Library filed under Impact on Landscape from Australia / New Zealand
A wind farm planned for above the Pauatahanui Inlet in Porirua might be seen from as far away as Island Bay and Waikanae. A document leaked to The Dominion Post shows that the 130-metre high turbines would be visible from areas of Wellington City, the Hutt Valley, beyond Upper Hutt and as far north as Waikanae. Prepared by environmental planners Boffa Miskell, the theoretical visibility plans show that as many as 40 of the up to 50 three-megawatt turbines may be visible from some areas. ..."There is a slow growing awareness that this wind farm is going to be something big," she said.
PROJECT Hayes panel chairman John Matthews has released a 12-page statement explaining his reasons for voting against the Lammermoor wind farm proposal. ...He was chiefly concerned with landscape values, the appropriateness of the development and the setting of precedent, including his statement within yesterday's decision released by the panel. ‘‘If a proposal of this significance is found to be appropriate in an area of Outstanding Natural Landscape, it is difficult to see how any consent authority could fail to apply the ‘‘like for like'' principle on a future occasion,'' Mr Matthews said.
Presumably the reserve generating capacity will be set lower to encourage more renewable generation but we shall see; political safety was the Government's priority at that time and there is no reason to believe it would be braver now. Sustainable energy and secure energy are "not mutually exclusive goals", the Prime Minister maintains. But the fact is oil- and gas-fired stations are the country's security against low hydro levels and it's hard to see that any weather-dependent power plant could pick up the slack in a dry season.
Twenty-five people fired their concerns at TrustPower major projects manager Deion Campbell and environmental officer Ryan Piddington about a project they said has divided the community. TrustPower hopes to build the $500 million wind farm on nine properties in the hills behind Mataura. ... The land owners' biggest concern is the impact the wind farm will have on their property prices. TrustPower had "handsomely" compensated those people whose land would be used for the turbines while neighbours had been left in the cold. The consequences for them were only negative with pristine views spoiled and fears that noise from the turbines would cause a drop in property values.
Contact Energy could face opposition to its proposed route for power pylons connecting the country's largest wind farm to the national grid. The company wants to put up to 218 wind turbines along a 40km stretch of coast between Raglan and Port Waikato. ...The plan has received support from farmers and local iwi, but the path of the pylons is more contentious. Franklin District councillor, Lionel Petterson, says the community is concerned about the environmental impact of another row of pylons in the area.
... although the Government encouraged wind energy developments to reduce green house gas emissions sensitive areas would be protected. "A special set of planning guidelines for wind energy developments has been introduced to ensure wind farms do not impact negatively on the environment,'' he said. "They exclude wind energy developments from Wilsons Promontory, the Grampians, the Great Ocean Road and other environmentally sensitive areas.''
For very good reason, we feel that we cannot trust Meridian Energy; unfortunately they have not shown themselves to be trustworthy. We are very concerned that Meridian Energy be made to comply with conditions that the Court's decision requires; these conditions are likely to require a considerable number of turbines being de-rated and turned off at times. The Court warned Meridian of this. We question how a wind farm where turbines must be de-rated or turned off to protect residents can be "the best internationally".
Farmer Mark Phillips said he only found out about the wind farm because his farm had road access to the ridgeline that RES said it might want to use. "Most of my immediate neighbours didn't know there was a wind farm going in. RES still hasn't talked to them." Some nearby farmers had subdivided land and scores of houses had either been built or were planned, their owners unaware large turbines were likely to go up nearby.
MOTORISTS will catch glimpses of wind turbines from the Great Ocean Road from three locations for up to a minute if the Newfield wind farm, east of Warrnambool, goes ahead. Plans for the 15-turbine farm are set to be reviewed by the region's peak tourism body, Shipwreck Coast, during the public exhibition period before Corangamite Shire decides on the project's future.
A second attempt by lines company Unison to win consent for a proposed wind farm, already rejected by the Environment Court, will be handed straight to the Government for a decision. The Hastings District Council has decided not to deal with a slightly modified application from Unison to build a wind farm on Te Waka Range, near the Titiokura Summit on the Napier-Taupo Road. The council approved Unison's first application, for 37 turbines on a property next to a site where Hawke's Bay Windfarms has consent to build 75 turbines of its own. However, the Environment Court threw out Unison's proposal, saying the cumulative visual effect of the two wind farms would be excessive, and it would be denigrating to Maori cultural and spiritual values relating to the area. Unison has appealed against that decision in the High Court, while lodging a new proposal with three fewer turbines with the district council. Rather than go through a repeat hearing of a virtually identical application, the council has decided to send the consent request straight to Acting Environment Minister David Parker for a decision.
