reading 7.4 - THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE Wind Farms The facts...

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Unformatted text preview: THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE Wind Farms The facts and the fallacies Andrew Macintosh Christian Downie Discussion Paper Number 91 October 2006 ISSN 1322-5421 The Australia Institute ii © The Australia Institute This work is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for study or training purposes only with the written permission of the Australia Institute. Such use must not be for the purposes of sale or commercial exploitation. Subject to the Copyright Act 1968, reproduction, storage in a retrieval system or transmission in any form by any means of any part of the work other than for the purposes above is not permitted without written permission. Requests and inquiries should be directed to The Australia Institute. Table of Contents Table of Contents iii Tables iv Acknowledgments v Summary vii 1. Introduction 1 2. Is wind energy expensive? 3 2.1 Competitiveness of wind energy 3 2.2 Does wind energy significantly increase the cost of electricity? 6 3. Is wind energy inefficient and unreliable? 8 3.1 Are wind farms inefficient? 8 3.2 Is reliability a problem? 8 4. Does wind energy reduce greenhouse gas emissions? 15 4.1 Displacing fossil fuel power generation 15 4.2 Reductions in greenhouse emissions from wind 16 4.3 The impact of wind-related variability on greenhouse emissions 17 5. Fire risk and noise pollution 19 5.1 Fire risk 19 5.2 Noise pollution 19 6. Are wind farms a threat to biodiversity? 21 6.1 Vegetation clearance 21 6.2 Bird and bat collisions 21 6.3 Behavioural disturbance 23 6.4 Summary 23 7. Wind farms and landscape and heritage values 24 8. Do wind farms adversely affect property prices? 26 9. Conclusions 28 References 29 The Australia Institute iv Tables Table 1 Estimated cost of electricity generation from fossil fuel and renewable sources 4 Table 2 Noise levels compared to ten turbine wind farm 20 Wind Farms v Acknowledgments The authors are very grateful to Dr Hugh Saddler and two anonymous referees for their comments. However, the authors take full responsibility for any errors in the paper. Thanks are also due to Kelly Bruce of the Australia Institute for providing editorial assistance. Special note The Australia Institute is an independent, Canberra-based think tank. It has no commercial interest in the development of wind energy. No funding was provided for this paper by any party with a commercial interest in wind energy. It has been funded by the Australia Institute in the public interest. The Australia Institute vi Wind Farms vii Summary In recent times, concerns have been raised about the growing number of wind farms and their impacts on communities and the environment. Many of these concerns have been fuelled by well-organised anti-wind groups modelled on similar establishments in the US and UK. By spreading disinformation about wind energy, these groups have successfully persuaded many people, including several prominent politicians, that wind energy does not have a legitimate role to play in addressing the challenges posed by...
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reading 7.4 - THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE Wind Farms The facts...

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