Response to Anglesea coal closure: Renewable energy plan needed to create new jobs

MEDIA RELEASE: Alcoa coal closure respects community’s vision. Renewable energy plan needed to create new jobs Alcoa Australia have announced closure of the Anglesea coal mine and power plant on Aug 31 in response to a strong community campaign by … Continue reading Response to Anglesea coal closure: Renewable energy plan needed to create new jobs

Pollie Watch: Greens endorse call to boost renewables in Victoria

BqJo8qQCUAAiY99On Global Wind Energy Day 2014, Yes 2 Renewables joined the Geelong Sustainability Group and Surf Coast Energy Group in an open letter (PDF) to candidates standing for the seat of South Barwon regarding their support for renewable energy.

The letter set out the barriers to renewable energy and jobs in the Geelong and Surf Coast region—namely, the Napthine government’s anti-wind farm laws and absence of a state renewable energy target—and invited South Barwon candidates to be transparent with their position on the issues.

While we’re still waiting for responses from the Labor and Liberal party, our open letter made it all the way into the hands of Victorian Greens leader, Greg Barber, who had the following to say:

Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Greens endorse call to boost renewables in Victoria”

RET Road Trip finds strong support for renewables, no confidence in Warburton Review

Y2R’s Shaun Murray and Leigh Ewbank take the RET Road Trip findings to Parliament House.

Clive Palmer’s surprise climate manoeuvre has sent a shockwave through the Abbott government’s policy agenda. After meeting with former US vice president Al Gore in the Parliament yesterday, Mr Palmer has stated his party’s support for the Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and the independent Climate Change Authority.

This changed political landscape gives Prime Minister Tony Abbott a reason to back away from an anti-renewable energy agenda. Originally intended to rationalise cutting the Renewable Energy Target, the Warburton review is now the key to achieving this policy shift.

The Renewable Energy Target is driving a national transition to renewable energy. All available public polling shows Australians endorse this vision, with a recent Climate Institute poll finding 72 per cent support to retain or increase the renewables target.

A weakened Renewable Energy Target threatens peoples’ jobs, health, and aspirations; billions of dollars worth of investment in a vital emerging industry; and importantly, an effective climate change mitigation tool. When we consider these impacts, the lack of public support for cutting the target comes as no surprise.

Over the course of two months, Friends of the Earth undertook a fact-finding RET Road Trip. We travelled over two thousand kilometres to speak with eight communities who have benefitted from renewable energy or have been affected by fossil fuel pollution. We did this to get a real understanding of the impacts of energy policy.

The RET Road Trip uncovered strong public support for the 41-terawatt-hour Renewable Energy Target.  Continue reading “RET Road Trip finds strong support for renewables, no confidence in Warburton Review”

RET Road Trip #6 – Special treatment for fossil fuels in Anglesea

On May 22, Friends of the Earth visited Anglesea for the sixth leg of the RET Road Trip. The seaside town of Anglesea is best known for its surf and summer vacations. What’s lesser known is that Anglesea is home … Continue reading RET Road Trip #6 – Special treatment for fossil fuels in Anglesea

Time to end Victoria’s double standards on energy

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 3.13.54 PMFriends of the Earth‘s recent report on the costs of anti-wind farm laws introduced by former Premier Ted Baillieu, and supported by the Napthine government, has put renewable energy on the state election agenda. The report highlights the double standards in Victoria’s energy policy: It’s one rule for fossil fuel generators and another for renewables.

This double standard has struck a chord in the Surf Coast region where a coal mine and power plant operates in close proximity to the town of Anglesea.

Residents who are sick of the pollution from the Alcoa-owned coal plant are building a campaign to Shut It Down. Alcoa want to sell the facility in the wake of the closure of the Point Henry smelter. Alcoa have submitted a license to generate electricity with the Essential Services Commission, which if approved, would allow the generator to dispatch electricity to the grid. The ESC is expected to announce it decision in months.

Recently, Surf Coast councillor Eve Fisher  drafted a motion calling to restore some balance to Victorian energy policy. Fisher’s draft motion called on the Napthine government to exempt community-initiated wind farms projects from the  restrictive planning laws.

Double standards: The Anglesea coal mine and power plant operates close to homes. Wind turbines in Victoria must have a setback of 2km.

Surf Coast resident, Andrew Laird, takes issue with the double standards surrounding energy generators in Victoria. Laird penned the following letter published by The Geelong Advertiser: Continue reading “Time to end Victoria’s double standards on energy”

‘Move to clean energy’, says Anglesea resident


Although US aluminium giant Alcoa recently announced the closure of its Point Henry smelter in Geelong, the fate of its Anglesea coal mine and power station remains uncertain.

