Wind farms could pump more than $17 billion into Australia’s economy if proposed projects were to go ahead, a new report says.
The study, which was commissioned by the Clean Energy Council, found that a total of $4.25 billion had so far been injected directly into Australia as a result of existing wind power projects.
If however, proposed projects for about 90 farms were to go ahead, this number could balloon to another $17.8 billion by around 2020, the study said.
Speaking at the launch of the report in Sydney on Friday, the council’s policy director Russell Marsh said it proved that wind farms had direct economic benefits for local communities, as well as boosting the national economy.
“Wind farming can help farmers generate significant extra funds for local suppliers, contactors, shopkeepers, community facilities and more,” Mr Marsh said in a statement.
“(They) can help farmers earn vital extra income, make better use of farming land and insure against downturns in key commodities.”
According Sinclair Knight Merz report, the construction of the “typical wind farm” of around 25 to 30 turbines can produce 48 direct building jobs and provide indirect employment of around 160 people locally, 504 state-wide and 795 nationwide.
NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy Rob Tokes said the report painted an “encouraging snapshot” of the wind industry’s potential.
“NSW is keen to develop a sustainable wind industry that supports rural and regional communities and promotes opportunities for further growth within the industry.
“This involves the development of clear planning processes that provide guidance and assurances to all stakeholders – whilst driving innovation and investment,” Mr Tokes said.