Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Turbulent Times for Wind Power

Instead of bringing you news of yet another blow to the struggling solar industry, today we bring you news of a crackdown on another form of clean energy - wind.

The Victorian Government is amending planning laws regarding wind farms, giving households the power to veto wind turbines within two kilometres of their homes. Turbines are also due to be banned in areas of natural beauty popular with tourists near to the Victorian coast and within five kilometres of numerous Victorian regional centres.

This will inevitably divert multi-billion dollar investment in regional Victoria interstate and is therefore seen as hugely detrimental to clean energy infrastructure in the state.

The Australian public seems to have mixed views on wind turbines and their potential impact on people's quiet enjoyment of their homes and surrounding areas. Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Matthew Warre has no doubts as to the negative impact that will have on clean energy investment in Victoria, citing the setback policy as "completely arbitrary".

To read the full press release from the Clean Energy Council click here: http://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/cec/mediaevents/media-releases/August-2011/MR290811-vic-wind.html

Or to read The Age's piece on this development click here: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/baillieus-wind-farm-crackdown-20110829-1jig4.html

For further information on SmartNow and how to save money on your power bills with our home energy monitors please visit www.smartnow.com.au.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Using the Current Cost USB Data Cable with Windows 7 x 64

Please find below some helpful links for those customers trying to download the Driver for the USB data cable, with Windows 7 x 64.

SmartNow USB Drivers Page

PLEASE NOTE - unbelievably, just because there is a newer driver available than the ones we have posted, it doesn't mean it will work!  The drivers we have on our site are tried and tested and work.  PLEASE do not go googling for newer drivers, as all that will happen is you'll wind up calling us because you can't get them to work.  Strange but True.

Alternative Software for the USB Data Cable

As most of our customers are aware, Google PowerMeter is due to close in September.

We’ve already brought you some updates on what Bridge users can expect when this closure happens: http://www.smartnow.com.au/2011/06/28/the-bridge-some-exciting-current-cost-developments-smart-now-home-energy-monitor/

But we know that many customers use the USB data cable to upload data from their EnviR home energy monitor.

Current Cost, manufacturers of the EnviR, have put together some very useful information regarding software options for users of the USB cable: http://www.currentcost.com/software-downloads.html

As you can see, there are plenty of options available to enable you to get the most from your EnviR, to eliminate wastage and reduce your power bill.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

WA Solar Scheme Victim of its Own Success

This week the Western Australian government has announced that the current solar panel rebate scheme is being axed. It seems the popular scheme has been a victim of its own success and the budget couldn't be stretched to meet the huge demand for the scheme. Effective immediately, no new applications will be accepted.

The government already reduced the feed-in tariff from 60 cents per kilowatt hour to 40 cents and then down to 20 cents in May. Rebates will continue to be paid to existing users for the 10 year agreed payment period.

Unsurprisingly, the decision to axe the scheme so suddenly has angered solar industry experts and businesses who have questioned why they weren't given fair warning that the scheme was fast approaching its cap.

We're sorry to see the WA feed-in tariff reduce. It appears to have been a great success in promoting the installation of solar panels. We're not sure that it yet makes economic sense to install solar panels without a subsidised feed-in tariff as is claimed, but the proof will be in the pudding. It'll be very interesting to see how many solar installations happen this year. We don't think it will be half as many as the government expects.

In the meantime, we'd like to encourage the government to support medium and large scale solar in sunny WA. Now we've got 150MW of installed capacity on individual residential roofs, it would be good to see some large-scale installations on the tops of the commercial property out there. A prime candidate would be for supermarkets and shopping malls - solar can seriously reduce the load that the massive aircon units place on the grid on a sunny afternoon.

To read the full article about the scrapping of the scheme in WA click here: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/energy-smart/wa-solar-rebate-scheme-too-popular-to-continue-20110801-1i7lc.html

To learn how to monitor your solar generation and to reduce your electricity bill with an EnviR home energy monitor from SmartNow click here: http://www.smartnow.com.au/smartnow-current-cost-solutions/i-have-solar/