One such character is Dominic Legoe. Dominic has over 30 years’ experience in engineering design, business development and project management, including designing ports and harbours and associated infrastructure.
Dominic has joined the growing chorus of outrage about the Queensland and Federal governments providing the ‘green’ light for the wind industry’s planned and obviously deliberate destruction of Queensland’s pristine dryland tropical forests.
In the following piece – which is an edited extract from a longer paper available in full here (PDF) – Dominic lays bare what’s in store for Queensland, its wild and rugged wilderness, and its peaceful rural communities, if the wind industry is not stopped dead in its tracks.
Queensland’s Renewable Energy Transition Madness Dominic Legoe 5 September 2023
Now is the time to act to stop the Queensland government approving an environmental disaster!
The Department of Energy and Public Works (EPW) has released two papers:
which spell out a plan for the widespread destruction of huge regions of ancient rainforest for the purpose of installing swathes of wind turbines from Brisbane to Cairns. And it is all up to Tanya Plibersek now to make the final decision to proceed or amend or reject this proposal. We need to tell her no!
Extent of the Proposed Destruction Currently there are only seven operating wind farms (utility scale) in the state, yet the plan calls for forty-eight wind farms more wind farms to be constructed. The nameplate capacity of the Proposed & ‘in Construction’ wind farms is over 33,000 MW whilst the current existing wind farm capacity is about 1,000 MW. For every turbine there needs to be an allowance of 200 hectares for each 4.5 MW (source SuperGrid Infrastructure Blueprint’- September 2022). Based on that rate, the land required for 33 GW of wind farms is 1.47 million hectares which is about the same as a quarter of Tasmania.
From Wilderness to Industrial Zones These proposed wind farms will be built in pristine wilderness areas so they will be as close as possible to the main existing 275 kV transmission line that runs all the way up to Cairns. These steep and previously inaccessible areas of the coastal ranges that have escaped 200 years of agriculture will be cleared to make way for the turbines and their access roads. For example, the Chalumbin region, which is a site of importance for Jirrbal cultural history, is now threatened with a major wind farm proposal
Most of the proposed wind farms (North of Gladstone) are located adjacent National Parks, conservation reserves and some in areas previously earmarked to be National Parks. For example, these areas have been identified as the site for the proposed Upper Burdekin wind farm complex and the Chalumbin wind farm.
You can get an idea of the degree of damage caused when you look at the Mount Emerald wind farm which became operational in 2018. The turbines are sited on top or near the top of the range. The turbines for Mt Emerald are small in height compared to the more recent projects and proposals.
Fast-Tracked Environmental Destruction
A major issue with wind farm construction works to date has been the very poor waste management and erosion controls as practised for these site works. A particular runoff concern is the damage it is likely to cause to the Great Barrier Reef. To ensure that the approval process for wind farms has minimal impediments the Queensland government has pushed through a special Act of Parliament (State Code 23: Wind Farm Development) which side steps all prudent Environmental Impact Studies as a part of the approval processes. Wind farms are about the only development in the state that has only a minimal review before wholesale land clearing is approved.
What you can do The proposed Roadmap is just a fuzzy feelgood document that allows for the entire eastern section of Queensland to be opened up for rapid and unchecked land clearing, habitat destruction, erosion and runoff that will put the Great Barrier Reef in danger.
Please email the Queensland Government before 22 September 2023 atREZRoadmap@epw.qld.gov.au to demand a complete rejection of this Roadmap and call for an alternative that has orders of magnitude lower environmental impact.
Using other people’s to offload personal guilt is hardly virtuous, but the wind and solar scam has attracted plenty of guilt-laden oligarchs looking to atone for their (often obscene) wealth doing just that – and using taxpayer-backed subsidies to conjure up all manner of new ‘green’ scams, like ‘green’ hydrogen.
Australia’s Twiggy Forrest, is just another blowhard billionaire eager to squander taxpayer’s money. Forrest made his $billions digging up large parts of Western Australia and shipping it to the Chinese, among others.
