Who’s happy to see Lal Lal Wind Farm kick off?

Published at VicWind. View the original article.

PicIt’s a favorite line of people opposing particular wind farm developments – ‘Wind Farm X is causing great concern in the community’.

Now and again, it’s worth remembering just how many people there are in the community who are not at all concerned.

Our letter in today’s Ballarat Courier…


Ballarat Courier, May 1, 2013

It would be unusual for a $300 million investment in a regional area to be greeted with ‘a lot of community concern’, as John McMahon suggests about the Lal Lal Wind Farm ($300m wind project begins, 27/4/2013).

A good portion of the $300 million will be spent locally. Long after construction has ended Moorabool Shire residents will enjoy the project’s substantial contribution to rates revenue and around a dozen permanent jobs. Continue reading “Who’s happy to see Lal Lal Wind Farm kick off?”

Rooftop solar is growing up

Published by Business Spectator. View the original article.

By Lucy Carter, energy fellow at Grattan Institute.

The rise of rooftop solar in Australia has been extraordinary.

rooftop-solar-array-537x359In 2009, there were fewer than 100,000 rooftop solar systems in Australia. Now, that number is more like 1,000,000. Rising electricity prices, falling equipment costs, higher levels of environmental awareness and large government subsidies have created the conditions for explosive growth.

Like a child moving into the more complicated world of adolescence, the rooftop solar industry is growing up. As a result, some of the rules governing its behaviour will also have to evolve as support is gradually removed and the industry interacts with the established power industry on a more even footing. This is not a bad thing – it marks the sector’s coming of age.

A good first step was the Victorian government’s decision to decrease the ‘feed-in tariff’ – the rate paid to households for every kilowatt-hour of electricity they export to the grid. On January 1 this year, the feed-in tariff was cut from 25 to 8 cents. This may seem like an excessive cut, but the 25 cent tariff was too high to be sustained with more and more systems being installed, and the impact has been cushioned by lower prices for photovoltaic cells. Critically too, this change only applies to new installations, so it does not undermine the support for customers who got in early to install solar panels when the upfront installation costs were higher. Continue reading “Rooftop solar is growing up”

Green jobs push in the Latrobe Valley

p8120518It goes without saying that Australia’s transition from polluting fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources will reshape the economy. Local towns on the frontline of  fossil fuel extraction and power generation will undergo dramatic changes. In Victoria, towns in Latrobe Valley are starting to adapt to a future without the coal industry.

While some will see the demise of coal as a problem, others see it as an opportunity. As Winston Churchill wisely noted, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

The Earthworker cooperative is a perfect example of Churchill’s thinking in action. The coalition of unions, environment groups and church groups intends to build a solar hot water manufacturing plant in the Latrobe Valley. The coop seeks to create an economic opportunity for the region as it winds down the coal sector.  Continue reading “Green jobs push in the Latrobe Valley”

Department restructure: green light for dirty coal?

By Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator.  Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has today announced a major restructure of the public service, with major implications for environmental policy and which could give the green light to new coal projects. … Continue reading Department restructure: green light for dirty coal?

Six points in favour of renewable energy

This great article from Climate Progress (a US site) has been reprinted widely… so we thought we’d jump on the bandwagon! It’s US-centric but broadly applicable to Australia. 6 Things You Should Know About The Value Of Renewable Energy by Adam James Clean energy should play a central role in revitalizing our economy, putting Americans back to work, and keeping America on the cutting edge of innovation and growth. Recently a slew of misguided attacks on the merits of clean energy have exchanged petty partisanship for hard facts. Here are the top six things you really need to know: Clean … Continue reading Six points in favour of renewable energy

Canada: wind farm construction booming

The following news story is from Reuters. Compare Canadian government policy to Australia – despite the impressive expansion of the wind industry there, uncertainty has been introduced by the Conservatives election promises.  A situation that renewable energy supporters in Australia would be all too familiar with, especially here in Victoria. (Reuters) – Even though Canada will likely set a record for new wind energy capacity this year, the rapid growth could dry up without stable policies to encourage its expansion, an industry association said Monday. About 1,338 MW of new installed wind energy capacity is projected to come online this … Continue reading Canada: wind farm construction booming

Japan to build 30GW of renewables in 10 years

The article below, from Reuters, was posted at the Climate Spectator. In the wake of the tsnunami and Fukushima’s nuclear disaster, Japan is looking at introducing a feed-in tarriff with the aim of increasing renewable energy generation by more than 30,000 MW (or 30 GW) over ten years. By way of comparison, Victoria’s total generation capacity is just shy of 8GW. Japan’s target includes “small-sized hydro” power and biomass, which are not necessarily our preferred options for overall sustainability. However, up to 10GW of solar and 5GW of wind is not to be sneezed at! The legislation has not yet … Continue reading Japan to build 30GW of renewables in 10 years

Support for renewables essential to avoid future reliance on gas-fracking

Media release,  Friday June 10 Friends of the Earth has strongly rejected the findings of yesterday’s Productivity Commission report which recommends ending subsidies to renewable energy. The report states that “if subsidised renewable electricity sourced from wind or solar displaces gas-fired electricity, the abatement achieved will be far less than if coal-fired electricity generation were displaced.” “All this apparent commonsense demonstrates is that if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there” said Melbourne renewable energy campaigner Ben Courtice. “We all want to see the end of coal, but a detour into fossil gas is the … Continue reading Support for renewables essential to avoid future reliance on gas-fracking

Renewable Energy Technologies Far Cheaper Than Predicted

The following article by Alice Body is from the Beyond Zero Emissions blog 30 May 2011 Last week, cost reduction forecasts compiled in a new paper, the Renewable Energy Technology Cost Review (RETCR), raised questions about the technology costings relied on by governments and electricity planners. Analysis of the report findings by Beyond Zero Emissions found that the cost of renewable energy technologies is overestimated by as much as 50 percent when compared to international forecasts. The reality is that renewable technologies such as wind and solar are not only much cheaper than predicted, but will continue to fall substantially … Continue reading Renewable Energy Technologies Far Cheaper Than Predicted

“$1.60 a day for looking at wind turbines”

The following comes from Grist, and covers the financial benefits of having wind farms in your area. The wind money windfall in Sherman County, Oregon by Sarah Laskow Residents of Oregon’s Sherman County used to hate on the strong winds endemic to the area. But now they pull in $590 per year, per household, just for tolerating the wind and the many wind turbines marring their viewshed. It’s like the oil payout for living in Alaska, only it’s not blood money from cannibalizing Nature! Individual farmers are profiting off of turbines on their property (one family earns about $5,550 per … Continue reading “$1.60 a day for looking at wind turbines”