Our farmers must rally for reliable energy supply

Country people do understand energy. Many advocates for the immediate dismantling of our traditional carbon based energy systems are quick to accuse those who insist on a more sober and practical approach as prone to “spouting anti renewable energy guff” (Verity Morgan-Schmidt, CEO of Farmers for Climate Action, The Standard, Monday).

At 8.30am this Monday morning, three of the main windfarms of Western Victoria were producing 1.2 per cent of their 672 megawatt capacity, meanwhile the out of favour coal plants of Loy Yang (3300mw) and Yallourn (1480mw) were producing at 98 per cent and 77 per cent capacity respectively.  At the same time Victoria continues its ban on conventional gas exploration, which as we have seen continues to limit supply, forcing prices up for heating our homes, and providing much needed value adding to a whole range of our rural industries, from dairy, meat processing, timber production and stock feed. Ironically with present technology gas is needed to help balance the intermittency of wind, putting more pressure on gas supplies.

Our energy base needs to be diverse, responsive and most importantly reliable. Many hard-core green movements have been quick to railroad country communities into believing subsidised wind turbines, batteries, and no gas production will be good for them. There are communities across Western Victoria who remember how hard they fought to get natural gas connected, and indeed the fight continues.

Energy, whether it is gas or electric, is required to keep industry and our western district alive and producing competitively. Policies and actions that deliver 100 per cent increases or more in energy costs in a year are not sustainable, nor are intermittent energy supplies that at times can only deliver 1.2 per cent of their capacity.

Richard Riordan is Polwarth MP.