Smiles were scarce in Allendale East when residents confronted developers Acciona Energy with concerns over the wind farm project proposed to be built in their backyard. Holding a series of one-on-one consultations over two days, representatives for Acciona met with residents at the Allendale East Community Hall to which residents described the process as “round in circles,” “indirect” and “scripted”.
As a mixture of viewpoints came to head, it was evident that the wind war that has been waged in this community was clearly not over.
Mothers from the primary school across the road questioned why their children were to be guinea pigs; a local farmer said it was dividing the community; and a long time local welcomed wind turbines over a nuclear plant any day.
Acciona Senior Manager David Clarke outlined the three key ingredients the high profile energy company said made up wind farms.
“Firstly wind, secondly connecting into the transmission grid, and thirdly community support,” he said.
Local farmer John Hunt disagreed with Acciona’s priorities and despite holding discussions with representatives for two hours, maintained his stance against the project.
“We’re number three on the list, community should come first.
“I think there is a place for wind farms but not right in communities.
“Everyone thinks we’re anti-wind farms, we are anti putting them so close to people’s properties,” he said.
Criticising the one-on-one format of the meetings, Allendale resident Jackie Lowe said many people would be put off.
“It can be intimidating. I would have liked to have seen a proper community meeting,” she said.
Under fire for their agenda whilst in Allendale, Acciona remained committed to answering concerns throughout the two days.
While the outcome is yet to be decided by the Supreme Courts, Clarke said if the project gets the green light he would support further research into health impacts, which appeared to be the major concern of the community.
“We support recommendations into research and we think it can only help to give confidence to the community that there are no issues with health,” he said.
Despite so many community concerns, SA Greens MP Mark Parnell stressed the importance of the renewable energy industry.
“We’ve got to get this into perspective.
“We’re talking about an industry of the future creating clean renewable energy that’s going to help us meet our reductions target and help give the climate a chance at stabilising,” he said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding