Leonards Hill wind farm: first turbine goes up

The following report comes from the Ballarat Courier and is un-usually positive reporting given the fact that the Courier often runs anti-wind news stories.

A great quote from Chairman of Hepburn Wind Simon Holmes a Court “Our project is not about building two wind turbines, it is about empowering local people to become engaged and active participants in responding to the challenge of climate change.”

You may want to add a comment to the end of the story on the Courier site.

Leonards Hill wind farm: first turbine goes up

The base of the first turbine goes up.

WINDY days will be welcomed with open arms in the future at Leonards Hill.

The small town, 10 kilometres south of Daylesford, became the first town in Australia to establish a community-owned renewable energy project on Saturday.

A 110-metre wind turbine was raised, to the delight of onlookers and the 1600 owners of the wind farm.

More than $8.7 million was invested by collective members as part of the $13 million project.

Hepburn Wind is behind the project – which is expected to generate more power than Daylesford uses each year.

Members of Hepburn Wind who invested in the project will share in the proceeds of the sale of electricity and the remainder of the money will be put towards a community fund.

Hepburn Wind member Kate Allsopp said she “loved the idea of the community owning our energy source”, while fellow member Belinda Martin said she “can’t wait to see our turbines spinning”.

Chairman of Hepburn Wind Simon Holmes a Court said the project was a culmination of six years’ hard work.

He said it was fantastic to see a community develop it without waiting for the government.

“Our project is not about building two wind turbines, it is about empowering local people to become engaged and active participants in responding to the challenge of climate change,” he said.

About 12,200 tonnes of CO2 are expected to be displaced each year.
Journalist: Pat Nolan

23 thoughts on “Leonards Hill wind farm: first turbine goes up

  1. Hepburn Wind Project project is listed as being the equivalent of planting 18,000 trees, according to their website.

    They also received $1million in gov grant money.

    Last time I looked it didn’t cost $13million to plant 18,000 trees!!!! Thats $722 per tree! Any person who plants trees for the planet will tell you it costs **SUBSTANTIALLY** less than that on a per tree basis…

    Will the electricity generation figures be publicly available for this project ???? given that all that public money went in ??? I have yet to find any details about that being available ???

  2. Regarding the claimed GHG reduction benefits of Hepburn Wind :

    They say it will offset 12,200 tonnes, sounds a bit high to me, but lets assume that is correct. What does this MEAN ?

    A grand reduction of :

    0.0014% of Australia’s total emissions


    0.000041% of global emissions.

    Australian reported GHG emissions figures can be publically obtained from :

    We are not even lifted out of the “noise floor” of the +/- 2% to 3% reporting uncertainty error
    of the Australian governments reporting figures. According to the section titled
    “Uncertainty Analysis” on Page 16 of “State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories
    2007″ available at ->

    this states that :

    “Uncertainty is inherent within any kind of estimation. Uncertainty assessments at a
    sectoral level are reported in the National Inventory report. Overall, at the national
    inventory level, the uncertainty of the emissions estimates has been assessed at ±3%.
    While no quantitative estimates have been produced, the Department assesses that the
    uncertainties for emission estimates for these inventories, particularly the smaller states
    and territories, will be somewhat higher than for the national inventory. ”

    Australian per-capita GHG emissions are often mentioned by politicians, however this is not a complete picture of GHG emissions context. The United States DOE Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center contains publicly accessible information on emissions. Current Australian per-capita figures from CDIAC Per capita emissions are also available, which show Australia 12th.

    Perhaps more important, for the “polluter pays principle” is that in terms of total emissions on a yearly basis the most current (CDIAC) Top 20 Emitting Countries by Total Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions for 2007 puts Australia at number 16. Available online :


    The “List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions” is another publically available source
    which gives a handy % figure, showing that Australia is currently contributing only
    1.28% of total global emissions on a yearly basis :


    Professor David JC MacKay in the Department of Physics at the University of
    Cambridge (UK) and member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on
    Climate Change in his book (2008) “Sustainable Energy — without the hot air”, UIT
    Cambridge Ltd discusses this issue of greenhouse gas emissions in context :

    “Historical responsibility for climate impact
    If we assume that the climate has been damaged by human activity, and that someone
    needs to fix it, who should pay? Some people say “the polluter should pay.” The
    preceding pictures showed who’s doing the polluting today. But it isn’t the rate of CO
    pollution that matters, it’s the cumulative total emissions; much of the emitted carbon
    dioxide (about one third of it) will hang around in the atmosphere for at least 50 or
    100 years. If we accept the ethical idea that “the polluter should pay” then we should ask
    how big is each country’s historical footprint.”


    “In total terms the biggest historical emitters are, in order, USA (322 GtCO2), Russian
    Federation (90 GtCO2), China (89 GtCO2), Germany (78 GtCO2), UK (62 GtCO2), Japan
    (43 GtCO2), France (30 GtCO2), India (25 GtCO2), and Canada (24 GtCO2). The per-
    capita order is: Luxembourg, USA, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Qatar, and Canada.”


