Lord Howe Island wind turbine plan rejected

Lord Howe Island

The Federal Government has rejected a controversial plan to build wind turbines on World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island.

Approximately 350 people live on the island (a figure that doubles at any given time thanks to tourist numbers), with residents relying on a diesel generator for power.

According to ABC News, the plan was to build two wind turbines, along with a solar farm, to cut energy from the generator by 70 per cent.

However, Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has rejected the proposal, which he said would have “clearly unacceptable impacts”.

A spokesperson for Mr Fydenberg’s office said the government considered the proposed wind turbines would create a considerable, intrusive visual impact.

“This would affect the spectacular and scenic landscapes for which the world heritage island group is recognised,” the spokesperson said.

Lord Howe Island resident and a supporter of the wind turbine plan, Chris Murray, told ABC News a local survey suggested 92 per cent of the island’s residents supported the plan.

“The two wind turbines would save us consuming something like 167,000 litres of diesel per year,” he said.

“So that would be a wonderful contribution to our energy security. And we believe it would strongly enhance the island’s World Heritage credentials.”

He said the wind turbines would have sat amongst vegetation, making them hard to see from the most populated areas.

“Surely if you were talking about visual impact on a World Heritage site, you would have to wonder why the two wind turbines would be struck down,” he said.

“Whereas the Abbot Point coal loading facility in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage [area] would be approved?

“We’d have to ask where is the consistency?”

About 540,000 litres of diesel is used on the island each year, shipped in on a fortnightly basis.

While the wind turbine plan has been rejected, plans for a solar farm and battery have been greenlit, with the solar farm expected to be up and running in 2018.