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Stir over UPC’s Robbins Island wind farm project

Energy Minister Guy Barnett has not confirmed whether he flagged compulsory land acquisition as a possible option for the proponents of a $1.5 billion wind farm project on Robbins Island.

But he told a budget estimates committee hearing on Thursday he had met proponents UPC Renewables on a number of occasions and further believed compulsory acquisition should be "a last resort".

UPC Renewables has a draft proposal to install a 170-kilometre transmission line from Sheffield to Robbins Islands to service the two wind farms.

The line was originally proposed to run through the Leven Canyon Reserve, before the course was changed, though it would still run through about 17 private parcels of land which has caused angst with owners.

It would involve a 60-metre wide easement being cut into the land it runs through.

Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said landowners had received letters from the company which said compulsory land acquisition of part of their property may have to occur if agreement could not be reached.

She asked Mr Barnett if he had been in discussions with UPC on the matter.

He replied the company were in the early stages of development planning and environmental approval processes which included consultation with the North-West community.

Mr Barnett said compulsory acquisition was available to public authorities and licensed entities which provided electricity or gas infrastructure.

"Compulsory acquisitions are a last resort after all avenues of an agreed negotiated outcome have been explored and exhausted," he said.

"I won't speculate on any statutory decisions I might need to make as a minister in the future."

Ms O'Connor asked why UPC was not able to use the existing Woolnorth transition corridor in order to avoid community disquiet and impacts upon reserved areas like the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area – and if there was anything preventing them from doing so.

Mr Barnett replied it was "a fair question".

"Of course, UPC will do what they consider the best possible outcomes but they have to take into account community feedback," he said.