    In terms of historical emissions Australia doesn’t even get a mention in these
    rankings. Some information on historical and other rankings is publically available from
    the World Resources Institute (WRI) in the document “Navigating the Numbers :
    Greenhouse Gas Data and International Climate Policy” :


    I really wish that politicians will one day come up with a valid policy in an “Australian context” instead of blindly copying the big historical polluters. The end result of bad policy is pouring money down the drain / into the pockets of so-called green(d) energy. This project represents $1million less of public money that could have gone to health, education etc. while the only concrete effect it seems it will have is assuaging the collective guilt while doing nothing to significantly reduce Australian or global emissions.

  3. Dave,

    Thank you for your interest. I’m happy to address the issues you have raised in relation to Hepburn Wind.

    Our CO2 figure is based on two numbers:
    — The estimate of 12,200 MWh of electricity per annum is provided by Garrad Hassan, the Australia leader in wind energy analysis, and was based on more than 12 months of actual data. This is the P50 value, which means that it is projected that we will exceed this number 50% of all years.
    — The rate of 1.0 ton/MWh is sourced from Sustainability Victoria based on published and generally accepted work by respected economics firm MMA (now SKM-MMA).

    We have now received $1.7m of government assistance. With this and our members’ funds we will be abating as much CO2 as the houses in the largest town in our shire currently cause. We have also created local employment and spent more than $7m in Australia, mostly in regional Victoria. We have also funded a significant research initiative into how to manage distributed generation in weak regional grids. Over the course of our project we will return a greater amount to our community in sustainability grants than we have ever received in taxpayer funds, not to mention wages, taxes and on-going expenditure.

    We have also stimulated more than 40 other communities around the country to investigate adopting variants of our model. We expect that many will proceed.

    I’m proud of what we’ve done with the grants we have received and I’ll defend them as a good use of public money.

    While the tree example we’ve used is simplistic, your analysis is even more so. You have forgotten about purchasing the land, maintenance and eventually (when the trees are mature) chopping them all down, sequstering the timber and replanting. If you believe planting trees would achieve more than we have, then go for it.

    You ask whether our electricity generation figures will be publically available. Well yes, they are for every generator on the national electricity network (visit AEMO’s website), but just to be sure you have access, our generation numbers will be available on our website, in our annual report, in our local newspaper and eventually we hope to have them on an electronic sign locally and also in an iPhone application.

    I don’t understand where you are going with the 0.000041% of global emissions argument or the uncertainty values. Sounds like you don’t support any activity that has small global effect. Plenty of moral hazards there. Happy to discuss if you can explain what you mean.

    But before we engage in a sensible discussion, can I please just check whether you accept that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are likely to increase average global temperatures by more than 2C (since industrialisation), and that this isn’t desirable?

    Thanks for your questions.


  4. Thanks for the response. I’ll get back to you , hopefully this evening, on this issue. I have a pretty full on day today.

  5. I have just finished my reply, however, as its late, I will sleep on it, and check it in the morning before posting.

  6. Thank you for the reply. To address the last point first as requested, re human made global warming (as I assume that is what is meant). My position is this :

    I have a BSc (1st Class Honours) and a PhD in Computer Science, not climate science. My area of expertise is sound / noise / complex systems and chaos theory. I am still reading / researching the issue of climate change, which is quite a lot of work, so at present I will have to say that I have not come to a final conclusion either way. I am also aware that fossil fuels will not last forever. In other words, I am not denying that climate change “may” be influenced by anthropogenic activity. But its only part of the picture. It “may” additionally be influenced by many areas that are not man-made, for example :

    D. Dunn and J. P. Crutchfield, “Entomogenic Climate Change: Insect bioacoustics and Future Forest Ecology”, Leonardo 42:3 (2009) 239-244.

    ABSTRACT: “Rapidly expanding insect populations, deforestation, and global climate change threaten to destabilize key planetary carbon pools, especially the Earth’s forests which link the micro-ecology of insect infestation to climate. To the extent mean temperature increases, insect populations accelerate deforestation. This alters climate via the loss of active carbon sequestration by live trees and increased carbon release from decomposing dead trees. A positive feedback loop can emerge that is self-sustaining—no longer requiring independent climate-change drivers. Current research regimes and insect control strategies are insufficient at present to cope with the present regional scale of insect-caused deforestation, let alone its likely future global scale. Extensive field recordings demonstrate that bioacoustic communication plays a role in infestation dynamics and is likely to be a critical link in the feedback loop. These results open the way to novel detection and monitoring strategies and nontoxic control interventions.”

