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Turbine money in the wind  

Credit:  By Alex Hamer | The Courier | March 23, 2016 | www.thecourier.com.au ~~

Wind farm projects in the Ballarat region are getting closer as money comes back into the sector after years of uncertainty.

There are three major approved farms in the region, two of which could be started next year.

The largest, Stockyard Hill, is owned by Origin but the company is trying to sell it off as part of a broader asset sale.

WestWind managing director Tobias Geiger said they hoped to sign up enough investors in the next few months to get the Moorabool and Lal Lal projects underway.

“We’ve got a positive outlook, good investor interest,” he said.

“We hope to get some committed in the next couple of months.”

There is still planning work to do for transmission lines, Mr Geiger said, but this would soon be underway.

While Origin is looking to sell Stockyard Hill work still continues on the project.

A spokesman said they would soon apply to increase the blade length on the turbines.

“Stockyard Hill Wind Farm is seeking a planning permit amendment to allow the project to increase the maximum allowable wind turbine tip height to 180 metres,” he said.

“We are currently finalising studies and assessments that are necessary to accompany the planning permit amendment application, which we hope to lodge with the Victorian Minister for Planning in the second half of April. The installation of taller turbines will result in a reduction in the overall number of turbines , down from 157 to 149.”

The renewable energy sector received a boost on Wednesday as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a $1 billion clean energy innovation fund.

He also said the government would keep funding the formerly at-risk Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Mr Geiger said the market should hold up over the next few years as electricity retailers have to buy more large-scale generation certificates to comply with government regulations.

“(The investment opportunities) are driven by the market for RGCs, which is very strong at the moment,” he said.

“For the next four or five years the floor price for certificates reasonably sound.”

The Prime Minister also announced $3.3 million in funding for a further study into the health impact of wind farms this week.

Source:  By Alex Hamer | The Courier | March 23, 2016 | www.thecourier.com.au

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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