Australian news, and some related international items

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

Tony Abbott sabotages thousands of Australian jobs by ending wind and solar investment

green-collarRenewable energy investment: Government ‘sabotages’ thousands of jobs as it ends wind, solar power investment, Australian Solar Council warns, ABC News  By Katri Uibu 13 July 15 Thousands of Australians could lose their jobs because of the Federal Government’s latest “ideology-driven” decision not to invest in wind and small solar power projects, the head of the Australian Solar Council (ASC) says.

The Federal Government has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to stop financing wind and household solar energy and instead invest in “new and emerging technologies”.

But ASC chief executive John Grimes said small business owners would be most affected by the change, saying the “tragic” decision would compromise thousands of jobs.

“There are about 18,000 people in Australia directly employed in the solar industry,” he said.

“These are the jobs of rural and regional Australia and these are the jobs that we want to create. So, the Government is sabotaging the whole industry because of its ideology that we should burn more coal and we need to shut down the renewable sector.”

Mr Grimes said the Government was “completely out of touch with the people of Australia” on the issue and vowed to “campaign hard” for policy change.

Small-scale solar energy installers labelled the Government’s policy a “stupid” decision that was causing them to “move out of the solar industry”.

Installing solar panels has been Richard de Bruin’s livelihood for five years.

Because of the Government’s decision, Mr de Bruin — the owner of R&R Solar Installations — is facing an even “bigger drop” in his revenue. It is a predicament that has forced him to explore alternative business ideas and axe the job of his own son.

“The uncertainty that we’ve had for the last six to 12 months has just really hurt the business to the effect that now we’re moving to a new site, trying to find some more work,” he said……….

Policy change ‘stupidest thing’ Government could have done

Craig Balmanno, owner of Free Solar & Solar Farmers, said while his business was not exposed to solar energy funding cuts, the decision was destructive for the industry.

“Up till now the CEFC hasn’t provided any funding to our business,” he said.

“CEFC has funded larger organisations and now, before the CEFC has a chance to fund the smaller ones, the Government’s going to cut them off.

“It is a bad cut for the renewable energy industry as a whole, but for one particular company, in our circumstances, it’s not going to affect us in a huge way.”

He found the Government’s policy to stop investing in a system “that is making money” incomprehensible and named it “the stupidest thing they could have ever done”.

“They are worried about renewables removing revenue from the fossil fuel industry and tax receipts from the fossil fuel industry,” he said.

“As far as a finance corporation, it’s [the CEFC] an organisation that’s actually making money for them.

“Why would they want to cut back on how it’s investing and try and limit its investments only to emerging technologies?”

July 15, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, solar, wind | Leave a comment

Australia’s Prime Minister revs up his attack on the wind farm industry

Abbott-destroys-renewablesAbbott escalates war on wind, The Age, 11 July 115 Adam Gartrell   EXCLUSIVE: Tony Abbott has been warned he is putting international investment at risk after ordering the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to finance new wind power projects.  Tony Abbott has dramatically escalated his war on wind power, creating a new cabinet split and provoking a warning he is putting international investment at risk.

Fairfax Media can reveal the government has ordered the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to make any new investments in wind power projects. Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann​ have issued the so-called green bank with a directive to change its investment mandate, prohibiting new wind funding. It’s understood the directive was issued without the approval or knowledge of Environment Minister Greg Hunt, angering the minister. The decision is another blow for the multibillion-dollar wind industry, which has just started to recover from the uncertainty created by the government’s Renewable Energy Target review. Analysts say $8.7 billion is expected to be invested in wind power in the next five years, while the corporation has invested about $300 million in wind projects to date.

And international investors are warning the government’s move sends a bad message about how safe it is to do business in Australia.

The directive is just the latest salvo in the government’s attacks on the wind industry.

Continue reading

July 13, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Victoria’s new wind farms going ahead

wind-Hepburn-community-farmNew wind farms for Victoria by Mark Eggleton, AFR, Jul 8 2015  This content is produced by The Australian Financial Review in commercial partnership with GE  With the first new wind farm development beginning construction in Victoria since the election of the Coalition government recently, Australia could be on the brink of a new burst of activity in the renewable energy sector.

