Australia’s Green Energy Dream Sinking Under Royalty Demands, Tradie Shortages

Essay by Eric Worrall

Was this in the budget? Australian Aboriginals have joined farmers in demanding cash payouts or royalties for renewable energy installations which impact their land.

‘Don’t make the same mistake’: Traditional Owners’ warning over renewable projects on Aboriginal land

First Nations experts and Traditional Owners say the federal government must properly consult and share benefits with Aboriginal people in the development of the new green economy.

Published 20 November 2022 at 6:45am
By Tom Canetti


  • Indigenous climate activists have protested at COP27.
  • First Nations people in Australia say they aren’t consulted on fossil fuel mining projects on their land.
  • They say this is a mistake Australia can’t make in the renewables transition.

Traditional Owners and Aboriginal sustainability experts have warned the Australian government against making the same “mistake” it did with fossil fuel mining, and to properly consult First Nations leaders before developing renewable energy projects on their land.

It came as Indigenous activists from across the planet called on governments to respect First Nations’ land rights during 

Experts say coal and gas projects, which have received bipartisan support from Australian governments, have gone ahead on Aboriginal land without their approval and without equal sharing of benefits.

 and an influx of investment into renewable projects, Dr Heidi Norman, convener of the Indigenous Land and Justice Research Hub, told SBS News that now is the “best opportunity for Australia to rethink its relationship with Aboriginal people”.

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A few weeks ago farmers reached an agreement to be paid $200,000 per km ($320,000 / mile) for green energy grid lines which cross their land, on the grounds that the new lines are a fire hazard – fire fighting helicopters refuse to approach power lines, for obvious reasons.

Australia is facing a severe skills shortage – there aren’t enough electricians to implement the green revolution AND service Australia’s ongoing mining projects.

On top of this, greens have started demanding energy storage targets, to address obvious problems with their green energy revolution.

In every direction people are demanding cash payouts, with substantial justification – Aboriginals, because they don’t want to be exploited without compensation, farmers, to cover loss of land use and increased fire risk, and greens, to address the obvious need for energy storage to back the unreliables.

Something tells me Prime Minister Albanese’s green revolution is either going to suffer a gigantic cost blowout, or die a death of a thousand cuts.

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Ed Reid
November 20, 2022 2:07 pm

The energy storage issue could be resolved by requiring that all new intermittent renewable projects include sufficient storage to render them dispatchable, and that all existing installations install such storage. A return to economic dispatch would also help once renewables are dispatchable.

Reply to  Ed Reid
November 20, 2022 2:23 pm

… except for the fact that it is not yet possible, using existing technology, to include (or add) sufficient storage to render them dispatchable. Line losses in the transmission lines to/from storage facilities would further reduce the already woefully inadequate power available.

Tom Halla
Reply to  JamesB_684
November 20, 2022 2:29 pm

Grid scale storage is defacto vaporware. As far as I know, the largest bettery installation will support the grid for minutes, not days.

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 20, 2022 6:36 pm

Yes. They make their money by getting revenue for being in ‘standby mode’ to smooth out sudden changes in frequency or voltage due to glitches in the regular generators

Reply to  Duker
November 21, 2022 10:35 am

They make their money by getting the government to guarantee the grid must use their “energy” and pay excessive rates for the output.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  JamesB_684
November 20, 2022 2:31 pm

Which is why the proposed requirement is clever. It would mean no more ruinable renewables.

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  JamesB_684
November 20, 2022 3:18 pm

And this is not my problem, nor yours, nor anybody’s except those who wish to be paid for providing power to the grid.

Nick Stokes
November 20, 2022 2:14 pm

“A few weeks ago farmers reached an agreement to be paid $200,000 per km ($320,000 / mile) for green energy grid lines which cross their land, on the grounds that the new lines are a fire hazard”

It isn’t anything to do with fire hazard. Farmers have always received compensation when grid lines cross their land. Greens didn’t invent power lines.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 20, 2022 2:32 pm

Argue the toss with The Guardian, Nick.
Here’s what their linked article says –

“[Aerial firefighting craft] can’t fly anywhere near them – they’re just too dangerous. Firefighters can’t even work near them if they’re switched on,” Katz said.

