Friday, 6 November 2009

Vend farm approved, despite objections

Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 3/11/2009 Page: 4

A WIND farm big enough to power 25,000 homes will be built near Glen Innes in the New England tablelands, the first of several huge renewable energy plants planned for the region. The NSW Government approved the $150 million plan, funded by Babcock and Brown Wind Power and NP Power, despite opposition from some residents living within 2 kilometres of the proposed 125-metre turbines. After concerns about the noise of whirring blades, one turbine was removed from the plan.

"I would have hoped that more than one would have been removed," said the Mayor of Glen limes Severn Council, Steve Toms. We are sympathetic to the needs of the people living next to the site. But on the other hand the council is also supportive of sustainable energy." The Planning Minister, Kristina Keneally, said the company's plan had been modified because it would have been too noisy. "Having removed this turbine, the assessment found that, even with a'worst-case scenario' analysis, no residential property would be subject to unacceptable noise," she said.

The environmental assessment lodged by the developers found noise would exceed guidelines in some places. The assessment proposed some turbines could operate at a reduced capacity to reduce noise. Trees would also be planted near some homes to screen the turbines from sight. But the windfarm will still be visible, stretched along the Waterloo Ranges, from the township of Glen Innes, about 12 kilometres away.

Some residents in the Furracabad Road area near the development still feel their property values could be affected, and the issue is being considered by a NSW Legislative Council committee which will report later this year. The windfarm is the first to be approved since the Government announced measures in August to stimulate wind energy development, including a streamlined planning process and six particularly windy precincts in rural NSW where development would be encouraged.