Monthly Discussion Group

The monthly BZE Discussion Group is an opportunity to hear from and question experts leading climate change solutions. Topics vary from renewable energy techincal innovations to social and political action. The event is generally held on the first Monday of every month at 6:30pm at the University of Melbourne.

Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) Land Use Plan

16% of Australia's emissions are from land use change, forestry and agriculture. The Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) Land Use, Forestry & Agriculture Plan considers changes to land use practices to minimise emissions. The project is managed by two full time staff, Chris Taylor - Research Director, and Adrian Whitehead - Project Coordinator.

6:30pm Monday 5 December Victorian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale

Dr Richard Di Natale is Victoria's first Greens Senator, elected in the 2010 federal election. The son of Italian migrants, Richard grew up in Melbourne.

Prior to entering parliament Richard was a general practitioner and public health specialist. He worked in Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory, on HIV prevention in India and in the drug and alcohol sector. His key health priorities include preventative health, public dental care and responding to the health impacts of climate change. He also actively supports the Landholders' Right to Refuse Coal Seam Gas Bill 2011.

We welcome Richard to share his vision for Australia.

Torresol Technical Director Santiago Arias explains how Gemasolar plant reaches 24 hour solar power

Slides from Santiago's presentation are available here

Santiago Arias is the Technical Director O&M of Torresol Energy which constructed the 19.9MW Gemasolar plant in Seville, Spain. Gemasolar is the world’s first plant to apply the salt thermal-storage system in a configuration with a central tower and an array of heliostats. Gemasolar reached 24 hours of uninterrupted production in June 2011.

This is the baseload concentrated solar power technology modelled by the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan to supply 60% of Australia’s stationary energy requirements.  Mr Arias will join us via Skype.

100% renewables with Dr Harry Lehmann from Germany

Slides from Dr Lehmann's presentation are available Part1



Dr. Harry Lehmann is General Director - "Environmental Planning and Sustainability Strategies" at the Federal Environment Agency of Germany. He is a member of the World Council for Renewable Energies and has over 25 years of experience in sustainability issues, leading 100% renewables projects in Germany, Spain, Japan and more.

6:30pm Monday 5 September Roger Davey, CEO of EnviroMission


Roger Davey is the CEO of EnviroMission Limited, an Australian company developing Solar Tower renewable energy technology on a global scale. Enviromission has secured a 200MW Power Purchase Agreement with the Southern Californian Public Power Authority to deliver power from the first of two planned Solar Tower developments in Arizona.

Dr Frank Neumann on wind turbine placement optimisation

Slides from Dr Neumann's presentation are available here.

Dr Frank Neumann is Senior Lecturer at University of Adelaide's School of Computer Science. He is working on wind turbine placement optimisation in collaboration with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr Neumann has developed computer algorithms that maximise the energy generated, given a particular terrain, turbine type, wind direction and area of land.

Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop on short-lived climate forcers, deforestation and agriculture GHG mitigation

Slides from Gerard's presentation are available here.

Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop worked until 2010 as a Principal Scientist with the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Resources Management Remote Sensing Centre. He was responsible for assessing and monitoring vegetation cover, structure and trend across the state.
This involved leading a team of remote sensing scientists to develop satellite monitoring methods to cover an area of 1.7million square km. each year. Products developed by his team included a yearly assessment of forest cover and deforestation, ground cover and weed monitoring, all of which were used routinely for resource management by landholders, local, state and federal government agencies and stakeholders such as conservation groups.

Drew Hutton from Lock the Gate campaign against coal seam gas

Drew Hutton is a professional historian and environmental activist, co-authoring History of the Australian Environment Movement in 1999. He is now lead campaigner for Lock the Gate - a peaceful, non-cooperation campaign against mining companies - for Friends of the Earth.

The Six Degrees collective of Friends of the Earth, Brisbane has been campaigning against open cut coal mining on agricultural land and environmentally sensitive areas for over two years and, more recently, calling for a moratorium on coal seam gas development. Drew will join us via Skype to discuss coal seam gas mining.

A/Prof Birgitte Hoffmann on sustainable design in Denmark and the social change for its 50% wind energy target

Slides from A/Prof Birgitte Hoffmann's presentation are available here.

Birgitte Hoffmann is Associate Professor at the Technical University of Denmark's Department of Management Engineering. Birgitte will join us in person for a special mid-month discussion group on sustainable transitions within water management, energy production and consumption, sustainable urban development and the social and political aspects of achieving a 50% wind energy target in Denmark.

Mapping solar potential of rooftops in Germany's SUN-AREA project

Slides from Prof Martina Klärle's presentation are available here.

Slides from Detlef Gerdts presentation are available here.

Audio available shortly.

The Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan research team is currently assessing the total solar potential of rooftops in Australia. Similar studies have been completed around the world. Germany's SUN-AREA project estimates that solar photovoltaic (PV - solar panels) power could meet the entire energy needs of residential homes throughout the country. It is sponsored by the University of Osnabrück and the TOPSCAN topographical information company.

Project director and geomatics engineer Professor Martina Klärle, will join us via Skype video conference to present their findings. Detlef Gerdts, Head of the Department of Environmental Protection for the city of Osnabrück, will also be presenting the experiences with the results. 

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