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Wind Generators: a contentious issue

By Roger Findlay, Gerogery West

On my recent holiday in Tasmania I couldn’t help thinking about the many contentious issues that are continually debated by those living on the island. The letters in the papers always include the issues of forestry, super trawlers and wind farms and I enjoy reading them.

I go through life without political bias or extreme views. I prefer to form my opinions from what I’ve seen and heard. Wind generators are in the news just now and that’s why I have to share my story.

Several years ago I was staying at a B & B in north-west Tasmania and it was there that I met a semi-permanent resident who was working for the Victorian government. He was a scientist and prominent ornithologist engaged to study the impact of wind generators on bird life.

He would go out to a small island and live in a caravan without electricity for days at a time as well as conducting studies at the close-by Woolnorth wind farm.

Interestingly, he told me that he had never seen a bird killed or injured by the turbine blades but he did say that birds would move from close proximity until they got accustomed to the changed surrounds.

With this in mind, I had to witness a working wind generator first-hand. Not far from Currie on King Island you can get within 100 metres of three units that generate more than half of the island’s supply. It was windy up on the hill making it difficult to gauge the noise factor but the nearest resident was over a kilometre away and wouldn’t be affected at all.

Flinders Island is my favourite place and I was there when an additional unit was being installed. I was able to see the massive turbine blades on the ground and talk with the riggers. Later, I met with the business owner in Tasmania. He also owns a large-scale poultry production plant, close to Devonport, that is powered by one enormous wind generator. The operation provides employment for many people and his product is more prominent than any of the big names in the Tasmanian supermarkets.

The sight of any man-made structure will always impact on the natural view. Wind generators don’t look great. They are a tool doing a job but, just like the birds, we’ll adapt.

Ref. www.think-tasmania.com for more.