The federal government’s $13 million Positive Energy campaign – plastered over TV, radio, cinema and online media – is boastful about Australia’s take up of renewables and the possibilities in the future. But there is not a single mention, nor a single image, of wind energy.
The campaign has already sparked controversy over the money spent by the government, and the irony of a campaign that promotes technologies built as a result of schemes and institutions the Coalition sought to destroy.
But the most striking omission is the exclusion of any mention of wind energy.
Over the last 12 months, renewables have contributed 30 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply, and wind has been the biggest contributor with 11.2 per cent, more than rooftop solar (7.5 per cent), hydro (7.4 per cent) and large scale solar (4.1 per cent).
But the advertising campaign focuses instead on technologies such as solar, and “big batteries”, although its main focus there is the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme, along with a project to use old car batteries in stationary storage.
The Coalition has never been a great fan of wind or solar. Resources minister Keith Pitt, newly promoted to Cabinet, last week said solar was no good because it doesn’t generate energy in the dark.
Another Nationals MP, the member for Mallee Anne Webster, added to that assessment this week by saying: “What Keith Pitt says is perfectly true. They don’t work in the dark, and neither do our wind farms.”
Of course, that is complete nonsense, and wind farms tend to work more in the dark than they do during the day. But the Nationals, and the Coalition in general, have never been fond of wind.
Remember what then prime minister Tony Abbott said about wind energy? He said they were “visually awful.”
Remember what then Treasurer Joe Hockey said about wind energy? He said they were “utterly offensive” and an “appalling blight on the landscape.”
And, of course, other Coalition MPs also compared wind energy to tobacco and pink batts. And goodness knows what else.
Of course, one of the Coalition’s greatest critics of wind energy is federal energy minister Angus Taylor, who commissioned the Positive Energy campaign.
Taylor has often said there is too much wind and solar in the grid, and was a prominent anti-wind campaigner before he entered parliament, speaking at one “wind fraud” rally in Canberra.
Sadly, he wasn’t able to find time to attend the opening of a big wind farm in his own electorate, nor any of the dozens of wind farms that have been opened since he became energy minister three years ago.
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