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Mortlake south wind farm a step closer

The Mortlake south wind farm will advance to its next stage after Acciona Energy announced yesterday a development plan will be completed next year.

As required under a planning permit issued last year, the renewable energy company will produce the plan in 2012, with construction likely to extend over several years.

Acciona Energy senior manager and stakeholder David Clarke yesterday responded to complaints from Mortlake south residents, who claimed the company was fast-tracking the project to avoid the state government’s new two-kilometre setback limit.

Mr Clarke said the wind farm’s 2010 permit gave Acciona Energy three years to start construction and the new state regulations would not apply.

“The wind farm is subject to a whole lot of stringent planning requirements and it’s been through a review process with the opportunity for community input,” he said.

“There is strong support in the community and we welcome that, but not everyone is supportive and some people have concerns about the project.

“Our job is to work hard to provide information to those people, discuss their concerns and ensure the project is as successful as it can be.

“We’ve undertaken a range of activities in Mortlake and surrounding communities over the last three years in relation to the project.”

Mr Clarke said an independent panel had not found evidence to support the concerns over health risks and devalued land linked to wind farm projects.

“We believe the health issue has had a good look.

“We don’t have any objection to credible research taken in relation to wind farms and health.

“On the whole this will be positive for the rural communities and will provide up to 100 construction jobs, as well as 14 ongoing jobs during the operational phase for the local and regional community.”

Acciona Energy director of development Andrew Thomson said the development plan would be submitted to the minister for planning in the second half of 2012.

“The estimated $200 million investment in the Mortlake south wind farm would … generate power for up to 41,000 homes with clean, renewable energy,” Mr Thomson said.