Hydro Tasmania Communications and External Relations General Manager Andrew Catchpole said that the survey of landholders, undertaken by market research company EMRS, had 878 respondents - of which 59 per cent indicated support for a feasibility study to proceed on the TasWind project.
“I know some have implied that the figure of 60 is a number that will determine if the project goes ahead or not,” Mr Catchpole said. “However, we have always said that 60 per cent would be a good indication of broad community support; we got 59 per cent, and that is a very good result.”
Hydro Tasmania said that its board has been following debate in the community about the wind farm, and has been considering the issues and various scenarios for the outcome of the community survey, for many months.
“From our consultation process we understand that the principal concern of the community is the visual impact of the wind farm, closely followed by the noise and health impact concerns,” Mr Catchpole said.
“Consequently, we will focus as a matter of priority on resolving the elements of wind farm feasibility that have the most impact on these concerns, especially location, so that we can address these areas of concern.”
Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh added “While the survey results released show a majority of support for the TasWind project proceeding to the next stage, it is great to see that Hydro Tasmania has listened – and will continue to listen – to the concerns of all King Island residents.
“If the project were to proceed, up to 500 new construction jobs would be created, and 45 to 60 full-time direct and indirect jobs.”
Hydro Tasmania has said that it will continue to consult with the community during the feasibility study process, and that the King Island community will have another chance to have its say before the development application is lodged.
Through feasibility study activities, Hydro Tasmania expects to be able to devise a model of the proposed wind farm lay-out.
Image caption: Wind energy turbines at Hydro Tasmania’s Musselroe Wind Farm in Tasmania.