Earthworker seeks investment as mutualisation starts at Eureka’s Future

Earthworker is a community-led initiative to provide sustainable, wealth-creating jobs that empower local communities and provide clean energy solutions. Forging unlikely alliances between trade unionists, environmentalists and small manufacturers, the project is a powerful and positive endeavour to revitalise local … Continue reading Earthworker seeks investment as mutualisation starts at Eureka’s Future

Life After Coal: US Economist Speaks

Bob Massie is the outgoing President and CEO of the New Economy Coalition, whose mission is to support a just transition to a new economy that enables both thriving communities and ecological health. He has degrees from Princeton and Yale … Continue reading Life After Coal: US Economist Speaks

International economist to speak at Morwell about a ‘Just Transition’

Internationally recognised author and economist, Bob Massie, will be speaking alongside local speakers in a public forum in Morwell about creating new economic opportunities to benefit the community. As outgoing president of the New Economy Coalition in the USA, Bob … Continue reading International economist to speak at Morwell about a ‘Just Transition’

Latrobe Valley resident slams wind technology’s detractors and dirty coal

Victoria's Hazlewood coalmine fire.
Victoria’s Hazlewood coalmine fire.

Two weeks ago Senator John Madigan (Democratic Labor Party) confounded the chamber by likening the renewable energy sector’s citation of leading Australian and international research on the safety of proximity to wind farms to the Tobacco industries’ manipulation of the medical establishment in the early twentieth century.

The invocation of the spectre of such insidious corporate intent, however, has failed to weaken the growing strength of the argument in support of wind farms while at the same time demonstrating the intensifying desperation of the anti-wind fringe.

Latrobe Valley resident and convener of the Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group, Danny Caffrey, wrote Senator Madigan in response to his claims. Mr Caffrey has shared this letter with Yes 2 Renewables in order to highlight the ridiculousness of any such comparison to wind energy technology, particulary when that of the more pollutant and unsafe, i.e. coal, continues largely unchallenged. Continue reading “Latrobe Valley resident slams wind technology’s detractors and dirty coal”

New energy minister has opportunity to hit the reset button

morwellelectorateFriends of the Earth welcomes the appointment of Russell Northe, the member for Morwell, as Victoria’s new energy minister.

“The appointment of Russell Northe as energy minister gives Victoria the chance to hit the reset button. Mr Northe now has the opportunity to restore sensible energy policy in the state,” said Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator, Cam Walker.

“Victoria’s energy policy is confused. On one hand the Napthine government has been encouraging the development of polluting unconventional gas and coal allocations, while scrapping incentives for solar and banning wind farms across the state.”  Continue reading “New energy minister has opportunity to hit the reset button”

Hazelwood fire puts energy choices into focus

ZAH_fire_LW-20140223224157919506-620x349After more than a month of proliferating injurious levels of fine-particle matter across the town of Morwell the Hazelwood coal mine fire has failed to convince state and federal governments of the dangers of coal power.

In response, Yes 2 Renewables supporter Ben Courtice wrote the The Moorabool News to remind us of the clean and existing alternatives to the already evidenced risks of coal use and production.

Currently, the Hazelwood coalmine is burning, and probably will for weeks to come. Once coal seams catch fire, they are very hard to put out.

Residents in nearby towns, especially Morwell, have seen their Air Quality Index top 1300. The level at which it is considered “very poor” is 150.

This index is a measure of various pollutants, which include dangerous levels of the toxic gas carbon monoxide; and high levels of particulate pollution in the PM10 and PM2.5 categories (and no doubt smaller particles, too).

These particulates are a direct danger to health, as they are breathed deep into the lungs – especially the finer particles – and can be a serious health risk for people with existing lung and heart diseases. Children, whose lungs are still developing, are also at great risk. Some particles can be carcinogenic, so there is no “safe” level of exposure.

I feel for the people of Morwell, and it’s incredible that the mine operator GDF Suez allowed this to happen. Continue reading “Hazelwood fire puts energy choices into focus”

The cost of coal puts renewable myths in perspective

Originally posted at RenewEconomy. View original post here

As I type, 94% of generation in Victoria is being sourced from brown coal. Hazelwood power station is pumping out 1,221 megawatts, about 20% of total Victorian power. At the same time, the open cut coal mine that provides fuel to the power station is burning; a slow, intense fire that sits at the coal seam face. The fires, suspected to have been deliberately lit, eject plumes of smoke into Morwell, a town of 14,005 residents, a stone’s throw away from the smouldering seam. Click here for more on Google Earth image. Continue reading “The cost of coal puts renewable myths in perspective”

Vic govt on naptime as mine fire poisons Morwell

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By Ben Courtice — an updated version (March 2) of an article originally published at Green Left Weekly

Vic govt on naptime as mine fire poisons Morwell

Premier Denis Napthine is living up to his new nickname “Naptime” as the Hazelwood coalmine fire continues its terrible impact on the town of Morwell, in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

The edge of the town is only a few hundred metres from where the fire has been burning since February 9. The plume of toxic smoke and ash from the fire is blanketing the town much of the time.

A protest rally in Morwell on March 2 drew around a thousand angry locals. A panel of speakers, and many people who stood up on the floor to vent their rage, confirmed that it is a widespread view that the government has left the town in the lurch and given them false information about the health risks from the fire.

Morwell rallies for action
Morwell rallies for action

The unfolding disaster demands an immediate escalation of action, and Greens MLC Greg Barber is right to demand that the government declare a state of emergency, even while health minister David Davis denies it is needed. Continue reading “Vic govt on naptime as mine fire poisons Morwell”

Renewable energy needed to avoid climate change impacts

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In light of 2013’s acknowledgement as Australia’s hottest year on record and the likelihood of more extreme weather we have already witnessed becoming the norm, Danny Caffrey weighs in to remind us of the importance of renewable energy in the mitigation of further and more damaging effects:   

In the recent heat waves, our electricity supply did not fail once due to lack of supply. With a growing population and no additional coal fired generation since the last big heat waves a few years ago when supply did drop out, the contribution from people’s rooftop solar cannot be underestimated. Nor can the growing feed in from wind farms.

Rooftop solar works best right at the time of peak demand and is keeping our electricity prices lower because the power lines and transformers of the grid do not have to be upgraded to cater for an average 6 hours of extreme demand a year. They have also prevented the need for new costly and greenhouse gas producing coal fired power stations. So much so, that there will never be another coal-fired power station built anywhere in Australia, as investors have got the message that these are risky investments because the cost of running them is going up and that of renewable electricity is falling all the time. Continue reading “Renewable energy needed to avoid climate change impacts”