    D. Dunn and J. P. Crutchfield, “Insects, Trees, and Climate: The Bioacoustic Ecology of Deforestation and Entomogenic Climate Change”, in en Resonancia: Noves Fronteres de la Ciencia, L’Art i el Pensament, J. Perello, editor, Tallers Grafics Hostench., Venecuela (2009) 106-142

    ABSTRACT: “Accumulating observational evidence suggests an intimate connection between rapidly expanding insect populations, deforestation, and global climate change. We review the evidence, emphasizing the vulnerability of key planetary carbon pools, especially the Earth’s forests that link the micro-ecology of insect infestation to climate. We survey current research regimes and insect control strategies, concluding that at present they are insufficient to cope with the problem’s present regional scale and its likely future global scale. We propose novel bioacoustic interactions between insects and trees as key drivers of infestation population dynamics and the resulting wide-scale deforestation. The bioacoustic mechanisms suggest new, nontoxic control interventions and detection strategies.”

    I do believe we (humans) are (have) over-stepping the mark in terms of our pollution, and I think investigating and implementing sensible, scientific and well thought out measures to reduce GHG emissions is required. For Australia, this needs to be done in an Australian, as well as a global context, as I stated in my earlier comments. The “polluter pays principle” is invoked by government and developers as a reason for pushing large scale renewables in Australia. As I have quoted Prof MacKay above, it is clear that in order to make sound policy decisions based on such a principle one cannot rely on per-capita emissions to tell the whole story. We are 16th ranking (1.28% of global emissions) for yearly total emissions, and cumulatively/historically Australia also has a very low ranking. I think knee-jerk, blind, ideological application of large scale renewables (at great economic cost), without acknowledgement that they are NOT environmentally benign and honestly addressing such issues, is a very dangerous road. I think there are also many other pressing issues as I mentioned, such as health, education, public transport, or climate change research etc. that public money such as the $1.7million for Hepburn wind could be better spent on.

    It worries me immensely when I see sites such as this, and many others, that pretend or ignore that large scale renewables don’t have problems, and simplistically gloss over them by echoing classic wind-industry spin. I am also aware that environmental impacts will likely be true for any form of energy. Clearly, its not going to be easy.

    What I support are sound scientific solutions to significantly reducing GHG emissions. I have yet to see any convincing evidence that large scale wind works at significantly reducing GHG emissions, or can be a viable energy source in its own right, or be environmentally responsible (which it clearly has failed miserably at). Put simply, I’m not against the science of global warming / climate change, renewable energy or economic incentives, I am against proposed solutions that don’t make good scientific sense. To date there has been NO independent, objective proof presented internationally that GHG emissions have been significantly reduced, nor that any coal power plant has been shut down due to wind power added to the grid. A potential proposed solution to a problem requires the proponent to prove its efficacy. The burden of proof rests with the wind industry (i.e. the proponent).

    So I question just what are the motives here ? It appears to me (and forgive my frankness) that such projects are more about feel-good back slapping, “political correctness” and investment opportunities, because as is clear from the Hepburn Wind GHG reduction figures, the effect is basically and to all intents and purposes, meaningless (apart from in the minds of its investors). That is where I am coming from by pointing out that this project will result in a reduction of only 0.0014% of Australia’s total emissions & 0.000041% of global emissions. The suggestion is made that I “… don’t support any activity that has small global effect.” My pointing out the % of uncertainty in the governments GHG reporting figures should make it clear : this far outweighs Hepburn Wind’s, and in fact the entire wind fleet of the NEM’s, ability to make any meaningful difference in GHG reductions. Such a small global or national effect is lost in the noise of our own reporting figures. I appreciate Hepburn Wind think this is setting good example, but their thinking that does not make it worthwhile. So no, I am afraid I do not support it at this price to the taxpayer ($1.7million + the RECS). What Hepburn Wind does with its own and its investor’s money is up to them (providing they are environmentally responsible and are good neighbours). I will be interested to see how spending the investors money in the community is allocated, however, if this is a community “wind farm” then surely this money is already in the community ?

    I am really pleased you will be making the electricity generation figures for the Hepburn wind project available and I will follow it with great interest. I commend you for that. If only the same information were available for Crookwell I, which has never been published despite FOI requests (as I understand it).

    Regarding the reports by McLennan Magasanik Associates (MMA), a firm I note that was setup by one of Hepburn Wind’s Directors. There is the one for Sustainability Victoria, and the one they did for NSW DECCW : “Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Abatement from Wind Farms in NSW”. This is actually computer modelling and not real world measurements or empirical evidence / data, despite the inclusion of the extremely misleading title of Section 3, page 7 :

    “Measuring Emissions Abatement from Wind Farms”. I repeat this is a computer modelling attempt at estimation NOT measurement of any physical quantity. Its suggested that these reports are “generally accepted”. But has this report undergone any “independent” and objective peer review process whatsoever ? Particularly as this is now used as an instrument to push renewable energy policy by NSW DECCW ? As a computer scientist I understand how computer models are made, but they must be able to replicate real world results. Where is the real-world emissions data that the MMA models are judged against?

    The web link given by the MMA report is http://www.mmassociates.com.au which redirects straight to http://www.skmmma.com/ (Sinclair Knight Merz Pty Ltd). From here one can find :


    “Sinclair Knight Merz supports wind energy developers, financial institutions, equipment suppliers and operators world-wide throughout all aspects of the project life cycle, including site prospecting, consenting, design, procurement, construction,
    commissioning, operation and maintenance and replanting.”

