National wind farm commissioner visits the Barossa

National wind Farm commissioner Andrew Dyer on site at Port Augusta Renewable Energy Project with Catherine Way from DP Energy. Photo: Supplied
National wind Farm commissioner Andrew Dyer on site at Port Augusta Renewable Energy Project with Catherine Way from DP Energy. Photo: Supplied

A series of meetings with relevant stakeholders concerning South Australia's wind farms and renewable energy sites also led national wind farm commissioner Andrew Dyer to the Barossa last week.

The Commissioner, whose independent role appointed by the Australian Government reports to the Minister for Energy, will now provide feedback from his week's visit to state officials for consideration.

Mr Dyer's intensive itinerary involved discussions with the state government, Flinders University research team, Environment Protection Agency and Wombat Awareness Organisation, with field visits to Port Augusta and Crystal Brook.

Last week he made time to meet with both landholders and disgruntled residents for the approved Keyneton wind farm development and the proposed Twin Creek wind farm outside Kapunda.

Mr Dyer was direct in telling Barossa Herald at the conclusion of his state visit on Friday, how the build work for the Keyneton wind farm is "not likely to happen" this year.

Last month he said he was "not a fan" of another extension, after the state government granted a two-year extension for the development in December 2017.

The 42-wind turbine farm, earmarked for land along the Mount Lofty Ranges, continues to remain untouched by Victorian developers Pacific Hydro after it was approved in December 2013.

Yet, Mr Dyer said it was likely another extension request will be made; a decision which will sit with the state's Planning Minister.

Meanwhile, Mr Dyer also met with landholders to potentially host wind turbines at the Twin Creek proposed site, near Mount Rufus and St Kitts.

He shared how it was "good" for him to view the area explaining how the proposed site is "quite suitable" with its land topography.

Mr Dyer further shared how the site's proximity in relation to the Barossa, is of a greater distance than he had understood.

He joined with concerned residents who highlighted their issues with environmental damage, including change to water flow and impacts to native fauna species with lengthy discussions focused on frost activity affecting nearby vineyards.

The commissioner's role is to receive and refer complaints from concerned community residents about wind farms, large-scale solar farms and energy storage facilities.

The role also promote best practices for industry and government to adopt in regard to the planning and operation of these projects, and to provide greater transparency of information.

The public has the opportunity to say their say regarding wind farms through the EPA by visiting www.epa.sa.gov.au.

Also, anyone interested in participating in the Flinder's University investigations into effects on wind turbine with regards to noise and sleep should contact windfarmnoisestudy@flinders.edu.au.