Wind Pushers Losing Popularity!

Wind Industry Still Wailing About ‘Uncertainty’ as Construction Finance ‘Drought’ Hits

banshee

Wind power outfits have now cottoned on to the fact (slow learners that they are) that Australia’s big power retailers have turned their backs on the wind to face the Sun, instead.

The former second-hand car salesmen that front the wind industry are still coming to grips with the recalcitrance of commercial retailers (we don’t count the ACT Government) who continue to refuse entering Power Purchase Agreements with wind power outfits (holding that stance since November 2012).

The big operators have absolutely no interest in wind power; and every interest in killing off the Large-Scale RET that created, and for the time being sustains, the wind industry.

As pointed out previously, the retailers’ switch to large-scale solar is a canny, but fleeting move – designed to avoid the shortfall penalty for the few years it takes for the LRET to collapse; as the political and economic toxicity of the policy escalates over the next year or two.

It is, after all, a pointless $3 billion a year power tax that runs until 2031 – for no other reason than to subsidise the production of insanely expensive and wholly unreliable wind power; at a time when Australia’s grid is swamped with oodles of the reliable, secure and affordable stuff.

Without PPAs with retailers, wind power outfits haven’t a hope in hell of obtaining bank finance to build any new wind farm capacity, as this ‘sackcloth and ashes’ piece from the SMH confirms.

Yass Valley Wind Farm recommended for approval, but retailer’s strike persists
Sydney Morning Herald
Lucy Cormack
4 February 2016

Financiers are yet to gain confidence that the legislative underpinning for renewable energy projects is going to be stable.

The state government has recommended approval for what could be one of Australia’s biggest wind farms, but continued uncertainty in the renewables sector may see the project added to the 6000 megawatt-strong “pile of wind farms” currently approved, but stalled, industry figures say.

The recommendation for approval of the Epuron Yass Valley Wind Farm by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment clears the way for the Planning and Assessment Commission to make its final decision on the wind farm.

While industry figures say the news is positive, it does not mean the wind farm will be built.

“This approval just adds to the 6000-megawatt pile of wind farms currently stalled:” Ric Brazzale, managing director …

“This approval just adds to the 6000-megawatt pile of wind farms currently stalled:” Ric Brazzale, managing director Green Energy Trading said of the Yass Valley Wind Farm.

“We’ve lost count of these announcements,” said Ric Brazzale, managing director of Green Energy Trading.

“It’s an important part of the process, but this approval just adds to the 6000-megawatt pile of wind farms currently stalled.”

The battle for new projects is obtaining finance and power purchase agreements: contracts with energy companies to sell electricity and large-scale generation certificates (LGCs).

Large-scale generation certificates are used by Renewable Energy Target-liable entities to meet compliance obligations based on the volume of electricity they purchase each year.

Mr Brazzale said the difficulty in sealing power purchase agreements is tied to the long-embattled context of renewable energy in Australia.

“They can’t raise finance because banks and financiers don’t want to go anywhere near these contracts unless they are contracted with energy retailers,” he said.

“So, why don’t financiers do it? The reason is, they are yet to gain confidence that the legislative underpinning is going to be stable,” he said. “We’ve heard from Greg Hunt and that helps, but if you want retailers and financiers to change, you need the Prime Minister to come out and say unequivocally, ‘We are not going to reduce the target.’”

Solar Council chief executive John Grimes agreed that any “drought” in renewables investment will only be reversed with increased positive sentiment from the government.

“Large scale projects are all built on policy, stability and confidence, but the entire renewable energy market has been massively disrupted by the federal government’s review and slashing of the Renewable Energy Target.”

Mr Grimes’ concern is that, despite having a new Prime Minister, “nothing has changed”.

“No moves have been made by the federal government to ensure that certainty and policy stability is returned to the sector,” he said. “It’s a double-edged sword. If power companies don’t build projects they will be slugged with a charge equivalent, which has a real post-tax value of $93 per large-scale generation certificate.”

Mr Grimes said liable entities are using that fact to go back to the government and say they cannot build the projects to meet the target in the time permitted.

“Their argument will be, if the federal government doesn’t slash the Renewable Energy Target again, then that price will be passed through to consumers and everyone will be paying for capacity that was never built,” he said.

At its proposed capacity of 124 turbines, the Yass Valley Wind Farm would have the capacity to power more than 130,000 homes each year, however the government’s recommendation suggests a significant reduction in the project’s scale, down to 79 turbines.

Epuron executive director Martin Poole said despite the recommended reduction “attitudes everywhere have improved” towards wind energy, since Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took the leadership.

“It is important that NSW demonstrates its commitment to maximising the local jobs and expertise that flow from the transition to a cleaner electricity sector.”

Mr Brazzale estimates that processes contracting for large-scale generation certificates in the ACT, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria suggest “there are probably more than 1000 megawatts of projects that could be committed over the next year or so.”

Despite being enough to power around 430,000 homes annually, Mr Brazzale said that figure is nowhere near enough to meet the large-scale renewable energy target by 2018.

“We need four times that level to ensure we meet the 2018 target, which obviously we’re not going to achieve. That’s why the LGC price is high, because it’s reflecting that the market is not going to meet the target.”
Sydney Morning Herald

The usual fawning starry-eyed ‘analysis’ from Fairfax there – with bunkum about a pie-in-the-sky wind farm one day “powering more than 130,000 homes”. Unless those households are prepared to sit freezing or boiling in the dark around 70% of the time, they will, in fact, be ‘powered’ by coal, gas and hydro (in that order).

That journalists are still pushing that kind of wind industry propaganda in 2016 is not just dumb, it’s lazy. A quick glance at Aneroid Energy debunks that myth. Here’s SA’s 17 wind farms (notional capacity of 1,477MW) ‘powering’ not so much as a kettle on 3 May 2015:

3 May 2015 SA

The other line that escapes any sensible criticism from Fairfax is what John Grimes says about the looming and massive cost of the LRET

“It’s a double-edged sword. If power companies don’t build projects they will be slugged with a charge equivalent, which has a real post-tax value of $93 per large-scale generation certificate.” …

“Their argument will be, if the federal government doesn’t slash the Renewable Energy Target again, then that price will be passed through to consumers and everyone will be paying for capacity that was never built,”

The cost of the LRET to power consumers will actually be lower if further wind power capacity is NOT built, than if it is. Retailers will get hit with the shortfall penalty (what Grimes calls ‘a charge equivalent’) and the cost of the REC – from here, the combined cost of which will exceed $3 billion a year, all recovered as a Federal Tax on all power consumers:

What Kills the Australian Wind Industry: A $45 Billion Federal Power Tax

What Grimes leaves out, of course, is that the wind power capacity that Epuron, Infigen & Co are so desperate to build (in order to keep their Ponzi scheme from collapsing, as it has with Pacific Hydro) – will cost at least a further $80-100 billion, in terms of extra turbines and the duplicated network costs needed to hook them up to the grid: all requiring fat returns to investors; costs and returns that can only be recouped through escalating power bills:

Ian Macfarlane, Greg Hunt & Australia’s Wind Power Debacle: is it Dumb and Dumber 2, or Liar Liar?

In the post above we looked at the additional costs of building the wind power capacity needed to avoid the shortfall penalty – including the $30 billion or so needed to build a duplicated transmission grid.

That is, a network largely, if not exclusively, devoted to sending wind power output from remote, rural locations to urban population centres (where the demand is) that will only ever carry meaningful output 30-35% of the time, at best. The balance of the time, networks devoted to carrying wind power will carry nothing – for lengthy periods there will be no return on the capital cost – the lines will simply lay idle until the wind picks up.

The fact that there is no grid capacity available to take wind power from remote locations was pointed to by GE boss, Peter Cowling in this article, as one of the key reasons that there will be no new wind farms built in Australia (see our post here).

But let’s return to wailing about the requirement for policy ‘certainty’. What that wailing is really about, is a plea for the Federal government (read ‘taxpayer and power consumer’) to underwrite a politically toxic policy, that has already been slashed from an ultimate annual target of 41,000GWh to 33,000GWh, for precisely that reason.

In 2015, faced with the fact that the target could never be met, both Labor and the Coalition were forced to cut the target before the shortfall penalty inevitably took effect. But that was simply to stall the LRET’s ultimate collapse: the same factors Epuron moan about above are still in play. There will be no increase in wind power capacity; the shortfall penalty will apply; and the Federal government will be forced to cut the target, once again.

It’s the fact it was cut once that has bankers and retailers refusing to lend or sign PPAs. And, as with any ‘business’ that relies for its very existence on a piece of policy, what the government once did, can be just as easily undone – in full.

What kills the LRET – and the wind industry with it – is the same set of forces that led to the demise of the Australian wool industry. The lessons and parallels drawn from the implosion of its Federally mandated subsidy scheme during the 1990s – all but killing the industry and costing growers and taxpayers tens of billions of dollars – are worth repeating.

The wool industry’s “cause of death” was the Federally backed Reserve Price Support scheme (RPS), which set a guaranteed minimum price for all Australian wool.

A little background on the RPS

For over 150 years, Australia happily rode on the sheep’s back: until the 1970s the wool industry was, for the Australian economy, the “goose that laid the golden egg”; textile manufacturers from all over the world clamoured for the fibre; which was, for most of that time, the largest single commodity export by value; Australia produces over 80% of the world’s apparel wool. However, as fashions changed (the three-piece wool suit became, well, so “yesterday”) and new synthetics began to eat into its market share, the dominance of Australian apparel wool was no longer a certainty.

Against the backdrop of increasing competition, for the wool industry there was always the perennial issue, not only of fluctuating demand, but also of wildly fluctuating swings in production. Dorothea McKellar’s land of “droughts and flooding rains” meant that a few years of meagre production (and favourable, and even phenomenal, wool prices) would be soon eclipsed by sheds and wool stores overflowing with fibre ready for market (sending prices and woolgrower profits plummeting).

The response to these (often climate driven) marketing “swings and roundabouts”, was the establishment of the Australian Wool Corporation (AWC) and the RPS in 1973.

The RPS would set a minimum price for all types of wool, guaranteeing woolgrowers a minimum return; such that if supply exceeded demand, the AWC would purchase any wool being offered, if it failed to reach the minimum price set (referred to as the “floor price”).

Wool being offered at auction that failed to meet the floor price was purchased by the AWC and “stockpiled” (ie stored), until such time as either supply fell or demand conditions improved; at which point the AWC would offer stockpiled wool to the trade. The aim being the smooth and more orderly marketing of wool over the supply and demand cycle; with higher average returns to growers; and less risk for buyers and sellers along the way.

The scheme worked swimmingly (as designed and intended) until the late 1980s.

The reserve price set under the RPS was fixed in Australian dollar terms. However, with the float of the Australian dollar in 1983 (resulting in a massive 40% depreciation of the dollar between February 1985 and August 1986), maintaining the reserve price without reference to the terms of trade and fluctuations in trading currencies (particularly the US dollar) set the scheme up for a spectacular failure; simply because what goes down can just as easily go up.

During the 1980s, there was a solid increase in demand for wool, driven by demand from the USSR, a then fast growing Japan, buoyant Europeans, and a newly emergent China, as a textile manufacturer and consumer. However, that surge in demand occurred in the context of an Australian dollar trading in a range around US$0.55-75.

During the 1980s, under pressure from wool grower lobby groups, the floor price was continually increased: from 1986 to July 1988 the floor price jumped 71% to 870 cents per kilogram.

That did not, in itself, create any problems: a general surge in demand, relatively low production and a plummeting Australian dollar generated auction room sale prices well above the rising floor price, which reached their zenith in April 1988: the market indicator peaked at 1269 cents per kg, and the market continued its bull run for most of that year, well above the 870 floor price set in July.

However, as international economic conditions worsened, Australian interest rates soared (the consequence of Paul Keating’s “recession that we had to have”) and the value of the Australian dollar with it (hitting US$0.80 by early 1990), the market indicator headed south and, over the next few years, the AWC was forced to purchase over 80% of the Australian wool clip at the 870 cent per kg floor price. Adding to the AWC’s difficulties was a massive surge in production; driven by growers responding to the high and “guaranteed” floor price; and a run of exceptional growing seasons (1989 being a standout across Australia). Production went from 727 million kg in 1983/84 to over 1 billion kg in 1990/91.

Despite worsening market conditions, the AWC, under pressure from wool grower lobby groups, was forced to maintain the 870 cent per kilogram floor price.

However, from around August 1989, international wool buyers simply sat on their hands in auction sale rooms (in May 1990 the AWC bought 87.5% of the offering); and waited for the RPS to implode.

Knowing that the system was unsustainable, the last thing that buyers wanted was to be caught with wool purchased at prices above the floor price which, when the floor price was cut or collapsed, would immediately be worth less than what they had paid for it. Moreover, traders were dumping stock as fast as they could to avoid the risk of a collapse in the RPS and, therefore, a collapse in the price of any wool they happened to hold.

The RPS was ultimately backed by the Federal government. With the buying trade sitting on their hands, those responsible for maintaining the floor price ended up in a staring competition, the only question was, who would blink first: the AWC (or, rather, the government underwriting the RPS); or the buyers?

With the AWC purchasing millions of bales of wool at the floor price the cost of supporting the RPS was running into the billions of dollars: primarily the support came from a grower levy on sales, but, at the point which that soon became insufficient to support the RPS (despite upping the levy from 8% to 25%), support came from $billions in mounting government debt; the buyers had no reason to blink.

Instead, in May 1990, the government announced its decision to retreat to a new floor price of 700 cents per kilogram, and directed the AWC to fight on in support of the reduced floor price. The Minister for Primary Industry, John Kerin boldly asserting that the 700 cent floor price was “immutable, the floor price will not be reduced”.

But, having blinked once, the buyers largely continued to sit on their hands and simply waited for the government to blink again. The stockpile continued to balloon; and with it government debt: by February 1991 the stockpile reached 4.77 million bales (equivalent to a full year’s production); the accrued government debt stood at $2.8 billion; and the cost of storing the stockpile was over $1 million a day.

Faced with the inevitable, the government blinked, again: John Kerin was forced to eat his words about the floor price being “immutable”; on 11 February 1991, announcing the suspension of the floor price. The RPS had totally collapsed; the buyers had won.

