The Victorian State Government has passed legislation which prohibits the construction of new wind turbines within certain proximity to dwellings and regional centres.

Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy announced the Government had passed Amendment VC82, which reforms the way wind farms can be approved and prohibits a wind turbine being constructed within two kilometres of an existing dwelling unless there is written consent from the owner of the dwelling.

The amendment also outlines no-go zones for wind farms. All national and state parks will be no-go zones for wind farms, as well as the Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Bellarine Peninsula, Great Ocean Road region, the Macedon and McHarg Ranges, and the Bass Coast.

Shell has announced that it will stop refining operations at its 79,000 barrel-per-day Clyde Refinery in Sydney, Australia, and convert it and the Gore Bay Terminal into a fuel import facility before mid 2013.

Electricity broker Energy Watch has been accused of false and misleading advertising by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The ACCC is due to take the company before the Federal Court on allegations of misleading conduct in its advertising.

The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) is being extended from five to six stars.

Dart Energy has contracted Clarke Energy for the design, supply, installation, commissioning, operations and maintenance services of a number of small to mid-scale gas-fired power generation projects, which will source gas from Dart Energy’s New South Wales licence portfolio.

Origin Energy Limited (Origin) has announced a 15 per cent increase in Underlying Profit to $673 million for the financial year ended 30 June 2011, when compared with the prior year.

The Economic Regulation Authority is seeking public comment on an application from Western Power to include an amount of new facilities investment associated with the Mid West Energy Project (Southern Section) in its regulatory capital base. The new facilities investment is forecast to cost $383.4 million and involves the construction of a 330 kV transmission line from Neerabup to Three Springs and the interconnection of the existing 132 kV Three Springs substation with a new 330 kV Three Springs Terminal.

The Queensland State Treasury has released its Carbon Price Impacts for Queensland statement, in which Treasury outlines the projected affects the tax will have on the state’s economy.

The Western Australian Water Minister Bill Marmion and Energy Minister Peter Collier have finalised an agreement which will see the Water Corporation purchase the entire output from Australia’s first utility-scale solar farm to be built near Geraldton.

Researchers at RMIT University have explored how thermopower waves in thermoelectric materials can convert heat in solid fuels into electrical energy.

The Federal Greens have warned that billions of dollars worth of coal seam gas investment may become standard assets within decades.

International mining giant Vale has announced its plans to fund a new $US875 million for a new coking coal mine in Queensland.

Arizona State University (ASU) will spearhead a new Engineering Research Center (ERC) aimed at creating high-efficiency solar technologies and manufacturing methods to increase solar energy uptake.

A report co-published by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has found that strong action on climate change would lead to job growth throughout Australia.

The Clean Energy Council has countered media reports that the cost of solar energy is now cheaper than that of coal fired electricity, saying they are “premature and inaccurate”.


Clean Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said solar electricity was becoming more affordable, more efficient and more reliable, but it still needed responsible government assistance to compete with carbon-based electricity generation.


"Claims that the cost of solar energy are competitive with coal, while intended to be constructive, risk doing more harm than good. Leading solar industry analysts expect that the falling cost of solar will meet the rising the cost of fossil fuel electricity somewhere between 2015-2018. At this point we will achieve what is known in the industry as 'grid parity'.


"If solar electricity was at or very close to grid parity anywhere in Australia at the moment then systems would be going up on every roof and every business without government assistance. That simply isn't the case yet.


"We have seen a big fall in the cost of these systems over the past decade and it's clear that solar energy is going to play a major role in Australia’s energy supply over the rest of this century," he said.


Mr Warren said the industry was currently on a knife-edge.


"Since the closure of the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme we have seen the industry come to a complete standstill. We have come so far in developing this exciting clean energy industry. But we still have to finish the job," Mr Warren said.


"Delivering a safe, efficient and responsible solar industry is like landing a plane. We're approaching the runway, but we haven't landed yet. If we cut the engines now the plane will still crash," he said.


"Government support for solar energy has been one of the success stories of the 21st century. We now have sufficient scale, expertise and competition to deliver this technology affordably across Australia.


"If we cut off support at this point, we damn hundreds of solar businesses that have helped deliver this transformation, along with thousands of solar jobs."

Arrow Energy’s plan to construct a multi-billion dollar LNG plant on Curtis Island off Gladstone in Central Queensland has taken a major step forward with the awarding of the front-end engineering design (FEED) contract.

Federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has announced that the Government’s planned carbon tax will be introduced before parliament in September and could be legislated before the end of the year.

Solar energy R&D and manufacturing company, Silex Solar, has announced a restructure of its silicon PV panel business at Sydney Olympic Park that will result in cells made by Silex being replaced by "third party cells from a new strategic partner", believed to be Chinese, with the loss of around 30 Australian jobs.

Professor Maria Forsyth, Chair in Electromaterials and Corrosion Sciences at Deakin University and Associate Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science has been awarded a 2011 Australian Laureate Fellowship.

Western Australian energy utility Horizon Power has signed a three year ICT managed services contract with Japanese IT services giant Fujitsu, in one of the vendor’s first major deals in the state since opening a new datacentre in the region in late 2010.

Ausgrid, one of Australia’s largest electricity distributors, has reported that the company is experiencing an unprecedented drop in household power demand.

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