The proposed Cherry Tree Range wind farm has made the small town of Trawool ground zero for anti-wind farm activists seeking to stall the rollout of crucial renewable energy projects. Over the last few months, people who live in Trawool, Seymour and surrounding areas, have been active in the letters to the editor columns of regional newspapers.
The Seymour Telegraph published the following letter to the editor on January 9, 2013, that outlines some of the scare campaign that has occurred. It is republished here with permission from the author:
The Australian Climate Commission released a report last week “Off the Charts: Extreme Australian summer heat” that gives further evidence to climate change, impacting on the lives of all of us with the sustained summer heat.
The Climate Commission notes:
“The length, extent and severity of the current Australian heatwave is unprecedented in the measurement record. Although Australia has always had heatwaves, hot days and bushfires, climate change is increasing the risk of more frequent and longer heatwaves and more extreme hot days, as well as exacerbating bushfire conditions.”
It further notes that climate change has contributed to making the current extreme heat conditions and bushfires worse.
As a course for action, the Climate Commission implores that “good community understanding of climate change risks is critical to ensure we take appropriate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions…… and to put measures in place to prepare for, and respond to, extreme weather”.
This is the elephant in the room conveniently and continually overlooked by opponents of renewable wind energy when one answer is in our back yard: climate change and extreme weather conditions are not something we can ignore.
Action to reduce greenhouse gases is a challenge for us all that may involve some visual discomfort in order to reduce greater climate change discomforts through inaction.
Wind power is a part of a mix of renewable, decentralized power generation options that include solar (large and domestic scale), hot rocks and tidal sources. Which option chosen depends on depending on the local advantage. Cherry Tree Range is attractive for wind power.
In this mix is a need for a quick response base load power generation source, and natural gas may provide for this interim new technology. Despite being a non-renewable fossil fuel, natural gas does provide a quick response power source that base load power stations must be designed for to complement surge renewable power sources, like wind and solar. Coal, by contrast, is the dirtier and less responsive- It has no place in a future of renewable energies and minimal greenhouse gas emissions.
The debate about a wind farm development at Cherry Tree Range needs to be developed on facts and science. The Climate Commission again underscores the urgency and the demands for action for the greater public good, or our extreme discomforts will increase. Disguising concerns for real estate values behind a fear campaign that ignores science is serving no public service.
“Off the Charts: Extreme Australian summer heat” is worth a read, and some deep consideration.
Peter Lockyer, Tallarook Ranges