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Tableland wind storm brewing over turbines  

Credit:  Kylie Reghenzani, The Cairns Post, www.cairns.com.au 1 April 2011 ~~

Residents living near a proposed wind farm fear the project will strip them of their privacy, expose them to noise and devalue their properties.

Oaky Valley residents Lee and Volker Schwerdtfeger, who live on the north-west side of Mt Emerald, say they are concerned about a proposed $550 million wind farm development.

Port Bajool, in association with Transfield Services, is planning to submit an application to Tablelands Regional Council for up to 80 turbines.

In a tandem project, the Asia Pacific Energy Innovation Centre plans to submit to the council a preliminary application at the same time.

This centre will showcase cutting-edge renewable energy generation and efficiency technologies and will include a 200-seat restaurant as well as a 30-booth galleria.

But Ms Schwerdtfeger said a large-scale project was not what residents had signed up for.

She said the average noise level at the turbine hub could reach up to 110 decibels. “That is comparable to a jet plane heard 250m away,” Ms Schwerdtfeger said.

“We’ll see at least 35 turbines from our house and hear the synchronising sound from them.

“We don’t want the Tableland to become a wall of turbines.”

Another resident, who wished not to be named, said he had bought his business venture property for retirement 12 years ago.

“If there were traffic lights here back then, we wouldn’t live here today,” he said.

“These aren’t lights but will look like thousands of Christmas trees.

“People can’t get caught up in the romance of wind turbines.”

But Port Bajool director John Morris said that Mt Emerald Wind Farm, a joint venture company between Transfield Services and Port Bajool, were in the process of finalising various studies for the project and would continue to consult with residents and the community at large before submitting a development application.

“We will be a new and controversial project but we want to give the public as much information as we can provide,” Mr Morris said.

“Mt Emerald Wind Farm is anxious to ensure that the community has full access to information regarding the project in a timely manner as our constant reports come to hand.

“Transfield Services, with their extensive experience with major wind farm projects, are the project managers and are the first point of contact for community inquiries.” He said project manager Terry Johannesen was on hand at the community consultation meeting on Thursday night and was keen to continue to inform the public at large about the project.

It is planned that once the project’s feasibility is confirmed, a development approval will be sought from council with operations projected to start in 2013-14.

Source:  Kylie Reghenzani, The Cairns Post, www.cairns.com.au 1 April 2011

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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