Stockyard Hill Wind Farm start date still no clearer

A potential starting date for the long-running Stockyard Hill Wind Farm project remains unknown as Origin Energy look for a buyer while also negotiating planning amendments with the state government.

Stockyard Hill

Stockyard Hill

Submissions were made to a planning panel earlier this year in regards to an amendment,  which if successful will see a reduction in turbines from 157 to 149 and a tip height increase from 132 to180 metres. 

A spokesperson for Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the planning panel was expected to hand its report to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning by the end of May, with the department then to give advice to the minister. 

However there is currently no timeline around when the minister’s decision is expected. 

Among the submissions made to the panel was from the Pyrenees Shire, which put forward its support for the project.

Pyrenees Shire mayor Ron Eason said while council understood the need for the project to go through the relevant planning authorities, he hoped shire residents would see action sooner rather than later.

The shire is already home to a major wind farm at Waubra, which houses 128 turbines.  

“It's a major windfall for ratepayers so we're very keen to see that money come into our area for the benefit of everyone throughout the shire,” Cr Eason said.  “Unfortunately the longer it drags out the worse it is for us.”  

For adding to the uncertainty of the project’s starting date is the sale process, with Origin Energy set to sell the development before it is built.  

While Fairfax Media has previously reported the sale process had begun in mid-August 2016, no buyer has yet been announced. 

An Origin Energy spokesperson said the company would not provide comment on the sale until its completion. 

The ongoing speculation over the project’s start date comes seven years after the development first gained approval from the state government.  

Since then a plethora of major wind developments have been given the green light throughout the Central Highlands region, while other projects such as the mammoth Golden Plains Wind Farm in Rokewood have been proposed.