Time to Tune-In Tony: Coalition’s $46 Billion Wind Industry Rescue Package has Liberal Voters Seething
A week or so back, Tony Abbott’s Coalition struck a deal with Labor involving a $46 billion electricity tax aimed at salvaging what’s left of Australia’s wind industry (see our post here).
The ‘deal’ – which has passed the House of Reps – and is on its way to the Senate – is seen by thousands of people in rural communities spread out across the country as a betrayal, not only of their interests, but of the interests of the Nation as a whole (see our posts here and here).
One line from within the ranks is that the Coalition are playing for votes by backing “renewables”. However, there’s a mighty big distinction between the shiny solar panels on a suburban rooftop, and endless seas of bat-chomping, bird slicing, blade-chucking, pyrotechnic, sonic-torturedevices. The former don’t bother anyone much; the latter drive those equipped with the full-range of earthly senses to a state just below (and sometimes above) white-hot fury:
What Tony Abbott & Co need to pick up on (real fast) is the fact that it’s ONLY the lunatics of the hard-‘green’-left that are ready to die in a ditch to ‘save’ the wind industry – pumped up by astroturfing outfits like GetUp! – people that will never, ever vote for the Coalition.
Meanwhile – thanks to wind industry front men, Ian “Macca” Macfarlane and his youthful ward, Greg Hunt – the Coalition is pandering to a crowd they can never hope to win; and forsaking those who have – till now – loyally thrown their votes at the Liberals and Nationals.
That loyalty is being sorely tested, as this cracking little piece from STT Champion, Patina Schneider spells out. Patina quite rightly lays into the Liberal’s ‘Disappointing’ Dan Tehan (as have many others – see our postshere and here) for his switch to the dark-side.
Alarmed and Disappointed
30 May 2015
I wish to relay my alarm and disappointment with Dan Tehan’s recent appearance on the ABC’s 7.30 report on Thursday 30th April, where he appeared in conjunction with Keppel Prince, Portland Aluminium and Committee of Portland representatives.
Dan Tehan broke ranks with his Coalition members, and urged that the Renewable Energy Target should be higher than the 32,000 gigawatt hours proposed by the Coalition.
He claimed he was “putting jobs before politics”. However he was putting JOBS before the HEALTH of hundreds of his constituents in the electorate of Wannon.
On behalf of the Australian Industrial Wind turbine Awareness Network I ask of Mr. Tehan, member for Wannon, what “hold” does the wind turbine industry have over you, to have steered you so far to the left?
I ask of Mr. Tehan, please declare your interests. They must be significant, given that you are the member responsible for representing the residents harmed and nuisanced by the Cape Bridgewater, Macarthur, Glenthompson and Waubra wind power stations, on a daily basis?
Are these constituents collateral damage?
No one wants to see jobs leave Portland but is the solution to blindly advocate for a Renewable Energy Target which would sanction further harm and misery in the south-west of Victoria, opening the flood gates for the construction of so many additional monster wind farms in your electorate?
The wind industry and its intermittent and acoustically toxic technology have failed Victorians, as I’m afraid, has Dan Tehan. It is simplifying matters to the point of embarrassing, that Dan Tehan is doing the bidding of the Labour Opposition, and continues to blame Keppel Prince’s woes on the Renewable Energy Target’s uncertainty.
The Australian government’s Anti-dumping Commission’s ‘Investigation 221’ tells the real Keppel Prince story. It appears to be one of the wind industry’s abject failure to support local manufacture of wind turbine and tower components.
Keppel Prince is well aware of the dumping of wind towers from China and Korea. In 2007, Keppel Prince had 182 staff employed in the production of wind towers. But in 3.6 ‘Employment numbers’, the Commission’s report reveals; ‘Keppel Prince had a total workforce of 362 at December 2012 of which 71 were employed in the production of wind towers, the number of employees in the production of wind towers had reduced to 64 by June 2013’.
