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Latest anti-wind push by Senators called a ‘political stitch-up’

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The group of Senators driving the latest parliamentary inquiry into wind farms and health has intensified its attack on Australia’s wind energy sector, calling for subsidies to be pared back even further, in a move that’s being described as an anti-renewables “political stitch-up”.

In a final report from the Senate investigation – controversially circulated to the Murdoch media ahead of its tabling in the Senate on Monday – the Abbott government is being urged to limit renewable energy subsidies for new wind farms to five years, down from more than 20.Germany Making Renewables Work

The recommendation, if adopted, threatens to make wind energy investment – an asset that lasts at least 20 years – unviable, in a market that is only just getting back on its feet after a period of protracted uncertainty around Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.

The report also calls for the issue of renewable energy certificates to be restricted to projects in states that adopt strict federal regulations on infrasound and low frequency noise.

According to The Australian on Friday, the Senate recommendation to further limit subsidies recognised wind energy as a well developed and “mature” industry; while the ban on issuing RECs to wind farms in states not adhering to federal infrasound guidelines was designed to force the hand of governments that rejected a national approach at the last COAG meeting.

Unsurprisingly, the Clean Energy Council – which made significant concessions to the Abbott government, including accepting a much diluted RET number, in an effort to re-establish investor certainty for the wind industry – is not impressed.

CEC chief Kane Thornton said the fact that the report was circulated to journalists before it had been seen by the industry or Parliament revealed the exercise for what it was: “a biased political stitch-up by a small group of senators opposed to the cheapest forms of renewable energy.”

“Adopting these reckless recommendations would damage Australia’s international investment reputation, right when we are finalizing major agreements with some of our biggest trading partners,” Thornton said in a statement on Friday.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of projects have been announced since a deal on the RET was legislated, and these will create hundreds of jobs and major investment in regional and rural areas of the country.

Thornton stressed that the wind industry remained open to scrutiny, as it always had been, provided that scrutiny was objective and based on evidence.

“Australians should be disappointed with this Senate inquiry, given the clear breach of proper parliamentary process and the way it has been used to prosecute a personal crusade by a small number of senators,” he said.

Small though it may be, the crusade has been quite successful. This week’s renewed anti-wind push follows the Abbott government’s directive to the Clean Energy Finance to cease all financing of wind projects, as well as calls from the anti-wind cohort to install a new regulator to monitor noise levels near wind turbines, as well as nation-wide noise standards.

On the subject of the wind inquiry, the federal government has said – via a letter from environment minister Greg Hunt – to respond “actively and in good faith” to the Senate committee findings.

According to The Australian, crossbench senators are confident the federal government will accept their recommendations. And considering the Prime Minister and Treasurer’s stated dislike of the aesthetic of wind turbines, well they might be. Changes to legislation would, however, require the support of six non-government senators in the upper house.

“Adopting the headline recommendation of this report would be economically reckless, and shows some of the senators are out of touch with the business community and the Australian people, who overwhelmingly support renewable energy,” Thornton said.

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  • suthnsun

    It just goes on and on and on.. make the pledge ‘I will never vote Liberal again, ever’ (I didn’t the last few times but..)

    • mick

      don’t belt yourself up mate I voted nats

  • Douglas Hynd

    Contempt of Parliament to start with – totally at odds with parliamentary procedure. The economic impact of the proposals are economic sabotage

  • lin

    So, RET certificates to be restricted to states with “strict federal regulations on infrasound and low frequency noise”. I await with interest whether these strict regulations will also be applied to other sources of infrasound and low frequency noise – things like cars, trucks, trains, planes, wind in trees, waves crashing onto the beach….
    The blatant hypocrisy and exceptionalism of Tony and his Trolls is a wonder to behold. The lack of logical consistency would send most humans insane.

    • mick

      if I wasn’t cynical id wonder how abbott the former health minister can shitcan windfarms as unhealthy while giddyup coal,my cows occasionally stray next door to camp under freds turbines and they aint wearing earplugs,someone came up with an idea about a fit to rule mental assessment hmm

  • Douglas Hynd

    The recommendations look like economic vandalism – sabotaging investment and jobs and that is before we get to the climate change issues

  • Chris Fraser

    The elected Members have become the lobbyists, and only on the basis of their club-like ideology. They do not govern on merit, and are not accessible to you and i. This action is going to exacerbate voter disengagement with their ilk.

  • Rob G

    Wind and all other renewables would be in real strife if Australians liked Abbott, luckily we don’t. Given the recent Morgan poll, Labor have widened the gap to 8%, even with the Royal Commission into Shorten (the witch hunt)! So I think all of this nonsense will end in about a year. Wind is here to stay, Abbott and the senate dinosaurs will be gone soon.

  • disqus_3PLIicDhUu

    No need to play nice with these Climate Criminals.
    Lynch the coal powered sycophants The LNP, David Leyonhjelm, John Madigan and Bob Day.

    • Alan S

      Bob Day is a house builder – they’re well known for keeping the noise down.

      • disqus_3PLIicDhUu

        Maybe he can build the gallows Alan and I’ll shout the beers

        • mick

          il bring the deck chairs

  • Ken Dyer
    • Alan S

      The CSIRO have tried and can’t detect it. However their instruments are probably defective due to Abbott’s cutbacks.

  • Alen T

    The Gov is entrenching itself further as the anti-renewables/science party, so at least it’s being abundantly clear and transparent on this point for the upcoming election. Voters now at least can make a ‘proper’ and informed choice when they vote, so now let’s see if Oz approves of Abbott’s radicalisation on anti-RE.

  • JustThink4Once

    I suppose if we did this there would be an investigation into how infra sound affects whales….

    http://climatecrocks.com/2015/07/29/offshore-wind-begins-us-take-off/

  • If there are going to be strict regulations on infrasound, all people living within a few hundred metres of the beach will have to be relocated, as will anyone living near a road. Heck, we might have to ban trucks, buses, trains and cars. All those large trees that produce infrasound when the wind blows will either have to go, or have exclusion zones imposed. And thunderstorms, there will have to be a ban imposed on them too!

    How many days until the election?

  • Alan S

    Of course it’s not only infrasound, there’s blade glint, embodied energy, they don’t generate when the wind doesn’t blow, visual appearance – and on it goes. Dealing with wind opponents is like herding cats – always changing direction.

  • Les Johnston

    The wind turbine saga of the COALition is good science fiction. Just a pity the COALition is not prepared to act on the scientific evidence of harm to peoples health caused by emissions from the burning of fossil fuels without stringent regulations in place.