August 12, 2013

Moyne mayor calls for inquiry into wind farm subsidies

By PETER COLLINS | The Standard | Aug. 12, 2013 |

Moyne Shire Council mayor Jim Doukas has renewed his call for an inquiry into the effectiveness of subsidising wind farms.

And Darlington activist Hamish Cumming has released figures showing wind power is still just a blip on the electrical radar.

Cr Doukas said continuing debates about efficiency of producing electricity from wind turbines raised the need for an in-depth examination of power generation needs.

“Maybe it’s time for an inquiry looking at the needs and wants of electricity in Victoria,” he said.

“Taxpayers are paying subsidies for wind farms, but if that electricity is not needed, why pay the subsidies?”

Three wind farms are operational in Moyne Shire, using more than 170 turbines.

At least another six with almost 200 turbines are at planning or approval stage. The Clean Energy Council, which represents wind farm companies, said the subsidies were not wasted.

“A vast majority of Australians support renewable energy,” the council’s media spokesman Mark Bretherton told The Standard.

“It’s a modest cost.

“Projections are that the cost of renewable energy is coming down, so there’s a good long-term future.”

He said subsidies for wind farms and other renewable sources such as wave and geothermal energy was factored into consumer power bills, not directly from the government budget.

The Standard understands the component of power bills siphoned off to subsidise new energy projects is about two to three per cent.

Both Labor and the Coalition have committed to having 20 per cent of the nation’s electricity produced from renewable sources by 2020.

Mr Cumming, a farmer and mechanical engineer, said data from the Australian Energy Market Operator showed that on July 4, when the Macarthur, Portland and Lake Bonney wind farms shut down at the same time, there were no blackouts over four states because coal-fired power stations picked up the load in seconds.

“The back-up coal was being burnt anyway,” Mr Cumming said.

“The wind farms were not abating any greenhouse gas, so why on earth are we building and subsidising them?

“If you want large-scale renewables, then develop thermal solar molten salt instead.

“At least that works and does not require back-up, but don’t fall into the subsidy trap again.

“If people still keep saying I am wrong, then give me the hourly coal feed data for all eastern state power stations.

“Generators are still refusing to provide actual coal feed data to match against output.”

URL to article: