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Moyne reject puts energy company in a spin

Developer Union Fenosa held crisis talks yesterday after Moyne Shire rejected its bid to extend its project permits for two south-west wind farms.

The Spanish-owned company will consult with its Madrid headquarters this week to determine whether it will reapply or abandon the two proposed developments at Hawkesdale and Yambuk.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy indicated on Wednesday he would accept advice from Moyne Shire councillors to block an extension on the project permits granted three years ago.

The move means Union Fenosa will have to return to the drawing board in order to develop two separate turbine sites located between Yambuk and Orford as well as a smaller development south-east of Hawkesdale.

A Union Fenosa spokesman told The Standard yesterday that the corporation would make an official comment at a later date.

Mr Guy’s decision to accept the majority council vote was the first time a Victorian shire had been able to successfully oppose a wind farm proposal since the Baillieu government won office last year.

Moyne mayor Jim Doukas said several other wind farm company permits would expire by December.

“If they want their permits extended they need to show they are serious about starting construction,” he said.

Of the six councillors present at Tuesday night’s decision to recommend the quashing of the extension, five voted to advise the Planning Minister not to grant extra time. Cr Ken Gale voted against the move.

” … I believed the location (of the Hawkesdale and Yambuk sites) was quite suitable and that’s why I voted for it,” Cr Gale said.