YARRAM - PORT ALBERT
DEVON NORTH near YARRAM
EXTERNAL LINKED DOCUMENTS
of the POLICY AND PLANNING GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPMENT OF WIND ENERGY
FACILITIES IN AUSTRALIA
GOVERNMENT POLICY AND PLANNING GUIDELINES FOR WINDFARMS
OF SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENT - website
RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET REVIEW
into employment in the environment sector
RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET REVIEW
THE DARMSTADT MANIFESTO
INTERNAL LINKED DOCUMENTS
IAN TUCK REPORT
PROPOSED GLENTHOMPSON WINDFARM
This excellent letter summarises the thoughts of another neighbouring family who are now facing the prospect of a large winfarm near their property. It serves to demonstrate the common concerns of other neighbours, that is, thos of us who oppose the Devon North windfarm, several hundred kilometres away. This is original thought from th Prasser family who, until now, have had no contact with the Devon North coalition.
We were invited by the Promoter of the above wind factory to participate in their proposed development on the Caramut Road, 3 kilometres south of Glenthompson. Some people have expressed the view that "people who have issues with wind farms are likely to be those who did not have the opportunity to participate". This is a misguided view. We were invited and chose not to participate for the following reasons:
It's a secret. If you want to participate, you must sign a confidentiality agreement with the Promoter and agree not to talk to anyone about your involvement. Why would this be? Well, let's guess! Could it be that the Promoter wants to keep all of the neighbours from talking to each other? Who stands to gain from the secrecy and can take advantage of it. Why can't it be an open and transparent dealing?
You receive $1,000 from the Promoter. For this fee, you give the Promoter/Operator unlimited right of access to your property to do whatever they like in respect of wind farms. That's right! Unlimited.
The Promoter or the Operator can enter your property 24 hours, 7 days a week, at their will. That's right, they have unlimited access to your property because you have leased it to them for some 30 years to do as they might in respect of wind towers and infrastructure.
The Promoter or the Operator have the right to install as many wind towers on you property as they wish, where ever they wish. You have little say in this. Sure, they will talk to you about it, but in the end, you have signed your rights over to them and while they say they will be cooperative, their goal is to install the towers in sites on your property that make the best of the prevailing wind.
They will build roads around your property so they can service the wind towers. Once again this is their right, because you have leased your property to them for the purpose of building a wind farm and now they have the right to build service infrastructure, run underground cables and whatever else is necessary. They will service the roads, but there is nothing in the agreement to cover any associated erosion or degradation that results away from the road from water runoff.
Landcare and the environment. If you want to plant any trees within 50 - 100 metres of the wind turbines, you have to submit a plan to the Promoter/Operator to seek their permission. Yes, it's in the agreement. You are not even allowed the freedom to revegetate your property without getting approval. So much for greening Australia and caring for the wildlife and environment.
They will install huge concrete pads on which to place the towers. They never have to remove these (because it's in the agreement). These huge pads will be there for eternity and there is nothing you can do about it. These towers are much larger than the light towers at the MCG of which the foundations consist of 4 reinforced concrete piers, which are set down in depth up to 12 metres. Each of the hollow tubular steel towers at the MCG contains about 130 tonnes of steel. The wind towers will be much larger than this and so will their foundations.
The towers will be obsolete in 30 years. The Promoters agree to remove the towers at the end of their life, which is quoted as 30 years, but the Promoter will on-sell the wind farm to a group of investors, probably from overseas, who will not want to incur the expense of removing the towers. Therefore, there is no guarantee that these aging pieces of equipment will ever be removed. The factory could be sold many times in its life cycle. In the USA, obsolete wind turbines have been abandoned.
The Towers and blades are 120 metres tall. This compares to a 35 - 40 story building. As a comparison, the 6 light towers at the MCG are 75 metres high (equivalent to a 24 story building). These wind towers are very big. Additionally, a fact that is not widely publicised is that the Promoters can, and probably will, install much taller towers than are in place at other wind farms in Victoria.
