200 in protest against $350million CQ wind farm
RESIDENTS across the region have their doubts about a proposed $350 million Banana Range Wind Farm Project, 20 kilometres west of Biloela.
About 200 members have joined the Facebook group 'Banana Range Wind Farm - Impacted Residents' to voice their disapproval of the project.
It is expected the project, which would include 51 wind turbines, will create an estimated 100-150 jobs during the construction period and 10-15 full-time jobs during operations.
Melanie Stevens, whose property will be located six to eight kilometres from the proposed Wind Farm site, doesn't see much long term benefit from this project.
"The power station employs 700 people plus locally which goes straight back into our local town," Mrs Stevens said.
"Ten to 15 jobs for the life of the project, that's not enough benefit to say we could be happy with this project."
Lacour Energy director James Townsend said there would be a multimillion-dollar economic benefit to the wider region.
"This construction project is a $350 million project with a $35 million boost to the local region through employment and supplier contracts in Moura, Biloela and the Gladstone region," Mr Townsend said.
"Although the number is not huge, it represents a long-term diverse employer in the area.
"That's 15 new jobs in the area on a project that's going to last at least 25 years."
Kate Austin's property would be 10 kilometres from the wind turbines and she is disappointed that wind turbines could possibly take up much of the Banana Range views.
"It's the impact it has on our daily lives in that we've chosen to live outside of town, based on the rural landscape and the view," Mrs Austin said.
"We've met with Lacour out here and they do admit our concerns are legitimate and will have an impact on our daily lives."
In response, Mr Townsend said Queensland Wind Farm guidelines dictated that turbines must be at least 1.5 kilometres from homes and that residents in this project were at least 2.5 kilometres away from the turbines.
An anonymous resident, within five kilometres of the proposed site, said Lacour Energy had laid to rest some misconceptions she had about wind farms and that the project would benefit the region.
"A couple of the misconceptions that they proved to be false was that the environmental cost to build turbines outweighs what they'll generate and that the noise shouldn't be affecting anyone outside that 2.5 kilometre radius.
"I think there's lots of people that think it's a good project for our area."
Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union district vice-president Shane Brumker is concerned how the project will affect the viability and ongoing capacity of the Callide Power Station.
"Any increase in generation from alternative supplies such as wind will affect the output from the base load generators," Mr Brumker said.
"A project this big with 51 turbines will affect the output from Callide.
"It'll put more power into the grid so you'll rely less on coal even though coal is the most efficient source of energy, with Australia's coal being one of the cleanest in the world with up to 98% emissions control."
Mrs Stevens invited residents opposed to the project to sign a petition which could be found on the 'Banana Range Wind Farm- Impacted Residents' page.
Currently the Banana Range Wind Farm Project is in its feasibility phase and awaiting state and federal approval.
For more information go to www.bananarangewindfarm.com.au.