East Gippsland Climate Action Network (EG CAN)* is delighted to hear that the Star of the South Wind Farm planned for the Gippsland coast has entered its next stage. Negotiations are underway with land-owners for contracts to put underground power transmission lines through their properties. This is an exciting project and hopefully one of many local renewable energy developments in the next decade.
EG CAN spokesperson Tony Peck said ‘While we are currently focused on the tragic outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergency response to this, we need to keep in mind that there will most likely be a vaccine next year. Climate change on the other hand is an ongoing emergency, with no ‘one shot’ vaccine solution. A timely response implemented with the urgency of the COVID-19 actions will be both more effective and much cheaper in the end’.
Peck commented: ‘It is disappointing to read a recent Bairnsdale Advertiser editorial perpetuating fallacies about wind farms and their sustainability. Wind turbines have a planned life span of 25 years. The steel and aluminium used in their structure is easily recycled using current technology. Fibreglass blades are more challenging, but effective recycling processes are being developed as blades near the end of their life.’
‘All forms of power production require energy inputs for construction. Research has shown that wind turbines have a very short payback time: 6 months to 2 years depending on location.
‘By contrast,’ Mr Peck said, ‘coal fired power stations emit gases causing global warming and every day that power is produced, more CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere. This happens for the entire life of coal fired power stations.’ Coal has fuelled the industrial age but the gains have come at great cost. The natural environment has been driven to a crisis point; air pollution from coal fired power stations affects both industry workers and the wider community with associated costs estimated at $2.8 billion a year,’ he said.
‘Coal is not the future. The best future for Gippsland will require planning for a transition to renewable energy in the shortest time possible,’ Mr Peck said. As coal has been a significant contributor to the regional economy, we need to ensure that new employment opportunities are a top priority in planning and local businesses can have a constructive role in this transition. We all need to accept the science of climate change and the types of action required to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. Renewable energy, including wind farms, will play a big role in this transition.’
* Media Release EG CAN. An edited version published in the Bairnsdale Advertiser 16.4