Land owners in communities along the Goulburn-Braidwood Road are continuing their self-described “David and Goliath battle” to stop a $400 million wind farm development proposed for 12,000 hectares in the area.
The Residents Against Jupiter Wind Turbines group last week said progress was being made in the fight, after another community meeting at Tarago and contact with Goulburn MP and planning Minister Pru Goward.
Planning is underway for a demonstration outside the ACT Legislative Assembly on Tuesday as group members want territory residents to know the local impact of some renewable energy sources.
An Australian-Spanish joint venture is developing the 110 turbine wind farm on the properties of 25 landholders. The individual turbines are set to be more than 110 metres high, with three 63-metre rotor blades, near small towns at Lake Bathurst, Tarago, Mayfield, Boro, Mount Fairy and Manar.
Group spokesman Michael Crawford said many of the residents were current and former Commonwealth and state public servants who had migrated to the area, east of Goulburn, and were desperate to preserve their rural setting.
“Many of us use renewable energy including some wholly off the grid,” he said.
“We enjoy learning to respect and improve the land, grow our fruit and veg, develop reserves for native animals and flora, or simply living simply, in this beautiful environment.”
Although exact locations for turbines have not been announced, Mr Crawford said testing towers already in place in the area showed some would likely be within 2 kilometres of family homes.
“A fortnight ago, we took the opportunity of a visit to Goulburn by NSW Premier Mike Baird and the Planning Minister to protest,” he said. “A joint protest outside the ACT Legislative Assembly is also on the agenda for 16 September.”
The group believes the state’s wind farm development guidelines are inadequate, and fail to take full account of impacts including noise, visual changes, sleep and health effects and property values.
Developer EPYC Pty Ltd will require access tracks to each turbine, a power substation, on-site control and temporary storage facilities, as well as concrete batching plants for construction.
If approved, construction will begin by 2016 and about 25 host residents will receive $10,000 a year for each turbine.
“While we appreciate the people of the ACT may be happy to pay inflated electricity bills to suit the ACT government policy, we don’t want our lives damaged to support it and we suspect that many ACT residents wouldn’t want that either,” Mr Crawford said.
An EPYC spokesman has previously said the turbines could generate enough energy to power 150,000 homes and “will improve infrastructure in the area such as road and bridge upgrades and other community facilities”.
The company has several proposed wind farm projects in New South Wales and Victoria.
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