It's hardly the most convenient time of year, but why not celebrate the festive season with a new wind farm in Victoria!
The Lal Lal Wind Farm project at Yendon and Elaine near Ballarat is applying to use more modern turbines that will dramatically increase the amount of clean energy they generate. And they need your help!
The Victorian Department of Planning will assess the amendment and they will take into account the views of the community. So your voice is important.
Can you put together a short submission to the Department by Monday 21 December supporting the planned amendments?
And then you can get back to your Christmas celebrations :)
Remember - Submissions are due by 5pm Monday 21st December
The Lal Lal Wind Farm is a project of West Wind Energy and was first approved by the Victorian Planning Department way back in April 2009. The wind farm has been stopped from proceeding for six years since then, first by the global financial crisis and then by prolonged government policy difficulties under the Baillieu government and then the Abbott government.
With a bipartisan Renewable Energy Target now in place, a 2015 makeover would make the the Lal Lal wind farm a strong candidate to proceed to construction.
Already the Ballarat region is a standout performer when it comes to generating clean energy and jobs for Victoria with large wind farms at Mt Mercer and Waubra and pocket-size generators at Chepstowe and Daylesford. Adding Lal Lal to the portfolio will ensure Ballarat's place as the centre of Victoria's clean energy industry.
The proposed changes
Since 2009, wind turbine technology has dramatically improved and a single turbine is now more efficient and can generate more than double the clean energy it could in 2009, up from 1.5 megawatts to over 3 megawatts. Changing the planning permit to allow larger, more efficient turbines will greatly increase the amount of clean energy the wind farm can generate, with fewer turbines and no increase in noise.
Note that the Planning Department's decision will be about whether to improve the project with these amendments or not. So focusing on the changes themselves in your submission is useful.
What will the changes allow?
- 50% increase in the amount of electricity generated from 336 gigawatt hours (Gwh) per year to 504 Gwh per year
- 50% increase in the number of average houses powered from 61,000 to 94,000
- 33% increase in the generation capacity of the project from up to 150 MW to up to 200 MW
- 31% increase in the amount of rates paid to Moorabool Shire every year from $228,000 to $299,000
- if the project proceeds, 150-200 direct jobs will be created during construction, many of them local, with 500-600 indirect jobs. Operation will generate 15 to 20 ongoing jobs.
The specific changes being applied for are:
- Reduce permitted wind turbines from 64 to 60
- Apply a newer and more accurate noise standard
- Increase wind turbine size:
- maximum tip-height from 130m to 161m
- maximum hub height from 85m to 105m
- maximum rotor diameter from 95m to 122m
- Locate wind turbine transformers next to the towers; and
- Allow an option to relocate the substation approved for the Elaine section.
Question: Which of these photos has larger turbines?
Photomontage of view from Lal Lal township looking north to north east from edge of town
A: The first photomontage shows wind turbines with a tip height of 161m. The second shows wind turbines with a tip height of 130m. Turbines are approximately 2.8km away from the viewer in both images.
You can find more information at West Wind.