Dispatch from a town hall meeting… Baringhup, Victoria

Hepburn Wind ProjectTown hall meetings are a longstanding feature of democratic engagement in Australia. Those following the development of wind energy will be well aware of the evolution (or should that be de-evolution) of the community meeting.

At first, town hall meetings were used as a way for the nascent wind energy sector to engage the community, explain how the technology works, and the outline benefits wind farming can have for our economy and environment. In recent times, however,  town hall meetings have been stacked by anti-wind farm activists and have become a hotbed for what might be called ‘anti-enlightenment’ extremism.

The latest example of a well-meaning town hall meeting ending in was held in Baringhup, Victoria. The Mount Alexander Community Wind have identified the central Victorian town as a potential location for a community-initiated and owned wind farm. The proposal would see two to four windmills erected to offset the carbon emissions generated by electricity consumption in Castlemaine and surrounding towns. The project is anticipated to power at least 3000 homes and reduce the town’s carbon footprint by 50 percent.

The benefits of the project sound great, don’t they? But not everyone is convinced. Unfortunately, some in the community have been duped by psuedo-scientific nonsense claiming wind farms cause a range of health problems (‘wind turbines cause canscer’ can be seen spray-painted in the Baringhup area).

A local newspaper published an eyewitness account of the meeting. The author, Graham Pitts of Maldon, has kindly allowed Yes 2 Renewables to republish it:

[On Tuesday March 19], I was lucky enough to attend a public meeting about a proposed small wind farm in Baringhup. I urge all readers to go to any future such gatherings because for sheer entertainment value they surely can’t be surpassed. The important thing is to make sure there will be representatives from the two anti-wind farm groups present last night. Some of these were on the panel of speakers and the rest of them were stacked together down the front with carefully written questions to ask their leaders. Continue reading “Dispatch from a town hall meeting… Baringhup, Victoria”

Community Wind Power Forums well-attended

Last week’s Community Wind Forum in Castlemaine Town Hall marked the last of 6 held across Mount Alexander area in the past 3 weeks. “We are very grateful to the 170 community members who’ve participated in the forums.  We’ve received … Continue reading Community Wind Power Forums well-attended

Where did the ‘No Go’ zones come from?

The following is a letter from last weeks Macedon Ranges Weekly. Where did the ‘No Go’ zones come from? Last year, the state government created a series of ‘No Go’ zones, which block wind energy developments across much of Victoria, including the Macedon – McHarg Ranges. The government seems to think these ranges extend almost as far north as Bendigo. Member for Northern Victoria Donna Petrovich has said in state parliament that the No Go zones were “carefully” selected where communities “on the whole have told us that they are not appreciative of wind farms”. Given the controversial nature of … Continue reading Where did the ‘No Go’ zones come from?

Community Forums: a conversation about community-owned wind in Mount Alexander Shire

As part of it’s community engagement as it builds support for the vision of a community-owned wind park in the Mt Alexander Shire, Mt Alexander Community Wind is starting a series of community forums this week. Community Forums will be held across the shire and will offer locals a chance to hear about the vision of the project and have input into the project principles and design.  The purpose of the forums is to have a constructive community conversation about what a welcomed and appropriate community owned wind park would look like in our shire. Dates: Newstead Tuesday 24th April, … Continue reading Community Forums: a conversation about community-owned wind in Mount Alexander Shire

Vic govt knocks back councils’ plea for wind farm reprieve

The following news story is  from the Weekly Times. You can read the full article and add your comments at their website. Full marks for these two councils standing up for their communities. We’ll be taking it easy over Easter and the week following but should be back in operation after that. All the best to our readers! Wind farm plea rejected Johanna Leggatt |  April 5, 2012 THE Victorian Government has rejected a plea by two councils to grant them a reprieve from tough new wind farm bans. The City of Greater Bendigo and Mount Alexander Shire Council have received … Continue reading Vic govt knocks back councils’ plea for wind farm reprieve

Wind farms supported by Bendigo conference

This comes from the Bendigo Advertiser, journalist is Risa Ellen, 22 Nov, 2011. MORE voices are to join the protest against wind farm bans after a conference on community-owned energy projects voted to write to the state government over the issue. About 130 delegates from across Australia attended the two-day Community Power conference in Bendigo last week, to discuss community-run renewable energy projects. City of Greater Bendigo councillor Keith Reynard said the participants voted unanimously to support the motion for conference conveners to write to the Victorian government over the wind farm policy Amendment VC82, which bans wind farms from … Continue reading Wind farms supported by Bendigo conference