There is no fire safety plan. Wind towers overseas have ignited fires. Probably not early in their life, but as they age will wear and drop oil onto the ground. They are turbines, generating electricity and sparks. We all receive notices from the electricity company warning us about overhead power lines. Consider the fire danger from 40 or more wind turbines compared to power lines.
We will lose our view and our farm life style will be impacted. Much has been written about this subject and I could continue to write for many pages. The noise, sun reflection, shadows, sharing our property with the Operators (at their will), and so on. Not a pleasant thought.
Return from the wind factory. The Promoter advised us that we would receive around $3,000 per tower for a total of 5 towers. This means we would receive a base payment of around $15,000 pa. We might receive more if it was a windy season, the towers worked well and the electricity companies bought our power, but there is no guarantee of higher returns from the Promoter. So we are able to lease our land for $15,000 pa. Does this sound like a good deal?
Selling your property. Any prospective buyer has to accept all of the terms and conditions imposed by the Promoter/Operator, who now has a covenant on your property. This means that ultimately, the Promoter/Operator has to approve the sale of your property. You are not even free to sell your own property!
Value of the property. The Promoter will not talk to you about the impact of the wind turbines on the value of your property. You have read the above, so you can probably figure it out. If your farm has become a wind factory, the purchaser will be someone that wants to invest in wind factories and the financial return will drive the price. If you are trying to sell to someone who is hoping to purchase a pretty country property with a pleasant outlook, then you are probably out of luck.
The role of a wind farm Promoter is much like any other promoter. They put a deal together, get all parties to the table to agree to the deal, they then sell off the deal and their reward is normally a nice fat profit margin or bonus.
After the sale happens, the people of Victoria are left with all of the outcomes, both good and/or bad. Consider that the buyers of most of Victoria's electricity assets are overseas companies, not Australian companies.
These are the reasons we chose not to sign our rights away. Do you blame us?
Peter & Judy Prasser
** Added notes from the CRDN
BLOWIN' IN THE WIND
We need renewable energy sources, but the answer's not blowin' in the wind, writes Geoff Strong.
SINCE Europeans began squeezing
out Australia's riches, a magic-pudding mythology has wormed into our folklore.
It's part of a fantasy that the land and its
It probably explains how
we are lulled by some of the claims of alternative energy. How often do
we hear the mantra, particularly from politicians, "clean, green and totally
Wind farms are now the renewable energy source of choice, largely because they are a tested off-the-shelf technology that generates electricity. They are particularly attractive to big investors, such as union superannuation funds wanting to demonstrate that their investments are ethical.
Also they appeal to astute merchant banks that detect a public willing to pay more for an energy source they believe helps the environment, particularly with rules guaranteeing that any power generated will be bought.
For politicians, turbines are big and visible — tangible proof to a worried public that something is being done about human-induced global warming, a problem few people fully understand. Thus Victoria recently announced a wind industry free kick with a new policy to increase the number in the state.
Equally few people seem to understand electricity generation and the grid that distributes it. Some think power is stored in a giant battery down in the Latrobe Valley. Others (including some cabinet ministers), seem to think the system is like a lake into which energy produced can just be poured. In reality, it is more like the vascular system of an animal: inputs and pulse must be carefully regulated or things will go wrong.
Electric energy is one of the foundations of the civilisation we probably take for granted. In Australia, the economy underpinning that civilisation relies on electricitybeing fairly cheap. We have little else, such as low wages, to keep industries lik e manufacturing here. What sort of an economy would we have with Chinese rates of pay?
But do technologies such as wind really work and answer our clean energy needs? A decade ago, I was one of the wind-farm faithful, but after closer examination I have become an apostate. Global warming is real and the biggest threat to our planet and species. My main concern about wind farms is that they lull many into thinking something effective is being done, when I suspect it is not.
For starters, wind farms generate for only about 20 to 30 per cent of the time and it is only by chance that any power is generated when it is needed. Take the recent experience of the merchant bank spin-off Babcock and Brown Wind Partners. With 19 wind farms on three continents, the company has faced a $10 million profit downgrade because the recent heatwave in Spain and Germany led to "still wind". In other words, it did not blow when consumers wanted air-conditioning.
