A group of around 25 community members from the Yass and Goulburn regions took part in a wind farm tour organised by the Australian Wind Alliance. A wide cross section of the local community was present, with potential wind farm hosts joined by neighbours, local business people and council staff.
The tour visited the Taralga Wind Farm, giving participants a chance to stand next to an operating turbine and inspect the high-tech operations centre. Lunch in Taralga was followed by afternoon tea at a home in the middle of the turbines at the Gullen Range Wind Farm.
"Allowing people to see a wind farm for themselves and make up their own mind was really the point of the day," said Charlie Prell, Crookwell farmer and organiser for the Australian Wind Alliance.
"We were really happy with the tour and hope to be doing another one soon.
Quiet. Pretty good roads too.
Tim Bonfield is a farmer hoping to host turbines as part of the Rye Park Wind Farm. Having never been near a wind farm he was keen to experience operating wind turbines close up.
“I’m very impressed by how quiet the turbines themselves are,” said Mr Bonfield. “We were basically directly underneath an 80m tower and all you could hear was the tiny swoosh of a blade as it went past.
“The earthworks had been done well. The roads leading between the towers were very well constructed. While we were there, there was a bit of a storm and a downpour and the drainage works were very impressive.
“I would have no hesitation of hosting turbines on my place now.
A number of speakers addressed the group over the course of the day, offering a range of perspectives about wind farms.
Property prices just fine around Taralga
David Medina from Elders in Goulburn was upbeat about real estate prospects in Taralga. He noted that the office had recently sold at least 11 properties in and around the wind farm with a large amount of enquiry coming from the Sydney market looking for the rural/lifestyle opportunity.
“Land under 2.5 hours from Sydney is becoming harder to find so the Taralga village with all its services and proximity ticks all the boxes,” said Mr Medina.
“We have been delighted that the land values and prices have remained strong in and around the Taralga village.
“We are not surprised by the amount of enquiry or by the results being achieved.
“I think it’s a lot easier now that the towers are up. People can see and make their own determination but the level of buyer enquiry probably reflects the results we have been achieving.
Living among the turbines
Wind farm neighbour, Dimity Taylor, hosted the group for a home-baked afternoon tea on her verandah, with a view of over a dozen turbines, the closest being 1.7km away.
“We are quite happy living near the wind farm,” said Ms Taylor.
“We find the turbines quite majestic. We do hear them sometimes but we’re not bothered by the noise and they are not affecting our sleep or our health.”
“I think wind farms are an essential part of the transition away from fossil fuels and am delighted to be able bring up my family next to such an efficient clean energy source.
“I think the Gullen Range wind farm purchase of the Bannister Hall has been really positive for the community.
“I am also really pleased with the trees that have been planted for screening and am looking forward to installing solar on our roof with support from the wind farm. That will be even more clean energy coming out of our region!
Wind turbine host, Tony Elliott, was on hand to show us around his part of the wind farm
Taralga Wind Farm Asset Manager, Derek Dymond, explaining a few facts and figures
AWA Organiser, Charlie Prell, sharing some of his experience.
Storm on its way