More wind workers in Portland shows local manufacturers ready for #VRET

In a sign of how the upcoming Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) can benefit the state’s manufacturing industry through greater local content, Australia’s top wind manufacturer yesterday announced it will put on  50 new workers at the Keppel Prince wind tower … Continue reading More wind workers in Portland shows local manufacturers ready for #VRET

Pollie Watch: James Purcell MLC backs the VRET

A little over a fortnight ago the Daniel Andrews government backed our long-standing campaign to reinstate the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET). But the Premier is not the only one backing the VRET. Upper house member for Western Victoria James Purcell MLC has thrown … Continue reading Pollie Watch: James Purcell MLC backs the VRET

Friends of the Earth welcome new Vic Climate Change and Energy Ministers

Friends of the Earth welcome the appointment of Lily D’Ambrosio as Victoria’s Minister for Industry, Energy and Resources and Lisa Neville as Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water. “New energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio understands the challenges facing renewable energy … Continue reading Friends of the Earth welcome new Vic Climate Change and Energy Ministers

Voices of Macedon: Look close to home, Premier

Renewable energy is a mainstream election issue in the hotly-contested seat of Macedon. Anti-wind farm laws introduced by the Coaltion government in 2011 have hit the Macedon Ranges hard. A large-scale blanket ban on wind farms now cuts across the electorate. The anti-wind farm … Continue reading Voices of Macedon: Look close to home, Premier

Cancelled wave energy project underscores need for state govt renewable energy plan

Ocean-Power-Technologies-Appoints-New-CFO-USAThe town of Portland in south west Victoria is undergoing a transition. The renewable energy / clean technology sector is a emerging as a major source of jobs and investment in the region. Yet, the transition isn’t without its set backs.

In July, Ocean Power Technologies announced it will not proceed with its’ proposed $233 million wave energy project in Portland.  The cancellation of the proposed wave energy project is a kick in the guts for Portland’s manufacturers, and underscores the need for a state government plan to support renewable energy.

Keppel Prince Engineering’s loss of the lucrative contract for construction on the project’s power buoy units is also putting local jobs at risk at a time in which it is already contending with reduced demand for its wind tower manufacturing.

The announcement comes on top of the Abbott government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target and Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws that have stalled investment and have cost jobs.  Continue reading “Cancelled wave energy project underscores need for state govt renewable energy plan”

Jobs at risk: Vic Premier wants Renewable Energy Target weakened

ds_napthine2_20130306205347313453-620x349Friends of the Earth call on Premier Denis Napthine to clarify the Victorian government’s position on the Renewable Energy Target.

According to The Age, the Victorian government’s submission to the Warburton Review calls for the Renewable Energy Target to be reduced and for polluting gas power to be included in the scheme.

The Premier seems confused about renewable energy. Victorians understand the difference and want the Premier to support the 41 terrawatt hour Renewable Energy Target.

Wind workers in the Premier’s own electorate have called on Dr Napthine to join Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman to oppose changes to the 41 Terrawatt hour target.

Wind energy is the cheapest new-build electricity source in Australia, and solar is getting cheaper each year. Gas, on the other hand, will get more expensive over time. Australia can leap frog increasingly expensive fossil fuels by switching straight to renewables.

The Napthine government’s support for gas means renewable energy jobs in Victoria are at risk. It undercut jobs in the Victorian renewable energy sector – including 700 wind energy jobs in his electorate. Continue reading “Jobs at risk: Vic Premier wants Renewable Energy Target weakened”

RET Road Trip #3: Portland’s renewable energy economy

RET review chair, Dick Warburton, refused our invite to meet Portland's wind workers, so we brought Where's Warbo along!
RET review chair, Dick Warburton, refused our invite to meet Portland’s wind workers, so we brought Where’s Warbo along!

This article was published at Renew Economy

On Wednesday April 23, Friends of the Earth brought its fact-finding RET Review Road Trip to Portland, Victoria.

