Australia's "most powerful" windfarm approved

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

$380 million wind farm announced for Australia

The government of Victoria has announced plans to build what it says will be Australia's "most powerful wind farm." Planning Minister Rob Hulls has given the go ahead to a new $380 million wind farm at Mount Gellibrand in the state's south-west.

"I'm pleased to announce that I have approved Australia's most powerful and Victoria's largest wind farm to date," Mr Hulls said. "This project is expected to create anywhere between 110 and 120 jobs during construction and up to 25 full time positions during the life of the wind farm," he said.

The massive wind farm will be located 120 km west of Melbourne, close to the regional centre of Colac. The wind farm comprises 116 turbines of the 2 MW class - with an overall capacity of 232 MW. The wind farm will produce over 700,000 MWh annually of clean energy which is enough to supply approximately 132,000 Victorian households. German company Pro Ventum International is undertaking the project

Minister Hulls said only nine objections had been lodged against the project. Local landowner Tim Gore, who plans to have 32 turbines on his property, said he was not concerned about potential noise from the turbines. Pro Ventum International say they will commence work on an Environmental Management report the next few weeks.

Wind farm critic Tim Le Roy said there was no environmental benefit from the project at all and the Victorian government would better spend its money on geo-thermal energy.

The turbines, each 125 metres tall, will be visible from the Princes Highway between Geelong and Colac, sited at the foot of Mount Gellibrand.

In October last year, Colac Otway council's chief executive officer, Tracey Slatter, said the proposal would benefit the shire: "...we're looking at reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and with the demand of energy set to increase it is important that we do consider these renewable energy sources," she said.