01 August, 2011

Sustainable Business Weekly QLD Edition [The case for IPR, Gold Coast Water, Clean Energy]

The Case for Purified Recycled Water

Today the Qld State Government received the Interim Report of Flood Commission of Inquiry & committed to implementing every one of the 104 recommendations. There are around 30 recommendations pertaining to the operation of dams as flood mitigation and/or potable water storages.

What is missing from the recommendations is the most obvious solution to balancing the need to mitigate floods and the need to store water for potable water supplies: indirect potable reuse of purified recycled water.

If the State Government was to close the loop (to some extent) by returning purified recycled water to Wivenhoe Dam, it could reduce the amount of water in the dam by over 50%.

The State Government spent billions of $’s to build the infrastructure required for indirect potable reuse. This infrastructure includes three world-class advanced water treatment plants—located at Bundamba, Gibson Island and Luggage Point—and more than 200 kilometres of pipeline. Most of this infrastructure is running on idle.

While recycling water provides an obvious solution to securing water supplies for SE Qld, there are added benefits. Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant has the capacity to treat the reverse osmosis concentrate, to remove phosphorus and nitrogen before being discharged into the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay.

The discharge releases from the advanced water treatment plants would result in much lower nutrient levels into the environment than current discharges from existing wastewater treatment plants, IF the State Government operated these plants as they were designed.

While we should be reducing water consumption, we should also recycle the waste water that we do generate.

Gold Coast City takes back its Water Utility

The Qld State Government will not stand in the way of Gold Coast City Council’s decision to split from its water business Allconnex.

The State Government will respect the Gold Coast City Council’s decision and now they need to live with the consequences.

The State gave South East Qld councils the opportunity to take back their water businesses so they could take some responsibility for the ongoing blame game for water pricing.

Gold Coast City Council will now have to prove to their ratepayers that they can provide water cheaper by taking back the water business.

The Gold Coast City Council will be required to provide a price mitigation plan to the State Government by 1 August. This plan must be published by 1 September 2011.

The State Government has already introduced a CPI cap on water prices over the next two years and recently announced a proposal to allow Councils to have representation on their water boards.

Clean Energy Legislation

Last week the Australian Federal Government released the drafts of the key bills forming the Clean Energy Legislative Package. In the coming months the Government will introduce these bills to Federal Parliament. The release of the legislation is a key milestone, but the devil is in the detail.

ASBG is currently working with Norton Rose and other ASBG members to analyse what the Clean Energy Future Plan will achieve & what impacts it may have on ASBG members.

The Australian Federal Government’s plan is intended to cut carbon pollution and drive investment in clean energy technologies and infrastructure.

The package includes a price on greenhouse gas emissions and a series of grants & subsidies. It also sets out how the price on pollution will be run, and what businesses will have to do. The intention of the price on pollution is to make energy produced from polluting fuels cost more than energy produced by clean technology. The intention is to create incentives for companies to invest in cleaner energy.

It is clear that the Federal Government perceives that gas is a “cleaner” fuel than coal.

The Federal Government is trying to preserve or protect jobs in some sectors by providing for assistance to emissions intensive and trade exposed industries through the Jobs and Competitiveness Program.

The most emissions-intensive, trade-exposed activities will initially be eligible for free permits representing 94.5 per cent of industry average carbon costs.

This will apply to manufacturing activities like aluminium smelting, steel manufacturing, flat glass making, zinc smelting and most pulp and paper manufacturing activities.

Activities which have lower levels of carbon pollution, such as some plastics and chemical manufacturing, tissue paper manufacturing and ethanol production will be eligible for free permits to cover 66 per cent of the industry average carbon costs.

Liquefied Natural Gas projects will also receive a supplementary allocation to ensure an effective assistance rate of 50 per cent.

The plan is to provide land holders access to new income opportunities by linking the carbon price to the Carbon Farming Initiative and to credible schemes overseas.

Paperless Office?

Are you reading the Australian Sustainable Business Weekly on a screen or on a piece of paper? Where does your paper come from?

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