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Wind farm size a big concern, says group

Proposed wind farms at Yendon and Elaine would dominate the landscape and reduce property values, a community group has claimed.

Spokesman for the Lal Lal and Landscape Elaine Action Group John McMahon expressed concern at the size of both the proposed wind farms and turbines.

“It is a very, very large project, (with) up to 79 turbines. It’s very big, and these turbines are enormous.”

Mr McMahon said that up to 600 houses and 1800 residents were located within 5km of the Yendon site. “Most other (projects) wouldn’t have created any where near the same effect in terms of people’s lifestyles or livelihoods, (and) in terms of the value of their properties.”

But the company behind the project, WestWind Energy, said both the size and number of turbines were yet to be finalised.

“At the moment we haven’t lodged a planning application,” project manager Grant Flynn said yesterday.

“We have come up with an indicative layout, with 50 turbines at the Yendon section and 29 at Elaine. That number could change up or down as our investigations continue,” he said.

Mr Flynn said the blade tip height of the turbine was also speculative, with the figure of 150 metres, the maximum possible height.

“Again, we haven’t selected a turbine model at this stage, but we’re trying to give people some basic physical dimensions so that they can get an idea of what it is that we’re proposing,” he said.

Mr Flynn said that while a blade tip height of 150 metres was higher than any existing wind farm project, other planned projects in Victoria included turbines that are as big.

Mr McMahon said the entire Ballarat community should be concerned about wind farm developments.

“We could well end up with a series of wind farms stretching form the Grampians, or further west, right through to almost Bacchus Marsh in the east . . . it would be hard to find some clear countryside around Ballarat.”

The Courier

12 June 2007