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Winds of change the goal for Woodend group  

Credit:  BY ANGELA VALENTE, www.macedonrangesweekly.com.au 28 June 2011 ~~

A Woodend group proposing to build a wind farm on Crown land on the town’s edge wants state planning laws changed so the project gets the all-clear.

Woodend Integrated Sustainable Energy presented its case to Planning Minister Matthew Guy last week and sought his support.

The group is proposing a three-turbine community-owned wind farm on land leased for a pine planation on Fingerpost Road, just south of Woodend.

The site is more than 1.3 kilometres from the nearest house.

Representatives explained the plans last week at a wind farm forum in New Gisborne.

A change is needed in planning laws to allow the group access to the site, which is restricted to forestry operations.

The Hancock Timber Resource Group has a 99-year lease on the site to harvest pine. The land belongs to VicForests.

Group member Barry Mann said it needed government support to amend the planning law.

“The previous government had indicated support for this project and was looking into changing the policy.”

Friends of the Earth renewable energy campaigner Ben Courtice said the government should “see the sense” in supporting the community project.

“The WISE project would generate energy equivalent to that used by households in Woodend, Macedon, Mount Macedon and Riddells Creek,” he said.

“Given the urgent need to act on climate change, we think it’s a shame that the government isn’t actively supporting or even building wind farms. The least they can do is make it possible for this project to proceed.

“The state government’s proposed new restrictions, like a Macedon Ranges no-go zone for wind farms, would rob communities like this of their ability to take some control over their clean energy future and capture the financial benefits. Tat would be a terrible outcome.”

The group plans to build a wind tower to record wind speeds and other vital wind information.

It has a grant of $50,000 from Sustainability Victoria as well as in-kind contributions to fund the tower.

A spokeswoman for Mr Guy said the government assessed all wind farm proposals on a case-by-case basis.

Source:  BY ANGELA VALENTE, www.macedonrangesweekly.com.au 28 June 2011

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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