In the recent edition of the Northern Argus (February 23, 2011) there was much favourable comment on the benefits and attributes of windfarms, however, there were some significant omissions as well. For example, there was no mention of the fact that for every array of windmills that locals might see towering over our skylines, there is somewhere in SA a coal or gas fuelled generator puffing away at the same task these windmills are supposed to be doing, which is to supply electricity.
Moreover, I did not read anywhere of the fact that these generators which back up these wind farms actually do that job about 94 percent of the time. This is due to the fact that according to the operational performance statistics taken from windfarms in SA and VIC, that they only supply their full specified output capacity (>90 percent ) of generated electricity a miserable 6 percent of the time.
It is also a fact that they never turn off completely these back-up fossil fuelled generators as it is firstly too costly and damaging to the plant, and secondly it takes too much fuel to be constantly running them up and down to try and match the flittering supply of wind.
Consequently, we are paying for operating two generating systems for the one supply of electricity, and therefore we are being made to pay more for nothing, and we gain no environmental benefit in the form of reduced emissions of CO2.
To illustrate how poor windfarms are at supplying energy, during the recent heatwave in early February, residents of SA drew a record amount of energy on that day, demanding up to 3399 MWh of electricity. Of that, 49 MWh was supplied by windfarms which is a mere 1.4 percent. Considering that the Premier claimed in last week’s Argus that renewable energy is now responsible for around 30 percent of SA’s electricity supply, perhaps he could indicate where the other 28.5 percent of that record supply came from. I don’t think he will, but it can almost be guaranteed it came from a fossil-fuelled generator.
In addition, nowhere in the Argus could I find any mention of the fact that the Roaring 40s corporation which opened the latest windfarm, is in large part owned by the Tasmanian government. When we have one state government rent-seeking off another state government, there are so many potential conflicts of interest that one hardly knows where to begin.
The reality is that windfarms are merely a window dressing for an extreme ideology, which is not only ruining the environment, but is doing significant economic damage to SA, and to put up something which has such obvious negative social, environmental and economic impacts, shows a disturbing degree of contempt for the citizens of SA.
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