Australian news, and some related international items

Community Energy Congress in Canberra, as Farmers warn against weakening Renewable Energy Target

wind-turbines-and-sheepFarmers, activists warn against reducing renewable energy target on Global Wind Energy Day June 16, 2014  Public service editor Over the years, Boorowa grazier Paul Magee watched each of his five children become adults and leave the family farm to find work.

For him and his wife, Lynette, the opportunity to host wind turbines on their 700-hectare property, about 110 kilometres north of Canberra, may have come a little too late.

But the lamb farmer hopes the growing wind-energy industry will help lure young people back to the bush, and says the federal government must maintain its backing for renewable energy. “There is a possibility that one [of my children] could move back here and help to improve the farm and make it more productive – if the renewable energy target is not changed,” Mr Magee told a rally of activists outside Parliament House on Sunday, Global Wind Energy Day.

“There is a further possibility that others … may gain employment in the area. The economic benefits would help stop the drift to larger cities.”

A review of the so-called RET – an aim for 20 per cent of the nation’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020 – is due to be completed shortly, amid fears the Abbott government will reduce the target or scrap it entirely.

Last month, Treasurer Joe Hockey launched an unprompted attack on windfarms near Lake George, just outside the ACT, telling conservative radio commentator Alan Jones he found them “utterly offensive” and “a blight on the landscape”. Climate activists have also noted that the RET review’s leader, former Caltex chairman Dick Warburton, and other panel members have close links to the fossil-fuel industry.

Mr Magee said he could not understand the Treasurer’s view. “It could be argued that the very same four-lane freeway he was travelling on is more offensive and a bigger blight on the landscape, and indeed the urban development that has ruined the north shore of Sydney,” he said, referring to Mr Hockey’s electorate.

Small groups of residents near windfarms occasionally oppose the industry, saying turbines are noisy and reduce rural property prices.

However, NSW government polling in 2010 found almost nine in 10 residents in the region near the ACT border supported windfarms, including 61 per cent of people who lived one to two kilometres away from turbines.

Regardless of what happens to the federal RET scheme, ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell told the rally that Canberra would maintain the nation’s most ambitious renewable energy policy: 90 per cent of the ACT’s electricity would be sourced from renewable energy by 2020.

He also noted that the Royalla solar farm – the largest in Australia – was just a few months’ away from being commissioned.

“The sad thing about that project is that it’s only 20 megawatts. When you look at renewable energy and solar energy around the world, you see that so many nations are investing in schemes and in projects that are in the hundreds of megawatts.

“In a country like Australia, we should be doing the same.”

Sunday’s rally preceded the 2014 Community Energy Congress, which will be held on Monday and Tuesday at the National Library. About 300 delegates are expected to attend from across Australia and overseas.


June 16, 2014 Posted by | ACT, wind | Leave a comment

Lined up against Renewable Energy – These Liberal and National Members of Parliament

Liberal-policy-1MPs unite against ACT’s renewable energy scheme, Braidwood Times, 1 April 14  Liberals and Nationals in NSW have joined forces to send a strong message to the ACT Government over its renewable energy policy: Leave our farms alone!

Windfarms have been controversial in the area surrounding the ACT and an110 tower ‘farm’ is in the wind for the area from Tarago, south across the Kings Highway down to Manar.

The Member for Monaro John Barilaro was joined by his State colleague the Member for Burrinjuck and Minister for Primary Industries and Small Business, Katrina Hodgkinson, Family & Community Services Minister, Minister for Women & Member for Goulburn Pru Goward, the Federal Member for Hume, Angus Taylor  and Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Geoff Kettle, on top of a popular Canberra lookout to deliver the message on behalf of their communities…….

April 2, 2014 Posted by | ACT, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

In Canberra 80.000 homes to be powered by wind energy

wind-turb-smWind energy to power 80,000 Canberra homes   Chief Assembly reporter for The Canberra Times, 12 Mar 14,  Wind energy is set to power 80,000 Canberra households within six years as the ACT government announces details on Thursday of an auction for huge wind farms in the region.

The government will sign 20-year deals with successful bidders, who will get a guaranteed price for the energy they supply.

