Forget the NIMBYs, meet the BaNANAs: Build Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone

(with thanks to Stu Cook, for the heading)

‘Wind farm fight heads to Supreme Court as community opposition grows’

The following comes from the Advertiser

Journalist:  VALERINA CHANGARATHIL, January 29, 2011

THE Supreme Court of South Australia will soon hear its first appeal against a proposed wind farm development.

The appeal follows a landmark judgment by the Environment, Resources and Development Court late last year in favour of AGL’s Hallett 3 project at Mt Bryan – a decision hailed by developers and condemned by anti-wind farm campaigners.

Four Mt Bryan residents, including William (Bill) Quinn, who has lived in the area for 54 years, have taken AGL and the Goyder Council to the ERD court over objections related to the potential noise created by the turbines and their visual impact.

“Initially I was all for it, but as the turbines keep coming closer to our houses, I can see them for what they are just green vote-catching devices, nothing more, nothing less,” Mr Quinn said.
In the Notice of Appeal to the Supreme Court, the appellants state the ERD Court “erred in law in its interpretation and application of the relevant provisions of the Development Plan … “.

An AGL spokesperson said the company would not comment on the appeal since the matter is before the courts.

The appeal could open the door for more community litigation in the higher courts.

Already, a second case by dairy farmer Richard Paltridge against Acciona’s project at Allendale East near Mt Gambier is ongoing in the ERD court.

Mr Paltridge has concerns related to the humming noise of the turbines and its possible long-term health impact, the flashing lights on turbine towers and obstruction of views.

Final submissions by both parties are due in February and a decision is likely in May.

Acciona also did not wish to comment on this story pending a decision by the ERD court.

In the meantime, opposition to the project is gaining momentum. Earlier this month, about 50 residents of Allendale East belonging to the Landowner and Concerned Residents Group signed a petition to protest against the “dangerous proximity” of the project and continue their fight to reopen community consultation.

Most of the state’s 33 per cent renewable energy by 2020 target is being driven by fast-tracked multi-million dollar wind farms in regional areas.

More wind power is generated here than any other Australian state or territory with 13 operational wind farms, and Premier Mike Rann has also foreshadowed changes to the Pastoral Act to open up 400,000sq km of Crown Land for solar and wind farms.

But concerned splinter groups are uniting to take on councils and big developers AGL, Origin, Acciona and others.

These groups say wind farms are getting too close to rural settlements in order to ensure easy access to electrical grids.

A statewide group to be formed this year will bring together communities opposed to wind farms in the Clare Valley (Waterloo), Mt Bryan (Hallet 3), Robertstown, Collaby Hill, Carmody’s Hill, Allendale East and Clements Gap, among others.

Dr Sarah Laurie, medical director of the Waubra Foundation which is studying the health effects of wind turbines on rural communities, says there will be more litigation.

Opposition to Origin Energy’s Collaby Hill wind farm near her residence set the course for her study into the after-effects of Victoria’s largest wind farm at Waubra.

“Because the process is unfair, and because the current guidelines are so inadequate, I can see many situations developing where the turbine developments go ahead, poorly sited, without due consideration of problems being identified worldwide,” Dr Laurie said.

“If the health and wellbeing of the community is not being preserved, there is something wrong with the system,” she added.

The National Health and Medical Research Council’s review of published scientific literature in 2010 and a report commissioned by the Clean Energy Council have found no evidence to show wind farms cause any pathological effects.

But the loud protests have attracted political attention.

Family First Party Senator Steve Fielding has asked the Senate to conduct an inquiry into the social and economic impacts of rural wind farms by April.

Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association executive officer Diana Laube has placed on record her protest against the Rann Government’s encouragement of these developments.

Some are worried about the economic impact of such projects on existing set-ups. The Clare and Gilbert Valley Council is talking to Planning SA about securing its wine-making and tourism potential under landscape protection provisions included in the draft Mid North Regional Land Use Framework.

However, the business case for wind farms is still strong, despite the increased threat of litigation and resultant project delays, says KPMG’s SA-based national renewables leader Mathew Herring.

