While wind farms are touted as climate solutions, profit-hungry companies are actually causing widespread damage to the regions they’re based in, reports Tamara Pearson.
The ACT Labor government has boosted its commitment to renewable energy still further, announcing Canberra will be fully powered by renewables by 2020. The switch to renewable energy began with the decision in 2013 to fund three solar farms. Since then, it has held two wind auctions and signed 20-year contracts with four companies to buy energy for a guaranteed payment from wind farms in South Australia, Victoria and NSW. Environment Minister Simon Corbell said Canberra was leading the nation on renewables, and reaping the benefits.
A new survey commissioned by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has found communities across New South Wales are big fans of renewable energy. An overwhelming 91% of the 2000 people surveyed across NSW said they support the use of renewables to generate electricity.
By indulging in an ignorant and absurd sledge of the wind industry, NSW Minister for Medical Research Pru Goward is doing yet more damage to the future of this vital energy source, said Greens NSW MP John Kaye. His remarks came in response to comments by Goward reported in the October 20 Sydney Morning Herald supporting claims that wind farms caused headaches and other sickness. "Minister Goward is allowing her flirtation with the worst aspects of internet-based hysteria and non-science to stand uncorrected."
On June 23, Australia's parliament voted to reduce the Renewable Energy Target for 2020 from 41 to 33 terawatt hours of renewable electricity, following a long struggle by the government to win support from minor party Senators for the cuts. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he “would frankly have liked to reduce the number a lot more”. The deal he cut in the Senate will see the potential for “wood waste” from logging of native forests to be burned to generate “renewable electricity” as part of the target.
VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT REPEALS ANTI-WIND FARM LAWS The Victorian Labor government has repealed the worst aspects of the Coalition's anti-wind farm laws. After a strong community campaign led by Friends of the Earth, the Andrews government announced it will remove the 2km right of veto that allowed householders to block wind farms. This measure will be replaced by a 1km buffer zone.
Numerous wind farm developments across Victoria may face termination due to the highly inflexible and restrictive nature of the Denis Napthine government’s anti-wind farm laws and permit rules. The Weekly Times reported that the 20 companies granted permits before the introduction of these laws have been denied the ability to make simple upgrades to their turbines.