Land owners revolt at Jupiter wind farm meeting
The Canberra Times
14 June 2014
Residents of villages east of Lake George near Tarago erupted in anger at an information day about the Jupiter wind farm proposed by Spanish-Australian company EPYC, accusing the group of not being open enough about the project.
Farmers and tree changers whose land lies next to potential wind farms confronted EPYC staff on Saturday at the Tarago Town Hall and asked why the company was not releasing information on where the turbines would be placed.
Anger was palpable as a resident opposition group stood outside and handed out anti-wind farm documents. The $400 million wind farm over 12,000 hectares is set to have at least 100 wind turbines up to 110 metres high, with three 63-metre rotor blades.
The company started negotiations with land owner “hosts” across the Lake Bathurst, Tarago, Mayfield, Boro, Mount Fairy and Manar communities at the start of 2012, hoping to accrue 25 owners in total to be paid $10,000 a year for each tower.
Graham Hawke, 70, said some residents including himself felt so strongly they were considering class action over the affect the farms could have on land values. “It’s one of the things we will be looking at, I think you have to look at it because of the land devaluation,” Mr Hawke said.
Mr Hawke’s Tarago property, on which he lives with his wife, lies down from rolling hills next door. He said he was depending on selling his home to pay for their aged care and was worried his neighbours might allow their hills to be dotted with turbines.
Electrician Chris Gabler bought his plot 12 months ago and said he had no idea the area was part of EPYC’s Jupiter project area. “I had no idea and we wouldn’t have bought it if I had known there was going to be a wind farm right next to me,” he said.
Before Saturday’s meeting where questioners engulfed three EPYC employees standing in front of paper information boards, Mr Gabler said: “There’s been no consultation and no one’s come out to tell us about the farms.”
The company started signing hosting contracts with residents in April 2012, about the same time it dropped 184 information packs into local letter boxes.
Many residents, including Le-Genre Katrivessis, whose farm is directly next to a wind farm area, said they never received the information. When a company representative came to her door this year Ms Katrivessis said it was the first she had heard of it. “So they say that they put out the packs, but to what areas I don’t know,” she said.
Others were concerned about the divisions that had already arisen in the community. “It completely divides people, rumour goes around that someone is hosting and then everyone is talking, because we can’t find out,” Mount Fairy resident Jane Rotgans said.
She said the uncertainly over who was hosting was because ofclauses in the farm-hosting agreements. “We believe there is a gag clause so people who sign up and are hosting can’t tell anyone,” Ms Rotgans said. Another resident, who did not want to be named, said her neighbour who had signed up to be a host had stopped popping in for tea.
When asked whether the agreements between the company and land owners contained confidentiality agreements, EPYC business manager Shahroo Mohajerani said: “It’s normal for a legal document to have some confidentiality clause but people have talked and that’s fine.”
Palerang Council mayor Pete Harrison said he thought the meeting was a step forward and opposition to the project “was not universal” in the community. But he said the consultation process should have started earlier.
“It’s been a problem with us all along. I’ve only had one meeting with them and our council staff and certainly in that particular meeting I expressed my concern that their consulting process was wanting quite seriously,” Mr Harrison said.
A EPYC company statement said the turbines could generate enough energy to power 150,000 homes and “will improve infrastructure in the area such as road and bridge upgrades and other community facilities”.
A spokesperson for the EPYC has previously said they are complying with mandated community consultation requirements. Set up in 2010, the company has seven employees in Australia and has never constructed a wind farm before, although it has other farms in the planning stages for areas in NSW.
The Canberra Times
Lies, treachery and deceit – is all in a day’s work for wind farm developers. But it’s almost sad how – in their effort to garner “support” – they’ve been reduced to the usual line about “powering 150,000 homes”. We’ve dealt with that whopper more than once (see our posts here and here).
