The following common sense wind farms policy comes from the Environmental Farmers Network.
Wind Farm Policy
This policy is based on the assumption that we need to reduce our total energy use especially where we use fossil fuels. Every year humans consume fossil fuels equivalent to four centuries worth of plant and animal growth. This is not sustainable. We need to be more efficient and use less energy. Wind farms use a renewable energy source efficiently and cut greenhouse gas emissions, making a contribution to meeting greenhouse gas targets.
The true cost of coal fired electricity generation needs to be imposed on power generators and consumers using Government tax and pricing instruments so that the wind farms can compete commercially.
Traditional agriculture is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions (about 18%) and wind farms offset this usage.
The available evidence indicates that provided wind farms are located in appropriate areas the risks to biodiversity are likely to be small. Overseas research indicates that the mortality rate for birds and bats from wind turbine collisions is low – typically less than five birds and five bats per turbine per year. There is no evidence to suggest that wind farms pose a fire risk or cause noise pollution. (Source: Wind farms – facts and fallacies. Discussion paper no 91 – Australia Institute).
Wind farms need a planning permit and permit conditions must reflect the requirements of relevant planning overlays and should be developed with minimal disturbance to biodiversity and as efficiently as possible. With the above constraint, site selection should be based on commercial considerations regarding the wind resource.
Therefore, EFN supports wind farms:
* If they are built as part of an overall energy plan that aims to reduce CO2 emissions.
* If they are built only on those commercially windy sites and if they avoid areas of relatively high conservation value.
* If they conform with the requirements of local planning overlays. These requirements should be detailed enough to include matters such as about the level of traffic, lighting, advertising, noise, and work requirements that will continue after construction, and the level of infrastructure planned for the farm
* If landholders on proposed development sites are well informed about the likely level of farm traffic, lighting, advertising, noise, and work requirements that will continue after construction, and the level of infrastructure planned for their farm.