ABC interview Yes 2 Renewables on the future of Tasmanian economy

In recent years, Tasmania has lagged behind the nation on key economic indicators. The Apple Isle has lost a third of all manufacturing jobs since the GFC and unemployment now stands above the national average. This situation cannot be sustained. In response to economic stagnation, … Continue reading ABC interview Yes 2 Renewables on the future of Tasmanian economy

The tale of the ‘Vegemite Man’…

The King Island Courier feature story on Y2R coordinator Leigh Ewbank.
The King Island Courier feature story on Y2R coordinator Leigh Ewbank.

Yes 2 Renewables community coordinator Leigh Ewbank travelled to King Island and came back with a reputation… Ewbank is now known on the island as the ‘Vegemite Man’.

Leigh Ewbank has visited the King Island to observe the community engagement process surrounding a wind farm proposal. State-owned energy company Hydro Tasmania has proposed a 200 MW wind farm for King Island and has given the community control over the fate of the project. After an initial round of public participation, King Islanders will decide whether the project goes to a full feasibility study or not. It is this unique model of community engagement that has caught our attention.

Last week, the No TasWind Farm Group controversially ejected Leigh Ewbank from a public meeting featuring Sarah Laurie–who  Crikey describes as a ‘well-known anti-wind farm campaigner.’ I’m told this move has caused quite a stir among islanders.

Here’s The King Island Courier with the whole story. Continue reading “The tale of the ‘Vegemite Man’…”

Where is the truth in the infrasound debate?

Question markUPDATE, Feb 27. We have now had 2 editions of the Weekend Australian, without the letter being published.

Even the most charitable person could be forgiven for drawing the conclusion that neither the paper or the journalist have the slightest interest in providing balance on this issue.

The Australian Acoustical Society provides a source of expertise in acoustics to the public, private corporations, small business, the legal system, standards organisations and government. Any reasonable person could be forgiven for thinking they may have something to contribute on the matter of infrasound and noise.

Apparently the Australian does not share this opinion.

Graham Lloyd, the environment editor of The Australian, has his work cut out for him. On the one hand, the paper has a clear line which it runs against climate science and renewable energy. On the other hand, all the science, economics and social research shows that renewables are winners and climate change is real.

As a person I have good regard for Graham and his motivations as a journalist. Faced with the need to provide balanced coverage for a paper with such clear political agendas, I ask myself, what’s a good man to do?

Sometimes, it would seem that he doesn’t even get a chance to make the right call. Take the case of ‘infrasound sickness’, which is the most exciting scare-mongering concept of the Landscape Guardians /  Waubra Foundation. Continue reading “Where is the truth in the infrasound debate?”

Energy Futures campaign launched

While a community backlash in Gippsland has forced the government to adopt a moratorium on hydraulic fracking operations, exploration for coal, coal seam and tight gas can continue. Exploration permits cover a large proportion of our best food producing land.

Victoria currently produces around 25% of Australia’s food, even though we have less than 4% of the arable land. There is strong resistance to the development of new fossil fuel projects in rural Victoria.

It is clear where the government of Ted Baillieu wants to steer Victoria, actively promoting coal production for local use and even supporting a new coal export industry, while placing impediments in the way of clean energy sources like wind.

Victorians must decide what type of energy future we want:

·    more dirty, coal fired power and the threat of coal exports, or
·    more renewables like wind, solar, wave energy and geothermal Continue reading “Energy Futures campaign launched”

Cherry Tree Range wind project still open for submissions

The wind farm will be on the ridge in the background. Image: Richard Telford, who notes: “the access road will be resited from this point and continue on to the existing track that can be seen leading up to the ridge, with little impact on vegetation”.

The Cherry Tree Wind Farm is in early stages of development, with a forecast installed capacity of 50 MW.

It is in the Trawool/Whiteheads Creek area, just south east of Seymour.

