Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey kicked off a twitter storm this morning when he stated in an 2GB radio interview he finds wind turbines “utterly offensive.”
Joe Hockey’s statement was broadcast to a wider audience by Canberra-based ABC political reporter,Andrew Green, whose tweet generated dozens of responses from the public:
Hockey’s criticism of wind energy comes amid a government-initiated review of the Renewable Energy Target – Australia’s principle renewable energy policy.
The Renewable Energy Target review is off to a bad start.
Public confidence in the process was lost with the selection of climate change skeptic and former Caltex chairman, Dick Warburton, to head the review.
Mr Warburton’s refusal to join Yes 2 Renewables‘ fact-finding mission has solidified this view. After all, how can the review panel make an informed decision about the Renewable Energy Target if they won’t visit communities to understand how they’re affected by energy policy?
If the Warburton review joined us they’d know that, for Morwell, the Renewable Energy Target offers hope of a clean energy future—one free from worrying about how coal ash and carcinogenic particulate matter will affect their health. And in Portland, they’d discover how the RET has created hundred of jobs and prosperous and resilient economy.
The public is not alone questioning the legitimacy of the Warburton review. Renewable energy industry players say the modelling assumptions are “farcical,” arguing they are set up for a predetermined outcome for weakening the scheme.
“This is an absolute stitch-up,” John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council, told The Guardian. “They are predetermining the outcome of this modelling by the assumptions they are making … it is an unprecedented scam in policy-making and it needs to be called for what it is.”
The Warburton review presents a risk for the government. And undisciplined comments on wind energy from Treasurer Hockey don’t help.
Why?… Because wind energy and the Renewable Energy Target enjoy strong public support – even among Coalition voters. With release of its first budget around the corner and a tough program of austerity measures to sell to the public, attacking popular policies is the last thing the government needs.
Leigh Ewbank heads Yes 2 Renewables.