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Hockey repeats: wind farms “appalling” blight on landscapes

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Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey has repeated his controversial comments about wind farms, saying again that he is “appalled” by the sight  of wind turbines in “beautiful landscapes”.

Hockey made his original comments in a radio interview with radio shock jock and anti-wind campaigner Alan Jones. “If I can be a little indulgent, I drive to Canberra to go to parliament and I must say I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive,” he said in May.

Photo: Harry Greenwood

Photo: Harry Greenwood

Asked at a Bloomberg summit in Sydney on Tuesday if he would repeat those comments, Hockey said: “Yes, I would.”

Hockey added:

“Renewable energy is hugely important, it’s a part of the fabric of development of a  diverse energy supply right around the world. We have some beautiful landscapes in Australia, and frankly, putting up those towers is just to me, quite appalling in those places.

“I drive from Sydney to Canberra …. to go to parliament, and I just look at those wind turbines around Lake George and I am just appalled ….

“And for all the greenies in the audience, if they put a huge coal fired power station up as well, I would be equally appalled.”

(Editor’s note: The audience at the Bloomberg economics summit was all men and women in suits, looking to invest a lot money. There were the heads of at least three wind farm companies, one of whom presumably asked the question).

Hockey’s comments come as the Abbott government considers what to do with the Warburton review of the renewable energy target. Although the review found that the RET was working well, and would deliver lower prices to consumers, and create jobs, the review recommended the target be effectively stopped to new entrants, or wound back considerably.

Either way, the renewable energy industry says the impact would be devastating. The industry, however, has enlisted the support of the Labor Party, which says it will resist major changes to the RET and wants the government to discard the Warburton review.

Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler said Hockey’s comments are the latest evidence the Abbott Government is looking to destroy the Renewable Energy Target.

“Tony Abbott is still sitting on the Warburton Review which recommends scrapping or significantly winding back the RET, despite the report showing that the RET will drive down electricity prices in the long term,” Butler said.

“Joe Hockey is effectively asking people to pay higher power prices because he doesn’t like the look of wind turbines.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says Labor would not go with “silly options” such as those proposed in the Warburton report. “It’s not a negotiation to get rid of renewable energy targets or to make the targets so low to be meaningless,” he told ABC’s AM program.

“I cannot believe this government has got away with undermining billions of dollars in investment and creating uncertainty over thousands of jobs. It is just vandalism.”

Here are some photos of the Capital wind farm that Hockey finds “offensive” and “appalling.”

R4R Capital

Photo: Yes2Renewables

 

R4R Capital 2

Photo: Yes2Renewables

 

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  • Alex

    Joe Hockey is a blight on our social, environmental and economic landscape.

  • Energy farmer

    “And for all the greenies in the audience,..” This part of the statement provides an insight into a view that the renewable sector is for “greenies” rather than for professional power generation businesses that integrate technology, provide skilled employment and produce valuable economic activity.

    • 42 Long

      Joe, (and the rest of the LieNP) always regard the greenies as the real enemy. The farmers whose land is being potentially ruined by fracking don’t think so.

  • Colin Nicholson

    which wind farm is he referring to?

    • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

      The Capital wind farm – pictured

  • Chookman

    Of course Joe – coal mining and fracking are much more aesthetic – come and visit the Hunter Valley and tell me you would prefer that to wind farms! But then again the wind farms don’t pay your party as much do they?

    • 42 Long

      Hockey is one of the best politicians money can buy. Oops .. He is suing Fairfax for suggesting that. Well anyhow when the party receives money from a sector they expect results. No of course not. They just like the colour of your ties.

  • Beat Odermatt

    It seems Hockey has never travelled very far. I am amazed that he never
    noted the thousands of kilometres of high voltage power lines and
    tens of thousands of kilometres of distribution power lines. I am
    sure he loves the beauty of power stations and substations and he
    must love the buzz, music and smell of these installations.

    He loves a cigar and I am sure he must love the smell of smoke from
    power station, burning coal and shale stock piles. He must love the
    dust of a coal mine and the sheer beauty of stock piles, trains etc.

    I am not blessed with Hockeys delicate understanding of beauty. I have
    grand children and I wish one day that their grand children have a
    little bit of fossil fuel for use to make millions of essential
    goods, such as medicines and plastics. I hope that their grand
    children don’t have a life of poverty because their ancestors were so
    stupid to burn every bit of coal, oil and gas on this planet. Every
    little bit of fossil fuel not burnt will remain there for the future.

    • Chris Fraser

      Agreed, the thought of burning coal to get energy from it is strange and appalling.

      • Beat Odermatt

        Yes, burning fossil fuel when free renewable energy resources are available is just irresponsible. I have worked in the coal mining industry for aver 20 years are there is nothing beautiful about a coal mine, overburden dumps, dust, smoke from cola fires etc. Coal had an important place in our history and so did Cobb & Co.

