A board on Tasmania is about to make a big decision. Should they invest in a two-billion-dollar wind farm on King Island? A fossil-fuel funded lobby group has managed to create a major drama around the board’s proposed decision, and the Federal Government is reviewing the country’s Renewable Energy Target which has put the future of the entire project in doubt.
We are saying: this is madness. This has a direct effect on the citizens in Geelong – because that non-pulluting electricity produced by those 200 new wind turbines would be made available to our region. So the decisions made on King Island, however distant it may seem from your daily life in Geelong, are important for you and your household. This is something you need to know about, and to respond to. We invite you to get involved.
The first thing you could do would be to sign this petition – and leave a personal comment there as well.
Climate scientists tell us that we urgently need to move from burning coal, oil and gas to using renewable energy sources like wind and solar instead. This is much more urgent than most people have realised.
So we are not going to quietly sit and watch the climate-denying Federal Government with its vested interests in the coal industry along with a group of coal and gas advocates, which is sponsored directly by a fossil fuel lobbyist, obstruct such an ambitious and groundbreaking wind project with arguments, as can be heard in this ABC report, that wind mills should be banned because they are “ugly, horrible things”, “leave a physical footprint”, and “rip the heart out of the community”.
And, which has been brought up as an argument against the project lately, that the turbines are claimed to threaten a rare orange-bellied parrot.
Seriously? A parrot? None of the opponents mention or take a stand on — are maybe even totally unaware of — the catastrophic global warming with sealevel rise, food and water scarcity, conflicts and extreme weather events which humanity with its current carbon-inaction is heading towards. Do anti-wind lobbyists think they’ll have another planet to go to?
In the light of what is happening with our climate, we urgently need Hydro Tasmania’s 200 wind turbines to be built. If anyone wants to debate the “uglyness” of those turbines, and take a battle on who has to put up with the most “ugly, horrible things”, then let’s start with taking a tour to Geelong’s nearest coal power plant in Anglesea and Viva’s oil refinery in Geelong North.
We need to be able to see further now.
We hope you will sign this petition – to send a signal to the board of Hydro Tasmania that in this city, Geelong, we are many who hope they will carry this wind farm project out and provide our streets and houses with those beautifully smoke-free and sustainable megawatts.
This is a call not only to citizens, but certainly also to the federal politicians and city council members: Speak up in public and take a stand in this wind farm drama, because it is all about community backing. We must let the board of Hydro Tasmania know that there are communities disagreeing with those secretly funded anti-wind campaigners who have no worries about climate change.
During 2013 and 2014, the anti-wind movement in Australia has succeeded in delaying wind projects totalling over 1,700 MegaWatt. It is necessary to speak louder and to activate the “silent majority” who are all for renewable energy, but just not involving themselves in the public debate.
It is constantly the anti-wind movement we read about in the newspapers – not ordinary citizens who have understood the issue of climate change and why these wind farms need to be built.
Add a comment
One way of speaking up is to sign this petition and add a comment about why you support Hydro Tasmania’s $2 billion plan to combat carbon emissions and global warming — and to boost sustainability in Geelong and Victoria.
Adding a personal comment to the board of Hydro Tasmania is important in my opinion. Online signatures doesn’t carry through the samme powerful message as hundreds of comments does. Below I’ve enclosed some of the first ones which have come in.
The petition runs on change.org, and it would be great if you’d also help promoting it around your friends, family, colleagues or class-mates.
The petition started on 23 June and was meant to close on Tuesday 25 June 2013. But because of the positive outcome of a vote among the islanders, (more info below) which means that a feasibility study will now begin, the petition will continue until the feasibility study has been completed and a decision has to be made.
Geelong Independent – 18 July 2014:
Canberra review puts Geelong power source in doubt – $2b island wind farm on hold
A $2 billion 200-turbine wind farm to power Geelong is on hold while Federal Government reviews its Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme. By Noel Murphy
Geelong speaks up
Comments to Hydro Tasmania – from the first petition supporters
“Renewable energy projects would revitalise Geelong’s economy”
“Geelong has relied to long on out dated technology and fossil fuels, renewables energy is our future”
“The Geelong and broader regional community are committed to moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle, evident through community actions, changes in manufacturing sectors, the Cleantech Innovations Geelong supported by Geelong Manufacturing, the City of Greater Geelong and community to transition to a renewable energy economy.”
