Residents concerned about wind farms in their neighbourhoods have formed the Industrial Wind Turbine Awareness Mudgee Alliance.
The membership includes neighbours of wind farms proposed for Crudine Ridge, Uungula, Hargraves to Triamble, Windamere, Ilford, 12 Mile and Bodangra near Wellington.
Group member Ann Walker said the Alliance was working to stop wind farm development, or at least to minimise its harmful effects on surrounding residents.
She said she didn’t feel there was a place for wind power, as an intermittent power source reliant on fossil fuel power stations for back-up and not financially sustainable without subsidies.
Although she considered herself a “greenie”, re-using her grey water, recycling and employing solar power, Ms Walker said within a week of researching wind power she knew it was “a monster on your doorstep”.
That’s what we know of, because they don’t advertise.
The persistent whir and thumping of the turbines can lead to stress and sleep loss, while the inaudible low-frequency noise causes a number of health issues, and is worst in hilly areas like the Mudgee region where airflow is turbulent.
The resources used to build the turbines also detract from their ‘clean and green’ reputation, with massive roadworks, earthworks and blasting needed to produce foundations the size of Olympic swimming pools, as well as great quantities of concrete, cabling and water.
If all local wind farm projects went ahead, Ms Walker said the Mid-Western Region could be home to 750 turbines.
“That’s what we know of, because they don’t advertise,” she said.
Although early designs for the Uungala wind farm positioned turbines opposite Ms Walker’s house, she only learned about the plan when neighbour Stephanie Newman began distributing information sheets along Yarrabin Road.
Community pressure pushed the boundary away from residents’ homes, and the Alliance was formed to help others in similar situations.
Ms Walker said small communities were often given 60 days to respond to a developer’s 500-page environmental assessment, which was made more manageable and effective by a union of several communities with broader experience.
The Alliance is now working with Crudine Ridge residents as they prepare to respond to their environmental assessment, likely to be released soon.
The group has written to politicians including Andrew Gee, John Madigan and Nick Xenophon, and had a successful meetings with Member for Bathurst Paul Toole.