Wallowing in a mountain of cash from iron ore sales – at record prices – he’s been targeting the renewable energy scam, with over-the-top plans for the mass production of what eager rent-seekers call ‘green’ hydrogen.
Like every well-connected rent-seeking spiv, he recoils at the thought of staking of his cash on his grand green hydrogen fantasy, instead he’s demanding untold $billions in subsidies for something that he, quite evidently, appreciates will never make a buck on its own.
With that object in mind, Forrest set up Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) a first-rate rent-seeking operation designed to gouge whatever it can from gullible governments, on the (hazy) premise that it will use wind or solar power and turn it into hydrogen gas, something that has never been done at scale and is completely uneconomic, thanks to the laws of physics, especially the immutable rules of thermodynamics.
Closer to home, Forrest’s plans include wiping out thousands of hectares of virgin rainforest and eucalypt woodland in Far North Queensland for exactly the same purpose.
The Australian’s Nick Cater reports on yet another woke-washing scandal.
Twiggy Forrest, Chris Bowen caught in green hydrogen fantasy The Australian Nick Cater 10 April 2023
Whatever plagues Chris Bowen’s mind it is clearly not self-doubt. So it is not unreasonable to assume he stands by his prediction that Australia will be a renewable energy superpower in seven years’ time.
Bowen told the National Press Club in December 2021 that by 2030 thousands of Australians will be employed exporting renewable energy to Asia, via submarine cables and shipping deep-frozen green hydrogen offshore.
Green hydrogen is to renewable energy enthusiasts what gold was to ancient alchemists: the universal panacea that frees the human soul from disease and corruptibility and transports it to a perfect and everlasting state. They believe it holds the key to turning dilute, fickle sources of energy, such as solar and wind, into something vaguely useful.
That is the view of Andrew Forrest, a miner turned born-again renewable energy entrepreneur. Forrest’s company, Squadron Energy, is Australia’s biggest player in weather-dependent renewable energy. He is on record as predicting that renewables could squeeze coal out of the market by the end of the decade. But the real breakthrough will come with the development of green hydrogen, which, he claims, is Australia’s greatest resource.
“To make it, all you need to do is run electricity through water,” he told a Clean Energy Council summit in 2021. Water is the easy part. Generating the eye-watering quantity of electricity needed is a more formidable challenge.
Let’s assume global demand for hydrogen reaches 300Mt by 2050 and that the green energy superpower Australia is going to become produces one-15th of that total, as an influential Deloitte report suggests is possible. That would require about 900TW of electricity, which is roughly 3½ times Australia’s current annual output. The absurdity of the numbers sends green hydrogen into dreamy land even before we confront Forrest’s insistence that we do it with two hands tied behind our back.
For Forrest, the only genuinely green electricity is generated by weather-dependent renewable energy. The Minerals Council canvasses carbon capture and storage as an option but Forrest reckons that would be cheating.
Small modular nuclear reactors are out of the question too. “I just don’t think it’s necessary,” Forrest told Sky News last year. “When you’ve looked at all the renewable energy that we in Australia and the world (have), we have so many thousands of times more energy, which is fully renewable, which uranium isn’t.”
Yet no amount of Forrest’s spin can overcome the iron law of energy density. Coal requires 25 square metres to generate a megawatt of electricity. A modern small modular nuclear reactor requires less than one square metre. A wind turbine plant typically requires more than 2000 square metres per megawatt, which means that even in a country as vast as Australia, the supply of available land is quickly exhausted.
In Queensland, where Squadron Energy is investing billions of dollars, wind and solar developments are being pushed beyond the boundaries of farmland into native scrub. In a rational world, Apple’s announcement last week that it was pulling out of a deal to purchase energy from Squadron’s proposed wind plant in the Upper Burdekin would be the beginning of the end for unreliable renewables.
An environmental assessment, released in December, found that 769 hectares of koala habit would be destroyed if the development goes ahead. It would involve the clearance of 662ha of Sharman’s rock wallaby habitat, 709ha of greater glider habitat and 754ha of habit that provides sanctuary for the red goshawk.