The wool industry’s saga is beautifully, if tragically, told by Charles Massy in “Breaking the Sheep’s Back” (2011, UQP), which should be required reading for any of our political betters pretending to know more than the market (eg, the power market).

Which brings us to the lessons and parallels.

The LRET effectively sets the price for RECs: the minimum price is meant to be set by the shortfall charge of $65 per MWh (rising to $93 when account is given to the tax benefit), as the penalty begins to apply on the shortfall (as detailed above). That equation is based on an ultimate 33,000 GWh target.

In the event that the cost of the shortfall charge was reduced, there would be a commensurate fall in the REC price. Likewise, if the LRET target was further reduced: the total number of MWhs which would then attract the shortfall charge if RECs were not purchased would fall too; also resulting in a fall in the REC price.

In addition, any reduction in the LRET would simply result in a reduction in the demand for RECs overall: fewer RECs would need to be purchased and surrendered during the life of the LRET; again, resulting in a fall in the REC price. Of course, were the LRET to be scrapped in its entirety, RECs would become utterly worthless.

The retailers, are alive to all of this, hence their reluctance to enter PPAs for the purpose of purchasing RECs; agreements which run for a minimum of 15 years.

In December 2014, Ian “Macca” Macfarlane and his youthful ward, Greg Hunt started running around pushing for a target of 27,000 GWh; and their boss, Tony Abbott made clear that he wanted to kill it outright. There followed overtures from the Labor opposition pitching for a target around 35,000 GWh.

Whether they knew it or not – with their public debate on what an amended target should be – in the staring competition with retailers – these boys blinked.

Faced with the inevitable political furore that will erupt when power consumers (ie, voters) realise they are being whacked with the full cost (and some) of the shortfall charge (being nothing more than a “stealth tax” to be recovered by retailers via their power bills), the pressure will mount on both sides of politics to slash the LRET – once again.

That both Labor and the Coalition have already blinked (in obvious recognition of the brewing political storm in power punter land over the inevitable imposition of the shortfall charge) is not lost on the likes of Grant King from Origin, and all of Australia’s other electricity retailers.

And for retail power buyers the choice of sticking with permanent recalcitrance has been made even easier: with the previous PM Tony Abbot making it plain that he would have cut the LRET even harder, were it not for a hostile Senate; and Labor’s Bill Shorten pushing for an entirely ludicrous 50% LRET – that would require a further 10,000 of these things to be speared all over Australia’s rural heartland. Where there was once ‘bipartisan’ support for these things, the major parties are diametrically opposed.

Grant King

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With the politics of the LRET already on the nose, like wool buyers sitting on their hands in sale rooms during 1990, waiting for the floor price to collapse, electricity retailers need only sit back and wait for the whole LRET scheme to implode.

Like wool buyers refusing to buy above the floor price and carry stock with the risk of the RPS collapsing, why would electricity retailers sign up for 15 year long PPAs with wind power outfits in order to purchase a stream of RECs over that period, knowing the value of those certificates depends entirely upon a scheme which is both economically and politically unsustainable?

However, the similarities between the wool market and the market for wind power end right about there.

There is, and always was, a natural market for Australian wool; the only issue during the late 80s and early 90s was the price that had to be paid by buyers to beat the floor price, set artificially under the RPS.

Wind power has no such market.

Available only in fits and spurts, and at crazy, random intervals, at a price which is 3-4 times that of conventional generation, retailers have no incentive to purchase it.

In the absence of the threat of the $65 per MWh fine (the stick), coupled with the promise of pocketing $93 as a subsidy in the form of a REC (the carrot), electricity retailers would not touch wind power with a barge pole: it simply has no commercial value.

Moreover, with an abundance of conventional generation capacity in Australia at present, retailers are very much in a “buyers’ market”.

Overcapacity, coupled with shrinking demand (thanks to policies like the LRET that are killing mineral processors, manufacturing and industry) means that retailers can expect to see wholesale prices decline over the next few years, at least. And, for the first time in almost 20 years, a sharply declining Australian economy is a fast looming reality: unemployed households have an even tougher time paying rocketing power bills.

With those fundamentals in mind, electricity retailers will simply opt to pay the shortfall charge and recover it from power consumers, knowing that that situation will not last for very long.

Sooner or later, the Federal government (whichever side is in power) will have to face an electorate furious at the fact that their power bills have gone through the roof, as a result of a policy that achieved absolutely nothing.

Current PM, Malcolm Turnbull might mouth platitudes about ‘renewables’ and ‘innovation’, but his chances of leading the Coalition to a second term in power are tied to fundamental ‘mum and dad’ policies like electricity costs.

Power prices matter; and in a battle between Australia’s Big 3 Retailers and the LRET, STT’s money is firmly on commercial self-interest.

STT hears that the big retailers plan to exhaust the pile of RECs that they’re sitting on at present, while building a few large-scale solar power facilities, in order to obtain the RECs needed to avoid the shortfall charge; and to wait for the politics to turn gangrenous. As soon as the LRET gets scrapped, the plan is to sell the panels back into the residential roof-top market.

The cost of the LRET – and all that comes with it – to retail customers is at the heart of what’s driving retailers’ efforts to crush the LRET; and the wind industry with it.

This might sound obvious, if not a little silly: electricity retailers are NOT in the business of NOT selling power.

Adding a $45 billion electricity tax to retail power bills can only make power even less affordable to tens of thousands of households and struggling businesses, indeed whole industries, meaning fewer and fewer customers for retailers like Origin, AGL and EnergyAustralia.

The strategy adopted by retailers of refusing to ‘play ball’ by signing up for PPAs will, ultimately, kill the LRET; it’s a strategy aimed at being able to sell more power, at affordable prices, to more households and businesses.

And it’s working a treat, so far.

The wind industry’s incessant daily whining about “uncertainty”, is simply a signal that the retailers have already won. Once upon a time, the wind industry and its parasites used to cling to the idea that the RET “has bi-partisan support“, as a self-comforting mantra: but not anymore. And it’s the retailers’ refusal to sign PPAs that’s thrown the spanner in the wind industry’s works.

While the likes of Epuron and Infigen will continue to work themselves into a lather about their inevitable fate, in the meantime, retailers, like Origin, AGL and EnergyAustralia, can simply sit back, watch the political fireworks, and wait for the inevitable and complete collapse of the LRET; and, with it, the Australian wind industry.

In this ‘drought’ only the retailers have the capacity to survive.

drought-2004

A Worthy Opponent, for the Wind-Pushers!

SA Wind Farm War: AFL CEO – Gillon McLachlan – Launches Litigation Against NZ’s Trustpower

gillon mclachlan

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New Zealand’s Trustpower love throwing their weight around – provided the targets of their violence and thuggery are 79 Year Old Pensioners and Disabled Farmers.

Now, these delightful characters have a real fight on their hands.

Gillon McLachlan is as well-heeled as he is passionate about his beloved property, Rosebank – the magnificent range of Hills in which it nestles, and the thriving communities that surround and support it.

Back in December, Gillon pitched in with a well-delivered plea to the Mid-Murray DAP to knock back Trustpower’s ludicrous proposal to carpet 114 of these things all over the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges:

AFL’s CEO – Gillon McLachlan Hammers the ‘Desecration of his Country’ & the ‘Extreme Community Division’ Caused by Wind Farms

With the stinky little DAP predictably rubber-stamping the application, Gillon has now thrown his considerable resources into the battle, along with a hundred or so others, with an Appeal launched in South Australia’s planning appeal court, the Environment, Resources & Development Court. Here’s SA’s local Sunday rag’s take on the unfolding war against the threatened destruction of SA’s iconic Mount Lofty Ranges and the dozen of communities that those fertile hills sustain.

AFL boss’s bid to ban wind turbines near his farm
Sunday Mail
Ben Hyde
31 January 2016

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has launched court action over the approval of a massive wind farm on the doorstep of his family’s historic Rosebank property, near Mt Pleasant.

Mr McLachlan has appealed against the approval of the $700 million wind farm, to feature 114 turbines standing up to 165m high dotted along the ranges between Palmer, Tungkillo and Sanderston.

The appeal is listed against wind farm developers Trustpower, the Mid Murray Council, Environment Protection Agency, the Planning Department and the Environment Minister.

A preliminary conference is scheduled to be heard in the Environment, Resources and Development Court by Commissioner Lolita Mohyla at 3.30pm tomorrow.

Mr McLachlan’s is one of four appeals filed against the wind farm, which was approved by the Mid Murray Council’s development assessment panel on December 18. He yesterday declined to comment about the appeal.

In December, he submitted a video message to the development assessment panel opposing the wind farm being built.

“Even if it were to be conclusively established wind farms do not produce health problems, it’s annoying and affects quality of life,” he said.

“I was frankly heartbroken that this land will be forever marred by enormous man-made structures.”

Mr McLachlan also said any wind farm would cause significant damage to the land, would hinder potential tourism opportunities and “cause extreme division in the community”.

Rosebank, a prominent and historic sheep station east of Mt Pleasant, was pioneered in 1843 by Scottish-born landowner George Melrose, whose descendants include the McLachlan family.

The Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges Landscape Guardians, on behalf of up to 90 residents in the region, have also appealed against the development. They are scheduled for a preliminary conference in the ERD Court in mid-February.

During an ERD Court preliminary conference, the parties discuss how they would like the court proceedings to occur. This could include through continued negotiations, mediation or by trial or hearing.

Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges Landscape Guardians chair Tony Walker said opponents felt the approval process was unjust. “We believe that the whole process failed to give any weight to the objectors,” he said. “There is a lot of opposition — from the little man on the ground and from people with more resources.”

Numerous people living near wind farms have claimed they cause health problems, including severe headaches and disrupted sleep patterns.

However, the National Health and Medical Research Council issued a report last year that found there was “currently no consistent evidence that wind farms cause adverse health effects in humans” — but said there was a need for more in-depth research.

Mr Walker said those opposed to the development were prepared for a fight. “We’ve been fighting for almost five years (and) it’s a fight that could go on for years, depending on who blinks first,” he said. “(But) it’s worth fighting for.”
Sunday Mail

If Ben Hyde truly believes there’s nothing to complaints about living with incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound, he should get out more.

Starting with a look at the Federal Senate Inquiry Report, that excoriatedthe corruption and bias of the NHMRC-  an outfit peopled by wind industry plants, that ignores almost every relevant piece of wind turbine acoustic research and, instead, relies on the musings of a former tobacco advertising guru, who claims noise induced sleep deprivation suffered by wind farm neighbours is all in their heads:

NHMRC Fails Science 101 in Continued Wind Farm Health Cover Up

Ben might also jump in a set of wheels and head for Jamestown, where he can meet with Clive and Trina Gare, cattle graziers in SA’s Mid-North.

Since October 2010, the Gares have played host to 19, 2.1MW Suzlon S88 turbines, which sit on a range of hills to the West of their stately homestead. Under their contract with AGL they receive around $200,000 a year; and have pocketed over $1 million since the deal began.

In a remarkable move, the Gares gave evidence to the Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud during its Adelaide hearing, in June 2015. Any journalist worth their salt would start by taking a look at what they told a Federal Senate Committee about ‘the worst decision of their lives’:

SA Farmers Paid $1 Million to Host 19 Turbines Tell Senate they “Would Never Do it Again” due to “Unbearable” Sleep-Destroying Noise

When farmers being paid $200,000 a year to host these things complain bitterly about sleep deprivation as a regular event, then STT is pretty much satisfied that the noise and vibration generated by turbines is causing what the World Health Organisation has considered to be an adverse health effect in and of itself (for over 60 years).

What Gillon McLachlan is about to tackle is willful ignorance and institutional corruption – of precisely the kind that resulted in the decision to approve the construction of 114 of these things, shoe-horned into hundreds of backyards, all over the prettiest and most productive part of the Adelaide Hills.

What makes the DAP’s decision all the more ridiculous is that South Australians are already paying the highest power prices in Australia (if not the World on a purchasing power parity basis) with a grid on the brink of collapse.

It’s been almost a decade since SA’s Labor Party shackled itself to wind power: a wholly weather dependent power source; that’s intermittent and unreliable, requiring 100% of it’s capacity to be backed-up 100% of the time by conventional power generators; that, accordingly, has NO commercial value (save the massive power consumer and/or taxpayer subsidies it attracts); kills millions of birds and bats; and, with the incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound it generates, drives people mad in their homes, or drives them out of them altogether.

It takes a certain kind of fool to believe that SA’s energy disaster can be improved by backing more of the same. But SA’s public institutions are drenched in deluded Labor (green/left) ideology; and peopled by lunatics who wouldn’t know the first thing about power generation (or much else, really).

Gillon McLachlan and his compatriots are about to hit them with a solid dose of common sense and a mountain of facts. The Battle has begun.

Rosebank

Bankers & Investors Close Ranks & Doom Wind Industry to Death By A Thousand Cuts

solar-panels-at-Nyngan

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Earlier this week we looked at how Australia’s big power retailers have turned their backs to the wind to face the Sun, instead.

Commercial retailers (we don’t count the ACT Government) haven’t entered any Power Purchase Agreements with wind power outfits since November 2012; and, we hear, have determined not to enter any more PPAs for wind power, ever again.

The big operators have absolutely no interest in wind power; and every interest in killing off the Large-Scale RET that created, and for the time being sustains, the wind industry.

As pointed out previously, the retailers’ switch to large-scale solar is a canny, but fleeting move – designed to avoid the shortfall penalty for the few years it takes for the LRET to collapse; as the political and economic toxicity of the policy escalates over the next year or two.

It is, after all, a pointless $3 billion a year power tax that runs until 2031 – for no other reason than to subsidise the production of insanely expensive and wholly unreliable wind power; at a time when Australia’s grid is swamped with oodles of the reliable, secure and affordable stuff.

Without PPAs with retailers, wind power outfits haven’t a hope in hell of obtaining bank finance to build any new wind farm capacity; and the retailers’ recalcitrance has investors spooked, too – as the following articles attest.

Wind optimism stalls
The Courier
Matthew Dixon and Peter Hannam
16 January 2016

STALLED: Investment in large wind projects isn’t coming as quickly as expected.

