Wind farm development in Moyne Shire is moving again after a period of uncertainty stemming from the lowering of Australia’s renewable energy target.
Four wind farm developers have amended their planning permits to update the turbine technology they intend to use, while the Planning Minister Richard Wynne is expected to approve another wind farm in the coming weeks.
Community engagement committees for two wind farms will also meet this week to discuss the futures of those farms.
At present there are four wind farms operating in Moyne Shire – the long-running adjacent farms at Codrington and Yambuk, the Mortons Lane Wind Farm east of Penshurst which crosses Moyne and Southern Grampians shires, and the Macarthur Wind Farm, which is the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere.
Five more have received planning permits. Of those, Union Fenosa’s Ryan Corner and Hawkesdale wind farms, Acciona’s Mortlake South development and Trust Power’s Salt Creek project have recently received approval for planning permit amendments.
Ryan Corner will now have 56 turbines instead of 68, while Hawkesdale will have 26 instead of 31. The turbines will be 180 metres tall (up from 126m) and both farms are scheduled to be completed by August 29, 2019.
Similarly, Mortlake South will have a maximum wind turbine height of 186m (up from 141m) and feature 42 turbines (down from 51).
The community engagement committee for the Mortlake South Wind Farm is expected to meet on April 20.
Salt Creek has also been approved to use updated turbine technology, and is expected to comprise up to 15 turbines. It is due for completion in March, 2018.
The Woolsthorpe Wind Farm also has a planning permit and is expected to have 20 turbines. It is a project of New Zealand company Wind Farm Development and due to be completed by March 12, 2018.
Wind Farm Development managing director Alistair Wilson said his company was “looking to secure an offtake agreement” – ie. someone to buy the electricity the wind farm is expected to produce – in order to fund the Woolsthorpe development.
Mr Wilson said the Woolsthorpe enterprise had been included in a tender that Wind Farm Development was making in the ACT “to endeavour to get on an offtake agreement”.
The ACT is working towards having 90 per cent of its electricity needs met by renewable energy sources by 2020.
He said the federal government’s reduction of the renewable energy target (RET) from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000 gigawatt hours meant there was a surplus of green electricity on the market at the moment, but he anticipated the surplus would start to run out by 2017-2018.
“The real answer is that until (electricity) retailers re-engage in 2017-2018 … we’re still waiting,” he said.
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