YARRAM - PORT ALBERT
DEVON NORTH near YARRAM
Features & Letters to Editor.
to Windfarm Home Page.
STANDARD NEWS, 12 July 2006
From Peter Stone, Devon North.
Puppet politician Theo Theophanous states that "every unit of electricity produced by a windfarm is a unit that doesn't have to be produced by burning greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels". This is totally misleading, dare I suggest a political lie, as it simply does not happen.
Windfarms do not reduce greenhouse gases - indeed they create them during their construction and installation. With respect to Victoria's production of electricity, greenhouse gasses are only reduced by burning less coal - its as simple as that. Coal is burnt to power the generator that creates the electricity in the Latrobe Valley. Unless a generator is closed down, it continues to require coal consumption at a steady rate. As electricity generated by wind turbines is erratic and such a small percentage of total demand, no generator has, or will be closed down, as a result of any existing Gippsland windfarm, nor will it happen with the proposed Devon North windfarm.
Electricity cannot be stored on a large scale. It is simply a lie that the Devon North windfarm will reduce greenhouse gases, and will be ‘the equivalent of 16,569 cars taken off the road', as ridiculously claimed by Synergy Wind in their permit application.
If the Bracks' government is genuine about reducing greenhouse gases, then let it move toward permanently closing down the Latrobe Valley power stations. The loss of jobs and the incredible increase in commercial and domestic electricity charges would cause an outcry and would bring down the economy of Victoria. In the meantime, let's have a declaration from the premier that for every megawatt of electrical energy generated, a specific tonnage of coal will not be burnt in the valley. That would give us a nice cozy feeling that greenhouses gases are indeed being reduced, but it is totally impractical to do this, and electricity costs will rise considerably.
Wind generated electricity is subsidised by you, the taxpayer, at an estimated cost of some $36,000 per turbine per year. It is promoted by the Bracks' government to gain the green vote and pamper to overseas industrial companies lobbying to install their 120 metre towers on rural land, just as the German Synergy Wind is attempting to do at Devon North.
If Bracks' is genuinely concerned for the welfare of the people and the future of Victoria, then let him use our taxes for urgently required changes in infrastructure by transferring his millions of wind energy subsidy funds into education, better school housing, better country road and public transport, and health. He may indeed gain more votes in November if he does so.
But, if the government cannot see the folly of their ways and small holding windfarms proliferating across Gippsland are inevitable, at least construct them away from residential areas like Bolgers Road, where they will offer the least intrusion.
Peter Stone, Devon North
Tom Reakes, Devon NOrth.
To: Yarram Standard News
I recently read with some
interest a quotation of yours regarding ‘windfarms’. You made the assertion
that opponents of ‘windfarms’
My wife and I, along with
our daughter and 4 year old grandson, live in a most beautiful part of
the state - South Gippsland. We are
Now a local farmer with a
far greater land holding than ourselves has approached a German company
to erect nine turbines on his
It is fair to say that everyone who is immediately affected by this proposal is strongly opposed to these turbines going up. Major reasons are loss of amenity, noise pollution, flicker, major disruption during nine months of construction and, of course, significant devaluation of property, amongst others. Three residents have had their properties recently devalued to a total of $200,000. These are all typical battlers, none is wealthy, their life savings invested toward a beautiful country life and for some, a quiet retirement. Ruined, if this thing goes ahead!
So one farmer can earn in
excess of $60,000 per annum for the next 25 years, making a total of about
$1,600,000 while the rest of us
Now, Mr Theophanous, do you see why I find your comment so hurtful, so unreasonable and so downright insulting? I invite you to come to Devon North and look at this beautiful place and meet the people you say want to deprive a farmer of a living, and see for yourself the hurt and uncertainty that has been created.
Yours sincerely, Tom Reakes.
Sent: Friday, 5 May 2006 10:10 AM
To: Yarram Standard News
Subject: Letter to the Editor - response to N S Browne
UP TO 24 BIRD DEATHS PER YEAR
I’m not sure where NS Browne
(YSN 3/5/06 ‘Of blind parrots and wind turbines’) got his/her information
from but I’d like to make a few points.
25 January, 2006 - Yarram Standard News
TO THE GOOD PEOPLE OF YARRAM
We are a middle-aged couple who plan to retire in the near future, and we have built a dream house on a beautiful 5-acre property in Devon North. Like many people who wish to retire soon, we are keen to escape the hectic life of the city, and seek the beauty and tranquility that many of the rural areas of Gippsland can offer.
