Yes 2 Renewables launch RET Road Trip!

Today, Yes 2 Renewables will launch 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 of an 11-week road trip to … Continue reading Yes 2 Renewables launch RET Road Trip!

WA Senate re-run may give reprieve to renewables

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Originally posted at RenewEconomy. View the original post here.

The large-scale renewables sector may be the beneficiary of the WA Senate rerun, with a Perth-based electoral analyst and blogger saying a likely even left/right split the most likely outcome – making it more difficult for a Coalition government to scrap or castrate the renewable energy target.

Given the tendency for by-elections to result in a swing against the government, a WA-based electoral expert believes that the WA Senate election will likely result in a three Liberal, two Labor and one Green split. The result would mean that it will be difficult for the Abbott Government to get its legislation through. Continue reading “WA Senate re-run may give reprieve to renewables”

Labor’s victory in SA offers hope for a little energy sanity

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Originally posted at Renew Economy. View the original post here

The surprise return of the Labor government in South Australia means that the book is not entirely closed on Australia’s mainland for renewable energy.

Indeed, while the broad thrust of national renewable energy policy will be directed by the Abbott government, the return of the Jay Weatherill Labor government in Adelaide, the election of Mike Hodgman in Tasmania, and the ambition of the ACT Labor government means that there are some counters to the apparently ideologically-driven opposition to renewables in the Federal government.

As RenewEconomy has noted before, it is not by accident that the three states and territories most supportive of renewable energy in Australia are those with no, or relative weak, fossil fuel interests.

Continue reading “Labor’s victory in SA offers hope for a little energy sanity”

RET Watch: Review stalls projects worth $1b

082495-tony-abbottThe Abbott government’s RET Review is stalling $1 billion worth of investment and preventing new jobs from coming online.

“Close to $1 billion of renewable energy projects have been put on ice pending the outcome of the government’s Renewable Energy Target review,”  reports the Australian Financial Review, “as uncertainties over whether the ­target will be abolished stalk the ­industry and investors.”

Australia’s renewable energy sector is in a holding position while it waits for the recommendations of the RET Review panel and the Abbott government’s response.

The worst-case scenario is a scrapping or cutting the renewables target. According to research by energy market analyst Intelligent Energy Systems Advisory, scrapping the Renewable Energy Target would kill off $10 billion of investment in the energy sector. This outcome would cost over 4,000 jobs.

The uncertainty surrounding the Renewable Energy Target has stalled wind energy projects. As the most competitive renewable energy generation, the RET is a key driver for the rollout of wind farms.  Continue reading “RET Watch: Review stalls projects worth $1b”

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”

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

Election aftermath: Full speed in reverse

camBy Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth’s campaigns coordinator explores Australia’s new political landscape in an article published by Chain Reaction – Friends of the Earth’s national magazine. Find other thought-provoking articles and support Friends of the Earth by subscribing to Chain Reaction.

The following is a brief assessment of possible trajectories in environmental politics under the federal Coalition government, specific areas where the Coalition can be expected to act, and a summary of some of the key players in the new political landscape.

The first Tea Party government?

John Howard was never an advocate for climate action. Yet we face something different in Tony Abbott. A lot of water has passed under the bridge of conservative politics since Howard’s days. If we want to see what an Abbott government might mean for the environment, we would be well advised to look to the US, where a highly ideological Tea Party movement continues to drive government agendas. Think Sarah Palin, not John Howard.

It seems clear that this government will start to dismantle 40 years of environmental progress and modernisation, as approvals for major projects are passed to the States and Territories. Tony Abbott calls this cutting ‘green tape’. In the real world this means more coal mines, more gas rigs, and more port facilities on the Great Barrier Reef.

453380-1f4faa60-3e22-11e3-9bcd-10262b6f8853Mr Abbott has long said that his first actions as PM will include the dismantling of the carbon price. What is surprising is the speed at which he is enacting his agenda. There are a considerable number of senior Coalition MPs with profound dislike of all things green. This may manifest as vindictive actions, like the expected lock out of environmental NGOs from government access.