Previous stops in visited Hepburn/Daylesford and Morwell, provided an insight into community support for renewable energy and the costs of polluting coal energy. Our trip to Victoria’s blustery southwest coast allowed us to investigate the ways in which renewable energy can provide a platform for economic development.

With its vast wind resource, southwest Victoria is among Australia’s most important renewable energy regions.

The area is home to Pacific Hydro’s Portland Wind Energy Project. The four-stage project will see 195MW worth of generation spread over five sites. Once completed the wind energy project will generate enough electricity to power 125,000 homes (a city the size of Geelong).

Drawing on Portland’s manufacturing base and engineering expertise and generating income for turbine hosts and the community, wind energy is an engine for economic activity for Victoria’s southwest.

Portland’s Keppel Prince Engineering is at the centre of the action. Continue reading “RET Road Trip #3: Portland’s renewable energy economy”

Pollie Watch: Napthine, Hodgett encourage local procurement

1_729wind-620x349Victorian Premier Denis Napthine and manufacturing minister David Hodgett have gone into bat for Victoria’s wind turbine tower makers.

The Premier and minister have called on RES Australia, the proponent of a 223 turbine wind farm at Penshurst, to consider locally-made towers from Portland’s Keppel Prince Engineering.

“One of the things I’m looking to do is contact RES and urge them to look at local production of towers,” Premier Napthine told The Standard. “The wind industry needs the support of the community to have a strong, viable future,” said Dr Napthine. “The best way they can do to encourage community support is to … use local wind towers, they should use local components wherever possible.”

On this issue, Friends of the Earth are in agreement with the Premier. Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Napthine, Hodgett encourage local procurement”

Wind farms help SA speed towards 50% renewables

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 11.06.12 AMA new Australian Energy Market Operator report shows that the South Australian wind energy boom will continue for the next decade–helping the state maintain a global leadership position deploying renewable energy.

According to AEMO, over 60 percent of new electricity capacity in the South Australia will come from wind farms. Leading energy commentator, Giles Parkinson notes:

The state of South Australia is emerging as one the leading regions in the world in the take-up of variable renewable energy sources such as wind energy and rooftop solar PV, and could be the first industrial economy to reach 50 per cent variable renewable generation.

According to figures included in a report by the Australian Energy Market Operator, that could happen well within a decade. That would make it the most advanced industrialised economy in the world in the adoption of variable renewables. Continue reading “Wind farms help SA speed towards 50% renewables”

A turning point in the wind wars?

Published by RenewEconomy. View the original article.  

Over the last few years the rollout of wind farms in Australia has faced some setbacks, yet the sector’s fortunes are changing.

753717357_b9dcdce786_bIn 2011 Victoria’s Coalition government imposed onerous restrictions on wind farms, which stalled the sector’s development and cost thousands of jobs and billions in investment in that state.

More recently on a national level, Senators Madigan and Xenophon have pushed similarly restrictive legislation in the Senate and the Coalition’s reluctance to support the 41,000 GWh Renewable Energy Target is creating uncertainty for developers.

The impact of these policy issues have been amplified by a noisy minority of anti-wind farm campaigners. The Waubra Foundation and website, Stop These Things, among others, have attempted to turn the public against clean, renewable energy generated from the wind.

Taking a chapter out of the climate deniers playbook, they consistently raise doubts about the technology. The anti-wind lobby repeatedly claim wind farms cause 233 health problems despite 19 reviews showing wind energy to be clean and safe.

While the anti-wind farm campaign has bought into its own rhetoric, the Australian public hasn’t. Poll after poll shows the majority of Australians support more wind farms. These people come from all walks of life – blue-collar workers who see the jobs potential of the sector; farmers who want to drought-proof their land by hosting turbines; and environmentally conscious community members who want to be a part of climate change solutions.

For a time, it was difficult for this silent majority to have their views heard. Continue reading “A turning point in the wind wars?”