Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Vulnerable consumers in energy retail markets: BSL Lunchtime Seminar

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on August 28th, 2013

29 August , 2013
12:00 pmto1:00 pm
The Brotherhood of St Laurence Research & Policy Centre Lunchtime seminar series

Presenter: Dr Gill Owen, Research Program Leader (Consumers and Energy Markets), Monash Sustainability Institute

Energy retail markets have been open to competition in the UK and Australia for a number of years. Price de-regulation is also a feature in the UK and in some Australian states. Many customers have benefitted from competition in energy retail markets but there have also been some concerns, particularly about vulnerable customers and “sticky customers” – those who do not switch. Over a number of years the UK regulator has developed proposals to improve the way the market works for customers. This presentation will explore some of the UK developments and the differences and similarities between the UK and Australia, particularly in terms of the impacts on vulnerable customers.

Dr Gill Owen is Research Program Leader (Consumers and Energy Markets) at Monash Sustainability Institute. She is also a member of the Australian Energy Regulator’s Consumer Challenge Panel. Gill moved to Australia in August 2012 and has published extensively on energy efficiency, smart meters, electricity demand response and fuel poverty. Until her departure from the UK Gill was also: a Non-Executive Director of the England and Wales water regulator Ofwat; a member of Ofgem’s (Great Britain energy regulator) Consumer Challenge Group for the Distribution and Transmission Price Reviews; a member of the UK Government’s Smart Meters Consumer Advisory Group; Vice Chair of the UK Government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group. She was a Commissioner of the UK’s Competition Commission for ten years until 2002 and was also previously a non-executive board member of Ofgem.

Thursday 29 August at 12noon-1pm, at the Brotherhood, 67 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy in Father Tucker’s Room
RSVP via the website.

Elemental: Film Screening & Discussion

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on May 31st, 2013

15 June , 2013
6:30 pmto10:00 pm


Elemental tells the story of three individuals united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most pressing ecological challenges of our time.

The film follows Rajendra Singh, an Indian government official gone rogue, on a 40-day pilgrimage down India’s once pristine Ganges river, now polluted and dying. Facing community opposition and personal doubts, Singh works to shut down factories, halt construction of dams, and rouse the Indian public to treat their sacred “Mother Ganga” with respect.

Across the globe in northern Canada, Eriel Deranger mounts her own “David and Goliath” struggle against the world’s largest industrial development, the Tar Sands, an oil deposit larger than the state of Florida. A young mother and native Denè, Deranger struggles with family challenges while campaigning tirelessly against the Tar Sands and its proposed 2,000-mile Keystone XL Pipeline, which are destroying Indigenous communities and threatening an entire continent.

And in Australia, inventor and entrepreneur Jay Harman searches for investors willing to risk millions on his conviction that nature’s own systems hold the key to our world’s ecological problems. Harman finds his inspiration in the natural world’s profound architecture and creates a revolutionary device that he believes can slow down global warming, but will it work?

Separated by continents yet sharing an unwavering commitment to protecting nature, the characters in this story are complex, flawed, postmodern heroes for whom stemming the tide of environmental destruction fades in and out of view – part mirage, part miracle.

Saturday, 15 June 2013 from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM (EST)

The first Melbourne screening of the amazing environmental film ‘ELEMENTAL’ from the Global Oneness Project will be followed by a panel discussion fueled by audience questions – Panel will be (Adam Bandt Greens MP- confirmed), Prof. Stuart Hill(confirmed), and one other TBC – Economist/Environmentalist.

>> Bookings and further information on the Eventbrite page.

Are you a Solar Citizen?

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on May 22nd, 2013

Suburban Solar_Duncan Rawlinson_BY_NC
Photo: Duncan Rawlinson via flickr CC

From the Solar Citizens website:

Australia is one of the sunniest continents on earth, so producing power from the sun just makes sense.
This has been recognised by millions of Australians who have chosen to take energy generation into their own hands.
One million rooftop power stations are now lighting up homes around the country. And many more households are looking to solar as a way to manage their energy bills, creating cleaner energy along the way.

