Australian news, and some related international items

Renewable energy and carbon price are financial winners for Tasmania

map-tasmania-wind.1Tasmania wins from pollution price 21 March 14,  Since the government made big businesses pay for their greenhouse pollution, Tasmanians have come out ahead because the money raised is used to help low-income earners, and invest in clean energy.

Tasmanians who earned $80,000 or less got a permanent tax cut, and the amount you earn before you pay tax was increased from $6,900 to $18,200.

More than 295,000 Tasmanians had permanent rises in their Age Pension, Disability Pension, Carer Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy payments, special benefits and Family Tax Benefit A and B.

Tasmanian businesses received $13 million in grants to help their energy efficiency, and $14.9 million went to farmers and landcare groups to protect our soil, wildlife and bush from the effects of climate change.

Part of the funding raised by the price on pollution is also being used to fund investment in more clean renewable energy and energy efficiency, including projects in Tasmania. Tasmania produces more renewable energy than any other Australian state. Selling our renewable energy to other states earns about $70 million for Tasmania every year.

This money is used to pay for our hospitals, schools and other important services. Producing renewable energy fits with Tasmania’s clean, green and creative brand which so many businesses rely on.

March 21, 2014 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Australian Medical Association says wind farms do no cause adverse health effects

WIND-FARMAMA statement on wind power should reassure Australians says CEC Robin WhitlockTuesday, 18 March 2014 The Australian Clean Energy Council (CEC) has welcomed a public statement by the Australian Medical Association dismissing claims of adverse health effects from wind turbinesThe CEC said that the AMA statement should provide additional peace of mind for communities living in the vicinity of existing or proposed wind power projects. CEC Policy Director Russell Marsh added that the AMA statement followed similar recommendations by health and acoustic bodies across Australia, to the effect that there is no evidence to link wind farms and adverse health effects.

“Other groups that have made positive statements on wind farm noise and health recently include the New South Wales and Victorian health departments, the South Australian Environmental Protection Agency and the Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants” said Mr Marsh. “The National Health and Medical Research Council, the national peak body for health research, also released a draft position statement several weeks ago that stated there was ‘no reliable or consistent evidence that proximity to wind farms or wind farm noise is directly associated with health effects’.”

Mr Marsh went on to report that no credible Australian health or acoustic organisations are opposing wind farms and that people should therefore feel reassured by that.

There has been a steady misinformation campaign in Australia over several years waged by those opposed to wind farms. This makes it even more important that developers of wind power projects should maintain good relations with the communities living in the vicinity of existing or proposed wind farms.

The CEC has now developed community engagement guidelines for wind farms in addition to a community expectations guide.

For additional information:  Clean Energy Council (CEC)   Community Engagement Guidelines

March 20, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | 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

Wind and solar energy make economic and scientific sense

Hear-This-wayAudio: Renewable energy finally makes economic sense, ABC Radio National 3 March 2014 Critics says renewable energy cannot supply a reliable base-load of electricity, a claim rejected by author Mark Diesendorf. In this opinion piece, he solar,-wind-aghastargues that wind, solar and other technologies are not only better for the environment, they make economic and scientific sense as well.You may have recently heard the following common claim repeated by aproponent of nuclear power: renewable energy cannot supply ‘base-load’ electric power. This misleading claim is based on the false assumption that the only way to supply base-load electricity demand is via coal and nuclear power stations.

This myth is disseminated so stridently because renewable energy and energy efficiency have been growing to such an extent over the past decade that they now threaten the existing fossil fuel based business models. Furthermore, wind power is already much less expensive than nuclear energy, and solar photovoltaic power, PV for short, is on the way. Continue reading

March 5, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, 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

Auxstralia’s peak medical research body gives wind farms a clean bill of health

WIND-FARMLink between wind farms and health problems rejected by research review SMH, February 24, 2014   Environment editor, The Age There is no reliable or consistent evidence that wind farms directly cause human health problems, a major draft review by Australia’s leading medical research body has found.

The hotly anticipated study by the National Health and Medical Research Council, has also called for further research into the issue after it identified only a handful of studies into the issue it deemed credible enough to be considered under the review.

Anti-wind farm campaigners claim turbines can cause a wide range of ailments including, headaches, insomnia, and dizziness, sometimes dubbing the symptoms as “wind farm syndrome.”

These have been widely rejected by the industry and many public health researchers.

In late-2012 the council began reviewing the published scientific research into the health claims. Continue reading

February 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

How vested interests exploit rural communities about “wind turbine syndrome”

a community that is well-informed, consulted and empowered is much more likely to welcome the development of clean technology, and reject the offerings of anti-wind groups selling a narrative of fear and danger..

