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Let's have a progressive Port Pirie

In late June 2018 Port Augusta Mayor, Sam Johnson, released a video discussing 13 renewable energy projects with five billion dollars of private investment in the vicinity of the city.

At the same time in the Port Pirie Regional Council area there was, so far as I know, ten million dollars worth of renewable energy development that had Council approval; that is 0.2% as much as at Port Augusta. There could easily have been far more.

Renewable energy is the way of the future. Everyone with an open mind and not serving the fossil fuel industry recognises that. The renewable energy resources in the Port Pirie area are much the same as in the Port Augusta area. They are not being developed because of a council with no vision.

Think of what a difference five billion dollars worth of development would do to employment opportunities and the economy of the Port Pirie region.

This page was written 2018/07/04
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David K. Clarke) – ©
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Snowtown Wind Farm
Wind farm
Photo 2016/10/19
The Port Pirie Council's attitude to environmental matters was put on display when they destroyed remnant roadside vegetation at Crystal Brook in contravention of their own development plan back in mid 2016.

Their restrictive zoning regulations discourage the building of wind farms in areas well suited for the purpose. (See my photo of an area ideally suited for wind power development, but zoned not suitable, on another page on this site.)

Their attitude to renewable energy developments was again displayed when the councillors voted unanimously to oppose the innovative Crystal Brook Energy Park (CBEP), a $350 million project, even after it was modified specifically to fit in with the council's restrictive zoning regulations. (Had it not been for the zoning regulations the CBEP could have been twice the size. Hopefully it will be built in spite of Council's negativity; the decision will be up to state government and Neoen.)

The people of Australia are very much in favour of renewable energy, polling carried out by The Australia Institute found that of the 1420 people surveyed "67% said Australia was moving into renewable energy too slowly, including 35% saying much too slowly". They know we must reduce emissions if we are to limit climate change and ocean acidification.

Renewable energy is growing hugely (elsewhere than Port Pirie)

Renewable energy in Oz
Graph credit: The Australia Institute
The graph on the right was published by The Australia Institute in its Climate and Energy National Energy Emissions Audit of July 2018.

It shows that total renewable energy generation share in Australia has gone from under 7% to nearly 18% in the ten years to the end of June 2018.

Wind power is also undergoing a growth spurt at the time this graph was produced, there were then 18 wind farms with a total of 3.2 GW of installed capacity under construction in Australia. When in operation these wind farms could be expected to increase the amount of wind power generation by 68%.

It seems that the Port Pirie Regional Council wants no part of this entirely positive growth in renewable energy.


Homestead garden area of Bowman Park
Bowman Park is just one of the local assets that will benefit from the $80,000 per year community funding promised by the proposers of Crystal Brook Energy Park
Drone photo, 2018/06/16

Negativity near the proposed Crystal Brook Energy Park can be no more than a partial reason for Pt Pirie Councils opposition to renewable energy.

In the vicinity of the Crystal Brook Energy Park there are one or a few renewable energy opponents who want to win at any cost and have frightened decent people by spreading fiction about wind turbines. It seems that the Council has listened to them, but Council's opposition to renewable energy seems to go much deeper and further back than the CBEP.

So I must admit that,

  • considering the popularity of renewable energy in the general population,
  • considering the urgency to act on climate change, ocean acidification and related problems,
  • considering the need for additional employment opportunities in the region and
  • considering the huge potential for renewable energy developments in the region as demonstrated by Port Augusta,
I find the Port Pirie Council's reluctance to support renewable energy very surprising.

Why the negativity to CBEP is unjustified

I have studied wind farms for more than the 15 years that they have been in South Australia. I've taken the trouble to sleep under operating wind turbines many times and had a good night's sleep every time. You will only hear wind turbines from a distance of two or more kilometres under ideal circumstances; if there is wind in nearby trees or if there is a car travelling at highway speed within a couple of kilometres these sounds will drown to the quiet swishing sound of the turbines.

Motor vehicles make much more noise than wind turbines, especially those with modified exhaust systems. On the other hand, manufacturers of wind turbines make them as quiet as possible. How many of the wind turbine opponents who complain about the noise that will come from a proposed wind farm have complained about the (often quite unnecessary) noise from motor vehicles?

If the opponents of Crystal Brook Energy Park, including Pt Pirie Council, manage to stop the development, they will be able to tell their grandchildren that their efforts increased the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere by 600,000 tonnes per year more than it needed to be. And they’ll be able to say they did it by deceit, misinformation, exaggeration and downright lies.

I would hate to have something like that on my conscience.

I have written about why I support the CBEP, and why everyone else should, elsewhere on this site.

Council elections are coming up

Since the existing council is refusing to support the renewable energy that most Australians strongly support and the world desperately needs and all the existing councillors voted against the innovative and valuable Crystal Brook Energy Park I suggest removing all of them at the next election.

Let's have new councillors and a Progressive Port Pirie.

The existing councillors (as of July 2018) are:

  • Devlin, Debra
  • Gadaleta, Dino
  • Hopgood, Michael
  • Jackson, Kendall
  • Johnson, Darryl
  • Paparella, Joseph
  • Rohde, John
  • Stephens, Leon
  • Wilson, Neville
  • Zubrinich, Alan

Related pages


Ecosystems across Australia are collapsing under climate change; The Conversation

On this site

Selfishness or altruism?
Wind energy opposition
Dishonestly opposing renewable energy is a crime against humanity
Selfishness or altruism?
The Abbott and Turnbull Governments
A green or a black future?
Northern South Australia's renewables
A tale of two cities and sundry towns
Why support wind power
Wind power in SA
Crystal Brook Energy Park supporters
A letter to my great-grandchildren


Renewable energy in Australia
Northern South Australia – leading Australia in renewable energy

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