Bob Brown Finally Discovers Renewables he Doesn’t Like

Greens veteran Bob Brown has suddenly discovered that he isn’t that keen on wind farms after all. After years of sneering at we the Luddites, who objected to the ugly, “bat-chomping bird-slicing eco-crucifixes”, the announcement of plans to build a colossal wind farm in Tasmania has had a galvanising effect on the former Greens leader.

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 sheer scale of this proposed development beggars belief.

A size comparison of the proposed turbines.

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”.

These turbines will be taller than the New Plymouth power station chimney, and 80% of the height of the Auckland Sky Tower. All 200 of them.

No wonder Bob Brown’s had a change of heart.

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.”

The greatest hypocrisy of the Green movement regarding wind turbines has been their shameful silence about the toll wreaked on wildlife. The same activists who have been trying to stop a coal mine because of a single finch, have said nothing as dozens of threatened species are minced into oblivion by wind turbines.

In his letter on the wind farm, Dr Brown wrote: “Besides the impact on the coastal scenery, wind turbines kill birds. Wedge-tailed eagle and white-bellied sea eagles nest and hunt on the island. Swift parrots and orange-bellied parrots traverse the island on their migrations.”

He listed the multiple species of international migratory, endangered and critically endangered shorebirds that used the wetlands for six months of the year. They included Australian fairy tern, fork-tailed swift, little tern, white-throated needletail, ruddy turnstone, sharp-tailed sandpiper, sanderling, red knot, curlew sandpiper, red-necked stint, great knot, double-banded plover, greater sand plover, lesser sand plover, Latham’s snipe, bar-tailed godwit, eastern curlew, whimbrel, golden plover, grey plover, grey-tailed tattler, common greenshank, terek sandpiper, hooded plover.

As Brown belatedly discovers his conscience regarding the whirling engines of bird and bat death, his Green mates are ducking for cover.

The response from the Greens party and environment groups to Dr Brown’s outburst was as quiet as a wind rotor on a dead-calm day.

The Greens and Australian Conservation Foundation refused to criticise either Dr Brown or the project, slated to be one of the ­biggest wind farms in the world if it goes ahead.

In the past, federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale has likened investigating complaints about wind farms and noise to taking ­seriously alien abductions.

He refused to support the appointment of a wind farm commissioner to handle public com­plaints. His staff yesterday said he did not wish to comment on his former leader’s protest.

Bob Brown is undoubtedly a hypocrite. But for once, though, he’s also right. The proposed wind farm in north-west Tasmania is mind-boggling. The climate-conscious voters of inner-Sydney wouldn’t for an instant countenance such a monster on the windy cliffs of Bondi. Out of their sight, out of mind here in Tasmania just isn’t good enough.

Not gonna happen in their backyard.