RET Watch: Review puts Australia’s largest wind project in doubt

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 9.43.31 AMThe RET Review has cast a shadow of doubt over Australia’s largest wind farm project that was given the go ahead by the South Australian government in February.

The prospect of the Abbott government reducing or weakening the Renewable Energy Target puts the 600 MW Ceres wind farm at risk (but that’s not all).

“We need a strong RET to move ahead,” managing director of Senvion Australia Chris Judd has told The Advertiser“We don’t want this private investment, that will create 500 construction and 50 ongoing jobs in Australia, to be put at risk.”

Jobs in regional Australia isn’t all that’s at stake. In addition to losing critically important renewable energy capacity, $1.5 billion worth of investment and and estimated $8 million (p.a for 25 years) boost to the local economy could go. Continue reading “RET Watch: Review puts Australia’s largest wind project in doubt”

Dispatch from SA: Ceres wind farm approval and other matters

South Australian Yes 2 Renewables contributor Dave Clarke has been tracking his state’s progress on renewable energy for years. Clarke has visited the Snowtown II wind farm which is now under construction and has pointed out milestones in renewable energy.

Here’s Dave with another quick dispatch; this time looking at the approval of the Ceres wind farm. The green light for the project underscores the effectiveness of the national Renewable Energy Target (the Abbott government announced its review panel stacked against renewable energy). It also shows the opportunity cost to Victoria from Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws:

495783-wind-turbineIn the last few days we have heard that the 197-turbine Ceres Project wind farm on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula has been approved by the State Government.

It has been vociferously opposed by a group calling themselves the Heartland Farmers who have made many (literally) incredible claims:

  1. They have claimed the wind farm will cause land prices to fall by up to 100% (They moderated this to 30%+ after I pointed out how ridiculous it was; wind farms hardly have any effect on land prices);
  2. “It is known that wind turbines shift (agricultural) spray drift from one paddock to another” (bizarre);
  3. They say that it will cause shadow flicker problems for drivers on Yorke Peninsula roads (YP roadsides have lots of native vegetation; whenever the sun gets low in the sky there is shadow flicker for drivers all over the place because of the trees);
  4. They claim that wind power is incompatible with agriculture (the US state of Iowa, sometimes called the Food Capital of the World, is two-thirds the size of Victoria and has twice the wind power of the whole of Australia; the three US states having the highest agricultural production also have the most wind power);
  5. They claim big impacts on areal agriculture and areal fire-fighting (the Country Fire Service and local areal agriculture contractor have contradicted their claims);

Another opponent (a doctor of economics forsooth!) ‘calculated’ that it would take more than 3000 years for any wind turbine to ‘pay back’ the carbon dioxide released from the manufacture of the cement in its foundation. (He confused cement with concrete and energy with power. I showed that he was in error by a factor of around 20 000!)

I could go on. Continue reading “Dispatch from SA: Ceres wind farm approval and other matters”

Main objection to Yorke Peninsula wind farm shown to have no substance


A 199-turbine wind farm has been proposed for South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.  The location is ideal, being in a reliable wind area and only 70km from Adelaide (the link will include a 50km cable beneath St Vincent Gulf).

A group calling itself the Heartland Farmers and a South Australian politician, leader of the Liberals in the Legislative Council, David Ridgway, have been the most publicly active opponents of the project.  What is probably their main objection to the Ceres wind farm is the claim that it will impact the surrounding farmland by stopping access to aerial spraying, top-dressing, mouse bating, etc.

HF have claimed that 60 000ha will be impacted.  Mr Ridgway has gone even further with 80 000ha.  In fact the total area taken out of production due to the roads and hardstands of the wind farm will be about 90ha.

These outrageous claims have been ‘justified’ by claiming that agricultural aircraft cannot operate safely in the vicinity of wind turbines, a claim that has never held much credence for several reasons: Continue reading “Main objection to Yorke Peninsula wind farm shown to have no substance”