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Ararat wind farm set to go ahead  

Credit:  BY BENJAMIN PREISS, The Courier, www.thecourier.com.au 19 August 2010 ~~

A large wind farm near Ararat is set to go ahead after the state government approved planning permits for the project.

The Crowlands Wind Farm will include 72 generators with a total capacity of 172 megawatts.

Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor said the $360 million project would provide clean energy for 80,000 homes.

Mr Batchelor said the wind farm would create between 100 and 160 jobs during construction and 18 ongoing positions.

Crowlands farmer Jack Start will host some of the turbines on his property. Mr Start said landowners whose land was to be used by the wind farm were well compensated.

He said the project had been in the planning phase for about six years.

Pyrenees Mayor David Clarke said the council had supported the project although he had not been briefed on the conditions placed on wind farm developer Pacific Hydro.

“The site certainly seems to us to be a suitable one,” he said.

But the blades are not expected to begin turning any time soon with Pacific Hydro yet to see the permits and conditions set down by the state government.

In a statement Pacific Hydro general manager for Australia Lane Crockett said the project needed to undergo a commercial feasibility study before it could proceed.

“Once details relating to the permit are fully understood, we can start to work towards establishing the commercial feasibility of the project and then financing before construction can commence,” Mr

Crockett said.

The Crowlands project is one of several planned wind farms in the region.

Moorabool Mayor Pat Toohey said Planning Minister Justin Madden was considering plans for two wind farms in Moorabool while the fate of another energy facility will be decided in VCAT.

Last night Moorabool Shire councillors were due to vote on a wind energy policy. Under the proposed policy, turbines would be set back at least 2km from residences.

The potential for wind turbines to devalue real estate and negatively impact the tourism industry would also be considered before approving further wind farms as part of the guidelines.

Source:  BY BENJAMIN PREISS, The Courier, www.thecourier.com.au 19 August 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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