Australia's electricity supply on our east coast is managed by the National Electricity Market Management Company. It is charged with meeting demand with supply at the most economical price. In any power system, electricity comes from two forms, baseload and peak. The first are the big power stations that produce bulk electricity — in our state from brown coal, while nuclear power is touted as a greenhouse-friendly alternative.
Peak power usually comes from hydro or gas — more expensive, more environmentally friendly but able to be stopped and started according to demand.
Where does wind come in? In a sense it doesn't, because NEMMCO does not count it as power generation, because it can't be called up like other forms. Rather, it is classified as a drop in demand. As well, wind does not normally displace coal power, it displaces the more environmentally sound but expensive generators such as hydro-electricity and gas.
In addition, because of its unreliability wind has to be backed up to 90 per cent of its claimed capacity by other forms of generators. Also, the output is relatively low per dollar spent. The State Government has a report it won't release that sources have said confirms this.
Victoria's biggest power station, Loy Yang A, produces 2000 megawatts. The average wind turbine produces about one megawatt in ideal wind conditions. Imagine the area of the state that would need to be covered in turbines to replace the 6395 megawatts we get from coal. Don't forget to back it up about 90 per cent for reliability.
There are, however, alternative energies with baseload prospects such as using steam from underground hot rocks to power generators. Another intriguing project is the 500-megawatt solar tower, proposed for near Mildura, where a huge greenhouse would generate hot air to be sucked up a 500-metre- high tube, turning embedded wind turbines. The company behind it, EnviroMission, claims this also offers the renewable holy grail of being able to store energy, in this case in the heated ground.
While hard reality means clean energy might not be blowing in the wind, it might well be in the updraft.
Geoff Strong is a senior staff writer.(The Age)
THE WEEKLY TIMES, July 5, 2006
WIND INDUSTRY ‘IMMORAL'
By David Mckenzie and Paul Sellars.
Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran has branded the wind energy industry "immoral" for slashing land values and not paying proper compensation. In a strong attack, Mr McGauran has also accused the fledgling industry of exaggerating its energy credentials and using government subsidies to build massive wind farms in regional Australia.
"Someone has to blow the whistle on this industry," Mr McGauran told The Weekly Times. The worst aspect of wind turbines was that they' 'immorally devalued' adjoining property values and ‘devastated' the landscape, he said. . Mr McGauran said it was "immoral for wind fanns to be distorting neighbouring property values without compelling reasons that they are in the national interest or worse still, without sufficient compensation".
"Some savvy entrepreneurs have attempted to build the industry on the back of taxpayer subsidies and at the expense of innocent property owners," he said. "Only where local communities, such as Ararat and Portland, welcome wind farms should they be 'allowed to proceed."
Wind power was nowhere near as environmentally or energy-efficient as the industry claimed, Mr McGauran said. "The amount of energy generated by wind farms is so miniscule that it's hard to even measure". A lot of energy was required to build and operate wind turbines, and they could not store energy for use when there was no wind, he said.
However, Auswind chief executive Dominique La Fontaine said Mr McGauran' s comments were incorrect and at odds with the pro-wind stance of many of his Federal Government colleagues, including Environment Minister Ian Campbell. Ms La Fontaine said wind farms did not devalue adjacent land values and provided significant quantities of clean, green energy.
"We welcome the debate on Australia's energy future and we finnly believe that wind energy: can play a major role," she said. "However, if we are to have this debate we must rely on facts, not rumour, innuendo and scare-mongering."
Victorian Energy Minister
Theo Theophanous said Mr McGauran "had taken a stance that would deny many
farmers the income they received from leasing their land for renewable
energy projects". "He's also oblivious to the need to take steps now to
reduce greenhouse emissions so that farmers are not crippled by the impact
of climate change," Mr Theophanous said.
* Clearly, Peter McGauran
is not against clean energy. He condemns the situation where windfarms
are inappropriately sited in a community, and strongly questions why the
wind energy industry needs to be heavily subsidised. Mr. McGauran's stance
on the issue is honest, sensible and much appreciated. .