“I live and work in Geelong and believe this is a great initiative. ”
“We must act now to reverse climate change for the protection of our grandchildren.”
“It is time to embrace a renewable future!”
“As future residents of the area, this is important to us.”
“I fully support this initiative. renewable energy is the future for us all.”
“It is time to end our reliance on fossil fuels and the destruction caused by their use. It is urgent that we embrace a range of renewable energy solutions. No time to waste!”
“because we need to stand up for something in this crazy world”
“it’s good to Geelong”
“To protect our future air quality”
“It is important to be a leader and support wind power to take action on climate change for the health of our community and environment. ”
“We all need to take responsibility for renewable energy”
“Whether you believe in climate change or not, doing more with less is a smarter way to live. As users of large amounts of energy, utilising renewable energy just makes sense.”
“I’m a resident of Geelong and am highly aware of the impending environmnetal crisis caused by carbon based energy production.”
Diamond Jim Legend
“Wind power is part of the clean energy mix in moving away from polluting fossil fuels. In addition, new clean technologies and their deployment bring industry and business development and enhanced eonomic development – especially at a local level. ”
“Because King Island is an ideal place for renewable energy generation from wind. If it was part of South Australia there’d be turbines on it – they love ’em.”
“For every action there is a counter action .. This is needed for our Children’s future, our future …and our livelihoods .. more forward now for me”
“Renewable energy has to be the future! ”
“Born in Denmark where a farmer with respect for himself has a windmill we need to change the behaviour in this great land too. We have plenty of coastline and even more ocean where to put these generators. Denmark had 6000 windmills in 1997 and a landmass half the size of Tasmania. What are we holding back from. Please back the windmill parks now. We need to generate our own clean energy. Please be a rolemodel today.”
“We definitely need renewable energy”
“It’s time to switch – we’ve done enough damage to our planet!”
“Help protect our future!!!”
“Help us get away from polluting, climate-changing coal. This is the easiest way to do it and King Island will benefit. ”
“Renewable energy is the future.”
“It’s a no brainer. A serine wind turbine or a big dirty polluting coal mine that is also toxic???”
Yes2renewables – 24 June 2013:
King Island community votes ‘yes’ to wind farm feasibility, rejects scare campaign
“In 2012, King Islanders were trusted to determine the fate of a proposed wind farm. Today, the results of a community vote are in. Despite an anti-wind energy scare campaign backed by wealthy NIMBYs and big PR, the community has voted for a wind farm feasibility study. The result shows that King Islanders won’t be fooled by anti-wind energy spin.” By Leigh Ewbank
My comment: Great news! As it turns out, at least 59 percent of King Islanders live on the same planet as the rest of us! You have an opportunity now to become real ‘climate change heroes’!
In the meanwhile, already 59 people have signed the petition — and now it will have a year or more to keep growing, until that board meeting comes up where the final decision is to be made, based on the results of the feasibility study.
“This is a significant contribution to the national effort to move from fossil fuels toward renewable energy, a trend that is gaining political traction globally.” … “Tasmania has an incredible wealth of expertise in climate science and renewable energy. We should continue to build our reputation for excellence in this sector because climate solutions will become big business as the world comes to grips with global warming.”
The Tasmanian newspaper The Mercury has published a visionary and optimistic editorial about the wind farm proposed for King Island:
The Mercury – 26 June 2013:
Editorial: Winds of change
It is great news Hydro Tasmania has won a significant nod of approval from King Island residents and will begin a feasibility study for its proposed $2 billion wind farm.
Blogpost by Mik Aidt – 24 June 2013
Investing heavily in wind energy makes a lot of common sense. First of all, economically.
A recent Bloomberg study found electricity can be supplied from a new wind farm in Australia at a cost of $80 per megawatt hour. This compares with $143 per megawatt hour from a new coal-fired power plant, when the cost of carbon emissions is included.
So installing wind power doesn’t just make common sense in terms of climate safety, it makes direct economic sense to the inhabitants of King Island as well as to the rest of us.
And there is the ‘carbon aspect’ – the climate dimension of it.
When I read this article in Geelong Independent of 20 June 2013: ‘Dictator’ claim on wind farm project – A $2 billion King Island wind farm to power Geelong is under new scrutiny my first reaction was: This is absurd! The world, Geelong and Victoria included, is under threat from a climate catastrophe because of our carbon emissions, and the only thing we should be having all our attention on now, as a society, and as individuals, is to very quickly transition over to renewable energy to provide us with electricity, heat and cooling.
