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It’s over – Acciona pulls the plug on Molonglo Ridge  

In welcome news, Acciona have announced that they will not be proceeding with the Molonglo Ridge Industrial Wind Plant. A media release quietly slipped out by the company under embargo until 29 May 2008 confirmed what the community knew all along – that the project was not viable.

Stating the obvious, Acciona Managing Director, Brett Thomas said that the site did not meet their standards as appropriate development. This is hardly a surprise – the Molonglo Landscape Guardians (MLG) have consistently argued that the proposed Industrial wind plant was too close to homes, too close to wildlife habitat, and too close to water catchment areas. What a pity it took Acciona 4 years to notice these things.

“We have looked very closely at the proposed project over a period of time so that we could fully understand the technical, environmental, community and financial aspects of the site. Having completed this work and listened to stakeholders, including landowners, government and the community; we have decided that the site does not meet our very strict standards for appropriate development”, Brett Thomas said.

The media release claims that the company carried out “extensive” consultation with the community during 2004 and 2005. We question this claim and have documented Acciona’s abyssmal performance in consultation. Their hopelessly out-of-date website has not been updated since March 2005, which was about the same time all meaningful communication with the community and local government ceased. They conducted four local meetings over as many days in December 2004, and issued three, empty newsletters – the last of which was published on their website in March 2005. Since then, nothing but the occasional press release with the standard line “studies are continuing”. All in all, Acciona’s efforts at consulting with the community have been nothing short of pathetic.

Thank you to our supporters

The MLG would like to thank the many people in our community who have supported the campaign. The expertise we found within our own ranks on planning, engineering and environmental issues made our fight potent and convincing.

We would also like to acknowledge the bipartisan and public support we have received from all our elected representatives at three levels of government – Federal, State and Local. Whatever their personal views about wind energy might be, they could not support a project that plonked an industrial power plant so close to established homes, wildlife refuges and on prominent ridgelines.

We would also like to thank the various NSW State Ministers and Federal Ministers – past and present – and their staff who gave us a good hearing at meetings and responded promptly to our correspondence.

The future for the Molonglo Landscape Guardians

Even though Acciona have pronouced their ill-considered Industrial Wind Plant dead, the work of the MLG will continue. In particular, we will be active in contributing to the development of the Palerang Local Environment Plan (LEP) to ensure that the ridgelines are kept clear of inappropriate development, such as Industrial Wind Plants.

As we have stated previously, we are not part of some anti-wind conspiracy, as some of our more hysterical opponents have tried to suggest, but we do know what it is like to have speculators blow into town and claim our peaceful, settled landscape as an empty space ripe for development by scores of their 40-storey industrial windmills.

We also know what it is like to exercise a democratic right to object, only to be labeled as NIMBY’s by safe-distance, warm-glow supporters of the ‘idea’ of wind-energy. Most of these hypocrites will never have to face the prospect of having an industrial installation built in their residential neighbourhood.

For these reasons, we will continue to support other, like-minded communities who are faced with unwanted industrial wind installations in their neighbourhoods.

We will also continue to lobby government for sensible guidelines for the siting of industrial wind turbines and a process that gives local communities a real say in decisions. Thus far, the wind industry has had it all their way – conducting the community consultation process, such as it is, to suit their purposes. It has been consultation without consequence, and this corrosive practice must stop now.

Should another speculator resuscitate the Molonglo Ridge project in the future, we’ll be here waiting. That’s because we live here, our homes are here, and our neighbourhood will never be a suitable place for an industrial wind installation. Not now, not ever.

Molonglo Landscape Guardians

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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