Returns on investment – QUICKER THAN YOU THINK
Wind Turbines quickly recover the energy used to make and operate them.
“Wind turbines produce no greenhouse gas emissions during their operation. It takes a turbine just three to six months to produce the amount of energy that goes into its manufacture, installation, operation, maintenance and decommissioning. This compares very favourably to coal-fired power stations which take about 6 months.
During its lifetime a wind turbine delivers up to 80-100 times more energy than is used in its production maintenance and scrapping. Wind energy has the lowest lifecycle emissions of all energy production technologies.” - Victorian Department of Sustainability.
A wind turbine can be re-furbished after its initial 25 year life – replacing worn parts of the turbine / nacelle or the blades if required. Doing this, it could feasibly operate for more than 60 years. This limits the costs and emissions from wind turbine construction and new wind farm construction.
All major generation infrastructure requires refurbishment to extend its working life. Barron Gorge Hydro Power station, near Cairns, was recently refurbished after 50 years of operation. Coal-fired power stations generally require refurbishment after 40 years.
At the end of its working life, the wind farm can be decommissioned – the area can be restored at low financial and environmental costs. Wind energy is a form of development which is essentially reversible – in contrast to fossil fuel or nuclear power stations.
Older wind farms in Germany are not being decommissioned. T heir turbines are being refurbished or replaced with newer, more efficient and quieter models. This will become industry norm.
Economic Returns to the Community
At each site, part of the assessment/ approval process identifies the potential economic returns to the community as a result of an energy generation facility in their area. This information is used to assess the benefits to communities resulting from these projects.Mt Emerald Wind Farm
An estimated at $66.8 million direct and $44.3 million (indirect) will be injected into the region’s economy from the Mt Emerald Wind Farm project.
All Mt Emerald Wind Farm workers and their families will require accommodation, food and a range of local services for approximately two years. These include cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs, motels and accommodation, grocery stores, schools, clothing (for work and recreation), footwear, fuel and servicing for their vehicles, grooming services, sports, recreational activities, tourist sites. They will contribute significantly to their local communities by adding numbers to school and community/sporting group populations – making them more viable and increasing their revenue.
For the same reasons that locals chose to live and work in this region, these people will want to enjoy our local area, so will take advantage of our tourist and recreational activities – paying entry fees and group memberships; buy equipment to enjoy them, like fishing gear, camping equipment from local suppliers.
Windy Hill Wind Farm
The Ravenshoe experience - when Windy Hill Wind Farm began in 2000, the only place in Ravenshoe to get a cuppa was the Popular Café. Now there are three coffee shops that supplied the construction crews initially, and now cater for the increased visitors since the wind farm began operating.
In 2009, the wind energy industry employed 162,000 people directly or indirectly in Europe. Assuming EWEA's targets are met (230 GW in 2020) the wind energy sector will employ 282,000 in 2015 and 446,000 by 2020. A previous EWEA study on EU employment found that wind energy directly employed 48,363 people in 2002. European Wind Energy Association 2010.