Photo: Ian Waldie
Opposing sides of an increasingly bitter wind farm debate will rally in Canberra on Tuesday, with supporters gathering in the city and opponents at Parliament House.
Wind farms bring billions of dollars in new investment to regional areas according to their supporters, but households are being slugged with higher power bills, according to opponents.
Crookwell grazier Charlie Prell, who wants to host wind turbines, said opponents were wealthy, well-connected landholders who did not want to look at the turbines.
''To be honest, we need to stand up and fight for what we believe in,'' Mr Prell said. He is a spokesman for NSW Regional Renewables Alliance, a group of 70 landholders and regional businesses, and said the rally in Garema Place at noon would be supported by various groups, including chief organisers Friends of the Earth and the online activist group GetUp! Action for Australia.
In a statement Mr Prell said the Renewable Energy Target had generated $18.5 billion over 12 years and reduced electricity prices by 8 per cent.
Alliance member, Goulburn earthmoving contractor Andy Divall said the RET was making a big difference in regional NSW.
''In the 25 years we have been in business we haven't seen anything like the opportunities the renewables industry will bring to the region,'' he said. Another alliance member, Tarago farmer Joan Limon said: ''There are six turbines on my property. They take up very little land. The closest is 800 metres from my house and they don't worry me, my sheep or my cattle.''
Rallying from 11am under a ''Wind Power Fraud'' banner, critics will say every turbine is issued between 8000 and 10,000 renewable energy certificates every year, which translates into a tax on power consumers.
Friends of Collector president Tony Hodgson said the rally at Parliament House would show growing opposition to industrial wind power because of rising costs to the community for no benefit.
Mr Hodgson said $52 billion in wind subsidies would ultimately be paid by electricity consumers and taxpayers over the next 18 years.
''The 63 turbines at the proposed wind farm at Collector alone could attract almost $1 billion in that time if the same system of RECs remains in place.''
Joining the anti-wind farm rally will be Boorowa and Yass ''landscape guardians''. Mary Ann Robinson from the Yass group said their battle with wind farm proponent Epuron was in flux because Epuron had to re-submit planning documents for a large project west of the town.