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Farmers fear ill wind in expansion of turbine plan

Land-owners are worried that wind farms will reduce the value of their land.

Land-owners are worried that wind farms will reduce the value of their land. Photo: Nicolas Walker

An explosion of proposed wind farms near Canberra and their divisive nature have turned communities against them, the Liberal candidate for Hume claims.

Angus Taylor said neighbouring farmers were terrified their land values will plunge 30 per cent.

Hume, which covers from Cowra in the north, across the southern highlands and east to Young and Cootamundra, will go from having about 200 turbines to 1400 turbines.

''The plans are absolutely massive and that is the real trigger,'' said Mr Taylor, who studied as a Rhodes Scholar for a masters in economics and is now a Goulburn resident.

''There is a real debate going now, because of the scale of the plans.''

Wind farm proponents say 70 per cent of the community favours them in the Goulburn and Yass districts.

A group opposing wind farms, Friends of Collector, engaged a research consultancy which surveyed 238 households within 10 kilometres of a proposed wind farm and found 81 per cent didn't want it to proceed.

Mr Taylor said wind projects' rapid proliferation worldwide had caused debates.

Britain, for instance, ''has just banned all on-shore wind farms'', he said. ''Finish. No more, because the debate just got so heated and the view was it was not actually contributing to good energy policy.''

Mr Taylor supports reducing emissions, but said the renewable energy target was more about subsidising an industry which he estimates will total $500 million a year in subsidies across Hume.

''There is three times more incentive now to build a wind turbine than to turn off your lights or heater. And no one has explained to me why that's good policy. It's not. It's terrible policy.''

Wind energy economics were so marginal that, unlike a big profitable mine that brought out neighbours or compensated them for dust and noise, it could not help people nearby with compensation, he said.

''At the Goulburn Show on the weekend I had four farmers come to me, all of whom have land adjacent to wind turbines,'' Mr Taylor said.

''They are terrified they are going to have a significant reduction in land valuations and they have received no compensation, and it's unlikely they will.''

The Collector survey identified six concerns, headed by impact on property values and including health, visual and noise issues.

Friends of Collector spokesman Rodd Pahl said a previous survey which showed support was done over a wide area, including Canberra, Goulburn and Yass.

''Our survey was carried out by Stollznow Research in Sydney, and all people living within 10 kilometres of the wind farm proposal were invited to participate,'' he said. ''Almost 70 per cent of people were opposed.''

Mr Taylor said better ways of reducing carbon emissions should be assessed, including dramatically improving science of soil carbon storage; rooftop solar which didn't have transmission and distribution costs; conventional gas from Bass Strait; hydro projects and offshore projects.

In a statement Clean Energy Council chief executive David Green said the British wind industry was booming. ''As with any type of infrastructure or major project, there will always be specific cases that don't proceed past the planning stages, and there will always be people who are not comfortable with new developments,'' he said.


  • I was worried about wind farms too, but once I wrapped enough tin foil around my head, I started to feel better.

    Date and time
    March 25, 2013, 2:20PM
    • The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.
      The answer is blowing in the wind.

      Date and time
      March 25, 2013, 5:00PM
      • NIMBY Alert! Except now complaining about land prices rather than the view. Although I'm sure that'll come up too.

        These people just need to get given a cheque (which is the true issue) and strangely enough they'll find them aesthetically pleasing. I'm surprised they're not complaining of mystery health problems that are concocted elsewhere.

        Perhaps give the people an option - open cut coal mine, CSG drilling rigs or wind power. See how their issues go away then.

        The guy quoted is just plucking nonsense out of the air - there are incentives to turn off and reduce power usage - e.g. THE COST. What a ridiculous statement to say that avoiding the cost of your electricity bill is not an incentive.

        What we do encourage however is mining - if fossil fuels were not so subsidised we'd have an even playing ground.

        Date and time
        March 25, 2013, 9:37PM
        • However, to be fair, I don't know either of you, and shouldn't condemn you so quickly. The worst thing in the world are people that bitch and complain but offer no solutions.
          So here is my solution for all those people that want to take me up on it. I have a combined north facing boundary of about 2km, none of which overlooks someone else's residence. I am willing to donate that whole boundary, to a depth of 20m to anyone / company willing to fill that space with solar panels. Instead of paying me rent on the land, that money will be re-invested in putting panels on the roofs of everyone in the city willing to host them. Then the money raised from their panels will be split 50/50 between the house owner and a fund designed to raise the extra cabling money required to put the turbines either off shore or out west on the big properties that are crying out for them. Properties that are so big they can host hundreds of them without ever going within sight of either their own residences or anyone else's.
          So, again,I ask anyone reading this, both for and against... WHAT ARE YOU DOING????

