THE wind energy sector has hit back at scathing criticism in Federal Parliament last week by an MP who described electricity generation by wind turbines as ludicrously inefficient.
Sydney-based Liberal Craig Kelly claimed 3500 turbines would be needed to produce the equivalent output of one medium-sized conventional coal or gas-fired power station.
“The electricity they produce is 500 per cent more expensive than electricity produced by coal-fired plants,” he said.
“Even if we built these 3500 steel windmills, we would still need a gas-fired power station as a backup, for when the wind doesn’t blow, the power doesn’t flow.
“Overseas studies have suggested that we could actually lower our emissions of carbon dioxide if we did away with wind turbines altogether and just ran gas power stations inefficiently.”
The Clean Energy Council later issued an invitation to Mr Kelly to tour a wind farm and learn how it drives investment in local communities.
South-west Victoria is one of Australia’s fastest-growing regions for wind farm investment.
“The cost of wind energy can be about the same as brown coal in many cases or only marginally more,” the council’s policy director Russell Marsh told The Standard.
“Wind power is currently the cheapest type of renewable energy that can be rolled out on a large scale and is expected to play a major role under Australia’s renewable energy target of 20 per cent by 2020.”
Mr Marsh said there was no evidence new power stations had to be built solely to back up wind generation.
“When wind energy is being fed into the system, less power is required from carbon-intensive sources to meet our energy needs.”