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Moyne puts windfarms in limbo  

Credit:  Sarah Scopelianos, Weekly Times Now, www.weeklytimesnow.com.au 25 August 2011 ~~

A Victorian council has rejected a developer’s request for a planning permit extension and killed-off two planned windfarms.

Moyne Shire councillors this week voted to oppose extending planning permits for the Ryan’s Corner farm, 10km north of Port Fairy and the Hawkesdale farm.

Planning permits were first issued for the projects in 2008 and were due expire this month.

Developer Union Fenosa’s website states the Hawkesdale project had 31 turbines and a capacity of 62 megawatts while the Ryan’s Corner windfarm had 68 turbines and a 136 megawatt capacity.

According to council documents Planning Minister Matthew Guy sought the council’s view before making a decision on the extension applications.

Moyne councillors overturned the shire planner’s recommendation because noise standards and turbine setback requirements had changed from when the project was first approved.

They also believe the developments would be detrimental to the surrounding area.

A spokeswoman for Mr Guy said the government had given councils planning control over windfarms this year.

“This means that Moyne Shire has the ability to determine the permit extension as they wish – in this case, they have decided to refuse the permit extension,” she said.

“This decision by Moyne shows the Coalition’s promise to give wind farm planning decisions back to local councils has been delivered,” she said.

MAV president Bill McArthur said changes to setbacks and noise standards were updated in March.

Mr McArthur said councils considering following Moyne’s lead should discuss it with the state government.

He said he was still waiting for a date from Mr Guy to hold a meeting with council’s affected by windfarm developments to discuss the new planning changes.

Union Fenosa project development manager Shaq Mohajerani said the council’s decision was “very surprising” given planners were supportive.

He suggested there may have been an agenda to railroad the project because the company had lodged two design documents months ago and was still waiting for a response.

Mr Mohajerani said a local contractor had won the tender to start early works on the sites which would have included access roads and a site compound.

“I could have started at the beginning of August if I had the piece of paper,” he said.

He said the project would have seen hundreds of millions of dollars of investment injected into the state’s south west and created jobs.

He estimated since 2004 about $6-10m had been spent on the projects.

Source:  Sarah Scopelianos, Weekly Times Now, www.weeklytimesnow.com.au 25 August 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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