George the Bull (pictured) made headlines after challenging Treasurer Joe Hockey to a debate/bull fight over his remarks that wind turbines near Canberra are utterly offensive. George, with the help of an anonymous friend at Southern Tablelands Renewables, has since filed a submission to the Abbott government’s RET review panel headed by climate skeptic/denier and pro nuclear advocate Dick Warburton.
My name is George. I am a big black Angus Bull living under the turbines of the Capital Wind Farm. Mr Hockey finds my turbines ‘utterly offensive’(1).
You will ignore my submission because I am a bull. But I submit my views anyway. It is about time bovines got a say.
You humans set a target for getting electricity from the wind, rain, and sun. I hear that smart humans from all over the planet came to this country to help meet this target. I hear that the target has been very successful and you humans put PV on your homes and built turbines like those that I live under.
And now I hear that you want to cut the target? Is it because you humans can’t meet it? No, I hear there are plenty of projects and humans willing to build them. Is it because you can’t afford the target? No, apparently cutting it will save consumers nothing(2). Is it because your learned scientists were wrong about our planet’s atmospheric chemistry? No again – it keeps getting hotter(3). You try wearing black in this sun.
I am beginning to wonder if you really are the smart species. Let me summarise. You have a target. It works well. It can be met. Cutting it doesn’t save anything. You need to stop polluting the atmosphere. So what’s the problem?
Maybe it takes a bull to say it like it is. You want to cut the target because a very small number of people who have invested money in coal and gas generation will lose some money if it stays in place. I hear wind and solar generation reduces utilisation of their generators(4).
But they made these investments with full knowledge of the risks. You want to cut the target because humans living near wind and solar farms feel they have been treated unfairly. But even a bull like me could solve that problem by helping developers adopt ‘shared benefit’ rent models. You want to cut renewables because Mr Hockey doesn’t like the look of turbines on his commute.
Even for a bull this seems to be an unsophisticated way to determine national energy policy.
On behalf of bovines everywhere, I say leave the target alone.
- The Climate Change Authority found that slashing the target from 41,000 to 26,400GWh would make “no material change” in household bills. http://climatechangeauthority.gov.au/sites/climatechangeauthority.gov.au/files/20121210%20Renewable%20Energy%20Target%20Review_MASTER.pdf pp48
- The Bureau of Meteorology States in the 2014 State of the Climate “Data and analysis from the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO show further warming of the atmosphere and oceans in the Australian region, as is happening globally. This change is occurring against the background of high climate variability, but the signal is clear.” http://www.bom.gov.au/state-of-the-climate/
- Windlab study found that coal and OCGT utilization has dropped in SA as renewables have increased. http://www.windlab.com/news/wind-not-lifting-wholesale-power-prices-study