Jupiter wind farm plans abandoned in face of community opposition

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EPYC withdraws application to develop 54 turbine wind farm in NSW, after two planning department rejections and 400 community objections.

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The proponents of a troubled wind farm proposed for the New South Wales Southern Tablelands have withdrawn their application to develop the project, just over two weeks after it was rejected by the state government’s Department of Planning and Environment for a second time.

The Jupiter Wind Farm, proposed for development south-east of Tarago by Australian-Spanish joint venture EPYC, was in late February rejected by the department as “fundamentally unsuitable” to the site and surrounds.

The rejection came despite the proposed project having been downsized by almost half, to a total of 54 turbines, nearly three years after being sent back to the drawing board for the first time.

The case was to go to the Independent Planning Commission for the final determination, but ABC News reported on Monday that EPYC had withdrawn the application.

As we reported last month, the project was originally designed with a capacity of 350MW, or 100 turbines, to be sited on a 12,000 hectare stretch of agricultural land, hosted by 25 different landholders.

But it was never well received by the local community, some of which formed a group – Residents Against Jupiter Wind Turbines – and led public protests against its development.

In notes on its most recent decision, the NSW Department of Planning said it had received 400 objections to the project from the local community and interest groups during the exhibition period.

The failure of EPYC to properly consult and engage with local residents was also cited back in October 2015 by the Department, as well as its failure to adequately assess the visual and noise impacts of the turbines.

This has also been a point of contention within the wind industry’s own ranks, at a time when community engagement and the securing of social licence for large-scale projects is being recognised as crucial to the industry’s success as a whole.

“There are plenty of examples Australia-wide of wind power projects having long-lasting and beneficial impacts for local communities – both financially and socially,” said Australian Wind Alliance national coordinator, Andrew Bray, in comments last month.

“However, it is critical that these projects have effective and transparent community engagement from the start to ensure the project delivers good outcomes for everyone,” he told the Goulburn Post.

“In this instance, that crucial engagement did not happen and this threatened to negatively affect community views not just on this project, but on wind power generally.”

The ABC reported on Monday that locals were “surprised and relieved” that EPYC had withdrawn its application.

“We were surprised because the community has been telling [EPYC] for four years or more that this is an inappropriate area and they had refused to listen to that,” said Residents Against Jupiter Wind Turbines spokesman Michael Crawford.

For its part, EPYC has described being “clearly disappointed” with the latest refusal of planning permission for Jupiter, and said the project’s local supporters had also been disappointed.

“Sadly the prospect for new wind farm development in NSW appears to be extremely limited as the opportunity for proponents to enter the market is hindered by the ongoing changes in requirements,” the company’s business development manager Shahroo Mohajerani said, in a letter to the IPC, this week.

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12 Comments
  1. Joe 1 year ago

    EPYC should resubmit their proposal and call it Jupiter Coal and Wind Farm…it will be approved and waved through without delay.

  2. wmh 1 year ago

    EPYC should change its name to something else (CYPE?) and resubmit the full size project but this time letterbox all the streets where the 400 objectors live with an offer to buy shares in the venture and share in the profits. It is not hard to generate 400 objections ( I did it recently with a well-written leaflet and a mere 2000 houses letterboxed) and it is amazing how the thought of profit cures Turbine Disease.

  3. Richard Swinton 1 year ago

    I’m sure that there were many objections when the first noisy, smelly car drove along their road. But sometimes we have to accept change, albeit tempered with sustainability and ecological criteria. Lets face it guys, coal is so last century, and its ability to allow centralised power and the impacts on a relativley small community – we all need to accept responsibility and accept change so we all share impact and benefit

  4. Hettie 1 year ago

    Just shows how vital it is to ask the community, not swan in and tell them. To start by identifying community leaders, have one on one discussions with them , gain their support , it’s not rocket surgery.

    • Michael Balin 1 year ago

      Rocket surgery?

      • Hettie 1 year ago

        Or brain science. Take your pick.

  5. Ken Dyer 1 year ago

    The residents’ committee seems well organised and obviously had access to expert assistance in terms of noise, distance, and other effects. I would not be surprised that they also received funding or at least support from coal interests in NSW. The refusal presentation and web site appears to be a professional preparation.

    Having said that, I find it strange that EPYC seemed to expect to install turbines as close to residences as the resident presentation appears without consulting residents. I think they need to go back to the drawing board or find somewhere else.

    Residents also claim that wind turbines do create infrasound and they are right as this 2015 article explains

    http://theconversation.com/the-real-science-on-wind-farms-noise-infrasound-and-health-43112

    However, advances in the technology indicate that much of the noise can or has been eliminated through better design. Unfortunately, the wind is better in high country, and people like living in the high country for the views unimpeded by technology, no matter how environmentally friendly. Still, wind turbines are better than plumes of smoke and steam from coal fired power stations, and they do not pollute the environment.

    • Anthony Gardner 1 year ago

      Ken
      Let me put your mind at rest. There was no outside funding. Epyc took on a few hundred lifestyle property owners, many of whom had retired after a successful career in commerce and industry, law, engineering and IT..
      We enlisted no outside assistance from any experts. The skills were acquired by hard work and research.
      The web site was developed by a member who started in IT fifty years ago.
      The presentation was put together by a couple of us with the required Excel coding and other skills. All we needed were the turbine GPS coordinates.
      A smart developer would have given up two years ago when the Department rejected their EIS. An even smarter developer would never have planned a wind farm for this area in the first place.

      • Ken Dyer 1 year ago

        Thank you Anthony for ‘putting my mind at rest’, about this wind farm development. These things never seem to be reported fairly, particularly in coal centric States like New South Wales.

        It is a real pity that perhaps the developer did not approach this in a more sympathetic way, as the community would undoubtedly have reaped benefits of a wind farm in their midst, such as the Taralga Wind Farm demonstrated.

        http://www.windalliance.org.au/taralga_wind_farm_shares_benefits?recruiter_id=7180

        Unfortunately, your presentation did not emphasise the positive aspects of wind farms, and was thus resoundingly negative, reflecting the attitude of the NSW Government Department to this development. I would go almost as far as to label it a NIMBY project. Obviously, your community was led to believe that wind farms are bad.

        Perhaps, with the community engagement you have generated, it would be of benefit to promote the installation of a distributed community solar farm as an alternative to a wind farm.

        http://theconversation.com/communities-are-taking-renewable-power-into-their-own-hands-42480

        I would like to see that.

  6. Brett Gosling 1 year ago

    Living between MacArthur and Codrington wind farms, the environmental, financial impacts are sensational! The so called ” health issues”, are non existent! And the cattle and sheep grazing right underneath the towers don’t seem to have any issues! Dumb people seem to be the new norm.

  7. Alex Hromas 1 year ago

    This area has been the hot spot for uninformed opposition to wind energy and the local objectors have been strongly backed by coal backed organisations like “the Environment Defenders” who will supply glossy brochures of dead birds, burning wind turbines and infra sound to discredit any wind energy project. Unfortunately the area is backward and populated by knuckle dragers who see nothing wrong with introducing feral pigs into their farms so that other neanderthals can come and shoot them. I am always amazed at how easy it is to stop a wind farm development and how it is almost impossible to stop Adani

  8. Alex Hromas 1 year ago

    Interestingly Goulbourn has had a major enconomic boost from the Tathra area wind farms and has not been consulted at all

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