Zoning/Planning and Australia / New Zealand
AUSTRALIA will lead the world with the launch today of a wind farm accreditation scheme designed to include documented consultation with the community.
The scheme, created by the Clean Energy Council, will involve an independent audit to ensure that any proposed wind farm complies with industry guidelines.
The Clean Energy Council's chief executive, Dominique La Fontaine, who will announce the scheme at the annual AusWind conference, said it would give the community added confidence in proposed wind farm projects.
"Transparent and documented community consultation helps build trust and ongoing local relationships," she said.
Farmers in the Paerau-Styx community might not be so willing to give their neighbours a helping hand if a wind farm is built in the area.
The community is clearly divided on the issue and it was obvious at the Project Hayes hearing in Alexandra yesterday.
On one side of the room sat the landowners who will have turbines built on their property, making submissions in support of Meridian Energy.
On the other side were those who will have to look at the turbines out their lounge window on the Lammermoor Range, and they are not happy about it.
Victorian Nationals leader Peter Ryan says the approval of the Bald Hills wind farm in South Gippsland has divided the community.
Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has changed his previous decision to block the project.
Senator Campbell originally withdrew approval for the wind farm, saying it could threaten the orange-bellied parrot.
Mr Ryan says Bald Hills is an inappropriate location and it is up to the State Government to create a better planning scheme for wind farms.
A PROPOSAL for Australia's first community-owned wind farm near Daylesford has been approved by Victoria's appeals tribunal but slammed by opponents as a "green wash".....
The wind farm at Leonards Hill, 10-kilometres south of Daylesford, would be operated by the Hepburn Wind Co-operative, which intends to sell power to the national grid and allocate profits to local investors and community programs.
But the proposed site is within a kilometre of 18 houses, and many residents are furious about the noise and visual impact of the massive turbines.
Resident and vocal opponent Christian Wilde said Sustainability Victoria had granted $1 million to the project and then used spurious scientific data to justify the outlay.
"The claims they have made about the amount of energy it would produce, the number of houses it would power and the level of greenhouse gas abatement are completely false," he said.
"Our calculations that use the proponents' own data, show the real figures are about a tenth of what they claimed."
New Zealand Windfarms Ltd has lodged an application to build a small wind farm on one of the highest points in the Clutha district after spending most of this year investigating the site.
The Clutha District Council received the resource consent application last Friday and it appears it will not be publicly notified as the company already has permission from the only affected landowner.
Plans for a large wind farm to be built along the Molonglo Ridge, south-east of Queanbeyan have been scrapped.
The company which had proposed building 60 wind turbines along the ridge announced its decision after an evaluation of the site over the past four years.
It released a statement saying the site would not meet its strict standards for appropriate development.
Community groups fighting the development are claiming victory.
About 100 people attended a community meeting about proposed windfarms at Elaine and Lal Lal Estate last night.
WestWind Energy plans to build about 70 turbines across two windfarms at Elaine and Lal Lal Estate.
The turbines would be 140m tall.
Representatives of WestWind fielded questions from the crowd which packed the Lal Lal Community Hall.
Some residents were concerned the development was a foregone conclusion. Others raised issues such as property values and visual impact.
Trustpower accused a power rival yesterday of presenting a misconceived appeal based on trade competition and naked protectionism.
But it emerged at the Mahinerangi wind farm Environment Court hearing yesterday, national grid operator Transpower agreed power constraints at Roxburgh affected the ability to send power north, but it had no immediate plans to upgrade the lines.
The hearing switched to transmission issues yesterday, with the beginning of the appeal of Contact Energy. ...Contact Energy says it is being forced to spill water at the Roxburgh dam due to insufficient lines capacity and said this would only increase should the Mahinerangi wind farm be built.
Having just had consent declined for a $550 million wind farm near Dannevirke, Contact Energy has another fight on its hands over an even bigger project in the Waikato.
Contact has applied for consent to build a $1.2 billion 540-[mega]watt capacity wind farm with 150 turbines along the coast from Port Waikato to Raglan.
Contact Energy has succeeded in its bid for a 12-month delay to hearings into its proposed 180-turbine wind farm near Raglan in Waikato.
Contact Energy has filed resource consent applications with the Tararua District Council for a 177 megawatt (MW) wind farm southeast of Dannevirke.
The Waitahora project on the Puketoi Range would have up to 65 turbines ...
Waitahora wind farm opponents are warning Contact Energy it's got a fight on its hands at Environment Court.
Contact Energy yesterday announced it would lodge an appeal against a decision by the Tararua District Council and Horizons Regional Council to reject a planned wind farm out at Waitahora, about 10km north-west of Dannevirke.
Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has given the go-ahead for the $220 million Bald Hills wind farm, reversing a controversial decision based on a perceived threat to the rare orange-bellied parrot.
Senator Campbell today said the wind farm had been given federal approval subject to key changes to the turbine layout and strict conditions to protect the parrot and other threatened species.
But local Liberal MP Russell Broadebent and environment groups immediately attacked the reversal.
Residents fighting a wind farm proposal near Lake George, near Canberra, say the local council has moved ahead with the project, despite strong community objection.
They say the development will devalue their land and harm the natural environment.
The $220 million project was approved after the New South Wales Government decided to boost its renewable energy targets.
Hepburn council is welcoming the approval of a two-turbine wind farm at Leonard's Hill, south of Daylesford in central Victoria.
The council itself approved the plan earlier this year, but the decision was appealed against in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Shire chief executive Victor Swzed says the extra conditions placed on the project are reasonable and will not stop it proceeding.
"They have had some additional conditions to what council had placed on the permit, they particularly relate to an environmental management plan and also monitoring noise, they require that within two months of commencement of operation an independent noise monitoring program is to be undertaken," he said.
The plug is set to be pulled on a multimillion-dollar Wellington wind farm proposal because of visual pollution concerns, despite a winter of power cut fears.
A report by Greater Wellington regional council recommends a five-year moratorium on wind farm development at Belmont Regional Park, five years after the council called the site a "world-class wind farm opportunity".
Motorimu Wind Farm Ltd dropped two turbines from its proposed wind farm at the beginning of its consent hearing yesterday in Palmerston North, but said if any more turbines were cut, the project would not be viable.
The company offered to remove the two turbines because of noise and proximity to homes in Millricks Line and Scotts Road, Motorimu’s lawyer Vernon Rive said.
Motorimu is applying for resource consent for a 127-unit wind farm on the Tararua Ranges behind Linton and Tokomaru.
Hepburn council has approved a two-turbine wind farm at Leonards Hill, south of Daylesford.
The $8 million project received 18 objections and more than 300 positive submissions.
But Hepburn Mayor David Smith says despite the mixed feelings, he was comfortable using his casting vote to give the project the go-ahead.
A wind farm will be built at Morton's Lane, north-east of Penshurst, after the Southern Grampians Council voted to support the project.
Moyne council approved the development earlier this week.
The wind farm will straddle the border between the two municipalities.
Moyne council has approved a $300 million wind farm at Ryan's Corner near Port Fairy, in south-western Victoria.
It adds to other wind farms in the shire, including at Macarthur and Yambuk.
Up to 13 are currently planned for the shire.
While Mayor Gerald Madden voted in favour of the wind farm, he says he has growing concerns about the number of wind farms in the area.
"With the current facilities that are operating and those for which we have planning applications for, it amounts to a total turbine establishment of about 350 turbines within our municipality," he said.
"Yes [I] just have some concerns about dotting our rural landscape with steel towers."