Former Australian Greens leader objects to wind farms

Dr Bob Brown, former leader of the Green Party in Australia, is objecting to the development of a wind farm in Tasmania. The location is at Robbins Island in the north of the state. If constructed, the farm will be one of the largest on the planet.

Wind farms have long been supported by environmentalists as a low- or no- emission form of energy generation, despite data that indicate that the cost of maintenance, construction, transmission, and back-up generation for low wind days make them uneconomic.

So, to have a former Green Party leader suggest that ‘they kill birds and spoil the view’ is somewhat of a turn-around in policy. The full story in The Australian is behind a pay-wall, so here are some of the details:

Former Greens leader and veteran activist Bob Brown is campaigning to stop a $1.6 billion wind farm development in Tasmania because it will spoil the view and kill birds. 

The proposed Robbins Island wind farm in Tasmania’s northwest will be one of the world’s biggest, with up to 200 towers measuring 270m high from ground to blade tip.

If it goes ahead, electricity from the Robbins Island project will be sent to the mainland via a new undersea cable to help make Tasmania a “battery for the nation”.

But in a letter to local media and on his foundation’s website, Dr Brown has slammed the project, which he said had echoes of earlier attempts to build skyscrapers in Hobart which were stopped by protests.

Despite the criticisms levelled at former prime minister Tony Abbott and treasurer Joe Hockey for describing wind turbines as “ugly”, Dr Brown said the Robbins Island plan was, visually, a step too far. “Mariners will see this hairbrush of tall towers from 50km out to sea and elevated landlubbers will see it, like it or not, from greater distances on land,” Dr Brown said. “Its eye-catchiness will divert from every coastal scene on the western Bass Strait coastline.”

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