    Is this a good recipe for impartiality? Regarding the claims of 1.0 t/MWh I refer you to the IPCC renewables report where a figure of 0.6t/MWh is suggested :

    Proceedings of the 2008 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
    “Scoping Meeting on Renewable Energy Sources” (http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/supporting-material/proc-renewables-lubeck.pdf).

    On p122 the Chairman of the Global Wind Energy Council in his paper “Status and Perspectives of Wind Energy” states in relation to Gas/Coal mix accounting for the majority of electricity generation for the next 20 years : “it makes sense to use a figure of 600 tonnes per GWh as an average value for the carbon dioxide reduction to be obtained from wind generation.” And of course if gas alone is being displaced the figure will be lower, most likely around 0.36t/MWh.

    The recent research and testimony to US House of Representatives of Professor Jay Apt, the executive director of the Electricity Industry Center at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business and Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, addresses the issues of lack of emissions reduction by gas power stations used to mitigate the variability of industrial wind power stations. In a peer-reviewed research paper co-authored with Warren Katzenstein, “Air Emissions Due To Wind and Solar Power”, Environmental Science & Technology (2009) Vol 43 No 2 pages 253-258, their research shows :

    “Renewable energy emissions studies have not accounted for the change in emissions from power sources that must be paired with variable renewable generators”

    “In many locations, natural gas turbines will be used to compensate for variable renewables. When turbines are quickly ramped up and down, their fuel use (and thus CO2 emissions) may be larger than when they are operated at a steady power level. Systems that mitigate other emissions such as NOx may not operate optimally when the turbines’ power level is rapidly changed.“

    “Carbon dioxide emissions reductions from a wind (or solar PV) plus natural gas system are likely to be 75-80% of those presently assumed by policy makers. Nitrous oxide reduction from such a system depends strongly on the type of NOx control and how it is dispatched. For the best system we examined, NOx reductions with 20% wind or solar PV penetration are 30-50% of those expected. For the worst, emissions are increased by 2-4 times the expected reductions with a 20% RPS [Renewables Portfolio Standards] using wind or solar PV.”

    “We have shown that the conventional method used to calculate displaced emissions is inaccurate, particularly for NOx emissions. A region-specific analysis can be performed with knowledge of displaced generators, dispatched compensating generators, and the transient emissions performance of the dispatched compensating generators. The results shown here indicate that at large scale variable renewable generators may require that careful attention be paid to the emissions of compensating generators to minimize additional pollution.”

    The above demonstrates that the answer’s are far from clear, the emissions reduction from wind (& solar) are far from cut and dried.

    Regarding planting trees. Generally, folk who plant trees already own and maintain their land. The following rough figures have been provided to me by a local farmer who plants trees to help the planet. So I will just present his reply to my query, and if any more detailed costings are required I’ll be happy to obtain them :

    “Direct seeding of trees costs :
    Do-able at about 3 kms an hour (1500 trees per hour)
    So the total is roughly $150/km

    Expect with a good germination 1 tree every metre, but say 1 tree every 2 metres to be safe, then 30c/tree. Perhaps some site prep but not costing much.

    Basically encourage farmers to lease or give land up for trees (for which they get income when harvested + environmental and agricultural benefits.)

    The life span of the trees to harvest will be comparable to the life span of the turbines and contracts, 20-30 years. I would suggest decommissioning costs for turbines will far out weigh costs of harvesting trees.

    If trees are tubestock and planted by hand or machine, probably looking at 40c/tree plus labour to plant plus site preparation, say roughly $1.50 as a final per tree figure being extreme with costings to be safe.

    Pretty cheap outcome for individual farmers, community and the world re. carbon sequestration and environmental benefits, is actually reversing the emissions process, not just reducing the amount emitted.”

    Clearly this is a lot less cost than wind turbines. So for the 18,000 trees, equivalent to the Hepburn Wind Farm, taking the more expensive $1.50 per tree figure this would roughly equal a total cost of $27,000 ($6,750 or 4,500 trees per MW) for the same GHG emissions reduction benefit of $1.7million of public money, and a $13million total project cost. And it would only take 12 hours to plant them by direct seeding (18,000/1500 = 12) + a few hours of additional site prep. It is also not necessary, of course, to harvest the trees, and they could easily remain as a useful environmental resource e.g. green corridors, wildlife habitat.

    The comment regarding decommissioning is pertinent. From meetings with other landholders who are or have been approached by industrial wind energy companies it is evident that they are under the impression that they will benefit from the “scrap value” for turbines when they are no longer in service. Governments and Planning Departments, are also being given the false impression by the wind developer project application documents that decommissioning costs will be covered by scrap value. This is not true and represents a significant problem for the future and further demonstrates that industrial wind energy developments are NOT environmentally responsible.

