The Clean Energy Council launched its annual Clean Energy Australia Report in June, which showed some impressive figures for both wind and renewable energy more broadly in Australia. The report found that renewable energy contributed a record 13.14 per cent of Australia’s electricity in 2012, contributed $4.2 billion to the Australian economy and employed 24,300 people. Australia’s 62 wind farms also powered the equivalent of one million Australian homes for the first time last year.
For more information or to download the report, visit:
Record breaking winds
August in Australia was particularly windy this year, with the weather blowing away some records for wind generation. The Clean Energy Council made a media splash to celebrate, including the release of an infographic that highlighted the impressive levels of output from Australia's 1559 wind turbines.
Wind generated 1024 gigawatt-hours of electricity in August, enough to power:
- Parliament House in Canberra for 41 years
- the Sydney Opera House for 57 years
- Melbourne's entire train network for almost 3 years
- the Melbourne Cricket Ground stadium lights for 130 years
- 157,538 average Australian households
- perhaps most impressively - 6.14 billion toasted sandwiches. If stacked, those toasties would stretch around the Earth three times
To download the media release, visit:
Download the infographic.
Wind Community Engagement Guidelines Launch
The Clean Energy Council has developed Community Engagement Best Practice Guidelines and a Community Expectations Guide, both of which were launched in Sydney in June with the New South Wales Government Environment Minister and several of our wind members.
To download the guidelines visit:
Anti-dumping claim lodged by tower manufacturers
Some Clean Energy Council tower manufacturing members lodged an anti -dumping claim with the Australian Government’s Customs Agency in May against imported towers from China and Korea. Customs has decided to investigate and if dumping is found, an import tariff may be applied to affected towers.
Victorian State Department of Health makes statement on wind farms
The Victorian Department of Health released two new information booklets concerned with wind farms, noise, and health. One is four pages long and contains community information, and the other is 20 pages and full of more technical information about the nature of sound. The community information booklet concluded that:
"The evidence indicates that sound can only affect health at sound levels that are loud enough to be easily audible. This means that if you cannot hear a sound, there is no known way that it can affect health. This is true regardless of the frequency of the sound."
The Clean Energy Council was pleased at the reassurance this advice from Victoria's top health agency will give to communities.
To download the booklets visit: health.vic.gov.au/environment/windfarms.htm
Vestas launch new Act on Facts website and campaign
The Vestas launch of its Act on Facts campaign took place at the University of Melbourne in June, and featured a live panel discussion about the tactics used by anti-wind groups, which often show a brazen disregard for fact-based information. The Act on Facts website and campaign aim to separate the myths from the facts, and help the silent majority of people who support wind energy make their voice heard.
For more information visit www.actonfacts.org
Clean Energy Week
Clean Energy Week, Australia’s premier clean energy industry event, was held in July in Brisbane. The event was a great success, with more than 2000 delegates attending the conference over three days, more than 100 exhibitors and 200+ speakers. Most presentations are now available to download from the Clean Energy Week website: www.cleanenergyweek.com.au
Attendees were treated to some great presentations from our industry colleagues over five technical wind sessions, and some interesting debate followed. In the wind farm ecology session we learned about the difficulty ecologists have feeding results and experience into the regulation of wind farms, and in the noise session we heard about ongoing and upcoming research into infrasound, audible sound, and special audible characteristics.
The construction and safety session gave us all an insight into ever-evolving safety systems for wind farm construction as well as the story of building the Southern Hemisphere’s largest wind farm at Macarthur in some adverse weather conditions. The wind and operations monitoring session provided a fascinating look at developments with remote sodar monitoring, new condition monitoring methods, and even some wind and grid modelling from the UK. And finally the planning and engagement session allowed us all to look at how our colleagues are tackling the problem of getting the community on side (and keeping them on side!). Thanks to all of our speakers and to everyone who came along to learn new things about our industry.
New infrasound and low frequency noise study
An independent acoustics consultancy conducted a before and after study of infrasound and low frequency noise levels near the Macarthur Wind Farm, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The study was voluntarily commissioned by wind farm owner AGL to alleviate community concerns. It measured infrasound and low frequency noise at residences located 2.7 and 1.8 kilometres from the nearest turbine before any turbines were operating, when approximately 105 of 140 turbines were operating and when all 140 turbines were operating.
The research found that there was no measurable change in the infrasound levels measured before and after construction of the Macarthur Wind Farm, and that audible noise levels were compliant with regulations.
To view AGL’s media release and the report, visit:
New fact sheet on decommissioning
The Clean Energy Council has published a new wind farm fact sheet on decommissioning. Some community members and particularly potential landowners have expressed concern over what decommissioning actually involves. This fact sheet explains the process of negotiation and site restoration, as well as who is responsible.
To download the fact sheet, visit:
www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/resourcecentre/factsheets.html (at bottom of page).
Electricity Statement of Opportunities
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) recently released its Electricity Statement of Opportunities, which found 100 per cent of new energy generation investment in Australia over the past year was in renewables. According to media reports, falling energy demand and the rapid uptake of solar panels and renewables have led to a fall in investment in coal-fired power generation, with 95 per cent of the 1000 megawatts of new power generation over the past year coming from wind, and 5 per cent from solar.
To download the Electricity Statement of Opportunities and associated documents, visit:
New research on the price of the Renewable Energy Target
Cutting Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) could cost consumers $1.3 billion between now and 2020 by reducing downward pressure on the wholesale energy market, according to new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The research found that wholesale electricity prices could increase by $5 a megawatt hour if the RET were cut from 41,000 to 27,000 gigawatt-hours, as proposed by energy companies Origin Energy and International Power.
The move would also lead to approximately $11.5 billion less in investment out to 2020, and only about half the renewable energy capacity built than under the current policy settings. The report helps strengthen the case for letting the RET get on with its job of generating new jobs and investment - and keeping electricity prices low for consumers.