by Michael Giles

SOLAR energy in particular, but also wind power and the other renewables are the way to go, not only for household power but also for the cars of the future as well.
But the wind energy companies, aided and abetted by government, do themselves and the industry a great disservice by not looking after the residents and landowners in the areas where they have their wind energy facilities.
Take the Bald Hills Wind Farm for example, with the 52 turbines up and operating, it’s now a fact of life on the South Gippsland landscape and like it or not, we’ve got to accept it.
Some even say that if you had to put a wind farm somewhere, it wasn’t a bad option.
But the whole development model and system of regulation is seriously flawed.
No matter what you say about the impact of wind turbines, it’s simply not fair for one landowner to reap the rewards, and his former mate, over the fence, to get nothing despite the fact that his property and, possibly his home, is equally affected.
There should be a system of payment for wind farms where the host farms get 60 per cent of the revenue and those with land in a 2km radius share 40 per cent with which to sell out, relocate their home or otherwise try to mitigate the impact.
As it stands, we have people who have lived in that area for generations, facing the prospect of being forced out by their neighbours and the wind company.
The other thing that’s wrong is the lip-service being paid to the conditions of the planning permit and the system of
compliance.
If the turbines break the noise conditions, they should be shut down immediately because it’s impacting the sleep and health of those living nearby – either that or these people must be compensated for their loss of amenity, if that’s even possible.
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On another energy issue, there’s little doubt that the Victorian Government is clearing the way for an unconventional gas industry to be established in this State and they are unlikely to hear any opposition from the Opposition if the science gives it the go-ahead.
Those opposed to CSG and other forms of unconventional gas mining will need to redouble their efforts in responding to the Parliamentary Inquiry which was launched last week, highlighting the importance of Gippsland as a food bowl for Australia and Asia.