THE confidence that everyone had expected to return to the renewable energy sector following the demise of Tony Abbott is yet to come to fruition.

Investors spent just $15 million since February 2014 on big wind, solar or other clean energy projects that were not otherwise supported by government programs such as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

That figure is a huge drop from when investment peaked in 2011 on the back of government support for renewables.

The figures and belief that the industry may have stagnated according to an annual survey by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Despite Mr Abbott’s removal as prime minister, and many key figures in the industry expectations of a return to bigger levels of investment, there is no certainty that the investment will return in 2016.

With a number of major wind farms in the Ballarat area already securing planning approval and only waiting on investment for construction to begin, development has stagnated.

This includes huge farms planned in Stockyard Hill and within the Moorabool Shire.

Australian Wind Alliance national coordinator Andrew Bray said the industry had not rebounded as some had hoped, but there was still a lot of optimism.

“It is definitely the case that the market has not recovered since the Abbott government’s attack on the Renewable Energy Target,” he said.

“While there appears to be some optimism surrounding projects starting to progress, that hasn’t eventuated.

“It is now up to all the players, the banks, the retailers to come to the table and start resolving this impasse.”

The Abbott government’s repeal of the carbon tax in July 2014 – which removed long-term price support – and a mishandled review that led ultimately to a cut of about one-fifth in the 2020 Renewable Energy Target meant “confidence evaporated” in the sector according to Kobad Bhavnagri, head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Australia.

“It can’t be understated that the actions of the Abbott government have destroyed confidence in the renewable energy market,” Mr Bhavnagri said.

“Lenders in the market are almost all of the view that the political risks in the RET … have made it too risky to invest in.”
The Courier

Predictable ‘sackcloth and ashes’ stuff from a pair of typically deludedFairfax wind-cultists, but the line they pull from Bloomberg’s boffin that: “Lenders in the market are almost all of the view that the political risks in the RET … have made it too risky to invest in” is absolutely spot on!

Not only are investors not game to throw so much as a shekel at wind power in Australia anymore, those with skin in the game are cutting and running as fast as their panicked, jelly-legs can carry them.

To give some insight into the fear that’s driving them, we’ll head back in time to trace a little tale about a Spanish wind power outfit’s efforts to ditch the Taralga wind farm in NSW.

Renewable energy sector crisis forces Banco Santander to quit Taralga wind farm
Sydney Morning Herald
Angela Macdonald-Smith
31 March 2015

Banco Santander, a major investor in renewable energy, will sell its only Australian wind farm and exit the local sector because of policy uncertainty that has dragged the industry into crisis.

Santander will seek a buyer for its 90 per cent stake in the 106.8 megawatt Taralga wind farm near Goulburn, which is not being included in the renewable energy fund it set up late last year with two Canadian pension giants because of the perceived poor prospects for the sector in Australia, say sources.

David Smith, executive director of Santander in Sydney, declined to comment.

Australia’s renewable energy sector has been left in limbo by the political debate surrounding the country’s 2020 renewable energy target. The government and Labor Opposition agree the 41,000GWh target for large-scale renewable energy needs to be reduced to suit the downturn in total power demand from the grid, but have been unable to agree on a compromise.

As of last week, the government was proposing a 2020 target of 32,000GWh, while Labor wants a target in the high 30,000GWh range. A compromise suggested by the Clean Energy Council at 33,500GWh, up from the current level of about 17,000GWh, has failed to find backing.

Investment in large-scale renewable energy collapsed by almost 90 per cent in 2014 as a result of the deadlock, which has been criticised by several large foreign investors in the local renewable energy sector, including GE, Spain’s Fotowatio Renewable Venture and Infigen Energy cornerstone shareholder, the Children’s Investment Fund. They have all warned of the harm to Australia’s sovereign risk, which will deter long-term infrastructure investors.

In December, Santander struck a deal with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board in Canada to transfer its portfolio of renewable energy and water infrastructure assets into a new company owned equally by all three parties. But despite the partners having an appetite for other infrastructure assets in Australia, the wind farm was excluded from the $US2 billion-plus ($2.6 billion) portfolio of assets in the new company because of the uncertainty around the RET and the decision by the Coalition government to ditch the carbon tax, say sources close to the company.

The new company will, however, invest in Brazil and Mexico, which are seen as offering better prospects for renewable energy investors than Australia.

“It is quite clear that the uncertainty around the RET and other changes to policy that have occurred over the past few years has created a lot of uncertainty for investors in the renewable energy space,” said Richard Pillinger at BlueNRGY LLC, which owns 10 per cent of the Taralga wind farm.

The Taralga wind farm, which has a 10-year contract to supply power to EnergyAustralia, was financed with about $280 million from Santander, CBD Energy, Danish export credit agency EKF, ANZ and the federal government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Production of electricity from the first of the 51 wind turbines began in December.

CBD Energy has since gone into administration and been acquired by US-based BlueNRGY LLC.

Santander is closing the Sydney office for its equity investment arm, which focuses on renewable energy, in mid-2015.
Sydney Morning Herald

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With the dreaded Tony Abbott little more than political history, and the ‘immutable’ 33,000 GWh annual LRET target now set in stone (just like the previous 41,000 GWh target!), Banco Santander should have been knocked to the floor with a rush of cashed-up and willing buyers.

So, let’s wind the clock forward and tally up the bids for Taralga.

Taralga Wind Farm sale runs out of puff
The Australian
Bridget Carter and Gretchen Friemann
22 January 2016

The sale of the Taralga Wind Farm could be put on hold, with sources suggesting the sales process for the asset generated limited buyer interest.

Apparently, one mystery bidder did circle the operation, but it is now thought unlikely it is still interested.

AMP Capital is among other groups that had a look in the early stages.

But sources say that the carrying value of the asset is too high, and long-dated swaps in the capital structure that are difficult to change are deterring buyers.

The Spanish owners, Banco Santander, appointed ANZ last year to sell the wind farm on the NSW coast, 45km north of Goulburn.

Taralga was expected to sell for about $200 million.

It gained state approval in 2012 to build 51 wind turbines, generating 106.8 megawatts of electricity.

Banco Santander, the world’s third-largest clean energy lender, had moved to sell the asset as part of its decision to exit the Australian market.

It is understood to have reached a global tie-up with some of Canada’s pension funds in recent times.
The Australian

Not a serious bid in sight! Whatever could have got investors to balk at a ‘sure-fire’ one-way bet?

Could it be that investors have worked out that ANY business that depends entirely on a piece of government policy can be done in at the stroke of a pen?

For STT’s analysis of what’s behind the investors’ panic see: Wind Industry Still Wailing About ‘Uncertainty’ as Australian Retailers Continue to Reject Wind Power ‘Deals’

We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it: the wind industry is among the greatest Ponzi schemes of all time. If you have so much as a penny anywhere near it, then grab it and get out fast.

please-take-a-moment-and-look-around-and-find-the-nearest-exit

2016 Australian of the Year Awards, by STT

STT’s Australian of the Year Awards 2016

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Australians are a weird mob – as demonstrated by that, somewhat militaristic, culinary mash up; detailing ‘Operation Boomerang’ – a top-level mission to extract expats from far-flung, lamb-free-zones and return them to mouth-watering, succulent barbecued delights.

The fact that Aussies love our lamb, and frown on vegans, upsets the PC Police, but then we’ve never had much time for priggish authority: whether defending France in the Great War;  or ourselves from fire and flood, we’re a bunch that tends to get on with the job, without much fuss or fanfare. And, quite rightly, treat the presumed elite and pompous with a mixture of suspicion and derision.

Mildly hedonistic, and hard-wired with a sense of fair-play, Australians, on the whole, are slow to anger, but quick to jump in to a stoush when the bullies of the world start throwing their weight around.

Australian soldiers afghanistan

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And, despite ingrained and healthy irreverence, Australians pull together as a pretty decent, civil society – built around protection for the weak and the vulnerable among our number – whether it be one or hundreds.

When faced with the unarguable suffering of human beings, arguments pitched along the lines of “it’s all for the greater good” don’t cut it with STT – and they tend not to cut it with Australians, either.

Last time we looked, Australians were gifted with a few fundamental precepts in their treatment of their fellow Australians.

First, don’t annoy your neighbours – and, if one of them is in trouble, don’t hang back and wait to be asked – get in there and help them.

queensland flood clean up

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Whether it’s bushfires or floods – Australians know how to pitch in and save their neighbours’ lives and property.  Why?  Because it is the right thing to do.

As Operation Boomerang suggests, 26 January is the day when Australians hit the beach, haul-out the barbie and wash down paddocks full (or, rather emptied) of Aussie lamb, with frosty cold beer and humongous Australian reds. Mmmmm

And, on Australia Day, the country turns to reflect on the achievements of those who fight with honour and courage, in a whole range of human endeavours, for the betterment of our collective lot.

In Australia, the fight to bring the great wind power fraud to a shuddering halt is being won: the wind industry is on its knees, investment is at a standstill and the financial collapse of wind power outfits – like the near-bankrupt Infigen – is a case of when, not if.

The talk has turned from consideration of the wind industry’s “future”, to the timing of its inevitable demise.

But that switch in fortune has come thanks to the blood sweat and tears of hundreds of well-informed and dedicated individuals around this country.

As with any public gong, it’s impossible to mention them all, so we’ll stick to those who STT thinks have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields.

Once again, following the style of Australia’s national daily, The Australian, STT throws up a list of notables as nominees for “STT’s Australians of the Year”.

It’s not necessarily a beauty contest, so feel free to vote according to your heads and not your hearts. And, because our little list is obviously cursory and incomplete, you have absolute liberty to nominate and vote for all of those unsung heroes in your communities who have made the kind of contributions that are worthy of recognition and praise.

We gratefully recognise and thank our perennials, whose tireless devotion to either destroying the wind industry, or saving those who suffer at the hands of that callous industry and those paid handsomely to supposedly protect them, earned them awards for remarkable efforts in our 2015 Australia Day Honours:

Starting with the Tireless Community Defenders:

With this award, STT hopes to recognise the tireless and dedicated work of the people who have rallied to promote the interests of farmers and rural communities around the Country.

Where the wind industry and its parasites attack these people as “anti-wind” (a strange and meaningless epithet, if ever there was one – STT thinks it impossible to find a human being with antipathy towards a gentle summer’s breeze) – STT says the proper characterisation is of a group of people who are positively fearless in advocating in favour of sensible energy policy and, therefore, are better described as “pro-Australian”, “pro-farming” and “pro-community” leaders and advocates.

We again note and thank:

South Australia’s Mary Morris – who continues to impress and inspire with efforts to ensure communities get relevant noise rules and that they get enforced. Her relentless efforts to get the facts before the Senate Inquiry were super-human: Wind Farm Senate Inquiry Fallout Continues19 June 2015.

Victoria’s Annie Gardner – who is leading the charge with the new wind farm commissioner, Andrew Dyer – hammering him with the kind of facts that he’ll never get from AGL, Greg Hunt or any of the other puppets controlled by the wind industry; and calling out her heartless neighbours for setting up hundreds of these things on their properties, destroying her community and leaving them all for dead: Macarthur Turbine Hosts Destroy Local Community & Bolt, as Hammering the Wind Industry becomes the “New Black” 27 June 2015.

Victoria’s Keith Staff  – who continues to use his awesome email contact list to great effect, bombarding our political betters and journalists with every “inconvenient” fact that scuttles the endlessly repeated lies, upon which the great wind power fraud depends. As we’ve come to expect, Keith gave them hell in his evidence to the Senate Inquiry, too: Senate Inquiry: Hamish Cumming & Ors tip a bucket on the Great Wind Power Fraud 15 April 2015.

New South Wale’s Patina Schneider – is the NSW’s Tablelands answer to the Celtic warrior queen, Boadicea. Patina is the brains and muscle behind the Australian Industrial Wind Turbine Awareness Network – a group dedicated to smashing the wind industry and exposing the corruption that it exploits to its advantage; and she just keeps giving them hell: Time to Tune-In Tony: Coalition’s $46 Billion Wind Industry Rescue Package has Liberal Voters Seething 9 June 2015.

Then there are the experts and their immeasurable Contributions to Science and Public Health:

South Australia’s Professor Colin Hansen – is one of nature’s true gentleman; and Australia’s leading academic authority on noise and vibration. Colin’s work on identifying the precise nature of the noise generated by industrial wind turbines, and its relationship to the health effects suffered by neighbours, has been going on quietly in the background for almost 7 years now. His evidence before the Senate Committee was as compelling as it was impressive. He continues to press for a set of noise rules that actually protect people, instead of the wind industry: Top Acoustics Professor Calls for Full Compensation for Wind Farm Victims, as Council Calls for “National Noise Cops” 29 March 2015.

New South Wales’ Steven Cooper – was another who impressed the Senators during the Inquiry into the great wind power fraud. Quiet and methodical, Steven Cooper is the acoustican’s acoustician. Motivated by the ethical responsibilities that are attached to acousticians, requiring them to put public health and safety first and foremost; Steve laid out that, and much more, before the Senate Inquiry: Senate’s Wind Farm Inquiry: Steven Cooper’s Evidence on his Groundbreaking Study 14 April 2015.

South Australia’s Dr Sarah Laurie – defines fortitude, resilience, stoicism, fearlessness, and an overall desire to let right be done: terms that only begin to capture the essence of a remarkable women. Sarah continues in her efforts to win an Australian ‘fair go’ for all: Senate Wind Farm Inquiry – Dr Sarah Laurie says: “Kill the Noise & give Neighbours a Fair Go” 17 July 2015.

There are the gifted and inspired leaders and their Contributions to Political Reform:

Victorian Senator, John Madigan – holds that “justice” and “right” are not just fancy concepts to chatter about – they are the pillars of decent, civil society. Dogged and determined, John, as Chair, provided the teeth needed to put last year’s Senate Inquiry on track and ensured a cracking set of recommendations hit the press; and he continued to expose the insane cost of the most pointless policy ever devised: Wind Power Fraud Finally Exposed: Senator John Madigan Details LRET’s Astronomical 45 Billion Dollar Cost to Power Consumers 20 June 2015.

