Australian news, and some related international items

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

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


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