Giant wind farm approved
August 20, 2006 11:55am
Article from: AAP
THE Victorian government has approved construction of the nation's most powerful and the state's largest wind farm.
Planning Minister Rob Hulls said the Mount Gellibrand project, near Colac in Victoria's west, would create significant employment and environmental benefits.
"I'm pleased to announce that I have approved Australia's most powerful and Victoria's largest wind farm to date," Mr Hulls said.
"This is a $380 million investment near Colac.
"The wind farm will generate enough power to power over 133,000 homes, which is really quite extraordinary."
Mr Hulls praised German company Pro Ventum International for its preparation before undertaking the project.
"The work that the proponent has done in consulting with the community before making an application for a planning permit has been excellent," he said.
In a pointed reference to the proposed Bald Hills wind farm, which has stalled amid claims it could harm rare orange-bellied parrots, Mr Hulls said endangered birds would not be compromised by the Mount Gellibrand project.
"The issue of brolgas was taken into account and indeed the panel recommended that any amelioration of the impact of brolgas can certainly be done by the proponent. The proponent is prepared to do that," he said. He said only nine objections had been lodged against the project, which would see about 110-120 jobs generated during construction and 20-25 full time jobs created after completion.
Local landowner Tim Gore, who plans to have 32 turbines on his property, said he understood the project would begin late next year and be completed about two years later.
Mr Gore said he was not concerned about possible noise from the turbines.
But wind farm critic Tim Le Roy said there was no environmental benefit from the project at all and the Victorian government would better spend its money on geo-thermal energy.
Mr Le Roy also disputed that the wind farm would be Victoria's largest, saying a wind farm planned for Waubra, in the state's west, would have 128 turbines. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20189891-2,00.html