It's not impossible to be a conservative and support wind farms | RenewEconomy

It’s not impossible to be a conservative and support wind farms

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Former LIberal senator Peter Rae has shown you can be pro-renewable energy and a proud Liberal.

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The newly elected Abbott government renewable energy policies have the sector and environment groups worried. It has committed to review the RET, impose real-time sound monitoring at wind farms, and conduct another study in wind farms an health.

According to Crikey, which conducted a survey of sitting Liberal party MPs in September, the Coalition draws new-blank support for wind farms. Only one Liberal MP, Warren Entsch, is on the record with a clear position of support for wind energy. Others such as Minister for Environment Greg Hunt and Minister for Energy Ian Macfarlane are ‘on the fence’. Leading progressive Liberal Malcolm Turnbull ‘shows promise’ but could try harder.

Retired Liberal Senator and wind energy champion, Peter Rae (AO), presents a model for the newly elected Abbott government. At the All Energy conference in Melbourne, Rae said Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt understands the importance of wind energy. Rae says the Liberal party have a legacy of supporting world-leading renewable energy policies. Rae hopes this tradition will be upheld.

Yes 2 Renewables question MR Rae at the All Energy conference:

Leigh Ewbank: Senator Rae, Crikey reports that there’s only really one supportive member of the Liberal party when it comes to wind energy–Warren Entsch. What do you make of the current batch of Liberal MPs and where you’d like them to position themselves on the technology?

Rae: Can I say, regrettably I’m no longer a senator. I’m not able to be in the party room to be able to discuss some of these issues, so i’m not really in a position to be able to say who’s ‘pro’ or who’s ‘against’ from the point of view of the party room. What I believe is that Greg Hunt (Minister for the Environment) does understand the issues. I believe that he does understand the importance of wind energy, amongst others, and I hope that his argument will prevail within the cabinet and that there will be proper support, continuing support, of the type set by the Liberal government back in the days when Robert Hill was minister.  Australia was leading the world. The Australian Greenhouse Office, the Renewable Energy Target scheme, and the rest of those (policies) were world leading. I think there’s a tradition to be upheld and I hope they uphold it.

Peter Rae’s background:

Rae was instrumental in the formation of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. When a senator, Rae led a four-year investigation of the capital markets of Australia (Wiki and APH). Dr Geoff Robinson, political historian at Deakin University, says Rae was seen as a one of the ‘free-market rebels’ in the Malcolm Fraser era.

Rae has impeccable renewable energy credentials. Rae was vice president of the World Wind Energy Association (now honorary VP) and is Vice Chairman of the International Renewable Energy Alliance, REN21.

Between 1993-2004, Rae was chairman of the Tasmanian Hydro Electric Commission–the predecessor of Hydro Tasmania, the proponent of a new wind farm development on King Island (RenewEconomy).  Rae presented Hepburn Wind with an international award at Parliament House in Canberra last year.

Yes 2 Renewables analysis: 

Friends of the Earth hope ministers Greg Hunt and Ian Macfarlane follow Peter Rae’s path. The former LIberal senator has shown you can be pro-renewable energy and a proud Liberal.  It would be a shame if Liberal government ministers Hunt and Macfarlane gave into the demands of the fringe anti-wind farm lobby.

Radical ‘tea party’ Republicans have shutdown the US government and are holding America at ransom for narrow ideological interests. Similarly, anti-wind energy radicals are prepared to do the same to Australia’s energy future. Wind farms are now the cheapest form of generation. They create jobs and drought-proof income for farmers while addressing climate change. All these benefits are put at risk by the anti-wind farm campaign who want to stop this lucrative sector in its tracks.

Polling by Essential Research conducted in June shows 73 percent of Australians support the Renewable Energy Target. A substantial 40 percent of which think the Renewable Energy Target is not high enough. A massive 76 percent support building more wind farms.

Support for the RET and wind energy is even high among Coalition voters. Some 64 percent of which believe the RET is either ‘not high enough’ or ‘about right,’ and 71 percent support more wind energy.

It’s in the interest of Greg Hunt and Ian Macfarlane to pursue policies that reflect mainstream public opinion. All available public polling shows Australians overwhelmingly support the Renewable Energy Target and more wind farms.

Anti-wind farm campaigners aren’t satisfied with the 19 reviews by credible health bodies who show wind energy is clean and safe. Why waste more taxpayer money on another study when wind farm opponents have already made up their mind.”

Realtime sound monitoring of wind farms is impractical and costly. Why impose such measures when the science shows wind farm sound is safe and within acceptable standards? The Victorian Department of Health and the South Australian EPA have released reviews finding infrasound from wind farms cannot cause harm to human health.

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