RET Watch: Changes to target threaten Victoria’s solar jobs

Workers-install-solar-pan-007Victoria is at risk of losing solar jobs if the Abbott government cuts the Renewable Energy Target following a review of the policy.

A national survey undertaken by the Australian Solar Council found 81 per cent of its member businesses would be forced to sack staff if the Renewable Energy Target is wound back or axed.

On the other hand, if the Abbott government leaves the popular policy alone, 60 per cent of the solar companies surveyed would hire more staff.

Analysis conducted by the REC Agents Association (RAA) found 12,600 solar jobs could go over the next four years if the Renewable Energy Target was axed. Continue reading “RET Watch: Changes to target threaten Victoria’s solar jobs”

Dispatch from SA: Ceres wind farm approval and other matters

South Australian Yes 2 Renewables contributor Dave Clarke has been tracking his state’s progress on renewable energy for years. Clarke has visited the Snowtown II wind farm which is now under construction and has pointed out milestones in renewable energy.

Here’s Dave with another quick dispatch; this time looking at the approval of the Ceres wind farm. The green light for the project underscores the effectiveness of the national Renewable Energy Target (the Abbott government announced its review panel stacked against renewable energy). It also shows the opportunity cost to Victoria from Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws:

495783-wind-turbineIn the last few days we have heard that the 197-turbine Ceres Project wind farm on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula has been approved by the State Government.

It has been vociferously opposed by a group calling themselves the Heartland Farmers who have made many (literally) incredible claims:

  1. They have claimed the wind farm will cause land prices to fall by up to 100% (They moderated this to 30%+ after I pointed out how ridiculous it was; wind farms hardly have any effect on land prices);
  2. “It is known that wind turbines shift (agricultural) spray drift from one paddock to another” (bizarre);
  3. They say that it will cause shadow flicker problems for drivers on Yorke Peninsula roads (YP roadsides have lots of native vegetation; whenever the sun gets low in the sky there is shadow flicker for drivers all over the place because of the trees);
  4. They claim that wind power is incompatible with agriculture (the US state of Iowa, sometimes called the Food Capital of the World, is two-thirds the size of Victoria and has twice the wind power of the whole of Australia; the three US states having the highest agricultural production also have the most wind power);
  5. They claim big impacts on areal agriculture and areal fire-fighting (the Country Fire Service and local areal agriculture contractor have contradicted their claims);

Another opponent (a doctor of economics forsooth!) ‘calculated’ that it would take more than 3000 years for any wind turbine to ‘pay back’ the carbon dioxide released from the manufacture of the cement in its foundation. (He confused cement with concrete and energy with power. I showed that he was in error by a factor of around 20 000!)

I could go on. Continue reading “Dispatch from SA: Ceres wind farm approval and other matters”

Ararat Councillor receives Renewable Energy Champion award

Ararat Councillor Gwenda Allgood received the inaugural Renewable Energy Champion Award at the Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival 2014. Yes 2 Renewables selected councillor Allgood to recognise her efforts educating Australians about wind energy. Councillor Allgood has travelled far and wide to tell a … Continue reading Ararat Councillor receives Renewable Energy Champion award

Wallies against wind turbines

Late last year, Senator John Madigan dispatched staffers to South Gippsland to stir up the community about the Bald Hills wind farm. Yes 2 Renewables responded to the visit, pointing out that claims of ‘excessive wind farm noise’ are speculative given … Continue reading Wallies against wind turbines

Dispatch from SA: Wind provides 41% demand in the third quarter

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Wind energy watcher, David Clarke of South Australia has sent through another dispatch:

Dr Graham Bethune (CEO of Energy Quest – an energy advisory and research firm) said on ABC 891 Radio on 9 December, 2013 that in the third quarter of the year, 41 percent of South Australia’s electricity was generated by wind turbines.  He said that a further 4 percent came from solar power.

The wind power figure might well be higher than expected – I believe that September was unusually windy. However, SA’s installed wind power is to be increased by a further 22 percent when the currently under construction Snowtown Stage 2 is completed, so we could see 50 percent of SA’s power coming from the wind by 2015. Continue reading “Dispatch from SA: Wind provides 41% demand in the third quarter”

Wind farm for pulp mill site a strong concept

air5Friends of the Earth Australia welcome the concept of a wind farm at the Tamar Valley pulp mill site. 

