A Development Application that was submitted to the Mid Murray Council today (Friday, February 28) confirms that the number of turbines has been reduced from 130 to 114. The locations of associated site facilities, transmission lines, on-site tracks and access road options have also been further refined.
“This has been the result of an entirely voluntary period of public consultation, prior to the formal public consultation that will now be required as part of the Development Application process,” said Trustpower Business Development Manager Rodney Ahern.
“We said at the outset of this process that we wanted two things: that the community have access to full and accurate information in regard to wind farms in general and the Palmer Wind Farm in particular; and that every person who believed that might be affected in some way by this wind farm have an opportunity to express their opinion.
“We’ve done this through a series of information days, workshops attended by our full team of expert consultants, and hundreds of one-on-one meetings with landowners in the district.
“Most importantly, we have listened to the community and made many modifications to our original proposal. We engage early in the process to get stakeholders' input into the actual design and shape of the project before putting in the planning approval, enabling us to iron out many of the issues before submitting the Development Application to Council.”
Mr Ahern said that despite the reduced number of turbines the proposed wind farm would generate at least 1300 gigawatt hours (GWh) per annum* – enough to provide electricity to around 200,000 homes.
Mr Ahern said the period prior to lodging the Development Application had also enabled significant environmental and indigenous heritage research, which was now included in the Development Application.
“It also meant we were able to work out the economic benefits the proposed wind farm would bring to the region, with an independent report revealing that it would contribute a minimum of $100 million of added value to the regional economy and sustain a minimum of 320 regional jobs per year in its first three years. Once operational, it would generate at least $7 million of value added economic activity annually and support directly or indirectly a total of 60 jobs per year.
And in an Australian first, Trustpower is sharing the direct economic benefit of the wind farm by offering to make ongoing payments to around 50 neighbouring landowners for the life of the wind farm. These will be on a sliding scale from a minimum $2500 per annum.
[* One gigawatt hour is equivalent to a million 1000 watt heaters running for one hour.]