Inflated numbers in tower production were gradually whittled down while the RET enjoyed bipartisan support. Only 20% or so of Keppel Prince’s employees were making wind towers in 2012 while the other 298 employees – the majority of Keppel Prince’s jobs – were largely servicing the aluminium industry which, incidentally, was also being devastated by the same RET, which resulted in exorbitant electricity prices, which Dan was advocating for!
In 2013, as a result of reported dumping and price cutting, it appears that only 64 staff remained employed at Keppel Prince in wind tower manufacture.
There were no further wind tower orders taken after the wind farm at Taralga in N.S.W. But Keppel Prince and its Clean Energy Council associates told the media that RET uncertainty had “made 100 workers redundant today, in direct response to the Abbott government’s move to lower the Renewable Energy Target”.
If Anita Rank from the Committee for Portland (appearing on the same 7.30 report with Dan Tehan) thinks that 80 jobs are the equivalent of 40,000 jobs in Melbourne, Keppel Prince, it would appear just overstated the 60 or so Portland jobs by 20,000 in Melbourne’s terms!!
‘Move to lower renewable energy target claims 100 jobs at Keppel Prince’ was published in The Australian on October 23, 2014. It reported a statement from Keppel Prince: “The continuing uncertainty over large-scale renewables (including the Renewable Energy Target) and related wind tower fabrication projects, TOGETHER with the SIGNIFICANT LOSSES SUSTAINED FROM SUCH ACTIVITIES over the PAST SEVERAL YEARS, have forced Keppel Prince Engineering to review this aspect of its business”.
The real situation is that Keppel Prince had experienced hardships as a consequence of wind tower dumping, and price cutting of wind towers, over a number of years. These hardships, significant losses and resulting job losses, occurred independent of, and irrespective of what was going on with the RET.
Portland has been dudded by the wind industry and its greedy apologists. The former Brack’s government failed to legislate laws that would protect Portland’s interests and didn’t bother to task the wind industry to hold them to their empty claims.
After your appalling display on ABC’s 7.30 Report on Thursday 14th May, we can add you to that list of disappointment, Mr. Tehan.
How about representing those loyal conservative voters who put you in office, the hundreds of your constituents whose health is severely impacted by wind farms in your electorate?
You have turned your back on your traditional Liberal voters.
By promoting Labour party policy, maintaining the Renewable Energy Target at 33,000 gigawatt hours, and putting jobs (I question accuracy of the figures) before HEALTH, you are sentencing thousands of rural Australian families to a life of ongoing pain and suffering, due to infrasound emitted by wind turbines.
You, and your government’s capitulation to the Labor party policy, are also committing millions of Australian power consumers to skyrocketing power prices in the near future.
Last year 34,000 Victorian households were cut off power, due to inability to pay their electricity bills.
What will this figure of “power poor” families, denied the basic necessity of electricity to their homes, skyrocket to as a result of the Coalition’s support for Labor’s higher figure of 33,000 gigawatt hours?
Nice work Patina! We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. But it’s this observation that deserves a little further notice:
“You have turned your back on your traditional Liberal voters“.
The Coalition are setting themselves up for a monumental electoral backlash by pumping a policy that plays well with the inner-city skinny-soy-latte crowd, but which is going to drive power prices through the roof – alienating small business owners and struggling families (see our postshere and here) – and which leaves rural communities broken, bitter and divided:
To continue to pander to urban trendsetters (who will never vote for your team) at the expense of your natural constituents is political suicide.
Tony, keep alienating the previously faithful and they’ll turn to micro parties; or start running independent candidates of their own. STT hears that plans are afoot to do just that in an effort to unseat Disappointing Dan Tehan. Loyalty doesn’t last so long in the face of political arrogance and contempt.
The Coalition were gifted with the perfect weaponry to bring the LRET debacle, and the great wind power fraud, to an end – in the form of the recommendations made by their own RET Review Panel (see our post here).
