A COMMUNITY wind farm in Mount Alexander Shire is closer to completion after the project organisers narrowed their search for a suitable site to two properties in Baringhup.
Organisers of the MacWIND group met with members of the Baringhup community last night to outline plans to establish enough wind turbines to power every household in the shire.
MACWind project co-ordinator Jarra Hicks said there was huge interest locally in developing wind power.
But according to federal senator John Madigan the turbines would pose health risks for the community and cause “severe noise pollution”.
Mr Madigan attended the community meeting in Baringhup and said he was concerned residents weren’t fully aware of the health risks wind farms created. “Most people I’ve spoken to who are hosts of wind turbines wished they never signed up for them,” he said.
“If the wind farm is approved in Baringhup, is it acceptable that their lives are turned upside down?
“I don’t believe it is.
“That’s why I’m trying to get regulations in place.”
Under a bill Mr Madigan put to the senate, wind farms would have to be regulated to ensure they did not create excessive noise.
Ms Hicks said people in Baringhup were largely in support of wind farms and said most complaints were about the visual impact of the turbines.
“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response,” she said.
“There’s some in the neighbourhood that don’t like the idea.
“But that’s okay, our intention is to have a conversation with everyone.”
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said it was a positive thing that the project involved the community, and would become completely community-owned.
“It’s terrific that communities are looking at these issues,” she said.
“As a society we need to look at the case for renewable energies as sources of power.”
The MacWIND project has identified two Baringhup sites for further exploration after eight landowners expressed interest in hosting a small number of wind turbines on their properties.