General and Australia / New Zealand
PACIFIC Hydro may scrap hundreds of millions of dollars of wind power projects in Victoria because of the State Opposition's pledge to abandon plans for a new renewable energy scheme.
Garry Weaven, executive chairman of Industry Funds Services, owner of PacHydro, said the company's Portland development faced shelving, and the Opposition's policy made contracts for wind farms impossible to find. "Portland is under very serious consideration now," Mr Weaven said. "Until that announcement by (Opposition Leader) Ted Baillieu the answer was yes (it would be built)."
Mr Baillieu announced last month that he would scrap the Government's new Victorian Renewable Energy Target scheme if he won the election.
A joint consent authority has finally been appointed to hear the Project Hayes wind farm proposal starting in Alexandra on Monday.
The Central Otago District Council confirmed yesterday the panel, jointly appointed by the Otago Regional Council was made up of chairman John Matthews, of Queenstown, John Lane, of Roxburgh, Terry Emmitt, of Cromwell, Mike Dowling, of Ranfurly, and David McMahon, of Christchurch.
Central Otago District Council manager of planning and regulatory services Louise van der Voort said up to 200 submissions would be heard by the panel, with about 160 of those against the wind farm proposal.
The hearing is expected to last at least three weeks.
THEY may think Ian Campbell backed the wrong horse - or bird - in choosing the endangered orange-bellied parrot to block a planned Victorian wind farm, but South Gippsland residents still have faith in the federal Environment Minister.
If Senator Campbell used a dubious threat to the endangered parrot as a convenient reason to can the Bald Hills wind farm, that's something to be applauded by many in the rolling hills of Tarwin Lower.
SCIENCE, not politics, was behind Environment Minister Ian Campbell's decision to place the orange-bellied parrot on Australia's critically endangered list, the minister said today.
The parrot, which played a key role in Senator Campbell's controversial decision to reverse approval for a wind farm in Victoria, was reclassified this week as critically endangered.
THE Bald Hills wind farm proposal that Environment Minister Ian Campbell has agreed to reconsider will be identical - in size and location - to the project he has already scuttled.
However, the company behind the contentious 52-turbine wind farm in Victoria's South Gippsland will come up with a survival strategy in a bid to allay Senator Campbell's concerns over the fate of the orange-bellied parrot.
Liberal Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay wants wind energy companies to take responsibility for the impact they have on rural roads. ...This follows an estimate by Moyne Shire Council that construction traffic to the Macarthur wind farm had left it with road repair bills totalling between $50 million and $60m.
Divisions over a proposed wind farm continue to run deep in Penshurst as developers step up their efforts to gain local support. ...Keith Staff, who retired to Penshurst from Melbourne with his wife Maureen in 2008, is president of the newly formed Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians (SGLG). ..."The major concern about this proposal is that it's simply too big," he said.
A planning application for the huge Penshurst wind farm is likely to be lodged months later than first expected.
Proponent RES Australia has been asked to complete an environment effects statement (EES) for the 223-turbine project, which would be built on land within Southern Grampians and Moyne shires.
A fiery crowd demonstrated the friction and distrust towards wind farm developments within the region at a community meeting in Penshurst this week.
About half of the almost 150 people at Thursday night's three-hour meeting were locals, with others making the trip from around the south-west.
A proposed 220-turbine wind farm three kilometres outside Penshurst caused heated debate at Moyne Shire Council this week.
Project objector Keith Staff, of Penshurst, made an angry submission to council on Tuesday afternoon, claiming the wind farm was too close to the community.
ALEXANDRA: A bombshell disclosure at yesterday's Project Hayes wind farm hearing revealed land has been earmarked for another 113 turbines in addition to the 176 already proposed by Meridian Energy for its giant project on the Lammermoor Range.
The energy company downplayed the revelation but admitted additional turbines could not be ruled out.
THE company behind a push to build a 19-turbine windfarm near Smeaton and Campbelltown has unveiled its community consultation plan to residents.
Wind Power's plan has outlined its intention to have two further information sessions for residents, arrange a visit to the Challicum Hills Wind Farm and establish a community reference group to gauge community support or opposition.
However, the Spa Country Landscape Guardians group, opposed to the development, said only residents near Clunes had received the letter dated May 7 while the vast majority of people affected were yet to receive any notice of the company's plans.
Turbines higher than 50-storeyed buildings on the Lammermoor Range would dominate the landscape and the Central Otago District Council's planner has recommended the Project Hayes wind farm proposal be turned down.
The planning consultant's report, released to the public yesterday, expresses concern about Meridian Energy's $2 billion proposal and the effects on the iconic landscape.
The New South Wales Government has paved the way for the consideration of alternative energy projects such as wind farms in the Scone area.
A recent report to the Tararua District council has highlighted the need for wind farms to be included in planning.
"Unless we consider the integration of wind farms into our Tararua landscape and make decisions about whether, where and how we may accommodate them, we may well get a lower tolerance level for wind farms from our residents and an unsightly landscape," said planning solutions consultant Anne Hilson.
The next step towards a controversial $2 billion wind farm on the Lammermoor Range in Central Otago will be made public next week.
A report by Central Otago District Council-contracted planner David Whitney on Project Hayes has been completed and will be made public after the Easter break, the council's planning and environment manager Louise Van der Voort said.
Origin yesterday announced it had dropped plans to put up 19 wind turbines at Smeaton.
Wind farm opponents welcomed the news and said a "big party'' would be held to celebrate.
Resident Richard Evans, whose property was closest to the proposed wind farm site at the Tuki Trout Farm, said he was happy the issue had finally been closed.
TrustPower will formally apply today for resource consents to build a wind farm near Lake Mahinerangi capable of producing enough electricity to supply 100,000 homes a significant downsizing of its original plans.
The power generator has pruned several key features of a project initially estimated to cost $600 million. The price tag is now about $400 million, and instead of up to 150 turbines, the revised application seeks permission for a maximum of 100.
Plans have been lodged for a 110-turbine wind farm 5km south of Ballan.
WestWind Energy has submitted a planning application to build the proposed Moorabool Wind Project on approximately 5600ha of farmland.
The facility would be split into two sections:
* The Bungeeltap section (51 turbines), which would include land in Ballan, Mt Egerton, and Fiskville; and
* The Ballark section (59 turbines), which would include land in Mt Wallace and Morrisons.