Friends of the Earth (FoE) have released a new report detailing the economic and environmental costs of Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws to Victoria.
The analysis shows that anti-wind farm laws introduced by former Premier Ted Baillieu has hit the wind energy sector hard, costing jobs and investment opportunities for regional Victoria.
The findings of the report – The Biggest Losers
Jobs and regional economies – an estimated loss of 490 construction and 64 ongoing jobs (for the life of the wind farm), as well as the numerous flow-on effects lost to these vacancies (an estimated $10.5m worth of economic activity to rural economies).
Projects worth over $864million in the past three years alone have either been lost or scrapped due to these laws.
Climate change action – 438MW of wind energy generation capacity scrapped or stalled thanks to the TB laws, designating a loss in state greenhouse gas emissions of around 1.38 million tonnes per annum – enough to power almost a quarter of a million homes.
Regional communities – regional communities have been denied access to the funding set aside by wind farm operations, a figure totalling $806,840 each (or $20.1m over a 25-year period).
Wind farmers – farmers robbed of over $2.1m worth of drought-proof income each year (or $54.2million over a 25 year period).
Local councils – local councils in regional municipalities have been robbed of over $516, 937 (or $12.9m over a 25-year period) in rates from operating wind farms.
The report findings raise fresh questions about the government’s wind farm laws as the state heads to the polls for a November election.
Voters will be paying close attention to where the parties stand on renewable energy. All available polling shows Victorians want more wind farms. The government’s anti-wind farm laws are an electoral liability.
In Australia the noisy and misleading petitions of the anti-wind farm lobby, and the politicians who echo these claims, tend to drown out the quiet successes that have been accumulating across the country since the industry’s inception.
It is for this reason that stories like those of Ararat farmer Graeme Maconachie’s (see video below produced by our friends, the Victorian Wind Alliance) can still provide a potent reminder of wind power’s ready benefits to struggling rural economies, but also to the prospects of future generations.
Projects like the 52.5MW Challicum Hills wind farm featured in the video, which has supplied the region with much needed employment, investment and emissions abatement (140,000 tones p.a) opportunities since 2002, however, are at risk.
Senator John Madigan is well-known for his anti-wind farm crusade. The Senator was lauded by the fringe website Stop These Things as a key speaker at an anti-wind farm rally that flopped in Canberra last June.
Earlier this week, Senator Madigan received a visit from representatives of the Waubra community who are calling on the anti-wind lobby group, the ‘Waubra’ Foundation, to give their town’s name back.
The real Waubra community hand delivered Senator Madigan a copy of the 300-strong petition supporting the case for reclaiming the name.
I noted in my recent post on wind turbines and tourism that a related issue, wind farms and property values, was also important to consider. A new study does just that, and finds “no statistical evidence” of effects.
The “hedonic” in the study title refers not to hedonism in the colloquial sense (think college students living it up during spring break), but to the amount of pleasure — or displeasure — that comes from a certain amenity, like a nearby park, or disamenity, like a garbage dump.