The town of Portland in south west Victoria is undergoing a transition. The renewable energy / clean technology sector is a emerging as a major source of jobs and investment in the region. Yet, the transition isn’t without its set backs.
In July, Ocean Power Technologies announced it will not proceed with its’ proposed $233 million wave energy project in Portland. The cancellation of the proposed wave energy project is a kick in the guts for Portland’s manufacturers, and underscores the need for a state government plan to support renewable energy.
Keppel Prince Engineering’s loss of the lucrative contract for construction on the project’s power buoy units is also putting local jobs at risk at a time in which it is already contending with reduced demand for its wind tower manufacturing.
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.
In 2012, King Islanders were trusted to determine the fate of a proposed wind farm. On Monday, the results of a community vote were announced.
Despite an aggressive scare campaign backed by wealthy NIMBYs and big PR, a clear majority of the community voted for a feasibility study into a 600MW wind farm proposed by HydroTasmania. The result shows that King Islanders won’t be fooled by anti-wind energy spin.
The two-year feasibility study will examine the economic, technical and environmental aspects of the wind farm proposal. The community will now be able to get all the information to needed to make an informed choice about the wind farm proposal.
The green light for the feasibility study is great news for King Islanders and their economy.
With the closure of its abattoir in late 2012, a shrinking population and increased shipping costs, the Island desperately needs a new economic lifeline. That hope may come from the proposed TasWind wind farm. Continue reading “King Island’s renewables vision”
Victorian Greens Leader Greg Barber (MLC) has joined his federal counterpart Senator Richard Di Natale in identifying anti-wind farm campaigning as the source of stress and anxiety falsely attributed to wind mills.
On Thursday March 1, the Australian Senate debated the anti-wind farm bill proposed by Senators John Madigan (DLP) and Nick Xenaphon (Ind). Greens Senator Richard Di Natale gave a powerful speech addressing the alleged health impacts from wind farm noise. Di Natale, a doctor and medical health specialist, said “It is the spread of misinformation that causes harm; not the wind turbines themselves.”
Mr Barber’s office released the following statement on the matter echoing Di Natale’s assessment of the real causes of stress and anxiety:
This article comes from the Portland Observer, journalist: Bill Meldrum. Wave project swell WAVE energy company Oceanlinx has moved to allay any fears it has scrapped its Portland project in favour of a site off the South Australian coast. It follows a report in Mount Gambier newspaper The Border Watch late last week that the company was planning to build the first stage of the biggest wave energy plant in the world off Port MacDonnell next year. However, project manager Fraser Johnson confirmed on Monday the company’s proposed projects near Cape Nelson and at King Island were still ongoing, and … Continue reading wave energy project continues in Portland
The Indian Ocean island Reunion has taken shipment of the first Ceto 4 wave power generator from WA company Carnegie Wave Energy. This will be the beginning of a 15MW wave energy generation facility. The first stage of the project is being funded by a grant from the French government. From the company’s press release, 26 September: Wave energy developer Carnegie Wave Energy Limited (ASX: CWE) is pleased to advise that its next generation commercial scale CETO unit (CETO 4) has been manufactured and delivered to its deployment location on Reunion Island by French marine defence contractor DCNS. The unit … Continue reading Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd begins 15MW project
The following comes from the Warrnambool Standard, journalist: SHANE FOWLES. The prospects of ocean energy being generated in the south-west have soared with the successful trial of BioPower Systems’ technology. The company has completed testing of its O-Drive module and has confirmed it will run a pilot demonstration off the Port Fairy coastline. It also intends to produce a 1MW commercial unit, having secured land access and development rights near Port Fairy last year. BioPower Systems yesterday announced its full-scale testing had delivered stable power to the grid over extended periods, at a high level of efficiency. “Ocean energy devices … Continue reading South west ocean energy trial success
Coincidentally, this is the second article in two days we have posted on wave energy. This article is by Bill Meldrum, from the Portland Observer. I say coincidentally because wave power is yet to be commercialised and operate at scale. It has long been a complaint that good renewable energy technologies are invented in Australia and developed overseas. Hopefully that will change soon! WAVE energy company Oceanlinx is waiting for funding grants from the Federal or State governments before it starts on a small number of demonstration units off the Portland coastline. The company has also foreshadowed that a successful … Continue reading Wave energy project awaits funding
The following article from the AMWU website profiles the AquaGen demonstration wave power generator, and the benefits of renewable energy industry for skilled jobs in engineering and fabrication industries. Riding a wave of clean technology jobs Jun 07, 2011 Wave power has been explored as an energy source since the late 19th century but one Australian innovator has developed a unique approach which is making wave technology viable in 2011. “The ocean is vast and has enormous power,” says Nick Boyd, “but to date, wave power technologies have been too expensive because most of their equipment is underwater. “The components … Continue reading Wave power and clean tech jobs
what would you prefer in your back yard – a coal mine or a wind farm? Since 1961 Alcoa has been operating a coal mine just inland from Anglesea on Victoria’s Surf Coast. The mine and attached power station provides energy for the Point Henry smelter, which produces aluminium for local use and export. Under the original 1961 lease conditions, Alcoa has an automatic option to mine the site for another 50 years, but the company is currently in negotiations with the State government about a substantial expansion of it’s open cut mine. They are seeking a license to operate … Continue reading No new coal in Anglesea – Time to make the transition