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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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renewable energy

Snowy 2.0 will be ‘Environmental Vandalism’

The NSW government has now released the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Snowy 2.0 hydro project.

At the core of the Snowy Hydro 2.0 expansion will be the establishment of a new underground tunnel linking the Tantangara and Talbingo reservoirs and the commissioning of a new underground power station that will operate as Australia’s largest pumped hydro energy storage system.

The main works for the Snowy 2.0 project will include the removal of an estimated 9 million cubic meters of excavated rock. The federal government owned Snowy Hydro has proposed that more than half of this excavated material be relocated within either the Talbingo or Tantangara reservoirs, with the remaining material used to establish permanent structures, or for land forming.

While the prospect of a renewed Snowy Hydro scheme, operating as the ‘battery’ for the eastern seaboard, has appeal from a climate angle, it has not – until now – been clear what the physical footprint of the project might be. The EIS outlines the likely direct impacts of the works that would be required under the scheme. The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) says that the EIS ‘proposes a completely unacceptable level of damage to Kosciusko National Park’.

Continue reading “Snowy 2.0 will be ‘Environmental Vandalism’”

Community offer on solar in north east Victoria

You can significantly reduce your energy use at home by installing a CO2 heat pump or solar hot water system.

Sustainable Upper Ovens is working with Solar Integrity, Indigo Power and the North East Community Energy Network to roll out this community offer across North East Victoria.

They will be at the Bright Community Centre at 7pm, Wednesday 28th August to tell you all about it and answer questions.

They will also be doing an information session in Harrietville in 3 to 4 weeks.

Check the Sustainable Upper Ovens facebook page for extra details.

 

Thredbo is powered by Renewable Energy

Climate change poses an existential threat to winter as we know it. It  is already having a negative impact on Australia’s mountain ranges (for instance, snow pack has been in decline since the late 1950s). It will also impact on the businesses that rely on good winter snow. At present the Australian snow industry generates more than $1.8 billion a year and employs more than 18,000 people. Yet under current greenhouse scenarios, climate change could cut Australia’s ski season by more than two months. If we don’t start to slow down climate change, it means the end of skiing as we currently know it.

There are three response which are required to this threat if ski resorts want to have a hope of long term viability: they need to act to mitigate (or reduce) their greenhouse gas emissions). They need to adapt to the changes that are already locked in (for instance through investing in snow making equipment or highlighting their ‘green season’ activities). And hopefully they will also use their business and political power by advocating for all levels of government to take meaningful action on climate change.

In what is being described as ‘an Australian snow industry first’ (1), Thredbo resort in NSW has announced that it has signed a deal that will ensure that ‘all its major resort operations are now powered by renewable energy’ provided by Red Energy.

Continue reading “Thredbo is powered by Renewable Energy”

All About Solar expo – Bright

14 and 15 June

Sustainable Upper Ovens is running an expo event on 14 & 15 June in Bright, and it’s for anyone interested in solar – residents with panels, residents without panels, renters and business owners. It will be an event where you can come and get all the information you need to install panels and batteries, maintain your panels, and understand how you can benefit from solar even if you can’t install panels.

There will be experts and displays on hand to answer all your questions.

Continue reading “All About Solar expo – Bright”

10 US-based ski resorts showing the way on sustainability

We all know that ski resorts have a large environmental footprint. As Outside magazine recently noted, ‘with sprawling mountainside villages, water-guzzling snow machines, and high-powered chairlifts, it’s no secret operating a ski resort can be a dirty business.”

Here in Australia some resorts have taken small steps to reduce their impact, but its still fairly dismal when you consider their overall operations. Outside have recently listed the best 10 US-based resorts when it comes to environmental responsibility. While the bigger resorts that come with having a much larger population have greater financial capacity to change their operations, these examples do provide some ideas for any resorts here who are serious about taking their environmental and climate responsibilities seriously.

Continue reading “10 US-based ski resorts showing the way on sustainability”

REI: ‘our electricity has been 100% renewable since 2013’

In terms of outdoor retail stores in the USA, REI has an enormous influence. This is both good and bad: it’s ubiquitous presence and huge buying power can threaten smaller, locally owned businesses. On the other hand, it is a co-op which shares benefits back to members, supports some good outdoors initiatives, and provides affordable gear to millions of people.

REI has also taken some significant steps to reduce its environmental impact and has recently released an interesting update on it’s efforts to source all it’s electricity from renewable sources.

Continue reading “REI: ‘our electricity has been 100% renewable since 2013’”

Bright Community Energy Roadshow

Community energy gives local towns and regions power over how they generate and consume electricity. Locally generated renewable energy will create local jobs, cleaner energy and allow the community to control where their energy comes from.

Come find out how community energy can benefit Bright and our region. Three great speakers who are leaders in this field will outline what community energy is and how we can benefit from it.

Bright, August 2.

Continue reading “Bright Community Energy Roadshow”

Snowy 2.0 hydro project to avoid environmental scrutiny?

It is being reported that the Snowy 2.0 Hydro project has been given ‘critical’ status for NSW, fast-tracking its development, amid concerns it may skirt environmental obligations.

The ‘critical’ status means the project no longer has to go through as rigorous a planning process and will only require the sign-off of the NSW Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts. However, there will still be some environmental and community impact investigations.

Continue reading “Snowy 2.0 hydro project to avoid environmental scrutiny?”

Lake Tahoe Resort to run on 100% Renewables

Next winter, Squaw Valley Ski Corporation, who have two resorts at Lake Tahoe in California, plans to source all its electricity from solar and other renewable sources. This will make it the first ski resort in the USA to power its operations without fossil fuels.

Continue reading “Lake Tahoe Resort to run on 100% Renewables”

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