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Wind farm developer meets with residents

Representatives from Acciona Energy were yesterday welcomed with roadside signs opposing the proposed wind farm development in Allendale East when they visited the town to meet with residents from the region.

With roadside signs reading “no wind factory near our homes” at the entrance of the town and outside the Allendale East Community Hall, representatives of the wind farm developer gave residents the chance to raise their concerns around the proposed 46-turbine development.

Although the project has been halted by a recent Environment, Resources and Development Court hearing, Acciona Energy has appealed against the decision in the Supreme Court and is hoping for a ruling in its favour.

But many residents in the Allendale East and Eight Mile Creek area hope the Supreme Court rules against the wind farm.

Meanwhile, it is understood that two of the 11 landholders that may house turbines on their properties if the development proceeds have not yet signed agreements with Acciona Energy.

When asked yesterday if the development would still be viable if the two landholders – that are believed to house a total of six turbines on their properties – did not sign the agreements, Acciona’s community relations senior manager David Clarke declined to comment.

“I can’t speculate on it,” Mr Clarke said.

Mr Clarke said residents who attended yesterday’s one-on-one meetings raised concerns over the distance between turbines and their homes, which would be around 600 metres in some cases.

Although the Victorian Government this week announced amendments to the state’s planning laws to give households the power to veto wind turbines within two kilometres of their homes, there were no similar regulations in South Australia.

“There are no rules in South Australia around the distance between turbines and homes, but there are regulations on the noise and the limit measured outside a house is 40 decibels,” Mr Clarke said.

“Although some houses will be within the 600 metre mark from turbines, the noise levels predicted will comply with the noise levels.”

But Racecourse Bay resident Jackie Lowe, who attended the meetings and distributed information leaflets outside the community hall on behalf of the Concerned Residents Group, said she remained concerned about the noise levels produced by turbines if the development went ahead.

“The effect of noise levels on people’s health has not yet been researched properly,” she said.

“Wind farm developers are not required to measure the noise levels inside homes, but we don’t know how it may effect people in this town and the farmers.”

Ms Lowe said many people complained about rising electricity costs, but failed to link the matter with renewable energy.

“The cost and maintenance of wind farms are astronomical and we are paying for it,” she said.

Meetings continue in the Allendale East Community Hall today between 9.30am and 1.30pm.