ACT News


Serious horsepower, but wind power serious too

Jock, a member of an endangered breed of draught horses, will soon learn to pull his weight as his mighty predecessors did when they hauled wool wagons across the plains.

The owners of this three-year-old shire stallion will wait until winter to harness him for the first time.

In human terms, Jock's a toddler. But he weighs almost a tonne, so he's fed natural grass, avoiding rich food which would fire him up and make him hard to handle for owners Gov and Lisa Wilson who bought him for $20,000. Jock has a promising stud and show career.

In peaceful countryside east of Bungendore he'll continue growing until he is seven, when he'll stand higher and stronger than a Clydesdale. His muscled chest is already spectacular.

A slip of a woman's subtle touches in the saddle pilot the big bay horse.

''I've never ridden anything like it - the power is what blew me away,'' Mrs Wilson said.


Their stud aspirations were gathering pace until a wind farm appeared on the horizon. Now it's the Wilsons who have fire in their belly.

They're promising to fight EPYC Pty Ltd, an Australian-Spanish joint venture which they say has been measuring wind near their property, with plans to put turbines on ridge lines within 400 metres to 600 metres of their home.

EPYC did not respond to questions from The Canberra Times.

The Wilsons see renewable energy as the way of the future which is evident in the wind turbine and solar panels powering their home, 21 kilometres from Bungendore.

But they're worried noise too close to their horses could cause mares to miscarry. Noting about 25 decibels of noise from his small wind turbine, Mr Wilson expects bigger turbines to emit 35 decibels.

He is prepared to double glaze windows to avoid losing sleep, but this doesn't solve the problem. ''How am I going to double glaze my horse?''

Mr Wilson said in pre-submission stages wind farms targeted large properties, securing enough ground for a state significant project that they escaped local authorities' scrutiny. He said Australia was big enough to avoid this, and turbines could be erected out to sea, or on industrial estates, without spoiling rural communities.

Energy companies were saving on cabling by establishing generators close to rural communities.

''What's the point of saving the world while destroying the communities that you are trying to save?'' Mr Wilson said.

Mrs Wilson said: ''It's amazing what little power we have to stop what will have such a massive impact on our lives.''


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