Upper Hunter residents are not as convinced of the benefits of wind farms as communities elsewhere in the state, a survey shows.
The state government study of community attitudes and perceptions towards wind farms also found a higher proportion of the region’s residents were more supportive of coal-fire power stations as an energy source.
The survey sought the views of 30,000 adults living in the Upper Hunter renewable energy precinct, which included the local government areas of Upper Hunter, Dungog and Warrumbungle.
More than half (54 per cent) were aware of the proposed Kyoto Energy Park near Scone, which the Department of Planning approved in January.
Although most felt there had been an adequate consultation about the project, the survey’s Hunter participants were generally less optimistic about the potential economic and community benefits of wind farms.
Pamada plans to install 34 wind turbines at the Kyoto park capable of generating 126 megawatts of power.
But Upper Hunter horse breeders, conservationists and indigenous groups have raised concerns about potential environmental impacts.
Those concerns were echoed in the survey with a higher proportion of the Hunter survey participants concerned about environmental, heritage, property value, visual and noise impacts.
Ninety five per cent of the statewide group agreed that solar energy was an acceptable energy source for a power station.
This was followed by wind, 83 per cent, water, 78 per cent, gas 70 per cent, coal 36 per cent, and nuclear 32 per cent.
Renewable Energy Precincts state co-ordinator Chris Briggs said the Hunter’s higher than average support for coal-based power reflected the region’s economic dependence on mining and power generation.
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