Who Are We?The No Turbine Action Group Inc (NTAG) is a not for profit community group of people from diverse backgrounds who have an affinity with and connection to the rugged wildness and unique cultural landscape of the Highland Lakes area of Tasmania. We are strongly opposed to the inappropriate location of the St Patricks Plains Wind Farm development by Epuron. We are not antidevelopment and support viable renewable energy projects at better sites in Tasmania. Our passion is to protect the remoteness and unique scenery, wildlife, recreational and heritage values of a place in the heart of Tasmania that is special to many from different perspectives and from all parts of the world.
Who Is Epuron? Epuron is the Company which undertakes the planning process to gain approvals for wind and solar farm developments around Australia including other projects in Tasmania. Once approved, Epuron on-sells the Development Approval to an investment company, usually foreign, with ownership of essential infrastructure in Australia and profits going offshore.
What does the Project entail? St Patricks Plains revised wind farm proposal is an installation of 47 gigantic turbines 240 metres tall (three times the height of Hobart’s Wrest Point Casino) on 10,000ha of land belonging to 6 private landowners. The highly visible turbines straddle a large section of the Highland Lakes Road (the Lake Highway) between Bothwell and Miena, some within 1/2km in distance from the roadside, as well as sections of access roads to Penstock Lagoon, Shannon, Wilburville, Flintstone Drive and Arthurs Lake communities. Epuron plans to construct or upgrade 78km of roads within the wind farm boundary with inadequate 1km turbine buffer zones from 18 endangered Wedge-tailed eagle nests mapped on or near the site.
What are Our Concerns?The turbines are too high, too many and too close to roads, communities and wildlife. The Highland Lakes Road is a popular touring arterial route from the North to the South of the State with many outstanding scenic, geographical and historical features along the way including the Steppes State Reserve’s bronze sculptures, homestead (circa 1864) area, and hall with its yard containing a series of plaques and information panels commemorating the harsh lives of European pioneers and shepherding families in unforgiving conditions. The strongly promoted visitor, recreational and tourist attractions based on natural, cultural and heritage values would be severely compromised by wind turbines along the roadside and on skylines, also destroying the beauty and serenity of fishing and camping experiences at world famous Penstock Lagoon (venue for World Fly-fishing Competition 2019).
The proposed wind farm site contains a significant number of high altitude and wetland environmental communities with listed endemic rare and threatened wildlife and flora species that are extremely sensitive to disturbance and whose distribution is limited to a small number of specific Highland locations.
There are over 200 families residing near the proposed wind farm boundary, some within 3km of turbines, whose visual and noise amenity will be lost with potential health issues becoming risk factors. Residents are very concerned about an inevitable decrease in property values. The increased risks of fire to property and personal safety are of grave concern with aerial fire-fighting ability severely diminished due to the proximity and layout of the turbines.
There is a high number of nationally endangered Wedge-tailed eagles in the area, who are vulnerable to collision with the huge turbine blades, are extremely sensitive to disturbance and intrusion and whose nesting and hunting territory would be considerably compromised. Their declining population is a cause for concern especially considering the cumulative impacts from the nearby, recently commissioned and more suitably sited Cattle Hill Wind Farm (owned by Goldwind with 80% PowerChina, a Chinese state-owned listed enterprise).