A wind farm at the proposed pulp mill site is a strong concept that would create jobs and attract investment to northern Tasmania.

If the wind farm comes to fruition it would be a leading example for how communities can transition from the old 20th Century industry to the high-tech 21st Century economy.

A wind farm at the site of a failed pulp mill could attract high-value Information and Communications Technology firms and investment to the region.  

As we’ve discussed previously on ABC Radio, forward-looking companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook are are aiming for 100 percent renewable energy. They’re locating data centres that store the information we access online (such as YouTube videos) near renewable energy generators. Continue reading “Wind farm for pulp mill site a strong concept”

Local group welcomes VCAT wind farm decision

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The Cherry Tree Range

BEAM Mitchell Environment Group has welcomed the long-awaited decision from VCAT that approves the planning application for the Cherry Tree Range wind farm.

BEAM President Richard Telford says the Mitchell Shire region in central Victoria can now look forward to the benefits that this project will bring. “Along with producing enough clean energy to power around 26,000 homes,” says Telford, “there will be a significant stimulus to the local economy in the form of investment and jobs.”

Yes 2 Renewables estimates show the project will deliver substantial economic benefits to the region. Standing out among these for BEAM is the community fund of up to $80,000 each year. “The community fund is particularly significant” says BEAM member Sarah Durrant, “as the locals could be in a position to choose just how the funds might best be used.” Continue reading “Local group welcomes VCAT wind farm decision”

Energy Futures Forum a success in Seymour

Published by BEAM-Mitchell Environment Group. View the original article.

The Energy Futures Forum organised by BEAM and Yes 2 Renewables was held in Seymour on the 16th of November. It has helped broadened the debate about energy issues in the Mitchell Shire region with over 50 turning up for an informative day.

The Energy Futures Forum held the the VRI Hall in Seymour attracted over 50 people.
The Energy Futures Forum held the the VRI Hall in Seymour attracted over 50 people.

Energy has become a hot topic for the community with a wind farm proposed for the region. The 15-turbine Cherry Tree Range wind farm is currently before VCAT with a decision expected at any moment. The proposal for a wind farm on Cherry Tree Range is a local manifestation of the energy choices we’re now facing. Will we remain hitched to fossil fuels, pollution and climate change, or will we shift to renewable energy with the benefits of jobs and drought-proof income for regional Victoria?

The audience was highly engaged in the subject matter and expressed positive feedback about the quality of the presenters. The positive tone and evidence-based presentations of the Energy Futures Event was a contrast to the emotive, fear-laden anti-wind farm meeting in Trawool last year. Continue reading “Energy Futures Forum a success in Seymour”

Ararat Councillor says wind farms are all good!

cr-g-allgoodToo many politicians at the local, state and federal level have abandoned the evidence and adopted an anti-wind farm stance.

There are those who have opposed wind energy fearing a backlash from constituents, and others have done so out of political opportunism. There are those with an ideological objection to renewable energy, and some, no doubt, have close ties with the fossil fuel sector and see wind energy as a threat to business as usual.

Then there are politicians like councillor Gwenda Allgood, who is a strong supporter of wind energy. Cr Allgood has fronted audiences in Seymour and King Island to tell the positive story of Ararat–a community in west Victoria that is immensely proud of its wind farm.

In an interview with ABC Radio last week, Ararat Regional City councillor Gwenda Allgood detailed her community’s experience with wind energy. Continue reading “Ararat Councillor says wind farms are all good!”

Gippsland locks the gate on CSG, opens it to renewables

MaffraGippsland is the frontline of the battle against unconventional gas in Victoria. Mining and resources companies have their sights on the region as the next frontier for expanding the onshore gas industry. Unconventional gas extraction has taken root in Queensland and New South Wales, and industry players want Victoria to follow suit.

The Lock the Gate Alliance invited Yes 2 Renewables to Maffra to speak with the community about the broader context of energy and the potential of renewables.

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 5.15.56 PMYes 2 Renewables was pleased to join Merryn Redenbach from Doctors for the Environment Australia and Felicity Milner from the Environmental Defenders Office to present to 50 people at the Maffra Football Club last week.

Those opposed to wind energy like to say regional communities are divided on wind farms, so I was unsure how my presentation on community-owned renewable energy would be received. Continue reading “Gippsland locks the gate on CSG, opens it to renewables”