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.”
Dr Brown, who fought against Queensland’s Adani coal mine, said the world needed renewable energy to replace fossil fuels, and fast, but the Robbins Island wind farm “is an aileron too far”.
He said the public had not been properly informed of the private deals, or public impacts or cost-benefit analyses (economic, social, cultural and environmental) of what would be one of the biggest wind farm projects on Earth. He said details of the arrangements between the Hammond family, which farmed wagyu beef and owned the land, and developer UPC Renewables were not known. “Tasmanians have a right to know much more about the Robbins Island development,” Dr Brown said. “It is a huge resource extraction venture which will be lighting up no Tasmanian homes.”
Dr Brown’s opposition is shared by some locals, including the Nietta Action Group, which is fighting both the wind farm and a transmission line.