Kitchen Table Conversations launched in Geelong, Surf Coast

Yes 2 Renewables and Geelong Sustainability have joined forces to launch a community-run research project in the lead up to the Victorian election on November 29. The groups kicked off a community-run research project in Geelong on Wednesday August 6, hosting the … Continue reading Kitchen Table Conversations launched in Geelong, Surf Coast

Macedon residents fired up about Baillieu’s brown tape

r0_193_3264_2037_w1200_h678_fmaxFriends of the Earth’s recent report on the costs of Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws has put renewable energy on the state election agenda.

The Age featured exclusive coverage of the research report. The Macedon Ranges Guardian, a prominent newspaper in the battleground seat of Macedon, reported on the local impacts of the Coalition government’s anti-wind farm laws.

In addition to scuttling two utility-scale projects in the Macedon region, it’s well known that the government’s arbitrary blanket ban prevented a community wind farm from going ahead in Woodend.

The Macedon Ranges Guardian published the following letter by Macedon resident Marie Lakey, who takes issue with Liberal candidate Donna Petrovich’s support for Baillieu’s brown tape:  Continue reading “Macedon residents fired up about Baillieu’s brown tape”

Wind energy on the Vic election agenda in Macedon

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 3.13.54 PMFriends of the Earth’s recent report on the costs of Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws has put renewable energy on the state election agenda.

The Age featured exclusive coverage of the research report. The Macedon Ranges Guardian, a prominent newspaper in the battleground seat of Macedon, reported on the local impacts of the Coalition government’s anti-wind farm laws.

In addition to scuttling two utility-scale projects in the Macedon region, it’s well known that the government’s arbitrary blanket ban prevented a community wind farm from going ahead in Woodend.

“The State Government’s anti-wind farm laws prohibited our project without any consultation or justification,” said Barry Mann of the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group —the organisation behind the community wind farm proposal. “We’d love to follow in the footsteps of Hepburn Wind and build a community wind farm in Woodend.”

The Friends of the Earth research prompted responses from the major party candidates.  Continue reading “Wind energy on the Vic election agenda in Macedon”

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”

Australia’s biggest coal state plans for life beyond coal

Originally posted at The Conversation. View the original post here. We are in the coal business. If you want decent hospitals, schools and police on the beat we all need to understand that. – Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, June 2012. It … Continue reading Australia’s biggest coal state plans for life beyond coal

RET Review Road Trip #1: Hepburn Wind farm

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The RET Road Trip kicks off at Hepburn Wind.

This article was published by Renew Economy.

On Tuesday April 8, Friends of the Earth launched its fact-finding RET Review Road Trip at the Hepburn Wind farm—the birthplace of community energy in Australia.

The visit to the Hepburn Wind farm is the first stop in a three-month road trip to get a real understanding of the impact energy policy, and particularly the Renewable Energy Target, has on Victorian communities. We’ve invited Dick Warburton to join us.

As readers will know, the Abbott government has initiated a review of the Renewable Energy Target. The government appointed Dick Warburton (AO LVO), former Caltex chairman who Renew Economy (among other media outlets) describes as a “climate change denier,” to chair the review.

With these credentials, it’s no wonder people fear the Warburton-led panel will recommend weakening the Renewable Energy Target.

A weakened Renewable Energy Target will set Australia back. Research by IES Advisory and RepuTex shows this outcome cost jobs, investment, and hurt Australian businesses. The Renewable Energy Target review threatens $10 billion dollars worth of investment, 3,556 construction jobs, and up to 600 full time jobs.

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Leigh Ewbank outlining the consequences of a weakened Renewable Energy Target.

Friends of the Earth has invited Dick Warburton to join our RET Road Trip so he can engage with communities and understand how they are affected by our energy choices. We’ll meet with people that have benefitted from renewable energy, but also, people who have endured pollution from fossil fuels.

We believe our fact-finding mission can help Mr Warbuton make an informed decision about the Renewable Energy Target.

While Mr Warburton has not responded to our invite, we remain hopeful he’ll join us at scheduled events over the next few months. After all, strong community engagement is essential to making a decision about a policy as important at the Renewable Energy Target.

What did we find in Hepburn where over twenty community members braved the rain to discuss the Renewable Energy Target? Continue reading “RET Review Road Trip #1: Hepburn Wind farm”

RET Watch: Qld sugar producer “nervous” about renewables target cut

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 11.06.19 AMA Queensland sugar producer selling clean energy to the grid has expressed concern about a possible cut the the Renewable Energy Target.

According to the Central Telegraph, Mackay Sugar have made a “solid investment” in cogeneration from crop waste and “want to make sure their future is stable.”

In 2012 Mackay Sugar opened a $120 million, 38MW cogeneration plant that generates enough electricity for one third of Mackay–cutting around 200,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

“Our biggest concern was with the unwinding of the RET,” Mackay Sugar chairman Andrew Cappello told the Central Telegraph. “I mean this is where we attract a lot of value for this cogeneration plant.” 

“This was a huge investment for us,” added Capello. “Given the size of our business, we have taken a pretty big risk. Until the main outcome (from) the review, we will remain a little nervous.”

Mr Capello’s concern is well-founded. The RET Review panel chaired by climate change denier Dick Warburton and stacked in favour of fossil fuel interests.
art-tony-abbott-620x349The Abbott government has done nothing to allay those fears. Continue reading “RET Watch: Qld sugar producer “nervous” about renewables target cut”

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: Ararat locals urge Dan Tehan to protect the RET

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Ararat locals urge Liberal MP Dan Tehan (third from the left) to protect the RET.

Ararat residents affiliated with the Victorian Wind Alliance have met with Dan Tehan, Liberal party member for Wannon, urging him to support the Renewable Energy Target.

With the Challicum Hills wind farm already operating in the region, this community is well aware of the benefits wind farms deliver. This is why they have launched a petition calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to leave the Renewable Energy Target alone.

T

he region is set to benefit from another wave of wind farm development, but only if the Renewable Energy Target is kept as it is. The 84MW Crowlands wind farm project is in the pipeline. If built, it will enough electricity to power 51,000 Victorian homes.

Yes 2 Renewables estimate the Crowlands wind farm will create:

Cr Allgood’s success belongs to Ararat

Cr Gwenda Allgood receiving the Renewable Energy Champion award from Tanya Ha at Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival.
Cr Gwenda Allgood receiving the Renewable Energy Champion award from Tanya Ha at Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival this year.

Ararat Councillor Gwenda Allgood received Yes 2 Renewables’ inaugural Renewable Energy Champion award in recognition of her tireless commitment to renewable energy advocacy. Gwenda is known for her championing of the economic and environmental benefits of wind power against the spurious claims of the anti-wind farm lobby.

Yes 2 Renewables recently received this letter of gratitude from former Ararat resident Sandra praising Gwenda Allgood for her ongoing commitment to renewables:

I would like to congratulate Councillor Gwenda Allgood on receiving the inaugural Renewable Energy Champion Award at the 2014 Sustainable Living Festival.

Gwenda has shared the success of Challicum Hills Wind Farm with other communities contemplating hosting a wind farm in their midst and debunking the myths spread by mischievous anti-wind agencies. Continue reading “Cr Allgood’s success belongs to Ararat”