YARRAM - PORT ALBERT
DEVON NORTH near YARRAM
SYNERGY WIND PTY LTD
|CORRESPONDENCE IS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER - THE
FIRST COMMUNICATION FIRST.
IN BLACK, TO SYNERGY WIND.IN RED, FROM SYNERGY WIND.
Synergy Wind's Project Manager is Christian Spitzer. There is no other person in Australia at Synergy Wind to communicate with. You will note that Spitzer is becoming quite techy at having to respond to questions. The correspondence here is as is, with no editing, and is all the correspondence.
Links direct to:
7 SEPTEMBER 2005 - First communication from Synergy Wind regading the proposed wind turbin complex on the Helleren property. The wind monitoring tower had been up for several months by this time.
14 OCTOBER 2005 - Reply to Synergy Wind with many questions, rsulting from a meeting of concerned neighbours.
9 NOVEMBER 2005 - Synergy Wind's reply to our questions. Starts off well and then deteriorates into condescending drivel.
10 NOVEMBER 2005 - To Synergy Wind, reply to above.
5 JANUARY 2006 - To Synergy; this letter was raised to seek clarification on a further number of issues.
22 FEBRUARY 2006 - From Spitzer at Synergy, a rather techy letter, now apparently annoyed at the questions that are being directed to him. It appears from this lettr that he knows little of the concept of wind energy use, and as Project Manager is probably only responsible for the actual erection of the turbines.
23 FEBRUARY 2006 - Reply to Spitzer from Peter Stone, now also techy at the attitude of Spitzer.
24 FEBRUARY 2006. From Tad Heibert, reply to Christian Spitzner.
SEPTEMBER 2005. FROM SYNERGY.
The following correspondence was sent to Peter and Wendy Stone of Devon North, on 7th September 2005, together with general promotional material from the Australian Wind Energy Association. This letter was the first communication from the wind energy company proposing to construct a wind farm at Devon North. Other 'neighbours' to the proposed windfarm also received identical letters.
Wind Pty Ltd.
Introduction to the Proposed Yarram Wind Farm
Dear Mr & Mrs Stone,
We are writing to introduce you to our proposal to develop a wind farm at the western edge of Devon North, which we are calling the Yarram Wind Farm. We have completed some preliminary investigations and are very excited by the potential for wind energy generation in this area.
We are still in the conceptual stage of the development process and have not finalised the details of the wind farm proposal. We are interested in your views and opinions and, where possible, we will incorporate them into the final wind farm design proposal that we put forward in our formal planning permit application.
This is the first of a series of letters we will be sending to the local community to keep you informed of the development of our proposal. In addition to regular letter updates we will also be visiting people within 2 km of the study area in the near future.
Why do we develop wind farms?
Wind pty Ltd is proud of its commitment to renewable energy technologies,
and looks forward to developing the Yarram Wind Farm. We see the future
of our planet as being closely connected to how we produce the electricity
we all use. The proposed Yarram Wind Farm would offset the greenhouse emissions
of thousands of houses, and make a significant contribution to State and
Federal renewable energy targets. The benefits of this
Why are we interested in your area?
Our company has been studying a number of sites in Victoria to identify suitable places for wind farms. The Yarram Wind Farm area is set back from the coast but still has a bountiful wind resource. It is currently farmland (and would remain so), has good wind potential, road access and is located within a few kilometres of the local electricity grid. .
Whilst the company commenced preliminary investigations some time ago, considerable further work is required to determine whether or not the proposed site will be viable as a wind farm.
Synergy Wind pty Ltd was founded in November 2004 by Mr. Heinrich Ostendorf, a German investor. This Australian company is responsible for the project development. It is funded by Mr. Heinrich Ostendorf and his family, experienced investors who currently own several wind farms and who have previously been involved in several wind farm development projects in Germany. Mr Ostendorf is a very experienced participant in the German renewable energies market and has been involved in the development of five wind farms since 1994.
Synergy Wind pty Ltd has the experience and expertise to develop a wind farm and we look forward to working with you on the Yarram Wind Farm proposal.
The study area.
Enclosed is an illustrative map showing the study area which has been identified as being suitable for the development of a wind farm in the Yarram region. The area under investigation is in the order 121 hectares (300 acres) and can accommodate a small wind farm of up to nine wind turbines. At this early stage of the development process, the exact location of the proposed wind turbines has not yet been finalised.
We have been monitoring the wind resource in the study area since June this year and, as anticipated, the resource has enough potential for us to continue to the next stage in the development of a proposal.
Preliminary studies, visits and consultation.
Currently various studies required to progress the development of a wind farm are being undertaken. These studies include an assessment of the potential impact on flora and fauna, cultural heritage, noise, landscape and the economy of the area related to the wind farm proposal. Management strategies, either during design or operation, that will enable us to maximise benefits and minimise any adverse impacts are also being investigated.