And we’d love to know what “other community facilities” the developer will “improve”. Maybe they can build a refugee centre for the dozens of families who’ll be driven from their homes by incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound? (see our post here)
Where the mayor claims that community opposition “was not universal” you can bet your bottom dollar he hasn’t called for a show of hands or met with the residents who will end up losing their homes and see the value of their properties slashed. STT thinks the great bulk will be dead set against the proposal – just as soon as the developer muscles up the courage to tell them all about just what it’s planning to do to this peaceful little community. On what “community division” is really all about see our post here.
One thing is certain though – with the level of community outrage clearly palpable – this group of locals won’t take the usual “soft-soap” treatment dished up by the developer’s goons lying down: for example, see this community newsletter: Print Newsletter 2 v1.
7 thoughts on “Jupiter wind farm threat sends locals into orbit”
Mike Baird appointed a wind industry stooge as his Minister for the Environment. Check out his history and see his contribution to the RET review panel. The NSW government is an enemy of rural Australia. The exceptions, which include Pru Goward, Katrina Hodkinson and Andrew Gee just don’t get a hearing. If they would just oppose the others openly then the people paying the price would flock to their aid in droves, they just need to give us the chance to prove it.
Nothing new here. Infigen did it to us and all the rural residents here in the Tarago area with the support and blessing of the NSW DOP. But good luck to all those fighting this scam. My property will lose a view considered by many visitors to be truly beautiful – a clear and unimpeded view to the Budawangs and beyond. This will be destroyed – for money of course.
When Infigen’s David Griffin and his ‘men’ visited my property, I asked why they were not pursuing their plan to place turbines on the Mt Fairy ridgelines – same area as the EPYC proposal and directly in front of my property. He replied that they withdrew as it was Red Tail Black cockatoo habitat. Yeah, right. More likely a host woke up (or got greedy) and pulled out. Obviously EPYC is not aware of this and would do well to seek advice because heaven forbid, they would never damage the environment-would they?
Seriously, the only thing that will stop this wind farce business is removal of the RET and the mega handouts. NOTHING else will.
“Seriously, the only thing that will stop this wind farce business is removal of the RET and the mega handouts. NOTHING else will”.
STT sees that statement as totally correct. It is the reason we have focused on the mandatory RET, rather than state planning rules. State governments have been over-run by rent-seekers who need rubber-stamped development approvals. We call it “institutional corruption”. States are only too happy to oblige: they get a little “glory” in the form of inner city “green” votes; and complicity in “the deal” costs the states next to nothing. The substantial cost is borne by all Australian power consumers (in the first instance) – as a direct consequence of Federal government policy; and by rural communities (in the second instance). STT suggests throwing all of your efforts and resources at having the RET repealed. The time for action is now: press members of the Federal Coalition to commit to scrapping the mandatory RET asap. Go hard, your efforts are highly likely to be rewarded and, with the RET out of the way, energy policy will return to sanity; and peace and harmony will return to the many rural communities currently under threat.
The real enemy is, of course, the NSW government and its policy to fill the southern tablelands with these things. It could stop them with the stroke of a pen by introducing planning conditions like 5km setback and/or the need for the proponent to prove no adverse effect on health, lifestyle and property value of residents.
For whatever reason, the Baird government chooses not to do that. Is it money? Is it stupidity? It sure isn’t rational concern for the people of NSW.
The Baird government is trashing people in rural areas while it forces up power prices for them and everyone else in NSW. It is doing a good job for parasites, foreign and local, and a lousy job for NSW citizens.
It’s a kind of new and now “legal” home robbery, isn’t it? The same thing happens everywhere in the world, where the mighty emperor BIG WIND rules. In the beginning people are frightened, than sad or depressed – but now they are growing more and more angry. It is time to stop all politeness. If we don’t do anything now, they will soon need to build those wind turbine refugee homes for their former neighbors. It is a shame – all over the world!
The noise of wind turbines is dangerous, there has been scientific research with white rats and some not so scientific tests with animals in a mink farm.
Read our Danish website stilhed.eu – we have a translation function.
Best wishes to you from Denmark!