Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Mount Emerald Wind Farm reaches major construction milestone

The 800-tonne foundation which is buried to ground level provides an immovable anchor for each turbine and consists of a 50-tonne reinforced steel cage filled with around 350m3 tonnes of concrete, or up to 70 truckloads.

Ratch Australia Corporation Executive General Manager Business Development, Mr Anthony Yeates, said the first foundation was always a special milestone in wind farm construction. Continue reading

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, wind | Leave a comment

The facts on wind farms and bird deaths

Wind farms are hardly the bird slayers they’re made out to be. Here’s why, The Conversation, Simon Chapman Emeritus Professor in Public Health, University of Sydney, June 16, 2017, People who oppose wind farms often claim wind turbine blades kill large numbers of birds, often referring to them as “bird choppers”. And claims of dangers to iconic or rare birds, especially raptors, have attracted a lot of attention.

Wind turbine blades do indeed kill birds and bats, but their contribution to total bird deaths is extremely low, as these three studies show.

A 2009 study using US and European data on bird deaths estimated the number of birds killed per unit of power generated by wind, fossil fuel and nuclear power systems.

It concluded:

wind farms and nuclear power stations are responsible each for between 0.3 and 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while fossil-fuelled power stations are responsible for about 5.2 fatalities per GWh.

That’s nearly 15 times more. From this, the author estimated:

wind farms killed approximately seven thousand birds in the United States in 2006 but nuclear plants killed about 327,000 and fossil-fuelled power plants 14.5 million.

In other words, for every one bird killed by a wind turbine, nuclear and fossil fuel powered plants killed 2,118 birds……

And in Australia?

In Australia in 2006 a proposal for a 52-turbine wind farm plan on Victoria’s south-east coast at Bald Hills (now completed) was overruled by the then federal environment minister Ian Campbell.

He cited concerns about the future of the endangered orange-bellied parrot (Neophema chrysogaster), a migratory bird said to be at risk of extinction within 50 years. The Tarwin Valley Coastal Guardians, an anti wind farm group that had been opposing the proposed development…….

Perhaps the final word on this topic should go to the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. It built a wind turbine at its Bedfordshire headquarters to reduce its carbon emissions (and in doing so, aims to minimise species loss due to climate change). It recognised that wind power is far more beneficial to birds than it is harmful.


Simon Chapman and Fiona Crichton’s book, Wind Turbine Syndrome: a communicated disease, will be published by Sydney University Press later this year.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, reference, wind | Leave a comment

Josh Frydenberg, Minister For Fossil Fuel Energy, prevents hybrid renewable energy plus battery storage microgrid at Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe microgrid in doubt as Frydenberg rules out wind turbines http://reneweconomy.com.au/39084-2/, By Sophie Vorrath on 13 June 2017 One Step Off The Grid

Plans to install a hybrid renewable energy plus battery storage microgrid at New South Wales’ Lord Howe Island, and slash its diesel fuel use, have hit a major political snag, after the federal energy minister intervened to rule out the wind power component of the long-awaited, ARENA-backed project.

The project – which has been in the works for some six years now, and in 2014 won a $4.5 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and a $5.6 million loan from NSW Treasury – was to install 500kW of wind, 400kW solar PV and 400kWh of battery storage, in an effort to cut the island’s diesel usage by two-thirds.

Just one year ago the Lord Howe Island Board called for tenders for the installation of the first stage of the project’s development.

