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Bald Hill wind farm progresses despite ongoing hurdles

The Bald Hills wind farm has faced local opposition, industrial unrest and most recently the scrapping of the body responsible for supporting its progress, but despite all this the 52 tower project pushes ahead.

Lindsay Marriet stands on his back lawn overlooking the green pastures of his property.

In the distance are a series of concrete poles laying down on the ground.

These are the poles that will eventually connect the $400 million Bald Hills wind farm to the main electricity grid.

Since the start of construction in August 2012, Mitsui, the company who own the farm, has been establishing turbines bases and building roads.

Mr Marriet says support for the wind farm can vary from property to property but when it comes to renewable energy he says you either believe in it or you don’t.

“I think the majority of Australians support renewable energy especially if its going to produce a worth while output,” he says.

In the same month as construction started on the project DLP Senator for Victoria John Madigan put in a motion to stop the development.

He said the wind farm was a threat to nationally and internationally listed migratory birds, a view supported by some in the surrounding Tarwin Lower community.

Despite this, the project pushed on.

In 2014, the wind farm faced a few more hurdles.

In the lead up to the Federal Budget, Treasurer Joe Hockey expressed his own distaste for wind farms, describing one near Canberra as “utterly offensive”.

The government then axed the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, responsible for researching and supporting projects such as the wind farm.

This cast doubt over whether the current renewable energy targets will be changed.

A representative for Mitsui said it’s too early to comment on any potential impacts and declined the ABC’s request for an interview.

Lindsay Marriet, whose property is playing host to some of the turbines, puts Joe Hockey’s comments down as politicking.

“Leading up to the election last year the present government gave a firm understanding that they would support the 20 per cent renewable energy target,” he says.

He adds that he doesn’t think the wind farm will have any potential health or environmental impacts that may affect his family or his flock of lamb and beef cattle.

In the latest turn, in April 2014 an industrial dispute between the CFMEU on behalf of some of the wind farm workers and Mitsui went to the Federal Court.

The company remains confident of the completion of the project.

“The remainder of the 52 turbines will be gradually delivered to site and installed between now and the end of the year. We will also very shortly commencing construction of the 27km powerline which will connect the wind farm to the national electricity grid. We expect to be able to commence generation of electricity later this year and be fully operational by June 2015,” a representative said.