    Decommissioning is a very expensive, industrially intensive process. The decommissioning process outweighs potential scrap value and currently requires adherence to State Government legislation in the form of a Decommissioning Management Plan (in NSW at least), which currently includes, but is not limited to: disposal of non- recyclable components, removal within 18 months of any wind turbine that is continuously inoperable for 12 months (which may occur through a fault or economics), restoration of land and vegetation, removal of infrastructure and access roads within 12 months, procedures for notification of surrounding landholders of decommissioning activities as this will again be intrusive to the surrounding community.

    A 2008 USA study on public record was independently commissioned regarding realistic decommissioning costs for a currently proposed 124 turbine project in West Virginia. This study, by Energy Ventures Analysis Inc (EVA), found that the wind energy companies engineering decommissioning report stating that costs would be covered by scrap were incorrect. EVA found that the decommissioning costs for that particular 124 wind turbine development were underestimated by US$10million. The final decommissioning estimate, at 2008 prices, was US$100,000 per turbine, resulting in an up front bond estimate of US$12+million at the start of the project.

    The costs of decommissioning will likely have risen since the EVA report. It is becoming more likely that future industrial wind energy projects will now require an up front bond, without inclusion of any scrap value due to the fluctuating nature of the scrap metal market. Should such large bonds be required by any future government legislation, these would be an additional financial burden that may halt a project after a lease has been signed, potentially leaving the landholder tied to an onerous long term lease agreement without income. The potential problem should decommissioning not be underwritten is that this financial burden reverts to the landholder and/or the community.

    Also see : Comfrey Wind Energy, LLC, (2007) “Docket Number: IP6630/WS-07-318
    Decommissioning – Estimated Cost and Funding Analysis for Comfrey Wind Energy – REVISED, page 31a”, Minnesota Dept. of Commerce. Energy Facility Permitting, Siting and Routing

    This decommissioning report submitted on 1st August 2007 is the estimated costs by Comfrey Wind Energy for fifteen Suzlon S88 2.1MW wind turbines, hub height 80m and rotor diameter 88m. Total estimated cost to dismantle & remove turbine per unit without scrap value is US$154,000. No other infrastructure dismantling costs were submitted in this report.

    For a ruling on decommissioning see : State Of Vermont Public Service Board (2009) “Docket No. 7250, Section VI Decommissioning Fund”, pages 91-96. Available on line from Government of Vermont website at :


    Some excerpts from the ruling relating to decommissioning:

    ”The establishment of a fund to decommission the Project is necessary in the event the Project does not succeed, or to ensure its timely and permanent removal at the end of its useful life.”

    “Salvage value for scrap is vulnerable to market price volatility and thus should not be considered a reliable funding source for decommissioning the Project. The amount placed in the decommissioning fund should represent the full estimated costs of decommissioning without netting out estimated salvage value.”

    The decommissioning issue was highlighted in the 2009 NSW Inquiry in to Rural Wind Farms with reference to the California Wind Rush, which has resulted in approximately 14,500 abandoned industrial scale wind turbines due to a failure of government to implement adequate decommissioning legislation. In the Inquiry Committee’s Report of 16 Dec 2009, Recommendation 9 states :

    “That the Minister for Planning address decommissioning of wind turbines in the NSW Planning and Assessment Guide for Wind Farms, including responsibility for decommissioning, the time period in which turbines should be dismantled and removed and how decommissioning will be funded. And that the Government consider requiring the developer to pay a bond.”

    For an excellent summary of the Californian experience (and a brief mention of the Enron legacy) I suggest the following :


    Does the Hepburn Wind project have a decommissioning bond, and if so what is the credit rating and value of this bond? Please note I am not asking if there is a “plan” or “agreement” I am specifically asking if decommissioning is financially secured by an adequate bond.

    Regarding some of the negative environmental impacts of industrial scale wind developments, the National Academies (Science, Engineering and Medicine) in the USA published a recent study relating to the mid-Atlantic region in 2007 “Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects” available at : http://books.nap.edu/catalog/11935.html

    On page 8 of the executive summary is a section regarding ecological impacts they state :

    “The construction and maintenance of wind-energy facilities also alter ecosystem structure through vegetation clearing, soil disruption and potential for erosion, and noise. Alteration of vegetation, including forest clearing, represents perhaps the most significant potential change through fragmentation and loss of habitat for some species.”

    A selection of quotes from the Preface of the report on page ix states :

    “The generation of electricity from wind energy is surprisingly controversial. At first glance, obtaining electricity from a free source of energy—the wind—seems to be an optimum contribution to the nation’s goal of energy independence and to solving the problem of climate warming due to greenhouse gas emissions. As with many first glances, however, a deeper inspection results in a more complicated story.”

    “Building wind-energy installations with large numbers of turbines can disrupt landscapes and habitats, and the rotating turbine blades sometimes kill birds and bats. Calculating how much wind energy currently displaces other, presumably less-desirable, energy sources is complicated, and predicting future displacements is surrounded by uncertainties.”

