A little while back, in covering what “community division” caused by wind farms really means, we touched on a developer’s “community consultation” that took place at Rye Park (near Goulburn) in NSW (see our post here).
The “community consultation” in question was held by Epuron – an outfit hoping to develop what it calls the “Rye Park” wind farm (north of Yass and east of Boorowa, NSW).
Epuron sent a “pretty young thing” equipped with not much more than a Marketing Degree and the developer’s “spin sheet”. This young lass found herself way out of her depth, as locals grilled her on the wild and unsubstantiated claims she made about her boss’s giant fan plan. You know, the usual stuff about “powering” 100,000 homes; reducing CO2 emissions; creating thousands of wonderful “green” jobs; and, best of all, lowering retail power prices. Locals hammered her on all of these classic furphies: in trying to defend the indefensible, she didn’t get off to a great start – it quickly became evident that she had no idea what a Renewable Energy Certificate was, let alone the cost impact of RECs on retail power prices or the (critical) benefit of that subsidy to her employer. Oops!
On a show of hands, the 32 present “divided” as follows: 23 locals, firmly against; and 9 in favour – 4 of whom were employed by Epuron, 2 were contracted as turbine hosts and 3 were “unknowns” (check out this video of the count).
A few weeks after the “community consultation”, the community of Rye Park held its own meeting, where – joined by others from the neighbouring communities of Boorowa, Yass and Rugby – 104 turned up to hear – among others – local Federal Coalition MP, Angus “the Enforcer” Taylor talk about the greatest state sponsored fraud of all time. Angus is on a mission to bring it to a screaming halt – as this cracking speech makes clear. In fairness to his audience, however, he assumed that there would be a significant number among them that would take issue with his stance, so he pitched accordingly – allowing them the licence to make up their own minds on the issue. Fair enough.
A survey of those at the meeting was taken by organisers to determine the level of support for wind power development in Boorowa, Yass, Rugby and Rye Park. The results are set out below (why not listen to or read Angus’ speech before jumping to conclusions about the result?).
With respect to the operative behind the video camera, the audio and video of his talk are pretty average in quality, so we’ve transcribed what Angus had to say and that transcript follows:
Rye Park Community Meeting: 6 June 2014: Angus Taylor
Thank you very much for having me here – it’s good to see the residents of Rye Park out here this evening.
As you know, I am the local Federal member and I wanted to just spend a few minutes describing my personal experience with wind farms and the wind industry and just give you a few thoughts as you as a community decide – and as individuals of course – decide how you want to deal with this development.
But I want to go back a bit because as many of you know, who’ve known me for a while, I was brought on a, in a little town called Nimmitabel, South of Canberra very similar to the country around Crookwell – high basalt country, about 4000ft altitude, perfect, perfect wind farm country. My family has owned a ridge line, a basalt ridge line there for about five generations.
In the 1990s, the wind industry arrived. It was pretty much the first place in New South Wales. My extended family lived all the way along that ridge line and I watched my local community fall to pieces. I went home to the farm at about that time and got married and my family made the decision, my direct family, made the decision not to have turbines on our land.
Now the result of that is that the wind farm had to move west. We don’t have a wind farm there we have a wind farm further west, it is called Boco Rock – being built as we speak – that’s 15 years, 15 years ago it all started.
So I watched the disintegration of my close community. That happens in development sometimes – it even happens in good developments sometimes – so I accept that – but it was very sad, sad thing for me to watch. And I’ve spent 15 years considering this whole industry and what it’s doing and where it fits in the world.
So what I want to do now is just explain to you a little bit about how, what funds this industry. Because as a federal politician, we, the Federal Government has some significant influence over what funds it. And I want to also explain the role of the ACT government – because they are a major, major player in what might happen here at Rye Park.
So let me take you through this, because this is very important. It may influence the way you think about this, it may certainly also influence what you as a community choose to do.
It is impossible to build a wind farm in this region, and I can say this with some certainty, impossible to build a wind farm in this region, in a way that will make money, without very significant subsidies. Very significant subsidies.
So to put it in to perspective, a modern wind turbine -a big, big, high, the really big ones that are being built now – for the more technical amongst you – they produce, well they are about a 3, a little under a 3 MW tower. They will generate revenues of around $800,000 a year. Once built – $800,000 a year. The host typically gets about $10,000 – maybe 12. Now pushing up north – they might even push up a little bit more. Council gets a bit of money, sometimes the community gets a bit of money as well. But the wind developer gets about $800,000 a year. Half of that, about half of that, is expected to come from subsidies.
Those subsidies are the result of a Federal government program that was put in place some years ago and has been escalated in the last few years.
Now, not surprisingly, I took a view that this, this was a bad program, and the reason I took the view that this was a bad program was that the whole idea of these subsidies is to reduce carbon emissions. That is the intention. There is no other intention. It is to reduce carbon emissions. And when you look at the costs of reducing carbon emissions because of those subsidies – it is astronomical. I could do it for less than a quarter of that cost. If you gave me the money, gave this community the money, we could reduce the carbon emissions for less than for less than a quarter of that cost and build roads and hospitals schools and whatever else we wanted to do. So it’s very, very expensive.