POWER A LOT OF HOT AIR
Sun - 28 July 2005
SECRECY CLAUSES IN CONTRACTS
are being asked to sign secret 25-year contracts to host wind farms on
Victoria's coastline for up to $100,000 a year. Under the contracts, farmers
who host turbines are banned from talking about
AFFECT IN THE U.K.
From Country Guardian (UK), author John Oliver
Sir David King recently described climate change as the most severe problem facing the world today. He is right; the future of the planet is threatened by the rapid and un- controlled change in climate, caused by unprecedented human industrial activity. We must recognise and confront this enormous danger, which threatens unpredictable and increasingly violent weather, droughts, floods, rising sea levels, widespread famine and vast numbers of ecological refugees. The poor of the world will be worst affected by these changes, yet they need to use more energy if they are to escape from poverty. How can we reconcile their needs with the overriding necessity to protect the environment and stabilise carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at an acceptable level? Our Government is right to aim to reduce UK carbon di- oxide emissions by 60% by 2050.
Why cannot onshore wind turbines, harnessing unlimited, clean, free energy, play a small part in this gigantic task? Does not every little help? Not always, and not in this case. Far from being the answer, onshore wind is never going to make a significant contribution to our energy needs. We have at present in the UK 1,030 wind turbines, already ruin- ing many precious and beautiful landscapes, but delivering only 180 mega- watts on a good day in relation to our average winter need of 50,000 megawatts. And it has to be a good day, with enough wind to keep the turbines turning, but not so much that they have to be shut down. Cold winter days can be still, as we sit under an anticyclone, with clear skies, hard frosts, but not a breath of wind. When we need it most, wind-generated energy is often non-existent.
Because the output of wind turbines is so small and so unreliable, fossil fuel power stations have to be kept on standby. And just as a car stuck in traffic, stopping and starting frequently, is polluting and fuel inefficient, so fossil-fuel power stations, whose output has to fluctuate to accommodate the fickle contribution of wind, are also more polluting than when run at a steady output. Ramping (fluctua- ting) up and down increases carbon dioxide emissions, places stress on the generating equipment and increases its unreliability.
Incorporating wind-generated power in the National Grid can cause real problems, as the Danes and Germans have discovered, with sudden surges of power as well as times when wind is delivering virtually nothing. The chairman of the energy policy committee in the Danish Parliament has described Denmark's re- liance on wind as 'a terribly expensive disaster'. And in Germany, where there are no fewer than 14,500 wind turbines, not a single fossil-fuel power station has been decommissioned.
It is important to remember
why we have considered resorting to wind: to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,
and therefore to protect the environment in the long run from damage
by climate change. But if that is the objective, can it be right to destroy
the environment in the process? Already wind turbines have in- vaded many
Wind turbines are an alien industrial intrusion. They are on a monstrous scale (the newest turbines measure more than 400ft to the tip of the blades), and are visible from a great distance. On a clear day, from the modest hill above my house in Radnorshire, I can see the 103 turbines at Llandinam, 25 miles away, and the 56 even larger ones at Carno, 30 miles away.
There are health hazards, too. The low-frequency noise emitted by the turbines has led to well-documented cases of long-term depression and illness in Cornwall and in north Wales. The danger to birds is recognised by the RSPB, which has opposed 27 wind-farm proposals, both onshore and offshore. Migrant birds and birds of prey are particularly likely to be killed by the turning blades, and many already rare species are put at further risk by this misguided menace.
We move heaven and earth to save precious art treasures for the nation, and raise huge sums of money to do so. Yet we do not seem to be aware of the terrible danger to our even more precious natural environment posed by wind power. This country has not much empty, un- spoilt landscape; it would therefore be the height of folly to sacrifice any more of it for an energy source which makes no sense economically, which is heavily subsidised, expensive, inefficient and unreliable — and which makes scarcely any contribution to the urgent task of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
The answers lie elsewhere — notably in harnessing the sea, both tides and underwater tidal stream energy; the sun, through solar panels and photovoltaics; and geothermal energy. Above all, we must be less prodigal in our use of energy and much more careful in conserving it.