    This has become rather a long reply, but I did want to address the main aspects of the above reply to my initial comments. My Senate Inquiry submission number 715 is available for download at :


  7. Dave, Congratulations on your first class honours.
    x It is disingenuous to state that we are 16th on the list of emitters when, of the countries of significant population, we rank a close second globally in emissions / capita. If China or India were to emit like Australia and the US then, based upon the best available science, the future looks bleak.
    x I acknowledge that no energy source is entirely environmentally benign. I haven’t met anyone with this extreme position.
    x Your statement about measurability is flawed. If every community reduced their emissions by 0.000041% it would make no difference, however if every community took an action like HW’s, then we would reduce global emissions significantly.
    x Your uncertainty argument is silly. The same logic would allow me to say that “Since there is no emitter in the world that emits more than the 3% uncertainty figure, the sum total of all emitters globally is not significant”. Furthermore, the same logic would state that no-one should ever be responsible for their behaviour as it will always be insignificant.
    x Your tree example is flawed. You have forgotten to include land acquisition and sequestration, both of which would be required to sustainably achieve ongoing abatement of 12,200 tone/year. You have also not counted the economic and social benefits of HW that are missing from your proposed tree farm.
    x What is your point about the linkage between MMA and HW? Are you implying that somehow HW has influenced MMA to lie?
    x You should read the MMA report before getting lost in a foxhole of foreign numbers. The numbers vary from country to country due to the different fuel mixes. By all means write a counter report to MMA, but you at least owe it to us all to read the report before sowing uncertainty and doubt.
    x Your next 1000 words seem built on the assumption that there are ‘backup generators’ for wind farms. This is a common misconception and has been dealt with elsewhere. Note that over the last decade 1.9 GW of wind has been added to the Australian grid, however the amount of backup power (‘ancillary services’) has not increased.

    I could go on, but I believe that we might be wasting each others’ time.

    I suspect that you will only acknowledge the benefits of projects like HW if you believe that we need to rapidly transform our energy sector toward lower emissions intensity.

    If you don’t hold this belief, then I’ll leave it to someone else to pick up the discussion.

  8. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

    It is not disingenuous to state that Australia is 16th on the list of emitters for current total yearly emissions, it is a fact. It is also a fact that historically Australia is way down the list of cumulative/historic emissions. As I pointed out in my earlier comment Prof MacKay, also Chief Scientific adviser to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) describes the “polluter pays principle” at the start of his book “Sustainable Energy – without the hot air” quite clearly stating “it isn’t the rate of CO2
pollution that matters, it’s the cumulative total emissions”.

    The statement that : “If China or India were to emit like Australia and the US…” is just that, an “if”, a thought experiment of no substance and clearly no basis in reality. The Australian population is currently ranked 50th with 0.32% of the world population, China is number 1 with 19.4%, India number 2 with 17.5%, USA number 3 with 4.5%, according to :


    For more in depth population detail see the US Census Bureau’s International Data Base (IDB) :


    where Australia is pushed down a little more to number 55 according to the most recent figures.

    The United States DOE Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) contains publically accessible information on emissions. The latest Australian per capita fossil-fuel CO2 emission rates from CDIAC show Australia at number 12, not number 2 as you incorrectly stated. I hope these incorrect statements have not been made to the Hepburn Wind investors. See :


    Even wikipedia manages to get it right :


    This further goes to show why per capita emissions don’t tell the whole story, because China and India are way down the list on per capita emissions, and yet in terms of total yearly global emissions they are already ranked 1 & 3 respectively, with USA ranked 2.


    The Wikipedia breakdown, which shows the same information, is here :


    The statement : “I acknowledge that no energy source is entirely environmentally benign. I haven’t met anyone with this extreme position.”

    We agree on that then, that’s good. I’ve met plenty of people who think wind is environmentally benign, many of these people are politicians, even more are wind developers, and plenty of ordinary folk who read the spin and “fact sheets” put out by these people think it too. Given that Hepburn Wind admits wind energy is not completely environmentally benign, then why the term “clean energy” ?

    The statement : “If every community reduced their emissions by 0.000041% it would make no difference, however if every community took an action like HW’s, then we would reduce global emissions significantly.”

    Makes no logical sense, it effectively says Hepburn Wind both will and won’t make any difference.

    The statement : “The same logic would allow me to say that “Since there is no emitter in the world that emits more than the 3% uncertainty figure, the sum total of all emitters globally is not significant”. Furthermore, the same logic would state that no-one should ever be responsible for their behaviour as it will always be insignificant.”

    No, that is incorrect, neither of those statements can be inferred from what I said.

    The statement : “You have forgotten to include land acquisition and sequestration, both of which would be required to sustainably achieve ongoing abatement of 12,200 tone/year. You have also not counted the economic and social benefits of HW that are missing from your proposed tree farm.”

