STAN AND MAREE Marsh moved to their property on Braidwood Road outside of Tarago 40 years ago. Their two children were finishing high school at the time and soon moved away into the big wide world to forge their own paths.
“I kinda grew up here, my father worked for the fella that used to own this place,” Stan says. “I lived here till I was about 20 and moved away to work on the railway, then we came back and bought it.”
Stan and Maree will have between 13 and 16 turbines on their property as part of the Jupiter Wind Farm.
The entire project encompasses 54 turbines, a reduction from the 88 initially planned.
The proposed project is being overseen by renewable energy company, EPYC and is located on the Southern Tablelands of NSW, approximately 40km from Goulburn and 6km south-east of the Tarago township.
The site extends south along the Braidwood-Goulburn Road and ends near Duckfield Road, and takes in two Local Government Areas, Goulburn Mulwaree and Queanbeyan Palerang.
Siting and farm benefits
The region has a long history of grazing and other agricultural activities and was identified by specialist consultants as a prospective wind farm site because of its windy weather patterns, and accessibility to the electricity grid and road network.
Stan sees the project becoming an important part of his family’s farming business.
“Hosting turbines: income adds security and certainty to farming that never existed in the past.
“I am in my seventies and Maree isn’t far behind, these towers will make it much easier, we can employ a worker, and if there’s a drought we’ll have money and be able to afford feed,” he says.
The Marsh’s manage 2,000 acres, mostly grazing sheep, but also a few cattle with the occasional feed crop.
They believe the income they will earn as a host property adds a layer of security and certainty to farming that has never existed in the past.
“This is my superannuation and allows my family to keep farming now and, in the future,” Stan says.
“These wind towers probably won’t be here before I kick it, but this is a legacy for my family, they’ll be able to move in or lease the property rather than sell it off to a developer for a subdivision.”
Keeping this land open to food and fibre production is important to Stan and Maree, and the wind farm makes that possible.
“It’s going to make a big difference to farming out here, if farmers have got money they spend money, the money will flow out to everyone,” Maree says.
Neighbour Benefit Sharing Program
The wider community beyond host families will also be direct benefices through the Neighbour Benefit Sharing Program where residents within 1–3km of the project site will receive a direct income.
There are no caveats placed on eligible properties and payments run the life of the project, adding significant long-term value to local land and homes.
Beyond the dollars and cents, Stan and Maree Marsh believe it makes common sense to be moving towards a future based around cleaner energy.
“When they first put that wind farm in out at Crookwell, we went out there and had morning tea and just watched it, it’s fascinating,” Stan says.
Clean energy for 103 homes
Once complete, the Jupiter Wind Farm will have the potential to generate up to 240 megawatts of electricity, which is enough clean energy to power the equivalent of up to 103,000 homes, based on the current 54 turbines layout.
“Coal just isn’t an option anymore, and clean coal — what a joke, we need something to power the future,” Stan says.
Jupiter will help cut Australia’s greenhouse emissions by around 600,000 tonnes per year and is part of the global response to climate change.
As a project of state significance, a formal development application has been submitted for assessment to the NSW Department of Planning. The department’s recommendation for refusal to the Planning Assessment Commission is quite disappointing and EPYC are currently reviewing the documentation and options.
Planning, design, and community consultation will continue.
Stan says he is confident the project will eventually get the green light because it makes sense on every level – big and small.
“What are we going to do without something like this – go back to candles?” he laughs.
Further information is available on the project website http://www.epyc.com.au/project-description/
ABOVE: Maree Marsh on her property, in the landscape she hopes will be part of Jupiter Wind Farm. Image supplied.