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Extend wind farms to other states: Coulter

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PR 89/324 Canberra July 14, 1989


Senator John Coulter, Australian Democrat senator from South Australia, today congratulated the Western Australian Government for encouraging people to build and operate their own wind farms. Under the plan, farmers will be given cash

incentives to set up rotor-driven turbines to generate their own electricity needs and sell any surplus to the State Energy Commission.

"It is an excellent concept which must be extended to South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania" said Senator Coulter. "These states are the windier states which can utilise the prevailing south-westerly winds.

"It is important, however, that buy-back rates be sufficient to cover the avoided capital costs of generating equipment installation as well as the running costs. A similar scheme in South Australia did not develop because the buy-back rate of electricity from the farmer to ETSA was insufficient to cover the capital costs of installing the generating equipment.

"All pollution-free measures to reduce the burning of fossil fuel must be supported by government. Renewable energy programs are the ultimate solution to the Greenhouse Effect.

"The growth of wind power in California has been absolutely phenomenal. The power generating capacity of the state's 17,000 wind turbines exceeds the total output of all of Tasmania's dams. The cumulative electricity output of California's wind-farms is an amount equivalent to over 6 million barrels of oil now not being burnt.

"Wind power is economical. In California, wind electricity's total costs at 7 cents per kilowatt hour are cheaper than Diablo Canyon and San Onofre nuclear power plants. Once a wind-farm is established, its operating costs are only 1 cent

per kilowatt hour because the fuel is free.

"Now that the Esperance test-plant in WA has proved successful in supplying energy to the local town, state government must give its wind-energy program very high priority" Senator Coulter concluded.

Further information: John Coulter 08-3330277 Jenny Macleod 062-773645