Energy Park plans: increased turbine height causes concern

ENERGY: An aerial shot of the the already approved Stage One of the DP Energy Park, with the stage Stage Two recently approved.

ENERGY: An aerial shot of the the already approved Stage One of the DP Energy Park, with the stage Stage Two recently approved.

As DP Energy's renewable power station of the future reaches another key milestone, residents in Port Augusta have been left with concern.

The Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park has received a state government approval for Stage Two of the project and is expecting financial close for Stage One by the end of the year

But a recent amendment to the development application has revealed an increase to the height of the wind turbines.

The original development in 2015 was based on 150-metres maximum tip height, which has now increased by 35-metres.

Although the Port Augusta City Council has no decision making authority in regards to the amendment, Mayor Brett Benbow said Council will be making a submission on behalf of the community and those affected.

The project is located on the coastal plain south-east of Port Augusta, occupying approximately 5400 hectares of land running from Port Paterson in the north, to Winninowie in the south.

"Even when this was very first mentioned, we've had discussions with the Blanch Harbour people who have presented themselves from down at the shacks with their position that these turbines might be an eyesore to them in relation to the view of the Flinders Ranges," Mr Benbow said.

"We have also received comment from some of the residents in Stirling North seeking to find out what is the possible issue with noise, dust and so forth.

"With all these projects there are positives and negatives. It is a fantastic thing that could occur to promote employment in our city, but in the back of our minds we are taking into consideration the questions that the community is asking about it as well."

By increasing their height, the amount of turbines decreases from 59 to 50 machines.

Machines that are higher than the Sundrop Farm tower and any building in Adelaide.

The submission divided elected members at the last council meeting, with Councillor John Naisbitt especially vocal.

"The PACC has a policy that prohibits building of multi-storey dwellings or reasonable size sheds on the Western Gulf. This is because apparently people cannot see the wonderful Baxter Range from a boat," he said.

"If this is a policy for the western side of the Gulf, why on earth hasn't something been done to stop the environmental disaster about to happen on the eastern side of the Gulf.

"Everyone that is local knows that the Flinders Ranges changes colours from late afternoon to sunset, a magnificent view. After sixty years of looking at the hills to have this put in place the planning people need to be removed."

When the project is complete, the park will offer most of the services of a traditional fossil fuelled power station but fuelled by renewable energy.

Power generation would start after 14 months and the total build would take about 18 months for Stage One.