So there’s a program, there’s a scheme in place to drive those subsidies. Right now, the Federal government, this new Federal government has made a decision to do a major review of that scheme. The expectation of the wind industry, rightly or wrongly, the expectation of the wind industry is there will be a major change in that scheme. And as a result it is very unlikely, very unlikely that any wind company will build wind turbines in this region on the expectation that they’re going to get those subsidies.
So that is, for those that are against it, that’s good news. For those of you in favour, I guess that’s bad news.
But, there is an expectation that that scheme will go – or at least not, even if it doesn’t go, it will be significantly watered down. That’s very important. However, there is another scheme. There is another scheme. Which will provide perhaps even larger subsidies – and this is being driven by the ACT government.
The ACT government has decided that it wants to go to 90% renewables; 90% renewables. And it’s going to slug every ACT electricity consumer with the cost of this. It will mean the wholesale price of electricity in the ACT region will go up by about three times. Three times what it is today, that’s the wholesale price. Okay, but they have decided that they think this is good policy and they need about 400 turbines, perhaps more, perhaps less but something like that number, but something like that, in order for people in Canberra to feel good about what happens when they turn on their light switch.
The likelihood is, at this point, that if this development is built it is because of that ACT scheme. So it is the ACT scheme. Now it is possible, that I could get rolled by the rest of my party and the Federal scheme stays in place. It’s possible, I reckon I’m going all right. I reckon I’m going all right. But, I could lose. I could lose. I am fighting pretty hard because I think this is a bad way for us to spend money.
Look with the latest budget we’ve just had, we’re all aware of it – but not just the people in this room are aware of it. Why should we be throwing money at a scheme like this when there are much cheaper ways of reducing carbon emissions? So it just makes no sense and I think in all likelihood there will be a major change of the Federal government program.
So the real issue is likely to be the ACT government’s program.
Now, let me tell you what the ACT government thinks you think. The ACT government thinks you’re mostly in favour of these developments. I have a document here which tells me that 80% of view favour this development. That’s what the document says. So if you don’t agree with that you need to say. It’s up to you, I mean I can’t tell you, the community, you’ve got to make up your own mind. But I can tell you that the ACT government has come to the conclusion that whilst it isn’t appropriate to build wind turbines on Red Hill, or Mount Ainslie, or the Brindabella’s, or Black Mountain, it is appropriate, it is appropriate, to build turbines here in Rye Park.
If you want the ACT government to hear that you have a different view, you need to tell them. Because I tell you what, I’ve told them. I stood up on Red Hill with your current local State Member, the current New South Wales Minister for planning, and the Mayor of Goulburn and the Member for Monaro actually, John Barilaro. We stood up on Red Hill. And we had a good look at Red Hill and we came to the conclusion that it would be a wonderful place to put wind turbines. But The Canberra Times, God bless them, The Canberra Times decided that it wasn’t such a good place.
But if you think that the ACT government has got it wrong, if you think that it is not true that 80% of people here are in favour of it, you need to tell them. And this is incredibly important, let me tell you, because at the moment Canberra has decided that the regions should be the place to put turbines and I’m not convinced that you’re all going to approve of that.
So I will keep doing my work at the Federal government level to make sure that silly programs that waste money at a time when we haven’t got money to waste – stop. But I plead with you that if you don’t want this development to proceed that you tell the ACT government how you feel about it. Thanks.
Angus Taylor (Federal Member for Hume)
6 June 2014
After the speakers finished the crowd delivered their responses to the survey to organisers: of the 104 in attendance, 88 people participated. The results were:
- “I do not support wind power development in Boorowa, Yass, Rugby and Rye Park”: 80 votes (91%)
- “I do support wind power development in Boorowa, Yass, Rugby and Rye Park”: 6 votes (7%)
- “I am undecided about wind power development in Boorowa, Yass, Rugby and Rye Park”: 2 votes (2%).
No surprises there. Let’s see if the ACT government has the grace and decency to listen.
4 thoughts on “Angus Taylor Joins the Wind Farm Rumble to Save Rugby & Rye Park”
Thanks for the courageous opposition to the wind industry, MP Angus Taylor! It is a shame that the ACT government relies on the people to tell it what is the right thing to do on IWT.
In our ‘democracy’ where the media power that influences the public is very much manipulated and hijacked for subversive interests like the wind industry, it is near impossible for the majority of Australians to realize the fraud of IWT. Compounding this problem is the fact that a slush fund for renewables has attracted individuals and businesses to participate in this lucrative mega-corruption.
Witness the recent 2014 RET Review submissions that show overwhelming numerical support for LRET and consequently IWT projects. But what really counts is honesty to the facts and truths about renewable energy sources. And on that score, IWT fails to be of any merit whatsoever.
So can our taxpayer-funded Government leaders please do what they are paid for — intelligently find out the real truths about IWT and have the integrity and loyalty to reject it totally. Or do this bunch of traitors to the Australian people need to be kicked out of office?
Pity that we lost the (gun) rights to do this forcibly.
Once must question the sanity of 6 votes that support windpower!
What on earth are these people thinking?
Good to hear commonsence spoken Angus. All the fans that have been built have been a waste of good money for nothing, let alone wasting more money on building more of the useless fans.