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Our farms buffeted by an ill wind

Deep divisions have arisen across Victoria, with neighbour pitted against neighbour, as some land owners erect wind turbines on their properties - often 60m tall with 30m blades. It's pretty good money, sometimes $10,000 a turbine a year. In the midst of a drought, that can feed a family and send kids to school. But what of the neighbours?

Amid the hoo-ha of Julia Gillard's elevation as our first female PM, a piece of legislation finally slipped though Parliament that has left many country people despairing.

The legislation was the Renewable Energy Target, which mandated that 20 per cent of Australia's energy supply must be from renewable resources by 2020.

The Clean Energy Council reckons this will save 380 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Immediately, the shackles were released on an estimated $20 billion in projects. And despairingly for many rural people a fair chunk of these projects are wind farms.

There are eight wind farms currently in Victoria, operating 266 turbines. Plans on the table could take that up to 2500 turbines.

For those who have seen wind farms along the southwest coast near Portland and Port Fairy, or in South Gippsland at Toora and Wonthaggi, or the state's biggest wind farm at Waubra, west of Ballarat, they can be quite breathtaking.

The giant white 30m blades of the turbines loop in unison to conjure up a majestic scene, but for those who live or own land near them, they are an unbearable sight.

To many they are a health hazard and community... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Amid the hoo-ha of Julia Gillard's elevation as our first female PM, a piece of legislation finally slipped though Parliament that has left many country people despairing.

The legislation was the Renewable Energy Target, which mandated that 20 per cent of Australia's energy supply must be from renewable resources by 2020.

The Clean Energy Council reckons this will save 380 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Immediately, the shackles were released on an estimated $20 billion in projects. And despairingly for many rural people a fair chunk of these projects are wind farms.

There are eight wind farms currently in Victoria, operating 266 turbines. Plans on the table could take that up to 2500 turbines.

For those who have seen wind farms along the southwest coast near Portland and Port Fairy, or in South Gippsland at Toora and Wonthaggi, or the state's biggest wind farm at Waubra, west of Ballarat, they can be quite breathtaking.

The giant white 30m blades of the turbines loop in unison to conjure up a majestic scene, but for those who live or own land near them, they are an unbearable sight.

To many they are a health hazard and community wrecker.

Deep divisions have arisen across Victoria, with neighbour pitted against neighbour, as some land owners erect wind turbines on their properties - often 60m tall with 30m blades. It's pretty good money, sometimes $10,000 a turbine a year. In the midst of a drought, that can feed a family and send kids to school.

But what of the neighbours? The appeals tribunals are awash with angry residents either trying to stop wind farms or complaining about existing turbines.

The main complaints are that wind farms knock land values for six and the vibration and noise of the slow-turning blades cause illness. Nausea, anxiety and headaches are common complaints. Many wind farm neighbours say they cannot sleep because the monotonous thump of the blades sends a jolt through their body every few seconds.

But there is another complaint against wind farms - that they are of little benefit, that they are inefficient white elephants that one day will have to be ripped out of the ground because they have failed to adequately service our power needs.

Their main drawback, opponents say, is that they are of no use when the wind doesn't blow.

Instead, Australia, as the world's sunniest continent, should be looking at harnessing solar energy.

But you will receive a similar argument from the wind sector - the sun is equally unreliable.

Perhaps, then, that's the solution - stick the wind farms where the sun don't shine. It's a sentiment opponents would wholeheartedly agree with.


Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au...

JUN 29 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/26961-our-farms-buffeted-by-an-ill-wind
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