        • Tomagain

          Love this…”Coal had an important place in our history and so did Cobb & Co” I might borrow it!

        • 42 Long

          My ancestors died from silicosis from coal mines.

    • 42 Long

      There will be more important uses for coal than just burning it as fast as you can dig it up.

      • Alex Jenkins

        it’s not even efficient.

  • wideEyedPupil

    Joe loves a denuded hill free of any vegetation other than grasses. Maybe it’s the primitive hunter in him.

  • slippery

    Poor people don’t drive cars so they would never see that wind farm anyway…

  • Chris Fraser

    Does anybody else consider the complementary visual appearance of wind turbines and broadacre farming in the same place ? To me seeing both together conjures impressions of adaptability, technicality, harmony, utility, opportunity, economy and mastery.

    • jeffhre

      That sounds appalling…to thieves and despoilers.

  • Miles Harding

    Note to self:
    Visit these elegant kinetic sculptures on the next trip to the area.

  • michael

    aren’t aesthetic apprecitiations absolutely personal? so calling someone out for what they do or don’t find visually appealing is a bit strange

    • AlanDownunder

      It’s not an aesthetic appreciation – it’s an aesthetic cover story for Lib energy policy that owes nothing to aesthetics.

  • Petra Liverani

    I cannot believe he didn’t recognise that when he said it the first time it was an embarrassing gaffe that a senior politician should not make and now blithely repeats it. It’s beyond the pale. So scary that the treasurer of our country lives in a weird little bubble.

    • AlanDownunder

      Having said it, he has to keep insisting it’s aesthetics that determines Lib energy policy, not puppeteers, donors and ideology.

    • Miles Harding

      It’s more of a foam than a single bubble!
      Add to this his ASSertion that poor people (read the battlers in the mortgage belt) aren’t sensitive to the cost of motor fuel because the don’t have cars or don’t travel very far.

      Pity that Australia is doing nothing to help people kick the petrol habit.

    • 42 Long

      I will let you into a little secret ( don’t tell anyone) Joe is a bit of a dill. It’s that simple. and he is not even that nice. Hence the miserable fudget.

  • john

    I guess having a 64kv power line near you is ok. or by the way try dragging a copper wire about 100 meters away from it and look at it spark due to EMF or heck WHAT is that?
    so Renewable Energy is a blight.
    I despair honestly I do.
    Yes I know a silly comment but perhaps we should just have a little reality check.

    • 42 Long

      Don’t mention reality. They have no place for it when profits suffer as a result.

  • Colin Edwards

    No doubt Mr Hockey just loves the smoke stacks of coal fired power stations gracing the landscape!

    • Beat Odermatt

      Maybe he can camp near a coal fired power station and enjoy the smoke, it would save him buying cigars. Maybe he just loves seeing smoke.

      • Mystie012

        Yes, he could inhale the coal dust that settles on everyone’s cars, houses, washing etc.

        • Beat Odermatt

          The trouble is that very powerful unions are in full support of all the done and dusted yesterday men like Hockey. We have not a conspiracy theory, but conspiracy in practice, between big business and big unions.

        • 42 Long

          and rejoice the climate is being stuffed too. CO2 highest ever and the greenhouse effect must be working as otherwise we would have an ice age. Trouble is it is now working too well for comfort. Oh sorry That is not happening I must have just made it up to keep my job. (Pensioner)

      • 42 Long

        Smoke and mirrors is their stock in trade.

  • Zvyozdochka

    Of course Labor are delighted we’re all wishing they ‘oppose’ changes, or are slightly concerned about their wet-fish language of ‘bipartisanship’. We should be hammering them for not aiming HIGHER as a direct ambit response to the LNP’s behaviour. Why are Labor so much like the hopeless Obama-Democrats that just need their tummy scratched after they roll-over?!?!

  • Rob G

    He ought to take a trip to Germany… That would really scare him.

  • GregX

    And the associated open cut coal mine to feed the FF power station would be a meadow of flowers in Joe’s mind. When will he wake up? Google Mt Arthur coal mine in NSW images if you want to see what is required just to feed a FF power station. The only possible use of the open cut mine once the coal runs out would be as a CSP. Now wouldn’t that be ironic!

  • Tommyk82 .

    I find wind turbines beautiful and majestic. When I watch them spin it fills me with hope.

  • trackdaze

    Perhaps sir would like a to view a whopping great open cut coal mine on his drive instead of a few windmills?

    • 42 Long

      When you have shares coal mines (as many LieNP do) they become a thing of beauty. Greed is good???????

  • john

    Poor Joe a little bit out of his comfort zone and has to say some silly thing to fit in

  • Alex Jenkins

    I wonder if Hockey has ever lived near a nuclear power plant…