Bob Brown calls for 'moderation' on renewable energy proposals

Former Greens leader Bob Brown has defended his stance against a wind farm proposed for Tasmania's north west.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown says the Robbins Island wind farm proposal is a "penalty scheme".

Former Greens leader Bob Brown says the Robbins Island wind farm proposal is a "penalty scheme". Source: AAP

Former Greens leader Bob Brown has called for renewable energy projects to be constructed in "moderation" as he defended his opposition to a proposed wind farm in Tasmania.

Dr Brown has criticised a $1.6 billion proposal to build up to 163 turbines on Robbins Island in his home state's north west as an "aileron too far". 

While Dr Brown said he remains a fierce supporter of renewable energy, it was a case of "everything in moderation". 

Former Greens leader Bob Brown says he supports renewable energy but everything has limits.
Source: AAP

He compared the project to the controversial Franklin Dam, a hydro energy proposal that sparked mass environmental protests and was eventually blocked. 

"I cut my teeth on the Franklin campaign and that's a renewable energy project that was stopped in 1982," Dr Brown said. 

"My history is not simply against polluting power, but is also against inappropriate renewable energy projects where they have massive impacts on the environment, not least the living species." 

He has cited concerns about the size of turbines, the impact on views and dangers posed to migratory birds. 

"The transmission lines are planned to cut through wild and scenic Tasmania, including the northeast Tarkine forests."

He also compared the project to poker machines. 

"Like poker machines, everything has its limits," Dr Brown said.

"I support wind power but think this massive project which will power no Tasmanian homes, is too much a penalty scheme for the island."

His position puts the Greens, which have long campaigned for greater investment and government support for renewable energy, in an awkward position. 

The Tasmanian Liberal Party accused Dr Brown, who has actively campaigned against the Adani coal mine, of "breathtaking hypocrisy".

Bob Brown is opposing the Adani coal mine proposed in Queensland and a wind farm project in Tasmania.
Source: AAP

"Dr Brown and the Greens have actively campaigned for the shutdown of the entire Australian coal industry and demanded we turn to renewables to deal with climate change," Energy Minister Guy Barnett told the Examiner.

"Such is his commitment to perpetual protest that he has now turned his sights to opposing renewables."

The Labor Party in Tasmania are also backing the wind farm proposal which it says will create sorely needed jobs. 

Dr Brown hit back, saying senior Labor and Liberal figures should take a "deep breath" and release the project's economic cost-benefit analysis. 

The Hong Kong-based proponent UPC Renewables has been contacted for comment. 

Published 16 July 2019 at 7:55am, updated 16 July 2019 at 1:22pm
By Rosemary Bolger