Dear Mr Macfarlane,

Dear Mr Macfarlane,

The Moyne Shire Mayor, Mr Doukas, has raised some very valid questions in the following article.

Moyne mayor calls for inquiry into wind farm subsidies
Warrnambool Standard
12 August 2013

MOYNE Shire Council mayor Jim Doukas has renewed his call for an inquiry into the effectiveness of subsidising wind farms.

And Darlington activist Hamish Cumming has released figures showing wind power is still just a blip on the electrical radar.

Cr Doukas said continuing debates about efficiency of producing electricity from wind turbines raised the need for an in-depth examination of power generation needs.

“Maybe it’s time for an inquiry looking at the needs and wants of electricity in Victoria,” he said.

“Taxpayers are paying subsidies for wind farms, but if that electricity is not needed, why pay the subsidies?”

Three wind farms are operational in Moyne Shire, using more than 170 turbines.

At least another six with almost 200 turbines are at planning or approval stage. The Clean Energy Council, which represents wind farm companies, said the subsidies were not wasted.

“A vast majority of Australians support renewable energy,” the council’s media spokesman Mark Bretherton told The Standard.

“It’s a modest cost.”

“Projections are that the cost of renewable energy is coming down, so there’s a good long-term future.”

He said subsidies for wind farms and other renewable sources such as wave and geothermal energy was factored into consumer power bills, not directly from the government budget.

The Standard understands the component of power bills siphoned off to subsidise new energy projects is about two to three per cent.

Both Labor and the Coalition have committed to having 20 per cent of the nation’s electricity produced from renewable sources by 2020.

Mr Cumming, a farmer and mechanical engineer, said data from the Australian Energy Market Operator showed that on July 4, when the Macarthur, Portland and Lake Bonney wind farms shut down at the same time, there were no blackouts over four states because coal-fired power stations picked up the load in seconds.

“The back-up coal was being burnt anyway,” Mr Cumming said.

“The wind farms were not abating any greenhouse gas, so why on earth are we building and subsidising them?

“If you want large-scale renewables, then develop thermal solar molten salt instead.

“At least that works and does not require back-up, but don’t fall into the subsidy trap again.

“If people still keep saying I am wrong, then give me the hourly coal feed data for all eastern state power stations.
The Standard


  • We currently have an oversupply of electricity generation.
  • Electricity is becoming unaffordable for families and industry.
  • Wind and Solar are both intermittent generators of electricity.
  • Intermittent power generation does not save green house gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Wind power does not save GHG emissions.
  • Wind industry does not calculate GHG emissions from back up power generation when calculating GHG emissions savings.
  • Vast majority of Australians support renewable energy that saves GHG emissions.
  • Vast majority of Australians oppose renewable energy that does not save GHG emissions.
  • Wind power costs 3 to 4 times as much as coal fired power.
  • Federal Government RET and REC’s are responsible for encouraging wind power.
  • No business model exists for wind power without subsidy support.
  • If the wind industry claims wind power is competitive, then it does not need subsidies.
  • Only the Australians who are not aware of these facts support wind power.
  • All responsible decision makers are aware of these facts.

We know that over 80 percent of the Cooranga North community, who are facing the threat on an ineffective, subsidised wind farm in our area, do not support the estimated $55,000,000 annual subsidy from the Federal Government to this one wind farm that is currently planned to exceed the Qld Noise Policy at our houses and will not save any GHG emissions.

We support the Moyne Shire Council Mayor’s call for an inquiry into the subsidising of wind power.

Will a Federal Coalition Government discontinue the subsidy support in the form of REC’s for wind power until electricity generated by wind power can be stored?  Until electricity from wind generation can be stored, it requires backup from base load power generation and therefore does not save GHG emissions.

Will a Federal Coalition Government subsidise wind power if it is not saving GHG emissions?

Qld Energy Minister, Mark McArdle’s following comment in “The Australian” on 19.9.2012 (article attached to this email):

“There is some evidence to suggest the unreliable nature of renewable energy has resulted in coal fired electricity generation to be maintained at pre-RET levels and claims carbon abatement inflated by the Federal Government to justify its commitment to renewable energy”

Will a Federal Coalition only support renewable energy that does save GHG emissions such as hydro, solar thermal and geothermal electricity?

Important Analogy:

Farmer Joe decided to ride his horse 30 km to town for a dentist appointment rather than drive his car to save carbon emissions. However he wasn’t sure if his horse would get him there on time so he got his wife to follow him in the car just in case he was running late.

This story is not true because no farmer is that stupid but the wind industry is that stupid and the Government is supporting it.

If you think Farmer Joe is not very bright then you should have a close look at anyone in your Party who is supporting a renewable energy that requires backup.

Bryan Lyons
Spokesperson for the Cooranga North Concerned Citizens Group

STT says: “hats off Bryan”.

We couldn’t have put it much better ourselves.