In consideration of potential effects on the amenity of the immediate community and to optimize the wind farm layout we will be undertaking background noise measurements at various locations around the proposed site. Ideally we would like to monitor the background noise at each of the houses close by. This will allow us to ensure that the proposed wind farm meets the Victorian Environment Protection Authority requirements. The noise data will be incorporated into the wind farm design process together with the results from the other studies. As we undertake these background noise studies, we will also begin our consultation with the community nearby the proposed wind farm site.
first stage of the community consultation process involves members of the
project team visiting all residences close to the proposed site boundaries
(the approximate area is shown on the map enclosed). Members of the project
team will be in the area September and October and will be taking the opportunity
to call on these residences. If there is nobody at home at the time, the
project team will leave a calling card and will not return
Of course at any stage of this process we are available to speak to you about any aspect of the proposal, and are interested in your views on wind energy in general, the proposed location and potential impacts. We are undertaking this consultation at an early stage of the development process to ensure that we fully understand the community's perspective and views and are able to incorporate those perspectives and views into the design of the project as much as possible.
Following completion of these preliminary studies and the initial consultation process in September, a preliminary wind turbine layout will be presented for public consultation at an information day in the area (location and date to be advertised in the local media). The release of this preliminary wind turbine layout is expected to be in either October or November. Following release of the preliminary wind turbine layout we will be requesting further feedback from all affected parties and the layout amended as appropriate.
Further details of the proposed timing of the development will be made available following determination of the appropriate planning process.
Enclosed are the Australian Wind Energy Association's fact sheets on wind farms. If you would like to be included on our mailing list to receive further information on the proposal please email us at email@example.com or contact me on 03 9527 8193 during business hours. Please also feel free to pass this information and my contact details to anyone who may be interested. Thank you for your time.
14 OCTOBER 2005. - TO SYNERGY.
The following letter was sent to Synergy Wind Pty Ltd on 14 October 2005. It seeks clarification on a number of concerns, and arose from a meeting of concerned neighbouring residents, many of whom had not received any communiction from Synergy Wind. (By March 2006, there were t least four property owners who shared an immediate boundary with th Helleren property, who had never been contacted by Synergy, and who gained the knowldge that there was to be a windfarm next to their property from the local newspaper, local gossip, and from this website).
Wind Pty Ltd
Dear Mr. Spitzner,
With respect to the proposal to install a windfarm on the Helleren property at Devon North, please be advised that a group of neighbours have many concerns about the installation of the proposed six to ten wind turbines. We would be pleased to discuss these with you in person at your convenience. In the meantime, we respectfully request an answer to several questions that may assist in our appreciation of the situation. We understand that wind monitoring is proceeding and that no final decision has been made for Synergy Wind and the Hellerens to seek a permit for construction.
In studying documentation supplied by AusWEA, we are concerned about several aspects of the requirements for a developer to attend to in the consideration of a proposed wind farm.
1. AusWEA state that for (wind energy) developers,'The first step is to identify the neighbours to a proposed wind farm site .... and through consultation the developer should familiarise themselves with the visual settings that members of the community and special interest groups value.' It would appear that Synergy Wind have not done this as no company member has visited any of the residences that adjoin the proposed Devon North windfarm. Although this should have been done many months ago, and prior to the installation of the wind tower, may we ask what of your plans to rectify this.
2. AusWEA also state that, 'During and sometimes prior to the planning application stages, developers are required to prepare photo montages (computer simulations) of how the wind farm will appear from these important view points.' Synergy Wind have not provided such montages and speculation is that they have not been done. Perhaps thirty or forty need to be prepared to cover the aspect from residences and scenic vantage points. Could you please advise your plan of action to rectify this.
3. AusWEA also recommends, 'Extensive community consultation on turbine placement. And if possible, important view points should be agreed with the community early in the process'. Synergy Wind has had no community consultation to date, and appears to be in breach of AusWEA guidelines. Could you please advise your intentions in this respect.
Please note that this vagueness leads to community anxiety and unrest, and sets up an immediate barrier of distrust not only with Synergy Wind but also with the landowner. The lack of communication prior to your letter of advice of 7 September 2005 has been disturbing.
4. Several properties have been monitored for ambient sound by Marshall Day and Associates. Will the source data of these monitor readings be made available to the relevant property owners. Furthermore, what db(A) acoustic specifications are you aiming at, and what measures will you take if these specifications are exceeded.
5. What environmental impact studies have Synergy conducted, in respect to terrestrial and bird wildlife.
6. Concern has been expressed regarding (RF) EMR interference, particularly in regard to the Ingles Road residence where the proposed windfarm would interfere with telephone and mobile phone transmissions from Mount Tassie. What studies have you done in regard to (RF) EMR interference, and what guarantees can you make in regard to the rectification of the situation should a problem result.
7. Can you advise what guarantees Synergy Wind provide to restore the land to its original state after the termination of the contract with the landowner, or when required to be dismantled for whatever reason.
8. Can you advise of the results of any studies conducted that concern the intensity and rate of shadow and flicker on the properties within two kilometres.
9. Have you decided on the route (road) that will be used during construction and later maintenance, and the impact of traffic and noise on residences.
10. What is the anticipated date of when a decision will be made by Synergy Wind to proceed with the permit application.
11. Some concern has been expressed about the siting of the sub-station, giving due consideration to the noise that is generated. Can you advise where the sub-station will be located, and its anticipated noise disturbance to any nearby resident.
