By David Clarke, wind energy watcher from South Australia.
Following the recent approval of the Keyneton Wind Farm in South Australia a few wind farm opponents predictably expressed their disappointment and continuing opposition. Mr Brokenshire, a member of South Australia’s Legislative Council, expressed concern regarding the adequacy of the approvals process and suggested that the next parliament should look into it. But is another inquiry necessary?
How many parliamentary investigations into wind farms must there be before it is recognised that wind turbines are harmless, valuable as a source of employment and development, and sorely needed if we are to control our greenhouse emissions?
Late last month the South Australian Environment Protection Authority released a report which found the Waterloo Wind Farm was not producing any problematical level of noise. On 9 December 2013, ABC radio reported that in the third quarter of 2013, 41 percent of SA’s power was generated by wind turbines. This is a wonderful achievement in a country that is among the worst in the world in terms of per-capita greenhouse gas production; in terms of per-capita wind power it probably puts South Australia ahead of all the planet’s nations, even Denmark.
There is already ample evidence that wind farms are clean and safe, are quiet and do not adversely impact on property prices. There are very few reasons for anyone to object to wind farms other than aesthetics; some people don’t want to have to look at wind turbines and feel that wind farms are infringing on their space. While these are valid objections, do they carry much weight against the urgent need to retire polluting fossil fuel power stations – that have proven health impacts and cause premature death – and minimise climate change?
I live in Crystal Brook, 13 kilometres from the Clements Gap Wind Farm and about 35 kilometres from the Snowtown Wind Farm. The people of Crystal Brook and Snowtown seem to me to be quite relaxed about our wind farms. I would like to point out to Mr Brokenshire that it is only those places where a few vociferous people have stirred up emotions and opposition that there is a problem. Wind farms do not cause social disruption, the unsubstantiated and alarmist claims of anti-wind farm campaigners do.
The chief protagonists of the myth that wind turbines cause health problems have been very effective. Perhaps rather than calling for an inquiry into wind farms, politicians such as Mr Brokenshire could call for an inquiry into the anti-wind farm scare campaign.