The final LifeSaving Energy Big Swim in this seasons series will be held in the Bega River on 8/6/08, and we have saved the toughest event until last. The LifeSaving Energy Big Swim series has so far managed to raise over $50000 for renewable energy infrastruture for surf club roofs. The Bega River swim is a change in direction. We will be raising money for a wind turbine for the Tathra primary school.
The Bega River swim will be a challenging event. 3 of us found out just how difficult this swim will be, when I went for a trial swim of the course last Sunday with Grant Prowse and Luke Hamilton.
The water temperature was about 13 degrees, with some patches of water that must have been closer to 11 degrees. The weather was perfect, but our 230pm start was a little later in the afternoon than we had planned for. The start at Blackfellers Lake was followed by a 20 minute ice cream headache, and it took us that long to get into our stride. We were all swimming well by the half way mark, but getting cold. We still had another 3.5km to go. 20 minutes from the finish, Grant got really cold and started to slow down. He was only wearing a 2/3mm wet suit, which clearly wasn’t enough. It was fortunate that he is such an experienced swimmer, and we finished at Mogareeka just on dark. We all made it, but it was tough. It took us several hours to warm up. The lesson from this practice swim was just how important neoprene is. My wet suit was 3 and 4mm thick which was fine. Grant’s 2mm thick wet suit was inadequate, and next time he will be wearing a spring suit over the top of his swimming suit. In fact I suspect that Grant will be wearing so much neoprene for the Big Swim, that he will be at risk of capsizing.
The Bega River lifesaving Energy Big Swim is going to be tough. The event is limited to 10 competent swimmers, and so far we have 7 entrants. Appropriate gear will be mandatory. This includes a wet suit, booties, gloves, and a hood. I would strongly encourage swimmers to wear a second spring suit over their standard wet suit. Hypothermia will be watched for, and we will have 2 doctors on the water for the event, with water safety by the Tathra surf club.
The entry fee for the swim is $1000. I would like to ask people to consider sponsoring swimmers. This is a worthy event for a worthy cause. We need to raise $10000
CEFE Budget Analysis
If Australia is going to contribute its muscle behind the international effort to reduce greenhouse emissions at a level that will help stabilise the global climate, we need swift and decisive action. The 2008 Federal Budget contains some very good initiatives with well meaning and meaningful investments, but includes a few counter productive anomalies. Specifically, I believe the plan to introduce a means test set at $100,000 for accessing the solar photovoltaic rebate is an error of judgement. It confuses two quite separate issues, how to help low income households and the urgent need to address climate change across the entire community.
The Federal commitment to an MRET of 20% by 2020 is laudable and to be encouraged. The figure of 45,000 gigawatts is mentioned but there is little detail on how it is going to be reached, i.e. no clear pathway about how as a country we will meet that target. Obviously there is little or no detail on some of the macro policy setting on the emissions trading scheme and the nature and scale of a possible national feed-in tariff.
To put in place the policy setting that will encourage rapid deployment of renewable energies will require a combination of an appropriate feed-in tariff accompanied by other measures such as rebates and other incentives to encourage rapid uptake. Ideally Australia needs a combination of feed-in tariffs and subsidies to provide a return on investment period of around ten years, at which point many more people will bite the bullet and get involved. I note the $500 million over 7 years for renewables – but several programs don’t begin for some time.
Feedback I’ve received suggests that if we want solar to play a significant role in the energy mix by 2020, then we need to drive an increase of 50% per year every year from 2008 to 2018. Without adequate drivers at the outset, it will be like a jumbo jet lumbering along and never reaching take-off speed – yet given enough start-up support, solar technology can reach the steep part of the curve where return on investment really kicks in. Government doesn’t seem to have tackled the micro versus macro question, although the Green Precincts Program rates a mention, under which Clean Energy for Eternity is receiving $100,000 for the feasibility study on our 1-2MW CEFE Solar Farm.
Other worthy measures include the support for schools and other community bodies to become more sustainable and provide beacons for the community and the requirement for green procurement by government departments, so they’re leading by example. Green Loans are worthwhile investment, especially if they come hand in hand with education and audit programs to assist people to learn how to reduce their energy consumption at source. Glad to see energy ratings for appliances mentioned and encouragement for business development and innovation in sustainable industries, including retrofitting sustainable homes which can help reduce the energy requirements of the average household.
For rural communities already experiencing some of the potential downsides of climate change, it is valuable that the government is acknowledging the need to address the issue of adaptation to climate change. How the government works with our communities to support the development of forward thinking enterprises will play an important role in how we collectively weather the changes in store for us all.
Just swimmingly, that’s how organisers described Saturday’s Moruya River Swim and Paddle, a fundraising event to install renewable energy at Moruya and Broulee Surfers Surf Life Saving Clubs.
“The water might have been cold but the community effort was not. It was red hot. We had higher than expected participation with over 120 entrants, 16 teams and very generous sponsorship of nearly $12000 (and rising) – it really was a terrific community activity” said Dr Tim Shepherd of Moruya Surf Life Saving Club.
Some particularly hardy swimmers, led by Clean Energy for Eternity’s founder Matthew Nott, started at 8.20 am at the Moruya River mouth and swam the whole 6.8km to the town wharf. Sascha Saharov of Mossy Point fairly skimmed along completing the tide assisted course in 1 hour 28 minutes.
A dragon boat, two surf boats, a canoe paddled by a bride and bridesmaid, a surf ski piloted by a dog along with some reasonably normal paddlers began the 1.5km paddle from the Silo at 9.30am. Pace setters included Dennis Pont in his spider infested kayak, Karen and Tony Hackett in their double kayak and Chris Nicholson on his board.
The main swim started at 10am with Guy Tresize leading the way to the town wharf.
Entrants were warmed with hot drinks and food from Rotary once they crossed the line while MC Greg Malavey kept the crowd of spectators entertained with his gentle bagging of the better known participants, referring at one stage to a local doctor’s family as a “herd of wet shepherds”.
The Thomas Family Awesome Foursome won the prize for the team with the most sponsorship with Gordon Hughes and Ali Simmons collecting the individual awards. Lucky draw participation prizes went to Ann Herbert, Anna Simmons, Combined Elements and Michael Overend.
“Our community showed that it cares about climate change” said Gabi Harding of Clean Energy for Eternity which joined the surf clubs in organizing the event. . “Our aim is to install renewable energy in all surf clubs in the Shire and send an important message to the wider community about the need to address climate change. The Federal Government and the Eurobodalla Shire have promised funding assistance but it all depends on solid community support and Saturday showed that we’ve got it.”
The organisers are hoping that late sponsorship donations will augment the funds raised to the target of $15000. Gabi Harding can be contacted on ph 44744318 for sponsorship details.
Major sponsors for the event included: Dallas Smart, Moruya Mowers and Chainsaws, Whistler Radiology, Ian Russell Toyota, All Things Garden, Moruya Gallery and Gifts, Vulcan Street Pharmacy, Ballards Pharmacy, Adelaide Hotel, Air Raid Hotel, Monarch Hotel, Mordek, Waterfront Hotel, Marie McNeil, Broulee Supermarket, Queen Street Medical Centre, Les Roberts-Thomson, Batemans Bay Carwash, Camerons Timber and Hardware, Rick and Ros Rossiter, Batemans Bay First National Bank, Husband Plumbing, & Catalina Country club
Major supporters included: Rotary, St John Ambulance, Moruya River Boat Shed, Marshalls Bus Company, Bay Post/Moruya Examiner, Rex Airlines, 2EC/Power FM, ABC South East radio, Southlands Fruit and Vegetables, Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens & Tomakin General Store