South Australia gets wind energy jobs as Victoria faces jobs crises

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 10.24.57 AMAustralia’s largest wind farm project has been given the go ahead by the South Australian government just days after Toyota announced its decision to end manufacturing in Victoria.

Victoria now faces a jobs crisis. Jobs created in the wind energy sector would have softened the blow of the declining manufacturing sector. Yet anti-wind farm laws introduced by former Premier Ted Baillieu has prevented new projects in the state.

South Australia’s wind energy sector has been the main beneficiary from Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws which took effect in 2011. It’s creating jobs while cutting pollution.

Continue reading “South Australia gets wind energy jobs as Victoria faces jobs crises”

Dispatch from SA: South Australia’s solar summer

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 … Continue reading Dispatch from SA: South Australia’s solar summer

TrustPower offer payments to wind project neighbours

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New Zealand wind farm developer TrustPower is proposing to pay owners of properties neighbouring wind farms – as well as the turbine hosts – in a model it will likely adopt in other projects. Continue reading “TrustPower offer payments to wind project neighbours”

Pollie Watch: SA politician urges another wind inquiry. But is it necessary?

By David Clarke, wind energy watcher from South Australia. 

Robert Brokenshire, MLC

Following the recent approval of the Keyneton Wind Farm in South Australia a few wind farm opponents predictably expressed their disappointment and continuing opposition.  Mr Brokenshire, a member of South Australia’s Legislative Council, expressed concern regarding the adequacy of the approvals process and suggested that the next parliament should look into it. But is another inquiry necessary?

How many parliamentary investigations into wind farms must there be before it is recognised that wind turbines are harmless, valuable as a source of employment and development, and sorely needed if we are to control our greenhouse emissions?  Continue reading “Pollie Watch: SA politician urges another wind inquiry. But is it necessary?”

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


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”

Collision of science and sentiment – Waterloo wind farm cleared by EPA

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The most interesting places on Earth are the subduction zones where tectonic plates of science and emotion scrape relentlessly. Buried in these dynamic boundaries we find the most telling insights into human nature. Wind energy spans the continents of science and sentiment, and discourse is dominated by this violent collision of empirical reality and unbridled passion.

Though living full time in this fissure might seem unenviable, I guarantee it is stirring. Yesterday, the plates grated once more, as the South Australian Environmental Protection Agency (SA EPA) released the long-anticipated results of their study into low-frequency noise levels at Waterloo Wind Farm.

Waterloo wind farm. Source: ABC News.

First, some history. In May 2012, Graham Lloyd of The Australian mused in an article whether the Waterloo Wind Farm could be the culprit behind the mutations of chicken embryos, spikes in “sheep deformities” and “reports of erratic behaviour by farm dogs” – a joyful foray into absurdity that served as a textbook example of implication by proximity. Continue reading “Collision of science and sentiment – Waterloo wind farm cleared by EPA”

Dispatch from SA: Frontline of the renewable energy transition

1381651_10152026947563109_876129434_nSouth Australian Yes 2 Renewables contributor,  Dave Clarke, visited the Snowtown wind farm extension last week. Here’s a quick dispatch from the frontline of the renewable energy transition:

I didn’t realise until recently how big the Snowtown wind farm expansion is in comparison to what is already around the place. Something like 20 of the 90 new turbines are already in place.

At the end of 2012 total installed wind power in Australia was 2576MW. This project, Snowtown 2 at 270MW, will increase that amount by more than 10 percent. It will increase the amount of installed wind capacity in South Australia by 25 percent (from 1073MW to 1343MW).

And not a word of objection to it!

Interesting how the local people seem generally to be quite happy with those South Australian wind farms that were built before about 2010. Snowtown Stage 1 was completed in 2008.

South Australia is the national leader when it comes to renewable energy. Continue reading “Dispatch from SA: Frontline of the renewable energy transition”

Pollie Watch: Shadow energy minister challenges Napthine’s renewables record

The Victorian Labor Party is building a reputation for supporting renewable energy. On several occasions over the last year, shadow energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio has outlined Labor’s stance on renewable energy. At a conference in Melbourne last year, D’Ambrosio critiqued the … Continue reading Pollie Watch: Shadow energy minister challenges Napthine’s renewables record

IPCC climate change report: Rationale for more renewables

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s  Fifth Assessment Report was released in late September 2013. A few days after its release the Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported that the year ending on September 30th was the hottest on record for almost all of South Australia; and a large part of Australia.

BoMTempsClimatologists tell us that extreme weather events are likely to become more common as climate change advances, such as the extreme winds that damaged bean crops in the Northern Agricultural Districts of South Australia on the 30th September and again on 2nd October.

20131003_5sHow long can the country’s leaders continue to ignore, or at least to trivialise, climate change? How long can they neglect the fact that Australia is one of the main culprits among the nations causing climate change? Continue reading “IPCC climate change report: Rationale for more renewables”

Wind farms cut coal capacity factors

The graph is from the Australian Energy Market Operator’s publication ‘2013 South Australian Electricity Report’.

When I first glanced at this graph I thought little of it; after all, it is about fossil fuel fired power stations and not renewables. But a little more thought shows that it gives us some very important information about the effectiveness of South Australia’s wind farms.

The capacity factor of a power station is the amount of power it generates in terms of what it would generate if it ran at full capacity all the time. So, for example, if a 100MW power station produces an average of 40MW over a year it is said to have a capacity factor of 40 percent.

There are several important pieces of information relevant to renewable energy in this graph.

First: The average capacity factor of Australia’s wind farms is 35 percent. Wind power opponents often criticize wind farms for this, implying that their capacity factors should be much higher if wind farms were of any real value. Note that only three of the thirteen South Australian power stations have a capacity factor greater than the 35 percent achieved by wind farms.

Second, and more importantly: The graph shows that the capacity factor of the coal-fired Playford B power station has declined to zero in the period 2009/10 to 2012/13. (It was the dirtiest power station in Australia in terms of carbon dioxide released per unit of electricity generated and has been ‘put into mothballs’). The graph also shows that the capacity factor of South Australia’s only remaining coal-fired Northern Power Station, the second biggest power station in the state, has declined from more than 90 percent to less than 50 percent in the period 2008/09 to 2012/18. The Northern is expected to only be used for the warmer half of each year before being shut down all together. Continue reading “Wind farms cut coal capacity factors”