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Energy Smart

Shift power use, save big on investment, US expert says

PETER HANNAM Encouraging power users to shift their consumption during days of high demand could avoid major investments in networks while also fostering the use of solar energy, the head of the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) said.

Wind farms in NSW to face more red tape

Wind farm.

PETER HANNAM Community groups will be given more power to object to wind farm projects in NSW, a move environmental groups and a renewable energy firm say amounts to halting the industry’s growth in the state.

Green homes cheaper to run and build, so reach for the stars

NCH WEEKENDER - Weekender Home no.20 Angophora Drive, Vintage Hunter Valley, Rothbury-  Putting green in the backyard --      31st Jan 2014  pic by Peter Stoop

PETER HANNAM When the CSIRO began the biggest study of energy performance of Australian houses, one resident bemoaned the woeful output of his home's photovoltaic panels only to be told the unit was actually a solar hot water system.

Revolutionary central cooling system planned for Brisbane

Cold production unit. An example of the central cooling technology that could be bound for Brisbane.

KIM STEPHENS An energy-saving revolution 80 years in the making could be about to hit Brisbane.

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NSW rate of emissions reduction falls as solar funding scheme cut back


KIRSTY NEEDHAM Less greenhouse gas emissions were saved by the NSW government's Climate Change Fund last year, as funding for programs was cut by $30 million.

Elon Musk's 'gigafactory' seen transforming power industry as much as Tesla cars

Elon Musk

Tesla Motors's plan to ramp up battery production by building what Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk calls a 'gigafactory' may do even more to transform the power industry than it does to advance the electric car.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt says he is keeping green investments in mind

Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

TOM ARUP Environment Minister Greg Hunt says he is mindful of investments made under Australia's renewable energy target and that the policy helps cut emissions.

Big fall in electricity sector emissions since carbon tax

Power plants

PETER HANNAM Australia's greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector are down 7.6 per cent since the carbon tax was introduced in July 2012, or the equivalent of about 14.8 million tonnes.

AGL moves to keep rights over Latrobe brown coal


Tom Arup Energy giant AGL has applied to retain the rights over an estimated 2 billion tonnes of brown coal in the Latrobe Valley allocated to a lower-emissions power plant that was never built.

Solar PV jobs to crash if renewable energy target is scrapped, report finds

solar panels

PETER HANNAM The recent decline of demand for solar photovoltaic panels would accelerate sharply if the Abbott government scrapped the renewable energy target (RET), potentially halving jobs in the industry, new research finds.

MIT researchers eye potential of 80% solar PV efficiency

Solar panels.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are seeking to increase the efficiency of solar cells by helping them take advantage of more of the sun's rays.


Material of the future

Graphene sheet against an image of its structure

Multitalented graphene is wowing scientists the world over. Lisa Clausen reports.

Green energy: vegetables may help wind, solar stem use of fossil fuels


PETER HANNAM Rhubarb and other simple green vegetables could be the source of materials for a new generation of batteries with the potential to transform energy systems, according to new research by Harvard University.


New low-cost, high-energy batteries could be powered by rhubarb, plants

Pyrmont Produce Growers Market Saturday  Pic of rhubarb Grimus Farm 6th of November 2004 Feature Good Living SMH pic by FIONA MORRIS DIGICAM 00029939

PETER HANNAM Rhubarb and other simple green plants could be the source of materials for a new generation of batteries with the potential to transform energy systems, according to new research by Harvard University.

Japan to tap smart meters, fuel cells to tackle climate change

A woman wearing a kimono holds an umbrella as she walks down a shopping district in Tokyo.

Japan plans smart meters in every residence and factory by the early 2020s and 5.3 million fuel cells in homes by 2030 to tackle climate change, according to a report to be submitted to the United Nations.

Simple techniques allow Australian consumers to make large savings on electricity bills

John and Liz Eleftheriou

PETER HANNAM For Liz Mahony, it was annoyance over a mounting electricity bill that irked her into action.

Renewable energy target faces cut by Abbott

A solar dish.

TOM ARUP Prime Minister Tony Abbott has signalled his government is preparing to slash Australia's renewable energy target citing 'changed circumstances' and a desire to be an 'affordable energy superpower'.

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Victim of a changed climate

Jillian Broadbent, Chair of the CEFC Board appears before a Senate hearing at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 26 November 2013.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

PETER HANNAM The green energy fund faces extinction, but at what long-term cost?


Solar jobs go as uncertainty clouds PV outlook

Echuca is Victoria's top solar power postcode.

PETER HANNAM Thousands of jobs have been shed this year in Australia's solar photovoltaic industry as the rollback of state-based incentives dims the appeal of roof-top panels.

Too much heat on solar power


Laura Eadie Blaming solar power for rising electricity bills misses the real problem.