Farmers enticed by the financial benefits of hosting wind turbines on their property may be lumped with the cost of decommissioning the infrastructure at the end of its lifespan, Member for Mallee Anne Webster warned today, echoing the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner’s previous alert that wind turbine earnings could be outweighed by the removal costs.
While total fees earned for hosting a wind turbine for 25 years could yield farmers $250,000-$750,000, figures from the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner indicate decommissioning costs of up to $600,000 or more per turbine.
“Always read the fine print. If the project owner defaults, farmers could be left paying to decommission the turbine,” Dr Webster said.
“The landholder generally doesn’t own the project’s assets so they cannot simply sell them. Even if farmers have a decommissioning arrangement with the project owner, these projects can change hands many times over its lifespan, jeopardising any agreement made, and risking the landowner responsible for the $600,000 per wind turbine.”
Dr Webster said farmers need to take decommissioning costs and risks into account before deciding to host turbines, which could also have ramifications for their farmland and their neighbours.
“Some renewable energy project developers have been quick to promote projects to communities without securing social licence, or responding to genuine concerns people have,” Dr Webster said, pointing to damning figures released on the weekend.
Dr Webster described the poor answers from project proponents as ‘bulldust’ in parliament yesterday afternoon, and National Party Leader David Littleproud has today called on a moratorium on renewable project rollout in regional Australia due to poor consultation and community impacts.
“Labor has emboldened developers to push ahead with a reckless rush to renewables despite the cost to regional communities that produce our nation’s food and fibre.”
Dr Webster welcomed Mallee residents who drove eight hours to Canberra yesterday, organising a meeting with Energy Minister Chris Bowen and other parliamentarians.
The Member for Mallee also addressed those residents and hundreds of others at the ‘reckless renewables’ rally in Canberra on Tuesday.
Farmers from across Eastern Australia had travelled to Canberra to protest the Albanese Labor Government railroading their communities with renewable energy infrastructure and running roughshod over environmental concerns and farming productivity.
“Labor is asking regional Australia and agriculture to bear the burden of its reckless race to 82 per cent renewables by 2030, without any care or understanding about its impacts,” Dr Webster said.
“Whether it be the VNI West project or any other, regional communities are not a dumping ground for bad policy designed to sandbag Labor metropolitan seats from Green threats.
“Farmers have had enough.”