The community also had concerns the towers themselves could cause fires, citing the Dixie Fire, the second-largest fire in California history, which was caused by a transmission line igniting a tree.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Mr.
November 20, 2022 2:56 pm

Here’s what their linked article says”
Yes. It quotes an objector to the power lines complaining about fire risk. Nowhere does it say that the $200 per m is linked to fire risk. And it isn’t. It just codifies the normal compensation which has always been paid to farmers.

Again, there is nothing new about building power links across farming land.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 20, 2022 3:15 pm

Nobody said there was anything new in building powerline links across anybody’s land. Compensation is usually paid to a landowner for any type easement required. In many instances the compensation, decided by the government, is woefully inadequate.
The fact is that farmers are being paid $200k/km in this case which is probably not much in the scheme of things but substantial by any reasonable taxpayer’s reckoning.
Another fact is that they are a potential fire danger as was the case in California, and a further fact is that they are a danger to all low flying aircraft, especially mustering helicopters and fire bombers.
I have watched them building transmission lines in the area of Miles in Queensland using helicopters to thread the transmission lines … quite an operation.

Reply to  Streetcred
November 20, 2022 6:43 pm

Its $10k per km , over 20 years. The California fire and similar has happened in Australia, wasnt caused by a major HVAC or DC going down. Its was more your local distribution network lines and even then its roughly 2.5% of all bush fires for Australia.
Whats happening is in days of extreme fire danger in rural areas and high winds forecast they are cutting power to the local lines at high risk. Of course that affects consumers too.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 20, 2022 3:18 pm

You don’t think that in their submission to justify the level of compensation, one topic the farmers would have included would have been “fire risk”?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Mr.
November 20, 2022 3:27 pm

“You don’t think that in their submission to justify the level of compensation, one topic the farmers would have included would have been “fire risk”?”

Well, they might have. They might have mentioned how un Ukraine power lines became military targets. They might have mentioned how in SA they blow over, becoming a hazard to sheep.

Speculation is wonderful.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 20, 2022 4:00 pm

“Speculation is wonderful.”

Not so fast. CAGW is all speculation.

Martin Brumby
Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 20, 2022 4:24 pm

I understand you saying that, Nick.

After all, you have based a successful, if mendacious career, on just that.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 21, 2022 8:46 am

Here in the U.S. HVAC transmission lines requires that access be maintained throughout the path for vehicle traffic. That is for construction, repair, and fire fighting. If a farmer decides to utilize that are for crops, he also accepts that they may be driven over and destroyed.

The settlements are usually designed to pay recompense for lost production and “renting” the land for another purpose other than farming. Personal property you know! The OWNER of the land does deserve payment when another entity wants to use it.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
November 22, 2022 2:24 am

hmm I m,ight have a go at powercorp then I have ugly poles on my land and zero compensation but I do get charged supply..and the lines mean access and treetrims wether i approve or not Vic claims of underground power are farcical yeah they force the cost of a trench FROM the ugly pole to the home..the rest? is all wood or metal poles and the woode ones DO fall over. best fire in the area till thi summer was a powerpole in a paddock

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 20, 2022 3:55 pm

Eric, you said that the compensation is to be paid “on the grounds that the new lines are a fire hazard“. There is just nothing to support that.

The Guardian didn’t say it was a concern for the farmers. It said it was a concern of “Michael Katz, who lives in the tiny town of Gurrundah“.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 21, 2022 8:52 am

Does Australia have personal property and ownership? If so it doesn’t really matter what the payments are for does it! The owner of the land should be reimbursed by the entity requesting the use of the land if the owner so desires.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Jim Gorman
November 21, 2022 11:07 am

So what do you think the $200,000/km is for?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 20, 2022 4:04 pm

There’s no point arguing with Nickpick, Eric.
He has his dogma, and as we’ve witnessed over many a post, no amount of evidence to the contrary will fracture his belief in the sanctity of wind & solar.

