Farmers demand fairness in energy transition


NSW Farmers members called out a lack of fairness in the energy transition during debate at the organisation's annual conference.
 
With power prices soaring, developers are looking for opportunities to build renewable energy installations in regional areas, but farmers have warned this often comes at the expense of food and fibre production.
 
NSW Farmers Energy Transition Working Group Chair Reg Kidd said there needed to be a rethink on the rollout of transmission lines, a vastly improved understanding of the effects on regional rural values and economies, and a recognition of the need to protect the land that grows the food and fibre for the state.
 
“You cannot simply build infrastructure to benefit substantially city users without addressing the impact on regions and rural landowners who have invested in their biodiversity and production capacity,” Mr Kidd said.
 
“The costs to regions in loss of land values and rural amenity are large, ongoing, and divisive, and there is little consideration of the long-term impacts in the haste to build while government fiddles with the phase-out of coal power.
 
“We need to better define what is acceptable in building solar and wind installations on rural land, and how they impact on neighbours and towns.”
 
Several motions were brought forward by NSW Farmers members discussing the energy transition, with many voicing concerns about building transmission lines across farmland.
 
“Transmission lines are being built across productive agricultural land without assessing the social and economic costs to regions and landowners,” Mr Kidd said.
 
“The options for gridline development through public land and in undergrounding are not being adequately considered, and they need to be.
 
“If it wouldn’t be considered appropriate in Woollahra, it shouldn’t be considered appropriate for Walgett.”



Date: Friday, July 29, 2022
Media Contact: Steve Mudd  | 0429 011 690 | mudds@nswfarmers.org.au