Australian Environment Foundation (AEF) executive director Max Rheese predicted there would be more rallies across the state, including near Hamilton, which protest wind farm projects such as the one held near Daylesford yesterday.
Mr Rheese and the AEF joined local residents and Landscape Guardians groups at Leonards Hill south of Daylesford where Australia’s first community-owned wind farm is to be built to protest the start of another new wind farm in Victoria to Premier John Brumby who officiated at the opening ceremony.
Mr Rheese said the AEF was critical of Victoria’s new wind energy projects being approved while questions over their efficiency and the cost of the power they produced still remained.
“We have requested a meeting with the Government to call for a moratorium on any further wind farms until they have undertaken an independent review to satisfy some basic questions about wind farms in Victoria,” he said.
“Wind farms do not work as well as most people think, with an average power generation of just 30 per cent of stated capacity from projects already in operation in Victoria.”
Mr Rheese said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Daylesford protest was the first of many in Victoria as those who opposed the wind developments had exhausted their options through the appeals processes and through VTAC.
Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians president Keith Staff said he wouldn’t be attending the Daylesford protest and there were no definitive plans to hold a local rally at this point in time although he didn’t rule out a similar event taking place locally.
“It is under consideration,” he said,
“We might be carrying something out at some time in the future.”
Macarthur woolgrower Annie Gardner attended the Daylesford protest to speak out against the wind farms which she described as “out of control”.
“This is the richest grazing country there is and they’re ruining it with turbines,” she said.
“There are going to be thousands of them…the Moyne Shire is going to be riddled with them and it’s just disgusting.”
Mrs Gardner said she felt one of the biggest issues raised by wind developments would be long term health effects which could create “litigation bigger than asbestos” which would fall on local governments and landowners.
She also agreed with Mr Rheese that there could be some form of protest rally in the local area leading up to the November state election.
The Hepburn Community Wind Park consists of two turbines located at Leonards Hill south of Daylesford. Energy produced by the turbines is expected to be sold to an energy retailer.
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