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First meeting of wind farm committee

The parliamentary inquiry into wind farms in South Australia met for the first time today.

The committee was set up by Upper House Liberal Leader and Shadow Planning Minister David Ridgway because of deep community concerns about the spread of wind farms in the State.

“South Australia has more wind power than any other State,” Mr Ridgway said.

“We have one of the highest proportions of wind power generation in the world, but there is growing concern about the cost of wind-generated electricity.

“I want to find out if there is a link between our reliance on wind power and the price South Australians pay for electricity, which is among the highest in the world.

“Then there are the aesthetics. Many people in suburban Adelaide like the idea of renewable energy, but people who live close to these turbines, with their blades spinning at half the speed of a 737 jetliner, regard them as neither benign nor impassive. Some say it’s worse than living next to a large industrial factory.”

The committee will investigate separation distances between wind turbines and homes, the social, health and economic impacts of wind generators, and the need for a peer-reviewed, independent academic study on the social, health and economic impacts of wind generators.

Today’s meeting was procedural, and discussed sitting dates, staffing and resources.

“We also talked about calling for submissions from landowners, electricity distributors, wind power companies and scientists. We hope South Australians from the city and the bush will give evidence. We’ll examine that evidence fearlessly and impartially,” Mr Ridgway said.