ON WINDFARM THREAT
By Geoff Strong, The Age, June 28 2003
industry leader and former senator John Button has warned the State Government
chief executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Victoria, David
Young, said this area was
remaining 43 per cent is off limits because it is protected by national
parks. But a kilometre inland
the state there are 31 farm projects in various stages of preparation ranging
from only a
Button, a former Labor minister and now chairman of the industry-based
has told the Government that a proliferation of wind farms in scenic areas
Government has set a target of producing 1000 megawatts of electricity
wind farms have a maximum capacity of less than 40 megawatts, enough for
first full-scale project in Victoria was Pacific Hydro's farm at Codrington,
east of Portland, with 14
Hydro's managing director, Jeff Harding, is pleased that the overall output
from the farm has
energy is growing worldwide at 40 per cent a year. People are realising
the dangers of relying
story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/06/27/1056683902874.html
DARMSTADT MANIFSTO - Paper on Wind Energy
Initiative Group - Press Release. 1 September 1998
At the press conference which took place today at the Bruningstrasse Press Club in Bonn the Initiative Group presented the Darmstadt Manifesto on the Exploitation of Wind energy in Germany. The manifesto, which has to date been signed by more than 60 college/university lecturers and writers*, demands the withdrawal of all direct and indirect subsidies in order to put a stop to the exploitation of wind energy.
(It claims that) the exploitation of wind energy promotes the type of technology which is of no significance whatever for the purpose of supplying energy, saving resources and protecting the climate. The money could be put to far more effective use in increasing the efficiency of power stations, in ensuring effective energy consumption and in funding scientific research into fundamental principles in the field of energy.
Many citizens, both male and female, are greatly concerned to see the progressive destruction caused by the ever increasing number of wind 'farms'. This destruction affects both the countryside and our towns and villages with their surrounding areas whose characteristic appearance reflects their development throughout the history of civilisation.
The Darmstadt Manifesto is directed in particular at politicians, those concerned with our cultural well-being, environmental organisations and the media. Note that many more than 100 university lecturers have since signed up to this Manifesto
Darmstadt Manifesto on the Exploitation of Wind Energy in Germany.
Our country is on the point of losing a precious asset. The expansion of the industrial exploitation of wind energy has developed such a driving force in just a few years that there is now great cause for concern. A type of technology is being promoted before its effectiveness and its consequences have been properly assessed. The industrial transformation of cultural landscapes which have evolved over centuries and even of whole regions is being allowed.
Ecologically and economically
useless wind generators, some of which stand as high as 120 metres and
can be seen from many kilometres away, are not only destroying the characteristic
landscape of our most valuable countryside and holiday areas, but are also
having an equally radical alienating effect on the historical
The oil crisis in the 1970s
made everyone very aware of the extent to which industrial societies are
dependent on a
The loss of trees due to pollution, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident, the legacy of the ever accumulating pile of nuclear waste, the risks of a climatic catastrophe as a consequence of carbon dioxide emissions have all established themselves in the public consciousness as examples of the growing potential threat.
The real problem of population growth and above all the resultant phenomenon of escalating land use and consumption of drinking water supplies is however being pushed aside and being considered instead as a marginal phenomenon. With few exceptions it is not be subject of any political action. On the contrary, the public interest is becoming even more limited, focusing less on energy consumption as a whole and concentrating its fears and criticisms predominantly on the generation of electricity.
Admittedly nuclear risks
do doubtless exist here. However electrical energy plays more of a minor
role in the
Although Germany has taken the lead in the expansion of wind energy use, it has not been possible to date to replace one single nuclear or coal-fired power station. Even if Germany continues to push ahead with expansion it will still not be possible in the future. The electricity produced by wind power is not constant because it is dependent on meteorological conditions, but electricity supplies need to be in line with consumption at all times. For this reason wind energy cannot be used to any significant degree as a substitute for conventional power station capacities.
