Thursday, May 26, 2022

Australia’s largest wind farm gets the green light

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An 800MW wind farm is headed to Victoria’s south-west, as WestWind Energy was given the green light to go ahead with the Golden Plains project that is set to become one of the country’s largest.

WestWind was granted approval for the farm by state planning minister Richard Wynne, after agreeing to alter the design, marginally reducing the turbine quantity on the site.

“Like all applications to amend a planning permit, the application to amend the Golden Plains Wind Farm was considered on its merits and in line with relevant planning policy and legislation,” said Wynne.

The wind farm will now comprise from 215 turbines at a maximum height of 230 metres, compared to the 2018 planned and permitted 228 turbines.

When initially proposed by the German-backed locally owned developer in 2017, the wind farm was designed for 231 turbines, which led to legal action from opposers to the project, looking to see its permit overturned.

With farms opponents main concerns centring around the farms size and its impact on brolga breeding sites in the area, subsequent amendments to the project have included more efficient technology, possible because of advancements in the industry.

The new plans will not only produce around 10% to 14% more energy  at a smaller height, but can now include a buffer zone to reduce any negative impact on brolga breeding.

Recent months have seen investments into wind technology including NAB’s financing of Neoen’s $370 million wind energy hub in Far North Queensland, while the publicly owned CleanCo Queensland has signed on to take power from the Octopus Australia-owned Dulacca Wind Farm, for up to 180 megawatts of renewable energy generated.

Meanwhile in NSW, the state government has launched a pilot for its National GreenPower Accreditation Program, enabling large organisations that typically use higher amounts of energy to access a trial of accredited renewable energy, through Corporate Direct.

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