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Billion-dollar Thunderbolt wind project slammed as ‘industrial zone’ by Kentucky residents  

Credit:  By Andrew Messenger | Tenterfield Star | May 26 2022 | www.tenterfieldstar.com.au ~~

A proposed billion-dollar wind project near Kentucky is too big, too loud and would cause too much damage to the environment, according to the bulk of the village community.

Eight-in-ten public submissions on the Thunderbolt Wind Farm’s development application opposed the project, including the local Uralla Shire Council.

“The proposal will turn beautiful sub-catchments of the Macdonald River in the Kentucky district of northern NSW into an industrial zone, impacting endangered ecosystems and wildlife, land values, local amenity, and the ability to fight fires in a high bushfire risk area,” opposition group, Friends of Kentucky Action Group, claimed, in their submission.

“The landscape and visual amenity of the district will be forever negatively changed if this development proceeds.”

Green power firm Neoen plans to spend $1.01 billion building a huge 192-megawatt wind farm. It also hopes to build an adjacent solar farm, and battery.

If approved, the project would be built on a site about 40 kilometres north-east of Tamworth and 40 kilometres south-west of Armidale.

A group of about 34 locals, who formed the Friends of Kentucky Action Group, believe the project is too big, too close to their homes and would impose costs on the local environment.

A spokesperson for the company said it had been “continuously consulting with the community since the early stages of the project.

“The project has been adjusted and refined in response to concerns, and will continue to listen carefully to the community’s feedback,” he said.

A handful of locals made submissions in favour of the power project, most of them anonymously.

Neighbour landholder Jennifer Smith said the project’s benefits would outweigh its costs.

“I regard that the key benefits of this project will be … reduced reliance on fossil fuels and security of renewable energy supply,” she said.

“And social and economic benefit to the local community through business development, infrastructure improvement, employment … and via the proposed community fund.”

Joshua Hull, who lives south of Kentucky, said it was good to have a new rain-resilient industry start in the local area.

Opponent, Warren Lowrey, bought a property near the proposed project 18 years ago, to serve for his retirement.

“The high visibility of the massive turbines will have an impact on the beautiful local landscape, this being the reason why we purchased our property,” he said.

“This will have a negative impact on land values if we choose to sell.”

A submission in the name of “Nandewar Farm” claimed the Neoen biodiversity assessment report ought to consider the impact of the project on the Bogong Moth, which it said had crashed by 99 per cent since white settlement impacting other species such as the critically endangered pygmy possums.

Uralla Shire Council wrote a submission opposing the project on the basis that its waste management plan was inadequate, and should include a decommissioning bond, that local wildlife groups should be consulted, that Neoen should consider using smaller wind turbines and that it should address “possible infrasound impacts” of the turbines, among other complaints.

According to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s record of public submissions into the scheme, about 90 individuals or groups made submissions against the scheme, some of them twice. Just 14 submissions backed it. Seven were simple comments that didn’t take a view. Submissions closed last week and were published on Wednesday.

The company has shrunk the project, dropping the number of turbines from 70 to just 32.

“We consider the project is on its way to establishing a strong social licence. It has significant local support, scoring 74 per cent support in the community feedback survey,” the spokesperson said.

Source:  By Andrew Messenger | Tenterfield Star | May 26 2022 | www.tenterfieldstar.com.au

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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