Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Premier Denis Napthine unveils a massive wind farm in state's southwest

12 Apr 2013

PREMIER Denis Napthine has signalled there will be more wind turbines in Victoria's southwest.

Speaking at the launch of the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere in Macarthur, near Hamilton, Dr Napthine said the turbines were "magnificent"-and said Victoria's southwest was the perfect place for renewable energy production.

"I am very proud and will, at every opportunity, advocate that southwest Victoria is not only the home of renewable energy, but we've only just started in terms of the potential for renewable energy in this area", he said.

"I think they (the turbines) are absolutely fantastic", Dr Napthine said. "They're not right in every place, but in places like this-the wide open plains-I think they are really valuable in terms of their energy production. "I think they are majestic and I actually love them".

The 140 turbine Macarthur wind farm, a joint project between AGL Energy and partner Meridian Energy, took 2 1/2 years to build and cost $1 billion. The turbines have the capacity to power more than 220,000 average Victorian homes and abate more than 1.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.

Dr Napthine, the local MP, said he wanted to see more renewable energy projects as soon as possible. "There is already significant government support for work being done on wave energy, tidal power, geothermal energy, in this region. "And I believe those opportunities should be pursued at every opportunity", he said.

AGL Energy managing director and CEO Michael Fraser said the Macarthur project not only delivered clean, renewable energy but generated significant economic benefits for the region during development and construction.

But the project has faced opposition from anti-wind protesters who say the turbines cause health problems. A crowd of protesters gathered at the gate as industry leaders and dignitaries arrived yesterday, angry about the 420 MW project. Dr Napthine said he would meet anti-wind protesters to discuss their concerns.