Angus Taylor, the Liberal Candidate for Hume, was the focus of national print and television media yesterday when the Australian Financial Review ran an exclusive front page story on his stand against excessive subsides to the wind industry. The article said that he is fighting within his party for a broad ranging review and audit of the scheme that subsidises wind investment.
Mr Taylor’s opposition to excessive subsidies for wind power has been on the public record for some time. The AFR article highlighted the fact that Mr Taylor has been lobbying politicians on his side of the political fence with a paper he prepared over twelve months ago. The paper explores what Mr Taylor claims is the high cost of wind energy compared to other alternatives to reduce carbon emissions.
Mr Taylor said:
“I have been a consultant for many years to the energy sector, alongside my work in farming and agriculture. I have been working and thinking about renewable energy for a good chunk of my career. I also witnessed the fights in the rural community where I was brought up, when the wind industry arrived over ten years ago.
“I am all for reducing global emissions, and have been actively engaged in these debates in my work at a national and international for many years.
“However, I have learnt over the years that pushing up electricity bills to support wind turbines doesn’t make sense.
“Rising electricity prices are a political nightmare here and all around the world. That will not go away. If this is the case, why are we putting up wind farms all over the Hume electorate – and in the process tearing communities apart – when there are many other cheaper ways to reduce emissions?
“So I am calling for a broad ranging review of these subsidies, if we win Government. I am delighted to see that Greg Hunt, the shadow minister in this area, is supporting a review. My job is to ensure the review hits the mark.”
Mr Taylor noted that on his previously published figures each new turbine built in Hume will be subsidised to the tune of at least $400 000 per turbine per annum. He said this was a result of the way that the federal Renewable Energy Target scheme currently operates. The subsidy dwarfs the money going to farmers and local communities.
“That’s a hell of a lot of money being spent to reduce carbon emissions. New turbines planned in the Hume electorate will collect over $500 million of subsidies per year.
“That’s a lot of hospital and highway upgrades that we so desperately need. We could build many new hospitals and make every major road in the Hume electorate a double carriageway with that sort of money – in just a few years!
Mr Taylor said he has been working closely with farmers and communities affected by wind turbine development, and that he had also had some constructive discussions with people representing the wind industry in the past few months.
Mr Taylor said that he also acknowledged the short term benefits that a construction of a wind farm can bring to communities in terms of injecting capital. However, he said a long term view need to be taken about the best way to reduce electricity costs for people in Hume and Australia.
“Wind energy is just not the way to do this. Eliminating waste is absolutely necessary in this economic climate. We cannot keep spending money like drunken sailors on inefficient federal ‘schemes’.”
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