On Sunday June 2nd, Yes 2 Renewables campaigners Lan and Simon headed to the Belmont Markets in Geelong in blustery conditions and set up a Y2R listening post. The aim: to gauge public opinion on local renewable energy developments.
What did we find? A couple of enquirers had strong opinions on noise generated by wind turbines, however the majority of stall visitors were happy to sign Y2R’s petition calling on Premier Napthine to lift the restrictions on wind energy development and stop Coal Seam Gas extraction, despite the bad weather! One signatory from ‘down the coast’ said he loved wind energy so much he was planning on building some on his own property (not too coastal we hope!). Continue reading “Listening Post: Y2R in Geelong”
Callum Davidson and deputy editor Sandi Keane report from Melbourne and Canberra on a tale of two cities and three rallies — or rather two and a sorry fizzer.
THE GLOVES CAME OFF today in Melbourne in the phony war waged against wind farms whilst in Canberra, the pro-renewables rally stole the show from the shadowy anti-wind pressure group, Stop These Things.
Morten Albaek, Senior Vice-President, Vestas Wind Systems, chose Australia, the hotbed of anti-wind activity, to launch its fight against the campaign by vested interests and climate skeptics:
“The wind industry is being attacked by media-savvy and politically influential adversaries who often display a brazen disregard for factual information. The “Act on Facts” campaign is our way of fighting back.”
Speaking at the University of Melbourne today, Albaek said the industry has been too conservative:
“Today it’s gloves off. We’re stepping up our game to fight back but with one big difference — it will be fact-based.”
25-years ago, as the blades of Victoria’s first grid-connected wind turbine started spinning in Breamlea, we had high hopes for a burgeoning industry set to change the shape of the state’s energy market.
Fast forward to 2013 and the hope for Victoria to become a wind powerhouse is being turned into a lot of hot air.
The state government’s restrictive VC-82 anti-wind farm laws are strangling the industry and create an unfair imbalance in planning regulations that favours the fossil fuel industry.
Yet, in the face of tightening planning regulations and reduced state and federal funding, Geelong continues to lead the way with innovative and forward thinking renewables technology, creating sustainable local jobs while addressing climate change.
A Corio company, Geelong Galvanasing has submitted a planning application to install two locally manufactured wind turbines at its Bacchus Marsh Rd base.
The 20m tall Eco Whisper turbines are manufactured locally by the North Geelong manufacturer, Austeng, and are an almost silent device that delivers more power than the traditional three-blade designs.
These turbines are expected to considerably cut the electricity costs of businesses like Geelong Galvanasing by reducing reliance on the grid. Their development also paves the way for Geelong to become a wind powerhouse and industry leader. Continue reading “A Whisper in the Wind”
JASON “Grub” Bannam loves his job. Working as a welder on massive wind towers has taught the former postie many things, and he enjoys the camaraderie of his workplace, too.
But he worries that his job may go the way that others at his company have, with uncertainty in the wind energy market and cheaper imports stopping companies from buying the towers that his company, Keppel Prince Engineering, (KPE) produces.
KPE in Portland, far south-west Victoria, used to employ 120 people directly in its with tower division, but that workforce is now down to 65 because work has dried up.
The company is currently building the massive white towers for a wind farm in New South Wales, but production supervisor Stuart Batten says there is only three months’ worth of work left in that, and unless there are new contracts coming up the company will probably have to lay off more workers.
This morning, environmental group Quit Coal have unveiled a giant banner from the top of Flinders Street Station, calling on Premier Napthine to ‘get off the coal train and get on track for renewables’.
Victoria’s new Premier, Denis Napthine, has inherited Baillieu’s regressive policies designed to prop up an unviable brown coal export industry and encourage invasive coal-seam gas mining. Premier Napthine has also endorsed his predecessor’s anti-wind farm laws, which have stalled the development of crucial renewable energy projects in the state.
“Premiers come and go, but climate change will be a long-term challenge for Victoria,” says Quit Coal spokesperson Chloe Aldenhoven. “This issue requires politicians to be visionary, to be honourable and to think beyond their term.”
“Mr Napthine has taken office during a year of record-breaking heatwaves in the state, yet his government ignores the threats posed by climate change,” said
“Rather than plan for climate change, the government recklessly progresses new coal and gas projects. Victorians in towns like Poowong and Bacchus Marsh are being forced to defend their farms, their communities and their water resources from these new and invasive mining projects,” said Aldenhoven.
Macarthur district residents, Merilyn Cook and Hamish Officer, together with representatives from the Victorian Wind Alliance (VicWind), met with local MP, Dan Tehan in Warrnambool on Tuesday to discuss the benefits the Macarthur Wind Farm is bringing to their community.
“There’s a historic opportunity right now to benefit from this shift of power generation from coal and gas regions to wind regions like South West Victoria,” said Mr Bray, VicWind’s State Coordinator.
“With 20 locals permanently employed, the Macarthur wind farm is now the biggest single employer in this rural district.” said Mr Bray.
When thinking about wind workers, the first things that come to mind are the metalworkers who labor in enormous factories fabricating turbine towers; the construction crews dealing with the logistical challenges of installation; and the specialised electricians who monitor and … Continue reading Ten Good Things (about wind energy)