That a wind turbine development should even be considered on such a sensitive site shows how desperate the sector has become. Pushing renewables in such far-flung territory adds considerably to the cost. It requires wide roads to be cut through hillsides and the bulldozing of native tree, plus extra transmission lines.
The sheer weight of minerals needed for the construction of wind and solar plants brings other challenges, as Siemens Energy chief executive Christian Bruch acknowledged. “Never forget, renewables like wind roughly need 10 times the material (compared to) what conventional technologies need,” he said. “If you have problems on the supply chain, it hits wind extremely hard.”
Squadron’s Upper Burdekin development was already looking less profitable after it was forced to reduce the number of turbines from 139 to 80. Add to that the opprobrium foisted upon it by Apple’s withdrawal and the project looks to be in trouble. The kind of hydrogen Forrest is proposing is only green in the sense that it is technologically unripe.
Current international demand is so low as to be effectively non-existent compared to our exports of natural gas and coal. If international demand starts to accelerate, what’s to stop others cornering the market? The competitive advantage will belong to the jurisdiction with the cheapest electricity, and that’s not going to be Australia.
It’s little wonder that many with an eye on the capital markets are wondering if green hydrogen will ever get off the ground. In February, a meeting of federal, state and territory industry ministers called for the 2019 green hydrogen strategy to be “revised and refreshed” in the light of international developments.
President Joe Biden’s absurdly misnamed Inflation Reduction Act offers $US580bn of incentives for green innovation. Guy Debelle, a former Reserve Bank deputy governor, warned that Australia is at risk of being left behind by countries with generous subsidies, lower renewable energy costs and closer access to major industrial markets. He said the government would have to devote at least $15bn in public funds to counter a global hydrogen “subsidy arms race”.
A head somewhat cooler than the one sitting on the shoulders of the federal Energy Minister might conclude that this isn’t a fight Australia needs to be in. It would be better to focus our attention on the green economy games we can win; lithium, for example, where we are the world’s largest exporter; rare earths, where we’re the world’s second-largest producer; or cobalt, where we rank third.
Arriving at that conclusion, however, requires clear strategic thinking, indifferent to headlines and uncontaminated by hype. Policy formation in the 24-hour media cycle rarely happens that way. The Australian
The Greens’ hypocrisy on energy is laid bare by their silence on Twiggy Forrest’s not-so-green wind farm plans Sky News Nick Cater 8 April 2023
Talking the talk on climate change is easy.
Walking the walk is somewhat harder, as Apple has discovered since it embarked on its journey to make its products carbon neutral by 2030.
Last August, Apple struck a deal with Twiggy Forrest’s Squadron Energy to buy 500MW of electricity annually from the yet-to-be-built Upper Burdekin Wind Farm in far north Queensland.
“It’s actually really cool to be able to do it in Australia,” Apple’s vice president of environment, Lisa Jackson, told a Fairfax newspaper.
“Because the country is sort of facing this climate challenge head-on recently. We feel like it’s perfect timing.”
This week we learned that the timing wasn’t so perfect and the deal wasn’t so cool after all when Apple announced it was pulling out.
The supposed clean energy project turns out to be dirtier and meaner to nature than Forrest might have hoped.
The environmental statement for the project paints a devastating picture of the bloodbath that might result from the construction and operation of 80 giant wind turbines in a remote area rich in biodiversity.
The statement released quietly before Christmas warned there would be an “unavoidable significant residual impact” on four endangered species.
It would require the clearance of 662 ha of Sharman’s rock-wallaby habitat, 709 ha of greater glider habitat, and 754 ha of habitat that offers sanctuary to the red goshawk, the most endangered bird of prey in Australia.
And then there is the koala.
The construction of the wind turbine plant would bulldoze 769 hectares of koala habitat, an area three times larger than the Brisbane CBD. No wonder Apple decided to pull out.
It was only a matter of time before the headlong rush for wind and solar collided with the iron law of energy density.
There is no getting around the physics: dilute sources of energy like wind and solar require huge amounts of land.