That’s a fact we can’t run away from, even though the coal, oil and gas companies would like to do exactly that for as long as they possibly can, just so they can continue to profit from their dirty business a little while longer.
But no. Science says no. Our children’s and coming generations’ prosperity and livelihood depend on our ability to act rapidly, because we have already burned too much of the fossil fuels. In reality there is no ‘carbon budget’ left.
Carbon dioxide measurements of 350 parts per million in the atmosphere is considered by scientists to be our limit if we want to maintain a safe climate and preserve the planet as we know it. In May 2013 we passed the 400 ppm line for the first time in millions of years, and the figure keeps rising, and the ice on Greenland and in the Arctic keeps melting.
Currently we are simply not acting as we should.
We don’t want more extreme weather with droughts, flooding and ‘angry summers’ destroying our farm land, sea-level rise from the melting ice, serious dangers of a runaway global warming. We don’t like to hear that the methane, which is 20 times more heat-generating than CO2, is already beginning to be released from Siberia’s warming permafrost.
So bloody hell, folks, we NEED to stop the chatter and make some bold moves now: stop polluting the air and instead get our energy from renewable sources such as wind, sun, waves and water dams.
In from Tasmania comes then a magnificent $2 billion wind power proposal which is able to power the City of Greater Geelong with 600 megawatts of clean wind energy, and you’d think everyone would be applauding and praising the investors. A saviour! This is exactly the kind of initiative that is required of us now in order to help solving the planetary emergency: investing in renewables. With no further delay.
But then what happens?
Some local farmers start complaining. Primarily about procedures — oddly similar to what happened in mid-June at a U.N. summit in Berlin where the Russians have been obstructing carbon negotiations for the next COP summit over “procedure issues”. But also, according to what I can read in the press, over concern that the wind farm project threatens health, land values and bird life, including a specific parrot.
And Hydro Tasmania politely replies, “Oh well, we will have to shelve the project then, if we are not able to secure the majority backing of the island community.”
This theatre drama is rolling out right in front of our eyes. There is a meeting on Wednesday where the board will consider the vote and the views of the around 1,500 members of that island community.
Don’t the citizens of Geelong have a say in this as well?
Isn’t this indeed very similar to Geelong’s famous “anti-bikepath farce” in 2009 where a shop-owner collected 300 signatures criticising the city’s new bike strategy and the new proposed ‘Copenhagen Lanes’ to be rolled out through centre of town was enough to make the council shelve the plans?
We want to see our city, Geelong, as a sustainable city — a city that is committed to be part of the solution, not of the climate change problems.
Hydro Tasmania should know that these “NOT IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD”-type of complaints, including myths about “bird massacres” and so-called “sickness” from turbine noise, need to be ignored. We don’t have that kind of time to mess around any longer.
Speaking about birds being killed — how many animals are killed by cars, trucks and busses every year? For some reason that figure doesn’t seem to matter, because the point is that whatever the figure is, it doesn’t make anyone in society stand up and say: “We must all stop driving!”
No one’s ever been concerned whether people who live near a road like to be woken up every morning at 5am by noisy, polluting trucks — whether that is healthy or not, and whether the children who grow up near these roads have healthy lungs or not. The trucks and traffic just roll along, and if you don’t like it, then find another place to live. Sometimes it needs to be that way, and that is no different when it comes wind farms.
Only wind farms are not as dangerous. Not even close.
According to the U.N., about 6.8 million deaths a year are caused by air pollution from coal, oil and gas. Wind turbines might seem annoying to some — in particular those who are making a good living from the dirty business of fossil fuels — but at least they won’t be killing people in those kind of numbers.
On the contrary, what experience shows in areas which are relying on wind energy is that it creates jobs and prosperity to those communities.
• Fossil fuel subsidies: $523 billion in 2011.
• Renewable subsidies: $88 billion in 2011.
(Source: IEA World Energy Outlook 2012 – Presentation to the press, London, 12 November 2012, International Energy Agency)
• The cost to society of dealing with global CO2 related climate change was exceeding $1,200 billion dollars in 2010:
Climate change caused economic losses estimated close to 1 percent of global GDP for the year 2010, or 700 billion dollars (2010 PPP). The carbon-intensive economy cost the world another 0.7% of GDP in that year, independent of any climate change losses. Together, carbon economy- and climate change-related losses amounted to over 1.2 trillion dollars in 2010.
