The proposed Golden Plains wind farm will have “significant” effects on the town of Rokewood, and the shire more broadly.
Golden Plains Shire mayor Owen Sharkey said he wasn’t sure if people truly comprehended the scale of the project, which could include up to 228 230-metre tall turbines across 17,000 hectares.
“The transformer that went through town the other week created a huge amount of conversation,” he said.
“I’m not sure about the size of each component, but when you’re talking 200 Rialto-sized towers, it’ll be interesting how the engineers work that out.”
Proponents WestWind have promised annual payments for landholders that host turbines, as well as smaller payments for people who live within two kilometres of a turbine, excluding the township itself, of $1000 for each for the first three turbines and $750 for each additional turbine, which begins when construction of those turbines is complete.
Residents within three kilometres of a turbine will also receive free electricity, and a community fund - $1000 annually for each turbine, or about $228,000 - will support projects in the area.
This will all provide a huge financial stimulus, Mr Sharkey added.
“It’ll be quite interesting to see what Rokewood looks like (when construction is finished),” Mr Sharkey said.
“There’s 40 farmers with an income stream of millions, the community getting $230,000 into the area, and households with free electricity, in a small rural town.
“It’s going to change things significantly.”
The state government approved a planning permit on Friday, but it still requires federal support.
A spokesperson from the Department of Environment and Energy said the project needs to be assessed for consideration of its affect on nationally-listed plants and animals.
“The (department) is currently considering the Victorian Government’s assessment report and preparing a recommendation for a decision on whether or not to approve the proposal under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act,” they said.
“A final approval decision is expected in the coming month.”
In December, the state government raised concerns about native brolga populations, and recommended cutting the area of the project.
This would have potentially reduced the amount of turbines by 20 per cent, but a WestWind spokesperson at the time said the turbines would instead be redistributed in the smaller area.
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