Windfarm Up In The Air

Call for debate … then approval

16th January, 2021

By Mandy Squires, The Herald Sun

Developers of a sprawling Gippsland windfarm with turbines among the tallest in the country have sought an independent panel to assess and approve the project.

The proposed Delburn Wind Farm in the Strzelecki Ranges, to the south of the Latrobe Valley, will have 33 turbines, each as tall as the Rialto Tower and span three shires.

Objectors claim the 250m turbines pose a fire risk and may hamper the efforts of water bombing and retardant-spraying aircraft in the blaze prone part of Victoria.

They claim the towering turbines could start fires if they malfunctioned and interrupt radio signals and other communication vital for fire-fighting.

Four planning applications were lodged with the Victorian government two days before Christmas by Peter Marriott, director of renewable energy development company OSMI Australia, to begin work on the $360m windfarm project. The December 23 permit applications seek approval to develop and use the land for a “wind energy facility”.

The applications also seek to remove native vegetation, construct buildings, erect signs and carry out other works, including installation of a permanent anemometer – for measuring wind speed and direction – and the building of a substation.

Mr Marriott last week urged the government to convene an independent planning panel to hear the concerns of objectors and company plans, and hopefully fast-track approval of the project.

“OSMI has requested the project be ‘called in’ by the Minister for Planning to allow an independent planning panel to be convened, giving the community the opportunity to put forward their views … through a public hearing process,” he said.

If approved, construction of the windfarm – overlooking the decommissioned Hazelwood power plant – is expected to start next year and produce enough clean energy to power 125,000 homes.

A spokeswoman for the objectors, Sindy Van Eede, from the Strzelecki Community Alliance, said residents of hundreds of homes were concerned about the planned wind turbines for a variety of reasons, including fire risk, noise and the potential loss of bushland and koala habitat.

“This proposal goes across three shires, South Gippsland, Baw Baw and Latrobe, where most of the turbines will be located,” she said, adding the majority of objectors were supportive of clean energy in principle but concerned about the risk of huge wind turbines in heavily wooded areas.

“The site is inappropriate, given the amount of fire risk that already exists … this is a pine plantation, which is surrounded by natural bush.”

A government spokeswoman said the planning applications were under review.

mandy.squires@news.com.au

One thought on “Windfarm Up In The Air

  1. The only supposedly valid reason for Industrial Wind Electricity is, to end carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. It is utter hypocrisy for any regional Australian government to pretend that wind “farms” are an environmentally beneficial idea, until there are clear intentions to actually end this, that, or the other coal mining or petro-hydrocarbon drilling (that’s either gases or liquid) at all.
    France, Germany, Denmark, and California have already amply proven that only civilian nuclear fission has the reliability to end fossil CO₂ emissions, and furthermore UNSCEAR has established well enough that nothing else is as safe, while simple arithmetic and well established data show that even the waste products of today’s reactors, already far superseded by quite conclusive lab. testing, are hundreds of thousands of times less mass, and solid instead of gaseous, than any alternative.

    Like

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