Insufficient attention is
also being paid to pollutant levels. Whereas until a few years ago it was
chiefly the coal-fired power stations' sulphur dioxide emissions due to
poor filtering which caused problems, it is now mainly road traffic which
is polluting the forests' ecosystems with nitrogen oxides and nitrous oxide.
Added to which the effectiveness of power stations is improving with technological
progress and as a result the level of pollutants given off per unit of
energy is decreasing. The latter is also true of carbon dioxide emissions,
with the result that electricity production in
At present total energy consumption
in Germany is growing about seventy times(!) faster than the production
potential of wind energy. The negative effects of wind energy use are as
much underestimated as its contribution to
The animal world is also suffering at the hands of this technology. On the North Sea and Baltic coasts birds are being driven away from their breeding, roosting and feeding grounds. These displacement effects are being increasingly observed inland too. From the point of view of the national economy the development of wind energy is far from being the "success story" it is often claimed to be. On the contrary, it puts a strain on the economy as it is still unprofitable with a low energy yield on the one hand and high investment costs on the other. And yet, as a result of the legal framework conditions which have been set, private and public capital is being invested on a large scale - capital which is not least unavailable for important environmental protection measures, but also ties up purchasing power.
This in turn leads to job losses in other areas. The only way in which the Investors can realise their exceptionally high returns is by means of the level of payment for electricity produced by wind which has been determined by law, and which represents several times its actual market value, and by taxation depreciation.
For more than twenty years now German politicians have been under pressure to react to urgent problems concerning the environment and preventative measures, and have been promoting a seriously erroneous evaluation of wind energy. This has allowed the use of wind energy to become established in the view of public opinion as some sort of total solution which supposedly makes a decisive contribution towards a clean environment and a guaranteed supply of energy for the future, and also towards the evasion of a climatic catastrophe and the avoidance of nuclear dangers.
This false picture raises
hopes and results in a general acceptance of the use of wind energy which
Together with groups of thoughtless operators, a policy orientated towards short term success was able to clear the way in the following manner: as a result of amendments to planning law and the law on nature conservation, our countryside is almost unprotected against the exploitation of wind energy and is therefore left at the mercy of material exploitation by capital investment. At the same time the people who are directly exposed to this technology which is hostile to man have to a large extent been deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed right to a say in the matter of the shaping of the environment in which they live.
As all efforts to influence those with political responsibilities have been without success, the signatories of this manifesto see no other solution other than to make their concerns public. In view of the serious harm threatening our countryside, which has evolved through history and which is the foundation of our cultural identity, we appeal for an end and to the expansion of wind power technology which is pointless from both an ecological and an economical point of view.
In particular we are demanding the withdrawal of all direct and indirect subsidies to this technology. Instead public funds should be made available on a larger scale for the development of more efficient technology and for the kind of research into basic principles which is likely to provide real solutions to the problems of producing energy in a way which is environmentally friendly and lasting.
We issue an urgent warning against the uncritical promotion of a technology which will in the long term have far reaching adverse effects on the relationship between man and nature. We are particularly concerned about a change of attitude, which is more difficult to perceive as it is evolving slowly and which gives us less and less ability to recognise how important it is for man to live in an environment which is predominantly characterised by nature.
(All members involved in the manifesto listed on document.)
UP THE WIND
Interview with Tim Le Roy.
A.B.C. Earthbeat:: 6 December 2003 - Whipping up the Wind
This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/earth/stories/s1001523.htm
Hi there, welcome to Earthbeat, I'm Alexandra de Blas.... first to wind power, seen as one of the bright lights on the renewable energy horizon, and a key plank in the solution to kicking our addiction to fossil fuels. The industry is growing rapidly here. It's doubled in size each year for the last three, and is now producing enough energy to power 100,000 homes. In the last fortnight, we've seen the launch of Challicum Hills, the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere, just near Ararat in Victoria; and in Tasmania, Premier Jim Bacon opened the country's first wind manufacturing plant at Wynyard, providing 70 new jobs on the North West coast. But the story isn't quite as rosy as it sounds. The gigantic white, rotating turbines can generate a spark that splits communities in two. And that divide is emerging in Victoria's environment movement. Tim Le Roy is their spokesperson in Victoria from Coastal Guardians Victoria.
