South Australians don’t want to live too close to industrial scale wind generators.
We have more wind generation than any other State – in fact, we have one of the highest proportions in the world of wind power generation. More than half of Australia’s installed wind power is in South Australia.
Wind-powered generation is seen as totally eco-friendly and green.
However, concern is building over its cost, health effects and aesthetics.
Community opposition to industrial scale wind generators is increasing. At the same time, Labor is planning to approve more and more wind farms closer and closer to homes, villages and schools.
Neighbouring homeowners and primary producers want to be protected from encroaching wind farms.
The ALP wants to remove third-party appeal rights.
Liberals believe wind farms must not be approved on sites where they create negative economic and social effects.
We will protect residents by banning new wind turbines from being built closer than five kilometres from an existing home.
The Liberal Party stands for fairness. It’s a principle the ALP has long forgotten.
Wind-generated power is very expensive, but wind farms don’t reduce the need for conventional generating capacity because we still need to meet peak demand on hot or windless days.
The Energy Retailers Association warns we’re footing the bill for both wind and back-up electricity generation. We still have to pay for all that infrastructure even if it isn’t used.
Then there is the cost to individual homeowners. Homes and properties are often devalued when nearby turbines are in line-of-sight. Experts assess the loss of value to be in excess of 30 per cent and sometimes up to half.
In Sickness and in Health
“The debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence provided demonstrates that they can if facilities are placed too close to residents.” – Court Judgement, Ontario, Canada, July 2011
Like car sickness, turbines don’t affect everyone, but no one doubts the validity of the sufferer’s condition.
Peer-reviewed studies show those living over a kilometre from industrial wind turbines suffered sleep disruption so severe it affected their daytime functioning and mental health.
The Clements and Waterloo wind farms can be heard three kilometres away. Many people report sleep disruption and nausea.
Turbines reduce the effectiveness of aerial fire-fighting. Planes have to keep their distance from turbines.
In November last year the Southern Fleurieu CFS was called to a fire at the Starfish Hill Wind Farm near Cape Jervis. CFS officers could do little but watch the blaze from a kilometre away when Work Safe deemed it too dangerous to approach.
Done and Dusted
Primary producers who use crop-dusting or aerial applications are often restricted from spraying crops resulting in financial loss. The Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia (AAAA) says wind farms are a direct threat to aviation safety.
“They also pose an economic threat to the industry,” says the AAAA. “As a result of the overwhelming safety and economic impact of wind farms and supporting infrastructure on the sector, the AAAA opposes all wind farm developments in areas of agricultural production or elevated bushfire risk.”
It is Liberal Party policy that farm management practices and rights of neighbours and adjacent landowners must be protected. This includes protection against economic losses caused by restrictions on aerial fire-fighting, spraying, crop-dusting and mustering.
Taking the Fight to Labor
Wind generation facilities are ferociously opposed by many communities. The first real test was in 2002 over a proposed 20-turbine generator around Myponga and Sellicks Hill. A seven-year-long campaign against the proposal – some generator towers were less than 750 metres from homes – led to the proposal being scrapped.
A State Liberal Government will:
• Impose a moratorium on building new industrial wind turbines and associated infrastructure less than five kilometres from an existing dwelling without the owner’s consent.
• Allow third-party appeal rights, which the ALP wants to remove.
• Help develop national guidelines regarding separation distances and noise emissions.
• Support a South Australian university peer-reviewed study into the effects of industrial wind turbines on nearby residents and communities – if SA is to be Australia’s leading wind generation State, we should be the national leader in academic research into the industry.
• Develop a State-wide zoning plan setting out where industrial wind turbines will be prohibited. This means no wind farms in inappropriate, sensitive, or visually and culturally iconic parts of the State like designated Ramsar sites and places on heritage registers.
• Adopt an approval process for wind farms which will consider associated infrastructure such as transmission lines and substations, rather than considering just the turbines and towers.