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Opinion: Thousands more turbines required for target

The Andrews Government’s reckless drive to a renewable target of 40 per cent by 2025 will change the landscape of regional Victoria, particularly Western Victoria, forever.

The once tranquil hinterlands and pastures of food production land will be churned into a seething mass of industrial machinery that will, as they are constructed, start to choke out the traditional use of the Western Plains into a concrete and steel Mecca.

Not content with having a sensible energy mix of coal, gas and renewables Dan Andrews has been pushed by ideological latte drinking metro living greenies to protect his Labor held seats.

He wants to pursue a State RET that will lock underground a plentiful supply of cheap, stable coal and gas.  In its place, he will pollute the above ground landscape with concrete and steel wind turbines which will only provide intermittent power and only when the wind blows.

The scale of the impact of this dangerous and reckless ideologically-driven policy needs examination. It pays no regard to a national approach and no thought to the cost of power for the consumer or the cost to the taxpayer of subsidies.

Currently Victoria has 676 wind turbines operating mainly in Western Victoria producing approximately 1265 Megawatts (MW). There are currently 1023 approved wind turbines awaiting construction which are expected to produce 2659MW. Between the constructed and approved, there will be a total of 1699 turbines spread across regional Victoria.

But that’s not even half of what will be required.

If you use the Australian Energy Market Regulator’s (AEMO) 2017 Victorian Government Planning Report figures –  the Government intends, and needs, to purchase 5,400 MW of renewable generation to reach it’s 2025 target.  This will overcome the loss of the Hazelwood Power Station’s 1600MW and bring total wind generated power to 6,889MW.
A rough calculation would then suggest regional Victoria would need to host 3,564 wind turbines, mostly in Western Victoria, to produce the power required to meet the RET.

To put that in a landscape scale – Dan Andrews will populate western Victoria with five times more turbines than currently operating, with a cost of three billion dollars to the Victorian taxpayer without any certainty it will provide reliable power generation, drop power prices or have any effect of reducing green house gas emissions.

That is a big price for Victoria to pay regardless of your philosophical view of ‘feel good green power’.