But the Board’s manager of infrastructure and engineering services, Andrew Logan, said Minister Frydenberg had ruled, late last week, that the impacts of the proposed two 250kW wind turbines on the Island’s World and National Heritage values – particularly on its ‘visual landscape’ – were unacceptable. Continue reading

June 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Space for more wind farms in Tassie

TASMANIA has the capacity to support two or three more wind farms before it needs to invest in its electricity transmission infrastructure, energy analysts say.
http://www.themercury.com.au/business/space-for-more-wind-farms-in-tasmania-before-infrastructure-investment-is-needed/news-story/2bfaec7ca841b5a2ca274aa0758984c3

June 9, 2017 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Victoria’s grid could be dominated by wind and solar

Network owner Ausnet sees grid dominated by wind and solar http://reneweconomy.com.au/network-owner-ausnet-sees-grid-dominated-by-wind-and-solar-19103/ By Giles Parkinson on 16 May 2017

Ausnet Services, the largest operator of electricity and gas networks in Victoria, has given its vision of what the grid of the future might look like in that state – and it is one dominated by wind and solar.

That is probably not surprising, given that the state government is likely to have its target of 40 per cent renewable energy generation by 2025 locked into legislation in the next few months. But it does reflect how quickly the nature of generation in the state most dependent on brown coal will change. Continue reading

May 16, 2017 Posted by | solar, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

New South Wales wind farm to power 49,000 ACT homes

NSW’s Sapphire Wind Farm to power 49,000 ACT homes, Canberra Times, Georgina Connery, 27 Apr 17, It is a regional NSW project closer to the Queensland border than to Canberra, but within months the Sapphire Wind Farm will generate power for around 49,000 ACT homes. After a flight to Armidale and long car ride west of Glen Innes, climate change minster Shane Rattenbury toured the facility on Thursday.

The wind farm will be NSW’s largest once it is completed.

It is owned by CWP Renewables, a joint venture between two European renewable energy companies, and was one of two successful projects in the ACT’s 2015 second wind auction.

The farm entered into a 20 year contract to supply 100 megawatts of its 270 megawatt output to the ACT government and by mid next year 32 wind turbines will come online to supply energy for the territory.

“Construction commenced in January 2017 on the 100 megawatt Sapphire 1 wind farm, which is another significant step in progress towards the ACT’s 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020 target,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The ACT supported part of the wind farm will generate 349,703 megawatt-hours per year.”

The ACT government’s reverse auctions have secured generating capacities of 40 megawatts from large-scale solar and 600 megawatts from wind farms over the past few years…… http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/nsws-sapphire-wind-farm-to-power-49000-act-homes-20170426-gvtejh.html

April 28, 2017 Posted by | ACT, New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment

Victoria’s 132MW Mt Gellibrand wind farm set to be developed

Construction underway on Victoria’s 132MW Mt Gellibrand wind farm http://reneweconomy.com.au/construction-underway-on-victorias-132mw-mt-gellibrand-wind-farm-88672/ By Sophie Vorrath on 19 April 2017 Acciona Energy has broken ground on its 132MW Mt Gellibrand wind farm, a $258 million project in Victoria’s western plains that was fast-tracked after winning a state government tender designed to reboot renewables investment in the state, and side-step a capital strike by major utilities.

At a turning of the sod ceremony at the wind farm’s site, 25km east of Colac, Acciona managing director Andrew Thomson said the company expected to see Mt Gellibrand “pouring” clean energy into the grid within about 15 months – at a time when the nation would be seeking to increase its capacity for renewable power generation.

Thomson said the new wind farm would be a “massive economic driver” for the region over the next 25 years, creating 100 local jobs in the construction phase, and up to 10 operations and maintenance roles continuing for decades ahead.

Of course, generating local jobs and investment was a key aim of the Andrews government tender, alongside meeting its legislated target of 25 per cent renewables by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025. Continue reading

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Tasmania, with wind and hydro can be “energy battery” for Australia – says Turnbull

Turnbull says Tasmania wind, hydro can become “energy battery” for Australia, Reneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 20 April 2017 Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has extended his vision of large-scale pumped hydro and storage to Tasmania, outlining plans to expand the island’s existing hydropower system, and possibly add 2,500MW in pumped hydro, and describing the possibility that the state could become the “renewable energy battery” for Australia. Continue reading

April 21, 2017 Posted by | storage, Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Victoria’s Ararat Wind Farm now supplying power to Victoria and ACT

Ararat Wind Farm fully commissioned, supplying power to Victoria and ACT http://reneweconomy.com.au/ararat-wind-farm-fully-commissioned-supplying-power-to-victoria-and-act-51770/ By Sophie Vorrath on 19 April 2017  The recently completed 240MW Ararat Wind Farm in south-western Victoria is now operating at full capacity, feeding enough renewable energy into the grid to power 120,000 homes, 37,000 of them in Canberra.

