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Planning Minister signals Dundonnell wind farm go-ahead

A planned 104-turbine wind farm at Dundonnell has been given a tentative thumbs-up from Planning Minister Richard Wynne.

Mr Wynne has released his Minister’s assessment report, the final step in the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process.

The report will now be handed to decision makers to consider before a final call is made on whether to approve the project.

Mr Wynne said, subject to conditions, the $650-million Trustpower project would have economic benefits and contribute to tackling climate change.

“Approvals which are required for the project to proceed… may be granted with appropriate conditions to control the potential adverse effects within acceptable limits,” Mr Wynne said in the report’s conclusion.

“The project will have a strongly positive economic effect at a regional scale, with potential adverse effects such as impacts on the public road network able to be managed through proponent contributions to road upgrades and maintenance.

“In relation to both the relevant legislation and policy framework and the project’s overall benefits, the Dundonnell Wind Farm Project can be delivered so as to provide a net community benefit and an ecologically sustainable outcome.”

The proposed wind farm is located about 23 kilometres north-east of Mortlake.

Trustpower said the project would create more than 200 jobs during construction and 10 permanent jobs during its operation. It would feature up to 104 turbines, generating enough electricity to power 150,000 homes.

A combined inquiry panel was appointed to consider the EES, public submissions, planning permit applications and investigate the project’s environmental effects. The inquiry held public hearings in October last year and handed its report to the minister last month.