Tony Abbott’s main business advisor, the former head of the Australian Securities Exchange Maurice Newman, has claimed his first wind farm victim after the development of 100-turbine project near Goulburn – and one of Newman’s properties – abandoned the plan.
The Australian reported on MOnday that Wind Prospect CWP let the project lapse last week, citing “wind resource, land security and grid connection issues”.
The newspaper said Newman, who opposes wind farms and argues that fluctuations in output from renewable energy sources have increased power costs for consumers – by requiring the construction of expensive backup generators – belongs to the Landscape Guardians, a community lobby group that actively campaigns against all wind farms in the Upper Lachlan shire, where he owns land.
Newman told The Australian that the benefit of energy costs in Australia “has been squandered and you can’t underestimate the role of renewable energy behind that lack of competitiveness.”
The recent analysis by NSW’s independent pricing authority IPART recently determined that large scale renewable energy projects had added $40 to the average household bill of around $2,000.
“What the present government has done is decide we should make Australia less competitive by lifting the price of electricity,” Newman told the Australian. “Therefore, if there is a change of government, I’m sure that any business council that I chair will be of a mind to restore Australia’s international competitiveness.”
A local councillor, Malcolm Barlow, told the paper that Wind Prospect CWP was concerned that a Coalition government would make wind farms uneconomic. “I think the reason (the application) has lapsed, given the upcoming election, is the Coalition is going to review the renewable energy target system and carbon tax,” Barlow said.