Battle for Barossa Won: Keyneton Locals Kill-Off Monster Wind Farm & Save Premier Wine Growing District

There’s nothing like winning and there’s nothing like winning against the subsidy-soaked wind industry. Across the globe, thousands of communities are united in their opposition to the threat of giant industrial wind turbines being speared into their backyards.

The backlash against the wind industry in German rural communities has brought construction of new wind farms across Deutschland to a standstill. No doubt that victory being a product of German resolve and tenacity, attributes which may well have played a part in the battle to save the Keyneton community, nestled in the bucolic Mount Lofty Ranges.

Forming part of the world-renowned Barossa wine growing district, Keyneton is home to the Henschke family, the producers of the superb ‘Hill of Grace’, a thumping Shiraz first produced in 1958 and which has been winning awards, ever since.

The Henschke story all started with Johann Christian Henschke, (born 24 December 1803), who emigrated to Australia from Silesia and arrived in South Australia in 1841.

In 1862 he purchased land in an area now called Keyneton.

Johann was joined by large numbers of his compatriots, German immigrants who settled across South Australia during the latter part of the 19th century, with their numbers concentrated in the fertile and picturesque Barossa Valley. Many of those German families started winegrowing enterprises which still dominate the region today, as does their distinct cultural influence (there are still German families who speak a peculiar German dialect, to this day).

In 1868 Johann Henschke produced the first vintage of about 300 gallons of wine. In 1891 his son Paul Gotthard Henschke purchased land near the Gnadenberg Church, which became known as ‘the Hill of Grace vineyard’. In the 1950s, the Henschkes shifted their focus from fortified wines to quality table wines and set the benchmark for the Barossa Valley’s big and bold, red wines with the Hill of Grace.

Stephen and Prue Henschke took over the business in 1979, which has gone from strength to strength.

Stephen and Prue joined locals in their dogged opposition to a proposal by Pacific Hydro (a wind power outfit backed by Labor Union Superannuation Funds) to lob 42, 240m (787ft) monsters in amongst vineyards, homes, prime grazing land and lifestyle properties.

The battle has been waged over a decade, with the clever and dedicated Dave Formby helping to lead the charge against what would have been an unmitigated community disaster.

Creating dozens of unlivable homes (thanks to incessant, turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound) would have been bad enough, but wrecking one of Australia’s premier wine growing regions was clearly a bridge too far for locals, including the Henschkes.

Now the project has been finally scotched, with a decision by the State Planning Minister, Stephan Knoll to reject Pac Hydro’s attempt to extend (yet again) the operation of its planning consent, which had been hanging over the community like the sword of Damocles since 2009. Knoll quite rightly listen to the locals and delivered the coup de grace last week.

STT hears that the locals are ecstatic and that the Hill of Grace has been flowing like a river in flood, for over a week now.

Here’s a report on the most sensational news from the local rag.

Victory: Residents rejoice over Keyneton wind farm development pulled
Barossa Herald
Michelle ORielly
22 October 2019

The Keyneton wind farm battle has been won.

A decade of angst carried by Keyneton residents has blown away with state government’s recent decision to “not grant” another extension for Pacific Hydro’s approved wind farm.

The relieved group attribute the triumph to “people power”.

Their continuous and lengthy fight to stop the 42-wind turbine development, earmarked for the Mount Lofty Ranges, was first celebrated over social media.

Long-time resident David Formby was stoked the development, first mooted in 2009, had “died and was buried”. A phone call to Mr Formby by the developers last week alerted him of their decision to “not proceed with construction of its Keyneton wind farm”.

He took to social media to share the news, resulting in a flood of rejoicing comments made.

Pacific Hydro’s CEO Rachael Watson shared how the decision is “regrettable”. She said the outcome follows a recent judgement made by Planning Minister Stephan Knoll “not to grant an extension of time for the Keyneton wind farm project”. “…due to policy, commercial and grid connection changes outside its control, (Pacific Hydro) has not been able to meet the deadlines on the Keyneton wind farm project,” she said.

Residents like Mr Formby are now relieved the outcome puts to bed their ongoing concerns of devastation to native vegetation and wildlife, potential devalue of properties and health burdens to name a few.

“I think the last insult of this development would have been to the Peramangk people who roamed these hills,” Mr Formby said.

While the outcome dissolves years of pent up emotions from attending town meetings, court hearings and stakeholder meet and greets, Mr Formby said the town now needs to heal.

“It also left a division in our community…That will take a few years to settle down.”.
Barossa Herald

Amazing Grace: premier wine growing district remains free to prosper.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Brad Reynolds says:

    Having been a participant in this fight from the very start and an attendee and contributor at nearly every meeting held as well as a lot of background work, I can only recall Stephen Henschke at one of our meetings – maybe he was doing some work in the background that I am completely unaware of but there were many more people who contributed far far more in a public sense than Henschkes ever did. There are dozens of others who I would mention before their name even came to mind.
    I think this article is a little disingenuous to those many people who contributed far far more.

    • The Henschkes made important contributions, at critical times and at the highest levels, but they will not be heard crowing about that. Our post is aimed at the work of the entire community.

