The campaign against wind energy gets lots of profile in the media. But we believe there is another side to this story. We are publishing comments from people in the community who support wind energy. It’s a myth that wind power is unpopular.
This page will be updated as new profiles are sent in.
We would love to include your comments: please send a brief statement, explaining why you support wind energy, and where you are from – plus a picture – to leigh.ewbank [at] foe.org.au
I am a resident of Barkers Creek, near Castlemaine, Victoria. I am a supporter of wind as a renewable energy generator. At the community level, wind can generate almost three times the energy for the dollar invested in solar. It is a technology that is available now and thus it can make a contribution in to renewable targets within manageable timeframes. I support other renewable energy technologies as well, e.g. geothermal, hydro, tidal/wave motion, etc., but these can deliver in the long term once pilot projects are completed and analysed. Wind can deliver now.
Molly Harriss Olson and Phillip Toyne
“Wind energy is a thing of wonder. It generates electricity day and night from free, natural, clean resources.
This is good for land owners – they can continue to farm while reaping a substantial economic benefit. When you see all the disruption that comes with coal mining and coal seam gas (CSG) operations, you can see that this energy source makes sense.”
“Wind farms are the energy source for the future – a great, clean way to power life.
“There is no cleaner or more elegant solution for our energy future”.
Elgo Estate, in Victoria’s Strathbogie ranges, have a variety of measures to make their winery more sustainable including a wind turbine, which generates renewable clean energy, as well as significant water recycling, and large-scale tree-planting on the property.
Not only does the 150kW wind turbine power operations on the winery, it also generates enough renewable green energy to power an additional 34 households each year, saving more than 400 tonnes of greenhouse gas each year. It’s the equivalent of taking 80 cars off the road.
Retired farmer, Yass, NSW
(he asked that we not use his name, to avoid being ‘harrassed’ by anti-wind activists).
Farmers are endlessly inventive. Look at how they are always looking for a new edge which will make things more viable. We are mostly surviving year to year. We need to experiment. I have seen people go under by trying crazy things. But wind farms are a sure bet: regular income for years, drought or no drought, rain or no rain.
I have been to the farm down near Canberra and it was fine. Some people say it wrecks the landscape. But look around: this isn’t wilderness, this is working country. My dad spent most of his life clearing trees. I spent the second half of my life planting trees. Times change. Look at all those phone towers on every hill along the Hume (Freeway). Do you hear the Anti wind mob complain about that? No. But they have some bee in their bonnet about a few turbines. We should just get on with it.
I live in Central Victoria, west and south of Castlemaine. My work takes me across much of western Victoria and I have watched the development of the wind industry these last few years with a sense of relief. When I drive through the Latrobe Valley I see a massive open cut and a filthy sky. When I drive past Codrington, I see turbines on hills and sheep grazing. I see life continuing, but with a little extra cash in the local economy and sustainable energy being put into the grid.
Wind energy is about the future. It is about a responsible approach to meeting our energy needs without burning ourselves off the planet. And in a dry country, it is green energy that doesn’t suck billions of litres of water.
Gisborne wind energy forum
On June 23 2011 we held a very successful public meeting in New Gisborne entitled Wind power: risks and opportunities for the Macedon Ranges. Around 75 people attended. We asked them to fill out an anonymous poll about their approach to wind energy. All responses received were supportive of wind energy.
Some of the comments we got included:
- Its sustainable power
- I like there being a diversity of energy sources
- Its good for income diversity of land owners
- I like the community ownership model
- Community benefits
- Peak oil makes this urgent
- Sustainable communities, sustainable energy
- Its about energy security
- I support decentralised energy production
- Its environmental common sense
- it has the potential to revolutionise energy generation ownership – change driven by citizens and not utilities with stakes in fossil fuel generation
David Clarke (mid north, SA)
You can look at a row of wind turbines on a ridge, think “what a blot on the landscape” and get miserable and depressed.
Or you can look at the same row of turbines, admire their grace and elegance, think about how they are putting electricity into the power grid and displacing dirty power from fossil fuel power stations, and be happy.
Which of the two attitudes is the way to a good life?
At Gisborne Peak Winery we have installed a 3 way system, wind turbine (1.1kW), solar (3.3kW) and diesel generator backup to power 3 accomodation units (and possibly 5). We hope to start taking visitors by the start of August. Our advice and assessment is that with the benefit of 3 days of power stored in our batteries that we will survive on a 50/50 split of wind and solar inputs. The best estimate we have is that the diesel might be needed for 5 – 10% of annual needs in a worst case scenario.
Stay tuned, the computer linked to the system will allow pretty good diagnostics so we might have some very useful data in a year’s time.
