OPINION: Renewable energy target: Costly strategy may not deliver on its promises
Summary: THE State 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 Laborheld seats.
Mr Andrews 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 that will provide only 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.
Victoria has 676 wind turbines operating mainly in Western Victoria producing about 1265 megawatts.
There are 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 is not even half of what will be required.
If you use the Australian Energy Market Regulator’s 2017 Victorian Government Planning Report figures — the Government intends, and needs, to buy 5400MW of renewable generation to reach its 2025 target.
This will overcome the loss of the Hazelwood Power Station’s 1600MW and bring total wind-generated power to 6889MW.
A rough calculation would then suggest regional Victoria would need to host 3564 wind turbines, mostly in Western Victoria, to produce the power required to meet the RET.
To put that in a landscape scale — Mr Andrews will populate Western Victoria with five times more turbines than currently operating, with a cost of $3 billion to the Victorian taxpayer without any certainty it will provide reliable power generation, drop power prices or have any effect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
That is a big price for Victoria to pay regardless of your philosophical view of “a feel-good green power”.