High capacity power lines everywhere, but not a single wind turbine

Climate Walker and South Australian resident David Clarke provides commentary over the dissonance between community support for wind farms and the absence of them in regional areas. Ultimately the anti-wind farm legislation in Victoria is representative of the government’s support for the existing fossil fuel industries.

The article was originally published in RenewEconomy, and can be found here.

The small group I am with are about the half-way point on a 740km walk from Melbourne to Canberra. We are aiming to increase awareness of climate change and press for serious action from the federal government.

networkAs we walked across Victoria we have seen high capacity power lines many times, ranges of hills well suited for wind farms, but not a single utility scale wind turbine, let alone a substantial wind farm.As a South Australian I can’t help comparing Victoria with my home state. In early 2003 SA had next to no renewable energy. Now it gets about 33% of its electricity from wind power and another 5% from solar PV.

Victoria, with three and a half times SA’s population and just as much potential for wind power as SA, has only ¾ as much installed. The difference between the two states is in the governments: SA’s is favourable to renewable energy while the Victorian government is all for coal and has passed laws that make it much more difficult to build a wind farm than to dig a new coal mine.As Victoria, so most of Australia. The present Australian government, like the Victorian government, is supportive of the coal and mining industries, but opposed to renewables and to any serious action to reduce Australia’s shamefully high rate of greenhouse gas emissions.

While our group of walkers is small, we are finding a huge amount of support for our cause along the way. We are now on the thirteenth day of the walk and every night we have stayed with people who are sufficiently concerned about climate change to host a group of complete strangers for a night. The fact that our leader, Alan Cuthbertson, has been able to find these people – where we need them – has demonstrated the support that there is for climate change action in Australia.
For more on the Climate Walk see http://ramblingsdc.net/Australia/climatewalk.html, https://www.facebook.com/ClimateWalk, and http://climatewalk.org.au.

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