Wind Farms


Date: 26/01/14 Sanchez Manning, Mail on Sunday
The presence of wind turbines near homes has wiped tens of thousands of pounds off their value, according to the first major study into the impact the eyesore structures have on house prices.
The study by the London School of Economics (LSE) – which looked at more than a million sales of properties close to wind farm sites over a 12-year period – found that values of homes within 1.2  miles of large wind farms were being slashed by about 11 per cent.

This means that if such a wind farm were near an average house in Britain, which now costs almost £250,000, it would lose more than £27,000 in value.

In sought-after rural idylls where property prices are higher, the financial damage is even more substantial. In villages around one of Southern England’s largest onshore developments – Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm in Romney Marsh, Kent, where homes can cost close to £1 million – house values could drop by more than £100,000.

The study further discovered that even a small wind farm that blighted views would hit house values.
Homes within half a mile of such visible turbines could be reduced in value by about seven per cent.
Even those in a two-and-a-half-mile radius experienced price reductions of around three per cent.

Prof Gibbons, director of the LSE’s Spatial Economics Research Centre, said: ‘Property prices are going up in places where they’re not visible and down in the places where they are.’
The study, which is still in draft form but is due to be published next month, focused on 150 wind-farm sites across England and Wales. It compared house-price changes in areas that had wind farms, were about to see one built or had seen one rejected by the local authority.

The report’s author, Professor Steve Gibbons, said his research was the first strong evidence that wind farms are harmful to house prices.

Renewable Energy

From Alan Moran:

Much has been written about the contribution that wind and solar have made to Australian energy supply, especially in the recent hot spell. About 10 per cent of electricity supply comes from renewable sources, two thirds of this being unsubsidised hydro-electricity, with one third from wind/solar which needs subsidies to cover more than half of its costs.

AEMO data shows that during heat wave conditions in the five days to 18 January this year, wind actually contributed 3 per cent of electricity supply across the Australian National Electricity Market. Nobody knows the contribution of roof top solar but it could not conceivably have been more than one per cent.

Overall, wind facilities amount to 3,300 megawatts of capacity, somewhat less than the Loy Yang brown coal power stations in Victoria or Macquarie Generation’s black coal facilities in the Hunter Valley. Windmills produced at an average of 23 per cent of their capacity during the January heat wave. This was below their year-long average of about 30 per cent because the hot spell, as is often the case, was characterised by still air. Fossil fuel plant is available 95 per cent of the time. Gas plant (and hydro-electricity) can be switched on and off at very short notice to fill the peaks in demand. As a result it generally earns more than the average plant on the electricity spot market.

The below par performance of windmills in high demand periods means they not only require a subsidy but are also less valuable than other plant because their availability is reduced when they are most needed and when the price is highest. Accordingly, windmills actually earn less on average than other plant in the electricity spot market. Indeed, during the recent heat wave, wind power earned an average of $123 per megawatt hour in Victoria and $182 in South Australia while the average price was respectively $209 and $285 in the two states.

Investments in wind and other subsidised electricity generation, according to the renewable energy lobby group the Clean Energy Council, has been $18.5 billion. By contrast, the market value of comparable generating capacity in Macquarie Generation coal plants is said to be only $2 billion and a brand new brown coal plant of 3,300 megawatt capacity would cost less than $10 billion.

Wind aficionados claim that such costings do not take into account that wind is free whereas fossil fuel plants have to pay for their energy. But that is also untrue. Wind plant maintenance is about $12 per megawatt hour which is more than the fuel plus maintenance costs of a Victorian brown coal power station.

Subsidies to renewable energy were once touted not only as a key to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide but also as paving the way to a future source of electricity that would become competitive in price and reliability with fossil fuels. After two decades of increasing subsidies, this optimism has proven to be unfounded. Instead we have seen subsidised renewable energy sucking capital into worthless investments.

On present plans, a nominal 20 per cent of electricity is to be sourced from renewables by 2020. By that year the excessive cost burden on the economy will be $5 billion a year and rising. This entails crippling subsidies paid by consumers and businesses. The imposition has been an important factor in the foreshadowed plant closures of Holden, Electrolux and the aluminium smelters at Kurri Kurri and Point Henry.

Because of our readily available coal and gas Australian electricity costs are intrinsically is among the lowest in the world. This was formerly crucial to attracting highly competitive energy intensive industries like smelting. Australia could once again benefit from low cost electricity if deregulation freed energy supply from its renewable obligations. The benefits would be especially welcomed across all agricultural and manufacturing industries that are subject to international competition.

Subsidies on existing Australian renewable plant are planned to run for 15 years. But Spain, previously the poster child of renewable subsidy excesses, has shown the way forward by eliminating all previously promised subsidies. Australia needs to abandon its own renewable schemes and allow the energy market to operate on commercial terms.

Sea Level Rise

Wyong Shire Council on the NSW central coast has defied what its Mayor calls a campaign of terror by lawyers, insurers and local and state government officials and rejected their advice to abide by dire UN predictions of sea level rise.

“We threw out the sea level rise crap” Mayor Doug Eaton said.

The councillors acted because it would have resulted in a flood level benchmark so high that a large number of properties in the shire would have been designated at risk of flooding and such a notation put on their planning certificates.

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