Twin Creek wind farm receives green light, Keyneton project denied

Twin Creek wind farm receives green light, Keyneton project denied

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The Twin Creek Wind Farm is one step closer to construction, with the State Commission Assessment Panel recently approving the project's development application, but the Keyneton project has been knocked back by Planning Minister Stephan Knoll.

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KNOCKED BACK: Keyneton residents Leonie and Erwin Thaller were relieved the Keyneton wind farm project had been canned, but said the overall battle was still going.

KNOCKED BACK: Keyneton residents Leonie and Erwin Thaller were relieved the Keyneton wind farm project had been canned, but said the overall battle was still going.

The Twin Creek Wind Farm is one step closer to construction, with the State Commission Assessment Panel recently approving the project's development application.

The application, put forward by Renewable Energy Systems, involves construction of a $330-million wind farm consisting of 51 wind turbines and a battery energy storage facility, set to be developed in a cluster configuration 11 kilometres north east of Kapunda.

Project manager Daniel Leahy said wind farm construction was still dependent on a number of secondary consents, such as approvals of planning conditions, management plans, statutory consults, and an offtake agreement, but he hoped construction could begin in the middle of next year.

Since the project's conception, there has been strong opposition to the wind farm, but Mr Leahy said many steps had been taken to address community concerns, including access route considerations, erosion management plans, and buffer zones.

"We've been working on the plan for six years now, and we've undertaken 26 turbine layout alterations, that's in response to environmental surveys undertaken on the site," he said.

There are only two or three rivers in SA (including the River Light) that continuously have ponds and pools for natural wildlife, and we want to look after that environment. - VAUGHAN OLIVER

With the public worried that frosts could worsen in the event of proposed turbines potentially damaging the surface inversion layer, Mr Leahy said there was insufficient evidence to support the concern.

"The literature research we undertook proved there was no link between frost and wind farms, and some literature even found the opposite to be true, that wind farms create a very local warming effect," he said.

But farmer Vaughan Oliver, Lightbrook, Hansborough - whose property is close to the proposed turbine locations - said the project design still "overrode community concerns", and did not seek enough local input.

RELATED READING:Wind farm noise guidelines up for review

He was particularly worried that sediment runoff into the River Light - which runs in between the proposed cluster of turbines - would be increased due to the concrete access tracks, which he said would then be problematic for native species.

"There are only two or three rivers in SA (including the River Light) that continuously have ponds and pools for natural wildlife, and we want to look after that environment."

Mr Oliver also remained concerned about the potential impact of the turbines on frost.

KEYNETON PROJECT KNOCKED BACK

Thirteen years after Pacific Hydro first planned to build a wind farm at Keyneton, the project has been knocked back, with the company's request for an extension to their construction commencement deadline of November 29 not being granted.

Initially approved by the state government in 2013, the proposal was to build a $200-million wind farm, with 42 turbines to be built, six kilometres west of Sedan and running about 15km north to south along the Mount Lofty Ranges.

But Planning Minister Stephan Knoll said the project was now non-complying, due to policies in the Barossa Valley Character Preservation District - where about two-thirds of the previously approved turbines were to be located - changing since the initial project approval.

Policy framework within the area no longer cites wind farms as as envisaged land use, prompting Mr Knoll to knock back the proposal.

When you go through something like this, and it's so ingrained in you, it's hard to turn your back on others in the same situation. - ERWIN THALLER

"Given the change of policy, and the expectation from community that a previously authorised development which seeks a lengthy extension should be consistent with the planning policies of the day, I have made the decision to refuse Pacific Hydro's extension request," Mr Knoll said in a statement.

Keyneton residents Erwin and Leonie Thaller, Wyandah horse stud, have been strongly opposed to the project since it was first conceived, and said infrasound issues and harm to animals were their major concerns of the proposal.

"This would have been Pacific Hydro's third extension, and so it was the time for people to jump in and put the pressure on to not approve it," Ms Thaller said.

The pair were "relieved" the project was not going ahead, but said they felt for others with wind farm proposals near their properties.

"When you go through something like this, where it's been such a big part of our lives, and it's so ingrained in you, it's hard to turn your back on others in the same situation," Mr Thaller said.

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