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Electricity Retailers Paying Price For Undermining RET


Renewable Energy Target rebellion
According to national solar provider Energy Matters; electricity retailers backing a reduction or abolishing of the Renewable Energy Target are paying the ultimate price - losing customers.
Energy Matters CEO Jeremy Rich says households and businesses disgusted by the position of some retailers - including Energy Australia, Origin Energy and AGL - are taking their business elsewhere.
"We're aware some of our customers have made the shift to other electricity retailers purely on the basis of support for the Renewable Energy Target," says Mr. Rich. "It's not just solar households making the switch to RET-friendly retailers either - even some of those without panels installed are rebelling in a display of solidarity."
"We certainly encourage households and businesses to shop around and select a retailer aligned with their own views about Australia's clean energy future - and to let the retailer they are leaving know why."
According to Greenpeace, Origin Energy, EnergyAustralia and AGL currently provide electricity to over three quarters of Australian households. 
"'The Dirty Three' sometimes market themselves as environmentally conscious, but their 'green' initiatives are small compared to their investments in coal and gas generation," says the group. "Recently these companies have been undermining Australia’s Renewable Energy Target."
One of the companies disillusioned consumers are gravitating to is Powershop; Australia's first 100% carbon neutral energy retailer.
"Powershop believes support for renewable energy is demonstrated by deeds not words, and we know that our customers are looking to make their support for renewable energy real," says part of a statement from the company; which was named the greenest retailer in Australia by Greenpeace and the Total Environment Centre in August. 
Powershop's offers are available to residents of Victoria only at this point in time. The company can be contacted on 1800 462 668.
Another company benefiting from the RET-inspired rebellion is Momentum Energy; which provides services in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
Momentum Energy's SmilePower offers clean energy from a hydro system that has been powering Tasmania for nearly 100 years. Electricity generated in Tasmania is transmitted across Bass Strait via the Basslink undersea cable and into the NEM (National Electricity Market).  Momentum Energy can be contacted on 1800 SWITCH (1800 794 824).
"Switching electricity retailers is usually a quick and easy process these days," says Mr. Rich. "Often a few minutes on the phone is all it takes to find a comparable or even better deal. It's a simple action that can save money while sending a very clear message - hands off the Renewable Energy Target!" 


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Zephyr 7 Testing A Success


Airbus Defence and Space says the solar powered Zephyr 7 High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) has just completed its most demanding mission so far.
We first covered the Zephyr back in 2010 - since that time the craft has evolved and the Zephyr system was sold to EADS Astrium (now part of Airbus) in March 2013.
In its most recent test, the Zephyr 7 successfully completed 11 days of non-stop flight in winter weather conditions with a new primary payload. 
Solar power collected during the day charges a lithium-sulphur battery in the Zephyr 7 that is used to power the flight during darkness. As this test was conducted during winter, sun hours were shorter and general weather conditions harsher; making the test all the more challenging.
"During this most recent flight of the Airbus Zephyr, we successfully demonstrated a number of advancements that are critical to achieving the operational readiness of the technology and that increase its operational value for our customers," said Jens Federhen, Head of the Airbus HAPS programme. "We have furthermore reached an important milestone in our regulatory roadmap." 
The test also marked the first time satellite communications had been used to control and monitor the aircraft.
"The use of the SatCom link to control the aircraft beyond line of sight of the ground station is another critical aspect that we needed to test to move towards a pseudo-satellite form of operation where the Zephyrs can be controlled across the world from a central control station," said Mr. Federhen.
The Zephyr 7 has a 22.5 m wingspan and is powered by 2 × 450W Newcastle University developed custom permanent-magnet synchronous motors. It can carry a payload of 2.5kg and fully loaded, weighs approximately 53 kilograms. The craft has a cruising speed of 30 knots.   Zephyr 8 is currently being developed and it will have an even longer wingspan.
Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group. It employs around 40,000 people and generates revenues of approximately AUD $19.7 billion per year.


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Eden-Monaro Save Solar Forum On Wednesday


Save Solar Forum - Queanbeyan
The Australian Solar Council coordinated Eden-Monaro Save Solar Forum will be held in Queanbeyan, NSW, on Wednesday 3 September.
The Australian Solar Council says it needs as many people attending as possible to send a very strong message to the Government that Australians won't accept their extreme plans to axe or slash the Renewable Energy Target. 
Among those attending Wednesday's meeting to be held at the Queanbeyan Kangaroos Rugby League Club:
- Bill Shorten, Leader of the Federal Labor Party
- Senator Christine Milne, Leader, Australian Greens
- Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water
Dr Peter Hendy, Member for Eden-Monaro, was invited to the forum, but we're informed he has refused to attend. Senator Dio Wang, Palmer United Party, has also been invited; but its unclear at the time of writing if he'll be attending.
This meeting is part of the Australian Solar Council's marginal seats campaign. The first forum in Petrie, Brisbane was extremely successful with over 500 turning out to show their support.
CEO of national solar provider Energy Matters and solar wholesaler Apollo Energy, Jeremy Rich, is urging solar supporters in the ACT, Queanbeyan and across the Eden-Monaro area to attend the meeting. 
"The more very visible signals sent to the Government about the insanity of the RET review recommendations; the better," said Mr. Rich. 
"The Government needs to understand that even hinting at disembowelling the RET is causing it considerable damage with regard to solar voter perceptions. There are millions of Australians passionate about solar and the ACT/Eden-Monaro region is home to many of them.” 
ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell said on Friday that the Renewable Energy Target review report was "dangerously radical and extremist".
Eden-Monaro Save Solar Forum Details
6pm-8pm, Wednesday 3 September 2014
Queanbeyan Kangaroos Rugby League Club
Cnr Stuart Street and Richard Avenue, Queanbeyan NSW


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South Australian Government Gives RET Report A Thumbs Down


Renewable Energy Target South Australia
South Australia's Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter has condemned the recently released Renewable Energy Target Review report.
"The South Australian Government opposes any move by the anti-science Abbott Government to scale back the RET," said Minister Hunter. 
"We are concerned that this Federal Government, which appears to fly against the accepted, worldwide consensus on climate change, will make an ill-considered and ideological decision on this very important issue."
South Australia has shown renewables work. 31.7% of the state's electricity is generated from renewable sources - much of that from wind power. South Australia also has the highest market penetration of small scale solar power in the nation.
A report published earlier this year states wind power in South Australia has not increased wholesale electricity prices, nor created a need for additional back-up power generation capacity.
"We will beat our target of 33 per cent very soon, and have set an increased investment target to further cement our place as leaders in renewable energy and climate change action," said Minister Hunter.
The South Australian government has joined a chorus of voices condemning the report and the government's general attitude towards renewables.
Last week, Bloomberg New Energy Finance also warned of the ramifications of reducing the Target.
"A whole host of Australian and foreign companies and lenders could be exposed to asset impairments, and almost all will suffer significant write-downs in the mark-to-market value of their investments," it said.
A reduction could negatively impact on the superannuation of millions of Australians and Australian banks are also holding nearly $900 million worth of large scale energy certificates (LGCs) connected to the Renewable Energy Target.
With so many that could be negatively affected by a reduction in the Renewable Energy Target - including households, businesses, solar workers, investors, retirees and of course the environment - who are the winners?
It seems the only ones to benefit will be the fossil fuel based power generators.


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