March 28, 2013

Wind farm win hollow for Paltridges

Simone Smith | March 29, 2013 | The Weekly Times | March 29, 2013 |

Eight Mile Creek dairy farmers Richard and Tom Paltridge have been through the fight of their lives.

Along with many other dairy farmers, they have been wrestling with low prices and high costs.

But the father and son business owners have also had the expense of fighting an international wind energy company.

Recently Acciona Energy announced it would not go ahead with its project to install 46 wind turbines between the small town of Allendale East and Eight Mile Creek, south Mt Gambier in South Australia, due to it not being “commercially viable.”

In a statement to The Weekly Times Acciona said the Paltridge family had appealed the wind farm approval in the Environment, Resources and Development Court of South Australia.

Tom said he spent about $200,000 fighting Acciona in court “and we haven’t got anything to show for that.” “It is a pretty hollow victory. If we had spent the money on a house or the farm we would have something to see for it.”

“If I had spent that money to grade tracks or on the farm, that money would have stayed in the community.”

While none of the proposed turbines were on the Paltridge 283ha farm, they would have been visible and the closest tower about 500m from the house.

The Paltridges were building a new robotic dairy, which uses mobile phone technology.

Richard said he was concerned the turbines could cause interference to radio and television reception.

Milking 700 cows across two dairies with a milking platform of 161 irrigated hectares, maintaining soil moisture was important for the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter suppliers.

Richard said turbines could make irrigation less efficient by increasing evaporation.

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