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Dec 24, 2011

NSW landholders get wind farm veto right.

Cartoon by Chip Bok.

Ever since Big Government cuddled up to Big Eco and offered billions of dollars in Big Subsidies to Big Wind, Big Solar, and Big Bio-fuel, along with guaranteed rights to sell their expensive product via Big Mandate, landholders rights have been tossed to the wind in much the same way as has been done to facilitate Big Dollars from Big CSG. Developers have been able to put up turbines almost to the neighbors fence, while local government and other planning bodies have been sidelined.

Much like CSG companies, wind power developers have had open slather to ride roughshod over residents who have had to cope with their views destroyed and the more contentious issues of shadow flicker and low frequency noise. Now state governments have been stiffening up the guidelines, first Baillieu in Victoria and now the NSW government is acting to ban turbines closer than two kilometers from houses.

Just two days out from Christmas, Planning Minister Brad Hazzard revealed draft planning guidelines, which give landowners the right to veto wind farms proposed within two kilometers of their homes. Mr Hazzard says he is proposing the "toughest wind farm guidelines in Australia and possibly the world", adding they will provide more certainty for business and more opportunity for community consultation.

The guidelines match the approach taken in Victoria where written consent from nearby landowners is needed before turbines are erected. But noise levels from new wind farms will be more strict, with a limit of 35 decibels, five decibels less than in Victoria. Low-frequency noise will also be taken into account.

Mr Hazzard says where that cannot be achieved there will be an appeals process. "We have encouraged the proponents, the applicants, to actively engage in community consultation," Mr Hazzard said.

"That proponent will be able to appeal to the Joint Regional Planning Panel to try and receive approval to proceed with the development application process. "So there is a gateway in effect that we are putting in place. The gateway, though, only will kick in if the neighbors are not happy.” …

The Opposition and the Greens claim the new requirements will kill off the industry and billions of dollars of investment.
The craze for alternative energy has created an entire new industry run by corporate welfare tarts and subsidy spivs, who are given virtually unlimited access to taxpayer handouts in order to construct wind farms that would otherwise be uneconomical. They are then given favorable treatment in selling the power produced at higher prices to the consumers who have already been ripped off to build them in the first place.

As if this is not enough they have been given the right to trample the rights of the rest of the community with complete impunity. It is about time that these carpetbaggers of the new millennium were brought to heel and made to abide by the same rules as the rest of society. We would have more concern about the billions of dollars not being invested if a large proportion of it wasn’t taken off us in the first place.

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