We look forward to your written reply at your earliest convenience, and to the opportunity of meeting you in person.
Residents of Devon North.
9 NOVEMBER 2005 - FROM SYNERGY
reply to your letter from 13 October 2005
Thank you for your letter from 13th of October. As you mentioned in your letter there has been no decision made yet as to whether a wind farm is viable on the Helleren's farm. We will be happy to discuss this with you in person as part of the community consultation program mentioned in your first question. Let me answer your questions as far as we can at this time.
1. A community consultation program will be held after preliminary assessments about background noise levels, wind speeds, visual impact, etc. have been completed and are supplied to Synergy Wind. At the moment we do not have sufficient information ourselves to answer your questions (e.g. how many turbines, at which locations, what size, etc:). We assume you have spoken to Mr Traa from Wellington shire council to know that we haven't lodged a planning application yet. Even if we decide to proceed with the 06 proposed wind farm project and the required permits and approvals are granted it will be at least another 12 months before construction would begin.
2. Yes, we will prepare photo-montages or other visual simulations illustrating the proposed developmemfrom key vantage points once the proposed turbine placements have been finalised. Input from the community in the selection of appropriate vantage points would be appreciated.
A community consultation program will be held as mentioned previously.
Since this is a very small wind farm project site there are not that many
possibilities for turbine placement. We started the community consultation
phase with our first letter of the 7 of September and we will be continuing
it once we have enough data to answer
The source data of Marshall Day's readings will be provided to those property
owners that allowed us to take measurements on their properties. We will
use background noise data to optimize a wind farm layout so that it complies
with the strict requirements of Victorian Government and reasonably protects
the amenity of neighbours to the site. It's a requirement to comply with
the Standard AS/NZ 6808. Synergy Wind will not propose locations for turbines
that would cause this standard to be exceeded and the amenity of neighbours
to be unreasonably affected.
6. Electromagnetic interference from emitted radio frequency electromagnetic energy is not a concern with the modern turbine models such as would be used at this site. Modern wind turbines are designed and constructed so that they do not emit interfering electromagnetic energy. If the wind farm does proceed, we would require a guarantee from the turbine supplier to ensure that there will not be any impact. We would appreciate it if you could further explain the basis of your specific concerns with land line telephone services and mobile telephones.
7. Land restoration by the wind farm operator at the end of the wind farm's life is a typical requirement of planning permit conditions. We would not expect any development approval to be issued for this project without such conditions being in place. Regardless, even in the absence of any permit conditions, site restoration is common practice for modern infrastructure projects.
8. Shadow flicker studies have not yet been completed and cannot be until the proposed turbine locations have been determined (other ongoing studies such as noise will affect this). We can guarantee that no house will be affected by shadow flicker at all. It is our intention to propose locations for the wind turbines that would not cause any shadow flicker. However in the unlikely case that a house might be affected, the offending turbine would be programmed to shut down for the duration that this problem would otherwise occur. This is a standard feature of all modern turbine control software.
9. The earliest a decision with regard to the route for construction and maintenance can be made, is after we have discussed the project with a turbine supplier. From our view it's most likely to involve Ingles Road.
10. A final decision as to whether to proceed with the planning application can't be made for another 6 months. We need a minimum of 12 months of wind data to be sure a wind farm would be financially viable at this site. We will proceed with further studies and community consultation after receiving satisfactory results of preliminary studies on noise impact, wind data and visual impact.
11. As yet there no decision has been made about the location of a sub-station -not even in a preliminary sense. This proposed wind farm is very small and won't need a sub-station as large as some of the bigger wind farms you might be familiar with. The sub-station would be located within the site on the Helleren's property and would be located so that no neighbouring residence would be affected by noise.
We hope that we have answered most of your questions satisfactorily. We understand and appreciate that no one would like to be adversely affected by wind turbines. Please understand wind farms are producing renewable green energy. Such energy should be produced where it is needed and where it can be fed into the existing grid. This poject could be the first wind farm site for the Wellngton Shire and could produce enough renewable energy to mee.t 100% of the needs of Yarram and Devon North! Certainly something you could be proud of. We are keen to discuss your concerns with you so that we can put forward a proposal to Wellington Shire Council that would allow us to achieve this goal with a minimum of impact on our neighbours.
forward to meeting you all in person as we continue to evaluate the viability
of this project.
10 NOVEMBER 2005
email to Christian Spitzer in reply to his letter arrived this day.
Thankyou for your reply. I will table your letter at the meeting on Friday 11 November. I shall also copy the letter to Peter Ryan, leader of the National Party so as to keep him advised of our concerns and your response.
Re your query regarding (RF) EMR, we have no concerns about landline telephone - that was not mentioned.
Although your letter has not been sighted as yet by the Concerned Residents group, I am sure it will be appreciated. However, I would request that in the future you do not add any condescending comment as in your last paragraph. Whereas I personally appreciate the value of wind energy under certain conditions, and in the appropriate location, I am certainly not proud to have a wind farm in my backyard and any suggestion that it can provide sufficient energy for Yarram and Devon North is nonsence as this will never be the case. Your argument seeks to bring in an emotional issue to curry favour with those who do not have to tolerate a wind turbine in their backyard. I have spoken to many people who now recognise how insidious these turbines are and what they are doing to disrupt a quality of life and to divide a community. May I suggest you get out and speak to the people at Toora and Foster if you want to be aware of general opinion.
