Australian news, and some related international items

PM Turnbull could end the govt’s war on wind farms; but will he?

Turnbull,-Malcolm-Bwind-farm-evil-1 It’s not too late for Malcolm Turnbull to wind up Tony Abbott’s war on wind farms
Canberra Times, October 8, 2015 Andrew Bray The Turnbull government appears ready to end Tony Abbott’s war on wind. This is welcome news, but it needs to act fast,   
Tony Abbott always loved a fight – no matter what the cost to our country. The war that he waged on wind, first as opposition leader and then as prime minister, hurt Australia in lost jobs, lost investment and lost innovation. It’s now looking as though the Turnbull government is ready to call a truce. This is welcome news, but it will need to act fast if it is to repair damage to the industry.

Abbott’s war on wind power was conducted on two fronts: destroying investment confidence, and then dismantling policies that supported renewable energy.

The confidence war began in opposition……….

The damage to what had been a viable industry was swift and extreme. In 2014 investment in large-scale renewable energy fell 88 per cent, with 2500 renewable energy jobs being lost. In Portland, 100 jobs were lost at wind tower manufacturer, Keppel Prince, punching a hole in the local economy.

Abbott was willing to destroy anything to gain a political advantage, which in the end led to his own demise. Now, it’s time for a new chapter.

Newly appointed Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg​ and reinstated Environment Minister Greg Hunt are making the right noises – describing the government’s support for renewable energy as “rock solid”. The demotion of Ian Macfarlane from the energy portfolio is another positive sign. Ditto for Maurice Newman being shown the door.

Together, these changes send strong, supportive signals to investors. The battle to damage confidence in the sector appears to be over. Now, it’s a matter of fixing policies.

While we are hearing a lot of new (positive) talk from the government, its actions tell a different story. Only just last week, thanks to the Herald, we discovered that Minister Hunt still intends to appoint the “scientific” committee on wind, and that members under consideration include a man who has likened the so-called tactics of our industry to Hitler and claims the Australian Medical Association’s support for wind power is “corrupt”.

It’s not too late for new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to undo the damage wrought by Abbott – but he must act swiftly.

Bills to abolish the CEFC and ARENA are still sitting before the Senate, and should be dumped. The deal done by Abbott with anti-wind crossbenchers should be shelved. Ambitious, long-term renewable energy targets must also be set to drive innovation and investment.

Talk will only get the Australian wind industry so far. The time for action is now.

October 9, 2015 - Posted by | General News

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