The news will energise wind farms at different stages of approval and construction that have been waiting for a guaranteed buyer for the energy. But it is also set to galvanise anger in country areas that will host forests of wind turbines powering the capital…..

March 12, 2014 Posted by | ACT, wind | 1 Comment

A boost for wind energy as ACT plans big renewables projects

WIND-FARMClean energy boost stirs stalled wind farms, Canberra Times, March 1, 2014  Chief Assembly reporter . The ACT government’s planned roll-out of large-scale clean energy projects is set to give new life to stalled wind farms near Canberra.

Infigen Energy, the company that runs the Capital 1 wind farm near Bungendore, already has approval for another 41 wind turbines at the site, generating about 100 megawatts of energy. General manager of development David Griffin confirmed his company hoped to take part in an auction expected later this year to win the right to supply the ACT with renewable energy for a guaranteed price over 20 years.

A second big project, near Collector, was approved last year for 55 wind turbines, generating 187 megawatts, and run by Ratch-Australia (80 per cent Thai owned, 20 per cent Transfield). Ratch could not be reached on Friday.

Another wind farm, near Yass with up to 152 turbines, is still before the NSW government.

Environment Minister Simon Corbell announced a vast increase in the ACT’s commitment to renewable energy last week, more than doubling the cap on feed-in projects to 550 megawatts, with the bulk of the funded projects in wind farms around Canberra.

Solar would make up most of the rest, but it is undecided whether solar projects outside the ACT will qualify…….

March 1, 2014 Posted by | ACT, wind | Leave a comment

ACT to keep electricity prices low by extending solar and wind energy

solar-feed-inACT extends renewables FiT to 550MW to drive big solar, wind, Reneweconomy, By  on 27 February 2014

The ACT government will amend its large scale renewables feed-in tariff to support the development of up to 550MW of wind, solar and waste to energy projects – amendments that are expected to help the Capital Territory to retain the lowest electricity prices of any state or territory in Australia. Continue reading

February 27, 2014 Posted by | ACT, energy | Leave a comment

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy, and the struggle against mining takeover of the land

handsoffthe establishing in Canberra, 1972, of the Tent Embassy, to protest against a court decision over mining operations on Aboriginal land.

To many it came as a shock when in April 1971 the Northern Territory Supreme Court decided against Aboriginal people and in favour of a mining company to have access to Aboriginal land. Australian common law, the justice concluded, did not recognise Aboriginal land rights (Reconciliation Australia, 2012).

on January 26th, 2012, the Tent Embassy held its 40th anniversary, making it the longest site of political agitation. The Embassy helped in the struggle for land rights and to end racial discrimination, sadly this is still an ongoing struggle (Korffs, J., 2012).

The Rights For Freedom Of Aboriginal Australians History Essay UK 3 Jan 14 This essay focuses on the rights for freedom for the Aboriginal Australians who have lived in Australia for at least 40,000 years. The arrival of the Europeans in 1788 resulted in the significant change to traditional Aboriginal customs and way of life. Up until 1901 colonial governments and communities formally and informally discriminated against Aboriginal people (Rights and freedoms, 1945- the present, n.d.).

Three significant events that focus on this are the ‘Day of Mourning, 1938’, ‘The Freedom Ride, 1965’, and the ‘Aboriginal Tent Embassy, 1972’. Continue reading

January 3, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, ACT, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Legal bullying threats now adopted by wind farm opponents

wind-farm-evil-1justiceWe’re going to the bullying tactics, are we? I don’t know what it’s all about, but I assume that’s what it is, old school bullying tactics.”…..

Mr Poile said there were a lot of people and groups he did not recognise as locals, including anti-wind farm activist Sarah Laurie from the Waubra Foundation, based in South Australia.

Threat of legal action against wind farm hosts, Canberra Times,  October 29, 2013 An anti-wind farm resident of Collector says he will sue his neighbours should they become turbine hosts as part of a proposed wind farm in the small community north of Canberra. Continue reading

October 29, 2013 Posted by | ACT, wind | Leave a comment

SolarShare -Canberra’s exciting new community energy project

sunSun rises on a communal solar farm City News,  October 9, 2013 AS plans move ahead to build four fields of solar panels in the ACT, one of them Australia’s largest, there’s another with a more egalitarian spirit not far behind.