(Source: DARA and the Climate Vulnerable Forum – Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2nd Edition)
If wind turbines really were so problematic as it is claimed, how come the Danes are not protesting? Denmark produces 751 wind power megawatt per million people, as compared to 117 in Australia. And they are so happy about that, actually, that they keep building more and more wind farms. In seven years, half of the country’s electricity will be provided by wind mills. So how come the Danes don’t seem to be getting that so-called “wind turbine sickness” the Australians claim they be suffering from?
I have noticed the way ‘Stop These Things’ describe the wind mill situation in Denmark, and I have seldom seen anything more manipulated and distant from the truth. Even so, obviously, the very slogan of the group is of course that they provide, quote: ‘The truth about wind farms in Australia’.
Here is their ‘truth’ about this country I happen to know very well, in particular when it comes to its strong and community-based liking for wind power, Denmark:
Would it be too strong to say that this “kitchen table group of citizens” is manipulating with the ‘truth’ they claim to deliver?
The group describes themselves as “a kitchen table group of citizens concerned about what is happening across rural and regional Australia, by the harm being done by the wind industry, in partnership with governments,” and on their home page they write that they are “surprised and alarmed by how the Green movement is now in bed with big industry.”
So wind farms’ opponents are organising nationally, and a conservative Sydney PR firm was hired to advise the No TasWind Farm Group, reported Sydney Morning Herald on 27 May 2013, while the money to pay them came from somewhere secret, yet not from the island, as the ABC journalist was told.
I’m really not interested whether the No TasWind Farm Group is financed by the fossil fuel industry or not. I just can’t see how any of their arguments should be important enough to make the TasWind board hesitate or even stop this fantastic wind farm project.
When railway lines were rolled out over a century ago, there were also complaints. The railway demanded changes in the landscape and in the infrastructure. Society needed those railway lines, though, and luckily, the complaining was dealt with in such a way that today, we don’t even question the existence of railways.
I am also not interested in that warfare which I can see takes place in Australia between pro- and anti-wind farm groups, and I wish I could just be allowed to stay out of it. I’m not particularly thrilled about wind mills, or wind turbines, to be honest, as little as I have ever been thrilled about water dams, or trains, or oil refineries for that matter.
But I am concerned about our common problem with the atmosphere which is out of balance, because I am a father to three small children, and I don’t think it is fair how our generation is destroying possibilities for them in the future. So when someone offers to throw two billion dollars after helping us with solving that problem, then I feel grateful. That’s great! Thank you! It builds my confidence that maybe there is still hope. We can save this planet from the utter catastrophe which scientists are warming us about. We can get off that path to 4, 5 or 6°C of global warming, otherwise known as the next mass extinction, which we are currently on.
When I read that little article in the Geelong Independent newspaper, I decided to involve myself by writing this blog-post and starting a 48-hours petition in support of Hydro Tasmania. Because I think they need some encouragement. It can’t just all negativity and controversy.
Dear board, it is very good you are working with the local community. But please, don’t let absurd arguments from anti-wind farm groups sponsored by secret lobbyists influence your decision on Wednesday.
• The TasWind project’s home page:
• TasWind debate page on Facebook:
• ABC 7.30 – 8 June 2013:
Community divided (video report, 10 minutes)
King Islanders are voting on whether to support a feasibility study into a huge wind farm on the island. By Fiona Breen
• The Australian – 23 July 2012:
Clean up energy for the sake of our grandchildren
The next chapter of the climate change story is unfolding as the focus turns towards the many opportunities that are opening up in the transition to an economy powered by clean energy.
• EcoWatch – 13 March 2013:
Koch Brothers Continue State-by-State Attempts to Stifle Growth of Renewable Energy
ALEC and a hoard of other Koch-funded interests operating under the umbrella of the State Policy Network have hit Kansas legislators hard with junk economic studies, junk science and a junk vision of more polluting energy in Kansas’ future.
