Australian news, and some related international items

Renewable energy an economic boon for Australia’s drought affected rural communities

logo-ARENARenewable energy drought-proofing our farms  February 3, 2016 ANDREW THOMSON The Weekly Times 
AS Australian farmers and firefighters endure El Nino and world leaders agree on emissions targets to manage climate change, it is time to look again at the role of renewable energy.

Renewable energy is not only a tool to provide clean energy and control the emissions that are changing our climate. It is also a growth industry offering employment and revenue opportunities almost exclusively in regional and rural communities.

For many farming landowners, such as Peter, Leigh and David Watts, of Yeungroon, featured in The Weekly Times last week, lease payments from turbines are a way to drought-proof farms by ensuring ­ongoing income in tough times.


There is enormous potential to grow the partnerships between rural communities and renewable energy providers.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has signalled a new approach to ­renewable energy and this has given businesses such as energy company Acciona the confidence to make major investments in Australia.

Last month, it announced plans to progress the Mt Gellibrand wind farm proposal, which would provide clean power to more than 100,000 households. The project would create more than 100 jobs in the building phase, about 10 ongoing roles, and deliver substantial revenue for the life of the wind farm to landowners, council and the wider community.

Australia’s Renewable Energy Target has generated $18.5 billion of investment and, under the revised target, we expect to see at least ­another $10 billion by 2020.

 Job creation alone has considerable impact on regional economies.
 According to the Clean Energy Australia Report 2014 from the Clean Energy Council, the renewable ­energy industry employed more than 20,000 people last year, and that figure will grow as the industry grows.

Today the industry employs more people than the coal-generation ­sector in Australia. With stable policy settings, a clear direction on emissions targets and an understanding that Australia requires a more sophisticated approach to ­energy policy, the renewables sector is well placed to innovate and grow.

Improving technology in the wind sector means we can now generate more electricity from fewer turbines and maintain an income stream for landowners, councils and community organisations in regional and rural communities. It is my hope regional Australia and the renewables sector can grow together.  Andrew Thomson is managing ­director of energy company Acciona

February 5, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

AFL Footee Chief Gillon McLachlan a neanderthal anti-wind crusader

wind-farm-evil-1AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan to fight massive Mid Murray wind farm development in court, Th eAdvertiser January 30, 2016 9:50pm

Ben HydeSunday Mail AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has launched court action over the approval of a massive wind farm on the doorstep of his family’s historic Rosebank property, near Mt Pleasant.

Mr McLachlan has appealed against the approval of the $700 million wind farm, to feature 114 turbines standing up to 165m high dotted along the ranges between Palmer, Tungkillo and Sanderston.

The appeal is listed against wind farm developers Trustpower, the Mid Murray Council, Environment Protection Agency, the Planning Department and the Environment Minister.

A preliminary conference is scheduled to be heard in the Environment, Resources and Development Court by Commissioner Lolita Mohyla at 3.30pm tomorrow.

Mr McLachlan’s is one of four appeals filed against the wind farm, which was approved by the Mid Murray Council’s development assessment panel on December 18. He yesterday declined to comment about the appeal.

In December, he submitted a video message to the development assessment panel opposing the wind farm being built.

Even if it were to be conclusively established wind farms do not produce health problems, it’s annoying and affects quality of life,” he said.

“I was frankly heartbroken that this land will be forever marred by enormous man-made structures.”

 Mr McLachlan also said any wind farm would cause significant damage to the land, would hinder potential tourism opportunities and “cause extreme division in the community”………

January 31, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, wind | 1 Comment

New Directive to Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) supports renewable energy investment

solar,-wind-aghastNew clean energy investment mandate a shift from policy proposed by Abbott
Directive to CEFC to focus on innovative and emerging technologies will enhance support for windfarms and small-scale solar projects,
Guardian,  , 24 Dec 15. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has been directed to focus on innovative and emerging technologies, reversing a mandate by the former prime minister Tony Abbott that would have specifically blocked funding for windfarms and small-scale solar projects.

The mandate came into effect on Thursday, with a new clause outlining the shift in focus.