  2. Jacqueline Rovensky says:

    Well done David, it took years of stoic determination to ensure this project did not go ahead. While you may have ‘lost’ the fight you won after Pacific Hydro were unable to commence installation when required, the constant nagging away by David and others ensured the Planning Minister was aware of the way people felt so dealt with Pacific Hydro in a way that showed he at least amongst Government Ministers is doing his job and not pandering to industry desires.
    Now all it needs is for the assent to build the Twin Creek project, not that far from the Keyneton, to be reviewed and cancelled and the sooner the better.
    The State Energy Minister must be unhappy with the decision re Keyneton, but he is elated to have the Twin Creek one approved – a Minister who is pushing hard for every turbine and solar panel installation sought to be approved and installed, without delay – regardless of well defined/researched negative outcomes.
    Having a Minister who has so little concern for the people of SA, is nothing short of astounding.
    A Minister who is blinded by perceived personal glory and pressure from a well funded industry (and boosted with subsidies from us, the people of SA and Australia, without our consent), should be removed from the position and someone who has the health, welfare and environment as their only concerns put in their place.
    Only when Ministers begin to assess these things without resulting to pressure from the industry and groups of people campaigning without ever undertaking any thorough personal research to ascertain what adverse effects this industry could be causing to the environment and everything living in it, including humans, wherever these things are installed, is nothing short of wilful blindness to facts.
    Ministers are paid by us the people, they need to remember they are there to serve US not any particular industry which will be gone with the wind if subsidies are no longer available.
    WHO WILL PAY FOR OTHER FORMS OF ENERGY PRODUCTION WHEN THESE TURBINES REACH THEIR USE-BY DATE?
    Us of course, there’s no resilience in this form of energy production, it has a finite life span, the machinery cannot be upgraded it has to be replaced lock-stock-and-barrel. Each project will have to keep operating until new land is sourced to build another project before the first can be decommissioned and dismantled and what then how long will it take before the contaminated land can be utilised for growing crops or grazing? After all such things as SF6 and other toxins will have been let loose for years in and around turbines sites.
    How much of our precious land are the Ministers willing to hand over to this industry to damage before they stop this nightmare???
    The final insult is the current Energy Minister is cheering the assent of projects even though it has been given BEFORE NHMRC funded research into noise induced adverse health effects currently being undertaken has been finalised and results made available but wants as many approved before, so they can go ahead and destroy lives of humans and no doubt all creatures that come into contact with these projects.
    The Prime Minister and Premiers should call a halt to anymore approvals or commencement of installation until these results are available, so harm can be averted. Otherwise these Politicians, companies and others with the ability to stop a disaster, should be held responsible for the damage done to the environment and lives.
    They all know something happening and they all know the research is being undertaken so they have no excuse to push ahead without having to face the consequences of their inaction.

    • Bill Quinn says:

      I am hearing you loud and clear there Jacquie. The S.A. Energy minister is a total fool and a bitter dissapointment. I tried to explain to him on the steps of the Peterborough Town Hall back in 2010 when I was battling AGL over Hallett 3 that Wind power was the domain of the Greens and as only about 10% of people voted for them no self respecting Liberal should have anything to do with it. Fast forward to 2019 Dissapointing Dan ,now Energy Minister for the State with the Highest Electricity Prices in the World had a meeting with me at my humble abode earlier tthis year at which I showed him the Witness Statements of 12 local people that my group took to the ERD court in 2010.Dan didn’t seem the least bit concerned that there was hard evidence back then of the devastation to people’s once peaceful lives caused by Windturbines located too close to their homes.I was quite taken aback by his blasé attitude to those who most probably voted liberal all their lives.I have contacted Dan VHP on numerous occasions in the last 6 months asking him to return my Witness Statements that I was kind enough to let him take away for perusal at his leisure.No answer came the stern reply from Dan and no Witness Statements either.After observing some of recent goings on here in S.A. it seems that Minister VHP is enthralled by the previous PM and his RE RentSeeker Son Alex who according to the CEFC website and that RE loving mob at Ruineconomy Nexif and Infigen have pocketed over $400 Million of Australian Taxpayers hard earned cash for their RE Boondoggles.I have it on good authority that Turnbull Senior also bought a swag if Infigen shares whilst Tony Abbott was still PM and then shafted Tony and raced off to sign Australia up the the Paris Climate Con.Almost overnight Infigen shares went through the roof.It seems from a story in the Adelaide Advertiser a couple of months back that Minister Pelican has sold of half of the Diesel Fired open cycle generators that Wetherdill bought to save his political ass to the Turnbulls Infigen so that they can sell electricity into the Grid at $14,000/MWh when the wind dies down on a hot day.Another Story In S.A. last weekend stated the the LGA who oversees all local councils in S.A. have signed a Power Purchase Agreement with none other than Infigen again.There is a very bad Stench about this whole S.A. debacle and when the lid is finally blown off there will be many in high places looking for a large Rock to hide under.By the way can I say well done to David and his band of Stoic Followers from the Eastern side of the beautiful Barossa Valley.It seems that Planning Minister Knoll is not as Deaf as counterpart in the Energy portfolio.

    • Whilst i applaud your efforts fighting the wind industry i think you will find the reason why it is not going ahead is due to the golden goose not laying any more eggs. A wind plant cannot survive without ludicrous subsidies and with the LRET now coming to an end (33GWH) this and many more wind plants will not be built. You can thank Tony Abbott for this result.

  3. A wonderful effort from the Keyneton community. Common sense has prevailed.

  4. Richard Mann says:

    Now it is time to turn off all the existing turbines. Please ask anyone who denies health harm of Industrial Wind Turbines to watch this presentation. University of Waterloo, Waterloo Ontario Canada.

    Title: “Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise: Physics & Cells, History & Health”
    Speaker: Dr Mariana Alves-Pereira
    Location: University of Waterloo
    Date: September 12, 2019

    Video archive of presentation:
    https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/8781285

    Dr. Alves-Pereira’s research profile is at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mariana_Alves-pereira

    Note; there is approx 2 mins of dead air at the beginning. The talk is ~50 minutes, followed by a long Q&A.

  5. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  6. Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

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