But we have to spend a little time with the comments tossed up by the Clean Energy Council’s (CEC) spin doctor – Mark Bretherton – about subsidies for wind power that:

“It’s a modest cost.”

And that:

“Projections are that the cost of renewable energy is coming down, so there’s a good long-term future.”

As to the first, we guess you could call the $52billion in REC Tax (that will be extracted from all Australian power consumers to support the RET over the next 18 years) “MODEST”.

But STT suggests that you don’t put the CEC in charge of your household budget – just in case they decide to do a little “modest” spending of their own.

The cost of a National Broadband Network – at $40billion – would obviously be “modest” spending.  The Gonski education reforms – unfunded – but let’s say around $60billion – that would be “modest” too. So would private jets for all households – that would be “modest”.  Why not stick in a tennis court – “modest”; buy a Porsche for Dad – “modest”; a Merc for Mum – “modest”; and Beemers for the kids – “modest”.


At a little over $350,000 – “modest” motoring – by CEC reckoning.

Amazing how – when you’re spending someone else’s money – the amount never really registers.  That’s why Mums generally don’t let their teenage daughters loose with the Myer card – unless Mum is standing right alongside Katy at the counter to curtail the “damage” the little darling might otherwise cause.

As to the second – if the “cost of renewable energy is coming down” – then the wind industry can stop bleeding power consumers dry and stand on its own two feet.

Tell the Feds to tear up the RET – there’ll be no need for preferential treatment to get intermittent and unreliable wind power output into the grid – it’ll sell itself.  Good luck with that!

And tell them to scrap the REC – clearly you won’t miss the “modest” amount you pick up from that paltry little income stream – and with the costs of wind power falling – it would be just plain wrong for the wind industry to obtain a benefit it doesn’t really need, right?

But – as STT has observed before – the CEC speak with forked tongue.

lone ranger and tonto

You know CEC speak with forked tongue, Kemosabe.

The installed cost of a MW of wind power capacity is stuck at around $800,000 – which excludes the cost of connecting to a grid or building transmission capacity.  There is unlikely to be much change to that figure – even as turbine capacities increase – the 300-400m3 of reinforced concrete in the base will never get any cheaper.  And larger fans need to be spread further apart – so you end up with about the same output from a given area anyway.

No – this is just another piece of “interference” being tossed up by a group that knows its days are numbered.  When you’ve got local Councillors keen to get to the bottom of the rort – you’re in BIG trouble.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. David Mortimer says:

    I never trust a person with a false grin and I’m afraid that Mr Macfarlane fits that mould. It is a practice that has never yet let me down. Frankly, I don’t think he should hold a ministry position after the next election.

  2. blowing in the wind says:

    At the last VCAT hearing for the Naroghid wind farm, it was stated on the stand by the proponent, ‘if there are no subsidies then the wind farm would not be viable’. Now who is fooling who??

  3. Wind energy is often quoted at running at around 25 – 30% by the industry themselves.
    Let’s, for arguments sake, take their word for it.
    Going with your horse theme, if you entered a one/legged horse in a race – where would it come? Nowhere, because it wouldn’t stand up – a bit like the wind weasel’s argument for wind power.

  4. Terry Conn says:

    Could I refer SST readers to an ACIL Tasman report relied on by The Climate Change Authority dated 2011 stating that ‘the capital cost of a wind farm is in the order of $2,700.00 per kilowatt installed’ (without operation and maintenance costs or transmission costs). Do the maths and send that of to Messrs. M’cFarlane and Hunt! Ref: ACIL Tasman (2011) Report to the Dept. Climate Change, Modelling GHG emissions from stationary energy sources (18/1/2011).

  5. Jackie Rovensky says:

    The above says it all, and I fully agree that the CEC is a useless organisation if you are looking for common sense and truth.

    I agree that many Australians support renewable energy, but it’s a matter of which renewable energy and if it stores surplus production for when it is needed and is economically viable – clearly wind energy is neither of these. While some supporting incentive may be needed for solar thermal and other more suitable systems of production to get up and running, they should not be financially supported from the public purse indefinitely, and Wind Energy because it is inefficient and costly should have any financial support withdrawn immediately. If after so many years it is unable to stand on its own ‘3 blades’ it should not receive further support and the CEC should concentrate on the other members of its Renewable Energy membership instead of pushing the wind. Remember a wind storm will eventually blow itself out – it is obvious it has now happened to this industry.

  6. People are bleeding badly with electricity costs because of these subsidies. Especially us pensioners, who have to resort to cutting our heating use in winter to pay the bills. Blankets instead of heating. Also candles are being used as we try to save on the climbing electricity costs – but also now more homes are being destroyed through accidents with candles,

    Pretty pathetic – Australia is going backwards fast.


  1. […] and show the Country – and especially Country people (never forget where you came from and who voted to put you where you are) – that you are above and beyond reproach – and that you are, in fact, a […]

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