Approval this week for a new wind farm project near Stawell has enhanced fears of mega-turbines nearly 200 metres tall disturbing nearby residents.
Northern Grampians Shire Council on Monday unanimously approved renewable energy company Enerfin’s plans for the 63-turbine Bulgana Wind Farm, near Great Western.
Its specifications show turbines 196 metres tall.
The largest operating turbines in Australia are 140m at Macarthur.
Wind Industry Reform Victoria’s president John McMahon said Premier Daniel Andrews’ decision to reduce the minimum setback between turbines and homes from two kilometres to one had overlooked the prospect of huge turbines.
“Blades of such mega-turbines would each sweep an area larger than the playing area of the MCG every few seconds,” he claimed.
“Wind disturbance would be more than double that of any turbine already built here.
“Unless the Premier empowers the EPA to take charge, there is an extreme risk that turbine neighbour complaints will greatly escalate.”
However, Australian Wind Alliance national co-ordinator Andrew Bray said it was unlikely proposed projects would be substantially taller than 140m in the forseeable future.
“The onus is on industry to demonstrate that any increase in height is matched by good placement and decreases in the amount of sound they emit,” Mr Bray said.
“Wind farms must continue to meet stringent noise guidelines.
“These changes are still more restrictive than many other parts of the world but are closer to a conventional approach.
“Once the Abbott government backs away from its attack on the renewable energy target Victoria needs to be ready to capitalise on the jobs and investment new wind farm projects bring to local economies.”
Mr McMahon countered the jobs argument by saying the industry generated very few permanent jobs and most construction roles were filled by drive-in, drive-out workers.
“The way the wind industry is structured, pain inflicted on rural communities will far outweigh any gain,” Mr McMahon said.
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