Victoria’s Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio won’t rule out further possible wind farms in Moyne Shire, saying new proposals to win government support could come “from many parts of Victoria”.
The state government Renewable Energy Auction Scheme guaranteed the viability of two Moyne Shire wind farms, at Mortlake and Dundonnell, in 2018.
It now plans for a second auction but Ms D’Ambrosio was unable to say where those projects would be located, with the government yet to go out to tender.
“We are not yet in a position to say where the proposed projects are likely to be situated,” she told The Standard.
“There are proposals coming forward. I imagine they will be coming forward from many parts of Victoria.”
There are six operating wind farms in Moyne Shire including the near-capacity Dundonnell wind farm, one is under construction at Mortlake and three more with state planning approval.
Five further proposals are without planning approval.
Moyne Shire Council is opposed to the state government granting planning approval to further wind farms in the shire, unless the state government adopts recommendations to extend locations away from residences and reduce proposals having “compounding effects on residents”.
Moyne mayor Daniel Meade and council chief executive officer Bill Millard appeared with Ms D’Ambrosio to mark the completion of the Dundonnell wind farm on Friday.
“At that time we offered a written invitation to the minister to meet with council,” Cr Meade said.
“She was aware of what our position is and the community concerns throughout Moyne, to her credit.”
With the potential for 15 wind farms in Moyne Shire, Ms D’Ambrosio said many proposals would ultimately be unsuccessful.
“It’s important for us to understand that often new facilities receive planning approval, but they don’t necessarily go ahead. There were projects with planning approvals from many years ago that have not gotten off the ground,” she said.
“There’s a long way between getting planning approval and the finances to start construction.”
Ms D’Ambrosio said the state government was “always open to discussion with local councils”, but added “we have some very clean policy settings when it comes to facilitating the creation of new energy facilities. And so that is a matter that is settled”.
“There are opportunities right across our state where to situate renewable energy projects,” she said.
“We strongly encourage renewable energy proponents with their communities to make sure they are situated in the best locations as possible.”