This Tea Party approach is a strategic error. Playing to the climate sceptics and anti-greens will not win fans amongst soft green Liberal voters. It also runs the risk of alienating sections of the business community. For example, if Mr Abbott shuts down the wind industry, he is depriving farmers of reliable income and removing jobs from regional Australia. In short, if this government goes hard against everything green, it will damage the economy at the same time.

When we look at the Coalition’s recent record, we can see they have been forced to keep the facade that they will take action on climate, yet the Direct Action Plan will deliver very little in terms of emissions reduction. It is little more than a slush fund for farmers and the tree plantings by his Green Army will not be a panacea for our rising greenhouse emissions. The anti science agenda suggests that the Coalition is not controlled by economic rationalists any more, because of the evidence that it is willing to protect fossil fuels and mining at any cost. Continue reading “Election aftermath: Full speed in reverse”

PollieWatch: Angus Taylor runs with the wind

1467421_372908476178033_1550328719_nAt the weekend, Infigen Energy hosted its second annual Run With The Wind event at the Woodlawn wind farm. This year’s fun run around the 23 wind turbines near Bungendore, New South Wales attracted 600 participants–including the Liberal Member for Hume, Angus Taylor.

Angus Taylor’s participation in the event is somewhat of a surprise given his track record of bagging wind energy.

Taylor is the poster child of the clandestine anti-wind farm site Stop These Things. The site’s anonymous bloggers laud Taylor for his wind bashing. They describe the member for Hume this way:

Angus “the Enforcer” Taylor has just slammed his pro-wind power opponents to pick up the seat of Hume in NSW. Angus takes up where the “faultless former Member for Hume”, Alby Schultz left off. Continue reading “PollieWatch: Angus Taylor runs with the wind”

Pollie Watch: Senator for Victoria holds anti-wind farm lobby to account

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Senator Richard DiNatale (Australia Greens)

Senator for Victoria Richard DiNatale (Australian Greens) has used his first speech since the 2013 election to hold the anti-wind farm lobby to account for spreading health fears, being subsidised by Australian taxpayers, and having links to fossil fuel investors.

Rather than distracting policy makers with spurious claims of a wind farm noise disease and wasting taxpayers money, Senator DiNatale suggests the anti-wind farm groups could campaign on the health impacts of poor air quality.

“We are seeing more people dying from poor air quality than we’re seeing die from the road toll. The mining and combustion and transport of coal is one of the reasons why that’s happening. But no, this group campaigns against a clean renewable form of energy, despite the fact that if we able to make the transition to cleaner renewable energy we mitigate against some of the most important health impacts…”

DiNatale takes aim at the Waubra Foundation and their status as a ‘health promotion charity,’ Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Senator for Victoria holds anti-wind farm lobby to account”

Pollie Watch: PM Abbott’s first comments on wind farms, Renewable Energy Target

481239-pn-news-tony-abbottTony Abbott has made his first comments on wind energy and the Renewable Energy Target as Prime Minister. During an interview with Alan Jones (2GB) PM Abbott had the following to say:

“If you drive down the Federal Highway from Goulburn to Canberra and you look at Lake George, yes there’s an absolute forest of these things on the other side of the lake near Bungendore. I absolutely understand why people are anxious about these things that are sprouting like mushrooms all over the fields of our country. I absolutely understand the concerns that people have.

“And I also understand the difficulty because while renewable power is a very good idea at one level, you’ve gotta have backups because when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, the power doesn’t flow. So this is an obvious problem with renewable energy in the absence of much more sophisticated battery technology than we have right now.

“We are going to review the Renewable Energy Targets. There was going to be a review anyway next year. We’re taking this review very seriously and one of the things that we’ll be looking at will be the impact of renewable energy on power prices, because not only is the carbon tax adding about 9 per cent to everyone’s power bills and we’re going to get rid of that as quickly as we can, renewable energy targets are also significantly driving up power prices right now.”

The Prime Minister cites two common misperceptions about renewables energy: Firstly, that renewables aren’t up for the job of powering the Australian economy because they’re intermittent. And secondly, that the Renewable Energy Target makes up a significant portion of electricity bills.

Let’s break down these misconceptions for the Prime Minister to assist his government’s energy policy making. Continue reading “Pollie Watch: PM Abbott’s first comments on wind farms, Renewable Energy Target”