However, this dream of beauty and tranquility is threatened by the proposal for the development of the ôYarram Wind-farmö. In this proposal, wind turbines will be placed as close as 500 meters (and maybe even 450 meters) to our home. At this close proximity, the noise levels and overpowering views of these turbines will clearly threaten our dream of tranquil country living.
We feel that there are many couples like us who plan to retire in the beautiful rural areas of Gippsland. We believe that such people have the potential to contribute substantially to the local economies of Gippsland. We believe that the developments of wind-farms in the Gippsland area will only serve to frighten away people like us, and prevent the growth of the local economies in the Gippsland area.
It is our firm belief that the economy in the Gippsland area will suffer due to the development of these wind-farms, and that the dreams of many people wishing to retire there will be shattered.
The company, Synergy (who builds the wind turbines) has mislead the people of Yarram, by stating that the power generated by these win- turbines will directly provide power for the town of Yarram. This is not true, as power generated by these wind turbines will go into the general public power grid. Therefore, in this sense, the power generated by these turbines will not directly improve the economic well being of Yarram.
We believe that the good people of Yarram should oppose the development of these wind-farms, and do everything to stop them. The Yarram wind-farm should be opposed not only for the people whose lives will be directly affected by their presence, but also to protect the general economic well-being of the town of Yarram.
Standard News, 11 May 2005. Feature article.
OUR FIRST WIND FARM?
The Yarram district has put a first tentative toe in the water to test the potential for a small to medium-sized wind farm to be located in this area.
It is proposed that the facility could be between 10 and 25 turbines in size, generating about 30 mega watts of power. The German firm involved in the testing recently erected a 60- metre high wind-monitoring tower on a 300-acre farming property, off Ingles Road at Devon North. These towers can be in place for years before any further action is taken.
The "Standard News" was advised by a local resident of the existence of the tower last week, though it has been known for some time that several wind energy firms were looking in this area.
It is doubtful that the plans for a wind farm at Devon North will attract the scale of opposition that the proposed 48-turbine facility, overlooking Wilsons Promontory and Corner Inlet, at Dollar has attracted.
More than 1500 submissions were received against that project, with a dozen in favor, and it was strongly criticised during a 24-day hearing, which wound up in Foster last week, for being too close to 170 homes, for detracting from the significant landscape values around the Prom and for failing to attract community support.
But, the local proposal is still likely to raise some dust. Property owner, Graham Helleren, has confirmed that his farm is hosting the wind-monitoring tower, though he stresses the project is in the very early stages.
"Nothing might come of it. That's why they are doing the testing," said Mr Helleren today.
"We have advised our neighbors and the shire has been consulted with. Everything is being done correctly but I guess it was only a matter of time before there was some more general interest taken.
"All we ask is that people keep an open mind about this. That's what we are doing.
"I'm not in favor of putting these things up in coastal areas or along tourist roads but I believe there are suitable locations for them and we think this may be one of them.
"I think we've all got to take responsibility for finding renewable energy sources. They aren't going to take the place of the holes in the ground over in the Latrobe Valley but if they can slow the growth of coal-fired power stations, then that's a good thing."
Mr Helleren said he was also interested in the supplementary income that a small to medium sized wind energy facility might provide.
"We have 300 acres here and we are looking at a small number of turbines being located right up in the back blocks, well away from the road with pine plantations screening two thirds of the site."
Mr Helleren said his properly was not visible from Yarram and could prove to be an ideal location.
"Small facilities on acres, well back away from populated areas and the coast, is the way to go as far as I am concerned.
"I appreciate that it is the right of people to raise questions about it, and we welcome that but I'd ask that people keep an open mind about it and remember that it is very much just a trial at the moment".
Mr Helleren's comments are supponed by the Australian Wind Energy Association which said today that few of the locations that tested their wind resources would ever become wind energy facilities.
A spokesperson for the Wellington Shire's planning department said the shire had not yet been officially advised about the interest in wind energy at Devon North, because firms were no longer required to apply for a permit to erect wind monitoring towers, but it had received some calls from locals notifying them of a German firm contacting landowners in the Yarram area.
"Any application for a wind energy facility would have to come to the shire or go through the State Government and the public would be given ample time to comment before anything went ahead."
