Record submissions and huge opposition to Jupiter Wind Farm proposal

Sunday
Tarago resident Graham Hawk is concerned about the proposed wind farm development that will be close to his property. 
The Canberra Times
14 June 2014
Photo Jay Cronan Photo: Jay Cronan
Sunday Tarago resident Graham Hawk is concerned about the proposed wind farm development that will be close to his property. The Canberra Times 14 June 2014 Photo Jay Cronan Photo: Jay Cronan

The Jupiter wind farm proposal has attracted massive opposition and more submissions than any NSW renewables project, including the first formal objection ever made by the Australian Wind Alliance to a wind farm project.

During the exhibition period, which has now closed, about 600 submissions were received by the NSW Department of Planning.

Among the individual submissions, there were 536 against the wind farm and 38 in support of the joint Australian-Spanish venture which plans to install 88 turbines across 23 rural properties in Tarago.

To put the overwhelming response to the project into perspective, of the NSW wind farm proposals for Bango, Biala, Crookwell, Crudine Ridge and Collector in recent years, none received more than 150 total submissions.

The swathe of submissions was in line with what is typically received for major development projects in Sydney.

During the Jupiter wind farm consultation, 10 of the organisation submissions were neither for nor against the proposal, 12 objected, however none advocated for the project.

Among the objecting organisations were the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and the Australian Wind Alliance, in an unprecedented move formally objecting to a wind farm project.

"It was the first time and I hope the only time we will find ourselves objecting to a wind farm," AWA National Coordinator Andrew Bray said.

The alliance's submission stated the proponent's "lack of flexibility and poor communications have unnecessarily raised the ire of many local residents".

Flaws in the environmental assessment of noise and visual impacts, lack of consultation and not considering local planning controls plagued the proposal early on.

However Mr Bray said the major deficiency was the standard of consultation which resulted in a lack of trust and unnecessary hostility toward to the project, but also the broader renewables industry.

"To be honest in this case we see the engagement has been poor and it is very difficult to go back and fix a problem like that," he said.

"Community engagement is done a lot more professionally and transparently these days. To see a project like this where the engagement was being done to a sub-standard level was incredibly disappointing and upsets the prospects for other good projects taking place. We were reluctant to oppose but we made the call. It is a bottom line issue for us."

NSW Planning and Environment will assess the submissions and determine whether the proposal will be approved to progress in the coming weeks.

This story Record submissions and huge opposition to Jupiter Wind Farm proposal first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.