I am an environmental consultant living in the Dandenong Ranges during the week and on a small hobby farm in South Gippsland most weekends. I support wind energy because it will be one of the main contributors to our sustainable energy future (hopefully sooner than later), together with PV and solar thermal, geothermal (I used to work as geothermal consultant in my previous life), wave and other forms of alternative energy sources (aside from the huge potential to actually use less energy – e.g. bring all houses up to a 10 Star energy rating!).
I support all forms of wind power and will soon install a domestic wind turbine on my property in Gippsland, but also think that all forms of community and larger scale commercial wind farms should be strongly supported by government (I bloody prefer to look at a wind tower near my property than staring at the ugly power stations of the La Trobe Valley (which are not too far away). If you have aver driver through northern Germany or Denmark you will know what can be done with wind and I find this the way to go!
I support wind farm because it makes sense to utilise the power of nature with as less energy as possible.
Anyone with any sort of intelligence in this day and age with outdated, expensive, unsustainable, polluting coal would consider wind power.
Get with the time Australian government!
I live in the Macedon Ranges, Vic.
I am 55 yrs old and am involved in my local community as a member of transition South Barwon, Geelong sustainability and our local LETS (local energy transfer system). I’m very passionate about the environment and have supported many issues over the past 30 yrs.
I support community wind farm project for many reasons:
- They are creating their own resilience as we face “peak oil”
- Possibility of local jobs for local people
- Reducing our carbon footprint
- Setting an example for the rest of the country and the world,that there is not one big answer to the energy crisis
- I applaud any community for taking positive action on climate change in the way of renewables
“WINDY DAYS MAKE ME HAPPY”
We have been here since 1994, and we have two wind turbines, three sets of solar panels which track the sun that my husband Manfred built, and rooftop water heating almost the length of the house. This supplies three 5000 gallon tanks under the garden to store the heat, and we use the hot water to heat the house.
Our batteries never run flat because there’s always wind or sun – that’s why we got three airconditioners to use up the excess power, to heat and cool the house!
All we buy is about 1 cylinder of gas a year to occasionally top up the hot water for particular days in winter if it isn’t hot enough for the shower.
My father was a farmer in north QLD and always said ‘you’ve got to give back to the earth’. That’s what we’re trying to do.
I work in the wind industry as a rigger at the Oaklands Hill wind farm south of Glenthompson and live in Portland in the western districts of Victoria. The wind industry is a major employer in the portland area, whether it be fabrication, sand blasting, maintenace and servicing, engineering, transport and logistics, cranes and erecting of the towers on site. So as you can see the wind game is a very important factor in the local economy.
Our atmosphere is currently housing 394ppm of CO2 and is rising at a rate of 2ppm per year when the safe level agreed by leading climate scientists is 350ppm. About 88% of all the world’s CO2 emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels. In Victoria, 92% of our energy comes from brown coal fired power stations. Clearly we need to change our ways and start embracing some clean renewable habits.
As an engineer working in the commercial solar power industry for the past 7 years I have learned that all forms of renewable energy have important parts to play in our future energy mix which will look vastly different to what we have today. Wind energy is vital to this mix and is currently the most viable and mature form of large scale renewable energy in Australia and it can be rolled out right now.
It is appalling that, given our current predicament, the Baillieu government is actively trying to drive wind power projects out of Victoria with it’s new 2km legislation, the “calling in” of wind project planning approvals and lack of support for local production.
That’s why it’s important right now to show clear support from the community for renewables and hold the hands of our governments to guide them in the right direction. That’s why I say yes to renewables!
I’m a teacher and a mother of two and I live on the Bellarine Peninsula. I believe in just community consultation for wind farms, where all people’s views are heard and community education plays an important role in decisions. Under the State Government’s policy “no go” zones will mean residents like me have absolutely no say in our renewables future, while the expansion of polluting industries like coal and gas can go ahead with no community consultation whatsoever.
I live in Ararat, Western Victoria. Local builder of energy efficient homes, chairman of Ararat Greenhouse Action Group, and a parent of 2 teenagers. Here at Ararat we already have a successful 32 turbine windfarm, with another larger one approved for construction. They have been well accepted here and have provided jobs during construction, permanent maintenance jobs, and an ongoing income stream for landholders.
Renewable energy is clearly the way forward in a world of rising CO2 levels and dwindling resources such as peak oil. The technology already exists, the studies have been done, all we need now is leadership from legislators to make it all happen. A price on carbon would be a starting point, as long as a major chunk of the revenue is dedicated to renewables and little or nothing to the polluters. The time for change is now, although yesterday would have been better!
I’m an engineer working in the community renewables sector, after spending about six years in the commercial wind industry. Outside of work, I teach a series of three lectures to fourth year engineering students at Melbourne Uni, called ‘Introduction to wind engineering’, and write occasionally for the ATA’s ReNew magazine.
