Energy retailer AGL has ended more than three years of community-led litigation over the proposed development of its $180 million Hallett 3 (Mt Bryan) wind farm by shelving its approved plans for the site.
AGL received planning approval from the Regional Council of Goyder in 2009, but residents have been opposing it in the Environment, Resources and Development (ERD) Court.
Yesterday, the ERD Court ordered a reversal of the planning consent given to the 33-turbine project after AGL advised the court it no longer intends to undertake the approved development
Counsel for the appellant William (Bill) Quinn hailed the order as a win for the community, but said it raised questions about AGL’s reluctance to reveal critical noise data information from its existing Hallett 2 wind farm nearby.
Sixteen of the 34 turbines at AGL’s Hallett 2 wind farm were shut down at night from December 2010 until March this year to fix a tonality issue, which breached State Government guidelines on acceptable noise limits.
AGL was ordered by the ERD court to produce the noise data and wind mast data which would help to establish whether or not they are compliant with the noise regulations at Hallett 2.
No one from AGL was available for an interview yesterday, but in a written statement the company said it is looking to develop a new proposal “incorporating more economic wind turbine technology”.
“Timing for submission of a new planning application will depend upon our other development options,” it said.
Mr Quinn said AGL’s statement “was a load of crap”.
“It’s a relief to see this over after three years of soldiering on… but they got out because they didn’t want to detail what is still happening at Hallett 2,” he said.
Mr Quinn lost his first appeal against the development in the ERD court in 2010, but the Supreme Court granted him the right to re-appeal the development in the ERD court due to fresh evidence about noise issues at Hallett 2.
Community spokesperson and Waubra Foundation’s Dr Sarah Laurie said she had been informed that the tonality problems at Hallet 2 were ongoing.
“The resident most affected by the turbines has actually been told by AGL’s noise experts that the problem still exists,” she said.
AGL plans to build five wind farms near Hallett – Hallett 1 and 2 are completed with 4 and 5 under construction.
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