Anti-wind farm campaigners fear landholders may have to shell out millions of dollars to remove wind turbines from their properties.
The Daylesfonl and District Landscape Guardians say contracts between wind farm operators and landowners ultimately leave landowners with the responsibility and the cost of decommissioning wind farms.
The Landscape Guardians cited a planning panel report on the Waubra wind farm, which recommended the wind energy operator ¡°or in the absence of the operator the owner of the land¡± must remove turbines and clean up the site when it ceases working.
Guardian spokesman Christian Wild said the contracts were widely used and drawing on figures from France he estimated it would cost up to $1 million to remove each turbine.
Mr. Wild said the decommissioning bond where several million dollars could be placed in a trust fund could be used to pull down the turbines.
But he said it would add to the expense of building the wind farm.
A planning panel reviewing the proposed 12 turbine wind farm at Bald Hills in Gippstand rejected a proposal for a decommissioning bond.
The panel said a bond was not necessary because if ¡°a responsible authority sought to take action against a wind farm operator, only to find that it has ceased to trade, action could also be taken against the landowner.
However, the panel said the issue should be considered when planning guidelines for the development of wind farms were reviewed.
A Victorian Government spokeswoman said the Government expected that decommissioning of windfarms would be addressed in the owner¡¯s lease agreement with the operator of the facility, including any financial obligations.
by Lyndal Reading
The Weekly Times
Web link: http://www.weeklytimes.com.au/”
26 March 2008
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