    No. I did not forget land acquisition, if you read my sentence, it states “Generally, folk who plant trees already own and maintain their land.” In fact the person I got the figures off has planted his own trees at his own cost, because it was so cheap. He’s planted about 125,000 trees on his property and provided me with the costings I quoted. Additionally have a look at CO2 Australia & Oil Mallee Association of Australia Inc, lots of environmental, social and community benefit, they also cover issues regarding approaching landholders about using their land.


    “CO2 Australia is the Australian market leader in the establishment and management of forest carbon sinks intended for registration under formal emissions reduction schemes.”

    See the Senate Inquiry into the Social and Economic Impacts of Rural Wind Farms submission (number 333 + attachments, and additional info number 18, submitted as Oil Mallee Association of Australia Inc).



    Your comment on sequestration doesn’t make sense at all. For information on carbon sequestration see :


    The statement : “What is your point about the linkage between MMA and HW? Are you implying that somehow HW has influenced MMA to lie?”

    No. I asked a direct question : “Has this report undergone any “independent” and objective peer review process whatsoever ? Particularly as this is now used as an instrument to push renewable energy policy by NSW DECCW ?” Which still requires an answer.

    The statement : “Your next 1000 words seem built on the assumption that there are ‘backup generators’ for wind farms. This is a common misconception and has been dealt with elsewhere.”

    This is important because the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) in their State of the Energy Market Report 2009 does not agree with that, (p38) :

    “Gas is likely to play an important role under climate change policies in complementing intermittent renewable electricity generation. Wind generation — the likely primary renewable technology to 2020 — has intermittent output and must be backed up by other generation. Open cycle gas plants can respond quickly when there is insufficient wind generation, but any new plant is likely to operate at relatively low capacity factors. There will also be an increased need for gas transmission and storage to provide gas at short notice.”

    This report is freely available from the Australian Energy Regulator’s website :


    I hardly need point out that displacement of gas means that emissions reduction figures will be roughly 0.36t/MWh, about third what they would be for coal displacement. This, of course, does not factor in Professor Apt’s research described in my earlier comments regarding the possibility of emissions actually being increased due to winds variability when paired with fossil fuel power stations.

    In what appears to be a landmark case, the American Tradition Institute (ATI) has just initiated proceedings to take the State of Colorado to court over the constitutionality of the state’s Renewable Energy Standard mandate because of the erratic variability of wind causing an increase in the State’s emissions. For this unfolding story see :



    “The heart of the lawsuit addresses both the uneconomical and environmentally harmful nature of wind-generated energy. In addition to higher costs than traditional generating sources, wind energy creates more pollution because it requires coal or natural gas as backup generation when the wind either does not blow, or when it blows too hard and causes systems to shut off.”

    Interesting stuff…

    I then asked some important questions regarding decommissioning and its funding, which is a fair question for any investor in Hepburn Wind to ask, completely irrespective of any of the above points I have made. Those questions have not been answered, and are clearly important irrespective of whether I personally “believe” in the Hepburn Wind scheme or not.

    The “homes powered” figures that are constantly portrayed by the wind industry,
    Government, at the Hepburn Wind website and in the media are very misleading for the general public. Because a wind power station cannot provide any security of supply. Again Prof MacKay explains why this should be avoided in “Sustainable Energy – without the hot air” :


    “The “home” annoys me because I worry that people confuse it with the total power consumption of the occupants of a home – but the latter is actually about 24 times bigger. The “home” covers the average domestic electricity consumption of a household, only. Not the household’s home heating. Nor their workplace. Nor their transport. Nor all the energy-consuming things that society does for them.“


    Finally, Denmark is often quoted as model country, with around 20% of electricity coming from wind. However, in Prof MacKay’s book Fig I.9, which shows world figures for carbon intensity of electricity production (g CO2 per kWh of electricity), Denmark has the highest intensity of emissions for electricity generation :


    Thank you again for taking the time to reply, I look forward to hearing your response.

  9. Simon, when will hepburn wind publish the wind speed data from the site at leonards hill?
    Id like to see how the wind varies over any given daily/monthly period? i realise there is a average wind speed published but this is basically a waste of time as the wind may blow at over 90kph for a certain amount of time and the turbines be shut down, so it really skews the figures.
    It would be great to see how much power can be made and how consistant the winds are there.

  10. Dave, If you can look at raw data clearly showing that, amongst populous nations, Australia is the second highest per-capital CO2 emitter and fail to appreciate the mind-blowing implications of another two billion people catching up to us unless we transform our energy sector starting now…

    and if you believe that redirecting funding from renewables to tree planting is a serious option in addressing the critical challenge of reducing emissions intensity…

    and if you really believe that there actually is a reserved slice of a ‘back up’ gas generator wherever there is a wind turbine, idling at the ready waiting for the express purpose of backing up the turbine…

    and if you allege that major consultancies like MMA lack rigour and integrity and are participating in a massive global conspiracy which includes the governments of more than 70 countries where wind turbines are being rapidly deployed…

    and if you believe that turbine owners should place bonds on decommissioning turbines, but that this requirement shouldn’t apply for any other infrastructure or consumer item…

    and if you can dig up the same tired and debunked Landscape Guardian’s lies and misinformation and call it ‘interesting stuff…’

    …then I wish you well as you continue on your google and wikipedia fuelled conspiratorial jaunts around the darker side of the internet. While you are there, I challenge you to find optimistic doers rather than pessimistic naysayers.

