Wind Energy Needs Government Support

A report on the future of Australian wind farming released at the Wind Energy Association's international conference in Sydney today shows governments across Australia are failing their obligation to both our environment and Australian citizens by refusing to adequately support this growing industry.

The report reveals all households in NSW and South Australia could be powered by clean, viable and sustainable wind energy by 2010, if a target of 4,000 turbines across Australia were reached.

Conservative estimations suggest that, with appropriate government support, growth in the industry would create the capacity to power two of the nation's largest states within the next five years.

Friends of the Earth believes wind-farming is a viable alternative to Australia's current environmentally destructive coal-based electricity production.

Studies show Australia is ranked amongst the worst greenhouse gas producers per capita in the world.

“Australia's refusal to make a commitment to Kyoto or any other sensible international agreement on greenhouse highlights that the country is not pulling its weight as a developed, economically stable world citizen,” says FoE campaign co-coordinator Cam Walker.

“Wind-turbine energy production, combined with solar and energy conservation, is the responsible approach to electricity production for the planet's future.”

“Global warming demands the development of a renewable energy industry in Australia. Our governments, federal and state, must act now to experience the extraordinary economic benefits available to us.”

The economic advantages of the wind-energy industry are well known, Denmark's economy currently thrives on the nation's status as a world leader in wind-technologies, creating a multi-billion dollar industry that employs over 20,000 workers at home and abroad. With growth rates exceeding the Chinese economy the wind industry is still in its infancy.

“Australia's governments have no excuse for not supporting this industry, any decision to do so places minimal short-term gains ahead of the country's long-term economic and environmental achievement.”

FoE researcher Tristan Pierce believes resistance to wind energy is often based on unqualified assumptions about the nature of the turbines themselves.

“When appropriately placed turbines present little risk to bird populations and are not as noisy as often suggested,” says Tristan.

“Many people see wind turbines as elegant and beautiful; symbols of a better, less polluted future. The aesthetic arguments against wind farming seem to be designed to obstruct the ecological imperatives behind the need for the wind industry.”

Wind-turbines are the most developed and practical form of renewable energy available to Australia at present.

Friends of the Earth urges federal and state governments to listen to the recommendations laid out in the Wind Energy Associations report and give Australia's wind industry the support it deserves.

Further information on wind energy can be found at:

http://www.yestowind.co.uk/

Cam Walker 0419 338 047

Tristan Pierce 0423 249 223