Le Roy: Our main concerns about the approach of the developers and the
State government in Victoria they're targeting scenic coastlines, small
rural communities and there's no need for them to be doing that. Windmills
have a massive visual impact, they also have a noise impact and they
scar the landscape that they're erected on. We believe there needs to be
a balance between the desires of the developers, the actual efficiency
Alexandra de Blas: Do you think there should be any wind farms at all?
Tim Le Roy: I think we have to acknowledge that there's a subsidy available. The developers got their nostrils flaring, they see a pot of money provided by the Federal government legislation, and you can't blame them for wanting to exploit that. There's plenty of people out there exploiting subsidies. One of the issues that we have with the current State government guidelines is because they give the developers free access to our coast, we've had to highlight the inefficiencies of the industry. And you'll notice that the wind industry tends to fall back on climate change, jobs, because they know that their product is flawed. If it was very efficient in the way of producing energy, we'd only be fighting this on landscape alone, but now we're highlighting the inefficiencies of the whole industry.
Alexandra de Blas: So why do you think wind isn't a good technology?
Tim Le Roy: There's a number of reasons. One, it only generates electricity when the wind is blowing, and the wind fluctuates violently, so it needs backup at all times by other means. In Victoria it doesn't work very well as displacing brown coal generation, because you cannot fire up a brown coal generator very quickly. So effectively what you'd be using to balance your wind energy, would be hydro facilities, and we don't have much of that in Victoria either. I believe they're going to work quite well in Tasmania and with Basslink coming through that's going to be providing quite a lot of renewable energy to Victoria anyway.
Alexandra de Blas: The subsidy he mentioned relates to MRET, the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target set by the Commonwealth government. It requires large energy buyers to obtain an extra 1% of their energy from renewable sources by 2010. Under the current target the industry forecasts a fivefold increase in wind power. A review of MRET has just been completed and everyone involved is hanging on the outcome. The most controversial wind farm proposals in Australia are on Victoria's most spectacular bits of coast. So are the developers too greedy? I put that to Karl Mallon, the Director of Community Relations with the Australian Wind Energy Association.
Mallon: It's a difficult situation that a lot of developers find themselves
in under the current legislative environment. The targets for renewable
energy are quite modest by international standards. Australia's calling
for an increase in in-store capacity of 1% of renewables, compared to 10%
in many other countries. What that means is that it's a very competitive
environment and wind energy projects have to compete with large hydro
Alexandra de Blas: Why is it so tight?
Karl Mallon: At the moment, the market is really defined as being a buyer's market. The retailers can pick and choose amongst projects. Now what we and many other groups are calling for is an increase in the renewable energy target, which would see a movement towards a much greater demand for renewable energy, and when you have that demand, it means obviously the prices go up for what people will pay for renewable energy, and the effect that that has is that there are many other sites that become economically viable to put wind farms in, and indeed other renewable energy projects. And so that's what we see as the way out of this situation, that we can open up many more options and so avoid constraints over sites which may have other values to communities or indeed other groups.
Alexandra de Blas: But if there was a larger renewable energy target, wouldn't that mean that there'd simply be a lot more wind, so you'd take the sites which have high landscape values and you'd take much more to boot?
Karl Mallon: If you've got two projects, and one is going to be delayed because of a drawn-out planning process, and another project, for instance like the Challicum Hills farm has gone through in less than two years with not a single objection, which one are you going to pick? A lot of developers would avoid places where they would expect opposition.
Alexandra de Blas: The Coastal Guardians claim that wind won't displace coal because it isn't a baseload power source, so it won't result in the greenhouse gas emission cuts that the industry claims it will. Do they have a point?