• Bloomberg New Energy Finance – 7 February 2013:
Renewable energy now cheaper than new fossil fuels in Australia
Unsubsidised renewable energy is now cheaper than electricity from new-build coal- and gas-fired power stations in Australia, according to new analysis from research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
• Think Progress – 10 February 2013:
In Australia, Wind Power Is Already Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels, And Solar Is Right Behind
According to the latest research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, electricity from wind power can now be supplied more cheaply in Australia than power from either coal or natural gas — and solar and other forms of renewable energy aren’t far behind. By Jeff Spross
“We believe TasWind is an exciting project which offers significant benefits for the island and its community. There will be improved infrastructure, additional employment, support for existing businesses and opportunities to attract new businesses, as well as a community fund to benefit all King Islanders.
Far from being a choice between TasWind and other potential developments such as golf courses, we believe both can be part of King Island’s future prosperity.”
Roy Adair, Chief Executive Officer, Hydro Tasmania
Hydro Tasmania’s commitment to King Islanders
If TasWind moves to the feasibility stage, Hydro Tasmania will work with the King Island community on the following:
• Developing an annual community dividend to help provide cheaper electricity for every household and business
• Assisting Islanders in regaining an abattoir by providing targeted funding
• Developing port/shipping options
• Supporting and promoting tourism
• Helping to support the viability of the Scheelite Mine
This is our pledge to you.
What’s in it for King Island? Up to $310 million.
Read more: Community Bulletin #3 June 2013
“Despite earlier in the week saying they would abide by the wishes of the community, this seems to be a deliberate attempt by the No group to undermine the survey before it has even begun which is extremely disappointing.”
Hydro Tasmania communications manager Ian Colvin said the claims made by the No TasWind Farm Group were false.
• Weekly Times Now – 6 June 2013:
Confusion over King Island wind farm vote
Drama continues on King Island with confusion over which residents can vote on TasWind. By Shannon Twomey
• Sydney Morning Herald – 27 May 2013:
On King Island, the answers are blowing in the wind
This Bass Strait island of great cheese and beef has become the cutting point in the national wind energy debate.
Next week a ballot will be posted to all residents and absentee land-owners so they can vote on whether the southern hemisphere’s largest wind project should go to a full feasibility study. By Andrew Darby
• The Age – 26 May 2013:
Ill wind blows through Liberal ranks
A rift is widening in Coalition ranks over renewable energy targets, with several Liberal MPs planning to publicly defy the party line by attending a Tea Party-style anti-wind farm rally at Parliament House in Canberra. By Chris Johnson
|International Energy Agency releases 2013 Tracking Clean Energy Progress report|
• Climate Commission:
The Critical Decade: Victorian climate impacts and opportunities – Summary (PDF, 4 pages)
• Climate Commission:
The Critical Decade: Victorian climate impacts and opportunities – Quick Facts (PDF, 24 pages)
• Sydney Morning Herald – 22 June 2013:
Climate change like atom bomb
The planet has been building up temperatures at the rate of four Hiroshima bombs of heat every second, and it’s all our fault, say climate scientists. 120 climate records were broken in Australia this January, including the hottest month and the hottest day. By AAP
• Los Angeles Times – 20 June 2013:
The time for climate action is now
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is among the few officials to recognize that decades of inaction on climate change are shaping the present, not just the future. Expensive? Very. But the price of doing nothing would be far greater.
• The Weather Channel – 19 June 2013:
10 Signs Global Warming is Happening Now
Where Major Changes Are Already Happening
“It’s a very sad time in Australia at the moment. The economy is more important than actual people, environment and living according to most misinformed Australians. I see and read so much action happening outside of Australia but within Australia it’s only on sites like 350.org that we actually know of the actions. Australia might be the number one economy but that is only because we have been selling our dirty fuels and minerals to the world.”
Damien Keitel, on Facebook
Act on facts
– Are there community benefits of wind?
– Are wind farms noisy?
– Are wind turbines bad for my health?
– Can society afford wind energy?
– Do nearby wind farms reduce property values?
– Does wind energy negatively impact wildlife?
– Is there public support for wind energy?
Hepburn Wind is Australia’s first community owned renewable energy project – generating clean, safe power since June 2011.
» Home page: hepburnwind.com.au
Victorian Wind Alliance
If you want to take support the development of wind energy in Victoria, you could consider becoming a member of the Victorian Wind Alliance, VicWind, which aims to protect and enhance the local and global environment by:
✔ Promoting the use of wind power in Australia
✔ Educating the community about wind power
✔ Representing the majority of Australians who are supportive of wind power
» Signing up for newsletter is free, while it costs 20 dollars to become a member