What they say – Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges Landscape Guardians
Joanne Fosdike: Who are the Mount Lofty Ranges Landscape Guardians? According to their website the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges Landscape Guardians is an organisation of residents and landholders whose aim is to preserve the flora, fauna, amenity and tranquility of the Mt Lofty Ranges near the Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, Cambrai, Sedan and surrounding areas in South Australia. Some people think anti-wind farm activists are 'climate deniers' and maybe a bit loopy?
Tony Walker: This is the perception, that we are right wing fascist climate deniers but the reality is many of us are tree hugging greenies. We are regarded as wacky but we are specialists in this area now.
Joanne Fosdike: Are you anti-green?
Tony Walker: We are environmental activists. This debate is not about green but greed.
Joanne Fosdike: What is it your group wants?
Tony Walker: We want clean green energy but it needs to work for the state. We need to look at the long term future and look at where our resources are going to come from. Turbines just make people think that something is happening but no carbon is being saved by building turbines.
Tony Walker: We have 50 members but about 200 people come out with us.
Joanne Fosdike: What are your main objections to wind turbines?
Tony Walker: People think that if you put up turbines it will stop global warming but studies show there are no carbon savings at all.
Tony Walker: They are big, ugly and destroy the landscape. None of these wind farm companies are South Australian and 96 percent of the wind energy generated in South Australia goes to Victoria and South Australia is missing out. Victoria sells us their base load electricity supply and our electricity prices are being driven up. Lets compare ourselves with the rest of the country – we are paying higher prices because we don't have a decent base load power generator facility.
Joanne Fosdike: This is not your first wind farm objection?
Tony Walker: We've been through it all with the Keyneton wind farm issue. I've been fighting it for two years and three months – as a group it has been longer.
His first was that 90% of SA's wind-generated electricity goes to Victoria. While I greatly doubt that the figure is as high as this, why would it be a bad thing if it was true? We used to import a lot of power from Victoria that was generated in some of the dirtiest brown coal-fired power stations in Australia. We are now exporting clean power to Victoria.
He has at least moderated his previous claim that 96% of SA's wind electricity goes to Victoria.
Miniscule?He claimed that the output of our wind farms was 'miniscule'. In the real world more than 25% of SA's electricity was being generated by wind farms at the time.
See the graph on the right and there is more information
Greenhouse gas abatement
Electricity pricesMr Walker blames high electricity prices on wind power. In fact the CEO of the Energy Supply Association of Australia has said that wind power is suppressing wholesale electricity prices.
Raptors (birds of prey)Mr Walker wrote that raptors are not the usual road kill and implied that many are killed by wind turbines. Perhaps he has not seen how many dead wedge-tailed eagles there are along the sides of the Stuart Highway, and he might be interested to know that Dr Cindy Hull, who has been studying bird deaths and wind turbines, particularly at the big Woolnorth Wind Farm in Tasmania, has recorded zero wedge tailed eagle deaths there in the last three years.
Mr Walker did not mention the fact that the world's bird protection groups support wind power because they know that uncontrolled climate change will be far worse for birds than wind turbines.
Need for backupMr Walker uses the common argument that wind farms create a need for more backup generators. In fact there has always been a need for backup generators. All power stations go off-line for routine maintenance or for unexpected breakdown; the advent of wind power has not increased the need for backup.
Wind farms save livesOf course Mr Walker did not mention the fact that if not for our wind power, fossil fuel fired power stations would be causing many more serious illnesses and deaths due to their air pollution.
Don't mention climate changeAlong with most other Landscape Guardians, Mr Walker seems not much bothered about the impending disasters due to climate change and ocean acidification. The world must change to renewable energy such as wind power if we are to have any chance of giving our children, and the rest of the biosphere, a decent future.
DenmarkMr Walker wrote about Denmark. The area of Denmark is 43,000 square kilometres; about 2/3 that of Tasmania. Five and a half million Danes share this tiny area with 60% more wind power than there is in the whole of Australia. Mr Walker implies that the Danes are building wind turbines out at sea because they don't like to live near them. Quite the contrary, there are many community owned wind farms and many turbines much closer to homes in Denmark than in Australia; they are building off-shore because they have little space to spare onshore (and the wind resource is better offshore).
What he got rightPerhaps the only statement that Mr Walker made that was entirely true was when he pointed out that many people do not like the look of wind turbines.