South Australian Yes 2 Renewables contributor Dave Clarke has been tracking his state’s progress on renewable energy for years. Clarke has visited the Snowtown II wind farm which is now under construction and has pointed out milestones in renewable energy.
Here’s Dave with another quick dispatch; this time looking at the approval of the Ceres wind farm. The green light for the project underscores the effectiveness of the national Renewable Energy Target (the Abbott government announced its review panel stacked against renewable energy). It also shows the opportunity cost to Victoria from Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws:
In the last few days we have heard that the 197-turbine Ceres Project wind farm on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula has been approved by the State Government.
It has been vociferously opposed by a group calling themselves the Heartland Farmers who have made many (literally) incredible claims:
- They have claimed the wind farm will cause land prices to fall by up to 100% (They moderated this to 30%+ after I pointed out how ridiculous it was; wind farms hardly have any effect on land prices);
- “It is known that wind turbines shift (agricultural) spray drift from one paddock to another” (bizarre);
- They say that it will cause shadow flicker problems for drivers on Yorke Peninsula roads (YP roadsides have lots of native vegetation; whenever the sun gets low in the sky there is shadow flicker for drivers all over the place because of the trees);
- They claim that wind power is incompatible with agriculture (the US state of Iowa, sometimes called the Food Capital of the World, is two-thirds the size of Victoria and has twice the wind power of the whole of Australia; the three US states having the highest agricultural production also have the most wind power);
- They claim big impacts on areal agriculture and areal fire-fighting (the Country Fire Service and local areal agriculture contractor have contradicted their claims);
Another opponent (a doctor of economics forsooth!) ‘calculated’ that it would take more than 3000 years for any wind turbine to ‘pay back’ the carbon dioxide released from the manufacture of the cement in its foundation. (He confused cement with concrete and energy with power. I showed that he was in error by a factor of around 20 000!)
I could go on.
However, the next big hurdle for the Ceres people is to organise a power purchase agreement (PPA). It seems unlikely that they will be able to do this before the Federal Government releases their review of the Renewable Energy Target, and, given the Abbott Government’s support for coal and opposition to renewables, the outlook there is not promising.
Getting away from Ceres; yesterday I went to a meeting of the Waterloo Wind Farm Community Liaison Committee. We were told that the preliminaries for the six-turbine expansion of the Waterloo Wind Farm are coming along well, and that Energy Australia (EA) has hopes that they might be getting toward the end of legal challenges to their proposed 41-turbine Stony Gap Wind Farm. Since EA generate and retail their own electricity there will be no PPA problems here.
Progress continues on construction of the 90-turbine Snowtown II Wind Farm:
64 towers partly built (base and mid tower)
47 turbines fully erected
32 turbines in production
30 turbines handed over
- 17 turbines have completed 500 hours of service