The wind farm, which is operated and managed by Canberra-based company Windlab, was fully commissioned on Wednesday this week, after several years in the works. It first began sending power to the grid in Victoria in August 2016. This graph below, from the Energy and Climate College, shows how it has expanded production.

The project gained significance as the first wind farm to be contracted after the reinstatement of a bipartisan federal renewable energy target – that is, after the Coalition and Labor agreed to cut the RET to 33,000GWh from 41,000GWh).

In Ararat’s case, the go-ahead was buoyed by the signing of a power purchase agreement with the ACT government, which guaranteed the purchase of approximately 40 per cent of its annual output – a contract it is now delivering on.

“The ACT’s agreement with the Ararat Wind Farm provided certainty for investors and enabled construction to commence in late 2015,” ACT climate minister Shane Rattenbury said on Wednesday.

“This is good news for consumers as well as climate change mitigation, as the ACT government has locked-in a set price for the renewable electricity produced by 10 wind and solar projects, including Ararat, for the next 20 years.”

Rattenbury – whose predecessor, Simon Corbell, is widely regarded as the mastermind of the nation-leading renewables policy – said that the Capital was showing the federal government how to deliver on clean energy.

“If the generators make more money than the set price for the electricity they sell into the national electricity market, they pay the difference back to the ACT,” Rattenbury said.

Ararat Mayor, Paul Hooper, described the wind farm as a “really significant” project for the city, bringing $450 million of investment, 350 jobs at its construction peak, and more than $40 million into the local economy during construction, which lasted about 18 months.

“It was completed on time and to a very high standard,” Hooper said, adding that project developer RES Australia had been “…very, very good corporate citizens” throughout the development.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | ACT, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Opposition in South Australia to $500 million solar and wind farm

Beetaloo Valley residents to fight against planned $500 million solar and wind farm by Neoen Erin Jones, Regional Reporter, The Advertiser April 17, 2017  SOUTHERN Flinders Ranges residents are vowing to stop a 50-turbine wind farm from ruining the landscape, fearing the project will be fast-tracked because of the state’s energy crisis.

April 19, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, wind | 1 Comment

People self-diagnosing “windfarm diseases” ?

People who blame sickness on windfarms ‘may be bypassing doctor’ Windfarm commissioner’s first report says complainants may fail to seek medical advice ‘due to the possibly incorrect assumption’ that nearby turbines are to blame,Guardian, , 10 Apr 17 The office of the national windfarm commissioner is concerned people are not going to the doctor because they are incorrectly attributing symptoms of illness to windfarms.

Commissioner Andrew Dyer published his first report to the Australian parliament on 31 March which revealed the office had received 90 complaint between November 2015 and 31 December 2016.

Complainants cited health conditions including “sleep disturbance, headaches, earaches, ‘pounding’ in the ears, tinnitus, tachycardia, high blood pressure, sight impairment, diabetes, chest-tightening, nausea and general fatigue”, which they blamed on both audible and low-frequency noise, “including infrasound, emanating from turbines”.

Because complainants gave only “anecdotal evidence” it was difficult to establish causality with the windfarm’s operations, the report noted. It expressed concern that complainants may fail to seek medical advice “due to the possibly incorrect assumption” that a nearby windfarm was to blame.

But the report also noted that the presence of a windfarm or concerns about a proposed one could cause stress, annoyance or anxiety that could, in turn, result in health conditions. When relating to a proposed windfarm, that pressure could extend for several years.