You speak of a minimum impact 'on our neighbours'. Why should we tolerate any impact at all? Why should my life and that of my family be so affected by an industrial operation on my neighbour's land? If I could be convinced that your windfarm would reduce coal consumption in the LaTrobe Valley then perhaps some minimum impact would be tolerated, but with the Bracks government recently signing a 30-year lease for Hazelwood to continue to operate with brown coal, and with no clause to ensure that the brown coal consumption will be reduced by the implementation of wind energy, a windfarm on the Helleren property will have no impact on reducing carbon emmisions - but it will have a huge impact on the residents. You at least should apprecuate that the state government is playing a numbers game. It is predominanty about green votes, not carbon emmisions. And if wind energy is so effective, why does th industry need to be susidised.
In effect, you have chosen a most inapproprate area with the Helleren property. Whereas most proposed windfarm locations are surrounded by other farms with few affected residences, the Helleren property is bordered by a residential strip along Bolgers Road and will thus affect many residents, most of whom have taken up residency in the area simply because of the location. As it was quite bluntly stated in the newspaper last year, by a resident who rejected an offer of the opportunity for a windfarm in south Gippsland, "if you live in paradise, why stuff it up?" And that just about sums up what you are proposing. Even Peter Costello concedes that wind farms are ugly.
The noise factor is of great concern, particular to myself. I am concerned about the measurement of what would be an 'acceptable' noise. Marshall Day had their equipment on our property for a week or so. During that time, on two days, a ride-on mower was operating within a range of the metering equipment of one metre to fifty metres for several hours. If this was 'averaged' into the readings, the end result is meaningless. At night, when there is no man-made noise, the turbines will still turn and the noise factor will at times be considerably intrusive, as has been witnessed at Toora. Any increase in noise for whatever reason is not aacceptable.
It appears that the greatest concerns for neighbouring residents of wind farms is the noise factor, and there seems to be a lot of activity by windfarm companies such as Synergy Wind to 'justify' the noise that will be created, based on statistics and 'acceptable levels'. Personnally, of all the concerns raised (and considering the assuranace by you that no property will be affected by flicker), noise is my greatest concern and I stress quite categorically that I have commenced legal discussions to ensure that if I or my family are disturbed in any way, action will be taken. I will not accept any disruption to my rest and sleep as I have one or two health problems to say the least - and concern for disruption to the rest and sleep of my working wife and school-age son is also of vital concern.
I will suggest to the Concerned Residents at tomorrow night's meeting that you personally be invited down to a private meeting of the Concerned Residents sometime in the new year. You will hear firsthand of their concerns and whereas I appreciate that would not consider cancelling the proposed project, it will give you a greater unerstanding of the issues involved, and no doubt we will benefit from your knowledge and advice.
5 JANUARY 2006 - TO SYNERGY
THE FOLLOWING LETTER WAS SENT TO SYNERGY WIND TO SOLICIT THEIR REPONSE TO A NUMBER OF QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE PROPOSED DEVON NORTH WINDFARM. IT ASKS SYNERGY WIND TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE COMMUNITY, SOMTHING WHICH THEY HAVE NOT YET DONE DESPITE THE PROPOSAL FIRST BEING ANNOUNCED SOME SIX MONTHS PREVIOUS. NOTE THEIR REPLY THAT FOLLOWS. MR SPITZER IS BECOMING ANGRY AT OUR QUESTIONS.
5 January 2006
I trust you had a fine Christmas with family and friends. And in matters other than windfarms, I wish you every success for 2006.
Further to my correspondence to you on 13 October 2005, I would like you to address several outstanding matters regarding the proposed windfarm at Devon North.
1. AusWEA best practice recommends, 'Extensive community consultation on turbine placement. And if possible, important view points should be agreed with the community early in the process'. Synergy Wind has had no community consultation to date, and appears to be in breach of AusWEA guidelines. The ‘information day' with your consultant Bill Barber was less than productive. Whereas Mr Barber attempted to answer our questions, (and did so with courtesy), there was little he could do other than hand out the AusWEA flyers, and a screed from Synergy. This does not comply with any known definition of ‘consultation with the community'. To date, no Devon North resident, that I am aware of, has had direct face-to-face communication with you. Is it your intention to only consult with the affected residents after the permit application is submitted? Could you please advise your intentions as to when you will speak to me, and the concerned Devon North residents, in person.
It is interesting to note that Mr Barber was quoted in the Yarram Standard News (7/12/05) that, in reference to Synergy Pty Ltd, "It is nice to see that a company is prepared to seek public opinion first rather than simply serve up a project. They are trying to be good corporate citizens". It is the opinion of all those concerned about the proposed windfarm at Devon North that Synergy have not by any stretch of the imagination, considered, or even sought, public opinion (to date). Handing out a form to the public at a ‘consultative meeting' which proved to be no more than a procedure for hnding out a brochure, is simply not an accepted way of seeking public opinion.