It follows the recent announcement of the $450 million Ararat project to build Australia’s third-largest wind farm in south-western Victoria with financing provided by developer Renewable Energy Systems (RES), turbine-maker General Electric and two other backers.

Yet while the new facility at Coonooer Bridge owes nothing to the recent agreement on the renewable energy target, the Ararat announcement came within days of the RET deal being passed in Parliament. Both projects come at a time when Australian business is starting to feel mildly confident about Australia’s energy future with the RET deal delivering much-needed certainty to the sector. Moreover, both wind developments play to the country’s natural resource strengths.


GE’s sales and finance managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Jason Willoughby, says Australia is blessed with great renewable energy resources – both from a wind perspective and from a solar perspective.

“I speak to colleagues in the US and in Europe and we compare what the wind speeds in Australia are, and they’re amazed that they’re so good and well located to where the load is.”

 Speaking about the RET deal, Willoughby says it is the single biggest factor in providing a path forward for the renewables sector………

Importantly for Australia, Willoughby said the renewable energy target will unlock upwards of $10 billion of investment.

July 11, 2015 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Tasmania’s Energy Minister hails wind farms, disagrees with Tony Abbott

WIND-FARMState Energy Minister Matthew Groom hails wind farms in departure from PM HELEN KEMPTON MERCURY JULY 03, 2015 UNLIKE the Prime Minister, Tasmania’s Energy Minister Matthew Groom is a fan of wind farms and says more infrastructure needs to be built to capitalise on the state’s renewable energy headstart.

“I support the renewable energy broadly,” Mr Groom said after speaking at yesterday’s Tasmanian Minerals and Energy conference at Queenstown. “We have extraordinary resources in Tasmania and some of the best sites on the face of the planet on which to build them

Mr Groom said he was pleased the passing of Australia Renewable Energy Target legislation had given certainty to the wind industry and he looked forward to seeing progress on a new wind farm at Granville Harbour, near Zeehan.

Mr Groom said building a second interconnector cable across Bass Strait to export power was a key part of making the most of our renewable energy advantages. He said that cable needed to be viewed as a national infrastructure and, unlike Basslink 1, should be funded as such.“If a second cable is justified by a business case, it should be seen as a regulated asset funded through mainland users and perhaps a federal contribution,” Mr Groom said.

He said Japanese investors who recently visited Tasmania were gobsmacked by the state’s energy mix, and we needed to harness that competitive advantage………

July 2, 2015 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Big economic benefits to regional communities, from new wind and solar farms

renewable-energy-pictureRegional areas to reap economic benefits of new wind and solar farms after new RET passes Federal Parliament ABC Rural  By Catherine McAloon 26 June 15 Up to 50 new wind and solar farms are expected to be built in regional Australia, after a bill on a new Renewable Energy Target passed Federal Parliament this week.

An international consortium has announced plans to build a $450 million wind farm near Ararat, in western Victoria, and the Clean Energy Council expects it will be the first of many new projects.

“The Ararat wind farm really represents the first green shoots for an industry that’s been doing in extremely tough for the last 18 months,” the council’s Mark Bretherton said.

“We’re very confident that, with the bipartisan support that’s been restored to the Renewable Energy Target, we’ll see a lot more activity in this sector over the next few years.”

Mr Bretherton said between 30 to 50 major wind and solar projects, worth an estimated $10 billion, were expected to be built over the next five years, with most of those in rural areas.

“Most of the opportunity that we are going to see over the next five years will probably be in the wind and solar farm sector, so what that means is basically where there is the strongest wind and an opportunity to connect to the grid you’ll see wind farms, where there is the best sun, you’ll probably see some solar farms, particularly where there is enough land to build those kind of projects.” He predicted regional areas would see the greatest economic benefits of new renewable energy projects.

“That’s really good news, particularly for people who live in those areas. What it means is extra income being paid to farmers, direct jobs and it means money being paid for community projects as well.

