Federal govt review could examine health impacts of all generators

By Ketan Joshi, Research and Communications Officer at Infigen Energy. These views are his own.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has wasted no time in excising “waste” from government. While climate programs have borne the brunt of the government’s cuts, one Coalition policy has been left untouched: their promise to conduct a full review into the health impacts of wind farms.

The blades of Australia’s first wind farm began turning 26 years ago, yet the hysteria over claimed wind farm health impacts is recent. The trajectory of how these fringe concerns came to take a central place in policymaking is worth examining. Continue reading “Federal govt review could examine health impacts of all generators”

Waubra locals set record straight on wind farm

WIND1_STORY_-_DEEP_HORIZONTAL_WIDE_F11671310_989459Those who have followed the rollout of wind energy in Australia would have heard of the quaint Victorian town of Waubra–the location of one of Australia’s largest wind farms. Producing enough clean electricity for 143,000 households, more than enough to power Ballarat, Waubra’s 128 wind turbines offset a massive 635,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year which would have been generated by burning coal in the LaTrobe Valley.

While the town should be known for its leadership role addressing climate change and repowering Australia with renewable energy, its name has been tarnished by anti-wind farm lobbyists.

In 2010, the Waubra Foundation was formed  by Peter Mitchell–a fossil fuel investor and wind farm opponent–and has unleashed a scare campaign about the alleged health risk of wind energy ever since. The organisation coopted the town’s name without consent of it residents. Unfortunately for locals, the town is linked to a so-called wind farm noise disease rather than its strong community and quality produce.

This all could be about the change.

Over a year in the making, independent filmmaker Neil Barrett has interviewed Waubra wind farmers, neighbours and locals to test the prevalence of negative views. Barratt has produced a short film entitled The Way The Wind Blows which counters the myths and gives locals a voice for the first time. The short film is a must view.  Continue reading “Waubra locals set record straight on wind farm”

Pollie Watch: Sen Madigan perpetuates wind/health claims that put jobs and investment at risk

MadiganAnti-wind farm crusader, Senator John Madigan, has reentered the debate for the first time since the lacklustre ‘wind power fraud’ rally in the nation’s capital last June.

Senator Madigan, whose credibility on wind farms has been thoroughly debunked, has had a letter published in The Courier rebutting Andrew Bray of the VicWind Alliance. In it, the Senator perpetuates claims wind farms cause health impacts. Madigan refers to the “real-life consequences of wind turbines” and argues the wind energy/health issue must be “fully investigated by independent organisations before our landscape becomes dotted with more and more turbines.”

The Courier was sent the following letter by Yes 2 Renewables:

Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Sen Madigan perpetuates wind/health claims that put jobs and investment at risk”

Stock & Land: ‘Wind farm debate revs up’

Louise Preece reports on the launch of the Victorian Wind Alliance for Stock & Land:

Wind farm debate revs up

THE colossal turbine blades at eight wind farms are currently rotating across Victoria, creating enough power for about 200,000 homes.

Although more will be finished by the end of 2012, the issue continues to place a deep rift between communities.

Harnessing wind offers a valuable renewable energy source, but noise, health and aesthetic complaints over turbines are still surfacing.

Will a solution to the debate ever be reached?

At Ballarat – near what is one of the biggest wind farm in Australia at Waubra – Andrew Bray has been helping to organise the official launch of the Victorian Wind Alliance.

It’s a new organisation that supports wind farming and he is one of the eight committee members across the State.

This week the alliance put out a call to Victorians who support the energy source to use town meetings and social media to make their voices heard. Continue reading “Stock & Land: ‘Wind farm debate revs up’”

Hepburn Wind's two REpower 2.05MW turbines

Wind farms: two steps forward, one step back

Todays news has seen two wind farms getting the go-ahead, and one abandoned by its proponent.