2. As mentioned to you in previous correspondence, AusWEA state that, 'During and sometimes prior to the planning application stages, developers are required to prepare photo montages (computer simulations) of how the wind farm will appear from these important view points.' Synergy Wind have still not provided such montages. Perhaps thirty or forty need to be prepared to cover the aspect from residences and scenic vantage points. You stated in your faxed communication of 9 November 2005 that these will be done once the proposed turbine placements have been determined. I note that you have now provided a plan of where the turbines will be located. Could you please advise when the montages will be available.
3. On the question of noise emitted from the turbines, I understand that you have advised some residents that there will be no noise disturbance from the turbines as technology has been improved since the installation of the Toora windfarm. Could you please elaborate on such a statement as it does seem to be at odds with other documentation. Whereas turbine mechanical and electrical noise may well have been improved, I understand that the wind-compression noise as the blades pass the tower (the whoosh-whoosh noise factor) hase not been improved.
4. Again on noise, I am yet to receive any results of studies conducted on my property in November.
5. I understand that, should the windfarm go ahead, you will be required to provide a noise ‘hotline' phone for any complaints or comments. Could you please comment on your intentions in this regard, and what monitoring and correction procedures you intend to follow once the windfarm is installed.
6. I regard land restoration procedures after the useful life of the turbine to be vitally important, and would expect the Wellington Shire to ensure that positive legal agreements are drawn up to ensure this. Such agreements must be transferable when Synergy Pty Ltd sells off their interest in the windfarm. I am not confident that "site restoration is common practice for modern infrastructure projects", is an adequate determination. What do you propose to offer the people of Wellington Shire when you apply for the windfarm permit?
7. In your communication of 9 November 2005, you mention that shadow flicker will not be addressed until the placement of the turbines had been decided. One would hope that the potential for shadow flicker would be considered when the decision is made as to where to place the turbines, but be that as it may, it appears that the decision for turbine replacement has already been made, therefore shadow flicker studies may commence. Do you have any results?
8. Have you given further thought to the construction route? As you have proposed the Ingles Road option, what proposal will you make to Wellington Shire for the removal of trees or parts thereof, the strengthening of the bridge, and the condition of the road ? What consideration have you given, and what procedures do you intend to implement, to minimise disruption to residents?
9. I am please to see that you state unequivocally in your communication of 9 November 2005 that "no neighbouring residence will be affected by noise" of any substation.
10. It was interesting to note that you acknowledge, by way of your PR consultant, that the visual impact of a windfarm is of vital concern to many people. Bill Barber was quoted in the Yarram Standard News that the proposed windfarm will "at least not be near the coast". The only implication I can draw from this is that the general public do not want to see windfarms littered about the coastline (as at Toora), but if it is inland, where seen by less people, it is acceptable!! Please be assured that it is not acceptable to those who have to live with the intrusion of the windfarm each and every day. I found this to be quite an unsympathetic comment toward the wishes of the local community.
11. Although we have not raised the matter before, and we do so now simply to solicit your comment, what consideration have you given to a share of the financial reward that you have allocated to the owner of the land on which the turbines are located, with that of the neighbours directly affected by such commercial use of the land. Whereas such financial gain would not encourage any neighbour in supporting a windfarm next door, it may lessen the anxiety somewhat and compensate for the disruption in lifestyle, and for the devaluation of property. I understand that such arrangements are best practice in Europe. Your comment would be appreciated.
12. Can you now confirm how many turbines you plan to erect on the Devon North site? I understand that a definite figure of nine has been quoted.
13. You mention in communication that Synergy Pty Ltd will "do the right thing by the community".At the expense of appearing trivial, if you mean the immediate local community, then the best way to live up to your own standard is to wind down the company and simply go away. If you refer to the greater community could you elaborate on this please?
14. I noticed that two ‘environment consultants' employed by Synergy Pty Ltd met with representatives of the Wellington Shire and DCNR on 16 December 2005. Can you confirm when a formal study will be conducted to address the effect of the proposed windfarm at Devon North on flora and fauna, particularly with respect to eagles, hawks, owls, duck and other birdlife that have made the valley their habitat ?
15. Do you see the introduction of a windfarm at Devon North as being in any way an assett to the greater community, by way of financial benefit (direct or indirect), employment or commerce, or cheaper electricity charges.?
16. In your correspondence dated 9 November 2005, you make the point that the Devon North windfarm "could produce enough renewable energy to meet 100% of the needs of Yarram and the Devon North Community, something you could be proud of. " Notwithstanding the gratuitous comment at the end of this statement, could you please justify and explain your assertion, and provide details of the amount of energy expended by a community such as Yarram and Devon North, and the amount of energy expected to be created by the Devon North windfarm. This will give me a better understanding of the value of the proposed windfarm.
17. Could you please advise as to whose cost it shall be to link the electricity generated by the Devon North windfarm, to the public grid. I am concerned that if the cost is to be born by TXU (in this instance), that such connection costs will be reflected back on the public in the form of higher electricity charges.
