247.5MW, 75 wind turbines, power for 135,000 homes and $326 million later, Australia selects wind energy as a viable power source.
As wind farms are being developed all over the globe, Australia makes the move toward growing its renewable energy sector. The state of Victoria in Australia has just granted approval on planning permits for a major wind farm project at Ararat, which will consist of 75 wind generators.
The farm is expected to generate a total of 247.5 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to supply electricity to more than 135,000 homes. The announcement for the $326 million wind farm was made by Planning Minister, Justin Madden.
"An independent planning panel was appointed to review the permit applications relating to this project and public hearings were held in July 2010," Mr Madden said.
Renewable Energy Australia Pty will be responsible for developing the project, adhering to several stipulations made by the state, including visual impact, fauna and native vegetation.
"I have accepted the recommendations of an independent panel and approved two planning permits for the project with conditions."
"Community concerns about potential landscape and visual amenity and environmental impacts have been heard and appropriate conditions have been placed on the planning permits, including landscape, and flora and fauna issues," Mr Madden said.
"The proponents, Renewable Energy Australia Pty Ltd, will be required to prepare an off-site landscaping plan.
"They will also be required to conduct additional analysis and mitigation measures to ensure appropriate management of impacts on flora and fauna.
"We have worked closely with Ararat and Northern Grampians Shire councils and the developer as well as the local communities to ensure the best possible outcome."
Minister for Energy and Resources Peter Batchelor said the Ararat windfarm would contribute significantly to a more sustainable energy supply and secure regional jobs.
"The Ararat windfarm is expected to provide a $326 million boost to Victoria's regional economy and create 180 jobs during construction as well as ongoing operation and maintenance jobs once the facility is completed," Mr Batchelor said.
"It will also help meet the challenges faced through climate change and contribute towards achieving our target of reducing greenhouse emissions by at least 20 per cent by 2020.
"This decision is about supporting regional development and renewable energy in the right location to achieve a more sustainable future for Victoria."
Member for Ripon Joe Helper said the Ararat Windfarm would make a significant contribution to the local economy.
"Landowners throughout the region will benefit from this project and its associated benefits," Mr Helper said.