Friends of the Earth analysis shows retirement of the Anglesea coal power station can occur without a noticeable impact on power prices. Given that the coal plant was built to power the smelter, there’s no social licence to operate as a stand-alone generator.

In kind, concerned resident Regina Gleeson highlights the adverse health risks facing those in proximity to coal-fired plant in a letter published by The Age:

Carbon monoxide has hospitalised 19 firefighters who were at the three-kilometre fire at Hazelwood power station (The Age, 17/2). It underscores the daily assault experienced by people who live near coalmines and coal-fired power stations in the Latrobe Valley and Surf Coast. Situation normal is elevated levels of sulphur dioxide, with Hazelwood emitting 12 million kilograms a year and Alcoa Anglesea emitting 35 million kilograms a year.

The World Health Organisation and United States Environmental Protection Agency have concluded there is no safe level of exposure to sulphur dioxide. It exacerbates asthma and increases lung disease, hospital admissions and emergency department attendances. Also, arsenic, mercury, fluorine, cadmium, lead, selenium and zinc are released with coal combustion. Fine dust is inhaled into the lungs and causes long-term damage. Coalmining and power generation are dangerous. We should transition to clean renewable energy. Continue reading “‘Move to clean energy’, says Anglesea resident”

Health experts: Renewables needed to tackle health impacts of fossil fuels

The case for clean renewable energy from wind farms, rooftop solar panels, and large-scale solar plants is usually made in terms of addressing climate change, yet health experts say they’re also necessary on public health grounds.

“We should really be moving towards renewable energy generation.” says Dr George Crisp in Climate and Health Alliance‘s documentary, The Human Cost of Power. “We know that renewable energy is not just good for reducing our carbon emissions. But it also has significant health co-benefits and other environmental benefits too–in terms of reducing air pollution, and water use, and other pollutants into our environment.” Continue reading “Health experts: Renewables needed to tackle health impacts of fossil fuels”

Why are renewable energy projects being killed off by the Napthine govt?

After appearing in The Geelong Advertiser expressing concern about the Napthine government’s energy policy–which has killed of another renewable energy project in the Geelong/Surf Coast region–Yes 2 Renewables received the following letter from Geelong and Surf Coast locals, Mik Aidt and Anthony Gleeson.

Aidt and Gleeson make a forceful argument about the need for the state government to support renewables and act on climate change:

Why is it decision makers in Australia think it is important to spend millions of dollars on building new and bigger roads, while investing in renewable energy, which can lead to improved health and a safer climate, is not important?

The seriousness of the threat which climate change presents has recently been emphasised by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Their Fifth Assessment Report shows there’s is a planetary emergency. Why on earth are the politicians who have been elected to take responsibility for our safety and well-being not thinking  that these risks of climate calamity described by science should be dealt with immediately and with full force? Continue reading “Why are renewable energy projects being killed off by the Napthine govt?”

Policy Watch: Coalition govt kill second renewable project in Geelong /Surf Coast region

Geothermal energy, #10Plans for a 12MW geothermal energy installation to power the industrial city of Geelong and Surf Coast region has been scrapped after the Napthine Government withdrew a $25 million grant for the project.

So, what does the move tell Victorians about the Napthine government’s energy policy?

The Napthine government is starting to look like it’s anti-renewable energy. Its decision to pull funding from a geothermal energy project comes on top of Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws which have cost the state thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions worth of investment. To date, Premier Napthine has shown no interest in dealing with his predecessors policy failure.

The scrapped funding for a geothermal power station is the second renewable energy project to be killed off in the Geelong region since the Coalition took office.  Continue reading “Policy Watch: Coalition govt kill second renewable project in Geelong /Surf Coast region”

Pollie Watch: Corangamite candidate’s green credentials questioned

Abbott HendersonLiberal candidate for Australia’s most marginal seat of Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, has refused to be drawn into a debate about her stance on wind energy.

Last week, Yes 2 Renewables and the local group Surf Coast Air Action raised questions about Ms Henderson’s stance after she endorsed the Baillieu era planning amendments which banned new wind farms in the windiest parts of the state.

The efforts of Y2R and SCAA sparked interest in the region and was reported on by The Surf Coast Times.

A week out from election day, there’s still time for Ms Henderson to reexamine her stance and adopt a position consistent with community views.

Over three quarters of Australians support more wind farms.  The Surf Coast Energy Group had plans of a community-owned wind farm project and Surf Coast Air Action will soon undertake a research report on how to transition from polluting coal power to clean renewable energy sources such as wind.

Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Corangamite candidate’s green credentials questioned”