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Media Release: Rural communities receive windfalls from wind farms

Media Release: Rural communities receive windfalls from wind farms

Wind farm construction has delivered an economic boost of almost $4 billion to regional Australia, according to a new report by the Australian Wind Alliance (AWA).

The report details the direct and indirect financial and social benefits to Australia’s regional communities from wind power, and shows the complete list of wind farm Community Enhancement Funds across Australia for the first time.

The Australian Wind Alliance estimates $10.5 billion could be delivered to host communities across the 25-year life span of Australia’s existing wind farms and wind farms under construction.

“Australia’s 82 operational wind farms are delivering significant financial and social benefits to their host communities,” said Andrew Bray, National Coordinator of the AWA.

“Wind power is making a long-lasting, positive contribution to rural Australia’s social fabric.

“With COAG due to consider the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) later this week, it’s crucial States insist on the right policy settings to make sure this boom continues and delivers even greater benefits for rural communities.”

As Australia builds enough new wind power to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target and the cost of wind energy continues to fall rapidly driving further installations, regional Australia will continue to benefit.

Charlie Prell is the NSW organiser for the AWA and a sheep farmer from Crookwell, NSW. Part of the Crookwell II Wind Farm is currently being constructed on his farm.

“I decided to construct wind turbines on my own property all the way back in 2001. This helped me stave off bankruptcy when increasing droughts caused by climate change threatened to make my farm financially unsustainable,” said Mr Prell.

“The wind turbines mean my family now has a future but it also means a better future for my local community too because the money I make from hosting them on my land is spent at local businesses. It has enabled me to make repairs to my farm and hire local workers to carry them out.

“Sharing benefits equitably and effectively with local communities ensures these projects generate not just much-needed clean energy, but also strengthen the social and economic health of regional Australia.”

The report, Building Stronger Communities: wind's growing role in regional Australia, can be found here.

A fact-sheet about the report can be found here.

For media interviews with Australian Wind Alliance spokespeople, please contact Liz Stephens on 0407 224469 or [email protected]  

The Australian Wind Alliance is a community-based advocacy group of farmers, wind workers, small businesses and residents. We share a common vision of harnessing Australia’s world-class wind resources to power our homes, cities and industries with clean renewable energy.

Australia's enormous wind power potential

Media Release: Australia's enormous wind power potential

AUSTRALIA has enough onshore wind resources to power the entire country’s electricity more than 12 times over, new research shows. 

The Australian Wind Alliance will launch its Wind Power in Australia report to celebrate 30 years of wind energy generation across the country.

The report, conducted by the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, reveals the latest information about wind energy and compares Australia's power potential with other countries across the globe.

Wind was found to be in ample supply across the continent and also the cheapest way to generate new energy.

The average cost of electricity from a wind farm in Australia has more than halved since 2000, where it was $150 per megawatt hour, it is now approximately from $60 per MWH.

National Coordinator for the AWA, Andrew Bray said Australia is uniquely positioned to be a world leader in terms of wind energy generation.

“We’ve got the wind resources on hand right now to power this country 12 times over, and yet Australia generates just six per cent of electricity use from wind power” Mr Bray said.

“There’s enormous opportunity to close the gap between the potential for wind energy and the actual generated use.”

"But without an adequate renewable policy, Australia risks missing out on a significant boost to jobs, economic growth and sustainability," Mr Bray said. 

Find the report and additional material here.

For media inquiries or interviews, please contact Greg Muller on 0414 654 288 or Siobhan Isherwood on 0401 976 251

Farmers’ forum explores community benefits of renewable energy

Media Release - 24th November 2017

Seventy farmers from the Kentucky, Bendemeer, Woolbrook and Walcha communities gathered at the Kentucky Memorial Hall on Thursday night to hear speakers on community involvement in wind farms and large scale solar projects.

Organised by the community advocacy group for wind, the Australian Wind Alliance, and the NSW government’s Renewable Energy Advocate, the forum put the focus on local communities - how they can secure financial benefits from the renewable energy boom that is occurring in the New England.

“All stakeholders need to work together to get their fair share of the enormous community wide benefits that can flow from wind and solar projects”, said AWA National Coordinator Andrew Bray.

“Embracing the shift to renewables will create significant growth in jobs and investment for regional communities, just like we’re seeing in Glen Innes and Inverell,” explained Mr Bray.

“Communities working together and engaging with proponents will lead to better communication and benefit sharing.”

The National Wind Farm Commissioner, Andrew Dyer, brought a nation-wide perspective to the event, sharing his knowledge of how wind farms have addressed these issues in other states.

An engaged audience produced a lively Q&A session. Attendees were interested in how to form their co-operative groups to get the best possible outcome for their community.