A modern nuclear small modular reactor requires less than one square metre to produce a megawatt of energy.
Coal-fired generation requires 25 square metres per megawatt. A wind turbine plant typically requires more than 2,000 square metres per megawatt.
Even in a country as vast as Australia, the land bank starts to run low.
Which is why the Victorian government is pushing ahead with offshore wind turbines despite the technical challenges and the estimated $29 billion cost.
It is why the Queensland government is spending $5 billion on a new transmission line to turn remote areas of the state into renewable energy zones.
Upper Burdekin is just one part of a chain of approximately 550 turbines which would stretch for hundreds of kilometres along the Great Dividing Range from the Barron River west of Cairns to Lotus Creek south of Mackay.
Three of the 14 wind plants are already operating and one is under construction. All of them will create significant environmental damage, some within areas of outstanding national beauty.
Of the many well-funded environmental lobby groups in Australia, only one, WWF Australia, has been courageous enough to challenge the green energy mantra and recognise the permanent damage being caused to native wildlife and natural landscapes.
WWF-Australia’s energy transition manager, Cam Crawford, told The Guardian: “We called for the project to be substantially downscaled or relocated to already cleared land with good wind resources. We welcome Apple’s decision this week. It shows leadership and a commitment to renewables that are good for climate and nature.”
There has been silence from the Greens, which seems odd for a party that more than any other has exploited the koala for political ends.
In October last year, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced a Save the Koala Bill into Federal Parliament which would place a moratorium on the destruction of critical koala habitat.
Hanson-Young blamed the villainy of the Morrison government and coal mining companies for the koala’s plight.
Together with the effects of climate change, she claimed, the koala faced extinction within decades.
Hanson-Young said the threat was reason enough to stop the expansion of BHP’s Peak Downs coal mine in Queensland and MACH Energy’s Mount Pleasant coal mine expansion in the upper Hunter Valley once owned by Rio Tinto.
“Stand strong, stand up for the koala,” she urged the Senate in a rousing second reading speech. “Stand up for your conviction and ensure that big companies like BHP cannot continue to make profits off the destruction of koala homes.”
As it happened, neither project carries anything more than a hypothetical risk to koala habitats.
The original EIS for Mount Pleasant recorded no koala sightings nor any sign of koala scats or scratches.
At Upper Burdekin, by contrast, the environmental report sighted several populations whose foraging grounds and shelter face a real and concrete threat from the development of an industrial wind plant.
We need a word far stronger than hypocrisy to describe the Greens’ double standards towards koala protection.
If they were genuinely committed to reducing human impact on the environment, they would denounce the sins of big wind and big solar as loudly as they condemn big coal.
Today’s preening, morally arrogant Greens possess neither the courage nor intellectual honesty of their founding leader Bob Brown who led objections to Tasmania’s giant Robbins Island wind turbine development.
“We have alternatives for renewable energy,” he told the ABC four years ago. “We don’t have alternatives for extinct species of birds.” Sky News
Blinky Bill’s homeland bulldozed to make way for wind turbines.
So far, Scotland’s wind industry has wiped out over 14 million trees, spread over more than 17,000 acres of the Highlands to clear the way for thousands of these industrial monstrosities; and, no, they don’t replant them – any sizeable tree is an impediment to ‘productivity’, as it interferes with airflow and reduces wind speeds, and therefore wind power output. So, once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.
Precisely the same slash-and-burn techniques are being employed in northern Queensland’s dryland tropical forests, in order to make way for thousands of these things. As Federal MP, Nationals Leader David Littleproud points out in this interview with Chris Kenny on Sky News, if the modern environmentalists was serious about saving the environment, she would be promoting nuclear power, like there was no tomorrow.
‘Reckless race’ toward wind renewables is ‘degrading’ the environment Chris Kenny and David Littleproud Sky News 20 March 2023
Those destroying the Queensland bushland for wind farms in the “reckless race” toward renewables are “forgetting the first principle of what they’re trying to do” which is improve the environment, says Nationals Leader David Littleproud.