Reply to  Mr.
November 20, 2022 6:45 pm

He hasnt mentioned wind or solar here . Just that major grid lines easements have always been paid to those whose land they pass over.
The rest of the locals complaints is just nimbyism, they dont want new lines in their area.

Reply to  Duker
November 21, 2022 10:44 am


The new lines are NOT for stable dispatchable power generation facilities. They are for wind and solar which require vast areas for installation and much greater lengths of transmission lines to connect to the “grid”.

The point is that since unreliable generation capacity is totally unnecessary, these new expenses are a total waste of ratepayers funds. Any land taken out of production for ANY other use due to their construction is a waste of natural resources, farmer’s resources, and destructive to “THE ENVIROMENT”.

Reply to  Duker
November 22, 2022 2:26 am

vic govt n power cos spent billions on “goldplated grid” when Id moved here 07 and onward
couple yrs later greenscams and oh oh we need more lines

Reply to  Mr.
November 21, 2022 2:33 am

The issue is whether or not the article in The Guardian stated that the level of compensation included an element related to fire hazard. It’s got nothing to do with dogma. Did the article say something or did it not? So far I think Nick has the stronger case for what the article says.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 21, 2022 5:57 pm

The issue (apart from the horrendous cost of storage) is it’s just another real cost of the spaghetti and meatballs grid for unreliables changing from large hub and spoke transmission with fossil fuels. Just another true cost the unreliables spruikers prefer to lie about due to the energy diluteness of solar and wind but eventually it can’t be hidden in our power bills. It’s a true hockey stick of rising costs with increasing renewables penetration unlike the scam tree ring one but no doubt all fair game for the usual tricksters.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 20, 2022 2:38 pm

That is a ludicrous level of compensation!

How wide is the ROW or land impairment? A mile of lines with a 100′ impairment is 12 acres. No way agricultural land in Oz is worth $26,000/acre (US $).

Any of our Aussie’s know the value of 5 hectares? (Especially when you get to own and still use the land!)

The Green Energy scam continues unabated!

Nick Stokes
Reply to  pillageidiot
November 20, 2022 3:06 pm

For Snowy 2.0 the easement was 140 m wide. So about $5600/acre.

Reply to  pillageidiot
November 20, 2022 3:17 pm

It is the only way to get farmers to co-operate with them. Taxpayer and consumer pays.

old cocky
Reply to  pillageidiot
November 21, 2022 12:31 pm

According to the link that Jim Gorman provided below, the easement is 2 chains wide (about the same as a standard roadway easement), so 16 acres per mile at $20,000 / acre.
Depending on whether the land is farmed or grazed, this may then need to be fenced. 2 furlongs (both sides of the easement) of 6-strand fence + a new gate either end isn’t cheap.

Still, it’s pretty good money for most agricultural land away from urban fringes. I assume it’s throwing money at people to avoid backlash and delays.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 20, 2022 5:29 pm

How else is the Magic Unicorn Fart generation supposed to travel from where it can be produced to where it is needed to be used?
I suppose they could foot the additional cost to place the transmission lines UNDERGROUND then the only fires started is from when the Ruinable Generation FAILS.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Bryan A
November 20, 2022 11:11 pm

supposed to travel from where it can be produced to where it is needed to be used?”
Most energy is transported somehow to where it is used. Coal on railway lines, hydrocarbons in pipelines. Wires are not so troublesome.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 21, 2022 10:57 am

But the point is these NEW transmission lines for unreliable generation are TOTALLY unnecessary.

AND they are an expensive non-necessity that takes productive land out of productive use.

AND they will be useless once the unreliable generation facilities are no longer producing subsidies that are the only things that make them profitable.

AND why do you hate poor people so much Nick? ALL expenses to SOCIETY based of the ACGW B$ financially injure the poor the most.