“As part of its investment activities in clean energy technologies, the corporation must include a focus on supporting emerging and innovative renewable technologies and energy efficiency, such as large-scale solar, storage associated with large- and small-scale solar, offshore wind technologies, and energy efficiency technologies for cities and the built environment,” the clause said. “ This will in turn increase the uptake of emerging technologies such as large-scale solar and energy efficiency.”

The investment mandate is not exclusive, meaning that established technologies can still be funded, and not retrospective, so projects that have already been funded will not be affected.

“The CEFC will therefore continue to pursue a diverse range of investment activities that are within the scope of the CEFC Act and this new investment mandate,” a statement by the body said.

“Together, the new investment mandate and the accompanying explanatory statement provide guidance on how the CEFC should approach investment in mature and established technologies, such as conventional onshore wind and conventional hydro,” it said. “It is the government’s expectation that, in many circumstances, projects involving mature technologies should be able to secure finance from commercial financing sources.”

The mandate is a shift from what Abbott proposed in July, when he said the body should no longer fund small-scale solar projects such as rooftop panels and wind technology…….

The CEFC chairwoman, Jillian Broadbent, wrote to the environment minister, Greg Hunt, and the finance minister, Mathias Cormann, welcoming the new mandate. She said it was an “appropriate approach that allows the CEFC to support the Australian government policy priorities  while still allowing a measure of investment flexibility”.  …….

January 4, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, solar, wind | Leave a comment

Research into wind turbines and their role in reducing carbon emissions

The effect of increasing the number of wind turbine generators on carbon dioxide emissions in the Australian National Electricity Market from 2014 to 2025, Australian policy Online

EEMG Working Paper 5-2015 – Version 13

18 December 2015……

University of Queensland    This report investigates the effect of increasing the number of wind turbine generators on carbon dioxide emission in the Australian National Electricity Market’s (NEM) existing transmission grid from 2014 to 2025. This report answers urgent questions concerning the capability of the existing transmission grid to cope with significant increases in wind power and aid emissions reductions. The report findings will help develop a coherent government policy to phase in renewable energy in a cost effective manner. ……..
We find increasing wind power penetration decreases carbon dioxide emissions but retail prices fail to reflect the decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. ……
 We find that uncertainty in electricity demand and the renewable energy target are hindering the deployment of wind power. …..
 The recent reduction of the LRET from the 41 TWh to 20% of demand reflects both permanent and cyclic changes. Both the recent reduction and the annual review of the RET induces investment uncertainty for wind power generators. Introducing a 100% RET and making the percent a moving average of the demand of the last 10 years would encourage retailers to purchase the LRET certificates, help reduce investment uncertainty and accommodate the structural changes in electricity demand. ………..

December 21, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

New wind farms to go ahead as Turnbull removes barrier to Clean Energy investment

Wind turbines in Azerbaijan. End of Tony Abbott’s war on wind farms gives green light to Capital Region projects, Canberra Times, December 13, 2015  Canberra Times reporter Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to lift Tony Abbott’s controversial ban on government investment in wind power has been embraced by the Australian Capital Region farming community.

On Sunday, Fairfax Media revealed Environment Minister Greg Hunt has issued the Clean Energy Finance Corporation with new orders that negate the Abbott government’s June decree, which prohibited the $10 billion green bank from investing in new wind power projects.

The move gives the Clean Energy Finance Corporation the green light to fund many wind farms in the Southern Tablelands – one of Australia’s fastest growing wind investment regions – enabling them to progress from planning to construction.

Crookwell farmer and NSW regional organiser for the Australian Wind Alliance, Charlie Prell, said wind farms now able to access funding include Collector, Rye Park, Yass Valley, Bango, Rugby, Crookwell two and three, Capital two, and Boco two.

“All of these wind farms will contribute massively to the local economy, not only during construction, but over the life of the wind farms,” Mr Prell said.

“It’s giving farmers in these regions a passive income stream with making our operations more sustainable, financially and environmentally, and giving local businesses the opportunity to participate in construction activities.”

Under the new mandate, the corporation will be allowed to invest in any wind projects provided they involve “emerging and innovative” technology, although it does encourage it to “focus on offshore wind technologies”.

Mr Prell said the wind farms already operating in this area have contributed significantly to small business, particularly in Goulburn, Bungendore, Taralga and Crookwel……..