In your application to the Wellington Shire for the necessary permit to
construct a windfarm at Devon North, will you provide a model of anticipated
financial benefit or loss to the shire in terms of rates, and use of shire
services, giving due consideration to the devaluation of surrounding properties
and thus the lessening revenue from rates. In other words, whats in it
for the Wellington Shire, and thus the shire community.
I look forward to your reply, and to meeting you at some time in the not too distant future.
Peter Ryan MLA.
22 FEBRUARY 2006
FROM : Christian Spitzer, Synergy Wind.
By email, pdf file. 22 February 2006
Dear Mr. Stone,
Thank you very much for your letter from 5th of January. I am happy to answer your questions as far as I am able to in my capacity as project manager of the proposed Yarram Wind Park.
your letter you are referring to AusWEA's suggested best practice or guidelines.
you for your comment on our community consultation day. We are sorry that
this day was not productive for you. This information day was held as agreed
with the Wellington Shire Council and gave everybody the chance to get
in contact with the Company and provide feedback on interest, fears, concerns
or changes to the proposed project. I was told that you were at the community
consultation day and that you, rather than submitting your feed back, used
the day to expound your opinion that Synergy Wind would
We count the community consultation day as a success, Aside from you and your silent entourage, we had a number of people attend. Of which about 50% were in favour of the project. The feedback we received indicated that other attendees found the information day both interesting and helpful. If you believe the fact sheets published by AusWEA's are wrong or tell lies, why then do you complain to AusWEA about Synergy Wind's activities?
Photomontages of the proposed wind farm will be submitted as part of the development application. The photomontages will be available through the Council once the development application has been lodged. If you require another 30 or 40 photomontages for private use I could give you contact details of the consulting company we used for the visual studies.
Concerning your question about noise, we can assure you that we will meet all requirements of the Australian New Zealand standard AS/NZ 6808. Synergy Wind will not propose locations for turbines that would cause this standard to be exceeded and the amenity of neighbours to be unreasonably affected. Please clarify your question about the "whoosh-whoosh" noise factor and what standard or limits you are referring to. This factor is not mentioned in the AS/NZ 6808.
Attached you will find the noise measurements results as received from Marshall Day Acoustics. The proposed 9 turbine wind farm will meet the requirements of the AS/NZ 6808 standard with regard to your house and all other neighbours of the proposed Wind Park. A "noise hotline" has not been included in any Council regulations we have seen, as such, Synergy Wind has no plans to install such a facility. Can you provide the source of this requirement?
Please clarify your question regarding land restoration and things we have to offer to people of Wellington Shire. There will be arrangements with the land owners, that the turbines will be torn down and the steel will be recycled. Even today, steel prices are much higher than the work for tearing down a turbine would cost, and would certainly form a part of the management plan of any Wind Park operator.
Shadow flicker assessments have been finalised on the 9 turbine layout as it has been presented at the community consultation day. These reports will be part of the development application.
Your question concerning the construction and route can only be answered by the EPC-Contractor, which can't be chosen before development approval. We assume that due to the recent improvements to the bridge, the heavy equipment will be delivered via Bolgers Road. ProposeD turbine supplier and ecology specialists agree that both routes are wide and high enough that no impact on native vegetation will occur during transportation of turbine parts and cranes.
Thank you for comments on substation noise. At the moment there is no decision made as to whether any substation is needed at all.
We are not the right addressee for complaints about comments made in the local newspapers. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure they don't publish any further comments that are unsympathetic to your wishes.
Harvesting wind on farm land is the same as harvesting any other crop. Synergy Wind has signed a lease contract with the land owners to use their land for this purpose. With regards to use of the land, nothing will change. The use of the land in question has always been commercial. We do not believe that the proposed Yarram Wind Park, which meets all development guidelines, will impact on your lifestyle in anyway that would require compensation.
the moment we are doing assessments on the basis of a nine turbine layout,
as published at the community consultation meeting. I can understand and
tolerate you fears, anger and grudge about this 50 million dollar
we have already mentioned assessments on flora and fauna issues have been
done. These reports will also be part of the development application. The
wind farm will be built on pure farm land. The site inspection found no
native vegetation present that would be endangered by the Wind Park. The
land will be used as farm land during and after erecting the turbines.
The environmental consultants found that birdlife is not an issue for turbines
in this area. Also, I can statistically assure you that every car and truck
in Australia kills twice
are many opportunities for businesses in the Yarram area to participate
during the construction of the wind farm and during its operation. Fabrication
of the wind turbine towers will take place in Victoria. Preparation of
the tower foundations, heavy engineering, civil construction, high voltage
electrical work, maintenance services, landscaping services, cleaning services,
manufacturers of traffic and safety signs, etc. are all within the capability
of local businesses. A wind farm of 18 MW can be expected to generate more
The attached Excel-Spreadsheet gives you an understanding of the greenhouse benefits of this project. The proposed 18 MW wind farm would supply 10,354 average number of Households, save 71,744 tonnes of Greenhouse Gas (CO2) Emissions, generate 55,188 megawatt hours (MWh) Electricity per Year. There are many interesting figures shown in the Excel-Spreadsheet. The Excel tool has been provided by the Australian Wind Energy Association (AusWEA). These calculations are one of many requirements of the Wellington Shire Council, and will be supplied with the development application.