Launched in May, SolarShare plans to build a solar farm that will operate as a co-operative, rather than a company, so its member-shareholders will contribute to the cost of building its photovoltaic arrays and receive returns from the power they generate for years to come.

“Since then we’ve received about 200 registrations of interest from people who are keen to invest in excess of $670,000 in a community-owned solar farm, so we’ve received a fairly strong indication there that people support this idea, which is really great,” says project leader Lawrence McIntosh.

McIntosh is a renewable energy consultant who plays a central role in The Canberra Clean Energy Connection, a local, non-profit group that supports the ACT Government’s vision of Canberra becoming “the solar capital of Australia”…….

October 18, 2013 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Australian War Memorial should include the war between settlers and Aborigines

Why does the Australian War Memorial ignore the frontier war?  Paul Daley, Thursday 12 September 2013The battle between Aboriginal people and settlers is at the heart of nationhood but absent from war dead commemorations “……With the approaching centenary next August of the outbreak of the first world war, Australia is spending $32m to upgrade the memorial’s first world war galleries – part of meeting its mandate to help Australians “remember, interpret and understand” the country’s war experiences.

It is a broad and generous brief.

This mandate, however, has been narrowly interpreted by successive generations of memorial officials whose Anzac-centric focus continues to stubbornly exclude the fierce battles for sovereignty between Aboriginal Australians and pastoral settlers across the frontier, which are at the dark heart of Australia’s nationhood. Continue reading

September 13, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, ACT | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory Liberals stick their knife into solar energy

Liberal-policy-1Solar plan slammed September 12, 2013  Chief Assembly Reporter for The Canberra Times. The Canberra Liberals have called on the ACT government to abandon a proposal for a 10-megawatt solar farm to be built across the road from Uriarra Village……

Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell denied it was a done deal and said there would be a public consultation process.

Mr Corbell said he had met Uriarra residents on the day it was announced that Elements Energy had won a solar tender auction.

”Any suggestion that there has not been consultation upfront is wrong,” he said.

Three proposed large solar power projects would contribute $100 million to the ACT economy and save 1.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Corbell said.

September 12, 2013 Posted by | ACT, politics | Leave a comment

Solar farm in ACT will be up and running in 2014, funding secured

solar-farmingpiggy-ban-renewablesRoyalla Solar Farm Secures Cash  4 Sept 13  The parties involved with the ACT’s Royalla Solar Farm have secured financial backing via ANZ and National Australia Bank.

The FRV Royalla Solar Farm will be constructed 23 kilometres south of Canberra’s centre.  Approximately 83,000 solar panels at the facility will generate enough electricity to supply the power needs of around 4,500 homes.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green has congratulated the companies involved with securing the backing.

“The financial backing is obviously welcome news for both FRV (Fotowatio Renewable Ventures) and Acciona who are working together to deliver the project,” he said. “The ACT Government’s Solar Auction has been a game-changer in supporting this new form of renewable energy at the lowest cost to consumers.”
Construction of the plant is due to be completed in 2014. Continue reading

September 4, 2013 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory’s two new large scale solar energy projects

solar-farmingMore Solar Farms For The ACT Two new solar projects for the ACT combined with the 20 MW Royalla Solar Farm will generate enough power to supply 10,000 homes. 20 aug 13,

The two new projects are Zhenfa Solar’s 13-megawatt Mugga Lane Solar Park near the Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre, and Elementus’ 7-megawatt OneSun Capital Solar Farm in Coree.

Large-scale projects are chosen via the ACT’s auction process; which is operated under a tender-like process where companies compete for the right to a feed-in tariff and proposals are evaluated in terms of their overall value-for-money.

“The ACT Solar Auction is delivering large scale renewable energy at an affordable price,” said the Territory’s Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell.  Continue reading

August 20, 2013 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Successful pro wind energy rallies in Canberra

Wind taken out of protesters’ sails in Canberra Independent Australia 19 June 13 Callum Davidson and deputy editor Sandi Keane report from Melbourne and Canberra on a tale of two cities and three rallies — or rather two and a sorry fizzer. THE GLOVES CAME OFF today in Melbourne in the phony war waged against wind farms whilst in Canberra, the pro-renewables rally stole the show from the shadowy anti-wind pressure group, Stop These Things.

