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Wind farms ‘unlikely’ in Adelaide Hills  

Credit:  Lauren Novak and Daniel Wills, www.adelaidenow.com.au 6 June 2012 ~~

The Adelaide Hills could become a wind farm “no-go zone” under changes to planning laws, the first meeting of a parliamentary committee into wind farms has heard.

Planning department statutory planning executive director Andrew Grear told the committee that the rules in South Australia did not prohibit wind farms outright but there were areas, including the Barossa and McLaren Vale, where planning laws made it much more difficult to gain approval.

He said there were concerns raised about the impact of wind farms on primary production areas and townships in the Hills Face Zone and other rural areas.

These were being “very seriously” considered by an advisory committee to Planning Minister John Rau.

However, no decision had been made.

Planning changes announced in October allowed wind turbines to be constructed 1km from homes and removed some appeal rights in the hope of unlocking huge investment.

That interim planning guide is expected to be finalised by Mr Rau this October.

The committee also heard the interim plan allows for the possibility of building offshore wind farms off the coast of some metropolitan beaches.

However, MPs on the committee, including Greens MP Mark Parnell and Liberal MP and chairman David Ridgway, said this would be expensive and unlikely.

They also said it was unlikely any company would proposed to build a wind farm in the Hills under current planning rules.

Meanwhile development authorities have given the green light to a $900 million, 105-turbine wind farm in the state’s Mid North.

The plans have been handed to the State Government for final approval.

The Hornsdale wind farm, on land spanning 8km to 24km, north of Jamestown, would become one of the state’s biggest with 315MW of production capacity.

State Development Assessment Commission documents show the application was lodged on October 26, just days after former premier Mike Rann relaxed wind farm restrictions.

It was provisionally approved at a closed Development Assessment Commission meeting late last month.

Under development guidelines, the project requires a final sign-off from Mr Rau. His office is yet to receive the report.

Northern Areas Council chairman Ben Browne told The Advertiser there were mixed views in his community about the investment, with some fearing it would create noise and health problems.

His council is demanding Mr Rau commission an independent noise analysis before granting approval.

“The majority of people seem happy with it,” he said. “It’s a very big wind farm and there is anecdotal evidence about the noise.”

Mannanarie resident John Voumard said turbines would be as close as 3km to his homestead and compensation should be offered for the loss of “natural beauty” from turbine construction.

Mr Ridgway said the Government’s love of wind power had driven up power prices.

“There is a direct link between the amount of wind farms we have and the cost of electricity,” he said.

The first hearing of a parliamentary inquiry into wind power will be held today.

Planning changes announced in October allowed wind turbines to be constructed 1km from homes and removed some appeal rights in the hope of unlocking huge investment.

Source:  Lauren Novak and Daniel Wills, www.adelaidenow.com.au 6 June 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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