Disgruntled community members were given the opportunity to voice their concerns about the the Twin Creek Wind Farm proposal, near Mt Rufus and St Kitts last week.
More than 35 people met on October 17 at the Kapunda Institute for an overview of wind farm planning, hosted by the Light Regional Council.
This is the third community consultation provided to the public since the development was first raised in 2014 by Australian based developers Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Pty Ltd.
This gathering was provided to share background on the formal processes that apply to the consideration of wind farms, including the Twin Farm application which involves three council zones – Mid Murray, Light and Goyder.
The meeting included advice from the council’s planning department and members of the Council Assessment Panel, originally known as Development Assessment Panel.
The proposed development consists of up to 51 turbines, hardstand areas, access roads, two electrical substations, 215MW battery storage facility overhead and underground power lines.
It further includes overhead transmission lines for about 15kms from the on-site substation to an existing transmission line east of Truro, meteorological masts and three temporary construction compounds, including a borrow pit and concrete batching plant.
The total value of the project is estimated at about $242 million and the capacity is estimated at 185mw.
Issues have been raised over the lack of response between the community and RES which include, consideration to noise monitoring/pollution, ecological and natural resources, protected species, people’s amenity, visual impact possible and long-term affects.
Plus, unlike other wind farms in the region such as Keyneton, the Twin Creek Wind Farm is set to be visible from the Barossa, according to a visual influence map presented at a community meeting in April.
Hampden’s Mary Morris, who spoke at the meeting and whose property will be located 10kms from the proposed development, desperately seeks answers from RES.
Her primary concern focuses on the Pygmy Blue-tongue lizards, an endangered species which was previously thought to be extinct and rediscovered near Burra in 1992.
However, their chance of survival will be diminished if the application is given the green light due to the size and nature of the wind farm proposal.
Studies on the lizard have previously cited industrial development – such as wind farms – as a threat to its survival.
“The application is for 41km of tracks for access and 49km for underground cabling,” Mrs Morris said.
“These species are also very sensitive to vibrations and shadow flickering; they don’t feed in those conditions,” she said.
Mrs Morris, who wrote to the Minister for the Environment and Energy this month, is desperate to know if “RES has actually referred this project to the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation” for consideration.
“Where is the EPBC referral made for the Twin Creek wind farm near Kapunda, Eudunda, St Kitts, Hansborough, Bagot Well and Dutton in SA?,” she said.
RES reveals the site has been selected as it is ideal for a renewable energy development due to very low environmental impacts.
Yet Mrs Morris along with community members, including those neighbouring the site, strongly disagree.
“There are EPBC listed Lomandra grassland communities on and around the site as well as the EPBC Peppermint Box Grassy Woodland ecological communities, which also should trigger EPBC referral,” she stressed.
”The site is not ideal because of the potential adverse impacts from the construction and operation of the wind farm on EPBC listed species and ecological communities which occur on and downstream from the wind farm footprint.”
Concerns further centred on noise monitoring by way of ‘amplitude modulation’, a noise characterisation, referred to as a blade swoosh sound.
“Each turbine is 135 metres in diameter, sweeping 14,500 square metres in area and each fan is the same size as Adelaide Oval playing oval,” she said.
“51 of these will have visual impact for the Barossa Valley.”
During the meeting other factors raised included a duty of care to the people, including those people who have property in the vicinity, but live in town.
“We basically heard about the development through a letter placed in people’s fences,” Mrs Morris said.
As part of the community forum, council advised the public to forward names and reports which support their claims in writing to the council.
According to the council’s manager for strategy and development Craig Doyle, the forum’s “discussions were positive with people in attendance passionate about their region”.
“Under legislation we are not the decision maker, our job is to provide the Council Assessment Panel with a review on the proposal,” Mr Doyle said.
All information is expected to make up a report, gathered by Light Regional Council on the Twin Creek wind farm for the CAP which will then be reviewed by members before being forwarded to the state planning commission panel.
Mr Doyle said at this stage there is no time frames on these movements.