Robbins Island wind farm a 'new Franklin Dam', says Bob Brown

DOUBLE CHECK: Veteran environmental activist Bob Brown has raised doubts about the Robbins Island renewable energy proposal. Picture: File
DOUBLE CHECK: Veteran environmental activist Bob Brown has raised doubts about the Robbins Island renewable energy proposal. Picture: File

Bob Brown has compared the proposed wind farm on Robbins Island to the controversial Franklin Dam he successfully campaigned against in the 1980s.

The former Greens leaders said the $1.6 billion project was "a step too far" just like the proposed hydroelectricity scheme.

His concerns include the wind turbine size, the impact on birds, the "backroom" dealings, the export of generated power and plans to build a 170 kilometre transmission line "through wild and scenic countryside like the Tarkine".

"The public of Tasmania, in particular in the North West Coast, should see a thorough, independent financial, social and economic analysis of this mega wind farm before the government decides on it," Dr Brown said.

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Project developer UPC Renewables declined to comment but Dr Brown received plenty of backlash from politicians.

Minister for Energy Guy Barnett said Dr Brown showed "breathtaking hypocrisy" in opposing a project that would create around 1000 megawatts of renewable energy.

"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," he said.

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

Mr Barnett said the Robbins Island project would be "subject to rigorous development and environmental approvals, with the opportunity for public submissions".

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Tasmania "sorely needed" the jobs created by the renewable energy industry.

"The Robbins Island wind farm should be allowed to go through the normal planning processes without being attacked by Bob Brown," she said.

"If the Tasmanian Greens truly support renewable energy they should condemn their former Leader's extreme views about the Robbins Island project."

Dr Brown shrugged off the claims of hypocrisy and said any form of industrial production had its limits.

"I've been a supporter of wind power but as I say, everything has a limit," he said.

Dr Brown also called for more emphasis on energy efficiencies and a broader public debate about the Robbins Island project.

"It should be reconsidered when the environment, economic and employment studies have been done and that also includes the transmission line," he said.