Senator wants renewables investment freeze extended 6 months

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Family First senator Bob Day says renewable energy target resolution should be delayed until wind inquiry he is co-chairing is completed.

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One of the key cross-bench Senators that the Abbott government hopes will support a massive cut to the renewable energy target is suggesting there should be no resolution to the stand-off until a Senate inquiry into wind farms – the 10th in five years – is completed.

Bob Day, the Family First senator who is co-chairing an inquiry peopled almost entirely by anti-wind Senators says there is no urgency to find a solution to the impasse.Cataloger.Image.php

Day told The Australian newspaper that he had heard “harrowing” stories about the impact of wind turbines on humans and animals (read our story about angry ewes, Sudoku problems and kelpies that can’t jump). And he wants all the “facts and figures” before making a decision.

“I think it’s not unreasonable to ask that we don’t come to any agreement on the Renewable Energy Target until such time that we get to the bottom of this,” Day told The Australian.

“I’m not talking about ending the RET, I’m just talking about ‘let’s defer the decision on it’.

The large-scale renewable energy industry in Australia is at a standstill and is likely to remain that way until an agreement between the two major parties can be forged.

In the past six months, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, only one small “floating solar” project has got financial approval, as investment in Australia slumped 90 per cent. It describes Australia as “uninvestable” for renewable energy.

Labor, at the instigation of the Clean Energy Council and with the support of other industry bodies, has proposed a “compromise deal” of 33,500GWh, a cut of nearly 40 per cent from the current target of 41,000GWh.

The Abbott government has refused to budge above 32,000GWh – even though it would make no difference to investment in the next two years, and only 450MW over the following three years, as we pointed out here.

Labor says federal resources minister Ian Macfarlane has not even approached them for more talks on the issue. Instead, he is still seeking a deal with cross-bench Senators to cut the target – possibly to its preferred figure well below 32,000GWh. Some of these Senators last week compared wind turbines to tobacco and pink batts.

Industry insiders said this would likely cause the renewable energy industry to remain stalled anyway, as no financier would put up money based on a cross-bench agreement, given the uncertainties of Senate politics and affiliations.

Three Senators – Glenn Lazarus, Ricky Muir and Dio Wang – have said they will not accede to the government’s entreaties, but that may depend on what they get promised in return.

Another Senator, David Leyonjhelm, who also sits on the Senate wind inquiry and openly states he doesn’t like wind farms, told The Australian that the government may get the numbers.

“I think he probably will get six votes. (The government) will have my vote, with conditions. I’m not a fan of wind turbines, they are killing birds and they are also making some people sick.

“My support for 32,000GWh relates to not giving a particularly big leg-up to wind and giving more scope for other sources.”

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  1. howardpatr 4 years ago

    This Senate inquiry requires the expertise of the Member for Hume, Angus Taylor.

    His membership of Stop These Things will help advance the arguments the Prime Minister and the Coalition make against renewable energy technologies?

  2. Rob G 4 years ago

    It’s a battle of the ignorant. You’d think as a senator that they would do their research rather than relying on dubious sources like The UnAustralian. The whole nonsense surrounding wind farms is an exercise of time wasting – nothing else. Numerous studies have been done around the world and there is nothing negative to report. Maybe these same senators should shut coal down straight away as there are genuine, scientific studies on the harm they cause.

    As for Bob Day; Richard Dawkins would label him “An enemy of Reason” on his faith, but I would add that he is “An enemy of reason” based on his attitude towards renewable energy.

  3. David McKay 4 years ago

    Its an absolute disgrace, that these senators, that don’t represent any large cross section of the community, are allowed to waste our money, to do nothing more than mount attacks based upon their narrow minded agendas.

  4. john 4 years ago

    We have these people in the senate with absolutely no idea about health no idea about science but they are actually going to be the guidance for this country.
    For peats sake I think we need a better system of requirement of people being able to be elected so that we do not get nincompoops elected.
    I mean we may as well make decision by walking into any pub and ask the drunks what do you want?
    I am totally dismayed that this level of low level decision making is being put out as the best we can do.
    Australia the land of the lowest common denominator not a good future in store is all I can say.

