What is the risk for Mitchell Shire residents of coal seam gas exploration?

On November 16, BEAM-Mitchell Environment Group and Yes 2 Renewables will present an Energy Futures Forum in Seymour. The event is already sparking interest in the region which is the site of the proposed Cherry Tree Range wind farm.

Victoria stands at a crossroads. Will our energy future be defined by more business-as-usual: fossil fuels, pollution, the threat of fracking and climate change? Or will we transition to clean renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar, community-owned renewable projects and wind farms?

We could think of no one better to explore the implications of unconventional gas extraction than Chloe Aldenhoven, Victorian coordinator of the Lock the Gate Alliance. Original article published by BEAM. 

97% of people surveyed in the Liverpool Plains want their district to be gasfield free. Source: Lock the Gate, photo by Jeremy Buckingham MLC

Chloe Aldenhoven, Victorian coordinator of the Lock the Gate Alliance, will talk about the growing community opposition to this type of mining at the Energy Futures Forum in Seymour on November 16.

“Coal seam gas is a dirty and unsustainable fossil fuel that contributes to climate change,” said Ms Aldenhoven. Coal seam gas has been touted as an option for increased gas production all around Australia as existing gas reserves are limited, or tied up as lucrative exports.

More than 54 percent of Australia is covered by coal and gas licences or applications. The controversial process of “fracking” is used to explore for, and extract, the underground gas. Continue reading “What is the risk for Mitchell Shire residents of coal seam gas exploration?”

Waubra Wednesday #7 – Locals tell their story about wind energy

In September, independent filmmaker Neil Barrett released a short documentary presenting the views of people living near one of Australia’s largest wind farms, located in Waubra, Victoria. The personal accounts Mr Barrett documents in The Way the Wind Blows demonstrates there is strong support … Continue reading Waubra Wednesday #7 – Locals tell their story about wind energy

Dodgy ‘science’ exposed as anti-wind farm activists threaten jobs and investment in Central Victoria

Professor Simon Chapman
Professor Simon Chapman

As the VCAT hearing on the Cherry Tree Range wind farm enters its final stage this week, one of Australia’s leading public health experts has exposed shoddy submissions made by anti-wind farm activists.

Simon Chapman, Professor in Public Health at the University of Sydney, has critically reviewed the submissions made by known anti-wind farm activists Sarah Laurie (‘Waubra’ Foundation) and Patina Schneider (Industrial Wind Turbine Awareness Mudgee Alliance).

“These submissions are quite lamentable. If they were handed in as assignments by undergraduates, I’m afraid there would be many tears,” said Professor Chapman. “Neither Sarah Laurie nor Patina Schneider has any training or experience in research, and are open opponents of wind farms. These problems and biases are obvious throughout their submissions.”

Professor Chapman says the anti-wind farm campaigners continue to ignore reviews published by credible health organisations such as the Victorian Department of Health.

Continue reading “Dodgy ‘science’ exposed as anti-wind farm activists threaten jobs and investment in Central Victoria”

Waubra Wednesday #6 – Locals tell their story about wind energy

WIND1_STORY_-_DEEP_HORIZONTAL_WIDE_F11671310_989459In September, independent filmmaker Neil Barrett released a short documentary presenting the views of people living near one of Australia’s largest wind farms, located in Waubra, Victoria.

The personal accounts Mr Barrett documents in The Way the Wind Blows demonstrates there is strong support for the wind farm within the Waubra community. The personal accounts tell a positive story and challenge the myths that have emerged about wind energy.

David Clarke is a councillor and Landcare volunteer who neighbours the Waubra wind farm. “We need to do something about our carbon footprint,” said Councillor Clake, “and to me [the wind farm] is a very logical thing to do.”

Clarke is right on this measure: The Waubra wind farm produces enough clean electricity for 143,000 households, more than enough to power Ballarat. The farm’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.  Continue reading “Waubra Wednesday #6 – Locals tell their story about wind energy”

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”

Waubra Wednesday #5 – The Stupefaction Gambit: “Community Acceptance Will Fuel Community Division”

Published by Etwas Luft. View original article. By Ketan Joshi, Research and Communications Officer at Infigen Energy. These views are his own.

Picture this: A man sits nervously in the witness stand, his hands bound by cuffs, his every move watched closely by a jury. A lawyer slowly steps up to him, and says:

“Sir, the evidence is irrefutable. You murdered Mr Wales, in cold blood”.

The accused smiles at the corner of his mouth.

“Hear this, my good man: you are wrong. It is Mr Wales who murdered me, and I shall avenge his crimes, mark my words!”

I call it the Stupefaction Gambit. If you stand accused of some wrongdoing, steel yourself, swallow your self-awareness, point at your accuser and accuse them of that same folly. In the ensuing chaos, the irrationality of your claim sneaks quietly past the other parties.

Recently, Neil Barrett, a film-maker from Victoria with an interest in renewable energy and a small share in the Hepburn community wind farm (also in Victoria) released a set of videos (condensed version below) interviewing residents near the Waubra Wind Farm.   Continue reading “Waubra Wednesday #5 – The Stupefaction Gambit: “Community Acceptance Will Fuel Community Division””

Wind farms: What we can’t hear, can’t harm

Published by Renew Economy. View original article.

wind-farm-sunset

In a new analysis, the Australian Energy Market Operator estimates Victoria will have 4,090 MW of new wind energy capacity installed by 2020. Those who support more renewables in the energy mix will welcome the forecast, yet it may be optimistic.

Today (Friday September 27), the Victorian Civil Administration Tribunal (VCAT) will resume the decision making process on the Cherry Tree Range wind farm proposed for central Victoria. Despite meeting the world’s strictest wind farm planning laws and laying outside the multitude of no-go zones imposed by the Baillieu government, the project could be thwarted. By what? The self interest and pseudo-science trumpeted by anti-wind farm groups.

The fate of the Cherry Tree Range wind farm is a test case for wind energy in Victoria. If it’s approved then there’s hope Victoria will achieve the high-penetration of wind energy AEMO predict by the end of the decade.

VCAT adjourned with an interim determination in April, finding the permit application was in accordance with all the planning considerations that the Mitchell Shire had contested. However the Tribunal decided it would await the outcome of an EPA SA study into alleged noise complaints at Waterloo wind farm, and also a new review by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

VCAT left us to ponder the question: whether there is a causal link between sound pressure emissions from wind turbines and adverse health effects of a physiological nature. Continue reading “Wind farms: What we can’t hear, can’t harm”

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”

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”

Waubra Wednesday #2 – Locals tell their story about wind energy

In September, independent filmmaker Neil Barrett released a short documentary presenting the views of people living near one of Australia’s largest wind farms, located in Waubra, Victoria. The personal accounts Mr Barrett documents in The Way the Wind Blows demonstrates there is strong support … Continue reading Waubra Wednesday #2 – Locals tell their story about wind energy