“But apart from local jobs, it also means money is being spent at local restaurants, corner stores, equipment suppliers, motels, pie-sellers and much, much more.”………………

June 27, 2015 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Wind farm research: Tony Abbott’s strategy to delay development by creating uncertainty

You don’t need to remove a policy to kill investment. You only need to make things uncertain

wind-farm-evil-1More research is good, but not if wind experts are told what to find, The Conversation,  , 24 June 15  “………..Research on this topic doesn’t exist in a political or economic vacuum. It is well established that renewable energy broadly, and wind turbines in particular, are matters of significant political debate.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week asserted that his intention when renegotiating the Renewable Energy Target was to “reduce the number of these things (wind turbines) that we are going to get in the future”, while his government is also considering appointing a “wind commissioner” to address complaints about the industry.

Meanwhile, key members of the Senate Committee – including John MadiganDavid LeyonhjelmBob DayChris Back, and Matthew Canavan – have used their positions to speak stridently against wind energy. Against this backdrop, is it really possible to pause the world to undertake entirely neutral research?

Telling researchers how to research

There are allegations that suggest the Senate Committee is less interested in truly independent, high-quality research than its members might claim, and is instead recommending to the NHMRC the researchers whose work they would like to see included in future assessments……..

we’ve had inquiry after inquiry into this topic – with no rigorous scientific process finding any evidence of a human health impact – Continue reading

June 24, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Wind farm set to be developed on Tasmanian cattle farm

Granville wind farm project awaits Senate vote, 23 June 15 HELEN KEMPTON Mercury THE 1900 cattle grazing on Tasmania’s most isolated farm will soon share the land with up to 33 wind turbines if Australia’s Renewable Energy Target is passed in the Senate tomorrow.

West Coast Wind plans to start construction of its wind farm on Royce Smith’s 1255ha beef property at Granville Harbour, outside Zeehan, at the end of the year. Already, a wind monitoring station is recording bankable energy data as investors in the $200 million project are secured. At 80m tall, the wind monitoring tower is as high as the turbines will be.

June 24, 2015 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

We need a Coal Commissioner on health effects of coal mining

fossil-fuel-industryThe health consequences of the fossil fuel industry have been ignored for many years. On any comparison, it is unfair to focus exclusively on the health implications of wind turbines and, at the same time, ignore the health implications of other forms of energy production……..

Compared to the recommendations by the senate committee on wind turbines, the recommendations from the Hazelwood Coal Fire Inquiry were relatively tame.

Wind commissioner? Let’s have a coal commissioner too, The Conversation, Samantha Hepburn, 19 June 15  Wind turbines have got Canberra in a spin this week, with hearings underway from the senate inquiry into wind turbines and their possible health impacts. The committee yesterday released an interim report from chair John Madigan with seven recommendations to increase regulation around the wind industry.

dissenting report from Labor senator Anne Urquhart questioned the political timing of the report.

Meanwhile, a leaked email from environment minister Greg Hunt has offered crossbench senators a “wind farm commissioner” in return for support for the passage of renewable energy legislation.

But behind the politics, how do the report’s recommendations stack up?

The recommendations Continue reading

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

Refuting the claims of the anti-wind farm brigade

wind-farm-evil-1 Senate told wind farms not bad for health
One of Australia’s leading health and medical research bodies has told a Senate inquiry there is no evidence that wind turbines make you sick.

The Federal Government has told key crossbench senators it’ll appoint a wind farm commissioner to handle complaints from residents concerned about wind turbines.
But the National Health and Medical Research Council says while it’s still investigating wind turbines, it’s satisfied they don’t pose much of a risk.

 Wind farm commissioner: Senator John Madigan defends proposal for fresh scrutiny on wind turbines; professor says ‘no evidence’ of health risks
Crossbench senator John Madigan accuses green groups of “shrill denials” over the issue of wind farms, after the Federal Government offered to appoint a special commissioner to look into complaints about the renewable energy …

Debate: Kelly O’Shanassy and David Leyonhjelm
The Prime Minister is proposing the creation of a wind farm commissioner to handle complaints about turbine noise and their alleged health impacts. Tony Abbott says the concerns need to be taken seriously. Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy and Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm debate the issue with Steve Cannane.

No need to investigate windfarms or alien abduction, says Greens leader Richard Di Natale
Greens leader Richard Di Natale has slammed critics of windfarms, saying there is no need to investigate them.

 Wind farm commissioner for Government’s ‘tin foil hat brigade’, say Greens
News of an Australian wind farm commissioner has renewed the old debate about the claimed health effects of wind turbines.

