BREAZE supports local farmer in bid to install renewable energy
BREAZE (Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions) has thrown its support behind local farmer, Neville Oddie, and his plan to host three wind turbines on his farm in Chepstowe to generate six megawatts of renewable energy.
“Neville is a BREAZE member doing his best to reduce emissions on his property and promote renewable energy,” said Andrew Bray, BREAZE Community Campaigner.
“Every effort has been made to safeguard the environment and minimise disruption to neighbouring properties so we believe he deserves every opportunity to proceed with this visionary plan,” Mr. Bray continued.
“Wind energy is just one of the renewable energy solutions being adopted on farms around Victoria, with bioenergy and solar also being popular. We think it’s important that the government support farmers who are embracing these technologies to help their businesses prosper.”
Panel hearings commence today in Melbourne after the Planning Minister, Mr. Matthew Guy, called in the development. This means that the decision to allow the project to proceed now effectively rests solely with the Minister.
“We call on the Minister to ensure that the decision making process is robust and transparent and that any objections to the process are fully tested,” said Mr. Bray.
The media release announcing the calling in of the process referred to the placement of turbines close to dwellings and the impact on the environment, with particular regard to brolgas.
This is despite Mr. Oddie being the only resident living within two kilometres of the proposed turbines and Mr. Oddie being highly respected for his long established work promoting brolga habitat.
“Neville is active in the Brolga Recovery Group and has been working to improve brolga habitat on his property for at least 25 years,” said Gavin Cerini, volunteer naturalist with national organization, Brolga Recovery Group. “Neville is working as hard as anyone in the district to promote the welfare of brolgas.”
The development proposed by wind farm developer, Future Energy, involves no new substations and all new power lines will be underground. Any disruptions to native grasslands, which will be minimal, will be offset by the establishment of new grassland on the property.
Setbacks of two kilometres from neighbouring properties are policies espoused by wind farm opponents, the Landscape Guardians, and were adopted as policy by the Liberal party while in opposition. Though they seem to form the basis for the calling in, these policies remain unlegislated.
“The reasons for calling the project in don’t hold a lot of water so it is difficult to see any grounds on which this development could be rejected,” concluded Mr. Bray.
“We remain hopeful that a robust process will clear the way for the Minister to allow this important development to proceed.”
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