The NSW government has created a new agency dedicated to resilience, Resilience NSW, with the NSW Rural Fire Service boss who dominated the news cycle over the summer, Shane Fitzsimmons, to take the reins.

In the wake of devastating summer bushfires and floods and now the coronavirus pandemic, the scene is set for the agency to better prepare the state for future crises.

Top of the agency’s agenda will be helping communities recover from drought, bushfires and now COVID-19.

“We know the next six months will be very difficult, but we must already turn our mind to recovery,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

“Through Resilience NSW we will re-double our efforts to prevent, prepare and recover from crisis which impact NSW.”

Commissioner Fitzsimmons served the RFS for decades, including 12 years as its leader.

Calls to halt Snowy 2.0 growing louder

The Snowy 2.0 pumped storage project will wreak havoc on Kosciuszko National Park’s ecosystems and wildlife, according to 26 environmental organisations and experts who say there are better energy storage alternatives to Snowy 2.0 to meet low carbon energy needs.

A coalition of organisations and experts, including the National Parks Association of NSW, the Nature Conservation Council and Total Environment Centre, have written an open letter to the NSW Minister for Planning, Rob Stokes, and Minister for Energy and Environment, Matt Kean, urging them not to approve the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the main works of the project.

They point out that in addition to vast environmental damage approval would violate international standards in a number of areas including “approving an environmental impact statement (EIS) without the proponent fulfilling the mandatory requirements of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation requiring “an analysis of any feasible alternatives” and a thorough assessment of cumulative impacts.

And “approving one component of a project without a consolidated assessment of the impacts of the total project,” namely the transmission line.

“Snowy Hydro Ltd should be not be treated differently to any other develop,” the group says.

“What developer would ever be granted the right to excavate and dump contaminated spoil, spread pests and diseases, render species extinct, destroy irreplaceable threatened species habitat, and clear vast areas of Kosciuszko or any other National Park in NSW or Australia?”

The letter adds follows a similar letter to the Prime Minister and NSW Premier signed last week.

Climate research proposal wins scholarship

Sarah Lawlor, a registered senior architect at fjmt studio, has secured the National Association of Women in Construction’s 2020 International Women’s Day Scholarship for her research proposal “Is Climate Leadership in the Construction Industry ‘Women’s Business’?”

She will look at the representation of women in environmental leadership positions in the construction industry to ensure women are included and represented in environmental decision-making.

Power Ledger partners with French green energy retailer

French energy customers will be able to customise their energy mix for the first time through Australian company Power Ledger’s new blockchain-enabled product Vision, which certifies the origin and source of renewable energy. The product will be on offer via a partnership with green energy retailer ekWateur, a green energy retailer and aggregator that supplies 100 per cent renewable electricity from wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and hydraulic dams.

The technology will go live across ekWateur’s network by the end of 2020.

Carbon neutral mining

A battery materials development company, Australian Mines, has set a target for 100 per carbon neutral by 30 June 2020.

The resources company want to become certified Carbon Neutral under the Australian government’s Climate Active Program. This involves reducing the company’s greenhouse gas emissions and offsetting its remaining carbon-generating activity.

Sustainability, carbon and energy management consultancy Pangolin Associates will develop the carbon neutrality plan.