SEN Presents - March 2016 - Promoting Suburban Solar

A panel of speakers discussed community-based approaches to Promoting Suburban Solar, followed by questions and comments from the audience of more than 70.

  • Compulsory New Build Solar: Dan Loden, Engineer and City of Vincent Councillor, firstly provided the background to the rapid world-wide expansion of rooftop solar PV and how it is changing traditional centralized energy distribution systems. City of Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins then lead us through the process of how he induced the Nedlands council to adopt compulsory new build solar. 

  • Community Solar Campaign Trial: Julie McMinn explained this trial being run in Town of Cambridge schools. This is a “switch your thinking” initiative which Julie is looking to expand into other local councils. 

  • An Industry Perspective: Barry McCarthy from ZeroCO2/PV Art enlightened on solar and battery options for parks, gardens and other public places and Craig Donohue from Clean NRG gave an overview of solar PV uptake in Perth and its current economics.


Finally, Claire Spencer, who proposed and organized this presentation, encouraged the audience to approach their local councils to institute new build solar and generally promote greater use of renewable energy in their jurisdictions.

Beta Launch of SIREN Toolkit - March 2016

SEN Presents 2 March 2016: Beta Launch of SIREN Toolkit

Siren-PowerBalance_Ben-_40.JPGAngus King, Ben Rose and Steve Gates presented the modelling procedure for evaluation of renewable energy options for WA’s SWIS electricity grid to a specifically invited audience of specialists and others with likely direct interests. The SIREN model permits quantification of wind and solar resources for any location using freely available global databases. This information is fed into an Excel-based Powerbalance sheet which can evaluate renewable and non-renewable options for electricity generation feeding into a grid. Options can be costed and relative carbon emissions calculated. For SWIS, a system using 85% renewable energy (a combination of wind, solar PV, ‘behind the meter’ batteries and open cycle gas turbines) would produce electricity slightly cheaper than using the current non-sustainable coal and gas resources.

After presentations a workshop allowing participants to themselves explore the toolkit was held and feedback to improve the procedure solicited. After incorporation of suggested improvements a public release of the SIREN Toolkit will be held later this year.

SEN Presents - February 2016 - SIREN, Curtin, and Outreach

A well attended seminar. 

Our first SEN Presents for 2016 seemed a bit unusual but this interesting topic complimented SEN's new modelling programme SIREN (Beta Launch on 2 March). While SIREN provides costed technical options for promoting renewables, our Key Speaker, Greg Morrison, talked knowledgeably about social organization methods of transition to sustainable societies facing climate challenges, which incorporates transition to renewable energy.

In addition, SEN's Vice Chair Samuel Begg gave a preview of SENs plans and strategies for the year. An exciting time for renewable energy, the SEN Technical Team continues to grow it's reputation as an independent research organisation. Samuel expounded the aims of our teams and the key discussion points, outlining their part in SEN's greater goals.

SEN Presents - October 2016 - Bombora Wave Power; SIREN model and AGM

BomboraWavepower-CEO-150px.jpgNew Wave Power. At our October presentation Shawn Ryan co-inventor and Executive Director of Bombora Wave Power, described an interesting and novel invention that uses a bank of flexible cells or bags to turn differential wave pressures into large air flows. The air flow is pushed through an air turbine which converts the energy into electrical power. This all occurs close to shore on the seabed. Shawn, also described the next stage of development as a small scale prototype (~ 1.5 MW). It is being developed locally in Perth and has global potential and global interest. 

SENPresents_Oct2015-320W.jpgSIREN model: Angus King gave us an introduction to the powerful SEN developed tool. SIREN is a modelling tool or simulator that can forecast the effectiveness, cost, production shortfalls or excess relative to grid demand, and applicability of renewable energy scenarios within the grid. It provides outputs at the hourly intervals or averages over longer time periods for up to one year at a time. It has a great potential to test the 'fit' of renewable farms; answer the concerns of fluctuating generation; and provides a credible basis by which to lobby for scenarios like 100% RE by 2030. The tool's outputs have been verified to correlate well with 2014 generation data. Further refinements and validation are in progress from Angus and the Tech Team with a probable public release in the coming months. Something to follow or get involved in.

