Pirie council's stand on wind farm sparks action by gulf cities

ENERGY PARK: Tom Jenkins, project manager for the Crystal Brook Energy Park, with co-worker Clara Wilson at a community forum.
ENERGY PARK: Tom Jenkins, project manager for the Crystal Brook Energy Park, with co-worker Clara Wilson at a community forum.

Spencer Gulf Cities hosted members of the State Planning Commission to highlight inadequacies in development planning for renewable energy sites.

A group spokesman said the Upper Spencer Gulf was shaping as the renewable energy capital of Australia, but the planning and development system had simply not kept up with the scale of development.

“We support renewable energy, but we need to be sensible about where it happens and we need to make sure that our development approval, monitoring and compliance regimes are kept up to date so nearby residents and communities and environments aren’t adversely impacted,” he said.'

He highlighted the opposition by the Port Pirie Regional Council to a proposed wind farm in the Southern Flinders.

“There is no doubt wind farms have a substantial visual impact on the landscape, generate noise and divide rural communities, but current wind farm planning and compliance is not keeping pace with the size and output of new turbines,” he said.

“We have to make sure our key iconic landscapes, such as the Flinders Ranges and the Clare Valley, are protected from future wind farm development.”

He said stronger local input and control over energy developments were needed.

The group backs a plan by the nearby Central Local Government Region to review options that would allow councils to rate major developments such as wind and solar farms.

“These large renewable energy developments are now exempt from valuation for rating purposes, despite there being an impact on ratepayers and council infrastructure,” the spokesman said.

“We look forward to discussing these issues with the commission and showing them around our region.” 

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