BTW: Did you know that Melbourne is on water restrictions while the coal power plants in the Latrobe Valley use millions and millions of hectolitres of fresh. water to cool their generators? Do you think these power plants have to pay the same price for water as a Melbourne householder? A wind farm won't use any resources, other than wind, to provide thousands of households with electricity. The grid connection of the proposed wind farm will be realised by the EPC-Contractor and paid for by Synergy Wind Pty Ltd. All installations outside the proposed wind farm will become property of SP AusNet (formerly TXU) after completing the connection. These improvements and upgrades to the grid infrastructure will be of benefit to the whole region.
Please clarify your last question. I am not entitled to give you any information about financial business plans of a power generating facility. However as an Australian company Synergy Wind will have to pay taxes too.
you have noticed some vandals tore down our wind met mast and stole expensive
equipment. Do you have any idea who would have done such a malicious thing?
We would appreciate your help in this regard. As an upstanding and concerned
citizen, surely such antisocial, community dividing behaviour is as abhorrent
to you as it is to us. We hope such vandalism doesn't destroy our constructive
and cooperative dialogue.
23 FEBRUARY 2006
REPLY TO SPITZER'S RATHER UNGRACIOUS AND TECHY REPLY TO THE LETTER SENT 5 JANUARY 2006.
To: Christian Spitzer, Synergy Wind Pty Ltd, P.O.Box 327, Balaclava, Vic 3183
Thankyou for your email replying to questions in previous correspondence, and for your time to address the issues we have raised.
I am extremely disappointed at the personal attack you have made on my
integrity and to what I can only attribute to misinformation on your part.
I would hope that in all my communication to you, I have never insulted
you personally, irrespective of our differences regarding windfarms.
I respect that you have an
It is interesting to note, and we see it regularly demonstrated through our political leaders, that when the argument resorts to personal attack, the argument is lost by the detractor. How can anyone now regard your comments with any measure of integrity after you resort to such personal trivia. I would have expected more from a professional in charge of a $50 million project.
take issue with you on the matter that on your ‘information day' in Yarram
in December, I "used the day to expound your opinion that Synergy Wind
would spread lies and waste taxpayer's money". What an absolute load of
rubbish. I and three other concerned neighbours had a long, polite conversation
with your hired public relations man Bill Barber. We expressed our
concerns to Bill, and only to Bill. And indeed we told Bill a great deal
more about wind energy that he apparently knew. We did not speak with anyone
else about our concerns, except to the Wellington shire representative
that was there, and this was quite a cordial and informal onversation as
she held no weight in the debate. As you were not there on the day, I can
only surmise that you
And as for your comment in the Yaram Standard News 22/2/06 that you would like to "reconvene a meeting with locals provided it is handled in a civilized manner", may I remind you that you cannot reconvene something that you have not held previously, and any reference to conducting the meeting 'in a civilized manner' is an affront to the whole community. Do you have a fear of expressing your aims to the public? I suggest you convene the meeting, you attend the meeting, and leave the civilised reception to the people.
Note: (11 April 2006, not included
My comment to this: There is no
implication that Mr Spitzner is lying, and any interpretation of such is
in the interpretation of the original comment. An unreserved apology is
offered to Spitzner if this has been interpreted that he was lying, as
this was not the intention of the comment. The concern is the matter of
interpretation of what is a 'consultation with the public'. The general
concensus of I and those of my knowledge who attended the day offered by
Synergy as a day of 'consultation' was not acceptable as I and those of
my knowledge did not meet with an executive of Synergy Wind Pty Ltd - and
certainly not with Spitzner. The representative was a hired public relations
consultant from Traralgon. Questions directed toward the public relations
consultant, re concerns of noise, flicker, devaluation of property, construction
logistics, electro-magnetic interference, visual impact, efficiency of
power generated, use of power generated, sub-stations, effect on the environment
re reduction of carbon emmisions, and flora and fauna concerns, were not
answered to any satisfaction, and thus in no way can the open day be regarded
as a consultation with Synergy Wind Pty Ltd. Thus there is the possible
and understandable consideration by some that the open day was not a genuine
consultative process. It is my opinion, and that of those of my knowledge,
that the 'consultation day' was nothing more than a PR exercise and in
terms of obtaining answers to our concerns, a total waste of time.
to your comment that "You also expressed the belief that wind turbines
don't produce green energy or reduce green house gases.', I again say,
what an absolute lie. I have never made such statements and will not do
so. Of course wind turbines produce 'green' or 'renewable' energy, and
with its effective use could well reduce
And while you are in the mood for quoting spurious statistics, tell me how you will be able to produce enough electricity to power 10,350 homes. Firstly, you have no idea of what the electricity production will be on the Helleren property as you wish to continue monitoring for another year, and secondly, lets give the public the true facts - over what period of time is this, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, or when the wind blows, or perhaps on a windy night when we are all in bed. If you wish to quote emotive statistics to woo the unsuspecting public, at least give us the courtesy to see where you get your figures from.
