Tuesday, 27 September 2016

NORTHERN Tablelands MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy Adam Marshall says the winds of change are driving more regional people into demanding a greater focus on renewable energy and government action on climate change – and nowhere more prominently than in Northern NSW.

Mr Marshall said the results of a survey released yesterday by the Climate Institute which found that 77 per cent believe climate change is occurring and 90 per cent believe the Federal Government has a responsibility to drive action on it are sentiments he is hearing increasingly more often across his electorate.

The survey of 2,000 Australians also found overwhelming support for solar energy and increased demands for renewable energy policies.

Mr Marshall says the survey results demonstrate communities want action, change and a greater focus on driving regional investment in new found technological and infrastructure energy projects.

“I believe this research also gives us a clearer picture of what our electorates want from their politicians in relation to renewable energy production but importantly it is also showing that more of us trust the science and believe there are job and investment opportunities in renewable energy,” Mr Marshall said.

Mr Marshall said he believed it sent an important signal to politicians and business – and it showed him there was an opportunity for progressive new policy frameworks that drive new energy investment in regional NSW.

“The NSW Government aims to put greater certainty and consistency around renewable energy development in order to attract investment while balancing the needs of the community,” he said.

“And the Northern Tablelands is strategically placed to deliver more renewables, expand the regional workforce involved, and increase the investment dollars coming into the north.

“Already we are seeing a focus on renewable energy and breakthrough projects in this region. We’re a favoured wind farm area, we’ve got solar farm investments underway and operating and Uralla as a go-ahead town is looking at becoming a standout self-sufficient energy place.

“In the last 12 months this electorate has leapt from having no large-scale energy generation, to the construction and commissioning of facilities capable of powering tens of thousands of homes.

“That’s the miracle of renewable energy. It’s not just that we can generate power from renewable sources, like the sun and wind; it’s that we can harvest this energy in our communities, generating jobs and adding another robust source of revenue to local economies.”

The research also looked at preferred energy sources and found only 3 per cent of people surveyed supported coal power, while solar energy had 59 per cent of the support.

Mr Marshall said he agreed with industry observers that there seemed to be a rebound from the days of the carbon price scare campaign and support for climate change, and renewable energy in particular.

The Climate of the Nation 2016 results were based on an online Galaxy Research survey of people aged over 18 from capital cities and regional areas around Australia.

Two of the State’s biggest wind farms are being built in the Northern Tablelands.

The $400 million, 175 megawatt White Rock Wind Farm, currently under construction west of Glen Innes, will initially have 70, 2.5 megawatt turbines, but planning approval has been granted for 119 turbines. It will be capable of powering about 75,000 homes, and for a brief time after completion, will be the State’s largest wind farm.

Wind Prospect’s Sapphire Wind Farm, near Inverell, is a $400 million-plus project. The company will start work in late 2016 to install 109 large turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 140 metres, jointly capable of powering about 130,000 homes. When complete, Sapphire Wind Farm will overtake White Rock as the largest wind farm in the State.

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