A new committee has been elected - enabling a bright and exciting future for SEN. Welcome and support our new committee.

SEN Presents - July 2015 - CCL and more

Rod Mitchell, National Coordinator, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Australia), described the CCL approach to reversing global warming, and its call for a revenue-neutral carbon price - specifically a Fee and Dividend that returns all of the revenue levied on the Carbon content of fossil fuels to households. CCL develops a relationship with whoever is in power.

Ecocentric Energy is a technology innovator in the energy sector operating in WA. In conjunction with their business partners CSIRO and IBM, they have developed the NRGi energy analytical tool that can seamlessly, in real-time, assess the energy efficiency of every electrical device down to a circuit level. This saves money and emissions.

SEN Presents - May 2015 - Food for thought…. food for energy?

Our ECO MAY SEN Presents showcased how waste food and liquid waste can be diverted from landfill to make clean, renewable energy.


Founded in 1916, Richgro is a family-run WA-based national business that manufactures premium garden products. It is currently run by 3rd generation Geoff Richards. Geoff will talk about how the company became involved with waste-to-energy and is now poised to divert a variety of food waste from local supermarkets and liquid waste from breweries, soft-drink and milk companies.

Biogass Renewables was commissioned to work in partnership with Richgro for the design, commission and delivery of the food waste-to-energy anaerobic digestion. Joseph Oliver is the Engineer in charge and he will talk about the technical aspects of the system, which is capable of diverting 35,000 – 50,000 tonnes/annum of food waste for heat and power generation to the grid and to off-set Richgro’s power demand.

Here are the presentations graciously lent to our readers for perusal:

SEN Presents - March 2015 - Can EV's save the grid?

Can electrical vehicles save the existing electricity grid from obsolescence / death spiral?   

As electric vehicle sales continue to increase, how will our south-west grid cope with the increased demand?  At our March SEN Presents, experts in the field will discuss how high electric vehicle uptake could actually be a real asset for our grid.   

Professor Bill Grace is Adjunct Professor from the Australian Urban Design Research Centre, UWA. He will present the findings of his report "Solar strategy needed to avoid electricity death spiral". 

SENPresents_March2015_med.jpgDr Christopher Jones is Vice President of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association. Chris will share what is happening with electrical vehicles in WA and present the latest information from high uptake countries like Norway and Pacific North America. He will also discuss how electric vehicles affect the local grid. 

And a presentation about the exciting RAC electric recharge stations coming to the South West. 

Here are the presentations graciously lent to our readers ...

SEN Presents - February 2015 - A New Years REsolution!

Your best New Year REsolution yet….. being a clean energy champion in 2015!

The world is changing, and 2015 could be our year!  The largest of the polluting countries (China, USA) are finally starting to take climate change seriously; a positive new direction, given later this year the globe’s leaders will gather in Paris to hopefully agree to a serious emissions reduction drive.

In Australia, a big change to the RET is in the wind (boom boom) and it is now or never for the fight for renewables.  Fracking, coal and uranium are all starting to unravel overseas and it is time to finish those industries for good and get sustainable energy now!

Our first SEN Presents for 2015 takes a look into what other “clean energy champions” are doing and how our partnerships will wage war on dirty industries in this critical year.

      No Fracking WAy

      CCWA Coal Campaign Australia

      CCWA Uranium-Free Campaign

      Australian Youth Climate Coalition

SEN Presents and AGM - October 2014 - Aviation biofuel - where is this industry heading?

Is biomass for jet fuel the future of air travel?  Find out how the industry is going and what could stand in the way of success. 

Kevin Goss (Kevin Goss Consulting) and John McGrath (representing Future Farm Industries CRC) will talk about the directions of aviation biofuel. They will look at the specifics of the wood production and conversion supply chain. 

