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Local wind farm debate heats up

Debate surrounding the proposed construction of a $200 million wind farm at Flyer’s Creek, near Blayney, has intensified with both sides presenting their cases to Blayney Shire Council at a meeting on Monday night.

Flyer’s Creek Awareness Group member Di Coleman addressed Council in front of a packed crowd and said her group’s objection to the proposal was not a case of “not in my backyard”.

Mrs Coleman said many of the 46 members of the group were in favour of renewable energy options but the proposed closeness of wind turbines to properties was their primary concern.

“We are seeking a 2km exclusion zone around properties as has been adopted recently in Victoria,” she said

“Our area is already impacted by Newcrest, dust and infrastructure pressures.”

Mrs Coleman then took aim at the company behind the proposal, Infigen Energy, claiming they had $1.3 billion in debt and had low investor confidence.

“What happens if Infigen does belly up?” she asked.

Flyers Creek project manager, Jonathan Upson from Infigen Energy was also at the meeting and had been in private talks of his own with Councillor’s prior to the meeting being opened to the public.

Mr Upson said he was surprised Mrs Coleman spent so much of the five minute period she was allotted, speaking about the financial position of Infigen.

“The concern that Infigen will go belly up is ridiculous, nobody will commit to a project like this unless the money is there,” he said

He said the reason the turbines were being built without a 2km exclusion zone near homes is because if they were, the project would be unviable.

“Their calls for 2km buffer are a way for them to knock the project over,” Mr Upson said, in response to the calls from the Awareness Group.

Mr Upson also accused the group of running a fear campaign based on misinformation.

“They said property owners could probably be gagged on talking about any problems they had with the turbines – our landowner’s agreement contains no such clause.”

“I don’t mind having a debate but people should get the facts first.”

But members of the Awareness Group argue they have got the facts, sighting a number of newspaper reports and submissions to a Senate enquiry on wind farms as evidence that there is legitimate public concern about the health effects of wind farms.

Off the back of a petition sent to members of NSW Parliament, the group have stepped up their efforts to defeat the proposal, enlisting the services of …..