The monster Golden Plains wind farm has received planning permit approval from the state government.
However, the 228-turbine project, planned to be built near Rokewood south of Ballarat, still requires Federal Government approval.
If completed, it will be one of the largest wind farms in the southern hemisphere.
It is expected to have a capacity of between 800 and 1000 megawatts when complete, generating 3000 gigawatts hours of electricity per year – the state government estimates this would power more than 400,000 homes.
Each turbine will be about 230 metres tall, with a turbine rotor diameter of 150m – amongst the tallest in the world.
The proponent, WestWind Energy, has previously developed the Mt Mercer, Lal Lal, and Moorabool wind farms, which are either complete or under construction after being bought by other companies.
It estimates it would take four years to construct, across 17,000 hectares on properties belonging to 39 landholders, and would cost about $1.5 billion.
In December, an environmental effects statement recommended reducing the footprint of the wind farm to protect threatened brolga habitats.
The project will need to increase the turbine-free buffer area – previously, the company said it would be able to keep the same number of turbines, but in a smaller area, though up to 47 turbines may be cut.
Monitoring began in 2006, with a feasibility investigation completed in 2016 before the planning application was lodged in 2017.
Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created when the project enters its construction phase.
Previously, WestWind’s managing director Tobi Geiger told The Courier proposals from the Australian Energy Market Operator to improve electricity transmission lines, and from Federation University to create a renewable energy skills training centre, would help cement Ballarat as an energy production hub, rivalling the Latrobe Valley.
In other wind farm news, the Moorabool wind farm, owned by Goldwind, has announced Portland’s Keppel Prince Engineering will provide 40 towers for the turbines, after supporting the Stockyard Hill wind farm.
Construction has begun on Moorabool, Stockyard Hill, and separately-owned Lal Lal projects.
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