The goldrush of government subsidies for renewable energy has many victims. There is the electricity consumer facing soaring prices.
And there are the victims of industrial wind, residents of once bucolic settings who are suffering poor health, declining property prices and neigbourhood enmities as flim flam wind industry salesman prowl the countryside.
From picturesque Waubra in Victoria to Blayney in NSW, residents complain their peace of mind and way of life is being destroyed by Big Wind lured by the Gillard government’s carbon tax regime.
Wind is a key plank of the government’s $13 billion plan to produce 20 per cent of the nation’s power from renewables by 2020. With mandatory renewable energy targets and so much money on offer, wind is booming despite mounting evidence that it is inefficient, costly, and does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
But the residents of Blayney in NSW have decided to strike back. Through cake sales and raffles they raised the money for Freedom of Information reports and specialist acoustic engineers to compile a damning dossier of treachery, deception and inaction from governments and the wind industry.
It also includes 61 submissions from residents all over Australia who have been driven mad by shadow flicker and low frequency noise from the turbines in their midst.
Tomorrow, 15 Blayney residents will drive to Sydney and deliver the 700-page document to the O’Farrell government.
It makes a compelling case to halt the “Flyers Creek” wind farm southwest of Blayney, says its author, Dr Allan Watts, a 69-year-old rural GP from Carcoar.
It details serious flaws in the project’s environmental assessment, highlights a lack of noise controls, and uncovers back channel communications between wind farm developers and NSW planning bureaucrats.
“The wind industry is a protected species,” Watts says. “So it is a free for all. The only way we found this out was by doing our own research.”
Most damning is the discovery that the Flyers Creek project exceeds noise guidelines, yet is exempted from planning controls because the previous NSW government stripped powers from the council and state environmental protection agency.
At least in Victoria, the Baillieu government imposed restrictions on wind when it took office, including requiring turbines be located at least 2km from homes.
Under the new O’Farrell government in NSW, it has just been business as usual.
“The fox is still in charge of the chicken coop,” says Watts.
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