December 14, 2015 Posted by | ACT, New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment

We might need a Senate inquiry into ultrasound from trees etc


If the committee is sincere in its concerns about the health effects of infrasound, will we soon learn of a new inquiry about the pernicious and unappreciated dangers of living near the sea or trees, having air conditioners, stereos, ceiling fans, or travelling in motor vehicles?

What’s next, a Senate inquiry into infrasound from trees, waves or air conditioners?, The Conversation,  Professor of Public Health, University of Sydney November 18, 2015 At the centre of claims about wind farms allegedly causing health problems is the infrasound that wind turbines generate as they turn in the wind.

Infrasound is sound below 20Hz, which is generally inaudible. Wind turbines are just one source of artificial man-made infrasound. Others include power stations, industry generally, motor vehicle engines, compressors, aircraft, ventilation and air conditioning units, and loudspeaker systems. Everyone living in an urban environment is bathed in infrasound for most of their lives.

As I sit at my inner Sydney desk writing this I’m copping infrasound from the planes that pass some 200-300 metres over my house sometimes many times an hour, the sound of passing road traffic on a quite busy road 100 metres from our house, and the stereo system I listen to as I write. Don’t tell anyone, but I feel fine and I’ve lived here 25 years.

But infrasound is generated by natural phenomena too. These include rare occurrences such as volcanoes and earthquakes, but also sources like ocean waves and air turbulence (wind) that countless millions, if not billions, are exposed to on most days. Anyone living close to the sea is surrounded by constant infrasound from waves.

The inclusion of wind as a source of infrasound is of particular significance to claims made that wind turbine-generated infrasound is noxious. In a Polish research paper published in 2014, the authors set out to measure infrasound from wind turbines and to compare that with naturally occurring infrasound from wind in trees near houses and from the sound of the sea in and around a house near the seaside…….

Wind is, of course, a prerequisite for wind turbines to turn and generate their mechanical infrasound. Here, the Polish authors noted that:

natural noise sources … always accompany the work of wind turbines and in such cases they constitute an acoustic background, impossible to eliminate during noise measurement of wind turbines.

This is a fundamentally important insight: wherever there are wind turbines generating infrasound, there is also wind itself generating infrasound. And it is impossible to disentangle the two. Indeed, every time I’ve been near wind turbines, easily the most dominant sound has been that of the wind buffeting my ears. Continue reading

November 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

Wind farms seek contracts in Australian Capital Territory

Wind turbines in Azerbaijan. Fifteen wind farms vie for ACT contracts as second auction round closes, Canberra Times, October 16, 2015   The Canberra Times reporter Environment Minister Simon Corbell believes the ACT is still a strong renewable energy “buyers’ market” after receiving 15 proposals to supply Canberra with 200 extra megawatts of wind power from 2018.

The territory government’s second large-scale wind energy auction closed bidding on Wednesday, having attracted only three fewer proposals than the last round in February.

The closure of bids in the “reverse auction” process, in which wind farms compete to be among two or three to supply the ACT with energy in exchange for a feed-in tariff, comes as the Department of Environment and Planning’s annual report showed 18.5 per cent of the territory’s energy was supplied from renewable resources in the last financial year.

The figure, up from 14.2 per cent in 2010/11, showed a major acceleration in renewable power uptake was needed if the government was the reach its target of green energy supplying 90 per cent of the ACT’s needs by 2020. But the document also notes successful wind farm bidders from the first auction are due to come online between 2016 and mid-2017, contributing to about 25 per cent of the ACT’s expected electricity demand in 2020.

Mr Corbell said the winning farms from the most recent auction would contribute an additional 25 per cent of forecast 2020 demand to the supply, while solar farms launched between 2014 and 2016 would provide an additional three per cent.

“This second wind auction will cut over half of the emissions associated with electricity usage in each and every Canberra household,” he said.”Our early review of bid pricing indicates we are still in a very strong buyers’ market.”………

The government plans for the bulk of renewable energy infrastructure to be in place by 2018, with a target of green energy supplying 80 per cent of electricity in that year.That would leave only 10 per cent of power to be switched to renewables in the final two years before the target is achieved.

