Construction on the Lal Lal Wind Farm could begin by as early as the end of the year after the state planning minister signed off on changes to the permit on Tuesday.
The project which will see turbines installed across two locations in Elaine and Yendon was originally proposed in April 2009. The approved amendment, which was lodged in 2015, will see the total number of turbines reduced from 64 to 60, however the tip height will be increased from 130 metres to 161 metres.
The approval comes after the project faced stiff opposition from a group of residents who had argued the turbines were located too close to homes.
WestWind commercial operations manager Marla Brauer said the noise generated by the new turbines would be similar to those previously given approval.
Turbines are also not allowed to be located within 50 metres of a boundary not owned by the landowner being compensated for the turbine.
“We’ve had a two week panel hearing...where we’ve listened to the concerns of residents...and we have very strict noise requirements under the permit we have to meet.”
We’ve listened to the concerns of residents...and we have very strict noise requirements under the permit we have to meet.Marla Brauer - WestWind commercial operations manager
When completed the farm is expected to generate almost 600,000 megawatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power 111,000 homes. The development is expected to cost more than $400 million and will employ 192 people locally during the construction phase and a further 18 people locally following completion.
WestWind will look to sell the project on to another developer and hope to have a buyer by the end of the year. Construction is expected to take two years.
Buninyong MP Geoff Howard said the planning minister’s decision demonstrated the government’s ambition to see growth in renewable energy.
“Wind is a significant part of the clean energy mix which we need to support.”