“We found that people were particularly interested in effective communication with renewable energy proponents, including through Community Consultative Committees”, said Australian Wind Alliance’s NSW Organiser, Charlie Prell.

Mr Prell explained how this structure works and emphasised that it is critical for the whole community to work through these complex issues collectively. “If a community group gets a good outcome then all the individuals in a community will get the best outcome at the same time,” he said.

“Small towns right around NSW and Australia are already reaping the benefits of renewable energy projects. We are eagerly looking forward to the time when the communities in the New England region add their name to this list”, he said.

“The renewables boom can repeat the fabled wool boom of the 1950’s, but this unique opportunity will last for decades, instead of just years. It can revitalise regional Australia and the small communities that exist there.”

For further information contact: Andrew Bray 0434 769 463 or Charlie Prell 0427 224 839

Enough is enough: No more time wasting on energy policy

MEDIA STATEMENT: Thursday, 23 November

The Australian Wind Alliance says it’s time to get on with good energy policy, and stop endless talks on unproven ideas.

“Enough is enough. Endless new ideas to address Australia’s energy issues are part of the problem,” AWA national coordinator Andrew Bray said.

“Embarking on lengthy negotiations over the federal government’s latest idea, a National Energy Guarantee (NEG), means wasting more time, for no good reason. Our country was already dragged through months of consultation and work over the design of a Clean Energy Target - which a wide cross-section of the country agreed would work.

“The NEG is expected to lock in fewer renewable projects and more pollution, so why are we still talking about it?

"This latest plan isn’t about solving the energy crisis as much as it is about pandering to a handful of coal obsessed, climate-denying Coalition MPs.

“State and territory governments in Australia are leading the way in building new, clean energy supply and additional energy storage. We should champion them to do more. Given how long it will take to argue over the detail of the NEG this might actually be our only option.

“The longer we wait for meaningful action at a federal level, the more we look to places like the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia for the sort of leadership that people are desperately craving. Old, polluting and unreliable coal-fired power stations are closing - we’ve seen that in SA and Victoria, and Liddell will close soon in New South Wales. We can’t afford to wait. If the federal government isn’t capable of doing what’s required, then our states certainly can.”

RET a vote of confidence in Victoria and no confidence in the NEG

Media Release Wednesday 15 November 2017

VRET a vote of confidence in Victoria and no confidence in the NEG

The Australian Wind Alliance welcomes the news that the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) Reverse Auction has opened for tenders.

A testament to State energy leadership, it will be the largest renewable energy auction ever held in Australia, set to deliver up to 650 megawatts (MW) of new large-scale renewable energy for Victoria.

“This is what leadership and confidence looks like. The Victorian government is to be congratulated,” said Andrew Bray, National Coordinator of the Australian Wind Alliance.

“Victoria has world-leading wind resources and the VRET creates the policy certainty needed to generate jobs and economic benefits to communities all across the state.”

Australia’s Heads of State and Environment Ministers will meet next Friday in Tasmania to debate the Federal Government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG).

While little detail of the NEG modelling has been publicly released, it has been criticised for not going far enough to secure a clean future for renewable energy in Australia.

Bray said confident state-based renewable energy policy would make upcoming COAG discussions difficult for the Federal Government.

“The Victorian Government committed to a strong target, legislated it and are now getting on with delivering it, while the Federal Government wants to take the country back to the drawing board by proposing a half-baked National Energy Guarantee.

“There was unanimous agreement from the states for a Clean Energy Target. Instead, the Federal government is further delaying policy progress.

“Why would Victoria delay their own jobs and investment plan to wait for the Turnbull government to sort out their own internal divisions over climate policy?

“Victoria needs to be ready for the closure of ageing coal plants like Yallourn. This announcement readies the for a smooth energy transition, guarding against price spikes.”

Media Release: Regional wind projects at risk from Government’s capitulation to coal

Regional wind projects at risk from Government’s capitulation to coal

Turnbull in lock step with Abbott in looking after coal and gas at expense of renewables

MEDIA ALERT: Tuesday, October 17 2017

The Australian Wind Alliance said today that the latest federal government plan was bad news for regional communities in NSW, such as the Southern Tablelands, that were benefiting from a resurgence in the renewable energy industry.

“Malcolm Turnbull’s obsession with coal is threatening to strangle future wind and solar projects and the millions of dollars in investment they bring to regional Australia.

“The decision of this government to turn its back on the Chief Scientist’s Clean Energy Target puts at risk more than 3600 megawatts of clean energy projects around the country, plus the investment and jobs they bring to regional communities of NSW.

