Trustpower Chief Executive Vince Hawksworth said the company welcomed the decision by the Victorian Government after an extensive and comprehensive assessment process.
The granting of the Dundonnell Wind Farm permit means that Trustpower now has three projects with planning approvals in Australia that in total represent over 500MW of potential new capacity. Trustpower is currently proposing a demerger and these projects provide future growth opportunities for the company which will undertake the Australian and New Zealand wind and solar development projects (“New Co”).
Mr Hawksworth said the Victorian Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap and supporting policies marked an exciting future for renewables in Victoria.
“We commend the government for this plan and its support of the renewable energy sector, which will bring jobs, economic investment and environmental benefits to Victoria.
“We support the government’s zero emissions plan for 2050 and look forward to contributing to this plan through the potential development of the Dundonnell Wind Farm.”
Trustpower Wind Generation Development Manager Rontheo van Zyl said Dundonnell is located in stony rise country with rocky ground that is limited to grazing for income.
“This site has a strong wind resource, which makes it a favourable location for a wind farm. It was actually a group of Dundonnell residents that started this wind farm project and we are particularly happy for these people, who have driven this project from the very start.
It has been inspiring to work with such a committed community.”
He said the approval meant Trustpower could now start the construction planning process and progress economic and wind turbine procurement assessments.
“This will likely take about 12 months. If things proceed according to this timing and we can get to the point of investment approval, we could be in position to begin construction in the second half of 2017 and achieve first operation by late 2018.
The permit was granted for up to 96 turbines. The project is expected to employ up to 200 people during construction.”
The Brolga survey works conducted as part of the Dundonnell Wind Farm Environment Effects Statement (EES) process are some of the most extensive ever conducted in Victoria and will provide insights and benefits for this species for many years to come.
“As the Dundonnell Wind Farm has gone through an extensive EES process, all the balances and checks have been done to ensure there is minimal local environmental impact from the project and the clean power generated will displace many thousands of tonnes of fossil fuel every year, “says van Zyl.
It is expected that if progressed to construction the project will provide sufficient clean, renewable power for approximately 140,000 homes and save 700,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year - the equivalent of removing 150,000 cars from our roads.
For more information please visit the project website www.dundonnellwindfarm.com.au