An interim report released earlier this year showed the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions had fallen 8 per cent between 2011/12 and 2013/14.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | ACT, wind | Leave a comment

South Australian govt removes regulatory hurdle on renewable energy

If South Australia were a nation, it would be second only to Denmark in regard to wind energy. It’s no slouch on solar power either. While it may not host the largest number of solar panel systems in Australia; it leads the nation based on the percentage of households with home solar installed.

Map-South-Australia-windMore Of South Australia Opened Up To Renewable Energy Projects September 22, 2015 Energy Matters The South Australian Government has reduced regulatory burdens on renewable energy projects on state Crown lands; a move it says will provide greater certainty to investors and make South Australia even more competitive.

The proclamation of the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation (Renewable Energy) Amendment Act 2014 means wind farm developer can now apply for 25-year licences on Crown land; subject to pastoral lease tenure. Developers will also be given the option to renew for another 25 years.

“Securing investor confidence is key to the long-term future of the renewable energy industry, and this Act serves to cement South Australia’s position as the preferred destination for renewable energy development,” said Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter.

Additionally, the Act will  expedite access for the development of solar farms and also ensure local communities reap the benefits of renewables investments; with 95 per cent of licence payments flowing through to pastoral lessees and native title holders. Continue reading

September 23, 2015 Posted by | South Australia, wind | Leave a comment

South Australia’s new wind farm creating 250 construction jobs

wind-turb-sm  Work on Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown to create 250 construction jobs BELINDA WILLIS THE ADVERTISER AUGUST 06, 2015

WORK on a new 100-turbine wind farm in the state’s mid-north is expected to start within months, creating up to 250 jobs during construction.

Canberra-headquartered Neoen Australia’s $250 million investment in the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown was signed off by state Planning Minister John Rau on Friday, with its first stage of 100 megawatts production planned to be in operation in 2017.

Two South Australian firms, Catcon for civil construction and CPP for electrical works, have been confirmed as contractors by Neoen Australia managing director Franck Woitiez.

It is believed to be the state’s first new wind farm construction since the Federal Government’s political compromise in May on reducing the nation’s Renewable Energy Target to 33,000 gigawatt hours by 2020, down from 41,000 gigawatt hours. Continue reading

August 7, 2015 Posted by | South Australia, wind | Leave a comment

Wind inquiry: Australia’s pro-nuclear Senate trio downgrades nation’s peak medical research body

The Committee also cast doubt on the reliability of National Health and Medical Research Council investigations of the issue, after the nation’s peak research body reported a lack of evidence to support claims of the harmful effects of wind turbines.

It proposed the IESC take the lead on conducting research on the issue, dismissing the NHMRC’s efforts in the area as “manifestly inadequate”.

But in a dissenting report, Labor Senator Anne Urquhart shredded the credibility of Sarah Laurie, who the majority senators relied heavily upon for evidence of the adverse health effects of wind farms, as an authority on the issue.

SenatorsSenators want federal health body sidelined on wind turbine investigations, REneweconomy,  By  on 4 August 2015 Australian Medicine The Federal Government has been urged to sideline the nation’s peak medical research body and set up a stand-alone scientific committee to investigate the health effects of wind farm noise.

The Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines, chaired by Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan, has recommended the establishment of an Independent Expert Scientific Committee (IESC) on Industrial Sound to research the health effects of wind turbines “and any other industrial projects which emit sound and vibration energy” and develop a national noise standard for wind farms.

The IESC, which along with a National Wind Farm Ombudsman, would be paid for through a levy on wind farm operators, would provide advice to State governments on the health effects of any proposed or existing wind farm, and the Senate committee called for states that did not accept expert advice or adopt the national noise standard to be overruled by the Commonwealth.

The recommendations are in keeping with Government hostility to the wind power industry. Continue reading

August 5, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Senators, servants of the nuclear lobby, stitched up wind power inquiry

The Senate inquiry is led crossbenchers David Leyonhjelm, John Madigan and Bob Day


.Senate inquiry into wind power a ‘stitch-up’ Jul 31, 2015   Renewable energy sector claims industry would be destroyed if recommendations are followed. The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has accused a Senate inquiry of a “biased political stitch-up” against the renewable energy industry. Continue reading

August 1, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Abbott’s latest attack on the wind power industry

wind-farm-evil-1Abbott passes new wind war  By   From The Australian:

The Abbott government is being urged to strip billions more from subsidies to wind farms in the final report of a Senate committee that has already pushed renewable ­energy investment to favour solar.

