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Graziers split over proposed location of wind turbines near Kingaroy  

Credit:  The Sunday Mail (Qld), www.heraldsun.com.au 3 April 2011 ~~

Angry graziers have been embroiled in a public row over Queensland’s largest proposed wind farm, which AGL plans to locate near Kingaroy.

The energy company is planning for 115 turbines to be installed along the mountain ridges around Cooranga North, 50km southwest of Kingaroy.

State Energy Minister Stephen Robertson is expected to make a final decision on the $800 million Coopers Gap Wind Farm late this year.

At AGL’s first public consultation yesterday, landholders were split between those who have agreed to host turbines and their angry neighbours.

In a repeat of the division created by the now defunct Crows Nest wind farm proposal, cattlemen and women swarmed and debated, yelled and blew off steam.

The local police officer was forced to step in and restore calm and order before the morning could proceed.

Eleven landholders have agreed to host the 160m turbines on their land, earning up to $6000 a year per turbine, for a fee.

But their neighbours, some of whom are less than 1km from the turbines, are furious and worried about noise sickness and sleep deprivation.

Anti wind farm graziers are demanding the turbines be positioned at least 3km from their homes and yesterday chanted “Three k or go away” to emphasise their point.

Queensland currently has no wind farm regulations governing distance or noise levels.

AGL has instead been following South Australian guidelines while preparing studies and its submission to the Queensland Government.

Local grazier Bev McQuaker, 74, who suffers chronic fatigue, said he was concerned a turbine on his neighbour’s property would be only 700m from his house.

“I’m worried about the noise aspect. I’m highly sensitive to noise. Sometimes I can’t stay in the house because of the refrigerator,” he said.

“At first we took it easy that there wasn’t going to be any noise but we have since heard from experts, and we want a minimum distance of 3km.”

However, Russell Glode – who owns a cattle grazing property with his brother Barry – said he was unconcerned about the wind farm.

The Glodes will host eight turbines on their ridges, the closest of which will be 1.3km to their house.

“You might hear a little bit of noise but it won’t be a big problem,” Mr Glode said, “and you get a bit of income.”

“It’s sort of splitting the community in half, for and against, but I reckon there are more for it than against.”

AGL’s general manager of power development, Scott Thomas, said Cooranga North had the best wind resources in Queensland.

Mr Thomas said the power generated would help meet Australia’s 2020 target for 20 per cent renewable energy.

AGL has three built wind farms in South Australia and has four under construction in SA and Victoria.

However, the company has been accused of skewing the facts as it pursues Coopers Gap, especially relating to health effects.

Source:  The Sunday Mail (Qld), www.heraldsun.com.au 3 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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