South Australian Senator, Nick Xenophon – SA’s favourite Greek, has rallied behind South Australian communities set upon by wind power outfits from the very beginning; and he gets it. Nick’s efforts on the Senate Inquiry were as remarkable as they were breathless. Appearing, often by phone hook-up and with time stolen from the most punishing schedule in politics, his cross-examination of pompous, obnoxious and arrogant wind industry spruiker, Vesta’s Ken McAlpine – later forced to apologise for spreading malicious falsehoods about Dr Sarah Laurie – was well-worth the admission price: Vesta’s Ken McAlpine Forced to Apologise to Dr Sarah Laurie for …. well, just being ‘Ken’ 20 September 2015.

New South Wales Senator, David Leyonhjelm – doesn’t hide his light under a bushel – and is always on the front foot in his efforts to educate and inform Australians about the nature, scale and scope of the greatest rort of all time. David sat on the Senate Inquiry – the existence of which was due in no small part to his powers of influence and persuasion – needling the shills that lined up to protect what’s left of the wind industry; and otherwise giving them hell: NSW Senator – David Leyonhjelm – Hammers the “Smug Untouchability” of the wind industry14 June 2015.

Western Australian Senator, Chris Back – has been an STT Champion from the very beginning. Despite plenty of bitter opposition from the wind industry plants in Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s office, and a few rabid wind-cultists working as staffers on the Senate Committee, Chris manged to steer the Senate Inquiry in precisely the right direction. Not content with impressing his mark on the thumping Senate Report, Chris came out pressing for an immediate end to the madness: Liberal Senator – Chris Back – Demands Moratorium on New Wind Farms 17 October 2015.

Queensland Senator, Matt Canavan – is an economist by trade, having worked for the Productivity Commission, he’s got a head for facts and figures; and he gets it. Matt’s well-reasoned musings have graced the pages of STT more than just a couple of times. Matt slipped onto the Senate Committee and made a very solid contribution to the Inquiry, grilling wind industry hacks about the true (insane) cost of wind power; and he continued his offensive in the Senate, with his attack on ‘Green’ hypocrisy and the nonsense of wind power: Australian Senator – Matt Canavan – Slams “Greens” Hypocrisy & Skewers the Great Wind Power Fraud 31 March 2015.

Federal MP, Angus Taylor – aka “the Enforcer” – has been smashing into the great wind power fraud, even before he was elected in a landslide to the New South Wales seat of Hume in September 2013. Angus, a Rhodes scholar in economics and law, has been on the front foot ever since. Recent Liberal party shenanigans aimed at shunting Angus out his electorate have only stiffened his resolve; expect to see him on the front bench soon; and in a position to finally put to death the ludicrously costly and thoroughly pointless LRET. Meanwhile, the Enforcer’s relentless work to protect Australian rural communities continues: Angus Taylor MP: Retailer Boycott – Wind Farms will NOT be Built where there is ‘Negative Community Reaction’ 27 October 2015.

There are the journos noted For Excellence in (Proper) Journalism:

Alan Jones AO – took more than just a passing “interest” in the great wind power fraud, its consequences and victims; starting with his appearance as the MC at the great wind power fraud rally in Canberra, June 2013 (seeour post here). Ever since, Alan has been very much the ‘voice’ of the people; and continues to torment the gullible and corrupt among our political betters, with powerful pieces that expose the rottenness of the wind industry and those behind it: Three Magnificent Women Take On Australia’s Monstrous Wind Power Outfits & their Pathetic Political Backers 12 August 2015.

Graham Lloyd – is The Australian’s Environmental Editor and, among his journalistic peers who claim that tag, is unique. Where Graham differs, is that he lives up to the ethical responsibilities, which were once central to journalism as a profession: he equips himself with the facts. Once armed, he’s positively dangerous – uncovering the fraudsters and charlatans that parade as ‘Friends of the Earth’, with pointed pieces that get the ‘troublesome’ truth out: Pacific Hydro & Acciona’s Acoustic ‘Consultant’ Fakes ‘Compliance’ Reports for Non-Compliant Wind Farms 19 September 2015.

For more on our perennial contenders check out last year’s: STT’s Australian of the Year Awards.

Now, we introduce our new contenders for 2016.

And the categories and nominees are:

Tireless Community Defenders

Martin Hayles

Martin Hayles

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Martin Hayles skips the nomination process and takes a prize, without contest. But, tragically, this gong is delivered posthumously: Martin died suddenly, at an all too young 51, a fortnight ago.

STT followers will know of Martin through the variety of characters he adopted on our comments boards: The Goat of Greenhill Road; and Jeff’s Last Goodbye (a nod to his favourite artist, the seminal Jeff Buckley), to name a few. Whichever of these characters he adopted, his comments were erudite, insightful, full of passion and always entertaining.

Martin was the attack dog for the Heartland Farmers – a group of equally dogged community defenders – dedicated to saving South Australia’s premier grain growing region, Yorke Peninsula from the ludicrous Ceres wind farm proposal; a proposal which SA’s favourite Greek, Senator Nick Xenophon, quite rightly, described as an “economic kick in the guts for South Australians”.

Martin took it up to the handful of Judas Iscariot types – heartless land-owners, who were prepared to destroy their community for a measly 30 pieces of silver.

And he hounded, without mercy, the former second-hand car salesmen that fronted Suzlon aka RePower aka Senvion – who tried – with the seemingly indestructible tenacity of cockroaches – to sleaze (and when that failed), lie, threaten, bully and deceive the crème de la crème of South Australia’s grain growers, in an effort to spear almost 200 of these things into the most productive barley growing region in the Country.

But that’s Martin the warrior. Martin, the man, touched so many lives, and his death will affect so many, many people. Martin was gifted with great care and compassion for others; and always found time in his heart for people set upon by the tyranny and inequity of this stinking industry. His tenacity, strength and drive was something to behold and inspire.

As his spirit soars further and beyond us, in the words of another great who passed this month, to Martin we say ‘Check ignition and may God’s love be with you.’

For Excellence in (Proper) Journalism

Hendrik Gout

hendrik gout2

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Channel Seven’s Today Tonight is the must-watch current affairs show for South Australia’s aspiring working class – when an issue becomes the top story on Today Tonight, you can guarantee you’ve reached not only a substantial audience by number; but that you’ve also hit political dead-centre – in terms of reaching voters capable of deciding elections; and policies on the way to them.

The Today Tonight viewer mightn’t be a Twitter jockey, but he or she is a first-class talker; whether it’s at work or backyard barbecues, whatever they’ve seen soon becomes the topic of the day (or the week).

When the topic is their spiralling power bills and, despite paying through the nose for the stuff, suffering statewide blackouts to boot, you can guarantee plenty of fist-waving fury being added to tea room and backyard debates on just who, or what’s to blame.

Leading Today Tonight’s charge against SA’s wind power driven energy and economic crisis is Hendrik Gout. Laid back, with a laconic flair, Hendrik has earned his stripes as an STT Champion in recent months, with brilliant pieces detailing SA’s unfolding, ‘double-whammy’ nightmare of rocketing power prices (already double the rates of the ACT, and set to double again) and a grid on the brink of collapse.

Here’s a taste of Hendrik’s dry wit and insight:

STT’s Special Award for True Courage & Real Compassion

Clive and Trina Gare

gare1

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Clive and Trina Gare are cattle graziers from South Australia’s Mid-North with their home property situated between Hallett and Jamestown.

Since October 2010, the Gares have played host to 19, 2.1MW Suzlon S88 turbines, which sit on a range of hills to the West of their stately homestead. Under their contract with AGL they receive around $200,000 a year; and have pocketed over $1 million since the deal began.

In a truly noble and remarkable move, the Gares gave evidence to the Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud during its Adelaide hearing, in June 2015:

SA Farmers Paid $1 Million to Host 19 Turbines Tell Senate they “Would Never Do it Again” due to “Unbearable” Sleep-Destroying Noise

In their evidence, the Gares made it very clear that it was the worst decision of their lives; describing the noise from the turbines on their property as “unbearable”; requiring earplugs and the noise from the radio to help them get to sleep at night; and the situation when the turbines first started operating in October 2010 as “Crap, to put it honestly” – entirely consistent with, and properly vindicating, the types of complaints made routinely by wind farm neighbours who don’t get paid, in Australia and around the world.

The Senators on the Inquiry were moved no end by the daily misery laid bare by people who’ve had to live up close and personal with these things for over five years, and all the more so knowing that over that period they’ve pocketed over $1 million for doing so. Trina Gare candidly observing, in the same terms as Clive, that:

In my opinion, towers should not be any closer than five kilometres to a dwelling. If we had to buy another property, it would not be within a 20-kilometre distance to a wind farm. I think that says it all.

The Gares – along with plenty of others in the same position – were played by wind power outfits for dupes; as their evidence to the Senate attests.

Admitting to a mistake takes honesty and personal integrity; admitting to a colossal mistake, even more so. However, to not only do so in public, but to your Parliament, exhibits moral decency – especially given the potential of that admission to operate as a sobering warning to others who have made, or who are likely to make, the very same error.

What the Gares did is both remarkable and noble: these fine and decent people deserve the gratitude and sympathy of all; from those in their community, and well-beyond.

What they also deserve is that our political betters admit their mistakes; and immediately correct the errors that have led to the single greatest policy disaster in the history of the Commonwealth. After what the Gares have done, anything less is a monstrous insult.

On careful and considered reflection, Clive and Trina Gare take STT’s Special Award for True Courage & Real Compassion; and earn our undying respect and gratitude, as well.

So, as you wash down your rack of lamb with a thumping Barossa Valley shiraz, we think it only fitting to spare a thought for the efforts outlined above. Australia is all the better for people like these and the tireless contributions that they make.  STT thanks them all.

STTAustralianof the year

Corrupt Wind-Pushing Politicians Allowing Abuse of Citizens!

Institutional Malice: Wind Farm Victims’ Government Endorsed Suffering Continues With Greg Hunt’s Knowledge

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The number of Liberal (Australia’s once small-government, conservative, business and family friendly) Party MPs that hold a bizarre affection for these things can be tallied up on one hand.

The Liberal’s King of the Wind Worship Cult is the hapless Environment Minister, young Gregory Hunt. Hunt’s office is headed up by wind industry plant, Patrick Gibbons – who, along with his best mate, Ken McAlpine are responsible for cooking up the great wind power fraud in Australia.

At the time, they were staffers in the office of Victorian Labor Minister, Theo Theophanous, who with his brother, Andrew added more than alittle ‘colour’ to politics.

In a cosier than cosy turn of events, Gibbons runs Hunt’s office; and McAlpine is now Vestas’ top media manipulator in Oz. How convenient!

Hunt and his office are fully aware of the life-destroying consequences foisted upon the hundreds of unfortunates stuck with these things by their wind industry benefactors. Hard-working rural people, ground down by incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound – delivered in merciless, daily onslaughts, at places like Cape Bridgewater, Waubra and Macarthur in Victoria, Gullen Range and Cullerin in NSW, Windy Hill in QLD and Waterloo and Jamestown in SA.

Hunt and his cohorts are always quick to defend their paymasters; jumping on any suggestion that their beloved ‘eco-friendlies’ could harm so much as a fly.

However, try as they might, facts have an uncanny ability of bubbling to the surface; and, once there, ignorance of them is no defence.

When political history is drawn, and the legacies of those involved are measured up, it’s often what the protagonists didn’t do that stains their scorecard, rather than what they did.

For those responsible for enabling the greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time – like Greg Hunt – it will be the fact that they knew full well that their favourite renewable rort caused wholly unnecessary misery to courageous, magnificent and stoic Australian women like Sonia Trist, Jan Hetherington and Annie Gardner:

Three Magnificent Women Take On Australia’s Monstrous Wind Power Outfits & their Pathetic Political Backers

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That our political betters are fully aware of wholly unnecessary suffering is a matter of no doubt.

You see, people like Greg Hunt and others, with full responsibility for the policies that saw thousands of these things speared into backyards across the country – driving people to the edge of sanity in their own homes; or driving them out of them altogether – get swamped with emails from their victims on a daily basis.

Just like this tragic tale laid out by Jan Hetherington from Macarthur in western Victoria.

But, before you confront what Jan has to deal with, night after punishing night (and it is confronting), take note of the who’s who list of recipients – a group that can never say that they didn’t know.

From: Jan Hetherington
Sent: Friday, 15 January 2016 12:10 PM
To: ‘St. Clair, Nicky’ <Nicky.StClair@environment.gov.au>; ‘Macarthur WindFarm’ <MacarthurWindFarm@agl.com.au>
Cc: ‘Malcolm.Turnbull.PM@aph.gov.au’ <Malcolm.Turnbull.PM@aph.gov.au>; ‘Greg.Hunt.MP@aph.gov.au’ <Greg.Hunt.MP@aph.gov.au>; ‘dan.tehan.mp@aph.gov.au’ <dan.tehan.mp@aph.gov.au>; ‘daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘matthew.guy@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <matthew.guy@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘Sussan.Ley.MP@aph.gov.au’ <Sussan.Ley.MP@aph.gov.au>; ‘Senator.Nash@aph.gov.au’ <Senator.Nash@aph.gov.au>; ‘Frydenberg, Josh (MP)’ <Josh.Frydenberg.MP@aph.gov.au>; ‘lily.d’ambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <lily.d’ambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘martin.foley@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <martin.foley@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘jill.hennessy@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <jill.hennessy@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘lisa.neville@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <lisa.neville@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘jala.pulford@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <jala.pulford@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘mary.wooldridge@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <mary.wooldridge@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘david.davis@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <david.davis@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘david.southwick@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <david.southwick@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘david.o’brien@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <david.o’brien@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘Brad.Battin@parliament.vic.gov.au’ <Brad.Battin@parliament.vic.gov.au>; ‘Katrina Rainsford’ <krainsford@sthgrampians.vic.gov.au>; ‘bruce.armstrong@sydney.edu.au’ <bruce.armstrong@sydney.edu.au>; ‘Cathy.McGowan.MP@aph.gov.au’ <Cathy.McGowan.MP@aph.gov.au>; ‘goulburn@parliament.nsw.gov.au’ <goulburn@parliament.nsw.gov.au>; ‘senator.Day@aph.gov.au’ <senator.Day@aph.gov.au>; ‘senator.Xenaphon@aph.gov.au’ <senator.Xenaphon@aph.gov.au>; ‘senator.Canavan@aph.gov.au’ <senator.Canavan@aph.gov.au>; ‘senator.Leyonhjelm@aph.gov.au’ <senator.Leyonhjelm@aph.gov.au>; ‘senator.madigan@aph.gov.au’ <senator.madigan@aph.gov.au>

Subject: my 89th formal complaint re-Macarthur wind farm.