November 20, 2022 3:19 pm

The early aborigines, like their white settled friends, had next to no understanding of coal mining and absolutely none about transmission lines and towers in the 1780s era. We grew together to understand these modern developments. Why should one of these groups want to be apart from the other? There is now windfall benefit to both, independent of birth origins.
The concept of aboriginal land title in Australia causes more problems than it solves. It should be revisited. There is nothing in the history of the land that allows a court to grant or not grant title here or there, but the (faulty) current law requires judges to decide. Granting has been mostly based on pressure group strength. Why land? Because the natives had nothing else for negotiation and reparation, so early whitey lawyers invented land title concepts for them. One of the bigger, predictable outcomes has been the use of aboriginal protest to halt mining, including gross payments for permission to mine, seen by some as naked extortion.
Now they want to raise higher barriers against mining which makes no sense when all Australians benefit hugely from mining, in many ways. Talk of eating the goose that lays the golden egg!
The best way for genuine aborigines (there are not many) to enter the future is to become ordinary Australians and forget dreamy ideas about primitive customs and lifestyles, that were steadily becoming forgotten for decades after first settlement until academic anthropologists invented and publicised them about the 1950 era.
Aboriginal history is like plastics, synthetic, easy to recycle and hard to dispose of.
Geoff S

Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 21, 2022 12:32 pm

Eric, I saw how at least one particular group acted (hint: the main TO group in the area around Mt Isa) and the grift – yes, grift – of payoffs is harmful both ways IMHO: they are a conquered and pacified indigenous people no different from any other, but it is a modern Western convention to treat them like wards of the State instead of blending them into the general population to a degree and then letting them get on with their lives.

If you want a fairly good representation of the mess that is modern TO policy in Australia, the movie “Charlie’s Country” (2013) illustrates it well.

November 20, 2022 3:50 pm

Australia is less than 1/3rd of 1% of global population. Oz’s entire population totals about 1/3rd of the global annual increase in 2020.

Nothing Oz does or does not do is large enough to show up on a pie chart, for climate or for anything else. For worrying about their effect on climate change, Australia has become the joke from “Crocodile Dundee” about two fleas arguing over which one owns the dog.

November 20, 2022 4:45 pm

In the UK the government collects around 900 million GB pounds a year from leasing the seabed to offshore wind companies – not hard to see why they love “green” energy so much!

old cocky
November 20, 2022 4:59 pm

Experts say coal and gas projects, which have received bipartisan support from Australian governments, have gone ahead on Aboriginal land without their approval and without equal sharing of benefits.

For better or worse, mineral rights are held by the State governments (or Federal government for Territories), so landholders don’t have any upside. Coal and gas (and bauxite, and iron ore, and…) projects go ahead on leasehold and freehold land as well. Those landholders don’t share the benefits equally, either.
It does appear that at least there is decent “shut up” money being paid in some places for power line easements. Oddly enough, there is a NSW state election coming up soon, which must just be a remarkable coincidence.
November 20, 2022 5:35 pm

A story about Australia, yet the money shown in the picture is not Australian.

Reply to
November 20, 2022 7:52 pm

Sheesh. That’s better nickpicking than old mate Nick does.

November 20, 2022 5:35 pm

Simple solution: Those requested to provide the funds for this scam need to demand acceptable proof that their actions have caused damage. Then those providers will use their best efforts to oppose the “logic” of the scamsters, despite earlier having supported that nonsense! Just the sort of dispute which should have been settled in a law court years ago!

November 20, 2022 5:56 pm

Green moss and toxic sludge with a blight factor.

November 22, 2022 2:16 am

exploited without compensation? aboriginals get rather LARGE payouts on the areas theyve claimed. not in nat parks etc or crown land..neither does anyone else for that land use
might bite em in the butt soon if they keep trying to diss mining co its the only cash cow they have.
adrew wilkies bleating hes got secret info that someone lied our coals 2% dirtier
oh FFS but abc are all over it like flies on poop of coure

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