Our last speaker at the National Wind Power Fraud Rally on June 18, 2013 at Parliament House, Canberra, was Peter Quinn, a Barrister from South Australia.
Peter grew up on a sheep and cropping farm in the shadow of Mount Bryan in the Mid-North of South Australia. Four generations of his family still live in the area, which they share with the Hallett Wind farms. After more than a decade working in the wool industry, Peter reinvented himself as an economist and a lawyer, and in 2011, successfully halted the extension of the ‘Hallett 3’ wind farm which was planned for the ridges of Mt Bryan, next to the township of Hallett. Since then, Peter has been providing advice to communities across the country to assist in limiting the development of wind farms. Currently he is representing the people of Trawool Valley, opposed to the Cherry Tree Wind farm.
This is a transcript of the video
AJ: Well our final speaker today is a barrister and a campaign supporter. He has made a contribution to communities all over the country. He never flinches under fire, a wonderful man of strength, and hope and encouragement and he’s been that so to so many communities who have been isolated. He is the architect of the Xenophon Madigan Draft Excessive Noise Bill and I think you could say committed to winning the country back for country people. Or putting common sense into the Commonwealth. Finally today, please welcome Mr Peter Quinn.
PQ: Representative and Responsible Government.
Representative and Responsible Government.
Behind me stands a great hall. And in it sit men and women who are paid by us, to represent us and to act responsibly for us. The question I have today for you, and for the people behind me and to the media, passing this message onto the rest of the country, and indeed the world, is what does Representative and Responsible Government mean?
I see people from Far North Queensland. Tolga on the Atherton Tablelands, Cooranga, in Southern Queensland near Dalby. From all over the New South Wales Tablelands. Crookwell, Goulburn, Lake George. All over the Tablelands. From Victoria: from Toora, from the Bald Hills, from Stockyard Hill. From Seymour in Victoria, the heartland, Trawool Valley…
I digress to mention the Trawool Valley. A gentleman named Tim Brew cycled to be here today from Trawool in Victoria. A distance of over 700 kms. Make yourself known to Tim Brew. He is Trawool’s Living Legend. Inoperable* brain tumour 18 months ago, the size of a cricket ball. He’s a 1%er. The fact that he is upright, means that he is alright. Hats off Tim.
Waubra, Macarthur, Cape Bridgewater, and I’m just dotting the map in Victoria. South Australians are here in force. Curramulka, Keyneton, Waterloo of course, Robertstown. The Golden West. Never forget the west. You forget Western Australia at your peril. Kojunup and Denmark.
These people represent a body of people who don’t speak very often and aren’t moved to political activism. This Rally, the rabble that it is, is the closest that you’ll ever get. These people, in my view, are here to represent you and your communities. They are not paid to represent Acciona. They are not paid to represent Vestas, a Danish turbine manufacturer. That this particular policy argument is the last roll of the dice. There is no money in Europe for renewables, so their home market is saturated and the subsidies are drying up. Their last living hope on Earth, is Australia, where they’re planning to pitch some 4,000 turbines, up and down the Great Dividing Range. Maybe more. Who do these people represent? Vestas? Acciona? Or do they represent you? That’s the question.
One of the problems that has been raised today is the economics. The nonsense that is wind power. Anybody asks the question ‘Are they against renewable energy?’ Well the question has to be conditioned. If the question is ‘Are you in favour of renewable energy, which operates 30% of the time at best, has to be backed up 100% of the time by fossil fuel sources, that costs, when the wind is blowing, 4 times the cost of hydro, coal or gas-fired power, four times when the wind is blowing. And drives people out of their homes when they are inappropriately sited?” I think the answer would be very different than what is elicited in surveys. No one in their right mind, aware of those facts, could support it, unquestioningly. If the question was, ‘Would you support a technology that is base load renewable, which literally falls from the heavens, and across these great ranges behind us, in front of us, has powered homes for 50 or 60 years without a drop of CO2, emission?’ 3,800 Mega Watts in the Snowy Scheme alone.
As a scandal people, the Warragamba Dam which could produce 50 Mega Watts of pollution-free base load power, has been disconnected from the grid. Why? Because of the perverse policy that exists today, favours wind. Renewable energy certificates are not given to hydro generators (unless of course the hydro system came into operation after 2001 -The hydro system, that is the Snowy System, has been around for a little longer than that).