7 thoughts on “Forget the NIMBYs, meet the BaNANAs: Build Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone

  1. The first ‘A’ in BANANA is sometimes ‘Absolutely’, as in ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone’.

    I’d love the BANANAs and NIMBYs to turn off their plasma TVs, switch off their mobile phones and air conditioners, and then tell us how we are going to power our lifestyles…

  2. I think those accusing people of being NIMBY’s are seeing their own shadow- otherwise they would share the concern that the wind industry like any other should not destroy people’s health, critically endangered vegetaion, their property values… we already have made changes, we don’t use plasma TV’s, we have insulated our homes and don’t use power greedy ariconditioning, I hate mobile phones and with the farms we are stuck in a forest of them, we love our environment, it is sacred to us, unlike the people of the cities, obviously you do all of the above, we do turn everything off and have solar power.
    The cheap option, so you guys don’t scream about power price increases seems to have farms placed in every range in the Mid North to elcheapo standards- to fire up the desalination plant, support unsustainable growth rather than genuine green initiatives, the expansion of Olympic Dam
    Felicity Martin, Hallett

  3. Yes, it seems that Andy wants the country folk to give up their peace and quiet and views into the distance just so HE can have HIS telly and mobile and airconditioner. We don’t have a TV – can’t get reception here in the Adelaide Hills, our mobiles don’t work at home (suits me fine) and the house doesn’t need an airconditioner – the stone walls and pug ceiling do that for us.

    Like Felicity, we have installed solar panels with more than enough power to run the house with a little bit left over so that Andy can run all of his city gadgets.

    But, no, Andy wants a wind farm on the outskirts of the Barossa Valley overlooking wineries like the one that produces Hill of Grace or over the vineyards of Eden Valley – the home of past winners of the best reisling in the world.

    I support renewables but when Pacific-Hydro tell me that the sound of their turbines is equivalent in dB to the sea or a city street I think, “But, I don’t want to hear a street or the sea – I want to hear silence, or just the breeze.”

    How about we all have wind generators and solar panels on our houses? Or what about wind generators on power poles?

  4. Brad, you’re right Andy was a bit over the top and unfair. But small wind generators everywhere is a pretty expensive way to supply power. You’re right that solar panels are good, they are getting cheaper all the time so maybe they can supply an increasing amount of our power relative to wind. But then wind power is getting cheaper too!

    The problem with smaller turbines is that you need many more of them, effectively taking up more and more land area. Putting them on power poles would not be cost effective at the small size that would require, I fear (althought the idea is pretty neat!).

    The noise regulations are important. I dunno about SA, but Victoria already has some of the most stringent noise regulations for wind turbines in the world. We didn’t start this site and campaign because we wanted to force people to live next to turbines, but because we think that they’re an important part of replacing fossil fuels. And for many landowners – including, perhaps, vinyard owners – hosting turbines may provide a welcome income for them and/or the local community. Assuming noise issues and appropriate siting are adequately dealt with, you shouldn’t rule out the option for everyone!

  5. G’day Ben,

    I agree entirely that renewables are a great idea – although wind and solar are certainly not a base load replacement option for the foreseeable future, they do most certainly complement each other and offer a part-replacement for fossil fuels (which will run out eventually, anyway)

    As an ex-city person, it seems that the country people believe that these industrial sites are being thrust upon them in order to remove the guilt that the city people have about power generation. The city people profit at the expense of the those in the country.

    And I must admit to not making my point regarding Hill of Grace and Eden Valley clear – it’s a visual thing. The Barossa prides itself on its picturesque qualities. In fact, there is currently a move by the State Government to set a boundary around the Barossa with restrictions on housing and industrial developments within its confines in order to preserve the feel of the place – the Pacific Hydro Keyneton/Eden Valley project straddles this boundary.

  6. “The Barossa prides itself on its picturesque qualities.” Agreed.
    Its a great mix of buildings, vines, agriculture and wine industry. A few turbines would not be out of place in this setting.

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