You mention "50% were in favour of the project", as expressed by those attending the ‘information' day last December. Bill Barber was not taking any notes, so how these statistics were derived is incomprehensible. But it does show that even you admit that fifty percent of the population are against wind farms. And of you have received feedback that the ‘information' day was "both interesting and helpful", then table this feedback so we can better understand public opinion. If you wanted the day to be such a success, why did you not attend?
My complaint to AusWEA about your activities is also incorrect. I commented about your IN-activity. You have not personally met any concerned neighbour and getting you on the phone is near impossible. You have never consulted with any neighbour as to their concerns. All you have done is TOLD US what you plan to do via your PR man. If you believe this is 'consultation' then I am again astounded.
no issue with the Yarram Standard News publishing anything about wind turbines
on rural properties. You are referring to my indication that Bill Barber
was quoted in the Yarram Standard News that the proposed windfarm will
"at least not be near the coast". By your comment that I should "make
sure they (YSN) don't
wind on farm land is the same as harvesting any other crop". Good grief!
How can we possibly have sensible debate on wind energy when you make such
a childish comment. Since when is wind a crop? Since when does one 'harvest'
wind. If so, how do you plan to store it? Even those who promote
wind energy, here and overseas, respect the fact that wind turbines do
not constitute a 'farm'. You now refer to it as a 'park'. How ridiculous.
Accept the fact that the transference of wind energy into electrical energy
constitutes a mechanical and electrical interference which any sane person
would regard as a commercial, industrial, engineering, action. Wind 'farms'
are wind energy industrial complexes, nothing less. At least be honest
you appear to agree with me in this respect. You quote, "The use of the
land in question has always been commercial." Since when is rural
and arable land zoned as 'commercial' ? I am sure the Wellington
Shire and the state government would be most interested in your definition.
Were it zoned 'commercial', many
You speak of our "fears, anger and grudge". Fear of the unknown, yes. Anger at the lack of communication and consultation by Synergy Wind, yes. Grudge, no. Against whom? There is no grudge. Just disappointment.
I note your statistics of the jobs that the proposed wind turbine complex will create. Excellent. I am sure all in the community look forward to this. You will of course keep statistics. And if you fail to reach your claim, what then? Perhaps a significant contribution to the community based on the value of what was not achieved would be acceptable.
Your last sentence could have brought us back to reality with a sense of amusement, "We hope such vandalism doesn't destroy our constructive and cooperative dialogue.", but my advise is that this is bordering on libel. It clearly indicates that 'our' dialogue is between I and you, and implies that the act of 'vandalism' is thus associated with me personally. Again what a disgraceful thing to state. How can we have 'constructive and cooperative dialogue' when you make such ridiculous statements as this and the previously mentioned tirades.
Finally, you indicate that Synergy Wind Pty Ltd will "not be assisted by funds from any governmnt in Australia". What a wonderful word game we can now play. What deceit. The public is well ware that no government will be handing out a cheque to Synergy Wind, nor any other wind energy company. The public pays for the priviledge of wind energy by the government insisting that electricity supply companies purchase a set amount of electricity at a given rate which is in turn subsidised, to a partial extent, by the taxpayer. If it were not for such subsidies and emission credits, managed by the MRET guidelines, Synergy Wind would not make a profit, and after all, profit is what this is all about. Please don't do the public a dis-service by rabbiting on about how wonderful wind energy is and how it will benefit us all. We would have greater respect for Synergy Wind if you simply stated, we are an overseas funded company and we are in it for the profit.
TO DATE (10 MARCH 2006) NO LISTED 'CONCERNED RESIDENT OF DEVON NORTH', AS LISTED ON THE 'CONTACTS WEB PAGE', HAS BEEN PERSONALLY APPROACHED IN A FACE TO FACE MEETING BY AN EXECUTIVE OF SYNERGY WIND PTY LTD TO SOLICIT THEIR VIEWS AND CONCERNS. AND OF THIS DATE THE ABOVE RESPONSE LETTER HAS NOT BEEN ANSWERED NOR ACKNOWLEDGED.
ON 10 MARCH 2006, A NEIGHBOUR, PETER STONE, WAS ADVISED BY A WELLINGTON SHIRE COUNCILLOR, THAT SYNERGY WIND HAD LODGED THEIR PERMIT APPLICATION.
Note (11 April 2006).
As noted above, there has indeed been communication from Synergy Wind Pty Ltd to some neighbouring residents, a letter dated 7 September 2005, advising residents of the objectives of Synergy Wind. It is understood that not all neighbouring properties have received such a letter.
The communication from Madgwicks, on behalf of Synergy Wind Pty Ltd, states that it is false to say that Synergy have not contacted any of the residents of Devon North for their views.
Madgwicks also state that
it is false to say that Synergy have failed to comply with Government Guidelines.
Synergy is not in breach of any government requirements in relation to
consultation regarding their proposal and has carried out consultation
as discussed with the Council.
REPLY TO CHRISTIAN SPITZNER
24 February 2006.
From Tad and Elizabeth Heibert, Bolgers Road, Devon North.
ear Mr. Spitzner
This is our reply to your
letter addressed to Mr. Peter Stone, dated 22 February 2006.
You made several statements
in your letter that are very misleading.