Australia’s big week in wind energy

Published by Renew Economy. View original article.

Windy_Hill_Wind_Farm[Last Monday’s] graph of the day is a follow-up to a story nearly two weeks ago, when Ketan Joshi brought us news of how wind energy had supplied some 47 per cent of South Australia’s overall electricity requirements from August 10-18.

These graph below come from analyst and advisory firm IES, and many thanks to Andrew Reidy for putting them together. They tell us that South Australia’s was not the only landmark during the week. Wind energy also provided 7.6 per cent of the entire wholesale demand in the National Electricity Market. This graph below shows how much growth that represents over the previous 18 months. The bulk of Australia’s renewable energy production is normally sourced through hydro. Continue reading “Australia’s big week in wind energy”

Pollie Watch: Vic Energy Minister breaks silence on energy issues

kotsiras-2Victoria’s new Energy Minister, Nicholas Kotsiras, has broken his silence on the energy challenges facing the state.

Weekly Times reporter Cimara Pearce spoke with Minister Kotsiras about the core energy issues facing Victoria–the moratorium on coal-seam gas (CSG) and onerous wind farm planning guidelines–as well as the criticism he lacks the necessary experience and background to be an effective energy minister.

With the exception of the high-profile appointment of former energy minister Michael O’Brien as Victorian Treasurer, the cabinet reshuffle that accompanied the switch from Premier Baillieu to Napthine largely slipped under the radar. Probably the best example of the silence surrounding changes to the ministry was the announcement of Nicholas Kotsiras as O’Brien’s successor in the energy portfolio.

In contrast to Premier Napthine’s glowing endorsement of wind farms (“I think they are majestic, and I actually love them”), Minister Kotsiras said he was not opposed to wind farms. Kotsiras expressed support for the 2km right of veto enacted by the Baillieu government and confirmed the laws would not be retrospectively applied to existing wind farms.  Here’s an excerpt pertaining to wind energy: Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Vic Energy Minister breaks silence on energy issues”

Macarthur residents urge Tehan to support local wind boom

Published at VicWind. See original article.

TehanMeetingGroup_blogMacarthur district residents, Merilyn Cook and Hamish Officer, together with representatives from the Victorian Wind Alliance (VicWind), met with local MP, Dan Tehan in Warrnambool on Tuesday to discuss the benefits the Macarthur Wind Farm is bringing to their community.

“There’s a historic opportunity right now to benefit from this shift of power generation from coal and gas regions to wind regions like South West Victoria,” said Mr Bray, VicWind’s State Coordinator.

“With 20 locals permanently employed, the Macarthur wind farm is now the biggest single employer in this rural district.” said Mr Bray.

Research by Sinclair Knight Merz estimates the Macarthur and nearby Oaklands wind farm projects have increased Gross Regional Product by over 1 percent or $66.8m per year. Wind projects with permits to proceed in Wannon would deliver around four times this amount again. Continue reading “Macarthur residents urge Tehan to support local wind boom”

Farmers’ dreams realised at Macarthur

Published by the VicWind Alliance. View the original article.

Andrew_Bray_and_Macarthur_wind_farm_land_owner_Tom_RobertsonWhen the Macarthur wind farm, the southern hemisphere’s largest wind farm, was officially launched on Friday it marked the completion of a remarkable journey for local farmers Tom Robertson and Hamish and Anna Officer.

In 2001 Tom, Hamish and Anna began their search for companies who would build a wind farm to generate clean, renewable energy on their properties, 20km east of Macarthur in South Western Victoria.

In the 12 years since then, with long months of challenging negotiations, a global financial crisis and numerous twists and turns there were several times when all seemed lost. But finally in 2011 luck started running their way and the contract for the project we see today was signed.

As Vestas global Chief Executive Ditlev Engel, who traveled from Copenhagen for the opening, said, quoting Walt Disney, “if you can dream it, do it.”

AGL Chief Executive Michael Fraser described the Macarthur wind farm as a “nation-building” project that had the wider support of the surrounding community. Continue reading “Farmers’ dreams realised at Macarthur”

Victorian Premier signals shift on wind energy – TAKE ACTION NOW!

