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Lake push for wind farms  

Credit:  DAMON CRONSHAW, Newcastle Herald, www.theherald.com.au 15 March 2012 ~~

The Lower Hunter and Hunter Valley would be great places for wind farms, Lake Macquarie councillor Hannah Gissane says.

But Cr Gissane fears draft state government guidelines for wind farms will end the prospect of new wind farms.

She has called for council staff to investigate which areas in Lake Macquarie would be suitable for wind farms.

‘‘If it’s feasible, I’d love to see some community-owned wind farms in Lake Macquarie and perhaps some owned by private enterprise,’’ Cr Gissane said.

She said the council should have a policy to determine what role it could play with renewable energy projects and whether community land could be provided.

She said the Hunter was an ideal place to ‘‘centre the transition from coal-based power to renewables’’.

The comments coincided with the closing yesterday of submissions on draft NSW government guidelines for wind farms. The draft report said large areas of NSW ‘‘offer the desired conditions to support the development of wind energy’’.

Cr Gissane said the guidelines were ‘‘incredibly stringent’’ and stricter than regulatory requirements for coal seam gas extraction and coalmining.

‘‘If these guidelines go through, a tonne of wind farms in the pipeline will be abandoned because it will be too hard to get them approved,’’ Cr Gissane said.

She said wind-farm power was a ‘‘reliable form of renewable energy’’ capable of playing a big part in meeting the national target of 20per cent of Australia’s electricity supply coming from renewable sources by 2020.

In a submission to the state government, the Upper Hunter Landscape Guardians group expressed support for the draft wind farm guidelines.

‘‘They clearly reflect community issues relating to industrial wind farm development applications,’’ the submission said.

The group sought a guarantee that no turbines would be erected within five kilometres of housing. Turbines could cause ‘‘annoying noise-related effects and sometimes health problems’’, it said.

Source:  DAMON CRONSHAW, Newcastle Herald, www.theherald.com.au 15 March 2012

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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