The theory of wind turbine syndrome was not sourced from empirical scientific investigation – it was borne of a heady mix of human nature and vested interests,

wind-farm-evil-1stew of sentiment and pseudoscience bubbles below the surface, and the link need only be completed by motivated and well-funded lobby groups with no desire to adhere to the bounds of scientific inquiry

Consultation is the key to curing wind turbine syndrome KETAN JOSHI ABC Environment3 FEB 2014 Joshi 7 MAY 2013 Wind turbine syndrome is a symptom of a community that feels it has lost control. It has very little to do with wind farms and ‘infrasound’.  PRIME MINISTER TONY ABBOTT’S intention to open a fresh investigation into the vexed issue of ‘wind turbine syndrome’ hasn’t impressed many.

Mick Vagg, SeniorLecturer at Deakin University wrote that ‘there is no scientific justification for any further investigation of ‘wind turbine syndrome’”.

Meanwhile the anti-wind Waubra Foundationsupports the plan……. Continue reading

February 3, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, wind | Leave a comment

Community ownership of wind farms in Australia

Consultation is the key to curing wind turbine syndrome, KETAN JOSHI ABC Environment 3 Feb 14 “…….In Australia, community ownership is gaining traction. My employer, InfigenEnergy, is looking to enable community ownership of one of the wind turbines at the Flyer’s Creek development in NSW, through theCentral NSW Renewable Energy Cooperative (CENREC).

The Hepburn Wind Farm, a two-turbine community-owned wind farm in Victoria, has generated 27,809 megawatt-hours since commencement — enough to power an average Australian home for 4,209 years, and the proposed Fremantle Co-operative wind farm project in WA recently hit a $10,000 crowd-funding target to produce myth-busting videos on wind energy. The Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm development utilises a community benefit model that is the first of its kind, and has been welcomed by locals.

These initiatives are, simply, the circuit-breakers needed to lessen the influence of lobby groups working against the integration of renewable technology into our energy system, and empower communities. Abbott’s research will likely be ineffective in lessening the spread of wind energy health fears in communities.

The deployment of clean technology across Australia as a means of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will be stewarded by tight-knit Australian communities. The companies that develop, operate and maintain large-scale generation assets fuelled by renewable resources can only benefit from community ownership and engagement.

It seems the only ones who will lose out from this shift will be those who professionally stoke anger and feed fear. The demand for their resource will run swiftly dry.

February 3, 2014 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

New South Wales’ biggest wind farm on the way

Foundations poured for NSW biggest renewable energy project Fri 24 Jan 2014 Foundations have begun to be laid at the Monaro site in the New South Wales south east of what will become the State’s biggest wind farm project.  Continue reading

January 25, 2014 Posted by | New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment

Renewable Energy Target enabled Musselroe Wind Farm

the jobs and investment in Tasmania would not have been possible without the Renewable Energy Target, which is supporting the development of new clean energy projects right across Australia.

This year sees yet another review of the RET, with initial signals from Prime Minister Abbott being less than encouraging – a situation that is negatively affecting investment in new major renewable energy projects in Australia.

wind-turb-smTasmania’s Musselroe Wind Farm Opens, Renewable Energy News, 20 Jan 14 Tasmania’s largest wind farm was officially opened on Wednesday by Premier Lara Giddings. The 168-megawatt Musselroe Wind Farm consists of 56 Vestas wind turbines and is joint venture operated by Shenhua Clean Energy and Hydro Tasmania.

According to Hydro Tasmania, the wind farm is generating enough energy to supply the needs of up to 50,000 homes; equivalent to the residential power needs of Burnie and Devonport combined…..Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green  -

“The $394 million Musselroe Wind Farm has employed Tasmanians in construction jobs since 2011, and the steel towers for the project were manufactured locally in Launceston,” he said. Continue reading

January 20, 2014 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Australian Renewable Energy Agency, (ARENA) funding offshore wind energy

wind-turbine-oceanOcean Power Technologies forms new offshore wind power funding agreement With Australian Government 16 January 2014

A$66.5 million grant will be used towards the cost of building and deploying a 62.5MW peak-rated wave power station off the coast of Portland, Victoria. The agreement with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, or “ARENA”, is a Deed of Variation to the original Funding Deed, through which a A$66.5 million grant was previously awarded by the Commonwealth.

Among the important changes included in the new agreement are:

The incorporation of milestones for each of the three stages of the project
Acceleration of reimbursement of eligible expenses for stages one and two
An increase in the number of milestones to better support project cash flow requirements The agreement also recognizes the role of Lockheed Martin as the lead for systems integration of the PowerBuoys and overall program management.