In its recommendations, the committee says renewable energy subsidies for new wind farms should be limited to five years from more than 20.

It also wants the issue of renewable energy certificates restricted to projects in states that adopt federal regulations on infrasound and low frequency noise.

Why not adopt regulations on unicorns and bunyips?

August 1, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Australia losing its great wind power opportunity

Wind power: European renewable energy expert warns Australia risks missing out on cheaper and cleaner electricity, ABC Radio, 16 July 15 AM  By Michael Edwards A European expert on renewable energy says Australia risks missing out on a huge opportunity for cheaper and cleaner electricity if it does not encourage investment in wind power.

Oliver Joy, from the European Wind Energy Association — the peak body guiding wind power projects across Europe — said a huge shift towards renewable energies were underway in the continent with wind power leading the charge.

He said Europe was on track to get half of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind power by 2050 and had big ambitions when it came to reducing its carbon footprint.

The eurozone has committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 95 per cent by 2050 and says this can only be done with all of its electricity coming from renewable sources, with wind power providing the lion’s share.

The Federal Government has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to invest in wind farms, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying he finds the giant turbines “visually awful……..

Wind ‘cheaper than fossil fuels’

According to the European Wind Energy Association, wind power is a cheaper way to produce electricity than fossil fuels.

Mr Joy said it also had long-term savings for taxpayers.

“Cheaper than nuclear and gas and almost on a par with coal — that’s purely based on generating electricity,” he said.


July 17, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | 1 Comment

South Australian government says wind and solar power are sources of jobs

text-relevantWind and solar a source of jobs in SA
JULY 13, 2015 THE South Australian government says a commonwealth ban on supporting solar and wind energy scheme will make it harder to create jobs.

THE commonwealth has directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to back any further wind energy projects as well as rooftop solar schemes.

But South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis says wind energy is a source of immediate and future jobs and putting barriers in the way of investment will make it more difficult to cut SA’s unemployment rate, which climbed to 8.2 per cent in June.

“South Australians are told by the commonwealth government that we are not allowed to build cars, we’re told we are not allowed to build submarines, now we are being told we shouldn’t build wind farms when we have investors ready to spend their money and create jobs now,” he said.


Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter will meet his interstate counterparts this week and says they will call on the federal government to end its ideological opposition to renewable energy.
“The message being sent to renewable energy investors by our federal government is `look elsewhere – don’t spend your money in Australia and don’t create jobs here’,” he said.

July 15, 2015 Posted by | politics, solar, South Australia, wind | 1 Comment

Queensland’s Mt Emerald Wind Farm will go ahead despite Abbott government

wind-Hepburn-community-farmTableland wind farm pushes ahead without Federal support DANIEL BATEMAN THE CAIRNS POST JULY 14, 2015   CONSTRUCTION on a wind farm on the Tableland is still likely to go ahead without funding assistance from the Federal Government.

The developers behind the Mt Emerald Wind Farm are confident they will receive environmental approval from the Department of Environment, with a decision expected before the end of September.

It comes as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has been ordered to focus on new technologies instead of wind farms under a revised mandate drafted by the government.

The $380 million wind farm, to be built at Walkamin, will potentially generate enough electricity to power 75,000 homes. The development is a joint venture between Ratch Australia and local property developer Port Bajool. Ratch owns several wind farms around Australia, including the Windy Hill wind farm near Ravenshoe which has been operating for more than a decade.

Kennedy MP Bob Katter, whose electorate covers Walkamin, said in the right location, wind farms could successfully generate additional incomes for small communities and landholders…..

He said without the CEFC investing in development, Australia would “go backwards”. “If this happens, the only independent development bank in Australia will cease to exist,’’ he said. “No real development will take place. “What the government calls investment is foreign takeovers of Australia assets.

“The only people in Australia who think this is a good thing are this current LNP and the last ALP government.”

July 15, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, wind | Leave a comment


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