Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s Renewable Energy Target driving new wind farm projects in S.A. and NSW

the first major PPA for new build wind farm for several years that has been driven by the renewable energy target

Wind energy finally taking off again in Australia, REneweconomy, By    2 May 2012 The Australia wind energy industry looks set to end its near three-year hiatus, as Origin Energy signed its largest ever power purchase agreement, Thai group Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding said it would be adding 200 megawatts of wind turbine capacity in Australia (to its existing 100MW) over the next few years, and REpower Australia prepared to launch a scaled-down version of a new wind farm in NSW. Continue reading

May 2, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, South Australia, wind | , | Leave a comment

Victoria’s Baillieu government YES to coal, NO to wind – despite the facts

— A wind farm cannot be built within two kilometres of a person’s home without their consent. But a coal mine can be opened within 100 meters of a home without the owner’s consent.

— Wind farms are now excluded from ‘no go’ zones stretching across the state. But coal mines face no such ‘no go’ zones: the only place they are excluded from is national parks (for now).

— All wind farms require planning approval from the local council. Coal projects, on the other hand, can avoid the need to obtain certain planning approvals at all in some cases.

— Wind farms must comply with environmental laws like any other project. Coal projects, on the other hand, are exempt from parts of key laws like the Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic).

Coal or wind in your backyard?    Michael Power, 30 April 12
,  If you’re going to ‘pick winners’ from the energy market, you at least want to choose wisely. So it’s hard to see why Victorian laws treat coal and coal seam gas more favourably than renewable energy.

The Environment Defenders Office (Victoria) (EDO) released a report last week that finds Victoria’s laws give the mining industry privileged treatment that few other industries enjoy. In particular, they now make it easier to obtain approval for a coal mine than a wind farm in Victoria.

The planning rules for wind farms introduced by the state government last year are some of the toughest that apply to any type of development anywhere in the country. No new wind projects have been proposed in Victoria since they have been introduced.

At the same time, the government has moved to relax the laws that apply to new mining projects, developing a strategy to encourage brown coal export in Victoria, and initiating a Parliamentary Inquiry to identify and remove barriers to further ‘Greenfields’ minerals exploration and mining. Continue reading

April 30, 2012 Posted by | politics, Victoria, wind | | Leave a comment

The facts on wind power in Australia

Although the cost of wind energy continues to fall, government support such as the Renewable Energy Target (RET) Scheme is crucial to support investment in the industry and enables the wind power sector to play a major role in helping Australia’s transition to a low carbon economy. The introduction of a price on carbon, which is anticipated for
mid-2012, will provide the focal point of the government’s strategy to reduce emissions.

Five new wind farm projects were commissioned in 2011 in Australia, Reve April 23, 2012 At the end of 2011, Australia had 1,211 operating wind turbines across 58 wind power plants with a total installed wind energy capacity of 2,224 MW.

Australia’s exceptional wind resources have allowed wind energy to make an increasing contribution to Australia’s energy mix. Although it is still a relatively new industry, wind farm supplies over 6,400 GWh annually, which represents more than 2% of national electricity consumption.

At the end of 2011, Australia had 1,211 operating wind turbines across 58 wind power plants with a total installed wind energy capacity of 2,224 MW. The total installed capacity of wind power has grown by an average of 35% per year over the past five years.

Although the cost of wind energy continues to fall, government support such as the Renewable Energy Target (RET) Scheme is crucial to support investment in the industry and enables the wind power sector to play a major role in helping Australia’s transition to a low carbon economy. The introduction of a price on carbon, which is anticipated for
mid-2012, will provide the focal point of the government’s strategy to reduce emissions. Continue reading

April 23, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | | Leave a comment

Residents near Windy Hill, Queensland, speak about wind energy

(includes video) Winds of change generating a powerful debate over Mt Emerald   The Cairns Post Tony Stickley, April 14, 2012 The proposal of a wind farm at Mt Emerald has created a strong debate over noise issues for residential properties nearby. The Cairns Post explored how residents at Windy Hill feel about the wind farm noise.  CLEAN, green renewable energy powering 60 per cent of Cairns and the whole of the Tableland shines like the holy grail of electricity generation. Could you live next door to a windfarm? Listen to Windy Hill residents and make up your own mind. Continue reading

April 14, 2012 Posted by | Queensland, wind | | Leave a comment

What’s stopping windy Western Australia from developing wind power?

Why isn’t WA harnessing wind power?, WA Today April 4, 2012 – Perth is an international hotspot for windsurfing and the destination of choice for the ISAF Sailing World Championships. If you thought Western Australia was a leader in wind power, think again.
New research reveals while Perth is the third windiest capital in the world, it is in the doldrums when it comes to wind power….. With an average wind speed of more than 27km/h and twelve operating wind farms lining the coast from Coral Bay to Albany, WA could be leading the nation. Continue reading

April 4, 2012 Posted by | Western Australia, wind | | Leave a comment

Commercial Eco Whisper wind turbine installed near Tullamarine, melbourne

The Eco Whisper Turbine is set to revolutionise delivery of renewable electricity supply to midsize commercial, manufacturing or industrial facilities, particularly in rural or remote locations that rely on diesel replacement.