According to Charles F. Dunleavy, CEO of Ocean Power Technologies, the new agreement significantly improves the ability to attract investors during the early stages of the project. It also raises the prospect of manufacturing, engineering and maritime jobs in Victoria, he added.
The planned Portland wave power station has a total project value of AU $232 million and, at completion, would be the largest of its kind in the world, according to Dunleavy. With twenty-eight PowerBuoys connected to the grid by an underwater substation and a submarine cable, the plant would be capable of providing power for up to 10,000 homes.
The project is being developed by Victorian Wave Partners (VWP), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ocean Power Technologies Australasia Pty Ltd (“OPTA”), an Australian company owned by Ocean Power Technologies (88%) and Woodside Energy Ltd (12%), Australia’s largest independent oil and gas company. VWP was awarded the grant by the Commonwealth ofAustralia through a competitive process undertaken as part of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program, which is administered by ARENA.

January 17, 2014 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Gullen Range Wind Farm now sending energy into the National Electricity Market.

wind-turb-smGullen Range wind farm starts producing renewable energy Crookwell Gazette Dec. 19, 2013, GOLDWIND Australia has celebrated a significant milestone with the first renewable energy generation from Gullen Range Wind Farm. Continue reading

December 20, 2013 Posted by | New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment

Victorians now being won over to wind energy?

WIND-FARMTwo weeks after the forum in Seymour, VCAT finally approved Cherry Tree. It is now only the second wind farm to win planning permission in Victoria since August 2011.

Against the wind  The Age, December 19, 2013 Michael Green Planning restrictions and health fears have left Victorians reluctant to embrace wind power. But this may be changing. Gwenda Allgood is a no-nonsense local councillor, five times a mayor, from Ararat. In mid-November she travelled east to Seymour to speak about wind farms at a forum on energy held in the bowls club hall.

“We did not have one objection,” she told the audience, explaining the benefits of the Challicum Hills wind farm, built in 2003. “I can only speak as I find: there is no noise [from the turbines]. I don’t know why, but there isn’t. And they’re our best ratepayer – they pay well, they really do.” Continue reading

December 19, 2013 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

The power of suggestion in attitudes to wind power and health

fearThe results showed that the experience of symptoms and mood during exposure to audible windfarm sound and infrasound was influenced by the type of expectations provided before exposure periods.

The onus falls on the media to report on health fears about wind farms cautiously, particularly given strong evidence that it is the discussion itself that may be creating and perpetuating health complaints.

wind-farm-evil-1Wind turbines don’t make you feel sick or healthy, but spin can  Fiona Crichton  PhD candidate in psychological medicine at University of Auckland 29 Nov 13

Despite at least 19 reviews of the scientific evidence universally concluding that exposure to wind farm sound doesn’t trigger adverse health effects, people continue to report feeling unwell because they live near wind turbines.

We’ve known for some time that exposure to negative messages about wind farms makes people more likely to report feeling sick after exposure to turbines. And new research, published by my colleagues and I this week in the journal Health Psychology, shows positive messages about wind farms may have the opposite effect – improve perceptions of health.


Speculation in the media and on the internet often attributes the symptoms to sub-audible sound produced by operating wind farms (infrasound). But the reality is that infrasound (sound below 16 hertz) is consistently present in the environment and is caused by wind, ocean waves and traffic. Importantly, research demonstrates there is nothing unusual about the levels of infrasound produced by wind farms. Continue reading

November 28, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, wind | Leave a comment

A win for local communities as Tribunal finds wind farms are not harmful to health

windmills-and-hayWind farm ruling a win for communities: Clean energy group ABC Rural  By Babs McHugh The Clean Energy Council says the latest rejection of claims of negative health effects of wind farms is adding more certainty to the future of the industry for investors.

The Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has approved a 16-turbine wind farm at Trawool, north of Melbourne, after finding there’s no evidence they have adverse effects on health and well being. Director of policy with the Clean Energy Council, Russell Marsh, says he wasn’t surprised by the findings. “Pretty much every wind farm that’s been proposed in recent years has been opposed on grounds of adverse health effects.

“What we’ve seen in the last 24 hours is that there’s yet more evidence to show that those claims are unfounded. “New South Wales and Victorian state health bodies, and federal departments also, have found there’s no scientific evidence to back up claims of ill- health effects, physical and psychological.

“And this is backed up by a noise study for the Waterloo wind farm released yesterday by the South Australian Environmental Protection Agency. “That found the noise from the wind farm fell below the thresholds set under the planning conditions.

“Also, the rumbling noise that some residents complained about (in diaries they were asked to keep) was present at times when the wind farm was switched off.” Mr Marsh says it’s not only wind farm operators who these findings benefit. “It is a significant win for the industry, but also for communities who live near wind farms. “Yet again, this is showing that when these adverse health (claims) are tested, they don’t stack up.

“So communities shouldn’t be concerned about a wind farm being located near them.”

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment


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