South Australian Committee into Wind Farm Developments – call for submissions

A recently formed State Parliament Select Committee into Wind Farm Developments in South Australia is now calling for submissions – input, comments and evidence – from the public.

The Committee is chaired by Shadow Planning Minister, Mr David Ridgway (Liberal). Other Committee members are Ms Ann Bressington (Independent), Mr Robert Brokenshire (Family First), Mr Mark Parnell (Greens) and Mrs Carmel Zollo (Labor).

The Inquiry is focussing on wind developments and there is a strong emphasis on landholder and community views and perspectives about wind farm developments in South Australia. The full terms of reference are included at the end of this email.

Our experience, based on many years of working in regional communities is that there is overwhelming support for wind energy. Opinion polling consistently shows that around 85% of people living near operating or proposed projects support wind energy. In South Australia, support can be as high as 90%.

Yet, as we know, the organised campaign against wind energy tends to get a disproportionate amount of coverage in the media. This skews the debate and suggests there is greater angst about wind energy than is actually the case.

It is imperative that supporters of renewable energy contribute to this inquiry.

Please write today – it will only take a few minutes.

Your comments need only be brief, describing your experience of, or position on, wind energy. You do not have to appear before the Inquiry.

You have until July 9 to submit.

It will be powerful for the Committee Members to hear the voices of people who have had a positive experience of wind energy, and it is vital that if you support wind energy that you take a few moments to share this with them.

Things to outline in your submission:
·    That you support continued wind development in appropriate locations
·    That wind energy projects bring benefit to local communities, including direct and in direct job opportunities, investment, and support for social/community initiatives.
·    That hosting wind turbines can help ‘drought proof’ farms by providing on going rental income
·    That SA is leading Australia in the development of renewable energy. It already produces 31 % of its electricity from wind and has the lowest wholesale electricity prices in the country
·    Wind energy contributes to reducing greenhouse pollution by displacing energy production from coal and gas
·    Separation distances between turbines and residences or communities should be based on science rather than opting for an arbitrary exclusion zone, as has been adopted in Victoria
·    You support the call for a peer-reviewed, independent academic study on the social, health and economic impacts of wind generators. Please point out that we should be very cautious about acting on anecdotal or politically motivated reports of links between human health and turbines.

We will post our submission here shortly.

Your personal submission will provide a real voice reflecting local community views, which is why it is so important.

Please encourage your friends to also write a submission.

You can write to the Committee Secretary, Ms Leslie Guy via email to: leslie.guy@parliament.sa.gov.au

Alternatively, you can send your comments by post to:
Ms Leslie Guy
Secretary to the Committee
c/o Parliament House
North Terrace
Adelaide 5000

It would be great if you could cc us a copy: cam.walker@foe.org.au

The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference cover:

a.       separation distances between turbines and residences or communities;
b.       the social, health and economic impacts of wind generation on individual landholders, communities and the State;
c.       the need for a peer-reviewed, independent academic study on the social, health and economic impacts of wind generators;
d.      the capacity of existing infrastructure to cope with increased wind power;
e.       the costs and benefits of wind power in South Australia;
f.       the environmental impacts of wind generation and wind power generally;
g.       the siting of wind generators in South Australia;
h.       the approval process of wind farms in South Australia;
i.        the preparation of the State Wide Wind Farms DPA; and
j.        any other matter the Committee deems relevant.

The Committee is calling for submissions and comments to be received by 9 July 2012. From there it is likely that further evidence will be sought from expert and non-expert witnesses identified by Committee Members as relevant to the Inquiry’s deliberations and a number of public hearings will be conducted.

A formal report and Committee recommendations to the Government will likely be released later this year and will likely include an analysis of the total level of support or opposition expressed in submissions.

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