Yes 2 Renewables welcomes the Victorian Premier’s official endorsement of the Macarthur wind farm today. Premier Napthine’s attendance at the opening of Australia’s largest wind farm signals a shift on wind energy. We welcome the new Premier’s enthusiasm for wind … Continue reading Victorian Premier signals shift on wind energy – TAKE ACTION NOW!

Pollie Watch: Greens MP counters claims wind farms reduce land value

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 1.57.56 PMIt’s has been a while since we posted our last Pollie Watch blog… Thanks to Greens Member of the Legislative Council, Greg Barber, the wait is over.

Anti-wind farm campaigners have made a lot of noise in recent weeks about wind farms and property values. Activists have claimed the presence of a wind farm deflates the value of property and land. The story emerged after South Gippsland Shire reduced the rates of a single property owner living near a wind farm.

So what’s really going on with wind farms and land value? What does the evidence tell us about property prices near wind farms?

In 2009, the NSW Valuer General assessed 45 property sales within a 10km radius of eight wind farm sites in NSW. It found wind farms do not appear to negatively affect property values. No reductions in sale price were observed for rural properties located in nearby townships with views of the wind farm. And in Waubra, the location of one of Australia’s largest wind farms, the real estate value of residential properties has increased 10% over the last two years.

Enough from me, here’s Sean McComish’s report for The Warrnambool Standard. It features Mr Barber’s comments on wind farms and property prices:  Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Greens MP counters claims wind farms reduce land value”

Wind farms pump $67m into southwest Victoria

Macartur WFSouthwest Victoria’s regional economy has boomed from the construction of the Macarthur and Oaklands wind farms. To date, the projects have pumped $67 million into the local economy, employed around 900 people during construction, and will provide 52 ongoing jobs.

The report’s findings are consistent with the Baillieu government’s own figures which found that, in 2009 alone, the wind energy sector pumped $1.2 billion into the Victorian economy.

Despite the apparent economic benefits wind farms deliver for regional communities, Premier Ted Baillieu’s planning reforms have shut down Victoria’s once thriving wind energy sector.

Since the introduction of the VC82 planning amendment in August 2011, 700+ megawatts of wind farm projects have been withdrawn (see The Wind Farms That Baillieu Killed…‘) and not one major project been approved.

Unless Premier Baillieu has the good sense to repeal the VC82 amendment, regional Victoria is unlikely to enjoy the economic benefits of wind farms in the near future.  Continue reading “Wind farms pump $67m into southwest Victoria”

The Standard: Macarthur Wind Farm Turbines Start Generating Electricity

The Macarthur wind farm, which is currently under construction in western Victoria, will start generating clean renewable energy this weekend. Once completed, the farm will be the southern hemisphere’s largest wind energy project.

Projects like the Macarthur wind farm are critically important for Victoria’s transition from an economy powered by fossil fuels to one powered by renewables. Unfortunately, the anti-wind farm regulatory environment created by the Baillieu government means it could be some time before Victoria gains another wind farm of this scale.

Peter Collins reports for The Standard: Continue reading “The Standard: Macarthur Wind Farm Turbines Start Generating Electricity”

‘All fired up over Tarrone power station emissions’

The following comes from the Warrnambool Standard, journalist: SHANE FOWLES All fired up over Tarrone power station emissions It will be most interesting to see if the Minister grants a 2 km buffer for the gas fired power station. If he intends to give a 2 km buffer to residents around a proposed wind farm, it would seem only fair to grant the same right in the case of a gas power station. RESIDENTS adjacent the proposed Tarrone gas-fired power station have called for a buffer around the plant because of noise and emission concerns. A petition with 21 signatures … Continue reading ‘All fired up over Tarrone power station emissions’

Portland wind tower manufacturer to expand operations

This article is from the Portland Observer, journalist: Bill Meldrum. A note of caution amongst this good news: “It is understood there is still strong concern within Keppel Prince and wind energy companies to proposed moves by the government to put further planning controls on wind farm developments within Victoria.” Keppel plans to expand PORTLAND wind tower manufacturer Keppel Prince Engineering is planning a new $6 million blasting and painting facility. The board of its parent company Singapore-based Keppel Integrated Engineering Ltd has approved the expansion on the proviso that Keppel Prince Engineering secures more work. The expansion plans were … Continue reading Portland wind tower manufacturer to expand operations