Tooborac residents fear a proposed wind farm will make their fire-prone village even more unsafe after a turbine caught fire in South Australia.
The turbine burnt scrub near Port Lincoln last month at the height of a prolonged heatwave.
Tooborac, about 20km from Lancefield, has been earmarked for a 70-turbine wind farm for more than five years by Transfield Services.
Another proposed project at Sidonia – badly hit in the Redesdale fire – is mooted to be getting 34 turbines, run by Tasmanian based company Roaring 40s.
Now Tooborac residents want an investigation before turbines are placed near their homes.
Tooborac resident and celebrity chef Peter Russell-Clarke says he endured a month from hell as fires from Kilmore East and Redesdale threatened his home. “I have written to (Justice) Bernard Teague and I want him to have a look at this in the (bushfire) Royal Commission because we have towers as high as the Bolte Bridge potentially malfunctioning in a fire-prone area,” he said.
Fellow Tooborac resident Ian Rohde said the recent incident in South Australia raised the spectre of what liability a wind farm operator would face.
“It is now known that the Kennett Government allowed SP AusNet a $100 million liability cap when the electricity industry was privatised. Will it be the same for wind farms?” he said.
The Kilmore East fire on Black Saturday, which later destroyed Kinglake and St Andrews, is thought to have started from a downed power line. A class action has been launched.
Roaring 40s, which jointly runs the South Australian wind farm at Cathedral Rocks on the Eyre Peninsula, is investigating the February 2 fire.
But spokesman Josh Bradshaw said the company was concerned a fisherman alerted fire authorities before fire alarms activated on the 60m tower.
“There was little we could do about the turbine with the priority ensuring that embers did not start a larger fire,” he said.
Mr Bradshaw said plans for the Sidonia Hills project were expected to be submitted to Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden within three months.
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