“What they’re doing is actually degrading the environment,” Mr Littleproud told Sky News host Chris Kenny.
“This isn’t common sense at all when you’re going to have land clearing to the scale that they’re talking about and that’s before you even get to the transmission lines.”
Chris Kenny: Let’s go to Canberra now and catch up with the Nationals leader, David Littleproud of course, who is a senator from Queensland. Thanks for joining us, David. I appreciate your time. Firstly on that, it’s such a paradox to be inflicting environmental damage in the interest of saving the planet supposedly, but is Steven right there? Are their planning controls completely inadequate in Queensland and elsewhere in the country?
David Littleproud: Oh, totally. In this senseless and reckless race towards renewables and about reducing emissions is forgotten the first principle, but what they’re trying to do it is to improve the environment and what they’re doing is actually degrading the environment. This isn’t common sense at all when you’re going to have land clearing to the scale that they’re talking about, and that’s before you even get to the transmission lines. And that’s not just in Queensland, there’s 28,000 kilometres of transmission lines, new transmission lines that have to come in for these renewable energy projects. And, you have to wonder about the social conscience also of these corporates that are undertaking this. Is it more about profit or is it more about what they say it is, about trying to reduce emissions and improve the environment? Because they’re not, you don’t have to go too far south of there also to Yongala where the state government’s going to spend $12 billion in the biggest hydro project in our nation’s history and take out 770 hectares of pristine landscape.
And, you haven’t heard boo from the Greens about the fact that, again, this is probably ecologically, but also engineeringly one of the most challenging projects they’ll ever do and the only thing I’ll have to disagree with Steven on is that it’s not just our natural environments, also our agricultural landscape. I was in Wagga Wagga last week and we are going to see outside the New South Wales government renewable energy zone 1,000 acre… This is a 1,000 acre solar farm that’s going over productive landscape. That’s going to take away food security for Australians and the world by us putting it in place, these solar farms on productive landscape. Now, there is a solution to this. I’m not against us reducing emissions. The Nationals have long held the view that we can use this thing called small scale modular nuclear. We only have to peak over the Pacific. The technology is emerging. We can put in place the small scale modular nuclear technology, particularly where existing coal-fired power stations are and may shut down and we can plug them in without transmission lines.
Chris Kenny: Absolutely.
David Littleproud: And, that’s just common sense and we can protect the environment and keep a productive landscape.
Chris Kenny: It’s a tiny environmental footprint compared to wind and solar as we’re seeing. Apologies, I think when I introduced you, I inadvertently demoted you to a Senator there, David
David Littleproud: Might go there to retire, mate.
A strange story from the Aussie state of Queensland.
Queensland police investigate whether disappearance of elderly woman linked to recycling
Brisbane detectives believe Lesley Trotter has died, and ‘have not ruled out’ potential neighbourhood dispute
Australian Associated Press Fri 7 Apr 2023 14.20 AEST
Queensland police believe an elderly woman who has been missing for 12 days from inner-city Brisbane has died, and are investigating whether her disappearance is linked to her habit of removing recyclable waste from neighbourhood bins.
“Unfortunately, investigations yesterday afternoon and late into the evening, have led us to the conclusion that Mrs Trotter is in fact deceased,” Massingham said on Friday.
More than 40 detectives are probing Trotter’s disappearance, which police said may be linked to recycling practices.
“Mrs Trotter would often go to wheelie bins out the front of her residence or the neighbouring properties and remove recycling trash from general waste bins and transfer those into the correct bins,” Massingham said.
“We have not ruled out that this activity in some way is linked to her death.”
There is still hope Mrs Trotter will be found safe and well. I hope her relatives and friends receive a speedy resolution.
Global warming, climate change, all these things are just a dream come true for politicians. I deal with evidence and not with frightening computer models because the seeker after truth does not put his faith in any consensus. The road to the truth is long and hard, but this is the road we must follow. People who describe the unprecedented comfort and ease of modern life as a climate disaster, in my opinion have no idea what a real problem is.