A wind farm for Byron?
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
A PLAN to install the Northern Rivers' first wind farm at Myocum has created a storm of protest.
The owners of the Regenesis Farm at Myocum want to be the first on the North Coast to install a state-of-the-art, 35-metre- high wind turbine.
However, neighbours are already complaining about potential noise and visual pollution. Further, a number are also concerned about the threats posed by the turbine's giant blades to native birdlife.
Regenesis has applied to Byron Shire Council for a 12-month trial of the wind turbine on a ridgeline inside the 50-hectare property.
Council is debating the issue at its ordinary meeting today.
The trial would be subject to stringent noise monitoring to ensure it met NSW industrial noise policy requirements.
The 20kW turbine is expected to provide enough energy for four households, which the ecologically sustainable Regenesis Farm will use to power their coolroom, packing sheds and office, and to replace the diesel pump they use to reticulate water for irrigation.
Regenesis managing director Danielle Leonard said the $130,000 wind turbine would be more environmentally friendly than the 75 solar panels needed to generate the equivalent amount of energy.
"It fits in with our motto of ecologically-produced food, of turning waste into a resource, and to make a closed-loop energy system," she said.
More than half of the 30 neighbouring property owners who will be able to see the wind turbine on the ridge have already submitted their opposition to the project.
Byron Shire Council has received 16 submissions opposing the project, with the potential noise and visual impact, along with fears the turbine may kill birds, the major concerns.
The turbine would make a 'penetrating, low-frequency thump each time the blade passes the turbine tower', wrote one neighbour, while others described the wind turbines as 'man-made monsters'.
Frank James, whose Myocum property boundary will be only 100 metres from the turbine, said he had first-hand experience of the giants, having seen them in Western Australia. "They're noisy. I don't think we need it," he said.
However, Ms Leonard called on the neighbours to 'give it a go', saying she had chosen a quiet and relatively small turbine.