Category Archives: Sustainability and Environment

Grid connected rooftop solar and the end of the solar bonus feed-in tariff – where to get advice

In this article you will find an explanation of who the end of the feed in tariff in NSW will affect, what you need to do if it affects you, what you need from a smart meter and how to shop around for a good energy retailer, and whether it is time to start thinking about investing in grid-connected battery technology (including some bulk buy schemes which have started in NSW).

Article prepared in October 2016 by Dr Melinda Hillery, Public Officer, FuturePLANS.

Renewable Energy Day Official Opening, 10am Saturday, 3 December 2016

You are invited to attend the Official Opening of #REday16 Renewable Energy Day by ACT Minister Mick Gentleman MLA
Including a presentation by ACT Minister Shane Rattenbury MLA
to be held 10.00 – 10.30 am Saturday, 3 December 2016
Mount Majura Solar Farm, corner of Majura Road and Lime Kiln Road, Majura ACT 2609

To be followed by Morning Tea
Renewable energy sites around the region will then open their doors and offer guided tours. You are welcome to join us on a tour of sites on one of the free buses, or as a self-drive experience.

For more information visit:  REday.com.au .

Please RSVP  to attend the Official Opening by cob Wednesday 30 November.

Frogwatch Census 16-22 October

The annual Frogwatch Census is being held during National Water Week, 16-22 October, and training for new participants will be held at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands on 13 Oct.

For more information on the census, guides to identifying frogs by their calls, or information on how to register for the course, please visit http://www.ginninderralandcare.org.au/frogwatch/frogwatch-census .

A great project in which to be involved considering the importance of frogs as indicators of the health of our environment.

New Wind Energy Planning Framework for NSW

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW advises that, on Monday August 29th in Yass at 6.30pm, the proposed New Wind Energy Framework will be on exhibition.

The Department of Planning and Environment (DOPE) has released this New Wind Energy Framework for public comment, which has been developed to help balance investment in wind energy with the needs of the community.

Submissions close on 16 September, 2016. You can download the proposed Framework from here.

DOPE will also be holding a number of public information sessions on the proposed New Wind Energy Framework at:

Yass on Monday August 29th, 2016: At Yass Soldiers Club, 86 Meehan St, Yass
Crookwell on Thursday September 1st, 2016: At Crookwell RSL Services Club, Goulburn St, Crookwell
Glenn Inness on Monday September 5th, 2016: At Glen Innes Services Club, 120 Grey St, Glen Innes
Mudgee on Wednesday September 7th, 2016: At Club Mudgee, 99 Mortimer Street, Mudgee

Registration will open at 6pm at all the venues for a 6:30pm start.

If you have any questions, contact Cerin Loane, Policy and Research Coordinator, on clone@nature.org.au or (02) 9516 1488
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW

“Power to the people: how communities can help meet our renewable energy goals”

Iain MacGill, the Co-director of the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets, UNSW, writes about this in today’s issue of The Conversation.

He writes about “Energy for the people”:
“Community renewable energy (CRE) may have a key role to play. Community energy can involve supply-side projects such as renewable energy installations and storage, and demand-side projects such as community education, energy efficiency and demand management.

“In short, community renewable energy revolves around community ownership, participation, and consequent benefits from community-scale renewable energy projects.”

Read the full article here.

“NSW farmers stepping up tree felling even before land-clearing laws loosened”

The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 June, reports on the the likely terrible impacts of the NSW Government’s proposed biodiversity legislation; the article is here.

The NSW Nature ConservationCouncil, of which FuturePLANS is a member, has initiated an advocacy campaign to protect native vegetation in NSW. This is the  Stand Up For Nature campaign.    You are invited to visit the campaign website to familiarise yourself with the issues and to consider engaging in advocacy to protect biodiversity in our region. Remember, submissions close on 28 June.

The SMH wrote: “The state’s farmers have lopped paddock trees at an accelerating rate in the past 18 months even before a new land-clearing law eases controls further, government data shows.

