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Mixed Greens: New green power scheme to challenge utilities

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A national green power and carbon offsets scheme was launched in Victoria over the weekend, with the aim of providing households and businesses with access to cheaper, tax-deductible green power and carbon offsets, while using the proceeds to back local environmental groups. A joint initiative of the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group (MRSG), the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) and GreenPower provider ACXargyle, the Community Climate Chest (C3) scheme will create a national coalition of C3 Community Agents, who can market 100% government-accredited green power and carbon offsets to their members and partner organisations. Initially, it will use proceeds to fund sustainability projects in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges.

“The C3 scheme presents a wonderful opportunity for everyone,” said the scheme’s principal architect and Woodend resident, Alan Reid. “Until now, the electricity retailers have dominated the GreenPower market and set premium prices to maintain healthy profit margins. Participants will make savings on standard GreenPower fees of 25% to 50%, thanks to the C3 scheme’s direct purchasing power, low administrative fees, the fact that GST does not apply and the tax deductibility of donations.”

In other news…

French President Francois Hollande and US President Barack Obama have penned a joint article in The Washington Post talking up a renewed US-France alliance that would include “leadership to combat climate change.” The co-authored piece was published on Monday to coincide with Hollande’s arrival in Washington DC – the first foreign state visit to the US personally hosted by Obama in more than two and a half years. As the Guardian reports, Hollande has not been invited to address Congress, though, due (apparently) to a timetable clash with a visit to Silicon Valley. Here’s what the two Presidents had to say on climate, carbon and clean energy:

“Even as our two nations reduce our own carbon emissions, we can expand the clean energy partnerships that create jobs and move us toward low-carbon growth. We can do more to help developing countries shift to low-carbon energy as well, and deal with rising seas and more intense storms. As we work toward next year’s climate conference in Paris, we continue to urge all nations to join us in pursuit of an ambitious and inclusive global agreement that reduces greenhouse gas emissions through concrete actions. The climate summit organized by the U.N. secretary general this September will give us the opportunity to reaffirm our ambitions for the climate conference in Paris.”

The Irish arm of Perth-based Carnegie Wave Energy, CWE Ireland, has noted that the Irish government has provided additional  funding, and the promise of a generous feed-in tariff, to further the development of its wave and tidal resource. The Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan, released by the Irish government on Friday, increases the budget for ocean energy development in the 2013-16 period by €16.8 million, bringing total cumulative funding to €26.3 million. It also proposes the introduction of a feed-in tariff for wave and tidal energy from 2016 of €260/MWh ($A400/MWh) for the first 30MW of installed capacity. The plan identifies potential marine renewable resources of more than 70GW of energy in Irish waters – more than 14 times Ireland ’s current energy demand. The funds will support activities at ocean energy test sites on the west coast, research projects by the Cork-based Integrated Maritime Energy Resource Cluster, and the development of prototype devices – such as CWE Ireland’s proposed 5MW CETO commercial demonstration project – for the conversion of wave energy into electricity.

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