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Moyne Shire councillors are expected to support a 68-turbine wind farm proposed for 12 kilometres north-west of Port Fairy. A special meeting to be held today will form a position on the $300 million project and make a submission to Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden. Mr Madden will decide the future of the 136-megawatt farm because local government does not have the authority to approve wind projects above 30 megawatts.
A powerful wind farm proposed for Cape York, in far north Queensland, could be up and running by next year. Windpower Queensland is in talks with the State Government about the proposal to build the farm at Archer Point, south of Cooktown. Windpower managing director Lloyd Stumer says the popular camping and fishing site is the best place in Queensland for a wind farm. "If we go to 30 turbines that would be 60 megawatts which would be similar to the Barron Gorge Hydro," he said. "It's envisaged that we'd like to go to 120 megawatts which would be more than enough power to supply all of Cairns."
Maori have attacked plans for more wind turbines in the Tararua Ranges, saying turbines are weakening the mauri (life force) and mana of the hill tops. He Kupenga Hao i te Reo (Inc) secretary Ian Christensen objected to the proposed Motorimu Wind Farm at the resource consent hearing in Palmerston North yesterday. It proposes 127 turbines for the hills behind Tokomaru and Linton. He told the three commissioners that the Tararua ridge line had enough turbines and "further desecration of the ridgeline" with more would weaken mauri to a point where the "wellbeing of people would be in jeopardy". "Manawatu has been desecrated by the pollution of human beings. We urge that the whole of the mountain range not be desecrated as well," he said.
A 68-turbine wind farm proposed near Port Fairy will generate about one per cent of Victoria's power needs. Moyne Shire councillors were advised yesterday by developer TME Australia the 3600ha wind farm at Ryans Corners would create between 12 and 16 jobs if approved along with the company's Hawkesdale project. Project manager Adam Proctor said the company was investigating wind farms for Mortlake and Berrybank.
When looking at the visual effects of hundreds of turbines on the Tararua Ranges, should a wind farm that doesn't exist be taken into account? This question is starting to loom large over Motorimu Wind Farm Ltd's application to build a 127-turbine wind farm on the Tararua Ranges behind Linton and Tokomaru. Yesterday was the third day of the resource consent hearing and the debate over how much consideration should be given to the proposed Palmerston North City Council/ Mighty River Power Turitea Reserve wind farm continued. Experts and lawyers representing the applicant say the proposed Turitea Reserve wind farm should not have any bearing on Motorimu's consent application. The debate centres around how many turbines the Tararua Ranges can support before it hits saturation level.
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.
Woodhouse residents have reacted strongly against a proposed $24 million wind farm in their area. In submissions to Moyne Shire Council, 10 families in the small settlement oppose the wind farm - and one of the submissions includes 14 signatures. There was just one supporting submission. A decision on a planning permit for the wind farm will have to be made by both Moyne and Southern Grampians Shire because the wind farm straddles both municipalities. Wind farm developer, NewEn, has another wind farm proposal near Woorndoo but this has received only three objections. NewEn is proposing to build up to 15 wind turbines along Morton's Rd, Woodhouse on two properties, North Gums and Yamba. Because the turbines will generate less than 30 megawatts, the two councils, rather than the State Government, will make the decision. Moyne Shire Council chief executive, Graham Shiell, said both councils would meet to see if there is an agreed position on the proposal. "We will probably make a decision at our April planning meeting," he said.
Residents in the Black Springs area near Oberon in western New South Wales say a public exhibition session put on by the proponent of a wind farm has not allayed their concerns. Wind Corporation Australia plans to spend $32 million on the nine turbine wind farm. The company’s Mark Fogarty says more than 50 people attended yesterday’s session at Black Springs.
A second wind farm project has been approved for southern New South Wales, with an application to build 15 turbines on the Cullerin range given the nod late yesterday. Epuron Pty Limited will place the wind farm 40 kilometres southwest of Goulburn on the Cullerin Range at a cost of $50 million. Planning minister Frank Sartor says 105 conditions have been included in the approval.
The Friends of the Turitea Reserve Society have struck the first blow in their fight with Palmerston North City Council over the proposed wind farm in the Turitea Reserve. The society is taking the council to court over over the council’s decision to allow renewable electricity generation in the reserve - it wants a judge to have a look at the decision, which it believes is illegal. The hearing will be held in the High Court in Wellington on April 30.
