They usually talk about the weather, but the topic of conversation for farmers in the state’s south is now how much they are being offered to allow global companies to install wind farms on their land.
The going rate is anything between $10,000 and $18,000 per turbine, per year.
Spanish company Acciona Energy built 31 turbines on Alan McCormack’s property at Gurrundah, northwest of Goulburn, in a deal that set up the grazier for life.
Mr McCormack, 63, yesterday said the $147 million wind farm was “very lucrative” for him and his family. “The greatest advantage of it for us was that it secured the future of our property,” he said.
Over the next 27 years – the duration of the lease – Mr McCormack said he stood to receive millions of dollars.
Acciona said the costs associated with developing a wind farm were “significant and vary according to size, scale and the particular site conditions”.
Another farmer said landowners were being offered between $10,000 and $18,000 per turbine per year, plus a further $1000 a year for every kilometre of road that is built on to the property.
Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said wind farms were “a modern cash crop”.
“They deliver much-needed income for farmers, along with jobs and investment for regional communities,” he said.
The jury is out on whether wind turbines can adversely impact on health.
Federal Liberal MP Alby Schultz, whose electorate has a number of wind farms, said that after surgery to have a pacemaker, his doctor advised him to avoid wind turbines.
“The thinking is the electromagnetic field generated by wind farms could shut down my system,” he said.
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