RET Watch: Time for Clive Palmer to clarify RET position

clive_palmer_UAP_adFederal politician and mining magnate Clive Palmer has left people confused about the Palmer United Party’s position on the Renewable Energy Target just days after announcing support for the popular policy.

On Tuesday, Palmer United Party (PUP) candidate in the rerun of the West Australian senate election, Dio Wang, backed the RET. Mr Wang said the RET “should remain as it is” and branded the Abbott government’s RET Review “a waste of taxpayers money.”

“It worries me when the government says everything is on the table in reviewing the RET,” said Wang. According to the PUP candidate, the RET “was the right scheme for maintaining and improving Australia’s environment.”

Party leader Clive Palmer seems to have softened his stance during an interview on ABC Breakfast with Fran Kelly. Mr Palmer reiterated Wang’s statement on the RET Review wasting taxpayer money, suggesting the government should stick to the findings of the previous review. 

Yet, Palmer no doubt left listeners confused by expressing a ‘philosophical’ opposition to the mandatory nature of the renewables target.  Mr Palmer also refused to be drawn on whether PUP would vote with The Greens to support the RET when the new senate takes effect.  Continue reading “RET Watch: Time for Clive Palmer to clarify RET position”

Pollie Watch: Clive Palmer keeps shtum on the Renewable Energy Target

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Wealthy mining magnate and Federal MP Clive Palmer has once again refused to be drawn on the issue of his Palmer United Party’s (PUP) stance on the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

According to The Australian, Palmer told an audience in Launceston yesterday

 “We’re looking at all those issues at the moment because we haven’t formed a view on what we’ll do with legislation coming before the Senate and when we look at what advantage we can do with our position,”

Palmer’s position here is important because it is likely to determine the viability of any attempt to scrap or seriously amend the RET scheme at the federal level. It is not yet certain, however, whether the PUP will ultimately maintain the balance of power in the Senate, given the potential reshuffling of the six seats available in WA’s Senate election re-run. Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Clive Palmer keeps shtum on the Renewable Energy Target”

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”

Pollie Watch: Will SA Liberals kill wind energy jobs, investment?

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.35.03 AMSouth Australia is national leader when it comes to renewable energy. Wind energy and more recently roof top solar has boomed in the state.  

With the state heading to the polls this weekend, many renewable energy observers are wondering how a change of government will affect South Australia’s incredible energy transition. 

Liberal party candidate for Frome, Kendall Jackson, in on the record supporting restrictions on wind farm developments:

In regards to wind farms, the Liberal team is supportive of our local communities and ensuring local farmers are not unnecessarily disadvantaged by power station development. We believe there should be adequate distance between peoples homes and wind turbines — five kilometres from towns and two kilometres from homes.

The “adequate distance” suggested by the Liberal party candidate are arbitrary. It makes no reference to objective factors such as noise standards, acoustic modelling, turbine type, community support or environment/biodiversity considerations. Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Will SA Liberals kill wind energy jobs, investment?”

Pollie Watch: Tassie opposition leader vows to protect the RET

377308-3x2-940x627Tasmanian opposition leader Will Hodgman has pledged to protect the Renewable Energy Target.

The Liberal party leader, who will contest the Tasmanian election on 15 March, told The Australian he would fight any move by Canberra to axe or dilute the Renewable Energy Target.

According to The Australian, Hodgman “planned a ‘strong’ push to ensure RET changes did not stymie the state’s key wind and hydro energy sectors.” Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Tassie opposition leader vows to protect the RET”

Review finds wind energy is clean, safe: Political implications of NHMRC review

nhmrc_logoThe National Health and Medical Research Council has released its long-awaited review into wind farms and health. 

The NHMRC review shows, once again, that wind farms are clean and safe. 