Costa Tsesmelis has been working on a WA Biomass-to-Liquids project. He will talk about this project and maximising Bio-Jet Aviation Kerosene from Mallee Woodchips. This project is a Fischer Tropsch process rather than the Pyrolysis route being developed by the Airbus consortium.

SEN Presents - September 2014 - What is the future for rooftop solar PV in WA?

The Western Australian community’s uptake of rooftop solar PV has been a great success story in many ways, going from a fringe technology to over 350MW of capacity in just a few short years. But are more perils than certainty ahead for the industry and its hundreds of thousands of additional potential customers? Or has this and related technology now developed so much momentum that it will “power on” despite softening support by some political parties?

SEN is delighted to present two accomplished and substantial experts in the power industry:

Ken Brown FIE Aust , CPEng has over 40 years’ experience in the power industry, including over 20 years as the General Manager System Management at Western Power, where he had responsibility for managing and operating the South West Interconnected System. Only recently retired from Western Power, Ken will give an overview of the issues with respect to the increasing uptake of renewables and how they may affect the operation of power systems. In 2010, Engineers Australia awarded him the National Professional Electrical Engineer of the Year.

Mike Laughton-Smith PSM has almost 30 years in the electricity utility industry, much of it in the service of mining and remote communities in WA. He worked in regional power delivery for the public service firstly with Western Power, and later with Horizon Power. At Horizon his work included delivery of world-first solar hybrid power stations at Marble Bar and Nullagine. He will talk about the challenges and opportunities for WA electricity network development to support the inevitable shift to renewable energy. He is currently the CEO of Balance Energy Solutions and the Chair of the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia. In 2011 he was awarded the Australian Public Service Medal in recognition of his work supplying reliable electricity to remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley and Pilbara.

We will also have an "action" related to solar power on the night, so come along and be a part of a movement of people who are demanding sustainable energy now!

SEN Presents - June 2014 - What’s true, what’s not? Debunking the myths.

Hear from experts in the field of renewable energy and climate change policy as they analyse the challenges and opportunities arising from the results of the recent Senate by-election. How can we best influence federal policy and what is your role?

De-bunking climate myths: Jemma Green from Curtin University. Jemma is a Research Fellow at the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute. She is responsible for industry research relating to infrastructure, energy, carbon, sustainability and climate related business risks. Jemma will de-bunk some common climate myths!

De-bunking health myths: Dr George Crisp is a General Practitioner who has a deep interest in the environment and its relationship to human health. As Chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia’s WA chapter, he is also the founder of the GreenPractice campaign to inspire Doctors and their patients to live and work sustainably in an effort to save the planet. Dr Crisp will outline the close links between energy generation and human health, and along the way de-bunk some common health-related myths surrounding renewable energy.

De-bunking renewable energy myths: Professor Ray Wills has substantial expertise in ecology, sustainability, climate change science and the effects of expected future climates on Australia. He is recognised as an authoritative and respected commentator on sustainability, and especially in relation to energy. Ray will de-bunk some common renewable energy myths. Please spread this invitation out widely to all your friends and colleagues.

SEN Presents - November 2012 - North Midlands Solar Thermal Power Plant

The North Midlands Solar Thermal Power Project in Morawa WA is described here.

Conservation Week - October 2012 - act for nature

The following workshop was conducted by SEN at Conservation Week in 2012. 


Renewable Energy Educational Workshop:

Presented by Tim Barling, Executive Chair, Sustainable Energy Now
Australia has the best mix of renewable energy resources in the
world which can more than meet our current and future demand
for electricity. Tim will explore why we should move to renewable
energy, the benefits and barriers, resources and technologies
available and policies and planning required for change.




SEN Presents November 2011: Biomass Pyrolysis for energy, fuels and char

You can view the excellent presentation  "Biomass Pyrolysis for energy, fuels and char in the WA Wheat Belt" by Ben Rose here.