The proposal includes:

  • Construction of 16 wind turbines with a height of approximately 150 metres (pole height of 100 metres and blade height of 50 metres)
  • Associated infrastructure including a substation, overhead and underground cabling, site office and an operations building
  • Earthworks to allow access to the site
  • Removal of native vegetation to facilitate access and infrastructure on the site

A number of information sessions were held by the proponent (Infigen Energy) in December 2011. An anti-wind meeting was held in August 2012.

The Cherry Tree proposal is currently on public display. While the formal period for submissions is now over, Council have indicated that they will consider submissions up until the time it takes a decision on the proposal.

All planning documents can be found here. Continue reading “Cherry Tree Range wind project still open for submissions”

Victorian Government casts shadows over the solar houses of tomorrow

The following response to the state government’s announcement that it will reduce the Victorian feed-in tariff comes from the Alternative Technology Association.

The Baillieu Government has announced today that it will reduce the Victorian feed-in tariff to a level that is lower than the value of solar electricity in the energy market, according to the Alternative Technology Association (ATA).

The Victorian Government has announced its response to the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission’s Inquiry into Feed-in Tariffs for Victoria.

The Government will reduce the feed-in tariff rate for all household generators to eight cents per kilowatt-hour (8c/kWh).

Damien Moyse, ATA’s Energy Policy Manager said “The evidence suggests that electricity generated by solar systems is worth more than the average price of electricity in the wholesale market.

“Solar generates at times of high demand and reduces wholesale electricity prices, which leads to lower bills for all other consumers.”

Whilst the ATA was pleased to see a number of the policy aims, including the continued use of a legislated minimum amount, the inclusion of other sustainable technologies and smoother processes for grid connection, the lower feed-in rate falls a long way short of the economic value of electricity from solar in the energy market. Continue reading “Victorian Government casts shadows over the solar houses of tomorrow”

What’s worse: an open cut or a turbine?

Some anti-wind campaigners from NSW have been circulating famous Australian paintings with turbines super imposed – presumably to highlight the perceived visual impacts of turbines. It does beg the question of impact – given that we need to get energy from somewhere, what would we prefer: an open cut coal mine or a turbine? It also highlights, yet again, the fact that anti-wind and Landscape ‘Guardian’ groups are almost always missing in action when there is an open cut mine, CSG operation, or other serious environmental threat to a region. Continue reading What’s worse: an open cut or a turbine?

Where did the No Go zones come from?

A group of activists from the Students of Sustainability conference (currently being held in Bendigo) occupied the Premier’s office in Bendigo this week in protest at the state government’s wind energy and CSG and coal policies. Story from the Bendigo Advertiser here. And a summary of the very arbitary nature of the No Go zones here. Upper House MP Donna Petrovich has still not responded to requests to identify how or who she consulted before backing the creation of a No Go zone that stretches from the Macedon Ranges almost all the way to Bendigo. Continue reading Where did the No Go zones come from?

Where is the transition plan for the wind sector?

The following letter was published in the Ballarat Courier, June 20, 2012. Last Friday, the Premier spoke in Ballarat at the regional press club. When asked about the impacts of his government’s wind policy on regional employment, he flatly denied there was a problem. There are two observations that have to be made about his statement: Firstly, job loss is undeniable. Figures put together by Friends of the Earth suggest that in less than a year, the Coalition policy has cost Victoria up to 650 direct jobs in construction, 54 on – going jobs in management of wind farms, and … Continue reading Where is the transition plan for the wind sector?

South Australian Committee into Wind Farm Developments – call for submissions

A recently formed State Parliament Select Committee into Wind Farm Developments in South Australia is now calling for submissions – input, comments and evidence – from the public. The Committee is chaired by Shadow Planning Minister, Mr David Ridgway (Liberal). Other Committee members are Ms Ann Bressington (Independent), Mr Robert Brokenshire (Family First), Mr Mark Parnell (Greens) and Mrs Carmel Zollo (Labor). The Inquiry is focussing on wind developments and there is a strong emphasis on landholder and community views and perspectives about wind farm developments in South Australia. The full terms of reference are included at the end of … Continue reading South Australian Committee into Wind Farm Developments – call for submissions