Australian news, and some related international items

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

Victorian government moves to speed up wind farm projects

Wind-farm-Waubra-VictoriaStreamlined Victorian wind farm planning laws promise more regional renewable energy investment ABC News, 12 June 15,  The Victorian Government says changes to wind farm planning laws will drive renewable energy investment in the state.

New changes mean the Planning Minister will assess wind farm applications and their infrastructure together.

Previously, developers had to submit multiple applications to local and state governments.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne said it made the application process easier for investors.

“What we are saying is that the doors are open, we are unambiguously in the space of wind farms, we are encouraging investment and the decisions that we reach today around the planning considerations give a streamlined outcome for anyone who wants to invest in wind farms in Victoria,” he said.

He said the move would create jobs in country Victoria.

“Investment in wind farms just makes tremendous sense in terms of employment outcomes for regional communities, it makes tremendous sense in terms of climate change and it’s a great win for regional economies right across regional Victoria,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Australian Wind Alliance said it has concerns for south-west Victoria’s renewables sector, in the wake of comments made by the Prime Minister……

June 12, 2015 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

How wind and solar power provided South Australia’s electricity when coal power stopped

 the chief qualities of the energy system of the future will not be baseload, but flexibility. This will likely be delivered by the quick-start gas generators that already exist in the system to back up fossil fuels, but also the grid and household-based storage that will be installed in coming years.

Parkinson-Report-How South Australia coped without any baseload power By  on 9 June 2015 South Australia’s electricity system was put the test over the long weekend when the state’s only baseload power contributor, the brown coal Northern power station near Augusta, suddenly tripped and stopped providing power.

The incident was caused by a fire that caused several injuries, including one serious injury to a worker still in hospital. This is not the first time that South Australia has been without baseload coal power, of course. Northern was mothballed for nearly a year because of the declining economics of the coal generator. The difference with this event is that it came unannounced.

While declines and increases in the output of wind and solar are quite predictable, sudden outages in baseload fossil fuels are not, which is why the energy system needs a large amount of redundancy to support large centralised generation.

So how did the South Australian energy market cope? Quite well, as it turns out. There was a lot of wind blowing at the time, so it was a while before the Torrens gas plant was needed. Most of the gas came from the Osborne plant.

There was so much wind – more than 1GW through most of the day – that electricity prices dived into negative territory on several occasions during the day, which means that the gas generators were not making any money.

Indeed, for most of the day South Australia had the cheapest wholesale electricity prices in the country. Continue reading

June 12, 2015 Posted by | South Australia, wind | Leave a comment

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott boasts of his plan to restrict renewable energy

Mr Abbott had exposed the government’s true intentions on the renewable energy target.

Abbott-destroys-renewables‘Noisy compared to what?': Tony Abbott’s claim wind farms awful and noisy dismissed, The Age June 11, 2015  National political reporter Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described wind farms as “visually awful” and boasted slashing the Renewable Energy Target will restrict growth in the industry.

Mr Abbott also said the Howard government would never have introduced the clean energy policy if it had its time over again.

In a wide-ranging interview on Sydney radio station 2GB, Mr Abbott said he was prevented by the Senate in his desire to further cut the growth of new wind farms. Mr Abbott made the remarks after the conservative broadcaster Alan Jones asked why the government had agreed to subsidise wind farms when residents living near them claim to suffer health problems.

wind-turbines-and-sheepVictorian cattle farmer Hamish Officer lives a good deal closer to wind turbines than most people.”You don’t need to lift your voice to have a conversation under a wind turbine nearly as much as you would in a city street,” Mr Officer said.

“For someone like the Prime Minister to stand there and say they’re noisy – it’s a very blanket statement. Noisy compared to what?”

 Mr Officer’s property between Hawkesdale and Macarthur hosts the southern hemisphere’s largest wind farm: AGL’s Macarthur wind farm. Beef cattle run between the 140 turbines spread across 5,500 hectares of farming land in western Victoria……..

Continue reading

June 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Western Australian Liberal Senator Chris Back rejects medical expertise on wind farms

A Sydney University review of 25 studies into the possible health effects of wind turbines found none had produced evidence they were detrimental to human health and in 2014 the Australian Medical Association issued a statement saying the available evidence did not support the idea that windfarm noise harmed human health

wind-farm-evil-1Liberal senator wants windfarm inquiry to recognise ‘adverse health effects‘, Guardian,  Political Editor, 12 June 15
Coalition figures want inquiry to acknowledge alleged health impacts and support more checks by the regulator 
A new federal inquiry could call for commonwealth oversight of windfarm regulations and demand recognition of the alleged health impacts of turbines on people living near them, according to Coalition senators.

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, dismayed the wind industry on Thursday when he told Sydney radio announcer Alan Jones that he wished the government had been able to reduce the number of new windfarms more than was possible in a recent renewable energy deal with Labor, and agreed windfarms had “potential health impacts”. Continue reading

June 12, 2015 Posted by | Western Australia, wind | Leave a comment

Senator Leyonhjelm – Nuclear power is fine: wind power is the danger!

Leyonhjelm,-DavidSenator David Leyonhjelm wants government to monitor wind turbine noise, The Age, May 24, 2015 Adam Gartre It seems the only thing colourful crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm hates more than red tape is wind farming.

Despite typically being a fierce opponent of new government regulation, the Liberal Democrat is calling on the government to set up a new regulator to monitor noise levels near wind turbines.

He claims a Senate inquiry he set up has uncovered “credible evidence” that some people are suffering wind-farm-evil-1health concerns caused by low frequency noise and vibrations known as infrasound.

Australia’s peak medical agency this year concluded there is no direct or consistent evidence that wind farms damage human health, after conducting a year-long study into so-called “wind turbine syndrome”.

 Indeed, many health experts and environmentalists have long dismissed turbine-related health concerns as a myth…….Senator Leyonhjelm’s inquiry attracted 418 submissions and is set to report back to parliament in August. It is the latest in a long line of investigations into renewable energy and wind turbines.

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

Senators out to sabotage wind energy industry

Senators could demand wind power restrictions in RET scheme, The Age,  May 19, 2015   National political reporter Crossbenchers are set to demand the government shut wind power out of a portion of Australia’s renewable energy target, in exchange for backing the inclusion of native timber burning.

Day, Bob nukesLiberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm, Family First senator Bob Day and independent John Madigan will support the government’s proposal to bring wood waste into the scheme, but could seek conditions that would reserve part of the 33,000 gigawatt-hour target for solar and hydro power only.

The three senators are vocal opponents of wind turbines and sit on a parliamentarywind-farm-evil-1 committee examining their health effects that held public hearings in Canberra on Tuesday……..

Leyonhjelm,-DavidHe [David Leyonhjelm] said the senators were also talking about conditions they could seek for wind power to “prevent people from getting sick”.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said he feared this could see the Senate debate being sidetracked by views that were anti-science.

“The first place to start is that there is not one medical scientific body anywhere in the world that accepts wind turbines cause physiological illness,” he said.

“What’s really most disappointing in this is that it’s the aggressive anti-wind stance adopted by politicians and some members of the community that spreads alarm … and is a potential cause for some of the symptoms people experience.”

Independent senator Nick Xenophon said he was concerned solar and hydro projects could be “crowded out” of the renewable energy scheme by wind power.

May 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | 1 Comment


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