Morten Albaek, Senior Vice-President, Vestas Wind Systems, chose Australia, the hotbed of anti-wind activity, to launch its fight against the campaign by vested interests and climate skeptics:

“The wind industry is being attacked by media-savvy and politically influential adversaries who often display a brazen disregard for factual information. The “Act on Facts” campaign is our way of fighting back.”

Speaking at the University of Melbourne today, Albaek said the industry has been too conservative:

“Today it’s gloves off. We’re stepping up our game to fight back but with one big difference — it will be fact-based.”

An impressive line-up of speakers including the master debunker of the mythical “Wind Turbine Syndrome”, Professor Simon Chapman, attracted a large crowd of enthusiastic renewables supporters. Chapman’s reading of the public mood that the community is no longer buying the fear campaign was certainly played out in Canberra, as Callum Davidson’s photos show. In the capital, a lackluster turnout of barely one hundred protesters emerged from the heavy morning fog and filed onto the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra. They came from Crookwell, Mudgee, Yass and a few stalwarts from Western Australia and far North Queensland. Their slogans carried the same gripe: no more windfarms.

Headlining this event was the staunchly anti-windfarm and vocal climate change skeptic, Alan Jones. The popular shockjock announced his unwavering support for their cause:…..

June 18, 2013 Posted by | ACT, politics | Leave a comment

Canberra rally calls for more renewable energy

Canberra protests for and against wind farms ABC News, By Mary Lloyd 18 June 13, “…….Supporting wind farms On the other side of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra’s city centre, environmental campaigners addressed hundreds of supporters.

Milne,-Christine-1Greens Leader Christine Milne called for the move to renewable energy to be sped up, and dismissed claims that wind farms caused health problems.

 “We are not going to tolerate the lies and the misinformation about all these sicknesses that are supposed to be associated with renewable,” Senator Milne said. “Instead I ask the real question, ‘What about the real sickness associated with coal dust?’, ‘What about the real sickness out there associated with the old fossil fuel order?’

Green groups say there is no scientific evidence that wind farms lead to health problems.Leigh Ewbank of Friends of the Earth says there are 19 reviewed studies that show that wind farms don’t cause adverse health impacts…..

June 18, 2013 Posted by | ACT, wind | Leave a comment

Climate change predicted to bring bushfires to Canberra

climate-AustScorching increase in bushfire danger June 17, 2013 Scott Hannaford The Sunday Canberra Times editor.Canberra could be facing a nearly 70 per cent increase in dangerous bushfire weather in less than seven years as the result of climate change, according to Australia’s Climate Commission.

The report, The Critical Decade 2013, to be released on Monday, paints a grim picture of the future for the ACT as a result of unchecked climate change, including a rising death toll from extreme-heat days, dwindling inflows to the city’s major water storages and further reductions in winter and spring rainfall.

”The decisions we make from now to 2020 will largely determine the severity of climate change our children and grandchildren experience,” the report states.

The CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology predict the number of days where the temperature climbs above 35 degrees in Canberra will rise from the current long-term average of 5.2 days a year to eight by 2030 and between 10 days and 18 days by 2070, depending on the action taken.

One of the report’s two authors, Professor Will Steffen, said many of the predictions climate scientists made in the 1970s and ’80s were becoming reality as communities began to suffer more-damaging storms, major bushfires and prolonged droughts.

”Canberrans hardly need reminding about the devastation bushfires can cause. If you look at the data since about 1973, 16 of the 38 observation stations show the fire danger rating has increased, while the remainder haven’t gone down. Of particular importance for Canberra is that most of those 16 stations are in the south-east corner and Canberra’s right in the middle of that,” Professor Steffen said……

Changes in rainfall meant summer rains could increase in Canberra, but in terms of the number of extreme-heat days the ACT was already experiencing nearly double the long-term average.


June 18, 2013 Posted by | ACT, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment


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