The Regional Council of Goyder Development Assessment Panel has refused approval of a 41 turbine TRUenergy wind farm at Stony Gap in South Australia, due to noise-related community health concerns. ABC News reports that the council’s decision to reject the Stony Gap proposal – the first time a wind farm application has been rejected at council level under the state government’s legislation, passed last year – was made on Wednesday night, after an “extraordinary” meeting that lasted almost six hours, and saw 15 people speak against the Stony Gap development – which was to be located about 5km south of the township of Burra – on the grounds they would be directly affected by it.
TRUenergy has reportedly commented that it is disappointed with the decision, which might pour cold water on the energy company’s plans to add six turbines to its already operating 37-turbine Waterloo wind farm – located just seven kilometers away from the Stony Gap site. TRUenergy says that at 123MW – enough to power 51,650 households a year – their Stony Gap proposal was on a notably smaller scale than that flagged by the project’s original operators, Roaring 40s. “We’ve certainly scaled back and minimised the footprint of the overall wind farm,” TRUenergy’s Clint Purkiss said, back in January.
One person who is notably pleased by this development is South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who issued a statement today saying the Goyder council’s decision should be applauded, and warning other councils to note that the South Australian Environmental Protection Authority’s Wind Farm Noise Guidelines 2009 does not account for low frequency noise. “I am personally aware of numerous affected land holders who are taking legal advice about pursing substantial damages claims …against those who have created, authorised or permitted the generation of excessive noise so as to prevent those persons from the usual enjoyment of their homes and properties,” he said. “Last night’s decision was a significant turning point in this debate and ultimately a win for common sense.”
In other news…
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After almost three years of negotiations, the Philippines’ energy regulator has approved an initial feed-in tariff of 9.68 Philippine pesos ($A0.22) per kilowatt hour for renewable energy, after petitioning by the country’s Renewable Energy Board. This will be the FiT for all solar installations, regardless of the size of the system or technology used.