    However, if you want to meet face-to-face to discuss your world view and talk about solutions rather than objections, please look me up — I’d be happy to engage in serious and constructive conversation.

  11. Please provide real scientific proof that wind energy is a cost-efficient energy solution — in other words provide a comprehensive, objective, transparent and empirical assessment of its claimed merits.

    When you have that, please forward it to me. Then we can get together to talk.

  12. Simon, could you please let us know if you will publish the wind speed data on a daily and monthly basis from the site at leonards hill?
    Could you also let me know why it was not published in your prospectus? i would have thought this would have been one of the most important bits of information for someone wanting to invest in wind energy.

  13. Sammy, I would be happy to sit down and show you the wind data for Leonards Hill. Please send me an email through the HW website to arrange a time.

  14. I to would love to see the wind speed data published Simon, it always seems to me that someone is hiding something detrimental to their aims if they are not willing to share it with us.
    I believe my solar hot water, electricity and tree planting is doing much more for the enviroment than your turbines ever will for the hepburn shire. It will cost the community more for power, mine now costs less!
    I see you have offered sammy a meeting, would you consider holding a meeting to discuss the wind speed data with a few people and the media present?

  15. Simon, i dont really want to have to come and meet you everytime i want to see how much power is being made, im sure your not a bad bloke but logistically it might be difficult!
    if you published live wind speed on your website it would be a great way for all to see how much energy is being produced.

  16. Bruce, I would be happy to sit down and show you the wind data for Leonards Hill. Please send me an email through the HW website to arrange a time.

  17. like cam, i’m tiring of reading the rants of and copping abuse from the anonymous snipers on this blog. do they really care about rational discussion and community cohesion?

    why is it that neither sammy or bruce (are they the same person?) are prepared to use their real names or to meet face to face?

    as mentioned above, i’m more than happy to sit down and discuss our wind data with anyone.

    i’ve got nothing to hide. what have/has sammy, bruce and mick got to hide?

  18. Simon, stop trying to dodge answering the question, it doesnt matter who put it to you, why wont you put the power production live on your website?
    I dont see what is sniping about that, this states taxpayers forked out 1.7 mil to you guys but you refuse to answer a simple question, why? As a taxpayer i think we all deserve to see how our money has been spent, dont you think that is fair? If it works well then there will be no argument against you, but if you choose to keep figures hidden it will perpetrate the belief that something is a bit fishy.

  19. Sammy/Mick/Gerard/Bruce: I have been very clear that we will be voluntarily publishing our production data.
    Your comments come across as agressive and confused. Perhaps if you engaged in rational conversation, without hiding behind an assumed identity, you would come to find that there is no great conspiracy theory. As discussed, I would be more than happy to meet with you in person to discuss your concerns.

  20. Simon, where did you say you would be publishing your data? i have not seen this, and if you are i commend you, why not also make the wind speed data available?
    Can you be a little more clearer on what you find confusing? prehaps your just not able to comprehend the questions being asked?
    You also say im hiding behind a identity, can you please explain this and how you come to this conclusion, or are you just trying to discredit me by making this assumption? what further information would you like to verify my identity?
    You have consistantly refused to answer simple questions until now saying you will publish production data, but than try to denegrate me for asking questions, is this not what a forum is for?
    I have no interest in meeting you in person, ive got better things to do, that is why i ask questions online.

  21. hi Sammy

    i don’t have anything to contribute about the wind data debate (although you do seem a little obsessed by it).

    But just to pick up on your last response to Simon:
    “You also say im hiding behind a identity, can you please explain this and how you come to this conclusion”.

    I take his statement to be pretty straight forward. its a simple question: where do you live and whats your name. The 4 key ‘antis’ who write on this blog at present are anonymous, including yourself. You seem to have similar pre-occupations but divulge no info about yourselves. I am starting to assume you are the same person writing under various names. I interperete this anonimity as meaning you have something to hide, and do think its reasonable to know who you are, where you’re from (general region), and what your affiliations are. Why don’t you want to offer this info?

  22. I find it odd that Simon cant answer my questions, but then asks me my name and where i live.
    I have now put in my last name and i can tell you i live in a inner bayside suburb of melbourne and have no affiliation with any group, be it pollitical or anything else (except a footy club!). I wonder will this effect my credibility, or more importantly will it effect my ability to get a straight answer?
    It should make no difference who is asking questions, as long as its done in a respectful manner which i always have, although when you are constantly ignored you do need to apply a little more pressure.
    So Simon now you have this information from me when will you publish the wind speed data from the met tower at leonards hill? and yes i am looking forward to seeing your power production data once you become operational.

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