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Massive wind farm promises jobs, free power

One of the world’s biggest wind farms, with up to 228 separate turbines, has been green-lit for construction within the Golden Plains Shire.

Golden Plains Wind Farm, expected to be one of the largest in the southern hemisphere, has been given formal approval under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Golden Plains Shire says the project will deliver significant economic outcomes to the wider community, in particular for job creation and infrastructure development.

When complete it will become the third wind farm within the Golden Plains municipality.

The council says the location is attractive given its suitable land, proximity to the power grid and ready access to the workforce and Geelong Port.

The project will be located southeast and northwest of the township of Rokewood, and will generate enough electricity each year to power an area equivalent to the entire cities of Geelong and Wyndham.

Crucially, it will prevent more than 35 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere in its first decade of operation.

The company behind the farm, WestWind Energy, says it has doorknocked every neighbour within 5km of the site as part of an extensive consultation project.

Neighbours living within 3km of the wind farm will also receive incentives including subsidised electricity and cash compensation based on “level of impact”, according the the company’s website.

WestWind will also donate $1,000 per year, per turbine – or $228,000 – for local projects and events including health and social welfare, environment, education, sport, culture and arts.

The first round of the Community Benefit Fund is now open, with submissions due to close on 12 September.

Application forms can be downloaded here. http://w-wind.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/GPWF_CommunityBenefitFundGuidlines_V01-02-190718.pdf