The review finds no conclusive evidence linking wind farms to ill health affects. The Systematic review of the human health effects of wind farms states:

In summary, the systematic review indicated that there was no consistent evidence that noise from wind turbines, whether estimated in models or using distance as a proxy, is associated with self-reported human health effects. (p.17)

The evidence considered does not support the conclusion that wind turbines have direct adverse effects on human health, as the criteria for causation have not been fulfilled. Indirect effects of wind farms on human health through sleep disturbance, reduced sleep quality, quality of life and perhaps annoyance are possible. Bias and confounding could, however, be possible explanations for the reported associations upon which this conclusion is based. (p.18)

The findings are consistent with previous research, so should be no surprise to anyone.

Implications for the Abbott government:

The NHMRC review, the twentieth by a credible health body, was released just weeks after the Abbott government confirmed it would undertake its own study on wind energy and health. 

Yet further investigations at the behest of the Prime Minister will add fuel to fire of the anti-wind farm campaign. Now that the science is in, it’s time to for politicians to show leadership, accept the result and move on.  Continue reading “Review finds wind energy is clean, safe: Political implications of NHMRC review”

RET Watch: Abbott review puts ideology ahead of good policy

4911026-3x2-940x627The Abbott government’s Renewable Energy Target review, announced on February 17, shows once again that this government puts ideology ahead of good policy.

The appointment of climate change denier Dick Warburton to head the review panel is a troubling sign for the Australian renewable energy sector.

Panel member Shirley In’t Veld is former Managing Director of Verve Energy who are primarily a fossil fuel generating business–98.3 per cent their generation assets are from fossil fuels and just 1.3 per cent from renewables (source).

The announcement had Yes 2 Renewables wondering: Where are the panel members from the wind or solar energy sectors? Continue reading “RET Watch: Abbott review puts ideology ahead of good policy”

PollieWatch: Has Premier Napthine lost faith in the Health Dept?

In late January, the Abbott government was questioned about its forthcoming investigation into the alleged health impacts of wind farms. The Sydney Morning Herald report on the subject revealed that Victorian Premier Dennis Napthine will chip in $100,000 to fund the investigation. … Continue reading PollieWatch: Has Premier Napthine lost faith in the Health Dept?

Citizens’ Briefing on Wind Energy: A Wrap Up

On the first sitting day of the Victorian Parliament for 2014,  Yes 2 Renewables supporters gathered on the steps  to distribute a Citizens Briefing to politicians. We were joined by members of Darebin Climate Action Now, Yarra Climate Action Now and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

ParlGovernment politicians are ill-advised on wind energy. If they advisors can’t get it right then it’s up to citizens to brief them properly. Our briefing debunked the myths surrounding wind energy. Collating research from authoritative energy analysts and public health experts, the Citizens Briefing shows wind energy is clean, safe, and valuable sector to develop in Victoria.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 9.47.45 AMOver three hours we managed to distribute 250 Citizens Briefings to politicians, staffers and journalists. Notable recipients of our briefing include Deputy Premier Peter Ryan, Planning Minister Matthew Guy (the minister responsible for the anti-wind farm laws), Andrew Katos (South Barwon MP), and Clem Newton-Brown (Prahran MP). Continue reading “Citizens’ Briefing on Wind Energy: A Wrap Up”

Busted: Anti-wind spin in South Gippsland…

photoLate last year, several articles appeared in South Gippsland newspapers surrounding the Bald Hills wind farm which will soon commence construction. Advisor to anti-wind farm crusader Senator John Madigan travelled to the region claiming the Bald Hills wind farm would not comply with noise standards.

Such claims are speculative at best. They make big assumptions about the sound of turbines that haven’t even been built. Yet this speculation is nothing new in the wind energy debate.

Fear mongering about the sound of wind farms championed by Senator John Madigan–a politician with a track-record of anti-wind activism–is part of a larger campaign. The other side of the coin is a scare campaign alleging wind farms make people sick.

Despite a lack of credible evidence, anti-wind farm groups persistently link wind turbines to a bizarre collection of 234 diseases and symptoms. All this hysteria promoted by wind energy opponents is having real impacts. Academic research shows it’s the anti-wind farm fear mongering that’s causing some to experience adverse health impacts, not the turbines. Continue reading “Busted: Anti-wind spin in South Gippsland…”