The Coalition on Thursday disclosed its new energy and resources policy which focuses almost entirely on fossil fuel developments promising to resurrect coal-fired power stations to viability, give impetus to oil and gas explorations, and bringing out another “white paper” on energy.
Other proposals authored by Opposition energy spokesman Ian Macfarlane cover an investigation into the use of thorium as a reliable future energy source, and adequacy of infrastructure for the use of LNG as a transport fuel.
As part of the renewable energy policy, again an attempt is made for making yet another study of the health impacts of wind farms, and for real-time monitoring of wind turbine noise.The document is silent on “renewables” including the solar revolution which sweeping the country.
But costing documents reveal cuts on renewable support measures for funding some special sectors such as solar roofs program, geothermal and ocean energy developments in regional towns and supporting transmission infrastructure for renewables. The solar roofs program targeted for low income groups will feature a rebate of $500 instead of $1000 due to the fall of the cost of solar PV module itself.
As for the study of health impacts of wind farms, the Coalition announced, “ We will implement a program to establish real-time monitoring of wind farm noise emissions to be made public on the Internet. This is warranted as the public has serious apprehensions over the potential impacts of wind farms on the health of people living in their vicinity.”
“Lack of reliable evidence on wind farm impacts further aggravates those concerns driving the vested interest groups into wrangling for promulgating questionable informations to support their positions. Irrespective of the cost involved, this monitoring will be done,” the government further added in an effort to set at rest the controversy.
The Coalition also announced, “ In addition to earlier studies made by agencies including the one by the National Health and Medical Council, it would now establish either an autonomous NHMRC Research program or an independent expert panel to determine any health impact due to wind farms.
A study in 2010 by NHMRC found,” There is no evidence of direct pathological effects from wind farms, and even if any, the same could be tackled following the existing guidelines.”
Then, a Senate investigation on this went along party lines while it however was not able to establish any link between ill health and wind farm generated noise.
The document now further offers to investigate the role of alternative transport fuel resources covering biofuels, LNG, CNG and LPG. Another white paper, according to Coalition, would look at how the government would support Australia’s world leading expertise in petroleum and mining industries.
Against the backdrop the Coalition document, there are still people who plead for wind farms to continue in Australia. Leigh Ewbank asserts,” Anti-wind stance of some Coalition members is out of tune with the times. Public polling vouchsafes for wind farm continuance. The Coalition very urgently needs to pronounce a wind-energy-friendly policy as it is most affordable.”