Let’s have a real discussion, not orchestrated rallies against wind farms

Penshurst anti-windfarm meeting flyer
Anti-windfarm meeting flyer

Last week’s anti-windfarm meeting at Penshurst made a minor stir in the news after renewable energy advocate Matt Wright, from Beyond Zero Emissions, was able to grab the floor of the meeting to briefly respond to the stacked anti-windfarm panel.

Other climate activists from Melbourne were shouted down when they tried to make statements to the meeting.

Sarah Laurie was apparently unable to make it, but Peter Mitchell of the Landscape Guardians and Waubra Foundation spoke.

Sadly, local Coalition MPs David O’Brien and Simon Ramsay seem to think the anti-wind majority at last Thursday’s rally in Penshurst is representative of community views, according to the Hamilton Spectator’s article (see below). (Also covered in the Warrnambool Standard).

A contact who lives in Penshurst only found out about the meeting due to my information provided; there was no obvious local advertising, apparently, in this small town of only a few hundred residents.

[Correction, 11/6/2012: Another contact said they saw the poster at right in the local store just prior to the meeting.] 

When Matt Wright asked the meeting how many were “local” (which could legitimately include Hamilton, but not much further afield), only about 40 raised their hands. Later when the question was put again, apparently the contingent from the Mortlake area also put their hands up.

I think they were being a bit keen – they had their own, similar meeting just recently, at which Sarah Laurie actually spoke (and her talk to that is transcribed here).

Clearly, supporters of the anti-windfarm campaign travelled some distance to bolster the numbers at this meeting, and there seems to have been little effort to get a representative cross-section of the community. Some attendees were even recognised as campaigners against the Baynton wind farm near Seymour.

Hamilton Spectator, Tuesday June 5, page 3

Campaigners against windfarms are entitled to rally their supporters. They shouldn’t claim they represent the views of the broader community. Studies by both CSIRO and developer Pacific Hydro have both indicated a high level of community support for wind farms, including in the areas where they are already built.

It would be good to have a real debate rather than these rallies orchestrated by one side. We have another opportunity next week.

Senators John Madigan (Democratic Labor Party) and Nick Xenophon (independent) will host two public meetings on the impacts of wind farms, advertised on the website of the Australian Environment Foundation (an anti-windfarm, pro-nukes, pro-logging group, not to be confused with actual environmental campaigners).

June 12th Portland. 7pm Portland Arts Centre

June 13th: Bacchus Marsh. 7pm St Bernards Church hall, 61 Lerderderg St

We encourage supporters of wind energy to attend and shed some light on the real benefits to communities from the wind industry.

7 thoughts on “Let’s have a real discussion, not orchestrated rallies against wind farms

  1. You could be forgiven for thinking that many people have linked their understanding of climate science and the role of renewables to their party-political convictions. Once they are sure of their political affiliation, they are then sure about climate science as well.
    I am impressed with Simon Chapman’s (Uni of Sydney) summary of the ill effects of wind farms. Virtually every ill known to medical science is caused by wind farms.

  2. “Clearly, supporters of the anti-windfarm campaign travelled some distance to bolster the numbers at this meeting,..”

    Oh, so it’s a “bad thing” that people were willing to attend a meeting? This is rural Australia – people have to travel (at times) long distances to attend anything. And how about the recent Sutton Grange wind farm “forum” at which the majority of the audience were MASG stooges and plants from out of Sutton Grange. Meeting-stacking is OK as long as it’s your meeting, huh?

    “Australian Environment Foundation (an anti-windfarm, pro-nukes, pro-logging group, not to be confused with actual environmental campaigners).”

    AEF are more genuinely pro-environment than the vast majority of so-called “environment” and “sustainability” groups, from the UN, Greenpeace & WWF down to the local groups. People are waking up that the environment is only a vehicle to carry the Agenda 21, One World Government message. The wind farm & sola industries are in financial strife as power prices rise. When the Labor/Green carbon dioxide tax hits in ernest in a few months, more will realise what a scam the entire “climate industry” is.

  3. Mr Brown, if you had read my comments you would see I was not objecting to anti-windfarm campaigners organising a rally, however far the attendees may travel. I do wonder at the judgement of the MPs who think this represents local community opinions accurately, over studies by CSIRO and others.

    I could also point out, power prices are rising mainly due to upgrades of the electricity network (poles wires and substations). The wholesale price of electricity from generators is actually falling, due to renewable energy and the merit order effect (and falling electricity demand).

    It’s worth understanding this before you go arguing about it. Here’s a starter:
    https://yes2renewables.org/2011/12/21/the-merit-order-effect-how-renewables-enter-electricity-markets/

    Falling wholesale prices may not particularly help wind and solar, but it sure doesn’t help the big coal and gas generators, which is why some of them are now openly campaigning against solar feed-in tariffs and so forth. Now there’s a conspiracy theory for you to explore!

    But if you believe the “Agenda 21”-UN-one-world-government conspiracy theory stuff (and that the AEF are environmentalists) you may not be ready for that…

  4. It is interesting that in Europe and the US where wind farms have been established for many years there is very little in the way of objection from the broader community. Australia seems to be a bit special in this respect. While I don’t have a crystal ball or its high tech equivalent, I can only surmise it is related to the well known conservatism of Australians who seem reluctant to embrace change. We have a community wind farm established in the Hepburn Shire and while there are a few objectors to it, the overwhelming response is positive. There are more of these ‘local’ wind enterprises in Europe where people seem to be more sophisticated in their thinking about the future of life on earth.
    So far there are no large scale solar power plants in Australia and hence there are no objections to them.
    I suspect however, that once we have a big solar farm, there will be complaints about the ‘glare’ that is impacting the health of locals or some obscure low level ‘infra-glare’ that only came about since the opening of the said solar farm.
    I know this idea sound like a ‘conspiracy’ theory but I look forward to see what happens.
    At the moment, there is a small scale solar PV power plant located near the airport at Ballarat. It is quite small – a few hundred solar modules. And it is hard to find. The total height of the installation is about two metres so it is not readily visible.
    There are no objections to it as far as I have been able to detect.
    Is this because solar farms have no deleterious effects or because no-one knows it is there?
    We may not have to wait long to find out.
    The media this week announced plans for a couple of large scale solar power plants to start construction in the immediate future.

  5. Who needs parody when you have ideological anti wind campaigners….? this is a gem. Theres just no point poking fun at the ‘antis’ when their reality is often better than any parody I could come up with.

    Robert says:
    “People are waking up that the environment is only a vehicle to carry the Agenda 21, One World Government message”.

    Yes, totally right, John, the ‘environment’ is just a global conspiracy. (And as for Agenda 21. How horrible: imagine if we implemented it and everyone was forced to drink water thats safe, or have enough food to eat. Sounds like communisim to me).

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