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Site tests for wind farm

The future of a proposed wind farm north of Horsham will be decided early next year.

Renewable Energy Systems Australia has been monitoring wind speed and direction at a test site along the Minyip-Dimboola Road at Murra Warra for 12 months.

Developer Simon Kerrison said initial results were positive but the company wanted to collect more data before making a decision about whether to proceed with a wind farm development in the area.

He said the decision would be made after an internal review early next year.

“The wind monitoring station will determine if there is sufficient wind in the area for a farm to be viable,” he said.

“I must stress we are in very early stages of development but once we have collected sufficient data we will be in touch with landowners to let them know if we intend to go ahead with the plan or not.”

Mr Kerrison said the company had not identified a development site but RESA would gauge interest in the project from landowners in the area.

He said the wind farm could be similar in size to the $326-million wind farm the company announced late last month would be built at Ararat.

“We will undertake numerous assessments on the site to determine what the capacity of a wind farm might be but a figure of 75 turbines is a good estimate,” he said.

“That’s consistent with the size of most of the wind farms we are developing.”

Mr Kerrison said a wind farm near Horsham would provide a range of benefits for the region including the creation of jobs during and after construction and through sponsorships.

“There would be a large number of jobs during the construction phase which is usually 24 months and a handful of jobs created during the operation of the wind farm as well,” he said.

“We try to use local contractors for construction as much as possible and would also be keen to sponsor local events.”

RESA’s wind monitoring station is a 70-metre pole on property leased by Murra Warra farmer David Jochinke.

Mr Jochinke said he supported renewable energy as a positive step forward, but needed more information about the positive and negative aspects of wind farms before he could commit his land to the project.

He said he would discuss the project with other farmers in the area if RESA decided to proceed with the development.

“It comes down to the benefits of having it and the negatives of the turbines being in the way. We’ll all have to weigh that up,” he said.

“Rather than get bogged down in the technical side of things I want to look at it objectively, from a farmer’s point of view, and see if it will be good for us.”

Mr Jochinke said RESA approached him more than 12 months ago about the potential for a wind farm in the area.

He said renewable energy companies were also considering solar energy projects in the area.