Karl Mallon: Look, I think they're completely incorrect on that point. There's some work just been finished by the AGO, and that is indicating that a typical wind farm of about 50 megaWatts is displacing about 85,000 tonnes of CO2. That's the equivalent in carbon terms of leaving about 25,000 tonnes of black coal in the ground. What the work of the AGO has looked at is if we want to see something like 5,000 megaWatts of wind put in, that's equivalent to about a quarter of all homes in Australia being supplied by wind energy. What would that mean for the system? Basically they're saying if we have a very strong network, if we have the ability to project what wind farms are going to be producing in the future as they do in Europe now, then we can start to see a system where the wind becomes the equivalent of a baseload producer.
Alexandra de Blas: In response to public concern, Victorian Planning Minister, Mary Delahunty, recently announced that all new wind proposals will have to be assessed for landscape values before planning can proceed. But this doesn't satisfy the industry's critics.
Tim Le Roy: Unfortunately the Victorian government has set a precedent on landscape by giving Pacific Hydro a planning permit for Cape Bridgewater. Cape Bridgewater's classified by the National Trust of Victoria, it's regarded as our second most treasured landscape after the Twelve Apostles. Now every single wind miller in the environmental effects statements are going to be submitting that because of the landscape value of Cape Bridgewater, landscape doesn't come into the equation. So unless the State government withdraws those permits, landscape's just not going to be an issue.
Alexandra de Blas: But the Australian Wind Energy Association and the National Trust are working together to address this landscape question.
Tim Le Roy: I think it's important to clarify which branch of the National Trust that is. The National Trust of Victoria is a founding member of the Coastal Guardians. The Australian Council of National Trusts and Auswind are a body up in Canberra that have formed this together. We see it as an admission that they've failed in terms of landscape protection as far as the wind industry is concerned. But once again, I'd like to see Auswind calling on Pacific Hydro, calling on Stanmore Corporation to withdraw from the coastal facilities and say, ‘Well landscape is an issue.'
Alexandra de Blas: What is the Coastal Guardians' bottom line on wind?
Tim Le Roy: We'd like the State government in Victoria to call for, or impose, a moratorium on all wind energy developments until they've done a Statewide assessment of landscape values, they've identified go and no-go zones, and they've implemented a proper community consultation process. In developing that policy, they specifically excluded community consultation.
Mallon: As an Association, we take the landscape issue very seriously.
It's something which is really linked in with the cultural values, the
heritage values, the visual values of communities, and that's why we have
approached the National Trust to say, Well why don't we work together,
because we both have very similar environmental outcomes that we're trying
to achieve. Now that makes sense for the National Trust, but I would
Alexandra de Blas: There are many Australians who are very concerned about climate change who want to see the wind industry become strong in Australia. But they also don't want to see landscape and wilderness values compromised. If this isn't handled properly, we could see huge community opposition which could cut the industry off at it's knees. How seriously is the industry taking this threat.
Mallon: I don't think it's a threat. I actually think it's a fundamental
part of our job to make sure that we bring communities and stakeholders
along with us. And so we've produced information about noise and noise
standards are now being developed, which we expect to see probably
coming online in the next year. We've also brought some work in from overseas
about property prices, and so on about tourism. There are other
de Blas: Karl Mallon from the Australian Wind Energy Association.
Mandatory Renewable Energy Target Review http://www.mretreview.gov.au/
into employment in the environment sector
Alexandra de Blas. Producer: Jackie May
THE FUTURE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY OR ANOTHER FORM OF PLANNING BLIGHT?
Jeremy Gobbo QC
23 May 2005
THE ENERGY EQUITY PROPOSAL AT CAPE BRIDGEWATER
The consideration of large
scale wind energy projects commenced in Victoria with the consideration
of a proposal by West Australian company Energy Equity to site 33, 67 metre
tall wind turbines across much of the western and southern parts of Cape
The Tribunal cited the visual
impact of the proposal as being its reason for rejecting the application:
THE STANWELL APPLICATION AT TOORA
The second application for
a substantial windfarm development in Victoria was made by Queensland corporation,
Stanwell, for a windfarm at Toora in South Gippsland.
THE PACIFIC HYDRO PROPOSAL
THE WINDFARM POLICY AND PLANNING
THE LIKELY INCREASE IN DEMAND
FOR WIND GENERATED ENERGY
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