Half of the members the Smeaton wind farm community reference group, in central Victoria, have resigned. The six Landscape Guardians members believe their questions were not being answered by the developer, Wind Power. Richard Evans says the former committee members are disillusioned because a significant landscape overlay across the proposed area does not appear to be deterring the developers. "This area has got numerous amount of hills of national significance - they're all covered by significant landscape overlays and I think a lot of people in the area are wondering why we even have to put up with this when the overlays prevent dominant and obtrusive development on it, and we just can't understand why they haven't abided by the local planning laws," he said.
A landscape protection group is gearing up to fight a new application to build a wind farm nearly identical to one already rejected by the Environment Court. Hastings District Council has given public notice of a request by electricity lines company Unison for consent to build a 34-turbine windfarm on the same piece of Te Waka Range it proposed for 37 turbines in a plan rejected by Judge Craig Thompson in the Environment Court at Napier in April. Unison intends to challenge that decision in the High Court while also starting a new consent application with the council. Judge Thompson had said that the cumulative visual effect of Unison's proposed 37 turbines, added to 75 to be built nearby by Hawke's Bay Windfarms, would be excessive in a sensitive and distinctive landscape.
Mr Guy said while the Liberal Party supported wind farms, there was significant community opposition to the proposal. "The Liberal Party is supportive of wind energy in areas with broad community support and not major destruction of environmental or aesthetic grounds," Mr Guy said. "We are talking about a proposal in Spa Country Australia, one of our biggest tourist attractions and this is clearly going to impact on that area - the Minister for Planning needs to consider that."
"We want to get on with our lives but until we know whether the wind farm is going in, there's no point putting money and work in to improve our properties because it could become worthless. ..."The last time the company was in contact with the community was in 2005. We've picked up bits and pieces from the radio but when we send them registered letters asking for more information, we are ignored."
A wind farm proposed for a property near Kalbarri, in Western Australia's mid west, will moved to a new site to protect a rare species of orchid. Verve Energy says it has moved the location of two wind turbines 150 metres away on to cleared land where the orchid does not grow.
The villagers should have a forum to voice their feelings so they are not left with a nasty taste in their mouth and resentment in their gut. Further, negotiation with local people with local knowledge might even produce better outcomes for the proposed wind farm. If the Government is to achieve its renewable energy targets we know it has few choices. It can dot the crowded coastline or it can fill up the interior with these turbines. I am sure the Government would not allow hundreds of wind turbines around Newcastle, Wollongong or Sydney without very close and careful community consultation. The people of country New South Wales, and particularly the people of Taralga, no matter whose side one is on, deserve the same respect.
The Central Otago District Council has strengthened its opposition to the proposed Project Hayes wind farm on the Lammermoor Range, releasing its final report yesterday asking for the application to be refused. CODC planning consultant David Whitney said his initial March 2007 report recommending that consent for the wind farm be declined had been finely balanced. However, after considering submissions and evidence presented during the five-week hearing, he was ‘‘more strongly of the view that consent should be refused.'' This was because of the adverse landscape, visual and heritage effects the proposal would have. Those adverse effects would outweigh any positive effects from generating renewable energy, and the proposal was against the objectives and policies of the Otago Regional Council statement, the amended proposed CODC plan, the Dunedin City Council plan, and the Resource Management Act.
Proposed wind farms at Yendon and Elaine would dominate the landscape and reduce property values, a community group has claimed. Spokesman for the Lal Lal and Landscape Elaine Action Group John McMahon expressed concern at the size of both the proposed wind farms and turbines. "It is a very, very large project, (with) up to 79 turbines. It's very big, and these turbines are enormous."
A recent report published by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has said large wind farms such as proposed here are not the way forward for New Zealand, the significant adverse impacts are avoidable by harnessing wind power using smaller clusters of small turbines servicing remote towns, and this will be better for the country. Unfortunately this report was published just after our hearing was completed.