Why we like wind power …
- Wind turbines provide valuable income to farmers and jobs and investment in regional areas. Flyers Creek Wind Farm would offer 100 fulltime equivalent construction jobs and 5 permanent jobs. Truth is, old energy is in decline, and job opportunities were eclipsed by renewables a decade ago. As early as 2004 the University of Berkeley, reported ‘all non-fossil fuel technologies (renewable energy, energy efficiency, low carbon) create more jobs per unit of energy than coal and natural gas.’
- They’re highly compatible with farming and require no water to operate. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Not everyone finds these aerodynamic structures – majestic, graceful, hypnotic and calming but many do. So if the choice were between a wind farm and an open cut coal mine, a coal seam gas installation, or a nuclear power station in your back yard, which would you choose?
- Rather than allegations that property prices decline around wind farms evidence shows no negative impact. Take Australia’s largest wind farm at Waubra in Western Victoria. A land evaluation report showed residential properties in the Waubra area increased in value by 10.1 per cent from 2010-2012. The largest increase of any town in that shire.
- They’re good for our health! NSW Health is very clear in its advice, which is consistent with that of the National Health and Medical Research Council – there is no published scientific evidence to link wind turbines with adverse health effects. Moreover, this means no carbon dioxide, no carbon monoxide, no nitrous oxides, no mercury, no arsenic, no lead, no radioactive waste, no particulates, nor any other type of air pollution, unlike coal-fired and nuclear power sources.
- Close-up wind turbines are audible – about the volume of a neighbouring air-conditioner. NSW has introduced strict standards prohibiting turbines within 2 kilometres of residences. More than sufficient buffer and perhaps something that would be considered excessive if it were imposed on much noisier mines, industries and roads.
- The dispersed model of renewable energy generation is far more efficient and at the same time beneficial to regional economies. The opportunity for community ownership allows local residents to reap the rewards of buying and selling their energy locally. Fossil fuel energy technology on the other hand has been extremely wasteful. Roughly two-thirds of the fuel burned to generate electricity is lost to heat in generation and delivery.
- The most recent arguments from the fossil fuel lobbyists claim renewable energy subsidy is a burden driving up energy prices. But the level of subsidy factors in at a rate of $10 onto the average domestic bill. Price hikes in recent years are largely to replace and support the poles and wires that feed coal generated power across the state. The fuel and transport subsidies which support the mining and supply of coal, oil and gas amount to $10 billion annually in Australia alone.
There’s actually strong community support for the development of wind power, including support from rural residents who do not seek media attention or political engagement. Take a look at Central NSW Renewable Energy Cooperative offering local benefits from renewable energy.
Patrick Bradbery is Chairperson of Central NSW Renewable Energy Cooperative