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Winds of change blowing as more wind farms on the way

The horizon across the Moyne Shire is set to be dominated by nearly 200 wind turbines around 180 metres high after the state government signed off on three new wind farm planning permit amendments.

Ryan Corner, 12 kilometres north-west of Port Fairy, Hawkesdale and Dundonnell are the locations for the massive wind farm projects estimated to be worth more than $1 billion. The state government on Wednesday announced amended permits had been approved for the developments.

The size of turbines at all sites have been upgraded with the height of the 88 at Dundonnell now 189m, up from 164m in the original permit. As a comparison, Mount Warrnambool stands at 200m.

The proponent of the wind farm is Tilt Renewables, which had scope to build 96 turbines in its first permit. More than 200 jobs will be created through the three-year construction stage.

Global Power Generation Australia is behind the projects at Ryan Corner and Hawkesdale.

Turbines at both sites will stand at 180m, up from the 126m limit from the original permit which was issued in 2008.

Ryan Corner will be home to 56 turbines, down from 68, and Hawkesdale is down from 31 to 26.

The amended permits come despite some public concerns about the growing heights of wind turbines.

A Global Power Generation Australia spokesman said the construction of Ryan Corner and Hawkesdale would be a joint project.

The cost of the project is forecast to be $500 million and will provide 160 jobs during the construction period, which is set to begin in 2019.

Once operational, the wind farms are expected to employ 15 people on an ongoing basis.

The spokesman said the wind farms will achieve an output of more than 300 megawatts, enough energy to supply every household in Warrnambool.

Acting Minister for Planning Lisa Neville backed the projects.

“We are in the business of supporting clean energy because it means more jobs in rural and regional Victoria,” Ms Neville said in announcing the amendment approvals.

“Renewable energy technology is advancing at a rapid rate. These common sense amendments will ensure the wind farms will be equipped to operate at optimal levels.”

The spokesman for Global Power Generation Australia said the go ahead for the Moyne wind farms depended on the state government’s renewable targets auction.

Global Power Generation Australia will put in a tender for the auctions in February and expects to hear if that bid is successful in July.

The spokesman said without a contract from the auctions, which would last for 15 years, the financial certainty would not be there to proceed with the project.