjust, based on tenant

impact and year-on-year climatic variations.


US$66 billion was invested globally in clean energy in 2006—and investment interest

is growing despite the recent global financial difficulties.  For example, Japan's



photovoltaic (PV) power market has enjoyed 40 percent annual volume growth and 7

percent price decreases over the past decade. Today, it has the world's largest base

of installed PV (mostly residential installations) and half of the world's PV

manufacturing capacity.  To take another example, China’s first renewable energy

law came into effect on January 1, 2006, to help the country increase renewables to 15

percent of China’s primary energy consumption by 2020, up from 7 percent today.  In

the US state of Kansas, Governor Sebelius has called for measures to reduce U.S.

dependence on foreign oil imports by 40 percent by 2025.  She negotiated a

voluntary clean energy standard with Kansas electric utilities, under which they’re

required to get at least 10 percent of their energy from wind by 2010. The state is on

track to exceed that goal this year.  Sebelius supports a national clean energy

standard requiring utilities to get 25 percent of their energy from clean energy sources

by 2025. 


In Western Australia, more talk, more talk.  But as we say here in Albany, “The Sun’s

the limit”. 


In short, our innovative investment will create jobs, attract private investment, enhance

our competitive advantage and underpin Western Australia’s economic and social

development beyond the short term.  In making decisions about resource allocation

priorities it is also necessary to have a clear sense of how Western Australia  is most

likely to evolve in the future Hard infrastructure is an expensive item, but here, the

community

?s concerns and aspirations need to be taken into account. The al

ternative

to investment in electricity infrastructure is that energy production does not keep pace

with population growth and our quality of life suffers.








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