“The new figures, which reveal the rate of clearing of paddock trees has more than doubled since November 2014, come as the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists wrote to all MPs to call for a reversal of “retrograde changes” planned in the new Biodiversity Conservation act.

“NSW farmers used a new self-assessment code to remove 21,716 paddock trees – or more than 50 a day – over the past year and a half.

“The rate, at an average of about 50 per day, was 140 per cent more than the average over the previous seven years, data from the Office of Environment and Heritage showed. Paddock trees, judged to be single or small patches of trees, make up 40 per cent of remaining woodland cover, OEH says.”

See the full article for more details.

Native vegetation map for Palerang

The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council is conducting public information sessions on the revised native vegetation layer for the former Palerang Council area that it has placed on public exhibition: Bungendore – Tuesday 21 June, Bungendore Council Chambers, 6pm-7pm and Queanbeyan – Tuesday 28 June, Committee Room, Queanbeyan Council Chambers, 6pm-7pm.

‘The layer will be used to update the Palerang Local Environmental Plan 2014 Terrestrial Biodiversity map, to identify areas of native vegetation that require additional consideration in the strategic and statutory planning processes. The layer will also enable interested parties to search for certain types of native vegetation classifications to assist if an area for a biodiversity offset is being sought or where funding is being accessed to manage a particular vegetation community’.

Details are here.

Guardian campaign: ‘Keep it in the Ground!’ Fantastic news!

On 21 May The Guardian wrote:

Here’s some great news to brighten your weekend.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has sold off its entire $187m investment in BP. There’s no word from them on why, but it certainly looks like the foundation is quietly getting out of fossil fuel companies. Since 2014, it has dropped 85% of such investments it had held.

Bill Gates says he’s not keen on the divestment argument but we know that the pressure you’ve put on the foundation through Keep it in the Ground – as well as the folks at Gates Divest in Seattle and the wider divestment movement – has been having an impact behind the scenes.

You can read our story on it here.

There was also good news from around Europe this week. Portugal ran for four days straight on renewable energy alone and last Sunday, Germany powered almost all its electricity needs from clean sources. There was so much renewable energy on the grid that at several times in the day, power prices turned negative – effectively paying consumers to use it.

Change is happening.

Yours Sincerely

James Randerson – assistant national news editor

ABC News: Five Southern Highlands families win appeal against Hume Coal accessing their land

10 May 2016,  full story here

By Jean Kennedy and Philippa McDonald

In a landmark court victory, five families from the New South Wales Southern Highlands have won their appeal to stop mining company Hume Coal accessing their land for exploration drilling.

The landowners of five rural properties in Sutton Forrest appealed against a November decision by the court that allowed the Korean-owned firm prospecting rights over their properties.

Chief judge Brian Preston of the Land and Environment Court ruled in favour of the landowners and ordered Hume Coal to pay their legal costs.

What #Action4theLand will your local councillor take?

FromLandcare Australia:

With over 5,300 registered Landcare groups across the nation, even the smallest of actions from a single Landcare group can add together – across the Landcare movement – to make a large difference.

As part of our World Environment Day 2016 activities, Landcare Australia will be running a fundraising and environmental awareness initiative, where we ask every individual, business, government agency, politician and media outlet we engage with across the nation “What positive #Action4theLand will you take?”

It is our hope that the #Action4theLand campaign can create a groundswell of awareness, and accompanying activity – where every dollar collected through our fundraising efforts will make a difference, by supporting Landcare groups and projects across Australia.

We’re reaching out across our network to encourage each and every one of you to start a positive #Action4theLand conversation. Over the next few months, get out there and ask your friends, family, colleagues, and local representatives, “What #Action4theLand will you take?”

In particular, we encourage you to reach out to your local councillors, and state and federal elected representatives to invite them to join your Landcare group for a day to see the positive #Action4theLand you have taken in your local community.