One of Victoria’s best-known wind farms, Waubra, 35km north-west of Ballarat, has been shot at several times in recent years, police have revealed.
The details have emerged as detectives from the Ballarat crime unit investigate the latest report of numerous shots being fired into one of the turbines.
Waubra is Australia’s fourth largest wind farm, with 128 turbines capable of generating a combined 192 megawatts of power – around an eighth of the now-closed Hazelwood coal-fired power station.
But the site has attracted the ire of opponents of wind farms, who claim they damage the health of people living nearby. The Waubra Foundation is an advocacy group set up at the time the wind farm opened and campaigns against the developments claiming they cause a range of health problems.
Police say they’re unsure when the latest damage to a turbine occurred – it could have been as far back as late last year – but say six similar incidents have been reported them since 2010.
Detective senior sergeant David Hermit said these incidents are incredibly dangerous to employees who regularly work inside the turbines performing maintenance.
“This kind of reckless behaviour could result in the serious injury or death of an employee who is inside one of the turbines,” he said.
“It may not always be apparent that someone’s working inside the wind turbines. If you are shooting at these wind turbines there is a high chance you could hit an employee.”
Police believe someone in the local community knows who is responsible and is appealing for people to contact Crime Stoppers with information.