Last week Premier Daniel Andrews made a very big deal of launching a new wind farm near Dundonnell in Victoria’s southwest.
It was going to create 300 direct (and, ahem, indirect) jobs in construction and a massive — well, all of — “up to” 16 jobs when operational. Best of all, it was going to generate enough electricity to “power” 140,000 homes.
That is, of course, when the wind is blowing. For as South Australians have been — very expensively — discovering of recent months, when the wind don’t blow the power don’t flow.
But when the opposite happens, when the wind does blow, the turbines are not just generating power, they are slaughtering birds.
What the Premier “forgot” to mention last week, is that the Dundonnell wind farm has not yet received the approval it is required to get under the federal EPBC (Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation) Act.
And if the federal process works, not a single turbine will ever start slaughtering birds at Dundonnell. Our “Premier Birdkiller” can huff and he can puff all he likes, but unless and until he gets that federal OK, the birds around Dundonnell will live on.
The (state-based) environmental effects study which gave the project the green light was a joke. Birds in general will be cut down by the turbines. They do end up turning occasionally; indeed when they really get going they can be very efficient bird killers.
But at Dundonnell there are a variety of specific species which fit right under the EPBC remit. The EES was claimed as “recommending conditions to minimise potential impacts on wildlife, such as reducing overall turbine numbers and buffer zones around wetlands”.
The government claimed and gullible media lapped up: it would “accommodate brolga breeding and flocking habits”. Presumably Andrews is planning to institute a “safe birds” campaign, to inform brolgas where not to fly.
The dark and even pale greens refuse to confront this basic reality. After all, what matters the lives (and grisly) end of thousands of birds when you’re embarked on saving the planet.
You can see this attitude play out in the official publication from another wind farm, at Bald Hills in South Gippsland. Its latest newsletter admitted to 19 bird and 13 bat fatalities at the site to date. These included seven wedge-tailed eagles.
Excuse my cynicism but can we trust their counting? Further, the language used was a bizarre combination of euphemism and brutal cold-blooded calculation.
Hence: the number of eagles “recorded under turbines”. Recorded? Contrasted with: “the population consequences of such impacts are not considered significant.”
Andrews wants to double, then triple, then triple again the number of turbines scattered across Victoria. And if he doesn’t force you to spend billions of dollars to buy expensive power from wind farms he wants you to get it from solar arrays.
They also slaughter birds. But at least I guess, it makes for a change: being fried rather than sliced.
If Andrews gets his way, we will kill more birds in Victoria than any other state. He will have well and truly earned the LBJ chant.
Hey, hey, hey D (Daniel) M (Michael) A (Andrews)
How many birds did you kill today?
Truly, our premier birdkiller.