Dear Commissioner Dyer, and AGL,

As you have been made aware, from our meeting with you in December, 2015, I am now “sensitised” by the hammering from the excessive pulsating infrasound, low frequency noise and vibration, that saturates my home day in and day out, emitted by the 140, 3MW turbines at the Macarthur wind facility.

I told you about the problem I had, when I was a patient in the newly built Western Private Hospital in Melbourne, in 2015, where I experienced the same symptoms from infrasound as I experience at home, and independent acoustician Les Huson tested my hospital room and positively identified and recorded infrasound in that room.

Not only am I still being hammered by this “noise” as I go about my daily routine at home, but I recently visited Portland on the 6th and 7th and 12th and 13th January 2016, to attend the Cruise ship markets to showcase my glassware.

Each visit I stayed overnight in Portland with a friend, and to my horror, I experienced the same symptoms that I experience at home, from the low frequency and infrasound.

There are wind turbines on the edge of the township of Portland at Cape Nelson, and Cape Bridgewater.

I experienced symptoms of sleep deprivation, palpitations, anxiety, ears aching and ringing, head-pressure and aching on the back of my head and the top of my jaws. I could hear the low droning noise of the turbines during the night.

These are the same symptoms I experience at home, living near the Macarthur wind facility.

At the market on the foreshore during the day, I kept experiencing “whacks” to my head, as if someone had hit me on the back of my head. These “whacks” would give me a jolt and they hurt.

This excessive, pulsing infrasound, low frequency noise and vibration is a REAL problem, and I hope you have started your investigation into this REAL problem.

We cannot be expected to live our lives like this anymore.

I cannot be expected to be fearful of travelling to other places and experience the same dreadful symptoms that I experience at home.

This is “3rd world” stuff, and surely we’re better than that, we should be able to look after each and every one of our citizens, equally and without bias.

I pay my taxes and I expect something in return.

I expect to be treated with respect and compassion regarding this wind farm problem and not live in fear for my health and safety and wellbeing.

It’s about time politicians stopped playing politics and the popularity stakes and DO something about this wind farm problem.

I would like confirmation and receipt of this formal complaint please.

Sincerely

Jan Hetherington

Jan h Hetherington

 

Wonderful news for the Aussies!

Aussie Green Power Scheme Collapse

money_sucking_vortex

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t JoNova – “The Australian” newspaper reports that a rise in costs, climate “fatigue”, and a rise in green tokenism has caused a collapse in demand for an Aussie green energy scheme.

Climate change fatigue, cost hits renewable GreenPower scheme

GreenPower, a scheme run by state governments in which people and businesses pay more for their power to buy non-fossil-fuel electricity, has been hit by up to a 40 per cent increase in cost as retailers pass on the rising price of large-scale renewable energy certificates.

Even before the price jump, the willingness of customers to pay more for renewable energy has ebbed in line with the political debate over climate change policies.

The scheme has gone from more than 900,000 customers in 2008 who bought about 1 per cent of total generation to just over 500,000 who bought just 0.6 per cent of all the electricity generated in 2013.

Since, sales have dropped a further 21 per cent.

A report by UTS’s Institute of Sustainable Futures for the NSW Department of Resources and Energy — which administers the scheme on behalf of all the states — said the rise in roof- top solar panels had contributed to the demise of GreenPower. “It seems that once customers have ‘done their bit’ by paying for solar PV, they no longer see the need to pay extra for GreenPower.”

Read more (paywalled): http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/climate-change-fatigue-cost-hits-renewable-greenpower-scheme/news-story/f539152e18a55644110c07a508415a7a

So why is the price of green power rising?

According to the Sydney Morning Herald;

“Retailers are making it more expensive than it needs to be for the consumer,” said Richie Farrell, group manager of investor relations and strategy at Infigen Energy.

“The consumer is entering into a contract with them to buy renewable energy and they are not taking action to enter into a contract with renewable energy providers to supply the electricity, they are just entering into short-term agreements on the spot market to meet the liability the customer has imposed on them through purchasing their product.”

Mr Farrell said it all comes down to supply and demand.

“For a long time the renewable energy certificate market was oversupplied. Everyone knew there was going to be an upcoming shortfall and to avoid that shortfall retailers were required to enter into long-term contracts with people like ourselves to ensure that more renewable supply came into the market.”
Unfortunately for consumers, he said, retailers have so far refused to do that.

“They have sat on their hands and not entered into these new contracts. Basically, by our projections, by 2017-18 we will have more demand than supply for renewable energy, and as such prices increase in that scenario.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/why-are-green-energy-prices-going-through-the-roof-20160105-glzgva.html

You can hardly blame energy retailers for being hesitant to commit to long term contracts. There simply isn’t an upside, to taking financial risks, to try to revive the already aneamic green energy market.

Australia is facing difficult economic conditions, and the Australian government is carrying a substantial and growing debt.

If the global economic slowdown worsens, Aussie government debt could very rapidly balloon to dangerous levels. In other countries, a public debt crisis was the trigger forretroactive, uncompensated cuts to green subsidies.

When individuals, businesses and governments tighten their belts, unnecessary luxuries like expensive green energy are often top of the list of costs to be cut.

Wind Energy…..Much Less Power, for MUCH MORE money!!!

Rocketing Prices AND Blackouts: South Australians Lament Their Dark & Dismal Wind ‘Powered’ Future

waterloo

SA’s media digs into its wind power debacle: spiralling
power prices AND mass blackouts, who would have thought?

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A week back we covered the unfolding calamity in South Australia – where a sudden wind power output collapse plunged 110,000 homes into darkness, across most of the State, without warning:

Wind Industry’s Armageddon: Wind Farm Output Collapse Leaves 110,000 South Australian Homes & Businesses Powerless

What’s become painfully clear to the general populace (although probably at times when they’re without the aid of electric light) is that attempting to ‘rely’ on a wholly weather dependent generation ‘system’ is a seriously dangerous fantasy.

In the aftermath of one of the worst blackouts in recent history, politicians of all persuasions copped a grilling on radio stations; from people like ABC’s Matt and Dave; and 5AA’s, Leon Byner.

Byner is to South Australian airwaves what Alan Jones is to national radio broadcasting; sharp and to the point – and with a “take no prisoners” attitude. As the interview below attests.

First, a little background on the protagonists. Christopher Pyne is a Liberal member of Federal Parliament, steeped in South Australian Liberal politics.

Tom Koutsantonis, Industry Minister in the State Labor government, has been top head kicker and part of Labor’s squad; going back to Premier Mike Rann – the principal offender in South Australia’s unfolding wind power disaster.

Danny Price, energy market expert with Frontier Economics, hates wind power with a burning passion; and has been pointing out the ludicrous costs of subsidising wind power, as well as the insanity of trying to rely upon a wholly weather dependent generation source, for years now.

What follows is a very telling exchange amongst them.

SA’s State power outage and Renewable Energy
Leon Byner with Tom Koutsantonis
5AA
2 November 2015

LEON BYNER: The Industry Minister joining us, Christopher what do you say?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Leon, well the point that I wanted to make was that South Australians pay the highest energy prices in Australia.

We have one of the most unreliable supplies of energy. We’ve been obsessed for some years with renewable energy, which in itself is not a bad thing. But I think the public, it always surprises me how they don’t understand that they are subsidising wind and solar power to such an enormous extent.

They seem to think when I talk to people in the supermarkets in my electorate for example, that this is all coming without a cost. But the truth is the only reason wind power is viable in South Australia is because of the massive subsidies being paid by the taxpayer and the same goes for solar power.

And even more concerning to me, to have solar power in years gone by you needed to stump up the several thousands of dollars to get the solar energy and then you got the subsidy. Which means the poorest South Australians were subsidising some of the most well off South Australians, who have got much lower energy costs as a result of solar power.

So, I just think that in the debate the public need to know the facts, which are that these things don’t come without a cost.

LEON BYNER: What would you be suggesting the Government do, Chris?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well obviously the Government has made some bad decisions and bad choices over the years because of an ideological obsession with renewable energy and I wouldn’t discourage renewable energy. But they also made it harder for Alinta to stay in business.

When Alinta said that they were closing Leigh Creek and Port Augusta, one of the factors they stated was because of the subsidies for wind and solar power. Now how they produce those subsidies is something that the State Government needs to look at, because it’s a question whether they are sustainable at the level that they are into the future, especially if they are not delivering, as we saw last night, reliable power to South Australia. Or maybe the South Australian Government needs to invest in another way of connecting with interstate energy rather than the one we have through Hayward at the moment.

LEON BYNER: Ok what do you say Tom?

TOM KOUTSANTONIS: Well I think a lot of what Christopher says is right. There is only one problem, it’s not the State Government that’s subsidising Leon, it’s the Commonwealth Government. They are the ones that give the subsidies to the wind generators, but the reality is, is that we needs to be a national solution to this problem because coal is not sustainable. The world is not going to keep burning coal to generate electricity; the world is going to look to other sources…

LEON BYNER: Yes but we have an immediate need and I don’t think you were…

TOM KOUTSANTONIS: Yes I understand that. We have an abundant transitional energy source here in South Australia, which is gas. Now we should be doing as much as we can to incentivise gas. We are in this perverse position where the Commonwealth Government are incentivising renewables as has the state in the past with the solar feeding tariffs off peoples rooves and then coal is given preferential treatment and the transitional fuel in the middle, gas and which is probably the solution to our energy needs gets almost nothing.

Now the reality is we need to be looking at what our natural abundant resources are, especially in this state and we have two of them: uranium and gas. So we should be doing as much as we can to support and incentivise the export of uranium out of the state for the world’s power needs and doing as much as we possibly can to incentivise the extraction of gas for generations to come in South Australia.

LEON BYNER: Yes but you see you can do all the extraction you like, it’s still got to be viable. Chris, what do you say to that?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well I think it’s hard for Tom Koutsantonis to claim that the Rann-Weatherill Government didn’t do a great deal to encourage wind generators to be set up in South Australia.

I mean they provided a great deal of support for wind power and Mike Rann trumpeted South Australia’s growing reliance on wind power as has Jay Weatherill.

Now I agree however with Tom that what we do need to do is get our uranium moving out of Australia and that’s why the current Federal Government is trying to settle a deal with India to sell them uranium and I’d encourage him to encourage his federal colleagues to make that easier rather than harder, because that well help us get the revenue he needs and the Commonwealth needs and particularly the South Australian Government needs to invest in energy.

This is something that needs to have a bipartisan approach between Labor and Liberal and he can help us with his federal colleagues to make that treaty with India around uranium sales sail smoothly through the Parliament.

LEON BYNER: Now Tom so let me get this right, you’re going to make an announcement sooner rather than later on incentivising some kind of, either other interconnection or indeed base load power, because as Danny Price pointed out with the upgrade of the interconnector, lightening or other problems aren’t going to be much use to us.

TOM KOUTSANTONIS: Yes that’s right; we need to incentivise the existing base load energy that we already have…

LEON BYNER: And you’ll be making an announcement about that when?

TOM KOUTSANTONIS: I will very, very soon and I’ll come on your programme and I can talk to your listeners, I’m quite happy to do that with you Leon. But I’ll just point out this, the Howard Government, the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd-Abbott-Turnbull Governments all subsidise wind.

The support we give them is planning approval and the actual subsidy for the power generated comes from the Commonwealth Government. So I don’t want to get into a he-said, she-said with Christopher other than to say this is a national problem and we need national solutions and this State Labor Government, especially me as Energy Minister and Treasurer, I am very keen to work with Christopher to come up with a solution that benefits South Australia and the nation.

LEON BYNER: Alright just quickly, Danny Price is what you’re hearing today is that ‘hey they get it’ yet or what?

DANNY PRICE: Nothing else has this ability to concentrate with this level of political interest and I’m kind of pleased to see this, because this has been a long time coming. I think what the Minister’s saying about wind farms is exactly right. I think it’s disingenuous to say that this is just a Commonwealth problem. But I also agree with the Treasurer that it has to be a national solution. South Australia is just part of what we call the national electricity market. It has to be a national…

LEON BYNER: One question, we got nothing up the connector and there are those who say why didn’t the other states that have got electricity feel any pain? Or was it just because of our reliance on wind that failed?

DANNY PRICE: Well the market is basically designed to as much as possible cut the cost consequences of local problems to that local region and that’s precisely why the market is set up that way.

Now in South Australia people are now looking for solutions for supply in South Australia, that’s what the market is designed to do.

My only concern with what the Treasurer seems to be hinting at is that it may be that he’s thinking about contracting directly with the Pelican Point power station, but the problem with that of course is that you have to think about the consequences down the line and so if these primary generators suddenly think that they’ve got the Government over the barrel and the Government is prepared to directly contract with these generators, you might find them offering less on the market than they would otherwise which forces the Government’s hand. So you’ve got to be careful about starting that game.

LEON BYNER: Danny Price thank you. Well know you’ve got the full story about what happened last night and the fact that it won’t be the end.
5AA

DannyPrice_banner1

Of Byner’s line up, only Danny Price really gets it.

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Despite Koutsantonis being an entrenched member of the team that created the wind power debacle in South Australia, he was remarkably quick off the mark to throw responsibility back at the Federal Government when he (rightly) says: “the actual subsidy for the power generated comes from the Commonwealth Government”.

Indeed it does; soon to be a figure in the order of $3 billion a year – all added on top of already rocketing Australian retail power bills:

Out to Save their Wind Industry Mates, Macfarlane & Hunt Lock-in $46 billion LRET Retail Power Tax

But Koutsantonis’ line that his State Government merely facilitated the rollout of 1,477MW of wind power capacity with SA’s 17 wind farms is kind of glib – reminiscent of war criminals who, when thrown in the dock by the victors, claimed they were “only following orders”.

