February 6, 2012

Penshurst wind project raises fears

Peter Collins, The Standard, www.standard.net.au 6 February 2012

Ten submissions on a proposed giant wind farm for Penshurst district are being assessed by the Department of Planning and Community Development.

RES Australia is planning a 223-turbine development on farm land south of the township to generate up to 758 megawatts of electricity fed into the statewide supply grid. The site for the wind farm covers more than 10,500 hectares across privately-owned grazing properties.

The project is expected to be constructed in two stages over a two-year period and has an expected operational life of 25 years.

The development has alarmed several local residents worried about its proximity to the town, the effect on wildlife and the internationally-recognised Kanawinka geopark.

The submissions were in response to draft scoping requirements for an environmental effects statement the company has to undertake before it can apply for a planning permit.

A spokeswoman for the department told The Standard it was considering submissions while finalising scoping requirements for approval by Planning Minister Matthew Guy.

Last year RES said preparation of an effects statement would allow it to “robustly” identify, assess and minimise potential impact the wind farm would have on the the southern bent-wing bat population and the volcanic plain natural grassland.

However, Penshurst resident and president of the Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians group, Keith Staff, believes more consideration should be given to protecting the local brolga population and geopark.

“I think we have a very strong case to stop it or drastically reduce the size because we believe this project will destroy the park,” he said.

RES opened an information centre in Penshurst last week. It will continue in the shopfront at 91b Bell Street with a permanent window display and regular openings on the first Thursday of each month.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/02/06/penshurst-wind-project-raises-fears/