New Zealand power company TrustPower has invited Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to visit its South Australian wind farm, following his comments last week that wind turbines were “ugly” and “noisy” and a potential threat to health.
TrustPower CEO Vince Hawksworth, whose company operates the 270MW Snowtown wind farm in South Australia, and has more than 2000MW of projects in the pipeline in Australia, says Abbott – who has admitted he has only ever been close to a single turbine on Rottnest Island – to visit the facility.
“We’d like to have the opportunity to take the Prime Minister to Snowtown to get him familiar with the current technology and meet local people who live near the turbines and have welcomed the contribution the project has made to the community,” Hawksworth told the Bay of Plenty Times.
TrustPower’s offer is not the only one being extended to Abbott. Last week, in response to Abbott’s comments, and his revelations about his limited exposure, similar offers were made by Infigen Energy, Acciona and CWP.
Among TrustPower’s project pipeline are the 260MW Palmer project in South Australia, and the 250-320MW Dundonald project in Victoria.
Hawskworth told the Bay of Plenty Times in New Zealand that planning approvals should be ready by the end of the year, with completion likely within two to three years if they get the financial go-ahead.
That will depend on the outcome of the RET legislation that is currently going through the Senate.
Other projects in initial stages include Rye Park in NSW (up to 300MW), Wingeel in Victoria (400MW), and another as yet undisclosed location in Victoria (400MW). The company also has an early stage option on another potential site in NSW, which could be in the 500-600MW range.
Meanwhile, environment minister Greg Hunt has had some interesting things to say about a single turbine located behind a pub in his local electorate.
Twice in radio interview in the past week with 3AW’s Tom Elliott, Hunt has been asked about his views on the 90kW turbine hosted by the Kings Creek Hotel in the town of Hastings (picture above and below).
Tom Elliott said: “On Sunday I drove through your electorate, through Hastings and I notice that the big windmill that doesn’t work to the rear of the local pub there is still standing. It is ugly. Will you have it knocked down?”
Hunt, who last week refused to express an opinion about the look of wind turbines, replied: “Look, I don’t actually have the power to determine what’s built or not built in an urban environment, somebody’s backyard, but I know what you mean.”
Hunt said the turbine was no longer in operation because the hotel owners had trouble obtaining spare parts. The turbine was built in 2006 at a cost of $240,000. Youtube videos show it operating last year.
Elliott: “No I’ve never seen the wind turbine actually turning, no matter how strong the wind.”
Hunt: “It did a few years ago but I think it’s been a while since its seen action.”