Demand an end to double standards on energy

It is time to demand an end to the Victorian government’s double standards on energy.

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By Mik Aidt and Anthony Gleeson

Politicians tend to make it all sound very complicated. But really, it is not. Victoria is the most polluting state in Australia. Our state could clean up its act with wind and solar energy. Yet the Napthine government’s wind farm ban is holding large swathes of Victoria back from benefitting from this sensible and clean way of producing electricity.

Anti-wind farm legislation is nothing but a completely unacceptable attempt by a small, but powerful group of irresponsible polluters. These people are prepared to protect the fossil fuel industry in spite of its destructive effect on our climate and health, simply because they benefit financially from it.

We need to speak openly about the absurdity of the restrictive anti-wind farm laws enforced by the Napthine government, especially when Coalition candidates such as Sarah Henderson, the Liberal candidate for Corangamite in the upcoming federal election, endorses them, as she recently did at a public meeting in Torquay.


Health concerns
The politicians claim to have health concerns about wind farms. This is nothing but a smoke screen based on so-called ‘evidence’ which hasn’t survived close scientific scrutiny. At the same time, they conveniently ignore the peer-reviewed science which attests to the impacts which fossil fuels have on our health.

According to a recent UN study, more than six million people die every year from fossil fuel pollution. In 2012 over 400,000 people died from extreme weather events and other climate change related issues – numbers which scientists say are on the rise.

Our elected representatives think that is okay to locate a polluting coal seam gas well just 100 metres from a home, whereas they currently mandate that clean and safe wind turbines in Victoria have a two kilometre setback.

If they are fair dinkum about health, why are they ignoring the health concerns of the residents in places like Anglesea, who currently must put up with a coal mine and a coal power plant operating less than a kilometre from their town?

It is mind-numbing how our current elected representatives are able to get away with this kind of ‘carbon doublespeak’ and double standard regulations.


South Australia: wind powers 46 percent
Populations in other countries don’t have this problem of accepting the benefits of renewable energy sources. Denmark, for instance, has recently launched a policy to slash 40 percent of its carbon emissions by 2020, and most of this reduction will be possible due to investments in wind energy.

Data from the Australian Energy Market Operator shows that in one week in August 2013, the total wind generation in South Australia was 157 GWh – which means that wind supplied 46 percent of the state’s total energy that week. The wind blows the same way in Victoria – but because of Victoria’s draconian and non-scientific planning laws, we are far from being on the same level of wind energy supply as our neighbouring state. While wind power provided 46 percent of South Australia’s energy, Victorian wind turbines only powered 19 percent of Victoria’s energy.

How long will regulators keep preserving the traditional utilities’ business models of burning toxic fossil fuels? They disadvantage our state by their anti-wind stance.


Speak up about this
We must all get to work at speaking out about the dangerous pollution of the atmosphere and the blocking of a transition to safe, renewable energy sources.

This is about plain common sense and simple maths. Wind turbines are helping farms, rural properties, businesses, and community projects reduce energy costs and their carbon footprint. Renewable energy makes sense economically, and it makes even more sense environmentally. On top of all this, there are the moral aspects. If we care about our children, we must get off our fossil fuel addiction immediately.

We suggest to begin locally. As an example, in the lead up to the election, if you live in the electorate of Corangamite, and if you share our concerns, you should let Sarah Henderson know what you think about her endorsement of Victoria’s anti wind-farm laws.

We have sent a Letter to the Editor about this to five local newspapers, a range of Victorian politicans and NGOs. You can read the letter here

Mik Aidt and Anthony Gleeson


Mik Aidt is a Geelong-based sustainability journalist from Denmark, a father of three children aged four, six and eight, and founder of Parents for Climate Safety.

Anthony Gleeson is a Corangamite resident and member of the Surf Coast Energy Group and Surf Coast Air Action. As a new grandfather, Gleeson is passionate about addressing climate change.


Petition

Help make our region fossil fuel free. Join us as a signatory of a letter to the councillors and mayor of the City of Geelong where we encourage our local political leaders to make Geelong fossil fuel free:

» Go to the petition site where you can sign and add your personal comment: change.org

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» Please note: When you sign the petition letter, it is important that you also contribute with a small text about why you think this is important. Geelong citizen’s personal comments to the Council will most likely have a greater influence on the mayor and councillors than just the number of signatures.


Letter to the Editor by Anthony Gleeson
Letter to the Editor – in Surf Coast Times (circulation 20,000)

The Victorian Government
The Victorian Government held a Geelong Community Meeting on 3 June 2013. Photo: Mik Aidt



At a Community Meeting on 3 June 2013, Dave Campbell, president of Geelong Sustainability Group, asked premier Denis Napthine about the two-kilometre exclusion zone law for wind farms. On this audio file, you can hear how the premier answered this question. He basically replied: We have no intentions to make any changes on this law.
 


 


 

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Sources

Yes 2 Renewables, Friends of the Earth – 21 August 2013:
Pollie Watch: Coalition candidate for Corangamite backs Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws
The Coalition candidate for Corangamite Sarah Henderson‘s support for renewable energy is in question as it was revealed she endorses Ted Baillieu’s controversial anti-wind farm laws. By Leigh Ewbank


Renew Economy – 20 August 2013:
Wind supplied 47% of South Australia’s energy last week

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Renewables future no more costly than fossil fuels

RenewEconomy – 21 August 2013:
Renewables future no more costly than fossil fuels
A renewables future will be no more costly than the largely fossil fuel alternative. By Giles Parkinson

“While most other countries debate how quickly they should be moving to decarbonise the economy, the overall theme in Australia is how slowly it should be done.”

“A 90 per cent renewables target would cost no more to consumers if tied in with energy efficiency and other measures. It’s a shame that no other politician from a mainstream party is talking in those terms on a national scale.”

“The Australian Energy Market Operator’s 100% renewables scenario estimates wholesale cost of electricity from a system based largely around wind, solar, geothermal and biomass would cost around $110/MWh.”

 




WWF Finland launched this campaign video: “9 of 10 Finns want more solar and wind power. Don’t let a single person decide on behalf of all.”


Dig deeper

Continue reading about this topic on climatesafety.info

icon_small-arrow_RIGHT Read about the plans to start fracking in Geelong Region here: Why you should be concerned about ‘fracking’


icon_small-arrow_RIGHT Read about our petition for Geelong Region here: Help make our region fossil fuel free


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