Central Highlands wind farms to benefit from state government's 650-megawatt renewable energy auction

Central Highlands renewable energy providers stand to be among the biggest winners from the state government’s plans to boost the renewable energy target.   

Wind change: Wind energy providers throughout the Central Highlands region stand to be among the big winners of the state government's 650-megawatt renewable energy auction.  Picture: Luka Kauzlaric.

Wind change: Wind energy providers throughout the Central Highlands region stand to be among the big winners of the state government's 650-megawatt renewable energy auction. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric.

The state government will invite renewable companies to compete to supply Victoria with with 650 megawatts of power – enough to power every household in Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley.

On top of the energy auction, which will begin taking expressions of interest in October, the state government will seek to boost the renewable energy target to 40 per cent of production by 2025.  

WestWind Energy managing director Tobias Geiger, whose company has been involved in some of the region’s largest wind farm developments such as Mount Mercer, Moorabool and Lal Lal, said the new regulatory framework provided greater certainty to renewable energy providers and consumers alike. 

“It’s going to be beneficial for the Central Highlands region because there will be more energy generation and more jobs,” Mr Geigor said.  

With this announcement the time frame from (developing wind farm proposals) to seeing turbines on the ground will be significantly shortened. - Toby Geigor - WestWind managing director

“With this announcement the time frame from (developing wind farm proposals) to seeing turbines on the ground will be significantly shortened.”  

The announcement continues what has already been a big year for the renewable sector throughout the region, with Lal Lal and Stockyard Hill in the Pyrenees Shire both being purchased.  

The Chinese owners of the 149-turbine Stockyard Hill development are hoping to have the project completed by 2019, while Mr Geigor said construction at Lal Lal and Moorabool was likely to commence later this year.  

Meanwhile WestWind is also in the process of formulating the planning application for the Golden Plains Wind Farm near Rokewood, which would be the largest in the southern hemisphere with as many as 240 turbines.

In a statement Ballarat City mayor Samantha Mclntosh voiced her support for the state government’s announcement, saying council was “ready to take advantage of the opportunities (the renewable energy target) presents to the city and other regional areas”.