Traditional Aboriginal landowners want another survey done of a site where a wind farm has been approved. Hepburn Shire Council in central Victoria gave its consent to the two-turbine Leonards Hill wind farm last week, saying there were no heritage or Aboriginal cultural issues. But wind farm opponents are expected to lodge an appeal against the decision with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal within days. Ricky Nelson, an elder with the Dja Dja Wurrung tribe, says his group did not give consent to the wind farm and he wants the land inspected again. “I’m not entirely sure about who or how the original survey was conducted. They might say that nothing was found, but that doesn’t mean that nothing was there. I’d like some more details on how that was carried out,” he said.
The visual effect of more wind turbines on an already crowded landscape could cost the proposed Motorimu wind farm 45 turbines. Motorimu Wind Farm Ltd (formerly Energreen Wind) has applied for resource consent to build a wind farm with 129 turbines. In a report to the consent hearing, due to begin next Thursday, Palmerston North City Council planner Jeff Baker recommends consent be granted for only 84 of the turbines. In a visual assessment report, landscape and resource planning consultant Clive Anstey said the wind farm as proposed would have very adverse cumulative effects.
More wind farms will be built in both the North and South Islands, as part of Contact Energy’s massive investment in renewable power generation. The company has announced a $2 billion plan to develop its existing geothermal stations, and build new ones. Up to four wind farms will also be constructed. Spokesman Jonathan Hill says the company has been looking at renewable energy for some time, and needs to bring on new generation facilities by the year 2012. He says the company believes up to 700 megawatts of power can be generated at two sites it is already negotiating for. Mr Hill says two geothermal power stations will be built in the Taupo area. He says geothermal energy is the only form of renewable energy that doesn’t depend on the weather and will make a significant contribution to a secure electricity supply. Contact Energy has told its shareholders not to expect a capital return on their investment because of its plans to go green.
Riverdale could soon have its own wind farm. Wind turbines are planned for the Awapuni Sustainable Development Centre, the old landfill site. Palmerston North City Council waste and water services manager Chris Pepper said the turbines are expected to generate about 500kW of power, which the council will use in its bid to become self-sufficient. The wind farm is still in the planning stage, but two wind masts have been put up behind the recycling centre to monitor the wind. Testing will go on for another six months. Mr Pepper said decisions on how many turbines, or what size they would be, have not been made. He said the council will probably apply for resource consent for the turbines next year.
A “hardy annual” argument emerged during a meeting yesterday to discuss the Dunedin City Council’s submission on TrustPower’s Mahinerangi wind farm proposal the least contentious heavy traffic route across the Taieri Plain. For at least seven years, the council has been divided over whether the main route should be State Highway 87, which runs through the middle of Mosgiel, or a road which bypasses the town. The issue has resurfaced with Meridian Energy and TrustPower announcing plans for wind farms northwest of Outram. Both say the main route for construction traffic including the 2700 over-length and over-weight trucks needed to transport wind turbine components would be from Dunedin, across the Taieri Plain to Outram and onwards via State Highway 87. Meridian’s preferred route across the plain is Riccarton Rd, while TrustPower has said it is still looking at options.
Dunedin city councillors will decide today whether to lodge a submission on Trust-Power’s Mahinerangi wind farm proposal. A special meeting of the planning and environment committee has been scheduled to discuss the council’s response to the 100-turbine wind farm proposal planned on land near Lake Mahinerangi next to a council-owned water catchment reserve. The company has a resource consent application with the Clutha District Council and submissions close on March 2. The special meeting as been scheduled because the planning and environment committee does not meet again until March 5.
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.
Green members of Marrickville Council want to see if it is possible to build a wind farm in the Sydney suburb of Tempe. They say the farm could power local facilities like sports centres and water treatment plants. Greens councillor Fiona Byrne says local councils have a responsibility to fight climate change. "We can see that climate change is upon us, there's really no more time to waste and we need to start investigating straightaway ways that we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and look for all possibilities of options for renewable energy," she said.
HUNDREDS of wind turbines will dot south-west Victoria's landscape with another company announcing yesterday it wanted to develop a $180 million wind farm near Glenthompson. The proposal for a 43-turbine development by private investment bank Investec Bank and Windlab Systems will be at least the 12th wind energy development either operating, approved or in the pipeline for south-west Victoria.
A new landscape guardians group has been set up to fight plans for two big wind farms. The Western Plains Guardians are worried about proposals for farms at Nerrin Nerrin, south-east of Lake Bolac, and at Stockyard Hill, south of Beaufort. Each is believed to have at least 100 turbines. Group spokesman Warick Read says a moratorium on further wind farms is needed until a national code for assessing them is in place. "The groups really would like to see the Government engage with the community a little bit more and just say, 'look, just pull up on these things a little'," he said. "I suppose people are feeling as though they're being railroaded into it, that these companies propose these developments and they're over a certain size and the council doesn't really have any input into it at all. "If only they could open the guidelines a little bit more and make it a lot more transparent."