Queensland renewable energy company Eco Whisper installs first commercial turbine, NewsMaker, , March 28, 2012  The first commercial application of the Eco Whisper turbine, the world’s quietest 20kW wind turbine, is being installed and will be connected to the grid near Tullamarine in Melbourne. Produced and developed by Queensland-based Renewable Energy Solutions Australia (RESA), the 30 blade Eco Whisper turbine delivers virtually silent operation and produces up to 30 percent more power than conventional 3-bladed turbine designs.

Ideal for mid-sized facilities and perfect to replace diesel generation facilities, the Eco Whisper collects wind more efficiently and can operate in both high and low wind conditions. One turbine can produce enough power for around three average homes. Continue reading

March 28, 2012 Posted by | Victoria, wind | | Leave a comment

Lake Macquarie Council not happy with NSW’s restrictions on wind farms

Concerns over wind farm guidelines, ABC News, Newcastle, March 28, 2012 Lake Macquarie Council will write to the state Planning Department outlining its concerns over the Government’s Draft Wind Farm Guidelines. The Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has described the draft document as the “toughest wind farm guidelines in Australia and possibly the world”.
But the guidelines have been criticised by environmentalists and renewable energy lobbyists as unnecessarily restrictive. Greens Councillor Hannah Gissane agrees. “We’ve endorsed a submission to the draft guidelines exhibition which would pick apart the bits and pieces of it that make the process too onerous,” she said.

“We’ve also endorsed wind farms as a key mechanism in achieving 20 per  cent renewable energy by 2020. “And that any guidelines should be part of a strategic facilitative approach to renewable energy.”
Councillor Gissane says the guidelines are too tough and criticism of wind turbines is not warranted.

“Our beautiful Lake Macquarie has ash dams, has coal-fired power stations, has coal mines, has subsidence all from non-renewable energy sources,” she said.
“I’d like to see future for the city where the glint of a solar panel and the whirl of a wind turbine were actually features of the city.”

March 28, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, wind | | Leave a comment

Wind energy a winner for South Australia

Wind Power costs a lot less than the savings it makes – it’s like a preventative measure; an insurance that you buy against high electricity prices. In the case of South Australia, they did just that and it paid off.

Wind Works. It’s giving South Australia climate security through decarbonising its economy, energy security through reduced imports of expensive volatile fossil fuels. And it works so well that South Australia can now go further and target 50 per cent of the state to run on wind power and put much more solar on rooftops while planning to integrate this with
Baseload Solar Thermal plants installed in locations like Port Augusta.

South Australia’s big win with windREneweconomy, By Matthew Wright   21 March 2012 Wind Power in South Australia has been a howling success; it now provides more electricity in the state than coal and in just a decade the wind industry has developed into one of the world’s leaders – and all to the benefit of South Australians. Continue reading

March 22, 2012 Posted by | South Australia, wind | , | Leave a comment

3000 jobs and cheaper electricity for South Australia with wind power

They are reportedly unpopular but a CSIRO report in January found there was stronger community support for wind farms across Australia than suggested by media coverage.

It found rural residents often backed the developments but did not seek media attention or political engagement to express their views.

SA wants to lead with renewable energy, Business Spectator, 22 March 12,  South Australia’s Labor government wants to be a leader in renewable energy and wants more wind farms to do it. SA has more than half of Australia’s wind farms and they provided 26 per cent of the state’s electricity last year, up from 18 per cent in 2010, and less than one per cent just five years ago…… Continue reading

March 22, 2012 Posted by | South Australia, wind | , | Leave a comment

The Eco Whisper – small, silent wind turbine in operation in Geelong

New polish on the factory floor, The Age, Jo Chandler, March 16, 2012  Geelong manufacturer Austeng ticks many of the boxes nominated by industry gurus as crucial to survival in the globalised world. Is this modest firm the template for the future?……..

The latest proud product of their collective skills sits outside in the yard. It’s a prototype 21-metre high wind turbine, its blades whizzing silently in the breeze, generating 20 kilowatts of energy. It’s emblematic of the kind of future George is determined to be part of. He has put his money where his mouth is, buying back the Eco Whisper prototype that he had built for a renewable power company, and he estimates it will generate about a third of the energy required for his factory. Continue reading

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Victoria, wind | | Leave a comment

South Australia’s wind energy experience debunks the myths of the anti wind lobby

Australia can draw on real-life experience in South Australia. And it serves to debunk a few myths: wind does not need like-for-like back-up, or anything near it. It does achieve abatement, it does displace fossil fuel generation, and it is not anywhere near as expensive as some claim.

 wind accounts for more than 20 per cent of SA’s electricity consumption, making it the second largest in percentage terms in the world after Denmark, and the highest on a per capita basis.

State’s wind farms help debunk a few myths BY: GILES PARKINSON, The Australian March 16, 2012 IS wind energy as useless as its critics say it is? Is it really so expensive and ineffective that its emissions abatement is achieved at 10 times
the cost of gas-fired generation?