To date ordinary Australians have invested $8 billion of their own money in solar – a massive investment in clean energy generation in the grid.
The solar revolution IS happening at an astounding pace – the price of solar is plummeting, making solar more affordable than ever, and rates of uptake continue to rise rapidly.
But despite the many reasons to go solar, some big energy companies don’t want to see Australians take back control of their own energy needs. They want to make connecting to solar harder, not easier.

Solar Citizens is a new community project to bring together existing and future solar owners to ensure the rights of solar owners are protected and to help see Australia put a panel on every rooftop.

Solar Citizens will work to ensure:

  • Every Australian is able to take up the benefits of solar in their home or in their community
  • Solar homeowners are paid a fair price for the power they contribute to the grid
  • Solar homeowners are able to connect to the grid
  • Solar homeowners are not subject to unreasonable charges or tariffs

If you want to ensure your rights as a solar owner are protected or if you believe in a solar future for all Australians join Solar Citizens today.

Solar Citizens is an initiative of 100% Renewable – a community organisation to help Australia move towards a renewable energy future. The project is non-partisan and independent of any political organisation or party.


Community Solar: David Robinson @ BZE

Posted in Events by Mark Ogge on April 29th, 2013

6 May , 2013
6:30 pmto8:00 pm

LIVE market-roof-plan
Image via LIVE

David Robinson is the Project Manager of Locals Into Victoria’s Environment (LIVE) Community Power. He is planning Australia’s first community solar project to install up to 3000 solar panels on the roof of South Melbourne Market, adding to about 150 already in place.

In March 2013, the South Melbourne Market solar project passed an important milestone. The feasibility report commissioned by the City of Port Phillip and LIVE was released. David will present on the funding model process and an update on the project.

David’s 40 year career was spent in Information Technology in a range of technical, marketing, communications and sales roles. He is well known for his environmental campaigning, mainly through LIVE (Locals Into Victoria’s Environment) the group of which he is now the Convenor. During 2013 David is focussing on CORE (Community Owned Renewable Energy) projects. LIVE Community Power is the first of these projects, and he expects many more to follow in the years ahead.

Tune into the live webcast. Join the discussion and find out how you can help.

Time: 6:30 – 8pm Monday 6 May 2013 
Fritz Loewe Theatre (entry via level 2)
McCoy Building
University of Melbourne
Cnr Elgin & Swanston Streets, Carlton

LIVE streaming of this event in HD720 video will be available

Entry: Gold coin donation

International Green IT Awareness Week: Speakers wanted

Posted in Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on April 25th, 2013



The 2013 Green IT Awareness Week Virtual Conference currently has a call out for speakers.

Technology has positively changed the lives of millions of people globally. However with everything “good”, comes some “bad”. But it isn’t hopeless. There are simple steps you can do to help reduce the impact of technology on the following:

Every modern information based technology runs on electricity.

Electricity use that is based on non-renewable sources such as coal fired plants, creates greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions increase global warming and result in issues such as rising sea levels. For the individual, modifying your computers’ power management settings and turning your PC off when it isn’t in use can save both money and the environment. Switching to renewable energy sources are another great way to avoid greenhouse gas emissions associated with technology.

Every year millions and millions of computers and electronics are thrown into landfill.

For example, in Australia in 2008 over 16 million TVs and computers were thrown into landfill. Within computers and electronics are toxins and contaminants such as lead. They also contain precious non-renewable metals such as gold, silver and copper, which could otherwise be recycled.

You might not think water is a problem for technology however water is used in vast amounts to cool large data centres.

Data Centres are simply buildings specially built to host servers and computers. These server and computers might run your corporate network, or even your Hotmail and Google email accounts. Fresh water is a valuable resource – more valuable than oil in many countries around the world.

From the Green IT website:

What is International Green IT Awareness Week?

The International Green IT Awareness Week is a seven day, multi-time zone, global, online event held annually 1st-7th June. The main outcome of this week is to encourage individuals and organisations to demand more from themselves and their partners, holding each other to account for our impact on the environment.

