Mixed Greens: NSW unveils energy efficiency plan

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NSW unveils energy efficiency plan, Infigen take write-down; White House solar back on roof, CNPV releases latest technology; and Indian solar sojourn for AECOM.

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NSW unveils energy efficiency plan

The NSW government has released its Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which it says will realize annual energy savings of 16,000GWh by 2020 – equivalent to the annual output of the state’s largest coal-fired power generator, Bayswater.

Included in the plan is support 220,000 low-income households to reduce energy use by up to 20 per cent by 2014, and to deliver high-standard building retrofit programs so that 50 per cent  of NSW commercial floor space achieves a 4-star NABERS energy and water rating by 2020. It will achieve this by upgrading its energy savings scheme, which supports homes and businesses to save energy, completes the Home Power Savings Program, and invests $170 million over four years to upgrade NSW Government schools, hospitals and offices and cut the Government’s energy bill.

Rob Murray-Leach, CEO of the Energy Efficiency Council, welcomed the announcement. “This plan is definitely going in the right direction. We’d like to see the government work on the details on the budget behind the plan, but as a direction-setting plan this gets a big tick,” he said in a statement.

Infigen takes write-down

Australian listed renewable energy developer and operator Infigen Energy has announced a $58.4 million write-down of its US wind energy portfolio – equivalent to 11 per cent of the book value – as a result of accounting changes, and a review of production, prices and costs. Infigen has previously tried to sell the US assets but did not receive a high enough offer. Infigen says the write-down will not affect its cash flow or its debt facility. Managing director Miles George said operating costs in each region are expected to be below the bottom end of the guidance ranges.

White House puts solar back on the roof

Some 27 years after Ronald Reagan ripped them down, and three years after Barack Obama promised to put them back, the White House is finally re-installing a solar array on its rooftop. Reports from the US say the installation is occurring this week, as part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building, an official said, and a statement of the president’s commitment to renewable energy.

The retrofit also includes installing updated building controls and variable speed fans, an official said. In 2010, the then Energy Secretary Stephen Chu said: ”This project reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home. Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.”

CNPV’s new efficient modules

Leading global solar PV manufacturer, CNPV Power –  has launched its latest chrystalline panel offering, which it claims is 3 per cent more efficient at harvesting the sun’s energy than its previous premium PV products. The CNPV Reaper series uses proprietary solid state technology, which allows for captured heat energy to be dissipated, thus reducing the module’s net temperature and causing a corresponding power harvesting gain, while also reducing thermal stress and thus prolonging module life.

CNPV says that in a typical scenario of 1500 hours of sunlight per year, with module temperatures operating at 35°C above ambient, 1MW of solar modules will generate an extra 1.125MWh over 25 years. – making the the payback period for the Reaper Premium module technology five years.

Indian sojourn for AECOM

Two Australians and one New Zealander are headed to India this week to lend their professional support to not-for-profit Pollinate Energy’s effort to promote the distribution of safer, more affordable clean energy solutions to urban poor communities. Landscape architect Belinda Dods, from Sydney, Brisbane environmental engineer Rosanna Sanderson, and Christchurch engineering geologist Johannes Wilson – all employees of AECOM – will visit Bangalore as part of Pollinate Energy’s Young Professionals Program.

AECOM Chief Executive, Australia New Zealand, Michael Batchelor said the three would mentor entrepreneurs – “Pollinators” – while introducing smokeless cookstoves to help tackle indoor air pollution, a killer of 875,000 people in India every year. “Our people are extremely passionate about improving liveability, sustainability and connectivity – in their own communities and around the world – and we are glad to support innovations and programs that do so.”

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