Warracknabeal plan in the wind
Victorian wind-farm developer Westwind Energy wants to build a new wind farm south-west of Warracknabeal.
Although the project is in its infancy, Westwind anticipates it will lodge a planning-permit application by the end of this year.
The project involves construction of up to 15 turbines on 610 hectares of farmland.
The finished farm will have the potential of producing up to about 50 megawatts of electricity.
Westwind Energy managing director Tobias Geiger said Westwind started monitoring wind resources in the area earlier this year and shortly after determined the site was ideal for wind-energy production.
He said, if approved, the project would bring various economic regional benefits during construction.
“The Warracknabeal Wind Farm will provide power for about 30,000 average Victorian homes annually and reduce yearly carbon dioxide emissions by more than 175,000 tonnes,” he said.
“This is an important energy project for the region, and it will provide a sustainable flow of clean energy for future generations of Victorians.”
The construction and operation of Warracknabeal Wind Farm will have a positive effect on the local economy.
Westwind expects that during construction about 30 people would be employed by the project.
Two people would then be required to operate the wind farm for its 25year life cycle.
“Once operational, a community fund will also be established to provide annual financial support of up to $15,000 a year for a range of community-based projects and events that benefit communities around the wind farm,’’ Mr Geiger said.
Westwind Energy has already been involved with the development of four other Victorian wind farms.
These include a 321MW Moorabool Wind Farm project sold to Goldwind in 2016; a 216MW Lal Lal Wind Farm project sold to Macquarie Capital in early 2017; a 131MW Mt Mercer Wind Farm sold to Meridian Energy in 2009 and now fully operational.
It has also submitted a planning-permit application to the State Government for a 228-turbine 800MW Golden Plains Wind Farm.
Warracknabeal Wind Farm is to date the smallest of Westwind Energy’s projects.
A lack of electrical-grid capacity in the Wimmera has prevented the organisation from developing a larger farm but ideal climatic conditions promising environmental and commercial viability has prompted it to push ahead with the project. Westwind Energy will host a pop-up breakfast information session at Warracknabeal Town Hall from 7.30am to 11.30am on December 8.
The session will provide the community with an opportunity to meet Westwind staff and ask questions about the Warracknabeal Wind Farm development.
The company has invited people unable to attend the session but still keen to find out more about the project to call 5421 9999.
The Warracknabeal project joins a string of large-scale renewable-energy projects either underway or in planning stages across the region.
Some Wimmera and Western District communities are already seeing or working towards the benefits of renewable-power production.
Natimuk Community Energy group will install a 10-kilowatt solar system at Natimuk Showground after receiving a $10,000 grant through electricity provider Powershop’s Your Community Energy Fund.
Expectations are the solar system will save a showground committee more than $2800 a year in energy costs and pay for itself in under five years.
Natimuk Community Energy project co-ordinator Enga Lokey said the grant was a gift that would keep giving to the Natimuk community.
“We are very excited to get this project up and running before the end of the year and will invite the community to celebrate with us and the showground user groups at a project launch near Christmas,” she said.
The group is also working on a feasibility study and business case for a larger solar installation to help move Natimuk towards 100 percent renewable electricity.