No one here denies that the climate is changing. The people here live with it, they die by it. People are farmers and come from communities that support agriculture, productive agriculture. So if the climate changes, and the Western Australians from Kojunup will know what 3 dry years in a row is all about (nods), then they have to do something about it. It is called adaptation. Well part of that adaptation is water security. And what we’re pushing for, is investment in hydroelectricity through the regeneration and the improvement, the upgrading of original hydro facilities. Now that is happening in part, but it is stifled. The capital is not available as it has been directed to wind farms.
It’s ideology that is driving this, not economics.
Power prices have doubled in the last 3 years. South Australians? Hands up. Congratulations, you are paying now the highest electricity prices in the world. The next highest is Denmark. And it’s there for one reason, and one reason only. Like South Australia, a great proportion of its wind power capacity has come on stream in the last decade. South Australia’s in the last three years.
Alan Moran was wrong, with respect, the generating capacity in South Australia attributable to wind farms, that is wind power contributes, when its blowing, 40%, or notionally it is available, 40% of installed capacity is in wind. On the 3rd of June, the 4th of June and the 5th of June, for periods of 12 hours at a stretch, the installed wind farm capacity in South Australia of 1223 Mega Watts, produced precisely zero. Zero Mega Watts, or not even a Watt. Not enough to power this microphone or burn some toast. Zero. And it did that for 12 hours straight on the 3rd of June. And at that time the only thing that saved South Australia, was the aging Northern power station at Port Augusta. 200 Mega Watts was brought in to use to keep the lights on, to cook the breakfast and to keep what’s left of a manufacturing industry in South Australia ticking over.
The balance of the power came from open-cycle gas turbines, which cost about $300 a Mega Watt hour to run. They are more or less 747 jet engines, strapped to a tiny generator. They are highly inefficient. And that’s what makes up the difference.
The average price to the grid of a Mega Watt hour of electricity, is $40. $40. On the 3rd of June, in South Australia, the dispatch price was $2000 a Mega Watt hour, for most of the day and for 8 spike periods within the trading session, it was over $12,000 a Mega Watt Hour. For the benefit of the scribes, Not $40 a Mega Watt hour, not the price of a carton of beer. At least $2000 a Mega Watt hour, for most of the day, and then spikes of $12,000, per Mega Watt hour. This is obscene. So there is the cost, when the wind is blowing, which is 4 times the cost of conventional generation. That’s bad enough. But when the wind stops blowing, as it does 60% or 70% of the time, we are paying upwards of $2,000 to $12,000 a Mega Watt hour. All of that is fed back to power consumers. With respect to Ron Boswell, the numbers attributed to renewable schemes, do not take that into account.
Queenslanders have had a 23% increase in their power bills in 12 months. South Australia saw a 25% increase in power bills in 12 months. If this current policy is continued, then you can expect power prices to double within three years. If not, 2. It is crippling business. It is harming families. The poorest in South Australia, have just been told by their Labour government in South Australia, that they can go to free seminars on how to cope with the fact that their power has been cut off. Teaching them how to cook with wood stoves and the better and more efficient use of candles. Laugh you might. It is no laughing matter for the poorest and most vulnerable in this community, who are not being represented.
Representative and Responsible Government.
All of you have work to do. You get the government that you deserve. You’ve come thousands of miles, from hundreds of little places that have never been heard of. You are the country. The country depends upon you. What happens next is up to you. Today is the beginning. It is the beginning of the end. The tyranny that has beset you, must end. It must end because what’s befallen us is an economic fraud of the greatest magnitude. It makes no sense. Absolutely no sense. You’ve got a Coalition Government, begging to take control of that place. Don’t let them have it on a plate. Call them to account and demand that they act responsibly for you. That they represent you. There are some 35-40 seats, 35 to 40 seats up for grabs. Every one of them needs to hear your message. You’ve delivered it loud and clear. You are to be congratulated for coming the distance you have, but the battle is not yet won. I thank you very much for all coming so very far.
*Correction: Tim Brew’s brain tumour was removed by surgery.