Hepburn Wind's two REpower 2.05MW turbines
Hepburn Wind’s two 2.05MW REpower turbines

Giles Parkinson at Renew Economy reports on the Taralga wind farm in NSW:

CBD Energy said it has signed a power purchase agreement with TRUenergy that will allow construction of the 108MW Taralga wind farm to begin later this year – its first utility scale wind project in Australia.

(. . . )

The $250 million Taralga wind farm – which won approval only after a fierce court battle – had been in doubt about the failure of the AusChina joint venture that CBD Energy signed last year to take the project forward. However, CBD then took on the principal development role to secure the PPA and equity and financing partners. The PPA is a key element in gaining financing, and partners and the EPC contractor are expected to be announced soon.

And on the Mt Mercer project, proponent Meridian energy has announced it will begin construction in December 2012. A contract has been signed with turbine manufacturer REpower to supply the turbines. Continue reading “Wind farms: two steps forward, one step back”

Buninyong wind farms forum

Last night the Democratic Labor Party Senator, John Madigan, convened a forum on wind farms in the town of Buninyong, just outside Ballarat. About 120 people attended. The meeting was called, ostensibly, to gather responses to the recommendations of last year’s Senate Inquiry into the Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms. Madigan promised to represent the views expressed in parliament, and to push for the recommendations of the Inquiry (see below) to be finally implemented. As it turned out, no-one present disagreed with the recommendations of the inquiry – not the woman from WestWind who attended, not us, … Continue reading Buninyong wind farms forum

Victorian community gets on with supporting renewable energy

Here in Victoria, the roll out of renewable energy is facing an uphill battle because of the regressive attitudes of the Baillieu government. New wind farm rules will rule out all current community owned wind farms that are under development – at least in their current form, because of the creation of No Go zones. These laws have cost Victoria more than $900 million in lost and stalled investment and hundreds of potential jobs in the short period of time since they were enacted. Now, the Baillieu government has quietly cut access for most households to an incentive to install … Continue reading Victorian community gets on with supporting renewable energy

Forum: What Energy Future for Western Victoria – Dirty or Clean?

Presented by Friends of the Earth & Ballarat Renewable Energy And Zero Emissions – BREAZE Wed Oct 5. Location: 7.30pm, PORTICO ON STURT, 31 Sturt St, Ballarat. Details: 5329 1730 Featuring: Kate Tubbs – President, Moorabool Environment Group, on the campaign against Mantle’s coal project Michael Power, Law Reform Lawyer, Environmental Defenders Office, Martin May, Hepburn Wind Drew Hutton – Lock the Gate Alliance – how a community campaign has fought dirty energy. This forum is being run as part of the Friends of the Earth CSG roadshow, October 3 – 7. For full details on forums in Warrnambool, Colac, … Continue reading Forum: What Energy Future for Western Victoria – Dirty or Clean?

Minister approves Chepstowe wind farm

Friends of the Earth congratulates the planning minister, Matthew Guy, for today’s announcement. Press release from the minister is below, FoE release at the top of this section MEDIA RELEASE Friends of the Earth Wednesday 18 May 2011 Wind farm approval a great first step by Baillieu Government Friends of the Earth has congratulated Planning Minister Matthew Guy on his decision to approve the Chepstowe wind farm development near Ballarat. “We are delighted that the Chepstowe wind farm will go ahead, it’s a small but important step toward a renewable energy future for Victoria,” said  FoE campaign coordinator Cam Walker. … Continue reading Minister approves Chepstowe wind farm

Setting price will create ‘34,000 jobs’

From The Age, Adam Morton. Some key quotes: The new jobs would be concentrated in the state’s Western District, central highlands and the Mallee. More than 1500 jobs created in wind and geothermal energy in the south-west around Warrnambool, Portland and Hamilton. ■ Nearly 1200 new jobs relating to building and running large-scale solar plants in the Mallee. ■ About 600 new jobs in wind in the central highlands around Ballarat and Bendigo. Setting price will create ‘34,000 jobs’ February 28, 2011 A CARBON price aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 could help create … Continue reading Setting price will create ‘34,000 jobs’