Ever since growing up in Perth and being told about the wonders of the mining and resources sector, I knew I wanted to work as a part of a new idea, rather than an old idea. Wind energy means using energy that will be replaced tomorrow, rather than using energy that is dwindling faster every day.
What do I particularly like about wind energy? Those clever Danes found a way to harness something that’s freely available in nature and use it to achieve a better quality of life, with remarkably little impact. I love that once constructed, wind energy doesn’t involve burning anything, digging anything up or pumping anything into our air or our water supply – just clean energy.
Wind energy is clean and renewable, it doesn’t explode, cows can graze under turbines, and it could be made locally.
St Kilda West
I like wind power because it’s a step towards saving the earth.
All renewable energy is our only option because we can’t keep pulling stuff out of the ground. For me, it’s about sustainability and what we’re doing with coal just isn’t sustainable. It’s about thinking long term, about the future generations.
I have lived in South Gippsland for 50 years and have seen the region change quite dramatically over that time. Many small family farms have given way to much larger amalgamated properties while others have been subdivided for retirees or holidaymakers, primarily from Melbourne. It’s been hard to see so much wonderful farming land being broken up into unproductive farmlets, I fear our society will pay for this in years to come.
I grew up at Yanakie and had a wonderful view of the South Gippsland hills and the mountains of Wilsons Promontory. Yanakie, being situated on an isthmus rarely experienced calm days, there was almost always a breeze coming from somewhere. It could blow hard there so from an early age, I learned about the power of the wind.
In my high school years, I first heard about the possibility of a wind farm being developed at Toora by the then SEC and hoped it would not be many more years before the wind blowing off Corner Inlet was producing clean energy. Sadly, it would be four decades before my hope was realised.
Growing up on a farm, I had first-hand experience of what windmills could achieve. Long hot summers reduced green fields to dry, crisp straw but the breezes continued to power the windmills which in turn ensured our cattle received the cool water we had captured in our dams the previous winter.
In my late teens and early 20s I spent almost every suitable weekend hang gliding, it was a fabulous experience feeling the raw power of the wind.
Unfortunately one weekend I crashed and broke my neck, becoming a quadriplegic. That was 35 years ago.
Since that time I’ve been occupied promoting causes associated with disabilities but I’ve always had an interest in renewable energy and particularly, wind energy.
When the Toora wind farm was first proposed I became dismayed at the short sighted selfishness of a noisy, small opposition group and did my best to combat them in the local media with all the facts and figures I could muster. Fortunately many others felt the same way I did. While we eventually won that battle, similar opposition developed when the Dollar wind farm was proposed. Sadly AGL lost the will to educate the local community and cancelled the project, concentrating instead on a more receptive Western Victoria. At about the same time, another company was experiencing similar opposition to the Bald Hills project further along the coast.
It was during this time that a group of us got together to form Gippsland Friends of Future Generations, our intention was always that evidence, reason and information would eventually overcome obstacles and opposition.
For the most part that has been the case and I am continually encouraged by the knowledge that the mostly silent majority agree with our position.
I have been posting material on the GFFG blog since 2006, sourcing and reposting information and news on renewable energy projects and technologies from across Australia and overseas as well as reflecting the opinions of supporters of renewable energy.
I work as a software developer for a life insurance company. I’m a member of UCAN - Union Climate Action Network and on the Sustainability committee at work. I’m try to make it known that renewable energy can replace the current fossil fuel generation mechanisms. As for where I came from I grew up mostly in East Gippsland and spent a few years living in north east Victoria. I came to ‘the city’ to go to university.
Why is wind energy important? It’s part of the available energy mix. It’s in large scale production already for example In Spain in 2010 more than 40% of the electricity generated came from wind energy. Its not the whole solution but can make a substantial contribution.
It can make a real difference in the short term. Wind energy can be rolled out in both a large enough scale to have a substantial impact and in a small enough scale so that local community groups can invest in it and build their own turbines.
I’m a retired RMIT lecturer in the Social Sciences & Education. I’m passionate about correcting dangerous climate change via Australia & all nations switching urgently from fossil fuels to a carbon economy powered by renewables including, of course, wind farms.
Most of my help for the various environment organisations is in the form of writing emails & letters, letterboxing & attending some meetings locally. I don’t hold an official position in any organisation mainly because I don’t have the time.
In view of the Australian Academy of Science’s view that carbon emissions must peak within the next 10 years, I’m absolutely
appalled by our the Victorian government’s hypocritical lack of interest and their deliberate addiction to expanding coal mining.
With the way things are going they say electricity prices are going to double over the next 5-10 years….that’s going to hurt everyone. Once the infrastructure is in place, wind energy is basically free. It is cheap, doesn’t pollute, and creates more jobs. Funny how the most effective and obvious solution is right there under our nose.