17 July 2012 – The Clean Energy Council has released a wind energy report that has found wind is powering jobs as well as homes.
The study, produced by Sinclair Knight Merz found that for every 50 megawatts of capacity – enough to power nearly 21,000 homes annually – the average wind farm created up to 48 direct jobs during construction, and then employed about five ongoing permanent staff.
A typical 50 megawatt wind farm paid host farmers $250,000 a year, was constructed by workers who spent up to $1.2 million locally and contributed up to $80,000 annually to community projects.
Lead author, David Cotterill, principal economist specialising in sustainable regional economic development at SKM, states in the report: “Every 100 MW of wind power also reduces around 246,200 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.”
Included in the report is also a number of interviews with individuals involved in and near wind farm operations focusing on the personal benefits of wind farms.
Bungendore’s Capital Wind Farm landholders Brian and Marcia Osborne have 27 turbines on their property with the closest 900 metres from their home.
They say income from the wind farm has enabled them to reduce their stocking rates and take better care of paddocks.
“We’ve spent around $100,000 on erosion problems and planted thousands of trees,” Mr Osborne said.
“This change has been accompanied by an increase in black wallaby, parrots and eagles – none of which seem affected by the adjacent turbines.
“I’m always surprised when people ask if our livestock mind the wind turbines. Our maiden Merino wool last year was some of the best wool we’ve ever had.
“Our classer said it was the best we had ever shown him and right amongst the best he had ever seen. Their upbringing was almost exclusively in the paddocks beneath the wind towers.”
Another couple, Scott Marten and Deb Curtis, have been the business owners of the Cape Bridgewater Café in Victoria for the past three years. The Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm was built about a year after they started their new business venture
“We get a lot of people asking about the wind farm,” Ms Curtis said.
“The wind company donated $80,000 towards a Sustainable Community Fund and we catered for the function.
“We benefit from the tradesmen and maintenance team and from company functions. We have formed friendships with the maintenance team – they are even part of our footy tipping competition.”
For the report summary and the full report go to https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/
Global Wind Day started as a European event in 2007 and went global in 2009.
It is held on 15 June. See www.globalwindday.org