ONE of Australia’s most vocal wind farm critics says household and small business consumers are entitled to know how much they’re paying for wind-generated electricity.
“Families would then get a fair idea of the frightening extent that wind farms are contributing to the exorbitant rise in their power costs,” NSW Landscape Guardians president Humphrey Price-Jones said.
The NSW Government earlier this month ordered the State's electricity retailers to itemise the impact of the carbon tax and renewable energy schemes such as wind farms and the Solar Bonus Scheme on energy bills. Electricity prices in the State are continuing to rise way beyond the rate of inflation.
Mr Price-Jones supported Premier Barry O’Farrell’s stance that consumers are entitled to know exactly how much of their bill relates to the tax and green energy schemes.
He demanded that Mr O’Farrell ask the electricity retailers to show on their bills the proportion of costs due to wind farms. “It is no coincidence that with the explosion of wind farms over the past few years, the cost of electricity has soared,” Mr Price-Jones said.
“And for what benefit? ... They will make no difference to climate change, assuming of course that there is climate change due to humans.
“The only real significant contribution wind farms make is the enormous impost they have on people living nearby to them.
“They are vast industrial landscapes, incredibly inefficient and we’re paying for them through our household bills.”
He said the costs of producing wind farm power are more than three times as much as fossilfuel produced power.
“As a consequence, families and small business will suffer greatly,” he said.
Mr Price-Jones feared more residents would experience health problems if a 70-turbine wind farm goes ahead at Collector.
“I was interested to read the comments of the CEO of the company behind the development in your paper (November 7) that the project will make a significant contribution to reducing the impacts of climate change and that they are an efficient and cost effective way of generating clean, renewable electricity.
“But let’s not forget, they rely on wind. It won’t be blowing all the time.
“He’s also talking about them being decommissioned in 25 years so let’s not forget that each turbine will be built on between 300 and 1000 tonnes of cement.
“And let’s not forget how these things divide communities, not to mention the harm they do people’s health living near them, and the detrimental effects they have on property values.” He cited a recent Supreme Court decision in South Australia that forced AGL to shut down 16 wind turbines due to noise affecting neighbouring residents at the Hallett 2 wind turbine project.
“There are 118 residences with 3km of turbines at Gullen Range and 64 within 2kms. This case could have implications here,” Mr Price-Jones said.
Member for Hume Alby Schultz said the South Australia court case exposed the weakness of the O’Farrell Government in dealing with wind farm community concerns.
“The South Australian Supreme Court and the Liberal Victorian Government have had the courage and commonsense to re-establish the balance between wind turbine development and protecting the property rights of rural Australians; it’s time the NSW Government got off its hands to bring NSW in line with the rest of Australia on this issue,” he said.
“It’s a sad reflection on the current NSW Government that they can’t get their act together and fulfil the pre-election Coalition commitment to stop unregulated wind turbine development and protect the rights of the rural people they allegedly represent.”
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