International Green IT Awareness Week showcases a variety of programs, activities and initiatives hosted both by public and private sector organisations, and individuals globally. The Foundation for IT Sustainability (FFITS.ORG), the initiative organiser, also hosts a major virtual (online) conference during the week that is scheduled across global time zones.

There are speakers from across the globe including: green IT experts, IT industry heavy weights, celebrities, government officials, our board of advisors and our founder speaking through live video conferencing, webcasts, live Q&A sessions and recorded videos. They address critical issues including: the cultural change around green IT, showcasing case studies, discussing research, presenting on practical implementation and implementing best practices for both home and business technology users.


Insulation Webinar: April 23

Posted in Events by sashashtargot on April 22nd, 2013

23 April , 2013
2:00 pmto3:00 pm

insulation in walls foil in ceiling

Interested in learning more about insulation? How it would work in your home and what options are available?

Join sustainable buildings expert Tony Isaacs in a free online seminar at 2pm on April 23 held by the Alternative Technology Association and bankmecu.

One of the best ways to save money on energy bills is to insulate your home. Insulation is like a barrier, preventing heat passing in and out of the house. By reducing heat flow you can maintain a comfortable temperature inside, regardless of the temperature outside.

Tony Isaacs is a qualified architect specialising in energy efficient buildings, and has lectured on thermal performance. Tony worked for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Victoria (the predecessor to Sustainability Victoria), during which time he was instrumental in the development of FirstRate energy rating software.

When:  2pm on Tuesday 23 April, 2013
Where: at your computer
Cost: FREE

Click here to register. For more details visit the ATA website.

If you’re not able to join in live, the webinar will be recorded and you will be able to view it at the ATA’s YouTube Channel.

Melbourne Electric Vehicle Expo

Posted in Events, Movements by sashashtargot on April 8th, 2013

13 April , 2013
10:00 amto4:00 pm

larger picture for expo

The Alternative Technology Association (ATA) warmly invites you to be part of our Electric Vehicle Expo.

What is the Electric Vehicle Expo? The Expo will be a one-day event presented jointly by the ATA, Swinburne University and Boroondara Council. The Expo will be a family friendly, relaxed and informative day exploring and showcasing Melbourne’s electric transport options, with a particular emphasis on electric bicycles.

When: Saturday 13 April 2013
Time: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Where: The Atrium at Swinburne University, Hawthorn Campus. Campus map.

The Expo will include up to 30 stalls, demonstrations, speakers and panel discussions relating to electric transport with a particular focus on electric bikes. There will also be a “Show & Shine“ display where you can show off your electric bike, car, motorbike or scooter (or other electric vehicle). There will be prizes for the Most Attractive Vehicle, Best Workmanship,  (conversions only) and Best Concept.

>>> Check out the EV Expo Facebook page and the ATA website for more information and to register for the “Show & Shine” display.

Do You Know What Your Home is Doing Right Now?

Posted in Events, Movements by Mark Ogge on March 1st, 2013

4 March , 2013
6:30 pmto8:00 pm


Do You Know What Your Home is Doing Right Now? – BZE Discussion Group 6.30pm Monday 4th March.

Thermal Imaging Secrets Revealed! As a volunteer with the Bayside Climate Change Action Group, Tim Forcey has conducted energy assessments on over 30 homes, many with a thermal imaging camera. Tim will reveal the many thermal secrets that our homes have been keeping from us – until now! Vermin in the roof, 42 degree bedroom walls at 11 AM, electrical equipment gone mad, the deep dark inner workings of heat pumps! Roll up, roll up!

Tim Forcey has been employed for over thirty years as a chemical engineer working at Exxon Mobil, BHP Billiton, Jemena, and the Australian Energy Market Operator. Tim was a major contributor to BZE’s Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) 2020 Stationary Energy Plan and is currently working with the Buildings Plan team.

Time: 6:30 – 8pm Monday 4 March 2013

Fritz Loewe Theatre (entry via level 2)
McCoy Building
University of Melbourne
Cnr Elgin & Swanston Streets, Carlton

LIVE streaming of this event will be available for those that cannot attend in person.

