Australia’s first Wind Commissioner has ties to renewables industry

Australia's wind industry says appointing a commissioner to ensure complaints are dealt with is a waste of time
Australia’s wind industry says appointing a commissioner to ensure complaints are dealt with is a waste of time

The Guardian, October 9, 2015

The Turnbull government has appointed an academic and company director with strong ties to climate and renewables research as its new “wind commissioner”, in a move the clean energy industry says should help return the wind energy debate to “sensible”.

Andrew Dyer serves on the boards of Climateworks Australia and the Monash University sustainability unit. The government says his primary role will be to “refer complaints about windfarms to relevant state authorities” – which are already responsible for dealing with them.

The wind commissioner was promised by the former prime minister Tony Abbott in response to a Coalition and crossbench-dominated Senate committee report into the alleged health effects of windfarms. The senators demanded moves against wind energy in return for their essential votes on changes to the renewable energy target, which went beyond the deal the government had struck with Labor.

The Clean Energy Council’s chief executive, Kane Thornton, said he hoped Dyer’s appointment – and appointments to a new scientific committee on wind – would “return a more sensible tone to the debate, which had entered some strange territory during the recent Senate inquiry into windfarms.

“We expect that these new appointments will help to blow away some of the conspiracy theories about windfarms that have been championed by a small number of federal senators over the last few years.”

Dyer serves on multiple boards including Climateworks – a body that aims to facilitate substantial reductions in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years – and the Monash University sustainability institute. The institute brings together academics from all disciplines to tackle “climate change and sustainability, and their intrinsic multiple crises”, as well as the question of how the Australian economy can become carbon neutral.

Dyer will sit in Hunt’s federal environment department. His role does not appear to involve determining the veracity of any complaints but rather passing them on to the state authorities and collating scientific information.

When Abbott pledged to appoint a wind commissioner, he told the radio announcer Alan Jones he found windfarms visually awful, agreed that they might have “potential health impacts” and said the deal on the renewable energy target was designed to reduce their numbers as much as the current Senate would allow.

“What we did recently in the Senate was to reduce, Alan, capital R-E-D-U-C-E, the number of these things that we are going to get in the future … I frankly would have liked to have reduced the number a lot more but we got the best deal we could out of the Senate and if we hadn’t had a deal, Alan, we would have been stuck with even more of these things …

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s chief executive, Kelly O’Shanassy, said it was “sad to see the federal government continuing to contribute uncertainty to Australia’s burgeoning clean energy industry.

“There have been no less than eight studies conducted at the federal level in the last five years into wind energy and every single one has found no evidence of wind farms making people sick.”

………..

In other news, the government also appointed the first independent science committee:

The government has also appointed an independent scientific committee to conduct research into potential medical impacts of turbines which will be headed by acoustician and RMIT Adjunct Professor Jon Davy. The other members are:

Associate Professor Simon Carlile, Head of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, School of Medical Science, University of Sydney and Senior Director of Research at the Starkey Hearing Research Centre, University of California Berkeley, USA.

Clinical Professor David Hillman, Department of Pulmonary Physiology and Sleep Medicine at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Perth, WA.

Dr Kym Burgemeister, Acoustics Associate Principal, Arup.

Comments

Parker Gallant
Reply

Kind of sounds like Ontario’s appointment of Dianne Saxe as the new Environment Commissioner! Saxe is a big supporter of industrial wind turbines having served as President of WindShare Co-op (the Ex Place turbine).

Gord Schneider
Reply

We have a disgraceful provincial government in Ontario that’s pushing wind turbines down rural Ontario’s throat. This fight is far from over and it’s high time that the people of Ontario are listened to and shown some respect. Looks like the Auzzies are setting up the same fiasco against the wishes of the people. What else is new?

Barbara
Reply

Everyone will know in a very short time which direction Canada will take.

When there are such things as a $20 trillion CO2 climate exchange market to be developed it’s like trying to stop a runaway train.

And what sense will it make to go to Alberta looking for employment?

Barbara

PLOS ONE

‘Assessing “Dangerous Climate Change”: Required reductions of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations, and Nature’

James Hansen, et al, Published Dec.3, 2013/ PLOS ONE

Abstract
Scroll down to: Funding sources which included ClimateWorks and the Energy Foundation.

http://www.journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081648

Also uses the “common good” argument.

Barbara
Reply

Report to: ClimateWorks Australia, Aug.27, 2014

Submission relating to the report “Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation, Interim 2014”, Australia Chapter

Carbon copies to:

Prof.Jeffery Sachs, Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Prof.James Hansen, Council Member, Sustainable Development Solutions Network

http://www.decarbonisesa.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/heardbrownwigley_ddpp_critique.pdf

See p.18 for conclusions.

Barbara
Reply

Sustainable Development Solutions Network, June 2, 2014

News Events:
SDSN Director Jeffrey Sachs Visits Australia, May 18-23, 2014

More information on this event at:
http://www.ap-unsdsn.org/news-events/page/7

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