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Australia: NSW wind farm defies high-profile critics

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  Snow, hail expected as fire danger period starts and summer is days away The summer fire danger period starts in parts of Victoria today, while in other parts of the state rain, hail and perhaps even snow is on the cards.Although summer will start next week, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Ilana Cherny said snow was anticipated on the state’s Alpine Peaks, possibly near the Grampians and there was a chance of a “flurry in the Yarra Ranges” on Monday.

Australia's green bank says it will be needed more than ever to help overhaul the electricity grid.

The Collector Wind Farm in NSW is the largest wind farm RATCH-Australia has built in this country. © Marion Rae/AAP PHOTOS The Collector Wind Farm in NSW is the largest wind farm RATCH-Australia has built in this country.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has invested $1.5 billion in wind farms over the past 10 years, including one off the Hume Highway near Canberra that was officially opened on Tuesday.

"Our role continues to evolve as a renewable energy financier," CEFC chief executive Ian Learmonth said at the opening ceremony.

"We're needed, maybe more than ever, as we try to reach, as a country, 82 per cent renewables by 2030.

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"That's a big task, and needs the leadership of many."

The Collector Wind Farm, backed by supply deals with Aldi supermarkets and energy utility Iberdrola, is the largest wind farm RATCH-Australia has built in this country.

The green energy from Collector is expected to save 320,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, or the equivalent of taking 120,000 combustion engine cars off the road, by displacing coal-fired power.

The 226.8 megawatt project was once slammed by local Liberal MP Angus Taylor, a former federal energy minister, as being part of an "economically unviable" industry that relied on massive subsidies.

Granted permission by energy market operators last year to become fully operational, the 54 Vestas turbines can produce enough to power 80,000 homes.

Rare Furphy water tank from 1930s sells for $65,300 after sitting on Beechworth farm for 30 years

  Rare Furphy water tank from 1930s sells for $65,300 after sitting on Beechworth farm for 30 years The tank and cart that sat on Chris and Karen Bartsh's Victorian farm in Beechworth for 30 years sold for a record price at an online clearing sale in the state's north east on Tuesday.The Furphy-branded tank and cart that sat on Chris and Karen Bartsh's Victorian farm in Beechworth for 30 years sold for the record price at an online clearing sale in the state's north east on Tuesday.

The wind farm employed more than 150 people during construction and is now managed by 10 full-time staff.

But the project near Lake George in NSW was scaled back from an initial proposal for 63 turbines after local opposition led by Friends of Collector founders Rodd Pahl and Tony Hodgson, who were concerned it would damage their view and health.

Other landowners say they are "drinking silver" from the revenue stream, and they don't mind the view.

"It's like watching fish in a fish tank," farmer Ron Ryan told AAP.

The CEFC helped the project get off the ground as its first lender, and remains an important partner for RATCH-Australia.

As sole debt financier in 2019, the CEFC backed the wind farm before it secured energy off-take contracts.

Other banks have since provided financing, which frees up capital for the corporation to back new renewable projects.

Mr Learmonth said it was another example of their "bridge to contracting" finance strategy, which involves taking a calculated risk on a worthy project.

The Victorian Liberals say the state's debt is larger than any other state and larger than NSW, Queensland and Tasmania combined. Is that correct?

  The Victorian Liberals say the state's debt is larger than any other state and larger than NSW, Queensland and Tasmania combined. Is that correct? Victoria's Shadow Treasurer David Davis and the Liberal Party say Victoria's debt is larger than Queensland, NSW and Tasmania combined. RMIT ABC Fact Check runs the numbers. The verdictMr Davis's claim is gilding the lily. So are similar claims from Mr Guy, Mr Bach and the Liberal Party organisation.It's important to note that Victoria's net debt in June 2022 was $99.98 billion.It is not yet the $165.9 billion it is projected to be in June 2026, despite Liberal Party claims it has already "blown out" to similar magnitudes and Mr Davis's claim that it will reach that level by 2025.

"It takes brave and innovative investors like RATCH to build out a project like this," he said.

"Now they can see the fruits of their labour because nearly 80 per cent of the power has been contracted to Aldi and to Iberdrola Group."

Ross Rolfe, executive chair at Iberdrola Australia, said the Collector Wind Farm saw project developers work closely with them to provide customers with competitively priced green electricity, and help accelerate the renewable energy transition.

Aldi Australia spokesman Daniel Baker said the power purchase agreements meant Aldi will become the first supermarket in the country to have all stores, warehouses and offices powered using only renewable electricity sources.

Backed by CEFC and international lenders, RATCH-Australia is also building the Mount Emerald Wind Farm in far north Queensland and Collinsville Solar Farm in central Queensland.

Germany's homegrown cannabis industry awaits legalisation .
In the east German countryside, close to Dresden, a former abattoir is now home to the biggest indoor cannabis farm in Europe. Sanity Group, a German company that focuses on cannabis-derived products, likewise raised $37.6 million in September. Legalisation looks like a good deal for the government, too. The same study from Heinrich Heine University estimated the move would boost the public finances by 4.7 billion euros per year.But the idea remains controversial. At the end of October, Klaus Reinhardt, the head of the German Medical Association, called the plans "almost cynical".

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