A WIND FARM developer has confirmed changes to State Government regulations will not affect the company’s wind farm projects in the Colac district.
Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman said he believed “most wind generation projects with existing permits would be affected”.
But Acciona Energy spokesman David Clarke said the new government policies which banned wind farms near the Great Ocean Road and required a two-kilometre setback from homes, would not apply to the Mount Gellibrand or Newfield projects.
He said the new rules did not affect projects the government had approved, including the Mount Gellibrand site, east of Colac, and Newfield site, inland from Port Campbell.
“We’ve been aware of the Victorian government’s policy on wind farm developments since they took office so this isn’t a surprise to Acciona,” Mr Clarke said.
But he said a Senate inquiry into wind farms recommended against creating arbitrary setbacks.
“The inquiry report made clear that setback distances between houses and turbines need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and be underpinned by scientific methodologies involving noise and shadow flicker modelling,” Mr Clarke said.
“We will work within relevant frameworks, determining the future development of our portfolio on a national basis.”
Colac Otway Shire mayor Brian Crook said the council had also “known for some time” about the government’s two-kilometre setback policy.
“The government’s been consistent and the setback isn’t mandatory, the landowners can agree,” Cr Crook said.
“My big concern is that when manufacturing is already under pressure that we would put at risk another manufacturing industry,” he said.
“Australia is not the first place to create wind farms and if this rule was in place overseas there would be no wind farms in Europe.”
But Cr Crook supported the wind farm ban along the Great Ocean Road.
“There are plenty of other places to put wind farms without impacting on our Great Ocean Road and impacting on tourism,” he said.