Proposed wind farm has the mind whirling

ANTI-LOGGING protesters sitting in Tassie's treetops would be more usefully employed squatting on a platform above a 90-metre high King Island wind turbine scaring away orange-bellied parrots.

That's the far-sighted proposal from a mate named Paul (his real name) which would see persons who hitherto perch in high branches (notwithstanding the forestry agreement signing), waving their arms frantically somewhere near Currie and yelling ``shoo' at the first sight of the endangered bird.

``They (women protesters) may as well serve a better purpose than sitting up a tree updating their Facebook page,'' was Paul's forthright view.

Certainly this is as good a suggestion as one mooted by a letter writer to another daily journal, which would see protesters work atop a fire-spotting tower.

Especially with the current spate of forest fires, which have burned out thousands of hectares around the state.

Therein, and as an aside, is the eternal environmentalists' dilemma in finding that what you wish for so often bites you in the bum.

Allowing the wilderness to remain pristine, for example, increases the risk of fire and the forest's destruction.

Certainly, the Tasmanian Fire Service has already warned that conflagrations will be even more fearsome as the number of heavy machinery operators in the bush declines.

Tree-huggers will, of course, blame any more prevalent wild blazes on global warming.

Difficult problems are indeed, part of a greensters' perpetually furrow-browed existence up to and including the aforementioned wind turbine issue.

Certainly, the concerned young nature lover will note, wind farms are nature's non-polluting gift to provide power to all of us, even if they only work 30 per cent of the  time.

And not only are they a blot on the landscape but they also endanger rare birds and, with the constant and relentless humming noise emitted from these giant windmills, human hearing and goats.

A report in London's Daily Telegraph told how the late night noise from spinning wind turbine blades may have killed 400 Taiwanese goats over the past three years by depriving them of sleep.

``If noise at night can keep people awake, then it could also keep the goats awake, and when the wind kicks up it makes a louder noise,'' an agricultural inspection official said.

Perhaps King Islanders may like to keep this in mind when they are consulted soon over Hydro Tasmania's mooted $2 billion TasWind plan for the 600-megawatt wind farm of 200 turbines covering up to 15 per cent of the island.

According to reports, ``all King Island's residents will be asked to comment'' on the facility.

We wonder what the island's farmers are going to say when they hear about the Taiwanese ``dead goat'' situation and apply that news to their own prized cows not  getting their kip.

Perhaps large earmuffs or a form of bovine earplug will be developed to deal with the problem of sleepless cows.

As for the obvious threat to the orange-bellied parrot, a caller to ABC Radio last week was on the money with his suggestion that the whirring death-dealing blades be covered with mesh.

``Just like they do with domestic fans,'' said the Longley caller.

But does this go far enough?

Another commentator known to this correspondent suggested that giant eyes ``just like on baseball hats to dissuade magpies'' be painted on the blades.

Another concept mooted was the sort of sonic device bolted to motor vehicle bull-bars designed to keep wallabies at bay.

On the plus side, the turbines (``a visual obscenity and sheer lunacy at best'' according to David ``oh, these wonderful trees'' Bellamy), could be tied to a ground-level pulley system lashed to a butter churn to manufacture the island's famed dairy products.

There are so many ``add-on'' possibilities blowin' in the wind.


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