Lal Lal wind farm to proceed after Minister knocks back amendment

This article appeared in the Melton Leader, journalist: Ami Humpage.

Sticking to master Moorabool wind farm plan

LAL Lal’s proposed 64-turbine wind farm will proceed unchanged after an amendment application was rejected by the State Government.

The original planning permit for the WestWind Energy wind farm, located across two sites at Yendon and Elaine, was approved in April 2009.

But after advancements in technology, an amendment to increase the size of the wind turbines from 130m to 150m in a bid to increase output was submitted by the company in January.

WestWind managing director Tobi Geiger said he was disappointed with Planning Minister Matthew Guy’s decision.

“The proposal to increase the output of the wind farm by over 50 per cent without adding any more turbines could have been achieved simply by increasing the overall tip height by 20m and removing the rotor diameter restriction,” he said.

Mr Geiger said the application for the proposed change was made well before the latest policy changes in wind energy were introduced.

“The minister’s delegated decision is purely political,” he said.

“No open or transparent assessment took place that involved public notice or a planning panel.”

Mr Geiger said that despite the minister’s refusal, the project would go ahead as planned.

Moorabool Mayor Pat Griffin said while he welcomed the government’s decision, he was not happy the project would still go ahead.

12 thoughts on “Lal Lal wind farm to proceed after Minister knocks back amendment

  1. I’m alarmed by the Victorian government action against wind farms, and the prospect of other States (think NSW) of going down similar pathways. And the somewhat retrospective elements of this latest rejection.

    I’m also unable to understand what is driving the Victorian policy, and would really appreciate if someone could explain the rationale behind the Victorian opposition to wind farms. At this time it (wind) is easily the best renewable option available, and Victoria develops 85% of its power from the dirtiest coal in Australia. You would expect them to grasp opportunities to meet the RETs just a few years away. So why such a contrary policy?

  2. The 2km buffer was developed to provide fairness to neighbours of wind turbines. It is as simple as that!!! For to long cowboy developers and prospectors have been running around the state destroying harmonius communities with their divide and conquer attitudes.

    1. Thanks Peter
      It is not “as simple as that”:

      First, wouldn’t you apply the same “fairness” principle to coal seam gas developers? CSG is firstly a fossil fuel, is not renewable, produces a lot of CO2 and the retrieval of it requires the fracking process which can, and has, caused great and irreparable damage to aquifers. How fair is that to whole regions? And they let it happen a few hundreds of metres from homes.

      Second, the Victorian ban on wind farms, and the right of veto far exceeds the demonstrated need for such actions – so why are they doing this on such a scale? What, or who are the policy drivers? When policy flys in the face of science, common sense, and duty to following generations you really should ask how can that be.

      Third, how on earth are you going to reduce CO2 levels without lowering your brown coal use? Clean coal? – no such thing. CCS? – only in a couple of sites world-wide and is so expensive you would be better off using any other renewable energy. I mean, why capture CO2 when you can stop it outright for way less money?

      Fourth, and about fairness again, how fair is it that we continue polluting our world for future generations when we damn well know that we are doing it!?

  3. Similar rules should be put in place for the coal seem gas mobs, they are operating in a very similar way to the wind developers did in the last 5 or 6 years. Its probably many of the same people and companies doing it to.
    If you are against coal seem gas development close to homes but not wind then you probably have other motives.
    As ive said before country people do not want wind towers next to their homes for a myriad of reasons, and i would suspect the same people would feel very similar about coal seem gas if it was proposed.
    Please show some respect to these people who have in most cases provided you with cheap clean food and worked hard for many years.

    1. I do have one very clear “other motives” actually. Stopping climate change is what it’s about.

      Coal-seam gas is often showing up in the latest studies nearly as dirty as coal when all greenhouse emissions (gas leaks etc) are factored in. That of course is apart from impacts on aquifers, land, and the use of extremely toxic chemicals.

      Wind farms clearly reduce reliance on fossil fuels (the South Australian case proves it pretty solidly) and their impact on land is minimal and easily reversable, unlike damage to aquifers.

      In our research into the operations, it is generally very different companies involved. The only overlap I’m aware of is where a couple of the big utility companies have invested in both.

  4. CSG – “they are operating in a very similar way to the wind developers did in the last 5 or 6 years. Its probably many of the same people and companies doing it to.”

    Total poppycock, as usual

    All existing and planning wind turbines in Australia exist via agreement and support from interested farmers.

  5. Your telling us wind farm developers did not act like cowboys over the last 6 or 7 years?
    Did one ever come and knock on your door and try to get you to sign a dodgy contract?
    Did one ever come into your community and try to put turbines over a protected area and tell everyone that they would get the government to change the rules?
    Did they tell lies about windspeed and how much power would be produced?
    Did they try to bribe the community with money given to them by the state?
    Your Naive if you think coal seem gas is not operating in a similar way, people are pissed off because they dont like the way the CSG industry is operating without any rules, much like wind for the last 10 years.
    I bet if you do a search on the directors of the companies you will find many of them are the same ones.. and yes a few big utility companies such as origin who seem to have gone out of wind recently.

    1. The point you don’t seem to appreciate Peter is that landholders are not forced to sign contracts to host windfarms whereas they have absolutely no say in where CSG bores are drilled or the number they will have on their property.

  6. So its ok to plonk a wind turbines on someones land after having them sign a deceptive contract? and its not ok for the rest of the community to be pissed off just because its a wind turbine?
    But if a coal seem gas company comes and does the same thing then thats much worse? and it is ok for everyone to be pissed off?
    I would have thought it was ok for everyone to be pissed off on both occasions!

  7. There’s a clear difference with coal and gas exploration: they can get VCAT to award them the right to come onto private land with a compensation rate determined by VCAT. Wind companies can do no such thing. All your bluster about “deceptive contracts” is a red herring, Peter.

    I notice you still haven’t come back with any information on any of the companies doing coal seam gas exploration. Perhaps you could ask Peter Mitchell, seeing as he appears to be in that line of business?

    This discussion is heading for the soapbox if people can’t actually back up their arguments.

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