Blayney Wind Farm
Mr MARTIN (Bathurst) [4.38 p.m.]: Last Saturday the Minister for Energy, Kim Yeadon, opened the State's biggest wind farm at Blayney, which is in my electorate. The farm has 15 of the most powerful turbines in the country, with a total capacity of 10 megawatts. That is enough power to supply a town of 3,500 people. That demonstrates that the New South Wales Government is at the forefront of renewable energy in Australia. Legislation which will shortly pass through Federal Parliament will require all States to have 2 per cent of their energy needs produced by renewable energy. New South Wales already exceeds that figure. Last Saturday in Blayney the Minister mentioned that a further 22 sites in New South Wales were under consideration. His department is producing the first wind atlas for the State, which will make it easy for people to access points at which further wind turbine sites will operate.
In recent weeks Lithgow City Council received a development application from the Litchfield family at Hampton. They have been negotiating with the Sustainable Energy Development Authority for funding to get their project under way. The two turbines will be slightly bigger than the unit at Blayney. Once again that will focus on the electorate of Bathurst as being at the forefront of renewal energy in this State. Turbines are fascinating machines. They are 43 metres high; the blades are 47 metres in diameter. The 15 turbines are situated on a hill that has a scenic 360 degree panorama. The flexible turbines move to pick up the wind and, if the wind changes, the computerised blades turn into the wind. The turbines demonstrate that we are up there with the leading technology in this important area.
I congratulate the Minister and the Government on leading the way in the development of wind powered energy. Whilst we acknowledge the contribution that renewable energy such as wind power can make, we also should acknowledge that the conventional forms of energy are still needed, notwithstanding some of the problems with greenhouse gases. The electorate of Bathurst is home to two major power stations at Mount Piper and Wallerawang. They have a combined capacity of 2,320 megawatts. When one contrasts the amount of power that can be generated by wind power with the capacity of the power stations, obviously wind power will be a supplementary form of energy, although it has a valuable role to play. We must have a balanced view. We must realise that we still have to invest in and maintain the integrity of our coal-fired power stations.
Mount Piper power station is the newest power station in New South Wales, and probably in Australia, although smaller plants will come on line in Queensland next year. It has basically has nil emissions from its stack and its l,320 megawatts of power is probably the cleanest power one can get using fossil fuels. One of the interesting features of the operation at Blayney is the involvement of two property owners who are longstanding graziers in the area. They have co-operated with the Eraring power authority, which constructed the wind turbines. Wind power is delivering a good source of revenue for those landowners who want to get involved. The power is being on-sold to Advance Energy, with a financial arrangement with the land-holders over a 25-year period. The use of wind power makes farms more sustainable and helps us in our quest to maximise the use of renewable energy.