Tuesday 19/6/2007 Page: 1
A $45 million wind farm is to be established on private land at Berrimal, 19 kilometres south of Charlton and 16 kilometres west of Wedderburn. The project will consist of 12 to 16 wind turbines, with associated buildings and works. In the construction phase up to 40 jobs will be generated, while one or two permanent jobs will be required during the operating life of the windfarm. Importantly for the Shire, the project will contribute rates of over $61,000 to Council.
With undisguised enthusiasm, Buloke councillors meeting at Donald on Wednesday night adopted the recommendation by planning officer John Edwards that the Council:
- Approve the application by Acciona Energy for a wind energy facility (wind farm) consisting of 12-16 wind turbines at The Gap Road, Berrimal (specifically Crown Allotments 46. 48 and 51 Section B, Parish of Coonooer East: Lot 5 on TP408900B: and Lot I on TP4II8O5B).
- Approve the application for the associated removal or lopping of native vegetation along the road reserves to provide access to the proposed site.
- Grant permission for the issue of a planning permit subject to the 20 conditions listed.
The site stretches along a 5 kilometre ridgeline that covers an area of approximately 417 hectares. The windfarm will consist of up to 16 wind turbine generators and associated infrastructure including hardstand areas, access roads, fused switch panel enclosure, underground cabling, a substation, a systems control building, two wind monitoring towers, workshop facilities, an area for storage of hazardous materials. Acciona Energy has held discussions widely as part of the community consultation process being conducted for the proposed Berrimal wind farm.
The capacity of the project is about 24 megawatts. Wind energy facilities generating less than 30 megawatts are subject to the planning permit process at the local council level. This means that Buloke Shire Council will decide the application.
Discussions with the Department of Sustainability and Environment indicated that, based on the results of the preliminary flora and fauna assessment and the anticipated low level of impact on the surrounding environment, it was not necessary to prepare a referral to determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement is required.
The wind farm will provide an additional source of power for the Wedderburn and Charlton area. It will contribute to the Victorian Government's Renewable Energy Target (VRET) through the generation of approximately 73,000MWh of renewable electricity per year and displacement of an estimated 95.000 tonnes of CO2 (greenhouse gas) per year. This is enough power to provide green electricity to 13,600 households.
Two of Acciona Energy's project managers, Dean Smith and Stephanie Rice, were at Wednesday night's meeting when Council gave its blessing to their company's proposal. The motion that approval be given to the application for a wind energy facility at Berrimal was moved by Cr. Peter Watts, seconded by Cr. Jan Corrie and carried unanimously.