Pace of renewable energy rollout focing landholders into difficult situations: NSW Farmers

Beef Central, 20/03/2024

NSW Farmers says the scale and pace of the renewable energy development rollout is forcing people into difficult situations, and is calling on Government to rebuild community trust and relationships amid the angst being generated.

Farmers and communities around Dunedoo in the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone were fearful they would be collateral damage in a bid to secure the state’s power supply, NSW Farmers Energy Transition Taskforce chair Reg Kidd warned, with the stress and uncertainty taking a huge toll on the region.

“The sheer scale and pace of the energy transition is forcing people into really difficult situations, being forced to give up parts of their family farms or face years of disruption to their operations, and it’s causing enormous stress,” Mr Kidd said.

“We’re seeing the headlines about the need for more renewables and more quickly, but that’s deeply distressing for the people who fear they will be left to foot the bill.

“We need the NSW Government to swiftly address these concerns not just about where and how transmission lines and energy developments will be built, but also how they will minimise the impact.”

Mr Kidd said NSW Farmers had been actively advocating to the NSW Government and EnergyCo on the issue, raising concerns about Just Terms Compensation, mental health support, and the need for clear guidelines on how all parties should conduct themselves to minimise the impact on people and farm productivity.

“We heard the previous government spruik the 3000 jobs the Dunedoo development would create, but it’s left 1000 locals wondering about where these workers will live, how they’ll be housed, and what demands that will place on their small community,” Mr Kidd said.

“This is to say nothing of those other small towns right through the Central West and Hunter Valley who know their roads and bridges will be clogged for years with enormous trucks.

“There are also the cumulative effects; issues of increased insurance coverage, decommissioning these projects once they reach their end of life, rules and regulations around fires, these are just some of the things I’m hearing from people we need solutions for.

“To their credit, it’s clear the Minns Government knows there are problems here and we are sure these problems can be solved, but the question that remains for so many people is whether that will be done in time.”

Without swift government action, the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone would become a textbook example of how not to work with rural communities, Mr Kidd said, sending a clear signal to other parts of the state that they too could face a similar fate.

“We’re looking at a future where we’ll need to feed and clothe more people but at the same time there’s this major push from all sides of politics and big business to build power plants on productive farmland,” Mr Kidd said.

“They might want to get it done quickly, but they also need to do it well, so we don’t destroy families and communities or lose our precious productive potential.

“The people who will have to live with these transmission lines, wind turbines, and solar panels are understandably worried about what it means for them, and we have been working with the government to put the stress this has caused clearly on their agenda.

“The NSW Government must commit to resolving these existing issues and putting processes in place to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future, and we stand ready to help.

Source: NSW Farmers


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  1. Mal peters, 22/03/2024

    The Gov approach to capturing farmers emissions is very concerning. A number of farm reps appear to be giving the Gov the nod on practices that will cut our production.
    You can’t plant trees without cutting production.
    Fine for those that are not totally reliant on ag for income or no debt so production loss not a worry.

  2. Grant Piper, 21/03/2024

    And all for nought, or worse than nought, as real damage will be done locally, economically and globally. All these ‘renewables’ are mined, transported, manufactured and installed, then decommissioned, using fossil fuel. The steel is probably made using coal we export, but for some perverse reason we cannot burn it here for ourselves? The sunk energy and materials in the turbines and solar panels and powerlines increase overall consumption, and so are totally counterproductive to the stated aim of reducing emissions, if that is your goal. All the projects in the CWOREZ will have to be replaced 2-3 times before the ‘net zero by 2050’ date arrives. One coal or nuclear plant would operate long after that date. Every wind turbine or solar panel needs the equivalent in MW backup, currently done by coal and increasingly gas turbine. Adding batteries just further destroys any environmental credibility as their life is shorter and sunk energy costs higher. Farmers may choose to have powerlines if they could honestly see it as working and for the ‘common good’, but when it is so clearly an over-hyped ideologically driven, technically deficient ponzi scheme that will harm long term food production, then we say no.

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