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12th wind farm for south-west

Hundreds of wind turbines will dot south-west Victoria’s landscape with another company announcing yesterday it wanted to develop a $180 million wind farm near Glenthompson.

The proposal for a 43-turbine development by private investment bank Investec Bank and Windlab Systems will be at least the 12th wind energy development either operating, approved or in the pipeline for south-west Victoria.

The developer yesterday said the farm would revitalise the district by providing up to 60 jobs.

But state Opposition planning spokesman Matthew Guy said national wind energy guidelines were urgently needed.

Mr Guy told The Standard the Liberal Party supported wind energy but only where the technology was accepted by the community.

“It is vital for the (Planning) minister to reflect the community’s opinion and values,” Mr Guy said. “After speaking to local MPs in the region it is apparent there is community support.

“However, development should not happen in sensitive landscapes or where the community does not want them.”

Oaklands Hill wind farm is set on a series of ridges about 5km south of Glenthompson, bordered by Monument Lane, Glenthompson Caramut Road, Balbeggie Lane and Back Bushy Creek Road.

Detailed studies of its likely impact on flora and fauna, the landscape, visual impacts and noise were undertaken during planning.

The company suggested the project would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 364,000 tonnes a year and produce enough power for 52,000 homes. Consulting with residents and the Southern Grampians Shire and Ararat Rural Shire councils

will commence this month before a planning application is lodged to Planning Minister Justin Madden, the project’s spokesman Mark Headland said yesterday.

“This wind farm will be a clean, emissions-free source of generation which will reduce Victoria’s carbon dioxide emissions,” Mr Headland said.

“While the people of Glenthompson will feel the immediate economic benefits, Oaklands Hill wind farm will ultimately benefit all Victorians.”

The project would connect to the Powercor 66 kilovolt Hamilton-to-Terang network, which is located approximately 17.5km south of the site.

The company expected construction to start in 2008 and aimed to commission the wind farm by the first quarter of 2009.

The developer said it would spend $50,000 on community projects during construction.

A public open day for the project will be held at the Glenthompson War Memorial Hall between 10am and 4pm on March 3.

By Sarah Scopelianos


16 February 2007