Renewables Zealots Love Spearing Wind Turbines in Your Backyard – But Not Their Own

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Rank hypocrisy comes in all shapes and sizes, but the kind that attends the renewable energy zealot is an altogether different species.

The wind power acolyte is always ready to spear hundreds of giant 240m (787ft) high industrial wind turbines into your backyard, but hits the apoplexy button if the ‘favour’ looks likely to be returned. Destroying your patch of paradise is a sacrifice that he or she is always willing to make.

When former Greens leader, Dr Bob Brown started railing about the prospect of a few of these things being planted in the North-West of his home State, Tasmania, the cry of ‘monstrous hypocrite’ could be heard far and wide. But in the green hypocrisy Olympics, Dr Bob is far from alone.

There’s an evident relationship between where the wind industry’s most vocal opponents reside and the prospect that they’ll ever be forced to suffer life in their grinding, thumping, flickering shadows. The more embedded they are in leafy green suburbs, the louder the zealot. Which brings us to Oliver Yates.

Yates headed up the Clean Energy Finance Corporation between 2012 and 2017 and became the Australian wind industry’s ‘go to man’ – lobbying successive governments to maintain and increase subsidies to wind and large-scale and scale solar, and as head of the CEFC, doling out billions of taxpayer subsidies and soft loans to his mates in the wind and solar scam.

True to form, Ollie went ballistic over the proposal to spear a few of these things off the coast from his patch of coastal paradise in NSW.

Perhaps appreciating where his Twitter rant would end, Yates seems perplexed that the marketplace of ideas might call him out for what he quite evidently is: the worst kind of hypocrite.

The Daily Mail has the story.

High flying green energy executive is accused of hypocrisy for raging about a giant wind farm ruining the views near his holiday house – as a single tweet sparks uproar: ‘Reality bites’
Daily Mail
Max Aitchison
21 May 2023

A former boss of the government-owned ‘green bank’ which funds renewable energy projects has been branded a ‘hypocrite’ after he savaged proposals for a massive offshore wind farm near his holiday home.

Oliver Yates, who ran the Clean Energy Finance Corporation from 2012 to 2017, was personally responsible for ensuring Australia’s first offshore wind farm – the Star of the South – progressed to the approval stage.

But he has now publicly criticised the proposed ocean site for wind turbines close to his property on the New South Wales Central Coast, questioning whether the Australian people are being ‘conned’ by developers who are ‘acting like fossil fuel companies’.

His intervention has prompted accusations of ‘NIMBYism’, with commentator and renewable energy critic Prue MacSween branding his stance ‘total hypocrisy’.

‘I find it really amusing to see how people like him have got every excuse under the sun to claim they are not a NIMBY,’ she said.

‘But in the cold heart light of day when they are faced with the fact that it could invade their space and upset their cosy little life… It’s just a joke.’

She added: ‘He’s now got reality biting and he’s not happy about it.’

But Mr Yates has hit back, telling Daily Mail Australia that it is ‘natural that people take an interest in projects that have an impact on the communities they know’.

The former financier has taken issue with a government-proposed site extending from Port Stephens in the Hunter region to Norah Head on the Central Coast, 10km offshore, which would see turbines standing 250m above sea level.

Mr Yates, who renounced the Liberal Party before standing unsuccessfully as an independent in the Melbourne seat of Kooyong at the 2019 federal election, told Daily Mail Australia his main issue was about a lack of community consultation after submissions closed last month.

‘I am a massive supporter of renewables but have always been aware that the financial benefit a developer can make from a project can impact their ethics just like any other company,’ he said.

But the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water said the 60-day consultation period led to almost 2,000 submissions which are now being considered.

Mr Yates further argued that ‘not all wind farms are the same’ and said that the proposed sites could potentially impact whale migration routes.

He also took issue with the impact the turbines will have on the as-yet-unspoiled views along the coast.

‘To be efficient these turbines will need to be as high as the tallest building in Melbourne or Sydney and therefore they will have a visual impact,’ he said.

‘Australia is different to Denmark, we love our beaches and they are part of our identity and therefore assets that impact the visuals are an issue.’

Mr Yates, who is a non-executive director on the Smart Energy Council, suggested the consultation could benefit from a visual representation of what the site would look like.

‘They could (…) get a boat and put a tower or mast on it and drive it around day and night for a few days with a light, as the turbines will have light, so the locals get the idea what is contemplated,’ he said.

Sharing an image of a sunrise over the east coast of Australia on Twitter last week, Mr Yates bemoaned that the scene would be ‘plastered with offshore wind turbines but residents not consulted’.

‘For 8 months of the year the sun will rise into a sea of turbines…’ he wrote.

‘When solar and batteries will continue their cost decline making them white elephants. They will impact the coast and whale migration routes for decades.’

Some users accused him of NIMBYism, but Mr Yates, a senior executive at Macquarie Bank for more than 20 years, insisted he was still in favour of renewable projects.

‘I want renewables but ones that won’t kill whales,’ he said.

‘Ones that are not a visual blight and the one that is cheaper… that will be solar and batteries.’

He added: ‘It is a false assumption to say all renewables are good. All fossils are bad but we need to select the technology that is the cheapest, the fastest to build and least additional damage.’

He also asked: ‘Does Australia really need them or are we being conned as people just want to build and profit from them? We have plenty of land for solar and wind. Sodium batteries are on the way making it cheap.’

Mr Yates left the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) in 2017.

Some in the Coalition government derided the CEFC as ‘Bob Brown’s bank’ because it could lend as much as $10billion to renewable projects.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott tried shut it down during his time in power but only succeeded in securing funding cuts.

Mr Yates resigned from the Liberal party in disgust after witnessing Scott Morrison wave a lump of coal in parliament.

‘Environmentally it’s like waving asbestos,’ wrote Mr Yates.

‘If this is the Liberal party, then it has no place for me. I can’t quite explain what has happened but the Liberal party’s culture is sick.’

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water closed its consultation on its Hunter Offshore Renewable Energy Area last month.

The zone, which extends from Port Stephens to Norah Head, 10km off the NSW coast, could see turbines standing 250m above sea level.

But the Central Coast Council has called for more information and community consultation on how it will impact the environment and views.

The 60-day consultation period led to 1916 submissions which are now being considered before declaring a final offshore wind zone.

During the consultation and in submissions, the community highlighted support for job opportunities, investment in local manufacturing in the region and the need for more affordable energy.

As well as issues around how marine life could be impacted by future infrastructure development and the visibility of turbines from the coast.
Daily Mail

Spear ’em anywhere you like, just not in Ollie’s backyard.