May 12, 2012

Boorowa’s turbine turmoil

Nick Heydon, The Land, 12 May 2012

Slashing the number of turbines in the proposed Rugby Wind Farm in the Booroowa district has not eased concerns of residents in the district.

Project co-developer REpower Australia released a scaled-down version of the Rugby Wind Farm project following community feedback.

The revised project has 52 wind turbines dotted between Rugby and Boorowa – down from 90 turbines – with a generating capacity of 166.4 megawatts, producing more than 550 gigawatt-hours of clean energy production each year, enough to power more than 75,400 homes.

Fifteen landowners would host turbines.

REpower Australia managing director Chris Judd said if approved by the NSW Government the Rugby Wind Farm would inject more than $95 million into the region across the life of the farm.

“This includes reliable on-farm income for local landowners who host turbines on their property; income that will flow into the region for the next 25 years,” Mr Judd said.

The project is set to offer 90 jobs during construction and 12 full-time operational jobs.

“The community will also benefit from more than $3.6 million allocated to projects through our Community Benefits Package across the life of the wind farm.”

Mr Judd said there would be opportunities for community feedback, including personal meetings with the project team and through the recently established Rugby Wind Farm Community Consultative Committee.

Many Boorowa residents, however, do not believe fewer turbines will mean fewer impacts.

Boorowa District Landscape Guard-ians (BDLG) chair Charlie Arnott, Boorowa, said there could be potential adverse effects upon real estate prices, human health and on the environment.

“This is especially so if the wind turbines that remain are larger and of a greater capacity than those on the original plan,” Mr Arnott said.

He said noise impacts on residents were a particular concern.

“There are many homes within a distance from the Rugby wind turbines that will still be affected by offensive noise,” he said.

BDLG member Sam McGuiness, Boorowa, said questions should be asked of the developers, given they had nearly halved the size of the original plans at a late stage of the development application process.

“This clearly highlights they did not do the necessary planning or community consultation required in their preliminary dealings with the community,” Mr McGuiness said.

“We have asked them to three public meetings to answer questions from the community and three times they refused to do so.

“And they still refuse to consult with the growing number of residents that have grave concerns about the project, at an open transparent public forum meeting.”

The area for the Rugby Wind Farm project covers about 5700 hectares (14,085 acres) of cleared agricultural land, with about 3.5pc of that project area occupied by infrastructure.

URL to article: