According to Pamada representatives Mark Sydney and Mark Dixon, the proposed Kyoto Energy Farm to be build outside Scone has virtually no drawbacks.
At a presentation made to council on Monday January 21, the two advised Upper Hunter Shire Mayor Barry Rose and councillors of the current progress of the plan.
Included in the presentation was an overview of the proposal and current progress report.
The report enabled council to understand the plan is still moving ahead, but that there have been some unforeseen delays.
“The delay was sparked out the fact that the request for the research came late in May, and was exceedingly detailed,” Mr Sydney told The Advocate
Mr Sydney also explained the Kyoto proposal included not only the controversial wind turbines, but also solar and hydro facilities.
However, these additional green energy sources would only be placed at the Mountain Station site, to the North of Scone.
Mr Sydney said any hydro source would not require a catchment area, and would be closed loop.
The plant would pump rain water at slow efficient rates to holding tanks on the site.
Given certain circumstances such as low wind, or very high electricity prices, the water could be released using gravity to drive the turbines and create new electricity.
The presentation also covered public issues of concern discovered by the company during recent contact with the community.
Mr Sydney said the key issues Pamada were aware of in regard to the local community, included uncertainty as to what will actually happen at the two sites, visual objections, acoustic impact, loss of land value and loss of amenity.
Council was told tests conducted by Pamada have been rigorous in assessing implications of audio and visual impact.
According to Mr Sydney, so far results of audio testing have been positive
“We have conducted tests at 4000 test points placed over 20 locations in the area to assess any audio impact.”
Although final results are not yet in on the audio report, Mr Sydney said he anticipates there will be no impact.
As for visual implications, research is still in progress, but Mr Sydney said consultants are trying to leave emotional aspects out of the report.
“In identifying the issues we don’t believe when you look at the criteria one needs to measure against, the impacts aren’t acceptable. The impacts are so minimal they virtually don’t exist,” Mr Sydney said.
Future impact to endangered species was also brought to the attention of council.
“The Director General has been rigorous in specifying endangered species,” Mr Sydney said.
Nine fauna species were detected in the area, but according to research will not be affected by the development.
“If they had not found any endangered species then they would not have been doing their job properly,” Mr Sydney said.
Included on the list were five species of bat and four species of bird.
According to reports , birds of prey could be impacted by the proposed energy park; however, they are not classified as endangered.
The Pamada representatives also discussed the fact once Pamada begin construction of the park, it will hinder any further mining operations in the area.
“This would certainly slow down any northern march of mining investments,” Mr Sydney said.
While Mr Sydney would not comment on whether he believed there would be any negative impacts to the project, he would only say it was a positive move for the area.
“This is the right story for Scone. It creates the Upper Hunter as a place that says ‘we believe in green energy’.”
At this stage an open forum can be expected within the next two months.
“An open day will probably be of most value to the community late February, not sooner,” Mr Sydney commented.
By Nikki Taylor
24 January 2008
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