“The protection and priority this government is providing for the coal industry is no doubt making Tony Abbott proud, but it spells disaster to country Australians who want long-term, local jobs that don't cost us the earth."

Mr Bray said the government's interventions would force Australians to rely on clunky, dirty and unreliable coal-fired power stations while the rest of the world adapted to the 21st century.

"Prime Minister Turnbull is failing our country on climate and energy. In the absence of federal leadership, we are looking to states and territories to step in and take control with a clear vision for how to grow the renewable energy industry and energise regional communities.

“Wind energy works. It is also the cheapest form of energy available. We need to cut the politics, and get on with it."

Andrew Bray, National Coordinator Australian Wind Alliance is available for interview.

To arrange an interview contact: Dinah Arndt on 0425 791 394 or [email protected]

Political Madness: Renewables ready to plug in

Unreliable coal brings Turnbull’s pie-in-the-sky coal plan back to earth

Media Release: Unreliable coal brings Turnbull’s pie-in-the-sky coal plan back to earth

5th September 2017

The Australian Energy Market Operator has shown that we can no longer rely on ageing coal plants to keep the lights on during hot weather, puncturing the Prime Minister’s attempts to keep our oldest plants alive, the Australian Wind Alliance has said.

The Market Operator’s ESOO report released yesterday identified heatwaves and the unreliability of old coal and gas units as the main threats to the stability of the electricity grid. Extra grid support would be needed in coming summers and could come from a range of sources including demand response and battery storage. Unlike the government, it made no mention of the need for more coal.

Energy company AGL also confirmed it would walk away from coal-fired Liddell power station in 2022 as previously announced.

“Every time this government tries to take coal off life support it gets mugged by reality,” said Andrew Bray, National Coordinator for the Australian Wind Alliance.

“Our oldest coal plants are the weakest links in the grid. The quicker they are retired and replaced with modern, distributed renewable energy, the more resilient our grid will be.

“Coal power is in structural retreat in Australia and no amount of political jawboning is going to change that.

“The future of energy in Australia lies with clean wind and solar. That’s why energy companies like AGL are walking away from coal.

“The best way to put downward pressure on power prices is to drive investment in the lowest cost solutions - wind and solar, with battery backup.

“Australians want more renewable energy, the market operator has told us it’s not only  feasible but essential. Let’s just get on with it”

Victoria ready to catch the wind

MEDIA RELEASE: 23 August 2017

More wind power in Victoria will shield the state from future power price hikes and drive jobs, especially in the regions, the Australian Wind Alliance says.

The Victorian Government has today announced it will legislate a Victorian Renewable Energy Target to have 40 per cent of the state's power come from renewables by 2025.  

 "Victoria has some of the best wind resources in the world. The VRET will make sure Victoria turns strong winds into lower bills,” Australian Wind Alliance national co-ordinator Andrew Bray said.

"The best way to put downward pressure on power prices and increase competition is to bring new renewable supply into the market.

"Wind farms are the cheapest new power plants you can build.

"This target ensures there will sufficient, new renewable energy supply in place to avoid the bill shock we saw when Hazelwood closed.”

"A guaranteed pipeline of work will give Victoria's manufacturing businesses the confidence to invest in new jobs building towers, transformers and cabling for new wind farms. 

"These new projects will be gold for local contractors and content suppliers across regional Victoria. 

"In the absence of clear policy from the federal government, Victoria is making sure it doesn't get left behind.

Finkel crowns wind as cheapest new power then stymies it

Media Release: Friday 9th June 2017

Despite acknowledging that wind power is the cheapest source of new energy, the Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, has prioritised the interests of incumbent coal generators and delayed the introduction of cheaper, cleaner wind power, the Australian Wind Alliance said.

“Extending the life of already out of date coal-fired power stations delays the cost and clean energy benefits that wind is ready to deliver,” said Andrew Bray, National Coordinator of the Australian Wind Alliance.

“The report lets our polluting and out of date coal plants run on, long past their use by dates and long past when they are needed.

The report modelled how a Clean Energy Target would work to achieve a 28% emissions reduction by 2030 but Mr Finkel has explained that the emission reduction trajectory will be decided by politicians.  

“Wind can do so much better than what this report envisages. If we want to make inroads into spiralling power bills, we need more wind added very quickly to the mix because it is the cheapest power available.

“Regulations that require backup for new wind farms are likely to played by incumbent generators to delay competition from new wind.

“Market barriers to wind farms will stop consumers enjoying lower bills sooner.

"There's carrots for new renewables, but there's also plenty of groundwork for a big, anti-renewables stick." 
"Storage and grid management should be incentivised, and carbon pollution should be regulated. Without a much stronger emissions reduction target, this report will end up having it the other way around." 

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