The following comes from the Warrnambool Standard.
Alexandra Weaver, 07 Apr, 2011
Firm tests the breeze
THE company behind a new wind farm planned at Tarrone is roaming the area this week to source local views on the project.
Union Fenosa hopes to build 20 turbines across a 1100-hectare site about 25 kilometres north of Port Fairy.
Staff yesterday began a three-day doorknock of homes within five kilometres of proposed towers and intend to factor any issues raised by residents into the wind farm’s layout.
Union Fenosa development manager Tom Mitchell said a planning application for the project would be lodged next year.
“Once we’ve gathered up everybody’s views we begin the design process,” he said.
“We have wind data and that tells us the optimal position to place the turbines, and now we go into the phase where we balance optimisation against community needs.”
A wind farm at Tarrone would share a grid connection with Union Fenosa’s approved wind farms at Hawkesdale and Ryan Corner and is expected to have a capacity of 60 megawatts.
It would sit alongside a gas-fired power station proposed by AGL, with its northern and eastern boundaries close to a 190-turbine wind farm being pursued by developer Wind Prospect.
Mr Mitchell said maps had been unable to show exactly how many homes would be doorknocked this week.
“There’s not a huge amount of buildings in the district, and we suspect a large number of those are probably sheds, but our job is to trawl all the roads . . . go down any road we can and find any home,” he said.
Last year Moyne Shire councillors raised concerns about the growing number of energy projects within the municipality and said careful planning was needed to limit industrialisation of the rural landscape.
“The planning process has always taken into account cumulative impact, and it really depends on the pipeline of projects coming through,” Mr Mitchell said.
“There’s certainly an incentive to be up front in that pipeline, before cumulative impact becomes an issue for your project.”
Renewable energy proponents keen to develop projects in Victoria have recently raised concerns that planning rules introduced by the state government could compromise new wind farms.
“We need some certainty to know what sort of projects we can put together,” Mr Mitchell said.
“At the moment we don’t have that degree of certainty, but we’re anticipating (in) June or July for the Victorian government to sort that out.”