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Australia Epuron wind farm proposal splits Stanley residents in protest, support

04:20  24 june  2021
04:20  24 june  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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The wind farm will be built four kilometres away from the historic township of Stanley . Local hotelier Kerry Houston is leading the protest . (ABC News: Lachlan Bennett. ) About 50 megawatts of power will be transported via an underground cable to the existing substation at Port Latta. The Stanley proposal is renewable energy company Epuron 's first venture in Tasmania. "This part site has very good wind resource … this is the best wind resource I've been involved in measuring, it's very, very strong and consistent wind , there's also somewhere the project can connect into the Tasmanian

news, local-news, Tasmania, Stan ;ey, wind farm , Epuron , renewable energy. Approval of a highly productive wind farm proposed for land near Stanley is expected to be sought later this year. Sydney-based renewable energy developer Epuron said assessment work for its Western Plains Wind Farm was…

a man that is standing in the grass: Robert Smith says he's got nothing against wind turbines, but this one is © Provided by ABC NEWS Robert Smith says he's got nothing against wind turbines, but this one is "in the wrong place". (ABC News: Lachlan Bennett)

Robert Smith is more at home with farming his property on the edge of Stanley, on Tasmania's north-west corner, than protesting.

But a proposal to build a 12-turbine wind farm on a nearby beef property prompted him to come into town on his tractor to join this week's anti-wind farm rally.

"I've got nothing against wind turbines. This is just in the wrong place," Mr Smith said.

He joined about 100 people, including farmers, fishers and tourism operators with placards voicing their concerns — and he thinks there are more in the community that are worried.

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Epuron has been one of Australia's most active wind farm developers since 2003. Our many repeat customers, and the speed with which the projects can be taken into construction, are a testament to the quality of our development work. Our clients include key project investors such as Goldwind, AGL, Origin Epuron 's skill lies in identifying wind farm sites with strong development potential, preparing commercially viable project concepts for those sites, and securing land tenure and approvals required for construction. We work closely with local communities and other key stakeholders to ensure our

Residents in North Cornwall have staged a protest near Davidstow against proposals for a giant wind farm . But 50 protesters said they were tired of their skyline being ruined by wind farms and they wanted the local authority to reject the plans. Colin Caudry from Stop Turnbines in Cornwall or STINC said "We're fed up seeing wind farms on our sky line." On its website the company confirms the turbines will generate enough green energy to power about 9,000 homes, which is twice the amount currently generated by the ten turbines at Delabole.

"There's a lot of people who probably are against it but they are too frightened to come and say we don't want it in case they offend their other friend," Mr Smith said.

Local hotelier Kerry Houston is leading the charge and knows it's a tough gig in a small village like Stanley.

"There's relationships and families that go back five generations and we don't want this to split the town," she said.

"It's a wonderful community and we all want to work together, even though we are fighting an issue that's quite difficult."

The wind farm will be built four kilometres away from the historic township of Stanley.

About 50 megawatts of power will be transported via an underground cable to the existing substation at Port Latta.

Ms Houston said people were worried about noise and about the visual impact of the turbines.

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Proposals say there will be a high street and four 'walkable neighbourhoods where most everyday needs can be met within 15 minutes' walk or by cycle'. They insist it will 'not be a dormitory town, full of executive homes, that empties in the morning as residents head off on long commutes, only to return in the evenings'. It comes as another proposal in neighbouring West Sussex threatens to pit the Prime Minister and his Cabinet against a coalition of Tory councillors, environmentalists and Stanley Johnson, his father. The Knepp estate, a wilderness near Horsham, has become a template for the revival of

Epuron 's first large Tasmanian wind farm proposal shows its confidence in the Tasmanian energy market. The project is located adjacent to the main north-south transmission corridor between Hobart and Launceston, and will provide enough power to meet Tasmania's medium term energy needs and This will support Tasmania becoming the 'battery of the nation' due to its ability to easily store hydro power for times when it is most needed. As part of the project Epuron will establish a community fund to support community initiatives in the local area - this is one of the ways in which we spread the benefit

"We don't trust the height of the towers, we don't trust the noise issues," Ms Houston said.

'Take them somewhere else'

Local fisherman Mick Murphy fears the turbines will deter tourists — a vital market for his daily catch.

"Take them somewhere else, take them down the west coast of Tassie or somewhere," he said.

"You've got miles and miles of land, windswept, nice and flat, they can put thousands of them there if they want to do the world a favour carbon-wise.

"Put them down there, have as many as you want."

The Stanley proposal is renewable energy company Epuron's first venture in Tasmania.

"This part site has very good wind resource … this is the best wind resource I've been involved in measuring, it's very, very strong and consistent wind, there's also somewhere the project can connect into the Tasmanian system at Port Latta," Epuron's executive director Martin Poole said.

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Epuron is one of Australia’s most successful wind farm developers. It has developed the highest yielding wind farm , largest wind farm , the largest number of wind farms , and the largest number of wind turbines in NSW. In addition to its own development, Epuron also provides services to various clients in the renewable energy industry, including landowners, utilities, industrial partners, and other development companies. Activities include: Resource monitoring and assessment for wind and solar energy projects, including hardware installation and maintenance, data capture and management.

Wind farms made up 37 per cent of the state's power at one point in March last year, and hydro had to be scaled back. Now, with the rise of battery technology, experts are also not convinced a second expensive cable is necessary. Mr White believes if the business case for Marinus Link was there, the private sector would already be involved. There are other proposals for Low Head by Australian company Epuron . However, the reason for Chinese investment in this remote piece of infrastructure could be more to do with the turbines themselves than Tasmania's energy needs.

After working on the project for five years, the company has been surprised by this week's protest.

"Until recently, we believed the community was understanding and accepting, I think it could be an indication of the level of activity we're seeing in renewables and in electricity in general," he added.

Mayor Daryl Quilliam agrees.

"Up until now, we haven't seen too many people against the wind farm, I suspect there's been a few talking to their friends," Cr Quilliam said.

"As far as council goes, we've got to keep a balanced view on it and we just got to find out as much information we can and see why people are doing what they are doing."

It's likely to be another 12 months before the project goes before the local council.

Noise 'very rarely audible', company says

The company said the project was still in the planning stage.

"There's about a dozen subjects that need to be studied from traffic and transport to avian ecology … those studies are done and we're in the process of writing them up into an environmental impact statement," Mr Poole said.

Epuron has also done maps showing what it describes as a "low visual impact" on the town and is trying to allay the community's concerns about noise.

"It will be very rarely, if ever, audible in town, because it's simply too far away," Mr Poole said.

Epuron is far from the only renewable energy developer to come under fierce public scrutiny.

The nearby Robbins Island wind farm project has also faced opposition — as questions are raised about what benefits Tasmanians get from these projects.

"Not in my backyard", according to the Stanley protesters.

"[I] absolutely agree the world needs renewable energy, I don't agree this is a good spot for it," Ms Houston said.

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