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Community-owned wind farm plan opposed  

A proposal for Australia’s first community-owned wind farm near Daylesford has been approved by Victoria’s appeals tribunal but slammed by opponents as a “green wash”.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal approved the construction of two 70-metre-high wind turbines, which Sustainability Victoria predicts will generate enough energy for more than 2000 homes and reduce greenhouse gas by about 14,000 tonnes a year.

The wind farm at Leonards Hill, 10-kilometres south of Daylesford, would be operated by the Hepburn Wind Co-operative, which intends to sell power to the national grid and allocate profits to local investors and community programs.

But the proposed site is within a kilometre of 18 houses, and many residents are furious about the noise and visual impact of the massive turbines.

Resident and vocal opponent Christian Wilde said Sustainability Victoria had granted $1 million to the project and then used spurious scientific data to justify the outlay.

“The claims they have made about the amount of energy it would produce, the number of houses it would power and the level of greenhouse gas abatement are completely false,” he said.

“Our calculations that use the proponents’ own data, show the real figures are about a tenth of what they claimed.”

Mr Wilde said residents of nearby Daylesford and Hepburn had been misled.

But Hepburn Renewable Energy Association president Per Bernard said the region would reap substantial environmental and social benefits.

The Hepburn Shire Council had received more than 300 supporting submissions on the project and only 18 objections.

“Virtually the entire community is thrilled about this,” he said.

Cameron Houston
August 2, 2007


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