Facts about Boorowa District Landscape Guardians

One of the Wind Power Ethics pages*

The misleadingly named Boorowa District Landscape Guardians Landscape Guardians (BDLG) has a Net site. As with other so called Landscape Guardians, this group is not really interested in protecting the local environment, it is devoted to opposing wind power developments.

Written 2013/01/29, modified 2016/06/17
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David Clarke)



What are the facts?

The reputable Australia Institute provides the facts on Wind Enegy, Climate and Health

What is important?

My opinion is of little importance. It is the facts and the research that matter, and the reasoning that can be based on them.
It is easy to demonstrate that the BDLG are not interested in protecting their local environment. On the BDLG 'about' page they list many 'developments that threaten landscapes' including: excessive urban sprawl, inappropriately sited structures, poorly placed infrastructure, intrusive and ugly signage and poorly planned land clearing, recreational developments, mining and quarrying, etcetera; all highly commendable aims. But then go to the 'issues' page and you will find that it is exclusively about wind farms; not a word about all the other issues!

If BDLG truly wanted to preserve the environment of the area they would be supporting renewable energy rather than opposing it. Carbon emissions from fossil fuel fired power stations are one of the main causes of climate change and ocean acidification and these are far greater threats to the Australian environment than are wind farms.

On the Home Page

The SA Liberal's brochure on wind farms

The BDLG have a copy of a brochure released by the SA Liberal Party in January 2012. It is interesting that BDLG have the first draft of the brochure that stated the Liberals would not allow wind turbines within five kilometres of a home; this was apparently an error and a later draft changed the figure to two kilometres.

The Liberals brochure is full of lies and half-truths and is worth a study on its own; I have critiqued it elsewhere on these pages.

The BDLG brochure about wind turbine efficiency

This brochure is stuffed full of lies.

Wind farms are effective in reducing greenhous emissions
Emissions intensity
Graph credit – Professor Mike Sandiford, University of Melbourne; data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

Fact: Wind power reduces greenhouse emissions

Starting with the BDLG claim:
"Does wind power measurably reduce greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions from power generation – NO, detailed anaysis shows net savings are miniscule, no more than about 5% of that claimed by promoters (and supported by government)."
False; BDLG do not give the source of this remarkable and unbelievable analysis, but it is probably from wind power opponent Hamish Cumming, whose 'analysis' was written up by anti-wind power 'Environmental Editor' of The Australian, Graham Lloyd. An extensive report by the US Department of Energy came to a very different conclusion.

There have been several studies on how much greenhouse gasses are abated by wind farms; see here and here, but obviously BDLG choose to ignore the studies by experts and selected an analysis by a lone amateur because it suited their preconceptions.

The graph on the right shows emissions intensity (EI) from the four large states in the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) and the average for the whole of the NEM, including Tasmania. (Tasmania's EI is off-scale at the bottom of this graph.)

There has been a slight decline in electricity consumption in Australia in the past very few years. It is important to understand that while this may result in a corresponding decrease in total emissions it would not reduce emissions intensity. The only thing that would reduce EI is cleaner generations methods, eg. wind power and solar power.

Note the very large decline in South Australia's EI; due almost entirely to the introduction of wind power. SA has far more wind power per capita than any other state.

Fact: Fossil fuelled power stations have been shut down because of wind power

And then there is the BDLG claim:
"Does wind power allow the decommissioning of a single fossil fuelled power generator? – NO, not at anytime anywhere in the world!"
Quite false, for example:
  1. Both the Thomas Playford and the Northern coal-fired Power Stations at Port Augusta in South Australia have been shut down largely due to the expansion of wind power in that state.
  2. On 2012/10/15 Renew Economy reported that half of the Tarong coal-fired power station in Queensland is to be shut down.
  3. On 2013/01/11 it was noted in Scientific American that the Canadian province of Ontario was to phase out all its coal-fired power stations. The same article notes that wind and gas power will fill the gap. Ontario has 2000MW of installed wind power (compared to 2500MW for the whole of Australia at the end of 2012).
  4. A large part of Scotland's power is generated by wind farms and it closed its last coal-fired power station on 2016/03/24.
I have no doubt that more examples could be found.

Another claim by BDLG:
"Does wind power increase energy costs – YES, very significantly."
Again, quite false; a number of breakdowns of the costs of electricity have been done and all show that wind power has played a very small part in the increased price of electricity.

If the BDLG have truth and justice on their side, why do they resort to lies?

Climate change damage

Climate change damage in South Australia
Dead red stringybark at Clare
Dead red stringybark Eucalyptus macrorhyncha in the Clare area
Climate change is hitting Australia just as it is hitting most of the world.

Western Australia

The South West of Western Australia is being impacted particularly hard. An article written by Ben Deacon and Daniel Mercer for ABC Weather noted that:
  • South-west WA has seen a 20 per cent reduction in winter rain since 1970;
  • The declining rainfall has seen up to 80 per cent declines in runoff into dams.
In the same article Tom Hatton, the former Chair of WA's Environmental Protection Agency, was reported as saying that the Perth water catchments used to receive around 400 gigalitres of water each year, "Now we're lucky if we get 70 gigalitres and we don't even rely on that."

South Australia

The defoliation damage in the Spring Gully Conservation Park shown above happened following an exceptionally hot and dry summer and autumn of 2007/08. There was another defoliation event in the conservation park in 2018, and again in 2019.

The conservation park is near my home. Also near my home is the Crystal Brook where I have recorded a very significant decrease in stream flow.

It is arguable that one or the other of the exceptionally hot and dry summers that were responsible for the damage in the Spring Gully Conservation Park may not have had anything to do with climate change. What is undeniable by any well informed and honest person is that exceptional weather events such as these will become more common as climate change progresses unless we get serious about taking action such as replacing fossil fuel fired power stations with wind farms and other forms of benign renewable energy.

We all have to play our part in cooperating in the fight to reduce climate change

Saying "climate change action is well and good, but not if it is near me" should not be accepted by right-minded people. How much environmental damage do we have to see before people like the BDLG say, "yes, we want to do our bit to slow down climate change"?