Below is a link and a copy of Richard Riordan MP’s speech in Parliament in relation to wind farms.

28 August 2019 ASSEMBLY Second reading Richard Riordan

Mr RIORDAN (Polwarth) (12:41:04): I rise to join many of the comments my colleagues made earlier, in particular the member for South Gippsland. We are beyond frustrated that this government wishes to bring yet another policy in to appease its inner urban electorates rather than to think of the consequences of what they are doing. They are cheaply using and abusing country communities in their quest to be able to say they have a 50 per cent renewable target. So what are those consequences and what are the costs going to be to our community? This is a significant policy with enormous potential for climate good but at the same time, because they have refused to talk honestly and openly with communities about how you go forward, the costs that country communities will bear for a lifetime will be enormous. We will just start with some of those things. For example, this government, despite a report put out by the independent wind farm commissioner only two months ago in which he said Victoria has got its setback policies on renewable energy wrong—it is not climate deniers saying that, it is not the Liberal Party saying that; the independent government commissioner on wind farms says Victoria has its policy wrong—has a policy that was written 10 years ago when wind farms, for example, were only averaging 90 to 100 metres tall. Wind farms now are closing in on 300 metres tall—that is taller than the Rialto. This government has not got a decommissioning policy. This government spent a lot of time yesterday talking about the importance in mining of making sure that when we have an effect on the environment and we make a commitment that changes the landscape that we also have a corresponding commitment to clean it up and manage it into the future. That is an admirable concept, but when it comes to renewable energy this government is refusing to put the necessary steps in place at the start of its process to manage what even a five-year-old would be able to figure out is going to be a problem. For example, with the thousands and millions they are throwing at their solar rooftop problem, has 1 minute been spent by these people on the Treasury benches to think about what is going to happen in 20 years time when all those solar panels come to the end of their natural life? Who is going to be responsible? Do the taxpayers have to fork out again? Do we have to pay millions and hundreds of millions to put them on everyone’s roof and then hundreds of millions to take them off? Who is going to be responsible for that clean-up? Who is going to be managing it? Where are the resources going? Has the government in its quest to give fistfuls of dollars to households ensured that the product being installed is recyclable, can be reclaimed, can have a full product life cycle? No, they have not. With the endless stories of cheap installations people are not thinking about the consequences down the track. It is the same too with the wind industry. The wind industry is going, at taxpayers expense, hell for leather across the landscape, making changes that will affect communities for a lifetime. Where is the thought on how you manage it? We spent yesterday talking about how we will manage mines, but this government refuses to talk about it. They have not got a plan in place. No-one is going to be responsible, and this chamber at a future time will be sitting here debating what we are going to do. Who is going to pay? Do we have to put taxes up? Do we have to charge people more for their energy in order to clean up the messes? The member for Essendon in a big swathe in his debate today made much of the fact that technology changes rapidly, it changes all the time. I absolutely agree. This is why the government must put thought, effort and energy into how this is going to work. As the member for Gippsland South said, wind farms in his patch are at around 30 per cent. The wind farms in my patch operate at between 24 and 34 per cent. That is by anyone’s standard incredibly inefficient. You do not have to be a rocket scientist or a renewable energy expert to realise that as other technologies such as hydrogen, such as more efficient waste to energy—a whole number of renewable energy sources—become available into the future, companies including energy companies will very quickly transition from inefficient solar and inefficient wind. They will do that because solar is always below 30 per cent efficiency and wind is not much better. You do not need a crystal ball to realise that when the opportunity arises industries and companies will move to those options. If we look at today—just to prove the point, pick a random day in the middle of the week. The wind farms in my community, which the government will have you believe can power 800 000 homes today, are all operating at below 20 per cent. So there are not 800 000 homes. It is a lie. When we talk about wanting 50 per cent renewables under this current process, we have already got huge swathes of our landscape covered. As the member for Gippsland South also pointed out, are we talking about a capacity for 50 per cent or an actual 50 per cent? On a day like today, we would need the capacity physically at two or three times more in order to generate that much electricity. This is a wishy-washy, hocus-pocus belief. Combine it with two examples that are currently at play in Victoria at the moment. The interconnector to Tasmania, an important part of supplying renewable energy to Victoria, is out of action again, for the second time in only a couple of years. What reliability is in place for that? What is this government doing to ensure that we can in fact use Tasmania as a hydro battery for the state of Victoria? We saw in the last three years that the interconnector to South Australia, where there is an option for renewable energy, breaks down. It is not necessarily 100 per cent reliable. These are important considerations that have not been undertaken by this government. The member for Essendon and the member for Mordialloc, who probably do not have wind farms in their communities, unlike myself have probably never met with wind farm operators. Even the wind farm operators tell you that to maximise the efficiency of wind energy particularly you must have high-level, large-scale backup and battery operations. The only thing that will deliver that for the state of Victoria will be large-scale hydro. Where are the plans, where is the support, where is this government meeting with our water agencies, whether they are Melbourne Water or Barwon Water? Where is it talking to them about opportunities for large-scale hydro? Oh, no, none of that is happening. There is no thought—there is not a scintilla of thought—by the government on how to manage the transition to renewables. The simplest thing it can do is turn up with a three-page bill that seeks to transform forever the reliability and the efficiency of Victorian energy in three bits of paper that I have got to say have hardly got anything in them anyway. With those three bits of paper it will not only irrevocably change large areas of our landscape but it has no plan for the future and it does not seek to answer simple questions put out by people in my community and other regional communities, the obvious questions that arise. Another issue that this policy does not seek to work with or address is transmission. I would probably liken what the government is doing with this policy to a Stalinist approach. They have said, ‘Right. We want 50 per cent’. It would be like saying, ‘We’re going to produce the car bodies. We’re going to have everyone, or 50 per cent, with car bodies. But we’re not going to put wheels on them. They’re an optional extra someone else will have to think about’. We would end up with car bodies stacked all over this state and no wheels to transmit them. Mr Pearson interjected. Mr RIORDAN: The member for Essendon would not realise it, but the only thing that is going to slow down renewable energy in country Victoria is that this government has not put a scintilla of thought into how we are going to transmit the energy. Does he realise, for example, that most of the renewable energy that has already been built—and we are only at the 20 per cent mark—is already consuming most of our transmission lines? How do you plan, who are you working with, what communities are you working with? What energy companies is the government working with to create the transmission systems we need to move the renewable energy? If we have got to more than double what we have now, you have got to be able to move it around. This government has not given thought to that and that is not without consequence. In my community of Mortlake, there is a huge fight to try and get some of the transmission lines put underground, not only for aesthetic reasons and cultural heritage reasons but, most importantly in rural communities, for bushfire reasons. That is another thought that this government has not given any consideration to in this bill. These are questions that are legitimately out there in our communities, raised by people who really want to know. It is easy to win votes in Brunswick and Northcote—and even that you struggle with sometimes—by coming up with these 50 per cent policies to appeal for cheap votes. There are real people’s lives and there are real communities left abandoned with a policy like this, because you are refusing to put any thought, and most importantly investment, into the necessary infrastructure and planning and future planning for this energy policy. Today it is disappointing to think that no matter how often this is raised, even with our shadow minister putting a reasoned amendment for the government to at least start to consider the costs and questions, this government refuses to do anything. The ACTING SPEAKER (Ms Ward): To take us through to lunch, the member for Mordialloc.

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