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Wind farm approval questioned, minister taken to Supreme Court  

Credit:  Alex Ford | The Courier | January 17 2019 | www.thecourier.com.au ~~

A small group of Rokewood residents are taking the state planning minister to the Supreme Court over the approval of a monster 228 turbine wind farm.

The trio argue planning guidelines should be applied equally across the proposed Golden Plains wind farm, especially regarding protected brolga habitats and noise modelling.

One of the farmers who brought the case, Adam Weston, said he had brolgas nesting near his property, and wanted to know they were included in the environmental effect statement.

He will have no turbines on his farm, but the closest – which could be 230 metres tall – will be 1.3 kilometres from his house – almost on his boundary, he said, and the buffer zone required would prevent him building on his own property.

“I’m a farmer, I’m all for the environment being better tomorrow, and I’m not against renewables or wind farms,” he said.

“We want to make sure the government (is) absolutely sure this is the way they want to go.”

The action was filed on December 18, he said, three days before the Planning Minister Martin Foley issued his recommendations – the size of the project should be reduced to protect brolga breeding habitats.

The state government approved the planning permit for the project, with amendments, on Friday, but the federal government still needs to approve it.

A full environment effect statement was required prior to planning permit approval being granted.

The federal government will carry out its own environmental assessment, including technical information assembled by the proponent.

The state government and project proponent WestWind said they were unable to comment on matters currently before the court.

In Rokewood, residents appeared mainly in favour of the project.

The idea of hundreds of workers in the town, buying houses and helping small businesses, was met with cautious optimism, as was the promise of free electricity and a $228,000 community fund.

Some were against the proposal, asking why it had to be built so close to the town, and whether the benefits would be delivered if the project was sold, as other wind farms have been.

The $1.5 billion Golden Plains proposal involves building 228 230 metre tall turbines across 39 properties around Rokewood, with a potential capacity of 800 to 1000 megawatts.

WestWind was not able to comment on the model of turbine that would be used, but there are 230m turbines in use in Europe.

Source:  Alex Ford | The Courier | January 17 2019 | www.thecourier.com.au

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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