A wind farm planned for South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula with 199 turbines and capable of powering more than 220,000 homes will be a white elephant, independent Senator Nick Xenophon says.
The $1.3 billion development is planned by REpower, which already operates a number of wind farms across SA, NSW and Victoria.
It includes the laying of an undersea cable across Gulf St Vincent to link the turbines to the electricity grid.
A development application for the project is before the state government and yet to receive final approval.
REpower says the application includes reports on noise, aerial and other environmental impacts and is one of the most comprehensive ever prepared.
But Senator Xenophon says South Australia already has more than 50 per cent of Australia’s wind power, and risks having too many eggs in the wind farm basket.
“The problem with wind energy is that it is intermittent and unreliable and fails to deliver the carbon savings it spruiks because coal-fired power stations have to be kept on stand-by in the event that the wind dies down,” he said.
Senator Xenophon said as well as being a “white elephant” the new wind project would face legal action from locals concerned about noise and the impact on property values.
Opposition planning spokesman David Ridgway said approval of the wind farm should be left to parliament where an upper house committee is investigating the impacts of such developments.
“South Australia has more wind farms than any other state,” Mr Ridgway said.
“But we’re rushing headlong into a $1.3 billion decision with little idea of the consequences.”
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