That was the conclusion of a British study sponsored by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, chaired by former Conservative chancellor and noted climate sceptic Nigel Lawson. Wind power upsets a few people, not least the climate sceptics who simply can’t comprehend its utility. Continue reading

March 16, 2012 Posted by | South Australia, wind | , | Leave a comment

Wind farms unhealthy for Australians, but not for 1 million Danes?

our wind resource is twice as powerful as in Europe.

Australia’s twist in the wind, CLIMATE SPECTATOR: Matthew Wright, 13 Mar 2012 Denmark’s renewable energy achievements and its ambitious targets demonstrate a serious plan to lead the world in tackling global climate and energy security. Wind turbine technology will power half of its plan.

At the end of last year, Denmark announced that it will increase its share of wind power in the electricity supply mix from 25 per cent, its total today, to 50 per cent by 2020. The earlier plan was to do the same, but by 2025.

Denmark’s bullish drive towards wind energy comes from the public’s ongoing strong support for the industry and technology. Over one million Danes currently live within one kilometre of an operating wind farm. Many of these wind farms are being, or are scheduled to be, upgraded with newer turbines. This ongoing process of upgrades shows that support for wind energy stays strong in the local vicinity even after communities have lived with a generation of turbines that have served their useful lives.

Denmark will reach its 50 per cent wind power target through three main tracks. They’re building a generation of new onshore wind farms as well as the establishing a brand new offshore wind industry. A very important part of the plan involves the repowering of existing wind farms. Continue reading

March 14, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | | Leave a comment

In the interests of their fossil fuel backers, Liberal Party attacks wind energy

Is Rowan looking after the interests of his constituents, or of the fossil fuel industry? He is correct, as I understand it, in pointing out that there are times when the generated wind power loads the SA grid to its limit, and that there will be a need for more interconnection between SA and the eastern states if wind power is to expand much further. However, the Liberal Party’s systematic attacks on sustainable energy and support for the fossil fuel industry in its campaign to stop the rise in sustainable energy shows a complete abandonment of ethical standards…

More Coalition attacks on wind power and renewables, Independent Australia, 08 Mar 2012  Liberal MP Rowan Ramsay is yet another Coalition MP keen to promote fossil fuels over renewables — especially wind. Environmentalist Dave Clarke responds to a speech Ramsay made recently attacking wind power projects in South Australia. Rowan Ramsey gave a speech in the Australian Parliament in mid-February 2012, which was biased against wind power. In this speech he made a number of claims and inferences that were questionable at best and false at worst. Continue reading

March 12, 2012 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wind | , | Leave a comment

A history of dishonesty – Waubra Foundation, Landscape Guardians, and the Baillieu government.

The question we, the voters, need to ask is:  ‘how did such a sorry lot with such a transparent and dishonest agenda succeed in bringing the wind industry to its knees thus depriving the public of a chance to reduce our carbon emissions?’

The answer is that no government could have been so easily duped unless it was complicit.

It is clear that the scuttling of the wind industry in Victoria was a deliberate political ploy to appease the coal industry, with the Guardians’ scare campaign simply serving as window dressing to dupe the public into thinking it was all in our interest.

This is the third part of Independent Australia environment editor Sandi Keane’s trilogy on the role of deception in the public debate on global warming. The first part, Deception is our Product, looked at the role of clever PR practitioners hired by the mining oligarchs to trick the unsuspecting into sacrificing their interests for those of their clients. The second part was the handy guide: The Practical Guide to Trickery & Fakery in the Digital Age. This thirdinstalment is the actual case study of Sandi’s investigation of the Landscape Guardians and the Waubra Foundation.

CASE STUDY: The Landscape Guardians and the Waubra Foundation, Independent Australia, 6 March 12,  It began early last year, when a mate who likes to argue the toss with me on enviro-issues tipped me off about the anti-wind group, the Landscape Guardians.

The first hint that these people were not the self-appointed protectors of the landscape they claimed to be was the name. No dinky di greenie group would knowingly jump into bed with the notorious UK Country Guardians, with its links to both climate skeptics and the nuclear industry. The pressure group was set up by Sir Bernard Ingham, who was a former press secretary to Margaret Thatcher, consultant to the nuclear industry and an acknowledged “black belt” in the art of spin. Continue reading

March 6, 2012 Posted by | secrets and lies, Victoria, wind | , | Leave a comment

Ted Baillieu is costing Victoria’s economy, with wind energy losses

Another wind farm falls to Vic laws, Yes! to Renewables February 27, 2012 by Synergy Wind’s wind farm that was proposed for Devon North, near Yarram in South Gippsland, has had an extension of its planning approval rejected by the Wellington Shire Council. This is the first wind farm to fall due to the requirement to renew or extend planning approvals under the new laws, and unfortunately there may be more to come quite soon.



We will track these setbacks as they occur, and will soon update our assessment of just how much the 2011 anti-wind policy is costing Victoria in jobs and investment dollars…..

February 25, 2012 Posted by | Victoria, wind | | Leave a comment