Mr Helleren declined to divulge the name of the German firm involved.
---------- End of article.
Note further articles and Letters to the Editor commenting on the ‘back blocks' location of the turbines - ‘back blocks' which border several residences. Note that Heleren makes no mention of potential disruption to his neighbours, and attempts to give the impression that the turbines will be somewhat out of sight. Helleren also implies that no action to oppose the proposed windfarm should be taken at this early stage as "nothing might come of it". Yet he fails to note that once an application for a permit is made, there is only a finite amount of time for those opposing the intrusion into their lifestyle to make their grievences felt and have the application refused.
Stndard News. 18 May 2005. Letters to the Editor.
NOT HAPPY GRAHAM!
Kathryn & Wayne Lynch,
Stndard News. 18 May 2005. Letters to the Editor.
WIND FARM APPLICANTS MUST CONSIDER NEIGHBOURS
Rudolf and Anna Jung, Devon
Standard News, 25 May 2005. Feature article.
ILL WIND BLOWS AT DEVON NORTH
Anna and Rudolph Jung moved from Yarram to Devon North three years ago for peace and tranquillity. Their serenity could be shattered if Devon North property owner Graham Helleren goes ahead with allowing a German firm to erect a 10-25 turbine wind farm on his 300-acre farm- ing property off Ingles Road, Devon North.
"We bought the place to get out where it's nice and quiet, and for the scenery," Anna said. The Jung's south-facing balcony takes in an expansive view from Manns Beach to Port Albert and the proposed wind towers will obstruct their view because "it's on the highest hill," Anna said.
Rudolph is of the opinion that if they can see from Manns Beach to Port Albert, then residents there will be able to see the wind turbines too.
"Why here? This is our livelihood. We can't move. Our money's been put into the 73 acres, that's it," Anna said in despair.
Anna and Rudolph believe that, because of the hills, they will hear the turbines echo. On a clear day, they can hear noise from the timber mill on Church Road.
Anna said their neighbors are all against the proposed wind farm as well. "We've been around and asked, they're not happy at all," she said. Anna and Rudolph said Mr Helleren hasn't approached them about the proposed wind farm; they found out about it through their neighbor, who lives in Dandenong and has a holiday house on Bolgers Road. It is their understanding Mr Helleren has only informed - "one or two" houses near him about the wind farm.
"We're definitely going to oppose it 'cause it's just not fair," Anna said, "It's not the back blocks, the way Graham described it in the paper, people won't see it, but they will. If it was way in the back blocks, I wouldn't mind either, but it's not!
"He also said the site is screened on two thirds by pine plantations, but there are houses between it, (and) the pines are around 3km away," Anna said.
If the wind farm went ahead,
every time Anna and Rudolph walked out their front door or looked out the
window, they would see the turbines. While the facility is still in the
very early stages, Anna believes it is not too early to voice her concerns.
"If we don't start making some sort of noise now, it'll just go ahead.
There's a wind velocity tester already on the hill," she said.
Standard News. June 2005. Feature article.
WIND FARMS A LOSE-LOSE SAYS RYAN MP
The Nationals are opposing State Government legislation, which it claims would hit local councils with a "double whammy in the reduction of its rates", according to Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan.
Mr Ryan has told State Parliament that the Energy Legislation Bill effectively short changed local councils which would be forced to make up the rates revenue from other ratepayers.
"The changes proposed by the Bracks Government would provide a rates discount for wind energy companies at the expense of local government," Mr Ryan said.
"The double whammy comes into effect because these industrial wind factories force a devaluation on neighboring land and a corresponding decrease in rate revenue.
"Other ratepayers will be forced to pick up the tab or councils like South Gippsland Shire will have to cut services."
Mr Ryan quoted the example of the 12-turbine Toora wind farm, which currently paid rates in the order of $77,000 per year. Under the new system proposed by the Bracks Government, the rates bill would decrease to $59,000 - an $18,000 loss for the shire.
The issue of wind farms has just hit the agenda in the Yarram area, with a Devon North landholder being approached to host some of the turbines.
"When you apply the system to other proposals in South Gippsland, it is easy to see that the local shire, and the local community, will be out of pocket if this legislation proceeds unchanged.
"In the case of the proposed Dollar Wind Farm at Foster North, we will have a development worth about $100 million generating about $100,000 in rates. "The negative impact on surrounding property values will be significant and the shire will forego rates revenue to prop up this government's obsession with wind farms.
