Beyond Neutral

Greenhouse Solutions


Over our director’s career in the environment sector, he has been the author, co-author or contributing author of more than a dozen publications, some of which are listed below, on topics including renewable energy, climate change, bio-sequestration, and aspects of Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts. In addition to larger publications, fact sheets, press releases, promotional material and articles have been produced for business, government, school children and the general community.

Selected publications are listed below. Several have links to the actual publication.

Renewable Energy and Self Sufficiency: Systems, Attitudes and Experiences

These publications relate to Australia’s first research focused solely on renewable energy users’ seeking self sufficiency in the provision of their domestic energy supply, exploring their energy supply and storage systems, the features of their dwellings and the type and usage patterns of the appliances that they used.  The research also investigated users attitudes towards various aspects of their quest for self sufficiency and explored the range of experiences encountered during that quest.

The research was carried out in Tasmania and also presented a series of case studies that demonstrated many of the positive spin offs that had arisen from the desire of individuals and communities to be self sufficient.  The case studies encompassed a local micro hydro-electricity turbine manufacturer, the use of green grids to provide individual and community level supplies of energy which then led to the development of further economic opportunities beyond the community, and the use of a mix of renewable energy supplies to enable the provision of high quality eco-tourism applications.

For an overview of the results of the research is provided here: O’Brien and Todd Solar 99 paper

  • O’Brien, M.J. and Todd, J.J. 1999 “Self-Sufficiency in Domestic Energy Supply in Tasmania” in Thorpe, G. (ed.), “Solar 1999 – Opportunities in a Competitive Marketplace”. Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of Australia and New Zealand Solar Energy Society, 1–4 December 1999, Deakin University, Victoria. ANZSES, Melb. CD ROM
  • O’Brien, M.J. and Todd, J.J. 1999 “Self-Sufficiency in Domestic Energy Supply in Tasmania” in Parker, B. (ed.), “Solar’99 Abstracts”, Solar Progress. Vol. 20 (4) Dec. ANZSES, Melb., p.18.
  • O’Brien, M.J. 1996 “Self-Sufficiency in Domestic Energy Supply: Systems, Attitudes and Experiences in Tasmania”. Thesis. Centre for Environmental Studies, Uni of Tasmania.
  • O’Brien, M.J. 1996 “Self-Sufficiency in Domestic Energy Supply: Systems, Attitudes and Experiences in Tasmania”. Environmental Studies Project Report 1996/1. Board of Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania.

Renewable Energy and Tourism: Micro-hydro-electric

  • Contributing Author to Boele, N. 1996 “Micro-hydroelectric Power Systems” in Boele, N. (ed.) “Tourism Switched On – Sustainable Energy Technologies for the Australian Tourism Industry”. Tourism Council Australia (TCA), p. 50–3.
  • O’Brien M.J. 1996 “Case Study for Microhydro Power” in Boele, N. (ed.) “Tourism Switched On – Sustainable Energy Technologies for the Australian Tourism Industry”. TCA, p. 54–7.

Impact Assessment: Channel Deeping Project, Port Phillip Bay

Prior to deepening sections of the shipping channels through Port Phillip Bay to the Port of Melbourne in order to accommodate vessels with a draught of up to 14 metres, a Supplementary Environment Effects Statement (SEES) was produced. Our director’s previous consultancy undertook the preparation of the Head Technical Report on the Channel Deepening Project’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate change related topics. A copy of the Head Technical Report is available here:

  • O’Brien Consulting Greenhouse, Energy, Environment 2007 “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change – Head Technical Report.”  Appendix 64, Technical Appendices, Supplementary Environment Effects Statement, Channel Deepening Project.  Port of Melbourne Corporation, Channel Deepening Project, Melbourne.

Land Based Carbon Sinks

In addition to several presentations which have been provided on the websites of the organisations where they were given, the following reports and articles have been formally published. The IPCC Sinks Report is available from the IPCC’s website.

  • Contributing Author to Noble, I.R., et al. 2000 “Implications of Different Definitions and Generic Issues” in Watson, R.T., Noble, I.R., Bolin, B., Ravindranath, N.H., Verardo, D.J. and Dokken, D.J. (eds.) “Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry – A Special Report to the IPCC”. Cambridge University Press, USA, Chapter 2, p. 53–126. This chapter dealt with the operationalisation of the Kyoto Protocol’s provisions relating to bio-sequestration.
  • O’Brien, M.J. and Farquhar, G. 2001 “Contention Over Carbon Sinks” ANU Reporter, 32 (7), 11 May. Australian National University, p.3. This publication provided a background to the treatment of sinks under the Kyoto Protocol.

National Greenhouse Accounts

Four reports undertaken for the Australian National Greenhouse Accounts have been referenced in key publications relating to Australia’s emissions of greenhouse gases, though the reports have not been formally and separately published. The topics covered by the reports have included:

  • Industrial Process emissions for the National Greenhouse Accounts covering the Cement, Aluminium, Lime, Synthetic Rutile, Titanium Dioxide and Magnesia sectors of the Australian economy for 2005/06 and 2006/07.
  • Industrial wastewater treatment and methane recovery across eight agricultural processing and manufacturing sectors (Beer and Malt; Pulp, Paper and Paperboard; Sugar; Wine; Dairy; Fruit and Vegetable; Meat; and Poultry) in Australia.
  • Clinical waste and solvent incineration in Australia.