All too cute, for STT’s liking. His former boss, Mike Rann saw to it that SA went harder and faster into the wind power fraud, than any other State; for his (and his relatives) own selfish, pecuniary interests; and did so without ever even considering the costs or putative benefits of a subsidy-scam loaded with the former; and bereft of the latter.

But, precisely the same can be said of the successive Federal governments that set up and have maintained the Large-Scale RET – the largest, single industry subsidy scheme in the history of the Commonwealth by a country mile (see the link above).

Although, as things are turning out, the accusatory finger-pointing between State and Federal governments, over just who’s responsible for South Australia’s calamitous energy mess, is of no real concern to South Australians.

Among the 110,000 homes and businesses that were plunged into darkness, two weeks ago, when wind power disappeared in the blink of an eye, there isn’t a whole lot of interest in whether it’s State or Federal policy to blame. These people are already sick and tired of paying the highest power prices in the Nation (if not, on a purchasing power parity basis, the highest in the world).

Plunging them into darkness without warning (placing them and their families at unnecessary mortal risk – think people at home on life support systems; and unlit intersections without functioning traffic lights) simply because wind power output collapsed is, for most, a bridge way too far.

Despite the best efforts of the wind industry’s top propaganda merchants, South Australians are a wake up to the fact that it wasn’t the fault of the interconnectors – that are designed to merely transport power (when available) from Victoria and New South Wales – but, rather, the fact that the 40% of SA’s generating capacity (said to always come from wind power) collapsed, because the wind stopped blowing that fateful Sunday night. Funny about that.

SA 1 Nov 15

It’s a little hard for the wind industry and its spruikers to blame something else; when, for more than six years, they’ve been ramming the ‘wonders’ of wind power down South Australian throats, with maniacal zeal.

If you’re continually talking up SA’s brilliant “wind resource”; and bragging out loud via every media outlet about those (few) occasions when wind power output registers a half-decent proportion of its actual capacity, you’re going to have trouble explaining away those occasions when total (and totally unpredictable) collapses in wind power output coincide with mass blackouts. As this one, most certainly did.

No, this time around the cat is well and truly out of the bag.

In the hierarchy of media, when an issue becomes the top story on Channel 7’s Today Tonight, you can guarantee you’ve reached not only a substantial audience by number; but that you’ve also hit political dead-centre – in terms of reaching voters capable of deciding elections; and policies on the way to them.

The Today Tonight viewer mightn’t be a Twitter jockey, but he or she is a first-class talker; whether it’s at work or backyard barbecues, whatever they’ve seen soon becomes the topic of the day (or the week). When the topic is their spiralling power bills and, despite paying through the nose for the stuff, suffering statewide blackouts to boot, you can guarantee plenty of fist-waving fury being added to tea room and backyard debates on just who, or what’s to blame.

Just how dire things are for the wind industry, is laid out in just such a barbecue-stopper of a Today Tonight broadcast; one that has snapped South Australians out of their complacency about energy policy, in general; and their wind power debacle, in particular.

The only trick that Today Tonight missed, was the fact that the blackout wasn’t the interconnectors’ fault. As detailed in last week’s post (and the graph above), the interconnectors ‘failed’ because they became overloaded, as wind power output plummeted that night. The ‘load’ being drawn by SA over the interconnectors rose exponentially (and inversely with the wind power output collapse) until they hit the limit of their capacity and ‘tripped’, plunging SA into pre-historic gloom for hours.

STT hears that Today Tonight has been directed to our blackout post; and is keen to follow up with a story that sets the record straight, laying the blame – where it belongs – fair-and-square on SA’s ludicrous ‘reliance’ on the vagaries of the wind.

(Click on the image below to reach Today Tonight’s video of the broadcast – transcript appears below)

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today tonight

Transcript:

Rosanna Mangiarelli (Presenter): Good evening and welcome to the program. First tonight the price we’re all likely to pay for South Australia’s renewable energy experiment. Now as power stations close and we rely more and more on wind and solar power, the outlook, according to some experts is dim. Job losses, skyrocketing prices, and ongoing blackouts and as Hendrik Gout reports, they’re just some of the risks the state’s taking as we enter the untested and the unknown.

Hendrik Gout (Reporter): We South Australians are living in an experiment, a world first. We’re the white mice in this state-sized laboratory.

Mathew Warren (CEO, Energy Supply Association of Australia): South Australia is an accidental experiment in the deploy of renewables at scale in a large grid around the world.

Danny Price (Managing Director, Frontier Economics Australia): South Australia is the canary down the mine as it were. It’s more likely that there’s going to be blackouts because of the combination of your reliance on the interconnector, but particularly because of the large reliance on wind.

Mathew Warren: When we look around the world the problem is no one is doing it as aggressively as South Australia.

Hendrik Gout: Sometimes this experiment goes catastrophically wrong. On the night of Sunday the 1st of November 2015, Adelaide went black. It was lights out at 10 PM. 100,000 homes, businesses, service stations, all the streetlights, all dead, because of this – the interconnector. Think of it as a heavy-duty extension cord, taking electricity from Victoria’s Latrobe Valley power stations to energy dependant South Australia. And when it fails…

Danny Price: Unless those interconnectors are running it’s extremely difficult to reliably meet supply in South Australia.

Hendrik Gout: Danny Price from Frontier economics has shocking news for South Australia.

Danny Price: South Australia is an experimentation in systems control, power systems control and I think people are struggling to work out how it’s going work.

Hendrik Gout: Thomas Playford, Premier from the 30s to the 60s, decided South Australia should be electrically self-sufficient. His government developed the Leigh Creek coal fields to fuel this, South Australia’s huge Port Augusta plant. 800 million watts, for thoroughly modern living.

Narrator: You will envy this little lady, and say to yourselves, I would like an electric range myself.

Hendrik Gout: Here on Torrens Island, locally produced thermal electricity.  And then ten years ago we cast our fate to the wind.

Mike Rann (Former SA Premier): Bit by bits we’ve started the process of making South Australia the leader in wind energy in Australia.

Pat Conlon (Former Labor Minster for Energy in SA Government): The truth is, green energy isn’t any cheaper in terms of dollar price than conventional energy but it is much, much cheaper for the environment.

Hendrik Gout: But from Starfish Hill to Snowtown, Waterloo to Wattle Point, Waymouth to Woakwine, it was new dawn for some and the end of an era for others. Fuelled by easy State Government approval, often overriding local objections, wind farms grew exponentially. Yet they produce power only intermittently.  They’re unreliable, and sometimes they have their share of itty-bitty problems.

How many windfarms do we have, installed, planned, approved, or under construction? This many – 39.

Mathew Warren: Certainly the numbers that we are at now, around 40% of generation coming from solar and wind is incredibly high by global standards. And the world’s watching. The world is interested in how South Australia manages this.

Hendrik Gout: Australia’s Energy Supply Association is the industry’s peak national body.  Its boss is Mathew Warren.

Mathew Warren: Clearly we need to pay very close attention to South Australia. It’s really at the cutting edge of integrating renewables in the world and that brings with it both, you know challenges but also risks.

Hendrik Gout: And those risks, well somebody accidentally unplugging this extension cord.

Mathew Warren: Sunday night was an event that no one planned when there was a fault, and the interconnector was out, and the consequences were an outage.

Hendrik Gout: The potential problems, says Danny Price, will get worse when the Northern Power station at Port Augusta closes early next year.

Danny Price: That’s the largest, single largest power station in the state and one that provides large quantities of reliable cheap energy.

Hendrik Gout: And South Australia has the most expensive electricity in the country. You probably pay more than $2,500 a year for electricity. People who live in the ACT pay not even $1500. In 2010 an 18% hike, 17% the next year, nearly 13% in 2012. Down by 1.8% (somebody probably got sacked for that) and then up again in 2014.

Hendrik Gout: So how much are your electricity bills a quarter?

Robert Bell: They’re up to around 3 grand.

Hendrik Gout: And what were they when you started?

Robert Bell: They were about $800-$900.

Hendrik Gout: Robert Bell sells fish from his Glynde aquarium. His tanks have heaters, pumps, bubblers.

Robert Bell: It’s now the second biggest bill that we have here, behind rent. It’s tripled in the last 6 years. It’s got a double edge sword effect for us. The customers are closing down their tanks and all the while, our overheads are going up here, with electricity.

Hendrik Gout:  So fewer people are buying and your own costs are going up.

Robert Bell: Exactly.

Hendrik Gout: Compounding the problem –these -Solar PV systems.

Mathew Warren: South Australia has around 25% of its housing stocked now with solar panels on their roofs. This is the highest rate of roof-top solar PV penetration in the world.

Hendrik Gout: And that’s also pushing up prices through generous State government subsidies.

Mathew Warren: The renewable technologies, once they displace conventional generators are more expensive. If they were cheaper it would be a lot easier to manage this challenge.

Hendrik Gout: The closure of the Port Augusta power station also comes at a cost. A human cost – hundreds of South Australian jobs disappear as we switch to Victorian power, made by Victorian labour. According to Danny Price, wind power isn’t filling the vacuum.

Danny Price: We don’t actually develop any wind technology here, we buy it all. We just simply assemble and that technology and it doesn’t take much labour to run it.

Hendrik Gout: An increased risk of blackouts, crippling power prices and the country’s highest unemployment.

Robert Bell: The economy is in a bad state and Adelaide, itself, is in a really bad state.

Hendrik Gout: The perfect storm.

Robert Bell: It really is for business owners in South Australia at the moment.

Danny Price: Some of the largest employers are those who use quite a lot of electricity. I am extremely doubtful that any new business would set up in South Australia. I think that they would be mad to, simply because of the high cost of electricity, which is set to get higher and unfortunately, more unreliable.
Today Tonight

blackout

That Today Tonight story hit the nail on the head.
Now, has anyone got any matches and candles?

Southern Australians Suffering Due to Foolish Adoption of Wind Turbine Agenda…

Wind Power Disaster Unfolds: SA Facing Total Blackouts, Rocketing Power Prices & Thousands More Chopped from the Grid

jay weatherill

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To call what South Australia’s Labor government has ‘gifted’ their constituents an energy ‘policy’, is to flatter it as involving some kind of genuine ‘design’. It’s an economic debacle, pure and simple.

The current mess started under former Premier, Mike Rann –  a former spin-doctor, whose relatives lined up at the wind power subsidy trough from the get-go.

Under its current vapid leader, Jay Weatherill, SA’s Labor government has been talking up a wind powered future for months now; swanning off to Labor’s fantasy world, where the wind blows and the sun shines 24 x 365; and the power is, of course, totally “free” – with his claims that SA can ‘enjoy’ more than 50% of its power from the sun and the wind, with just a little (more) government “help”.

Back in ‘harsh reality land’, however, Jay’s presiding over the worst unemployment in the Nation, at 8% – and soon to rocket – worse still than perpetual basket case, Tasmania. Here’s In Daily on the latest dole queue figures.

SA jobless down but still worst in nation
In Daily
15 October 2015

sa unemployment

South Australia unemployment figures experienced a slight drop of 0.2 per cent in September, but the state still has the highest jobless rate in Australia.

Date released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday morning show the SA jobless rate fell from 7.9 to 7.7 per cent, seasonally adjusted, the second biggest fall after Tasmania (down 0.4 per cent).

However, more South Australians are also leaving the job search.

SA had the largest decrease in the seasonally adjusted participation rate (down 0.8 percentage points), followed by Western Australia (down 0.6 percentage points) and Tasmania (down 0.5 percentage points).

Seasonally adjusted figures for September show SA had 864,200 people in jobs, with 66,400 people looking for work.

Victoria was the only state with an increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, up 0.1 per cent.

The trend rate for South Australia increased to 8 per cent.

National unemployment figures remained at 6.2 per cent (seasonally adjusted).

Employment, Higher Education and Skills Minister Gail Gago said the State Government had directed its focus on struggling South Australians.

“We recognise the difficult road ahead for many workers as we transition from the old economy to the new economy.

“Last week, we saw Alinta announce it will close its coal-fired power station by March next year.

“We are also seeing a downturn in resources jobs across the nation as a result of a global collapse in commodity prices.”

Gago said diversifying the economy while investing in new and growing industries were part of the government’s long-term structural reform.
In Daily

With economics ‘maestros’ like Gail Gago focusing on ‘struggling South Australians’, they’re in for a bumpy ride on her “difficult road”; to be sure. That the road was laid by megalomaniacs like Mike Rann and ‘serviced’ by the completely ‘Clueless’ Jay Weatherill, seems to be lost on Gail Gago, much to the miserable disadvantage of those they pretend to govern.

You see, most with the slightest grip on the basics of economics pick up on the fact that producers of widgets (and the like) are driven by profits (a motive lost on Labor/Green apparatchiks), which, in turn depend upon input costs. For widget makers, butchers, bakers and the like, drive up input costs and, all things equal, their profits will fall; and their ability to invest in their business and employ people will drop off, too.

Where the item is high on the list of inputs, a jump in its cost may see that business, or even whole industries, collapse; as they end up insolvent.

As just the most glaring example, where the input is electricity, industries that use stacks of it – like manufacturers, miners and mineral processors – have been literally crushed, as power prices have skyrocketed; thanks to wind power subsidies and the additional and unnecessary costs of peaking power to back it up when it disappears every day:

Britain’s Economic Nightmare Unfolds: Wind Power Costs Killing Thousands of REAL Jobs

South Australia’s economic debacle is, in no small part, due to its diabolical wind power policy; that’s led to South Australians paying the highest power costs in the Nation – if not (on a purchasing power parity basis) the highest in the world.

The fact that SA is an economic train wreck (see our posts here and here) is clearly lost on the likes of Gail Gago, when she talks about a “transition from the old economy to the new economy” – a place where, apparently, the rules of economics are permanently suspended, with skyrocketing power prices having no effect on investment, growth in incomes or employment. Maybe Weatherill & Co’s heralded “new economy” runs on moonbeams and fairy dust?

