Simon Corbell’s announcement of an auction to contract two companies to power 80,000 Canberra homes with wind energy originating in the Canberra region is cause for further concern to myself and many of my neighbours who are grappling with the prospect of 100 x 170m wind turbines stretching down the Goulburn/Braidwood Road from Tarago to Manar. Already we feel challenged by the power of the foreign-owned company and the layers of government involved in this development including state, local council and federal. Now we have the ACT government thrown in for good measure.
One thing I guess we can be grateful for is that, according to Simon Corbell on Adam Shirley’s program on ABC 666, 20 per cent of the assessment of the winning companies will depend on community consultation. Consultation by EPYC, the Spanish/Iranian company developing the Jupiter wind farm, ranges from non-existent to patchy. A visit to the Palerang Council by an EPYC representative left councillors little more informed.
My property is within the limits of the complex boundaries and my living area view will be, I understand, populated by 11 wind turbines (according to Goulburn MP Pru Goward, the height of Australia Tower in Sydney) within a couple of kilometres. It’s difficult to know quite how many kilometres as the company has not contacted me.
With his aspirations to annex the amenity of neighbouring parts of NSW, Mr Corbell apparently imagines himself the Vladimir Putin of the southern highlands. The real Vlad may have succeeded, the wannabe won’t.
Jane Keany, Mt Fairy, via Braidwood, NSW
Simon Corbell appears at the very best to be expressing a latent desire for purchasing wind energy (”80,000 homes on with the wind”, March 12, p1). At worst, it is a cynical exercise to save an inefficient industry that has relied on federal government legislation and large subsidies to survive.
Over 100 wind turbines began operation just outside the ACT in 2009. I am sure the developers were busy networking in the area years before and since, but the ACT government didn’t seem so pressed to negotiate any purchasing agreements. Now the Renewable Energy Target scheme is under review and the supposedly ”cheap” side of wind energy is coming under the spotlight, the industry seems more threatened, and suddenly councils in Sydney, like Canterbury, are starting to propose purchase agreements with wind developers. Is this rush for purchasing agreements because wind developers need new markets or because figures such as the Canterbury mayor and Simon Corbell are blindly driven to pursue any kind of ”renewable” energy no matter whether it makes economic sense or what harm is inflicted on affected communities?
George Papadopoulos, Yass, NSW
Upper Lachlan Shire mayor John Shaw says that wind farms proliferating in the ACT region are dividing the community, farmer against farmer, and so on. Another obvious recent example of this is King Island, Tasmania. This is par for the course – industrial wind energy is a conflict-creator and community-divider par excellence. In this case, the ACT is effectively outsourcing the conflict generation to the region surrounding it. Anyone in doubt about the conflict-creating side of large industrial wind energy should follow the news section at the Wind Watch website (www.wind-watch.org), where reports from other countries, of conflict and related issues such as noise problems, are regularly added.
Murray May, Cook
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