Hydro Tasmania, the firm proposing a wind farm for King Island, has won a national award for community engagement.
The Clean Energy Council recognised Hydro Tasmania at the 2013 Clean Energy Week awards for exceptional community engagement surrounding its Musselroe Wind Farm project in Northern Tasmania.
Hydro Tasmania’s track record working with communities did not deter anti-wind farm activists from undermining the community consultation process on King Island.
Anti-wind farm campaigners attempted to kill off the proposal before a feasibility study has been conducted. That is, before the community has the information needed to make an informed decision. None of that matters to the anti-wind camp. They have shown willingness to put their own interests ahead of economic development, job creation and action on climate change.
Fortunately, King Islanders didn’t buy the anti-wind spin with a clear majority voting for a feasibility study. If economical, King Island’s $2 billion wind farm project would:
- Create 500 jobs during construction and up to 60 on-going jobs
- Pump up to $8.9m into the economy each year for the life of the project
- Upgrade the Port of Grassy
- Power a quarter of a million homes with renewable energy
For more on Hydro Tasmania’s Clean Energy Week award, take a look at the following report by Shannon Twomey of The Weekly Times:
Hydro Tasmania wins engagement award
HYDRO Tasmania has won the Community Engagement Award at the Clean Energy Council Awards.
The awards are hosted by the Clean Energy Council as part of Clean Energy Week.
Hydro Tasmania won the award for their community engagement on the Musselroe Wind Farm Project in the north east of Tasmania.
The Musselroe Wind Farm is a 56-turbine, 168-megawatt wind farm that provides power to 50,000 homes and prevents the emission of 450,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Project director Andrew Hickman said from the start Hydro Tasmania have worked closely with communities in the area.
“Many members of the project team have lived and worked in the north east region over the entire construction period and have become a real part of that community,” Mr Hickman said.
“Hydro Tasmania have engaged with local schools, tourists bodies, indigenous elders and business groups to build the relationships that have resulted in genuine community ownership of this project.”
Friends of the Earth and Yes 2 Renewables spokesperson Leigh Ewbank said Hydro Tasmania have a good reputation for strong community engagement.
Hydro Tasmania are currently working on another wind farm development, the TasWind Project, on King Island.
The TasWind project is a 200-turbine, 600-megawatt wind farm, which if constructed, will be the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere.
Mr Ewbank said on King Island there had been a great deal of anti-wind activist behavior which had caused the community engagement by Hydro Tasmania to be undermined.
“What I have seen or observed from time to time is that anti-wind campaigns create concern in the community,” Mr Ewbank said.
“When the campaign doesn’t come to town, projects do gain a lot of support and have a more smooth development process.
“The anti-wind campaign on King Island is putting at risk a lot of jobs and investment that will be crucial for the island and its economy.”
Hydro Tasmania could be facing legal action from the No TasWind Farm Group, a group of King Island residents who do not want the TasWind project to go ahead.
Hydro Tasmania originally stated that 60 per cent of the King Island community would need to vote yes to the feasibility stage of the TasWind Project for it to proceed.
After conducting a vote last month 58.7 per cent of the community voted yes to the feasibility stage but the company decided this figure was close enough.
King Island farmer and No TasWind group member James Walker is expected to seek an injunction restraining Hydro Tasmania from undertaking any further work relating to the TasWind project.
His solicitor is working on the legal principle of estoppel which will argue that Hydro Tasmania had led locals to believe it would abandon the project if it achieved less than 60 per cent support in a ballot of islanders.