Farmers back turbines


Farmers back turbines

THE Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has called on the Federal Government to abolish the Renewable Energy Target (RET), arguing it costs farmers millions of dollars in higher electricity bills.

“The RET is simply unsustainable as it forces all of us to pay millions more for electricity to subsidise everything from solar hot water systems to wind farms and solar power stations,” VFF president Peter Tuohey said.

“We’ve got rid of the carbon tax, now let’s get rid of the RET.”

The Australian Wind Alliance has slammed the VFF’s claim the RET was bad for farmers.

Alliance spokesperson Andrew Bray said many farmers host wind turbines on their properties to guarantee a safe and reliable income.

“Speculation around cuts to the RET has killed confidence in the renewable energy industry. This is going to hit farmers who want to host turbines hard by denying them the potential to derive income from their property,” he said.

“Surely the farmers’ federation is meant to be supporting farmers.”

Tarwin Lower beef and sheep farmer Lindsay Marriott hosts several turbines from the Bald Hills Wind Farm on his property. The closest will be around 600m from his house.

“I think the VFF’s decision to call for the RET to be scrapped is based on ideology rather than future needs,” he said.

“They are looking at threats, rather than opportunities. The RET is integral to energy innovation and the adoption of renewable energy concepts, and it appears it was starting to work.”

Mr Marriott said all businesses, including agriculture, faced higher electricity costs.

“If you take away the RET, which is facilitating the development of renewable energy, those costs will continue to increase,” he said.

“Globally, we are turning more towards more renewable energy and Australia has a good role to play in energy production, particularly renewable.

“If the government was to scrap the RET, it would seriously inhibit future investment in renewable energy.”

Mr Marriott said renewable energy has overwhelming support from most Australians.

“One thing we can produce as a country is clean, renewable energy. The RET was helping farmers to mitigate their expenses and higher energy costs,” he said.

“One of my aims is to have a productive farm that tolerates the native animals living in the remnant vegetation and has a renewable energy station.

“I believe in renewable energy. My journey in agriculture has required constant change. If you don’t change and adapt to new technology, you don’t stay viable for very long.

“I am personally quite happy to host a renewable energy facility.”

Mr Bray said the RET review by Dick Warburton completely ignored benefits to farming communities from new wind farm construction and operation.

“It doesn’t look like the VFF did much analysis at all. A proper analysis was done for the RET review,” he said.

“It explicitly states the RET has little effect on power bills – including food processors – and in the medium term it lowers power prices.”

Look to the future: Tarwin Lower beef and sheep producer Lindsay Marriott said cutting the Renewable Energy Target would be a bad move.

Look to the future: Tarwin Lower beef and sheep producer Lindsay Marriott said cutting the Renewable Energy Target would be a bad move.

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Posted by on Sep 30 2014. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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