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

Controversial Senators Madigan, Lambie and Leyonhjelm now determining Australia’s Energy Policy?

It seems to be the case of the mad right wagging the tail of the ultra conservative dog on energy policies. Senators Madigan, Lambie and Leyonhjelm all hold controversial views about climate science and wind farms – all being advised by noted long-term anti-wind activists.

Parkinson-Report-Abbott promises to Do Something about wind turbines  By  on 18 June 2015    The fate of Australia’s renewable energy target – and the wind industry in particular – is once again in the balance, after Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised anti-wind cross-bench Senators that he would take action to restrict or monitor wind farms.

Legislation cutting the RET to 33,000GWh from 41,000GWh had been expected to pass the Senate this week, finally giving the industry some certainty to invest, albeit in a much reduced target.

But Abbott’s refusal to cut a deal with Labor over the controversial issue of native wood waste has seen him turn instead – as predicted two days ago – to the senators who have already decided – like Abbott – that wind farms are ugly, dangerous to health, not very effective, and possibly constitute an act of treason.

Abbott – whose opinions on wind farms have been shaped by advisors who do not accept the science of climate change and his one encounter with a single turbine on Rottnest Island – met with Senator David Leyonhjelm  and other cross-benchers this week.

He  told the environment minister Greg Hunt – who told a radio station this week that “I know what you mean” when told that a single turbine in his electorate was “ugly” – to draft a letter to the cross benchers, outlining his commitments to get tough on wind farms.

The letter, according the The Guardian, includes a promise to appoint a wind-farm “commissioner” to monitor and act on complaints, an “independent” scientific committee (perhaps like the Warburton RET review) to liase with the Senate inquiry, and an undertaking to act on the Senate inquiry’s recommendations. Continue reading

June 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Australia’s Wind Farm Commissioner to investigate a Non Disease!

wind-farm-evil-1This Public Health Expert Has A Hilarious Response To Our New National Windfarm Commissioner He’s not a fan. Jun. 18, 2015,  Mark Di Stefano BuzzFeed News Report, Australia

Australia’s national fear of windfarms is being taken up a notch, with reports the government will appoint a “national windfarm commissioner” to deal with health complaints caused by wind turbines.

So BuzzFeed News asked one of Australia’s top public health experts for his immediate reaction to the news:
“This will be a world first commissioner for a non-disease. It’s like having a commissioner into reports of leprechauns,” said Sydney University’s Professor Simon Chapman.

“Is it going to be somebody who is qualified to diagnose medical issues? If so, they’re going to have a hard time doing their job.”Guardian Australia revealed the government will appoint the commissioner as part of a deal with cross-bench MPs on renewable energy.

It comes just a week after prime minister Tony Abbott said he acknowledged the health effects of wind turbines and described wind farms as “visually awful”.

Professor Chapman is from the school of public health at the University of Sydney and has published nearly 500 articles in peer reviewed journals. He echoed the thoughts of scientist Dr Karl Kruszelnicki who called the comments embarrassing.

“Wind turbine syndrome has never been diagnosed anywhere in the world. There is no medical case report of it anywhere in the world,” said Professor Chapman. “If you trace it back it goes back to not liking wind turbines, or people who have classic problems like sleep problems and they are trying to attribute their condition to something.”……

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

Victorian government concerned about Abbott’s anti wind energy position

Victoria baffled by Prime Minister’s comments on wind turbines Vic Country Hour  By James Jooste The Victorian Labor Government says it will be a “one stop shop” for investment in renewable energy by building more wind farms across the state.

But recent efforts by the State Government to underwrite Victoria’s energy production with renewables has been stifled by a reduction in the Renewable Energy Target (RET) to 33,000 gigawatt hours by 2020 and negative comments by the Prime Minister.

Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said recent remarks by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, where he called wind turbines “visually awful”, were sending mixed messages to industry.

AUDIO: Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne says his state welcomes wind energy investment (ABC Rural)

“Well I think people we’ll be looking very curiously and saying, ‘Well where does the Federal Government stand in terms of renewable energy and climate change?'” he said.

The State Government wants to scrap section 7c of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act which prevents states fromreinstating independent targets for renewable energy.

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


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