A south-west Victorian Liberal MP says he is concerned wind farm developers are losing their social licence to operate in the region.
Liberal MP for Polwarth, Richard Riordan, said the latest proposal, for a $200m wind farm at Inverleigh had drawn objections from the local community due to its size and location.
“Wind energy is losing its social licence in western Victoria. At the moment wind farm developers are setting the agenda as to where they are being located and the size of the projects,” Mr Riordan said.
Wind Farm Developments is planning to build the 16 wind turbines, with co-located solar generation and battery storage, seven kilometres south-east of Inverleigh. Planning Minister Richard Wynne has “called in” the project and a Planning Panels Victoria hearing is set for late January or early February.
Mr Riordan said he was concerned government had no overarching plan, or strategy, as to where wind farms were located.
“The reality is our communities are tiring with the way they are being treated, in this process. For some reason, the wind is given a free kick at this, and I don’t think communities will allow it much longer,” he said.
“At the rate, people are contacting me, wind farm developers will struggle to find available, and suitable, land.”
Gnarwarre Community Association secretary Jacqui White said residents were concerned about the size of the project.
“Proposed are 16 Wind Turbine Generators, which stand 200 m above ground, a solar array, battery storage facility, a substation for grid connection and an unknown amount and design of transmission lines,” Ms White said.
There are pig, cattle, sheep, chicken and cropping properties, close to the proposed development.
“Probably the most significant concern we have is there has been no opportunity for consultation or engagement with the proponent,” she said.
She said the community was concerned about noise and the decommissioning of the wind farm. The State Government and Wind Farm Developments have been contacted for comment.
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