It’s going to need to – SA ‘relies’ on 17 wind farms and their ‘notional’ installed capacity of 1,477MW. However, its faith in the Wind Gods, pixies and the like seems to disappoint more than deliver:

May 2015 SA

We covered the dismal data from SA depicted above and more besides here:

The Wind Power Fraud (in pictures): Part 1 – the South Australian Wind Farm Fiasco

That woeful missive drew focus on the pathetic performance of the 17 wind farms that have led to SA being known as ‘Australia’s wind farm capital’: it has the greatest number of turbines per capita of all States – and the highest proportion of its generating capacity in wind power by a country mile. But that tag is far more a curse than a blessing, as the following pieces attest.

SA renewables use may lead to blackouts
Australian Financial Review
Ben Potter
29 October 2015

South Australia’s rising share of renewable power could cause blackouts if the Australian Energy Market Operator doesn’t intervene, the agency’s chief executive, Matt Zema, said.

SA’s rooftop solar panels could meet electricity demands during the middle of some days by 2024-25 if uptake continued at the current rate, he said, but this would lead to more volatility and less reliability, and a greater reliance on the interconnector, with the large eastern state generators to keep power flowing on some days.

The warning is relevant for the federal Labor opposition, which has called for 50 per cent of Australia’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. An interconnector is a high-capacity transmission line connecting two electricity markets.

Mr Zema said prices are becoming more volatile in SA because of the withdrawal of coal power plants and the strong uptake in solar energy.

Prices have hit the National Electricity Market limit of $13,800 a megawatt hour several times in the state in recent months. That makes industrial users uneasy and has led to speculation the government may have to pay thermal-coal generators to provide standby capacity. “The signal in that market is you actually need more thermals in reserve,” Mr Zema told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia lunch in Melbourne.

He said rather than Germany, which has a large share of renewable generation and is fretting over security of supply, SA is “more like Portugal – it’s at the end of the grid”. “So if they are going to go completely renewable, they are going to rely more and more on the interconnectors for system security.”

Mr Zema said the Energy Market Operator was intervening to balance the market to avoid blackouts in SA while the interconnector is upgraded, causing outages and complaints.

Peter Dobney, the head of energy and resources at packaging company Orora, told the lunch SA “has become a basket case for large industry energy users” and the outages were costing industry millions of dollars.

But Mr Zema said the upgrade had to be completed before the summer of 2016-17 because Alinta will close its Northern and Playford B thermal power stations in 2016, dropping 15 per cent of current capacity in SA.

He said the Energy Market Operator was purchasing frequency controlled ancillary services or FCAS “to stop SA actually going black if the interconnector drops out”. “How much do you want to pay for system security in SA? Because that’s what we are buying,” Mr Zema asked. “If we don’t buy FCAS and the system trips, we lose the whole state.”

Mr Zema said Germany, Spain and Italy were dealing with a similar problem by relying on interconnectors with France, which has a large surplus of nuclear power.
Australian Financial Review

elephant-in-the-room1

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Hmmm… Not a single mention of SA’s wind farm fleet from the Fin Review. How curious? Could it just be the result of a little ‘group-think’ over at Fairfax?

True it is that the struggling Fairfax rags run with a maniacal cult-like veneration of wind power (see our post here).

But to head up an article as ‘SA renewables use may lead to blackouts’; and to avoid mention of wind power altogether (especially where wind power capacity in SA ‘outshines’ solar capacity by a whopping margin), smells like Ben Potter was deliberately directed to avert his eyes from the enormous, economy-destroying ‘elephant in the room’.

No, revealing that pesky-pachyderm was left to The Australian which, funnily enough, while covering exactly the same AEMO report, managed to draw reference to SA’s woefully wanting wind farms (or ‘wind’/’wind generation’) no less than 6 times (8, including the headline and the caption to its photo of a turbine: “The AEMO report will reignite debate about wind farms”); and referred to solar panels, just once.

SA ‘risks power shortfalls’ because of wind farm dependence
The Australian
Annabel Hepworth
26 October 2015

South Australia could experience electricity supply shortfalls as it becomes more reliant on wind farms and imports from Victoria, a new report finds.

The report by the Australian Energy Market Operator finds the closure of Alinta’s Northern Power Station by the end of March next year could have an impact in “extreme” conditions over the next three years.

The document, to be released today, is likely to reignite debate over wind farms just as the renewables industry hopes for more support after the change of prime minister.

Malcolm Turnbull’s backing for a carbon trading scheme contributed to him being toppled as opposition leader in 2009, while Environment Minister Greg Hunt has recently suggested that criticism of wind farms was confined to “views expressed by particular individuals”.

Under Tony Abbott the Coalition scaled back the renewable energy target, directed the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to invest in wind farms, and axed the carbon tax.

According to the new AEMO report, the planned closure of the Northern Power station will impact the balance of demand and supply in South Australia over the next three years, increasing the state’s reliance on wind and on imports from Victoria.

“When high demand coincides with low wind generation, plant outages, or low levels of imports, South Australia may experience supply shortfalls,” the report says.

In July, Alinta said it would close its Flinders operation in South Australia’s Port Augusta, which comprises the Northern and Playford B power stations and the nearby Leigh Creek mine, by March 2018, if not as early as March 2016.

Alinta boss Jeff Dimmery attributed the decision to policies aimed at supporting renewables and falling power demand that had led to a glut of power in South Australia. Earlier this month, the company confirmed the closure would be next year.

AEMO has produced its new report on the impacts of the Northern closure because it is considered significant enough for AEMO to update its yearly ­guidance on the adequacy of power generation in the National Electricity Market for the next decade.

Overall, the report finds the earlier withdrawal of Northern would not impact the point at which South Australia could breach the “reliability standard”, which says that just 0.02 per cent of power can go unserved in an area in a year.

AEMO has previously forecast that South Australia could breach the standard in 2019-20 and 2024-25, with the potential uptake of solar rooftop panels alleviating the situation in the years between.
The Australian

Could it be that Fairfax hacks have been engaged in a little ‘cherry-picking’, in order to keep spinning its ‘wonders-of-wind’ editorial line? Same AEMO report being covered, but an entirely different story. George Orwell generated a whole lingua franca – including terms such as “newspeak”; “doublespeak”; and “doublethink”- to capture what Fairfax considers should pass for ‘journalism’, these days (see our post here).

When the AEMO report talks about times when: “high demand coincides with low wind generation, plant outages, or low levels of imports, South Australia may experience supply shortfalls” it’s referring to data like this from June this year (the graph above is from May), showing the chaos that is wind power generation in South Australia:

June 2015 SA

In the AFR piece it talks about occasions when: “Prices have hit the National Electricity Market limit of $13,800 a megawatt hour several times in the state in recent months”.

But, for some strange reason, the AFR fails (or refuses) to join the dots: those occasions – when the spot price paid to generators goes from around $70 per MWh to the market cap of $13,800 per MWh perfectly coincide with sudden (and often, complete) wind power output collapses, as detailed here:

South Australia’s Unbridled Wind Power Insanity: Wind Power Collapses see Spot Prices Rocket from $70 to $13,800 per MWh

The cost of SA’s insane wind power policy is borne, of course, by its beleaguered (remaining) businesses; and struggling households (think old-age pensioners and the thousands of unemployed).

This is a State where some 50,000 homes have been disconnected from the grid – families simply no longer able to pay their power bills; who’ve been reduced to lighting their homes with candles, and, unable to power a fridge, using Eskies (coolers) to keep their perishables – cooking on wood stoves and trying to keep warm using barbeques.

With the fall-out from its wind power fiasco unfolding fast, hundreds of businesses will hit the wall; and thousands more households will soon get to join the tens-of-thousands, already sitting freezing (or boiling) in the dark.

SA power prices to surge by $150 a year, report warns
The Advertiser
David Nankervis
22 October 2015

POWER prices will surge up to $150 a year for hundreds of thousands of householders under controversial changes to electricity charges, an investigative report warns.

The SA Council of Social Services report also says small businesses face a 50 per cent rise in power costs and that this could force some to close.

The findings are based on a SACOSS investigation into the impact of rule changes by the Australian Electricity Market Commission.

The change is designed to shift the demand for power away from peak periods to take pressure off the network.

In response to the new rules, SA Power Networks has proposed introducing a monthly network charge calculated on a customer’s highest half-hour of energy use between 4pm and 9pm on any given day.

This will provide a “pricing signal” to customers to ration the use of appliances, SAPN spokesman Paul Roberts said.

“That means not turning on all major appliances at once during peak periods such as tea time on a hot day, instead delaying using the dishwasher or washing machine until later,” he said.

But SACOSS executive director Ross Womersley said the changes, beginning as early as 2017, would see half of all householders worse off.

“It would be madness for this to proceed and any changes should be deferred for at least a few years,” he said.

“And this new system should be introduced only on a voluntary basis, which would allow people to opt in only if they believe they will be better off.

“This is because people on low income and many other householders would be worse off.”

According to the SACOSS report, which will be submitted to SAPN as part of the network company’s consultation process:

APPROXIMATELY 50 per cent of householders would be worse off

THE biggest bill increases could reach $150 a year

THE biggest savings could be just $10 a year

HALF of small businesses would be worse off

ALMOST one-in-five small business would face a 50 per cent increase in energy costs

The report also said there was “limited (public) support” for the changes to the billing system.

SACOSS research revealed consumers were concerned about big variation in bills amounts, making it more difficult to budget for electricity costs.

The report said this would have a serious impact on low-income households over summer.

Mr Roberts said SAPN invited “consultation” on its proposed billing changes earlier this month because “we know people care about electricity prices”.

“We’re not only consulting on the detail of the changes, but also an appropriate transition that protects the interests of customers and gives them time to adjust to the changes.
The Advertiser

studying candle

Aussies Not Going to Force Wind Turbines on Communities….For Real??

Angus Taylor MP: Retailer Boycott – Wind Farms will NOT be Built where there is ‘Negative Community Reaction’

Angus Taylor

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Angus Taylor, the Liberal Federal Member for Hume gave a wind industry scorching interview on Alan Jones’ Breakfast show on 2GB last week. For Australian rural communities fighting the threat of these things, STT thinks that what Angus had to say is the best news that they will have heard, since their battles began.

Alan Jones AO: Which brings us back, thank God we’ve got some like it, to the man I’ve talk to you about many times, Angus Taylor, this bloke has ability. He is an outstanding Federal member for the seat of Hume, a Rhodes scholar. He’s from the bush. He’s got degrees in economics and law from Sydney University, a masters degree from Oxford University in economics and let me fire a warning shot here, because I now learn that the factions, remember Malcolm Turnbull said there were no factions in the Liberal party? The left are cutting loose. Just as the leader now, Tony Abbott has gone, and they’re lining up probably to have a shot at people like Angus Taylor and Craig Kelly and others, mobilising pre-selection. Malcolm Turnbull said at the Liberal party council meeting a couple of weeks ago – the party is not run by factions – Malcolm, you’re kidding us. Joe Hockey’s resigned. I’m telling you the next member for the seat of North Sydney has already been decided. You can forget about your pre-selection. The bloke the factions have decided will be Trent Zimmerman. Now as I told you last time, this gifted and talented Angus Taylor, didn’t make it amongst the 41 ministries handed out by Malcolm Turnbull. It doesn’t worry him because he is very strong on policy. He’s on the line, Angus Taylor, good morning.

Angus Taylor MP: Morning Alan.

Alan Jones AO: Where do we go on all of this? ‘Cos there is an interconnectedness isn’t there, between carbon dioxide, global warming, Paris and a a fortune being spent and then suddenly, embracing renewable energy. And you’ve got this in your electorate.

Angus Taylor MP: I certainly do, I mean I’ve probably got more wind farms planned in my electorate than anywhere else and at the end of the day Alan what we’ve got is a situation where people will move into my electorate from Sydney or Canberra. They’ll pull all of their savings into buying a block of land, a few acres, and a little farm only to discover a year or two later that a big 170 metre wind turbine is going to be overlooking them. And it’s just not on Alan when these things are getting $600,000 or more of subsidies a year …

Alan Jones AO: Each, each.

Angus Taylor MP: Each. Each turbine, each one of them.

Alan Jones AO: Stop stop Angus. Out there, remember what this man has said, this is not some dumbbell from you know out the back blocks, we’re talking to a Rhodes scholar. A bloke with masters from Oxford University in economics. $700,000 of your money per wind turbine and they’re owned by foreign interests.

Angus Taylor MP: The extraordinary thing about is that we don’t have a planning system to deal with it. This is the equivalent of a factory being built in the middle of a new suburb. That’s what’s happening here. And of course if anyone moved into a new suburb and built their house and then suddenly found, without expecting it, without knowing it, a factory was going to turn up next door, ‘cos they’d scream about it, and so they should.

Alan Jones AO: See people are writing to me Angus they’re refugees in their own homes now – they have to leave.

Angus Taylor MP: Well that’s right, practically speaking,  there’s only 2 ways that we can sort this out. One is, we need a planning system that recognises these areas that I’ve got, that are really rural residential now and zones them in a way where you can’t have these sort of industrial developments, or, and this is very important that the energy retailers who enter into long term contracts to allow these developments to be built, say look we are not going to build developments like this in areas where there’s community reaction, very negative community reaction. People like AGL and Origin, Energy Australia, and the ACT Government as well.

Alan Jones AO: But Angus, you’re trained, your academic discipline was economics, but you weren’t just academic, you then worked in that field at an international level.

Angus Taylor MP: That’s right.

Alan Jones AO: Just explain this to me why does it, when the pastry cook whose listening to you now. He’s been up making bread and pastry since 2 o’clock doesn’t get one dollar in subsidy, why should wind turbines be getting billions of dollars of tax payer’s money in subsidies? I don’t understand.

Angus Taylor MP: Well it’s extraordinary, isn’t it. So, let me give you some numbers that I think are really, really stunning. We are – and just accept for the moment, I heard your introduction. But just accept for the moment that we are going to reduce carbon emissions by some amount. We are doing it now, through the Direct Action program, a lot of which is about land use, agricultural land use, at about $15 a tonne. But we are paying these wind turbines about $50 or $60 a tonne to do it. So it’s 4 times more than we know we can do it. Greg Hunt has been able to do this for $15 and yet we are choosing to do it for 4 times that. So it doesn’t make economic sense. And I think the important point here is that if we are going to go down this path, we can not make ourselves uncompetitive, we can’t throw this sort of money at it, particularly when, particularly when we know that significant communities are being very, very negatively affected by what’s going on.

