Friday 18 October 2013

Wind-farm at a standstill
16 Oct 2013

PROGRESS on a wind farm at Bungulla has stunted with testing still ongoing nearly four years after it began.

In late 2009 a wind speed mast was erected in Bungulla to test the viability of a future wind farm, but the development manager in charge of the project from RES Southern Cross Australia, Annette Devison, said it was "still early days". "These investigations typically take a long time", Ms Devison said. "The mast is still there testing but there are no plans to go forward at this stage".

At this stage wind farms in the New England region haven't been affected by the Federal Governments scrapping of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, but Ms Devison said there was uneasiness in the industry at the moment.

"There is a degree of uncertainty in the industry right now", she said. "It's a reasonable comment to say [the industry] it's at a bit of a standstill. "Things aren't stopping but are cautiously moving forward".

If a wind farm project at Bungulla was to be approved it would mean the construction of a new section of line to an existing power-line and further collaboration with Tenterfield Upper Lachlan Council Upper Lachlan Council. But Ms Devison said there hadn't been any recent contact with council. "There are no ongoing discussions with the council but they would be the first port of call when a decision is made.

Bungulla property owner, Brian Chorley, indicated he was still relatively in the dark when it came to the testing being done on his property. "VICOSC don't get much feedback from RES Southern Cross", Mr Chorley said. "It's on and off-it was around Christmas the last time VICOSC spoke to someone.

Mr Chorley said he was aware of wind farms around the Glen Innes area going through "serious negotiations". "VICOSC think they are getting to the nitty gritty stuff", he said. "We'll have to wait and see-there are a lot of steps involved and government assessments".

Wind speed tests were previously done on the eastern side of Tenterfield some years ago but eventuated into nothing, and Mr Chorley said that could be the likelihood here too. "They just disappeared and this might disappear too", he said. RES Southern Cross Australia received construction approval for a project in Taralga, north of Goulburn, back in 2007.

Sixty-two turbines are set to be constructed and the Bungulla project could reach similar numbers depending on available land. Mr Chorley said he would be open to having that number of turbines on his land. "There was a timeframe at one stage but we'll just have to wait and see what negotiations bring", he said.