          Date and time
          March 26, 2013, 4:59PM
        • So far you both appear to be NIMBYs. I am an ex employee of the Dept of Climate Change & Energy Efficiency and I also live next to a Wind Farm and have actual experience inthis matter. If either of you bothered to consider the full facts...then you would realise your comments are both ignorant and stupid. If you want to do something positive for the planet, stop reproducing, reduce your consumption,and join the argument for solar, hydro, tidal or geothermal renewable energy which have minimal effects on both flora, fauna and most importantly human health.

          Commonsense girl
          Date and time
          March 26, 2013, 7:33PM
      • To Nathan (above) I am a turbine host who has been suffering the effects of 1.75MW turbines now for 8 years - I only found out about this time last year that it was the turbines causing the problems. I have had an accoustic test done inside and outside of my home which shows very high levels of both low frequency and infra sound inside our home.

        My wife and I would gladly have the turbines turned off and taken away just so we can have a decent night's sleep for a change. The only way we can get that now is to leave the district for periods of time. The remuneration in no way compensates for our health problems.

        If you want to turn a vocal minority of wind turbine nimbys into a vocal majority, put the turbines in the towns and cities where the population seems to want them.

        I encouraged all my neighbours to sign up to the first wind farm in our area of which we are part. Now, I wish I'd never seen the blight on our country.

        Date and time
        March 26, 2013, 4:19PM
        • So a local pol with good credentials doesn't like wind farms. Pity he hasn't actually applied his research skills to actual research or fact-finding, as his comments show he has only been reading anti-wind lobbyist literature.

          For the record:

          Wind farms don't harm property values. Five major studies covering 46,000 property transactions in the US and UK plus a preliminary study of a few dozen property transactions in Australia show this clearly. These studies are by deeply respected organizations such as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory with 13 Nobelists and dozens of Presidential Fellows of Science in its roster. They use statistically valid samples and robust methodologies. What they do find is that before wind farms become operational there is a dip in property values due to fears spread by anti-wind campaigners, but that when wind farms become operational this dip is more than made up for with accruing value. Wind farms bring jobs and additional amenities funded by tax revenues and the wind farm companies which make the areas more attractive.

          The UK has not banned onshore wind farms. That's just nonsense. A junior minister in the coalition government spouted off about wind farms and was firmly slapped on the nose with a rolled up newspaper for being both wrong and off-policy. Onshore wind farms continue to be built in the UK and there is no ban as 20 seconds of Googling would tell Mr Taylor.

          As for the economics, wind farms have great economics, that's why there are about 240,000 wind turbines under a variety of financial systems world-wide.

          Links aren't allowed on this comment thread, but full debunking for the above points including references to peer-reviewed and credible studies is contained on BarnardonWind on WordPress.

          Mike Barnard
          Date and time
          March 26, 2013, 4:19PM
          • Just the sort of replies I'd expect to the story....
            I'd start by asking each of the above where they live, but can already guess. So tell me guys, how many turbines are you planning to host in your suburb??? Look at all the lovely roundabouts and little parklands you have just down the road from your place, if you want to feel like you are doing your bit for the planet why not host them there? Or would that spoil the look of your suburb??? I'm sick of people saying that spoiling views is not a valid reason to not want to live under these industrial windmills... to me its a bloody good reason.
            I already live completely off grid, producing all my power through PV, collecting all my water, growing all my own veggies and doing a co'op with other locals for meat etc so that we're not replying on produce brought in by truck. The next step for a group of us is to produce our own biofuels to again lessen our footprint. What are you guys doing???? Why should we have YOUR turbines up in our backyards just so that you can say you are doing your bit??? You would not be doing your bit, we'd be doing it for you!! (Just so you know, I was offered 3 towers, total rent to me of between $30K and $45K per year for 15 years... so I'm not someone that is against them cause I missed out...)

            Date and time
            March 26, 2013, 4:58PM
            • If you don't live within 10 kms of an existing wind farm, and you're not within 2kms of a proposed wind farm, then possibly your opinions don't matter.
              No one disclaims global warming or the need for renewable energy, but why should foreign companies get rich through subsidies and disadvantage us.
              We're not after money from them, but why can't they be built on state owned land or out to sea from Sydney where the power is needed and they don't impact on people's lives!!!
              Once you sign a contract, you lose the right to do as you like with your property and if you then decide to sell, you need the companies approval of the purchaser.
              If you think that they are alright, then offer to have one in your backyard!!!

              Carmel J.
              Date and time
              March 26, 2013, 9:36PM
              • The people who are having their lifestyles destroyed, and losing their homes as well as their investment, from the relentless onslaught of an industry whose efficiency cannot, even now, be established, deserve better. Since when has Australia become a society that will sacrifice its citizens for investment opportunities in what appears to be a swindle. Thank you Mr Taylor. Some integrity and compassion at last.

                Date and time
                March 27, 2013, 10:24AM
                Comments are now closed

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