Australian news, and some related international items

Wind farm commissioner – the cons and pros of the position

wind-farm-evil-1Wind farm commissioner insists he’s good value for taxpayers at $200,000 a year, SMH March 25, 2016  Environment editor, The Age  Australia’s wind farm commissioner has insisted taxpayers are getting good value for money out of his $200,000 a year salary.

In an interview with Fairfax Media, Andrew Dyer, who was appointed to the wind energy watchdog post in October, said he believed there were genuine issues around wind farms to be solved and he was one of a handful of people with the skills to do it.

The national wind farm commissioner has been a highly contested position since it was first created by then Prime Minister Tony Abbott last year.

Critics say the position – established via a deal with anti-wind crossbench Senators – was another attempt to stymie the roll-out of clean energy under then Prime Minister Tony Abbott. There has also been a heavy focus from critics on Mr Dyer’s $205,000 a year remuneration and the job’s classification as part-time.

Mr Dyer said he could not claim to be full-time while holding other positions, including volunteer board spots, chairing a private company and involvement with Monash University’s sustainability unit, but added: “I can assure you it is a very big load.”……….

The most controversial element of the wind farm debate is claims infrasound (inaudible noise) from wind farms can make people sick. A long list of symptoms have been ascribed to so called “wind turbine syndrome”, including sleeplessness, headaches, nausea, memory loss and tinnitus.

But numerous health and government assessments – including by the National Health and Medical Research Council – have repeatedly found no link between wind farm infrasound and health problems.

Mr Dyer said this had also been his advice, though no health complaint, whatever the reason, should be ignored.

More research into the issue should be done, he said. This week $3.3 million in government research grants to study the health effects of wind farms were announced……..

Mr Dyer has worked in the energy industry for many years and in many roles. During that time he has been a notable champion of solar thermal technology.

He pointed to previous comment pieces he had written stressing a “balance of technologies” in the energy supply. He told Fairfax Media wind energy “will be a major part of that balance into the future.”

What impact might he have on the industry then?

Mr Dyer conceded he had no legal authority to order changes to projects, but he could personally work with complainants and companies to try reach workable solutions to disputes.

“Industry has been very supportive of my role and appointment because they know if complaints aren’t dealt with properly then it will continue to have a negative impact on them and raise the potential for further regulation,” Mr Dyer said.

March 25, 2016 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind

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