Monday, 23 August 2010

Wind farm approved near Ararat

Thursday 19/8/2010 Page: 15

THE Brumby government has approved a 72-turbine wind farm 25 kilometres north-east of Ararat. The Crowlands wind farm, proposed by renewable energy company Pacific Hydro, is estimated as capable of generating enough energy to power about 80,000 homes, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 500,000 tonnes a year. Its total generating capacity would be 172MWs. Planning Minister Justin Madden said he had accepted a panel's finding that the emissions reductions and economic benefits outweighed any adverse impact of the turbines.

Concerns raised by six objectors included the potential impact on people's views and local flora and fauna. Approval followed the launch last week of a $1 billion, 140-turbine wind farm at Macarthur the largest in the southern hemisphere. Pacific Hydro general manager Lane Crockett said the company needed to establish the commercial feasibility of the Crowlands farm and secure financing before it went ahead. A recent poll conducted on the company's behalf found more than 80% of respondents supported increasing the number of wind farms in Victoria. About one in four supported building more coal-fired power stations.