"Not only does the local community strongly object to wind farms in these inappropriate locations, now we are learning that the shire will not be fully rewarded in terms of rate revenue in the future.
"The Bracks Govern- ment
should reconsider the rating formula it has devel- oped to ensure local
com- munities are adequately compensated for the huge social, economic
and environmental impost of host ing these wind farms."
Standard News, September 7, 2005. Feature article.
WIND TOWER PUTS OPPONENT BETWEEN FRIENDSHIP AND DREAMS
A Devon North man against the possibility of a windfarm on his neighbor's property concedes he is caught between a rock and a hard place.
Peter Stone wants to retain the friendship he shares with his neighbors, the Helleren family, but by the same token he said he does not want up to 10 turbines near his dream home.
Mr Stone believes the potential windfarm at Ingles Road, Devon North, would impact on his property's value, be a blight on the landscape, and cause noise And shadow flicker. He is voicing his concerns around the world by publishing his opposition on a website.
"But I respect the rights of the Hellerens to consid- er this as an option for the use of their land," he said. "They are wonderful neighbors and good friends, and I want that rela- tionship to remain, so we have a potentially difficult problem here."
A wind monitoring tower may now be erected on the Helleren's property but Graham Helleren said opponents were "purely speculating". "It's.. far too early to speculate and until we get further down the track, I'm not prepared to speculate," he said.
"The tower has only gone up to determine the wind speed and whether a windfarm would be feasible. The tower is only there to give us information as to what mayor may not happen. "They're getting very upset and very irate about something that may never exist. Let's give the wind company a fair go and let them test and then say 'This is what we're about'."
Mr Stone met with Gippsland South MLA and Victorian Nationals Leader Peter Ryan in Yarram last Friday, to discuss his concerns. Mr Ryan is now gather- ing evidence presented by witnesses at the Dollar windfarm hearing at Foster recently, for Mr Stone's information. He also plans to speak to Wellington Shire Council, urging council to note its capacity'to reject any application for a wind- farm under 30 megawatts.
"I share the concerns of local residents for the aes- thetics and also concerns about noise, blade glint and shadow flicker," Mr Ryan said. "One can understand how people are attracted to the prospect of this devel- opment but there is a broader perspective of the impact on the community."
Mr Stone said he and up to 50 families in the Devon North area that would be affected by a wind farm have the right to enjoy their rural lifestyle and have built homes to exploit the surrounding vistas. "This is the major problem with the siting of wind-farms in Gippsland. A wind- farm can be an insidious intrusion into communities where so many people are directly affected," he said. 'We moved here five years ago because of the beautiful setting and because we wanted some space.
"I can only hope that the State Government and local councils consider the intro- duction of windfarms with the local community in mind, and how residential life may change as a result of an inappropriate decision."
Windfarms should be sited with minimal disrup- tion to the surrounding community, Mr Stone said. "No-one would put a waste dump in the middle of Devon North. No-one is going to put a pig farm next to a bed and breakfast, so why consider putting a windfarm here?" he asked.
"There are 36 properties within one-and-a-half kilometres of the site. Not many people are farming there. People live there because of the lifestyle. "One person from Melbourne recently built a house at Devon North because of the view and now there could be a wind- farm there."
As for the issue of noise, Mr Stone said wind- farms produce two types of noise: a 'woosh, woosh' sound created by blades rushing past towers and turbine gear noise, varying between low and high fre- quency hums.
The company behind the wind tower remains a mystery. "One of the problems that we have at the moment is that we have not had an opportunity to talk to the company," Mr Stone said.
"And what I can't understand is why you are required by council to get a permit to put up a garden shed in your backyard yet you can put up a 48m tower without shire approval."
Mr Helleren said although the tower has been erected for some months, it only began working properly last week. Residents opposing the possibility of a windfarm are considering forming a group to 'make the ramifi- cations clear'.
With the prospect of the Devon North windfarm being the first for Wellington Shire Council, Mr Stone believes now is the right time for council to produce its own windfarm policy. "If it were not for State Government policy, it would be easy for the shire to prevent a windfarm from going ahead by preventing the preliminary monitoring of the site," he said.
"Is our council going to
improve the quality of life for our people? "When we lost the shire here,
we lost close contact with the shire."