Renewable energy infrastructure in Australia is beginning to develop strong foundations. With the implementation of wind farms, solar farms and other large-scale green infrastructure projects taking root nationwide, it is possible to now monitor and understand the effects they are having on a multitude of levels.
While the first level of monitoring of these technologies will always involve their environmental implications, a secondary offshoot that always runs hand in hand with energy efficiency is the economic effects of the technologies used.
A study commissioned by the Clean Energy Council has shown found that wind farms alone could inject $17 billion into the Australian economy. This estimate relies on proposed future developments going ahead, but already $4.25 billion has been added to the economy due to the impact of wind power alone.
The economic boost comes in two ways, with both local and national entities feeling the monetary impacts.
Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh explains the local effect currently being attributed to wind farming.
“Wind farming can help farmers generate significant extra funds for local suppliers, contactors, shopkeepers, community facilities and more,” he says. “(It) can help farmers earn vital extra income, make better use of farming land and insure against downturns in key commodities.”
A Sinclair Knight Merz report shows that through developing a ‘typical’ wind farm, 48 building jobs can be generated, with a massive indirect job generation of 160 people locally, 504 statewide and 795 nationally.
On a national scale, the development of wind farming infrastructure and the wind farming ‘sector’ is driving national profits and long-term investment opportunities, with a further 90 wind farms planned to be built by 2020.
The New South Wales state government has shown particular interest in wind farming, with NSW Parliamentary Secretary of Renewable Energy Rob Tokes labeling the report as an ‘encouraging snapshot’ of things to come.
“NSW is keen to develop a sustainable wind industry that supports rural and regional communities and promotes opportunities for further growth within the industry,” says Tokes.
The economic growth and expected growth pattern is a positive sign for the Australian industry and green building sector, heralding the beginning of a solid green infrastructure foundation in this country.