Alan Jones AO: But Angus all this environment crap about carbon and wind turbines – how much carbon dioxide, if that’s the fear, if that’s the demon, how much carbon dioxide is created by building these blasted things? What about you know, when you’re constructing the turbine? You’ve got to get iron ore to build the turbine. You’ve got to make steel to build the turbine. You’ve got to transport the turbines. You’ve got to have tens of thousands of concrete that go into each of these turbines. How much carbon dioxide is created to build these “environmentally friendly” wind turbines? This is a nonsense.

Angus Taylor MP: Well there is a light, and of course the other factor, which you mentioned earlier on, is the volatility of it. It’s unpredictable, it’s  interruptable as they say. And the important point about that is that electricity is no good to anyone unless its at the right place at the right time. And of course you can’t predict when you’re going to get electricity from wind turbines.

Alan Jones AO: And if they weren’t injurious to health, why wouldn’t you put them on Bondi beach, Queens street Brisbane, Collins Street Melbourne, Paramatta road? If they weren’t injurious to health.

Angus Taylor MP: And this is my point. What we are effectively doing is putting big factories into areas which are increasingly subdivided. Look, in my electorate between Sydney and Canberra, there’s more and more people moving in, which is great thing, a great thing. But they’re moving in and suddenly discovering that they’re next door to a cluster of wind turbines and the impact that’s having on their land values, on their peace of mind is enormous.

Alan Jones AO: Astonishing, Astonishing. Now look, we’re going to keep talking to you and I hope that you can persuade some of those people in your Caucasus to all of this because this nonsense somewhere has got to end. But well done, you continue to do terrific work, we’ll talk again soon.

Angus Taylor MP: Thanks Alan.

Alan Jones AO: It’s Angus Taylor, the Federal member for Hume.
2GB Alan Jones’ Breakfast

Angus Taylor delivering with the very substance and style that earned him the well-deserved tagline, “The Enforcer“; and, with one quibble, an exceptional effort.

Where Angus starts talking about the cost of CO2 reductions in the electricity sector purportedly attributable to wind power, he heads off into the land of myth and make believe.

The wind industry has yet to produce a single shred of credible evidence that demonstrates wind power reducing CO2 emissions in the electricity sector (to any degree; or at all). Instead, the hard evidence suggests precisely the opposite result:

Wind Industry’s Bogus CO2 Abatement Claims Smashed Again

Why Intermittent Wind Power Increases CO2 Emissions in the Electricity Sector

But, with that aside, Angus’ considered observations deliver a body blow to the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers – when he talks about how Australia’s power retailers are boycotting planned wind farms in communities that make it clear they do not want them. As the message is critical to every community defender, wherever they are in Australia, we’ll set it out again:

this is very important that the energy retailers who enter into long term contracts to allow these developments to be built, say look we are not going to build developments like this in areas where there’s community reaction, very negative community reaction. People like AGL and Origin, Energy Australia, and the ACT Government as well.

Angus delivered the same message at the recent packed-hall meeting at Yass in NSW, where 160 turned up to make it clear that more than 90% of the Yass/Rye Park communities are bitterly opposed to plans by Kiwi owned Trustpower to turn their slice of Southern Tablelands’ Heaven into an industrial wasteland:

NSW Minister – Pru Goward – Joins Forces with Community Defenders to Kill Plans for Trustpower’s Rye Park Wind Farm Disaster

Not least because the thugs employed by Trustpower and Epuron belted into a 79 year-old pensioner and a disabled farmer at an earlier meeting (see our post here), the crowd at the Yass meeting were keen for revenge (probably why, despite a cordial invitation, Trustpower’s thugs lacked the nerve to show their heads).

The communities’ attitude is pretty well captured by this letter from local STT Champion, Jayne Apps to the local rag, the Boorowa News.

A Letter to the Editor
22 October 2015

To the Editor,

On Friday, October 9 a Public Meeting organised by the Rye Park Action Group was held in Yass. The meeting was widely advertised and open to anyone who wanted more information on the large number of ‘Wind Farms’ being planned and built on the Southern Tablelands and South West Slopes.

Attendees were given information about the effects of sound, including infrasound, from people living at the Gullen Range WF near Crookwell.

Speakers also came from South Australia to tell the audience about the problems of being a WF host on their land and their inability to continue living so close to operating turbines resulting in the eventual sale of their property, and a Yass Real Estate agent gave his opinion about the difficulties he is having selling properties that will be visually impacted by the proposed Yass Valley and Rye Park WFs and the price reductions vendors are taking as a result.

A solar expert also gave a talk, and had a display, on one of the alternatives to wind power and local residents and business owners stressed the need for people to research and ask questions of the developers before agreeing to, and signing, contracts with wind power developers.

The meeting was attended by 160 people, and although the meeting was open to supporters of wind power as well as those seeking more information the majority of these people came from the villages and farming communities that will be impacted by the many developments.

When you take into account that most of these people would have been representing families and friends I think it could be said that there is a large amount of opposition to wind power development in the area.

Trustpower (Rye Park WF) tell us there is widespread community support for their development but after several years of promoting community knowledge on wind power in rural areas I have yet to see any sign of these supporters.

The only supporters I have come across are those who will be benefiting financially, and those who trespass on my land and steal signs, most recently a 760mm high x 1830 wide sign that was several metres inside my boundary fence.

I find it disturbing that a person who is supporting wind power can be offended by a ‘No Wind Turbines” sign that is less that a metre high, but will allow Rye Park to be surrounded with 109 wind turbines that will be 175 metres high and will make a lot of noise, without even taking into consideration the impact it will have on the community as a whole and the precious remnant vegetation and animal habitats that will be destroyed in the construction process.

As a matter of interest, a poll was taken on the night of the Public Meeting.

The question was asked ‘Are you in favour of wind turbines being built in Yass Valley, Boorowa, Rye Park and the surrounding villages and rural areas?.’

Of the 160 people in attendance 138 of them voted. 136 voted no and 2 voted yes.

This is in stark contrast to the survey done several years ago that the wind power companies love to quote saying 80% of people want wind power.

I would also like to note that I personally invited Trustpower representatives Michael Head, Wind Development Officer, and Rontheo Van Zyl, Development Manager, to speak at the public meeting and have a display but they were adamant they would not be attending such a meeting.

I again urge those living in Boorowa to take notice of what is going on around you, give support to your local farmers and residents of Rye Park and do some research on the impact the Rye Park WF, Bango WF and Rugby WF will have if they are approved for construction.

If you would like more information please email: ryeparkactiongroup@gmail.com or get onto Trustpower’s Rye Park Wind Farm website and look at their maps.

Also talk to your Boorowa Councillors.

They are currently deciding on the future of our roads that are to be used in the development stages of the Rye Park WF and if approved will be allowing the huge amount of oversized traffic to pass through Boorowa streets and local roads.

Jayne Apps – Rye Park

Nice work, Jayne. With that sort of response from locals, STT is happy to call the ‘community reaction’ from Rye Park and Yass, ‘very negative community reaction’ – of precisely the kind that will see power retailers refusing to sign the Power Purchase Agreements which are an essential pre-requisite for wind power outfits, like Trustpower to obtain the finance needed to build the wind farms still threatened. No PPAs; means no new wind farms – it’s a simple as that.

For every community defender, wherever you are in Australia, follow the lead set by Rye Park and Yass.

Get angry, get organised, get vocal and help prevent your community from being treated as ‘road-kill’ in the greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time. Fight them now; and they will flee – empty handed.

poster

Feisty Aussies Fight Back Against the Corrupt Wind Pushers!

NSW Minister – Pru Goward – Joins Forces with Community Defenders to Kill Plans for Trustpower’s Rye Park Wind Farm Disaster

pru-goward

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A week or so back we covered the antics of another foreign owned wind power outfit struggling to come to grips with the fact that Australian rural communities have had – as they say – ‘a gutful’ of the wind industry’s lies, treachery and deceit. And they’ve especially had enough of the bully-boy, stand-over tactics adopted by the thugs employed by the likes of Trustpower and Epuron:

Wind Industry Belting its ‘Message’ Home: Trustpower’s Thugs Assault 79-Year-Old Pensioner & Disabled Farmer

Since Trustpower’s thugs set upon highly respected local elder, Jim Field, the Yass and Rye Park communities have galvanised in their furious reaction to the manner in which he was treated. And rightly so.

Jim Field

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The Yass and Rye Park communities’ brewing anger bubbled to the surface at a packed house meeting held in the Yass Memorial Hall on Friday, October 9.

And standing shoulder to shoulder with them was local State member and Minister for Mental Health and Assistant Minister for Health, Pru Goward. Here’s a little report on proceedings from the local rag.

Wind Turbines continue to create noise
Yass Tribune
Jessica Cole
16 October 2015

yass memorial hall

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It was a full house at the Yass Memorial Hall on Friday to talk about the future of wind energy projects around the Hume electorate. Of the approximate 150 people who attended, the majority were against the establishment of wind farms.

Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor and Member for Goulburn Pru Goward both attended the meeting that was hosted by a Rye Park group, attracting people from as far as Crookwell.

The development at the centre of discussion was the Rye Park Wind Farm project. Trustpower is proposing to erect 109 wind turbines, each 157 metres tall, with an approximate capacity of 327MW within the Rye Park area.

Ken Bell opened the meeting reminding people that these proposed turbines will be erected on Ngunnawal land and called for the crowd to respect each other’s views on the sensitive subject.

Angus Taylor

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Mr Taylor was asked to speak and although he mentioned no particular preference to support nor decline the wind farm proposal he reminded residents that ongoing development was up to them.

“Unfortunately with these topics you will never get a 100 per cent agreement,” he said, “but you have to figure out what you want and come together to have your voice heard.”

Ms Goward took a harder line opposing the developments, supporting the complaints about health, noise and land depreciation. She spoke about the developments being a result of the federal government and assured those present that they can’t legislate wind farms.

“Increasingly, I am on the view that there is some validity on the health effects,” she said.

“There are a number of people with health problems … it is clearly not psychosomatic.”

She argued that securing and protecting residents from the turbines’ noise pollution was important.

“They impact upon the landscape and have an immediate effect upon land value,” Ms Goward continued.

“I am with this community and plan on putting pressure on the state government.

“I want to look after the health, prosperity and look of this beautiful area. We have to make sure not to let these wind farms divide us.”

Ms Goward also called for further land value and environmental reports to be done.
Yass Tribune

Angus Taylor may have simply been keeping his powder dry at Yass. Angus has been an STT pinup boy even before he stepped into the late STT Champion, Alby Schultz’s boots, as member for Hume – going back to his appearance at the Great Wind Power Fraud Rally in June 2013:

Rally – Angus Taylor

And Angus has seen plenty of action on the front foot, since then:

The Wind Industry’s Worst Nightmare – Angus Taylor – says: time to kill the LRET

Angus Taylor Joins the Wind Farm Rumble to Save Rugby & Rye Park

Taylor’s relatively neutral position at Yass, is part and parcel of just where the wind industry sits in Australia at the present time.

The major commercial power retailers have signalled that they will not enter long-term Power Purchase Agreements with wind farm outfits planning wind farms in communities, wherever there is significant and vocal opposition.

Without a PPA, wind power outfits will never obtain the finance necessary to build any new wind farms.

hunt

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Hence the efforts by wind industry front man, Environment Minister young Gregory Hunt over the last couple of weeks to exhort retailers to hurry up and enter PPAs.

Hunt’s desperate and silly pleas are somewhat amusing. You see, Hunt and his mates at Infigen, Vestas & Co have, hitherto, never made any mention of the PPAs entered into between wind power outfits and retailers.

Those agreements have set guaranteed prices for wind power at between $100-120 per MWh – for power that has no commercial value (apart from the REC Subsidy it attracts): try selling a good on terms where you can never guarantee to supply it when a customer actually wants it; and where you’ll often be supplying it when a customer has absolutely no need for it. Basic commerce, to be sure; but try telling the Wind Gods that:

June 2015 National

Hunt’s wind industry benefactors have been at great pains to keep the terms of their PPAs under wraps (even flatly refusing to provide them to the Senate Inquiry into wind farms), simply because they would completely destroy the wind industry’s ludicrous claims about supplying power at prices cheaper than coal fired power; and equally ludicrous claims that the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target lowers retail power prices. Notwithstanding that, from hereon, the LRET will add more than$45 billion to retail power bills on account of the REC Tax/Subsidy paid to wind power outfits, alone.

So, when Taylor told residents that ongoing development “was up to them”, it should be taken by community defenders as a ‘call to arms’. As STT has pointed out, just once or twice: fight them; and they will flee.

More pleasing still, was Pru Goward’s front foot approach; seizing on the concepts of community “health and prosperity”; and the fact that those fairly reasonable societal objectives are simply incompatible with fleets of bat-chomping, bird slicing, blade-chucking, pyrotechnic, sonic-torturedevices.

As to her call for “further land value” reports to be done, Pru need only tap into the work put together by highly experienced property valuer, Peter Reardon.

Reardon compiled a 30-page dossier on the impacts of wind farms on adjoining or nearby rural farms; and found that having these things as neighbours led to discounts of between “33 per cent and 60 per cent in the market place”. Reardon’s report and associated press releases are available to download below:

Southern Tablelands – Impact of Wind Farm Development on Surrounding Rural Land Values 2013

MEDIA Release Property devaluation

BDLG – Press Release

What Reardon found is little more than stating the bleeding obvious:

Potential Wind Farm Neighbour Finds Idyllic Property is Now ‘Unsaleable’ at Any Price

Wind Farms: Crushing Property Rights & Values Everywhere

Thankfully, for community defenders in NSW out to protect their hard-won common law property rights (you know, that seemingly forgotten right to own, live in and otherwise enjoy a home free from interference from incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound), they have an ally in Pru Goward. But, as Angus Taylor suggests, winning the battle to maintain and preserve those rights is down to each and every community defender. United, you cannot fail.

angry-mob