    • Ken Dyer 4 years ago

      I agree John. It is also unfortunate that on government websites they are still quoting 30cents per KW/h, totally ignoring the reality of solar PV which is estimated to cost as little as 6 cents per KW/h now. That cost is still dropping.

      I even begin to wonder if the RET is still a viable target. It was introduced in 2001 and aided Australia to move from almost no solar in 2008, to over 1,000,000 solar homes now, and growing daily.

      At the same time, the cost of solar is decreasing at an astonishing rate, and every day there are new developments announced.

      The delay to the RET is playing into the hands of the renewables industry, and threatens the old centralised business model of the fossil fuel industry.

      • john 4 years ago

        The delay in a decision on the RET is not playing into the Large Scale Renewable Energy sector at all.
        Because of the uncertainty there has been a close down in any large scale development.
        Just remember that small scale which is household or small business RE is not atm being effected.
        I would not be surprised if very shortly a case will be made to charge anyone be it a householder of a small business owner a up front cost to install RE.
        There will be perhaps an introduction of time of use or maximum demand charge.
        The use of TOU tariff is to maximise the cost of supplying a user with power.
        This course of action will just mean that people will take up battery storage to lower their peak demand in the evening so the only way I see this going is for the energy retailers to get into battery storage as soon as possible to ensure they have some kind of business plan.

    • MIro 4 years ago

      And we shoudld start with setting an example, a very firm example for this gov and all future ones, by sacking the PM.

  5. Math Geurts 4 years ago

    “33,500GWh, a cut of nearly 40 per cent from the current target of 41,000GWh” ??

    • JeffJL 4 years ago

      Yes. Somebody is playing loose with the calculator buttons.

  6. Peter Campbell 4 years ago

    How is it that we get more politicians with views like this than we have in the general population? Few people take the so-called ‘wind turbine syndrome’ seriously and there is no expert opinion supporting the concept yet we have a disproportionate number of pollies taking it seriously. Ditto for unrelated topics such as same-sex marriage: a large majority of the population has no problem with it or supports yet it doesn’t get through parliament. I’m sure there are other examples. Why are the pollies generally more right-wing/conservative/science-denying etc than the population at large?

    • john 4 years ago

      perhaps it reflect the method of being elected

    • Alen T 4 years ago

      This is not always representative of their original view when they start their political career. Some would say it is plain corruption that turns some politician’s basic logic and sense to mud, while the more refrained scenario would point to the power of lobbying, especially by select groups and organisations. Take C. Newman for instance. During his time as mayor in Brisbane, he was responsible for guiding Brisbane City Council (BCC) on an environmentally sustainable path. BCC purchases 100% green power, and also remembering it is the largest council in Oz, this is quite a big commitment. It was Newman that implemented this policy, but needless to say, his attitude changed big time once he took over as state Premier. Key difference between these two times, the influence and lobbying effect of big players like the Minerals Council..etc.
      Abbott’s hostility towards the RET is not from an economic view -billions of dollars of investments, circa 20,000 jobs, and (thanks to the merit order effect) lower energy prices, or simply a transfer of wealth from the generators to the consumers, or more generally, the voters. So, besides these generators flexing their political muscles through lobbying efforts, what other reason would exist for him to go against ~90% of the population who support RE?

      • John McKeon 4 years ago

        I haven’t forgotten that Tony Abbott is on public record as acknowledging that a carbon tax would provide a straight forward mechanism for asserting a price on carbon, before he became prime minister. (It wasn’t necessarily support, but it wasn’t condemnation either.)

    • Coley 4 years ago

      Fat brown envelopes? Seems politicians from all countries have an addiction to them.

      • MIro 4 years ago

        Yep too right you are. About time we show them what performance pay is all about – the sack! Starting with the PM.

  7. Coley 4 years ago

    Most Australians seem to have the right idea, but your government seems to think getting rid of the Queen and investing in banana plantations is the way forward for Australia;)

  8. Peter 4 years ago

    It seems those politicians on the right live in an echo chamber. They don’t update their information and keep on the trotting out the same old tired lines.

    This reinforces their views amongst themselves and makes them impervious to what’s actually going on.

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