Wind Farm Setback – Acciona Response Criticised by Minister

Wind Farm Setback: Compliance Report ‘Very Simplified’

Brendan Gullifer
The Courier, January 22 2011

Waubra wind farm operator Acciona has been criticised by Planning Minister Matthew Guy for inadequate noise testing at its wind farm 35 kilometres from Ballarat.

In a three-page letter to Acciona’s Brett Wickham, Mr Guy details concerns about a noise compliance report submitted as part of the facility’s planning permit.

Mr Guy condemns the report for using “a very simplified approach”.

He seeks further explanation about the type of testing equipment used.

And he says the report does not discuss noise compliance at a number of dwellings identified on a complaints register.

Mr Guy refers to one part of the report as “limited and subjective” and says he is not satisfied with the post construction noise monitoring program at the facility.

Mr Guy said he commissioned an independent peer review of the report on the advice of his department and the Environment Protection Authority.

He demanded a response to matters raised in the letter, sent last month, within 28 days. Mr Guy said copies of his letter were sent to the Pyrenees Shire Council and the City of Ballarat.

Yesterday an Acciona spokesperson said the company provided a “complete response” to Mr Guy last week, and would be pursuing a face-to-face meeting to discuss the Waubra wind farm.

“These actions are consistent with Acciona Energy’s commitment to regulatory compliance and constructive relationships with government, regulators and the communities of which we are a part,” the spokesman said in a written statement.

In Adelaide this week, former Waubra resident Trish Godfrey gave evidence at the Environment Resources and Development Court on health effects from living close to turbines.

Dairy farmer Richard Paltridge is appealing a decision to grant Acciona approval to build a 46-turbine wind farm near his property, south of Mt Gambier.

On its website, Acciona claims to be one of Spain’s largest companies, with operations in more than 30 countries on five continents.

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