 “Debate continues around the world as to whether a windfarm causes physiological harm to residents living in its vicinity,” the report noted. It recommended that state and federal governments should continue to assess research, pointing to two studies funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council that were announced last year…..

In February last year, Dyer said half the complaints his office had received pertained to windfarms that had yet to be built.https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/10/people-who-blame-sickness-on-windfarms-may-be-bypassing-doctor

April 12, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

The Waubra anti-wind power campaign still lives!

Can wind turbines make you sick? Debate divides tiny Victorian town of Waubra, ABC Radio, PM  By Danny Tran, 24 Mar 17, In the sleepy Victorian town of Waubra, a bitter feud over wind power is driving a wedge between neighbours and friends.

Key points:

  • There are 79 wind farms in Australia and more than 2,000 turbines producing 5 per cent of the nation’s electricity
  • Waubra’s own wind farm is one of the largest in Australia, with 128 turbines on the properties of 37 farmers
  • Wind turbine syndrome describes symptoms a small number of people claim arise from living near wind farms

About two hours north-west of Melbourne, Waubra produces enough electricity from its wind turbines to power two of Victoria’s largest regional cities.

But after almost a decade of operating, wind power remains a painful issue in the town, which is only home to about 500 people.

Waubra is so synonymous with wind power that opponents have christened the so-called illness that some claim comes with living near turbines “Waubra disease”.

The town might be at loggerheads over whether wind can make you sick, but what does the science say?

What is wind turbine syndrome?

Waubra disease, better known as wind turbine syndrome, describes a range of symptoms a small number of people claim arise from living near wind farms, ranging from headaches to nausea.

It was first coined in 2009 by New York paediatrician Dr Nina Pierpont, who claimed wind turbines disrupted the inner-ear through inaudible, low-frequency vibrations.

The claims were rubbished by science and health bodies across the world, but anti-wind power groups seized on Dr Pierpont’s claims, which quickly spread to Australia.

Experts dismiss wind turbine syndrome as the result of a “nocebo” effect, where negative expectations of symptoms can amplify an actual negative effect — the opposite of a placebo.

But that hasn’t stopped Waubra locals from taking a side………

the Australian Medical Association’s Victorian president, Dr Lorraine Barker, said that anxiety over being near wind turbines can cause symptoms of its own.

“There is no indication that infrasound, for instance, could induce the symptoms … [but] anxiety certainly can,” Dr Barker said.

“Noises that are continuous in the background can be irritating, so that level of irritation may affect someone if they are standing very close to a wind turbine.

“However, infrasound, or the sound that is beyond the detection of the human ear, is not believed to cause harm to humans.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-24/victorian-town-divided-over-wind-turbines/8373760

March 25, 2017 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Daylesford’s community renewable energy success

Renewables roadshow: how Daylesford’s windfarm took back the power
In the first of a series about Australian communities building renewable energy projects, we look at how Victoria’s Hepburn Shire overcame local opposition to deliver a new homegrown, community-owned generator,
Guardian, , 15 Mar 17 From the fertile spud-growing country of Hepburn Shire, 90km northwest of Melbourne, has sprung what many hope will become a revolution in renewable energy in Australia.

On Leonards Hill, just outside the town of Daylesford – famed for its natural springs – stand two wind turbines that not only power the local area, but have also added substantial power to the community-owned renewable energy movement in Australia.

The turbines, cheesily called Gusto and Gale, constitute the very first community-owned windfarm in Australia. It borrows the idea from a long tradition of community-owned power that was forgotten in Australia, but lives on strongly in Denmark.

“In Denmark there’s over 2,100 versions of this,” says Taryn Lane, the community manager for Hepburn Wind, the cooperative that owns and operates the windfarm. “Their model – this way of owning your own energy generator locally – emerged in the late 70s, so they have been doing it for decades.” .

