Backpage: The last word in wind - May

WORLDWIDE: Wind gets the Scandi-noir treatment; plus Leonardo diCaprio on climate change; and Australian energy, academia and A$3.3 million.

Drama wind CEO… Charismatic and unscrupulous (pic:dr.dk)
Drama wind CEO… Charismatic and unscrupulous (pic:dr.dk)

Wind gets the Scandi-noir treatment

You know an industry has reached established status when it provides the setting for a crime thriller TV serial. But who would have guessed Denmark's wind power business could be quite as murky as portrayed in the ten-part Bedrag (deception) or in English Follow the Money, aired across Europe this year?

From a slow start — " a sub-contractor has not been meeting our safety standards" — it gathered pace when the action moved into the board and bedrooms. At the centre was the charismatic but unscrupulous wind developer CEO, backed up by a corrupt CFO, a young, beautiful and ambitious chief legal officer, and a mysterious bearded henchman with a silenced pistol to be called upon when peaceful methods of persuasion had been exhausted. Which was quite often.

Ranged against the wind villains was the veteran police investigator with the obligatory complicated private life and a cavalier attitude to procedure and red tape. And mixed-up in all this were a couple of car thieves, whose latest acquisition came with a large bag stuffed full of euros.

No spoilers here, but let's just say several of those characters will not be available should the creators be planning a sequel.

CELEBRITY QUOTE ON CLIMATE CHANGE

"It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to ... support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity"

Leonardo diCaprio, Oscars acceptance speech


Australian energy, academia and A$3.3m

In February 2015, Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) told the anti-renewables federal government something it really didn't want to hear: that there was "no consistent evidence that wind farms cause adverse health effects in humans".

The NHMRC sweetened the pill by suggesting that some more high-quality research would not go amiss. This provided the needle hole through which the federal administration promptly and predictably drove a fleet of diesel-powered, coal-hauling trucks in "Climate Change is a hoax" livery.

The NHMRC has now awarded A$3.3 million (US$2.6 million) to two research professors - a sleep specialist and an epidemiologist - to investigate if proximity (within 1,500 metres) to wind turbines causes illness. They have five years.

Two senators from the 78-strong upper chamber called for a moratorium on wind development until the research is finished. "We have a new industry operating infrastructure that some people say is making them sick. There is insufficient research of the type needed to determine the validity of their claims," said one.

In other news: a University of Technology, Sydney, report argues that Australia could not only achieve 100% of renewable energy by 2050, but would save money by doing so.

FIGURES AND FACTS

13  The total number of airtime minutes devoted to climate-change news by leading US TV network ABC during the whole of 2015. Rival networks CBS and NBC managed 45 minutes and 50 minutes respectively (Media Matters for America)

$6.3bn The debts of Peabody Energy, the world's largest private coal-mining company, which filed for bankruptcy in the US on 13 April

$53.1bn Global clean-energy investment in Q1 2016, down 12% on the same period in 2015, which is largely attributed to a slowdown in China (BNEF)

12 The number of rotor blades on Vestas' multi-rotor concept wind turbine, now being installed in Denmark

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