Instead, at the beckoning of their wind industry mates and backers, Ian Macfarlane and Greg Hunt cooked up a wind industry rescue package that will cost all Australian power consumers $46 billion: half of which will be directed to wind power outfits – like near-bankrupt Infigen (akaBabcock and Brown); with the balance being recovered as a $65 per MWh fine (aka “the shortfall charge”) – and directed to general revenue (ie a ‘stealth tax’):
The stench attached to Hunt and Macca’s efforts to save their mates in the wind industry will easily outlast religion (see our post here); and, for their thousands of rural victims, will never be forgiven; or forgotten.
Meanwhile, one of Pac Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater victims, Crispin Trist let fly with this cracking riposte to plans by Synergy Wind to spear dozens of blade-chucking monsters in the flight-path of Portland’s airport.
30 May 2015
I refer to the article in the Portland Observer dated 22nd May 2015, “New wind tower hope”.
I read with concern the proposal by wind developer Synergy Wind to build a wind facility at the Bridgewater Lakes. It is my understanding that to do so would present a clear conflict of interest to the safe operations of aircraft movements into and out of Portland airport. A quick search of any aerial satellite imagery shows that the Bridgewater Lakes are located directly under the flightpath to the western approach of runway 08, this being the main runway at Portland airport.
Wind turbines can present a real risk to aviation. Inflow turbulence up to 200 metres in front of an operating industrial scale wind turbine can suck light aircraft or microlights into the blades. Wake turbulence of up to 500 metres or more behind the spinning blades could throw an aircraft to the ground! One pilot nearly discovered this in NSW when attempting to fly a light plane behind an operating wind turbine. Fortunately in that instance the land dropped away and they were able to recover the aircraft out of the dive and fly to safety. There have even been recorded instances around the world of aircraft crashing into wind turbine infrastructure with fatalities!
Any proposal to erect wind turbines in alignment with runway 08 only 2-3 kilometres from the runway threshold would to my mind be completely irresponsible and could present a high risk of collision to approaching or departing aircraft. Add to this the risks of bad weather with reduced visibility, high winds and driving rains or flying at night and you have a recipe for disaster.
Does the Glenelg Shire Council intend to close Portland airport? The airport has already been moved once to make way for the Aluminium Smelter. To do so again would be an extremely costly exercise and many funds have already been spent upgrading the existing airport. The current operations at the airport that I am aware of include regular scheduled passenger operations, the Flying Doctor, the CFA fire fighting operations, crop dusting, the Coastguard, various light aircraft movements, and the RAAF for touch and goes, the Roulettes and runway approach practise by Orion and Globemaster aircraft. This states to me that the airport is serving its purpose well and should not be interfered with. If anything the facility should be expanded to cater for future requirements.
It has been explained to me that the current maximum aircraft type able to use the facility is the DC-9 (or Boeing 717) passenger or freighter jet. Surely upgrading to Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 standards might be a more sensible option in future. These are the most popular jets flying in the world today. Indeed the Prime Minister`s VIP transport is a Boeing 737!
Wind operator Pacific Hydro are also on record as stating to a packed community meeting at the Cape Bridgewater Kiosk back in 2008/09 that no further wind towers could be developed any further north of the current wind facility site as they would interfere with operations at the airport. Danny Halstead stated this clearly to the assembled community. So how has this proposal by Synergy Wind been allowed to progress to this stage?
A similar wind facility development has been proposed under the western flightpath into Warrnambool airport. The site is located approximately 2 kilometres to the north of Koroit on the Woolsthorpe Road. A MET mast has been erected and is visible from the road on the left when driving north. And yet the Warrnambool Council in a positive move is spending money to upgrade the airport.
Why undermine this investment by allowing a wind facility to be built under the flightpath? What is going on here? Who is in charge of these absurd and downright dangerous planning conflicts in the South West? There is a worrying trend that is occurring here in the rush to develop industrial scale wind turbines. The lives of both pilots and passengers could be put at risk if these two wind developments are built. And what do CASA the Civil Aviation Safety Authority have to say about this?
As Crispin points out, planes and giant fans just don’t mix: