Victoria approves Delburn wind power farm in Australia

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Friday, April 1, 2022

A wind turbine at the CSIRO Energy Centre.
Image: Nick Pitsas.

A proposal for a 33-turbine wind farm within a pine tree plantation near the Gippsland town of Delburn in Australia was approved by Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne on March 27, though first reported late on Tuesday. Plans for a battery energy storage system were put on hold due to fire risks. The wind farm, scheduled to be built by OSMI Australia Pty in 2023, would be the first wind farm built in a plantation in the state of Victoria.

A planning panel heard from local residents, community groups, and OSMI representatives in late 2021, ultimately recommending in a 224-page report that approval for the wind farm be granted, but stated that "the information provided about the siting and fire-safety measures for [the battery energy storage system] was inadequate for it to recommend in favour of it at this stage".

OSMI executive director Peter Marriott insisted that the battery energy storage system was "certainly not a key part of the project", but added "it's something we'll always remain open to — we're obviously really keen to digest the findings of the recommendations of the CFA and WorkSafe investigation into the Moorabool battery fire."

Danny O'Brien in July 2021.
Image: Alison Newman.

Nationals member for Gippsland South Danny O'Brien noted a recent court ruling last Thursday ordering a Tarwin Lower wind farm to stop emitting noise at night, remarking "it seems incredible the Minister could have approved Delburn just a few days later, despite strong opposition from the local community".

O'Brien added "given Gippsland's relatively densely populated landscape, the right location for wind farms is offshore, where I strongly support proposed facilities such as the Star of the South".

Voices of the Valley, a local community group established in the wake of the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire, celebrated the approval, with the group's president Wendy Farmer saying "power stations have dominated the landscape over the past century in the valley, but now we are watching the transformation of energy across the region", and noting that the news "comes on the week of the fifth anniversary of the Hazelwood power station closure".