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Proposed wind turbine height a concern for Warrnambool airport  

Credit:  Katrina Lovell | The Standard | April 11 2021 | www.standard.net.au ~~

Concerns have been voiced over the height and location of some turbines at proposed new windfarms near Warrnambool's airport.

Wind Prospect, the proponents of the the Willatook and Hexham wind farms, have been lobbying the city council for approval to raise by 200 feet the minimum altitude on the approach for runway 13 at the airport.

But the council has opposed any change to the minimum sector altitude (MSA) – which determines clearance above objects in the flight path, in a bid to protect the airspace near the airport.

Cr Max Taylor raised the issue at last week's council meeting and said that while the height of the wind towers on normal clear days was "quite OK" and clear for incoming aircraft, the concern was the approach of aircraft in bad weather when they come in to land.

The council's airport reference group chair Stephen Lucas said the issue was that because the revised height of the towers were so tall, they would impinge on the minimum safe altitude of the published instrument approach into Warrnambool airport.

"The end result means that the minimum descent altitude for an aircraft coming in on a particular approach needs to be 2300 feet not 2100 feet," he said.

"Its not a major thing but it is a detriment.

"If the cloud base is 2100 or 2200 feet well then you can't become visual and land and have to then undertake a full instrument approach which adds time and costs money and is inconvenient and all those other things."

Mr Lucas said it was just the wind turbines that were nearest to the airport that were causing concern.

He said they were opposed to the extra height the company wanted to put on those particular turbines which are just outside the 10 nautical mile radius of the airport.

"The aviation fraternity's advice to council is that there is a detriment to us and therefore we can't support it," he said.

"We don't have any say over it other than making the representations that we have.

"Council can make their own decisions about that.

"We're not saying people can't get into Warrnambool.

We're not saying it's a drop dead issue. What we're saying is it's an inconvenience and an unnecessary inconvenience."

He said there was no advantage to the airport by having the windfarms where they are.

"It's all downside for us," Mr Lucas said.

He said there were concerns about what impact it would have on any future upgrade to the airport or bigger planes coming in.

"But again it's not the end of the world," he said.

"It doesn't stop the aircraft doing the instrument approach. It just stops them descending to the minimum descent altitude and then becoming visual and then landing without doing the full instrument approach which takes time and costs money."

He said he was not calling for the windfarm to be scrapped altogether.

"What we're saying is this is an infringement on our operations, and a negative infringement and we're not happy about it and that needs to be taken into consideration by council when they're considering the issue," Mr Lucas said.

He is set to discuss the issue with Warrnambool councillors at their briefing on Monday.

Source:  Katrina Lovell | The Standard | April 11 2021 | www.standard.net.au

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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