- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Wind farm cash enticement

Financial sweeteners have been offered by Hydro Tasmania to the King Island community, before a community survey vote that will help establish whether TasWind’s 200-turbine farm is built.

The TasWind survey began last Friday to see if a 60 per cent community majority is in favour of a $20 million feasibility study.

Hydro Tasmania has promised $1 million ever year to the community if the farm is built.

King Island Mayor John Barratt said the study would open up discussion about what compensations would be available.

Hydro Tasmania spokesman Pat Garnham said the money could be used for cheaper electricity for households and businesses, or build community infrastructure.

“The annual community fund . . . will be for King Islanders to use in their best interests once TasWind is operational,” Mr Garnham said.

“It will be up to King Islanders to decide how they would like to use the fund. TasWind will also provide landowner payments for hosting turbines and payments to neighbouring landowners as part of the project.”

Mr Barratt said the community fund was just one form of compensation.

“There are a lot of other issues and compensations in the mix that have to be determined through the feasibility study if the community vote for that process,” he said.

Discussions about money between Hydro Tasmania and business groups, including the King Island farming and abattoir industries, have already taken place.

King Island land owner Chris Porter, who is interested in establishing a multi-species abattoir, said sweeteners for the industry were on the table.

“They mentioned between $300,000 to $400,000 . . . subject to the outcome of the ballot,” Mr Porter said.

“It was something that was discussed in the last 10 days, and was obviously put forward at that time with a view to try and convince King Islanders to vote in favour of the project.

“I would call it bribery.”

Opposition group No TasWind chairman Jim Denn said validity of the current survey, ending next Monday, was in question.