Today we put in our submission to the Senate Wind Inquiry.
Here's the full thing and here's the exec summary:
The Australian Wind Alliance is a not-for-profit, community-based advocacy group to promote wind power. We have over 450 financial members and over 10,000 online supporters. Our members are predominantly farmers, wind workers, community members and local businesses. We support wind power because of the benefits it brings to the health of regional economies and to Australia’s economy and to the environment through the provision of inexpensive clean energy.
We note that over 300 individual submissions to the Review supportive of wind energy were submitted by our members and supporters. This submission both reinforces and offers complementary information to these submissions.
Wind farms have been operating in Australia since 1987. In 2013, wind power supplied over a quarter of Australia’s renewable energy and 4% of total electricity demand.
Wind energy has been significant source of jobs and investment to regional Australia. By 2012, $7 billion in total had been invested in new wind farms, $4.25 billion of which was invested in Australia, with the creation of 5,200 jobs. A new manufacturing industry has been created in wind tower construction, with up to three plants operating in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. In many rural communities, wind farms have been one of the main new sources of economic activity to arrive for decades.
We firmly believe that wind farms are a welcome development for communities in regional Australia. They provide local employment and strengthen the economic base of regional towns and communities. Farmers also receive long lasting benefits through wind farm lease payments that can assist them in difficult times. The flow on benefits of these payments to local businesses are exponential. Most farmers spend the majority of their income in local towns.
By our calculations, this inquiry follows eleven other inquiries into various aspects of wind energy in the last five years. We submit that in relation to the issues raised in the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference, reliable evidence has been provided and re-provided by reputable bodies. To mount another inquiry at this time is a flagrant misuse of government resources in a time when the government itself is calling for fiscal restraint.
A more constructive approach for the Inquiry would be to recognise the benefits of wind energy for rural and regional Australia and for greenhouse gas reduction and to focus on solving problems through exploration of such matters as economic benefit sharing and improved monitoring and compliance regimes. This would be an excellent step to assist regional communities to embrace the economic and social opportunity this fledgling industry presents to rural Australia.