The Buloke Shire Council has approved an 18-month planning permit extension for a 16-turbine wind farm in northern Victoria.
Acciona Australia was originally granted approval for the planned site at Berrimal in 2007 but is seeking to update its plans to include 23 turbines.
The company expected to submit an updated plan to the council in July.
Mayor Reid Mather says he would like to see some progress on the site after six years but a new application gives community members another chance to voice any concerns.
“Look, I really hope that we get something moving soon but, again, really when this comes into us, we need to process it,” he said.
“We need to make sure all the steps are followed so that if there are objections that people get the opportunity to have their say.”
However, he says an extension gives the company the opportunity to provide a stronger business case.
“I think that their business case is probably better with a larger amount of turbines,” he said.
“One of the issues we have with renewable energy, in our shire at least, is to be able to have the infrastructure – the higher capacity cables – to be able to take the electricity to the grid.
“That’s been one of the stumbling blocks for Acciona to really make their business case stack up.”
Meanwhile, environmental groups are disappointed Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has confirmed he will not be changing the Government’s wind farm policy.
Yesterday, Dr Napthine said he was keeping the current wind farm restrictions, including that all wind turbine towers be at least two kilometres from houses.
Leigh Ewbank, from the group Yes 2 Renewables, says wind tower setback limits should be based on science rather than an arbitrary rule.
“They should be determined on a case-by-case basis … you need to take into account turbine size, topography, all of those other factors when you make a determination about the appropriate distance between a turbine and a residence,” he said.
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