Energy company Global Power Generation has held a community engagement session in Port Fairy as it gears up for construction on the Ryan Corner wind farm.
The Victorian Minister for Planning granted an amended planning permit for the wind farm earlier this month, and the “pre-construction open day” was an opportunity for members of the public to clarify the final details.
A spokeswoman for GPG said a number of the different contractors working on the project were there to answer queries.
“Representatives were able to answer enquiries on the construction phase, planning and permits, use of local roads, environmental and cultural heritage management, noise impacts, the transmission line and the capacity and operation of the turbines once commissioned,” she said.
Potential noise impacts have been a source of criticism from anti-wind farm campaigners, a number of whom attended the open day to put their questions to a representative from Marshall Day Acoustics, the company tasked with ensuring GPG abide by the noise guidelines in the permit.
Noise impacts were at the centre of a rare legal victory for wind farm opponents last week when two Gippsland farmers were awarded compensation in Victoria’s Supreme Court because their sleep had been regularly disturbed by the neighbouring Bald Hills wind farm.
Justice Melinda Richards also ruled the wind farm would have to change its operations at night to ensure the noises no longer created an unacceptable disturbance.
The noise at issue in at Bald Hills was not the general operating noise created by the turbines, but occasional louder noises that were found to have woken the plaintiffs at night. Such irregular noises were not covered in the wind farm’s permit.
National director of the pro-wind energy organisation Re-Alliance, Andrew Bray, said it was “too early to say” whether the Bald Hills ruling set a precedent for the kinds of noise that wind farms could produce.
“While it’s a shame it got to this point, we welcome that the issue has been resolved,” Mr Bray said.
“The Victorian government established a general environmental duty specifically to provide clarity around safe operation of wind farms for both neighbours and proponents.”
The spokeswoman for GPG said the Bald Hills decision did “not affect the Ryan Corner permit” and that all details of the amended permit could be found on the Ryan Corner website.
Construction will begin in the next few weeks and is scheduled to finish in late 2023.
Once operational Ryan Corner will produce 218.4 MW of electricity, which GPG said was enough to power 141,000 households.
The spokeswoman said 75 per cent of the energy to be produced had already been sold through a 15-year power purchase agreement with Snowy Hydro.
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