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Fierce opposition to huge wind turbines 'scarring' Bungendore landscape

A proposal by a global investment company to build a massive $220 million wind farm near Bungendore, with turbines close to the shores of Lake George, has drawn fierce opposition from residents and scientists.

Plans for the giant development, called Capital Wind Farm, were submitted last Friday to NSW Government planning authorities for approval.

If the project goes ahead, it will be the state's biggest wind farm, with 63 turbines each capable of producing about 2 megawatts of power.

But residents claim the wind farm will create an intrusive "visual scar", undermining the beauty and historic cultural value of Lake George.

Canberra scientists have also voiced concern over plans to clear endangered woodlands to install the turbines.

Canberra Ornithologists Group spokeswoman Jenny Bounds said further studies were needed to assess environmental impacts - including the risk of turbine collision - on birds of prey, particularly wedge-tailed eagles.

Palerang Council is finalising a detailed objection to the development, claiming the wind farm is not needed because the regional market for green power is over-subscribed.

Palerang council general manager Peter Bascomb said, "Green energy is a good thing but we're not convinced wind turbines are the best way to provide it. They're difficult to manage and can't handle peak loads."

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Plans for the giant development, called Capital Wind Farm, were submitted last Friday to NSW Government planning authorities for approval.
 
If the project goes ahead, it will be the state's biggest wind farm, with 63 turbines each capable of producing about 2 megawatts of power.
 
But residents claim the wind farm will create an intrusive "visual scar", undermining the beauty and historic cultural value of Lake George.
 
Canberra scientists have also voiced concern over plans to clear endangered woodlands to install the turbines.
 
Canberra Ornithologists Group spokeswoman Jenny Bounds said further studies were needed to assess environmental impacts - including the risk of turbine collision - on birds of prey, particularly wedge-tailed eagles.
 
Palerang Council is finalising a detailed objection to the development, claiming the wind farm is not needed because the regional market for green power is over-subscribed.
 
Palerang council general manager Peter Bascomb said, "Green energy is a good thing but we're not convinced wind turbines are the best way to provide it. They're difficult to manage and can't handle peak loads."
 
Country Energy, the region's main electricity provider, has confirmed it would be unlikely to purchase power from the wind farm.
 
Country Energy's south-east regional director, David Bellew, said, "We've already filled our quota for purchasing green power, and wind is not the best option because it's unreliable."
 
Capital Wind Farm is one of several wind farms proposed for the Southern Tablelands, following identification of the region as a key location by wind-mapping scientists.
 
Dr Stuart Rae, a Canberra-based international expert who conducts environmental assessments of wind-farm sites in Europe, said the proposal emphasised the need for tighter controls in Australia to weed out inappropriate wind-farm applications.
 
"A gold-rush mentality has developed, because there's a view that there's a lot of money to be made from wind farms," he said. "From what I've seen, a lot of the environmental assessments that are done to support these applications are very sketchy and are often little more than a scoping exercise."
 
Angry Bungendore residents say the Capital Wind Farm will create noise and health problems, undermine property values and local tourism opportunities and destroy the beauty of Lake George.
 
Chair of the Lake George Weereewa festival, Philippa Kelly, said, "The lake is an iconic heritage area.
 
"It's been listed as having international scientific and cultural significance and I feel passionately that its beauty and cultural values should not be destroyed by such a huge installation.
 
"It's a huge development that will be a visual scar on the landscape."
 
Residents have 28 days to lodge objections to the wind farm, details of which are listed in the NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources website.
 
Plans show 63 turbines in three clusters, stretching from the eastern shores of Lake George and up onto lower ridges of the Great Dividing Range to within about 12km of Bungendore.
 
The turbines would be located on private farmland and crown reserves, and would take eight months to install.
 
Each turbine would be about 80m high, with three 44m rotating blades weighing about 10 tonnes.
 
The top of the blade sweep would be about 124m above the ground.
 
The project has been proposed by Renewable Power Ventures Pty Ltd, a Sydney-based company formerly known as Babcock & Brown Renewable Power Pty Ltd.
 
Babcock & Brown is a global investment company, with offices across the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
 
David Griffin, listed on the development application as the chief executive officer of Renewable Power, did not return calls made by The Canberra Times yesterday.
 
The development would include construction of a substation, 12km of overhead transmission lines and trenching to install 20km of underground cables.
 
An environmental assessment by the developer estimated transporting and installing the turbines would raise significant traffic and transport issues, including road safety and the ability of local roads to handle the high volume of construction traffic.
 
The assessment also raised concerns about the possible impact on telecommunications - including television reception, radar and mobile telephones - in the region.
 
William Hoorweg, who lives on a property 18km from Bungendore, said he had "been bailed up at the letterbox" some months ago by Mr Griffin.
 
"He told me that wind turbines would be going in around 1000m behind my place," MrHoorweg said.
 
I don't call that community consultation."
 
Mr Hoorweg said he was concerned that "the thumping noise" from the turbines would "make life unbearable" and destroy the peace and quiet of rural life in the region.
 
A flora and fauna assessment prepared for the project warned that the development would involve "significant clearing" of high conservation value yellow box woodlands. This type of woodland is listed in NSW as an endangered ecological community.
 
The assessment said the project would also involve blasting and removal of rocks from granite outcrops which "have a very high habitat value for reptiles".
 


Source: http://canberra.yourguide.c...

MAR 30 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1944-fierce-opposition-to-huge-wind-turbines-scarring-bungendore-landscape
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