It was at a community meeting for a large corporate-owned windfarm, like the one near Hepburn, that the idea for Hepburn Wind emerged…….

the group had overwhelming local support. “We are a cooperative of 2,007 members,” says Lane. “They’ve contributed just under $10m.”

The majority of the investors are from the local region, something the cooperative has written into its rules.Paul Howden is one of them. As with most investors in community-owned renewable energy, his motivations were a mix of hard-nosed financial ones, and the desire to do a bit of good. “Partly, obviously because it’s a renewable energy project,” he says, explaining his investment. “But also because we thought it was a good and wise investment for our super fund.

“This is a win-win for both the environment [and] the community.”

One of the things that made him confident that the project was a good investment, he says, was the level of community support it received, and the passion of the people running it.

But beyond the construction of the 4.1MW windfarm – enough to power about 2,300 households – Hepburn Wind pioneered the modern large-scale community-ownership model of renewable energy in Australia, which is now being replicated around the country.

Simon Holmes à Court was the founding chairman of Hepburn Wind. And after spending years developing a model that worked, and navigating the various logistical potholes in getting it up and running, he set up Embark, a non-profit company dedicated to helping other community energy projects adopt the Hepburn model.

Several projects around the country have received advice and support from Embark, including Pingala, which gathered locals in Sydney’s Newtown to build a solar array on the top of a brewery, and the Sydney Renewable Power Company, which recently built Australia’s largest CBD solar farm.

But back in Hepburn shire, not satisfied with the windfarm, the residents are expanding the renewables in their area.

By a picturesque lake in Daylesford, where locals go to swim and cool off, is an antique hydro generator, which used to power a few homes around the lake, and the lake’s lights. “It kept the lake area electrified,” says Lane.

In February, that was made possible when the energy retailer that buys Hepburn Wind’s electricity – Powershop – announced it had crowdfunded more than $100,000 for community-owned renewable energy projects, and one project that would receive a slice of it was Hepburn Wind’s hydro project.

“The original size was 13kWs or just under,” says Lane. “And we will look to somewhere between there and maybe up to 40kWs if we can put a side-by-side motor next to it.”

She says that will be enough to power about eight to 12 houses – not a huge amount, but it’s an easy win.

And with Hepburn shire adding its name to a growing list of councils shooting to reduce their emissions to zero, every bit counts. Says Lane: “At Hepburn Wind we really want to play our role in helping our community reach zero net emissions.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/15/renewables-roadshow-community-owned-windfarm-daylesford-hepburn-australia

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Australian Energy Market Operator confident of wind power security in South Australia

“If the same sequence of events happened today the system black would not occur,” Marxsen told the audience, according to one source.

This is an important concession from AEMO. It suggests that South Australia, even with around 40 per cent wind energy and a further 6 per cent from rooftop solar, is not at risk of a system-wide shut-down that affected the state late last year.

Parkinson-Report-AEMO says wind farm changes mean SA blackout won’t be repeated http://reneweconomy.com.au/aemo-says-wind-farm-changes-mean-sa-blackout-wont-repeated-43631/ By  on 6 February 2017

The Australian Energy Market Operator says it is confident that adjustments made to wind farm software means there is no risk of the South Australia blackout being repeated in the future.

AEMO chairman Tony Marxsen told more than 100 energy experts at a presentation under the auspices of the Electrical Energy Society of Australia last week that the “system black” event in South Australia in September – which has set off a huge debate about renewable energy across the country – would not be repeated. Continue reading

February 8, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, wind | Leave a comment

While Barnaby Joyce trashes South Australia’s renewables, his electorate gets multi-million dollar loan for wind farm

Wind turbines in Azerbaijan. Windfarm in Barnaby Joyce’s NSW electorate gets $120m CEFC loan Clean Energy Finance Corporation loan comes three months after minister slammed SA’s over-reliance on wind power,  Guardian, , 12 Dec 16, The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has made a multi-million dollar loan for a new windfarm in Barnaby Joyce’s electorate.

December 11, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, politics, wind | Leave a comment