>>> For more info on the discussion group see the Beyond Zero Emissions website.

Creative Suburbs Forum

Posted in Events by Jessica Bird on February 12th, 2013

15 February , 2013
2:00 pmto3:00 pm

6. Creative Suburbs

Are growing, liveable cities and neighbourhoods achievable? Join this interactive forum to find out.

How old will you be in 2040? What sort of place do you want Melbourne to be? It is now obvious that Melbourne’s population will continue to grow. It is also obvious that climate change will have a major effect on how we live. The changes to our lives, and costs, are likely to be significant. Think: transport, electricity, gas and water. However, population growth can be comfortably accommodated, and can positively lead to thriving communities within existing urban growth boundaries. Many of the necessary processes and technologies already exist. The catch is: we must effectively plan now.

That’s where you come in. This is not just a matter for the government, developers, and planning ‘experts’. This forum gives you the chance to nurture the positive ideas, put a blowtorch to the negative ideas, and learn about what can be done to maintain Melbourne as a sustainable and liveable city.

Forum collaborators include: Urban Design Forum, Urban Rethink, Heart Foundation, Deakin University and Planning Institute of Australia and Creative Suburbs.

When:  2pm – 3pm, Friday 15th February
Where: The Shed
River Promenade, Fed Square
>>> This forum is being held as part of the Sustainable Living Festival, check the website to find out more.

Local EV conversion: building knowledge and negotiating hurdles

Posted in Movements by Jessica Bird on January 31st, 2013

Source: The Age

Photo courtesy the Age article.
Photo from
The Age article.

From “Hey, charger – an electric Capri that’s full of spark” by Deborah Gough.

MARIO Giannattilio’s dream to convert a petrol car with his son Michael has become an electric reality. The pair set themselves a goal to convert a clapped-out, petrol-thirsty Ford Capri into a silent, emission-free electric car. In its infancy, the project was featured by Fairfax Media last year, as the Giannattilios worked on the conversion in their home garage at Glen Iris. They are part of a small but growing number of backyard technology and environment enthusiasts who are converting petrol cars to electric power in their sheds and garages.

Armed with advice on potential pitfalls from the Alternative Technology Association’s electric vehicles interest group, the Giannattilios set themselves a deadline of 100 weekends to complete their project. The car itself was ready in 96 weekends and, after a few bureaucratic hurdles, it is now registered for the road. ”I think it’s because authorities are used to dealing with petrol cars and used to dealing with hybrid cars, but not with fully electric cars,” Mr Giannattilio said. ”There was a lot of head scratching because it is unusual to have a fully electric car.” When new cars are built, manufacturers place a serial number on a combustion engine, but replacing the original motor with an electric motor poses challenges with the number. ”We were aware that it would come up as an issue and kept the [electric] engine’s serial number, which was accepted as part of the registration,” Mr Giannattilio said.

The last hurdle was at a VicRoads office, where Mr Giannattilio tried to claim $100 off the registration cost, a benefit hybrid car owners enjoy. ”They weren’t going to give me the $100 off, which is ridiculous because my car uses no petrol and a hybrid still uses some petrol,” Mr Giannattilio said. He eventually got the discount, but only after registering the car as a hybrid.

Michael, 13, hopes to be an engineer and will study physics at high school next year. Mr Giannattilio said the project gave his son hands-on experience of how physics is applied in the real world. Michael will already know about LED refracted light, used in newer BMWs, after the pair put it into their Ford Capri’s bumper bar. ”Michael can’t wait to drive it, but he is only 13, so it will have to be on a track,” Mr Giannattilio said. He said he was close to his son and the joint project gave them an opportunity to talk about much more than electricity and mechanics. ”When you are working together and talking about the work you are doing, you get to talk about things that happen in life outside the garage. The bond obviously becomes stronger,” he said.

>>> You can read the original article on The Age website.
>>> You can learn more about the Alternative Technology Association’s electric vehicles interest group on their website.