It's a favorite line of people opposing particular wind farm developments - 'Wind Farm X is causing great concern in the community'.
Now and again, it's worth remembering just how many people there are in the community who are not at all concerned.
Our letter in today's Ballarat Courier...
WIND FARMS BRING LOCAL WINDFALLS
Ballarat Courier, May 1, 2013
It would be unusual for a $300 million investment in a regional area to be greeted with 'a lot of community concern', as John McMahon suggests about the Lal Lal Wind Farm ($300m wind project begins, 27/4/2013).
A good portion of the $300 million will be spent locally. Long after construction has ended Moorabool Shire residents will enjoy the project's substantial contribution to rates revenue and around a dozen permanent jobs.
Some people who won't be concerned at all about this project would include local civil contracting firms, local truck and heavy machinery drivers, local concreting firms, fast food outlets and petrol stations, accommodation providers for visiting contractors and a number of other local businesses besides.
Many others who get no financial benefit will be glad to know the shire will be producing clean energy and reducing the need for dirty coal-fired power.
A recent University of Sydney study showed that most people living near wind farms are overwhelmingly not bothered by them. It estimated that only 1 in every 272 people living within 5km of a wind farm had ever made a complaint, either to the operator, the media or to government inquiries.
That said, a fear campaign about wind farms has instilled fear in a portion of the community and there is increasing evidence that those who object to wind farms before construction become entrenched in opposition once the wind farms begin operation, sometimes to the detriment of their health.
Mr McMahon has every right to air any legitimate concerns he may have, but we need to place these concerns in the context of wind energy's positive track record of community support, producing clean energy and delivering local economic benefits.