DEVELOPERS of the proposed Penshurst wind farm say it will pump more than $7 million into the region and create more than 1200 construction jobs if the state government green lights the project.
The company behind the proposal, RES has released figures backing up the case for the massive 223-turbine wind farm that will be larger than the Macarthur wind farm located just several kilometres away.
The 30-month construction job is hoped to start in 2016 and lead to 490 direct jobs and 785 indirect jobs.
By 2018 it will have capacity to supply 15 per cent of Victoria’s homes, according to RES.
While the company has glossed up the benefits, the wind farm won’t jump through the last planning hurdles until the end of next year.
RES developer Simon Kerrison said the company was also reviewing the plans that were drawn up in 2010 — before rules for a two-kilometre setback around homes were introduced.
The company has also been forced to undertake an environmental effects statement (EES) to ensure the project won’t harm the southern bent wing bat or brolgas.
“They have all had an impact on the layout,” Mr Kerrison said.
“We will lodge our EES documents early in the new year and a decision would be expected at the end of the year.”
RES has redrawn a map for turbines that will be released next month — something that is likely to change the economic benefits spruiked by the company.
“We’ll have a better idea in the next few weeks. All of our documents will be publicly exhibited once they’ve been submitted with the state government,” Mr Kerrison said.
Turbines will be built across 10,700 hectares of farmland three kilometres south-west of Penshurst. The company is yet to decide if it will use locally-made or overseas towers.
RES is also moving to allay fears the wind farm will rip apart country roads — a claim levelled by Moyne Shire against Macarthur wind farm operator AGL.
They are investigating an on-site quarry to reduce the number of trucks crossing the south-west during construction.
If the government does approve an onsite quarry it will take up to 80 trucks a day off the road.
Moyne mayor Jim Doukas said council was still battling AGL to recover $14 million from damage around Macarthur and was sceptical about the Penshurst project until it receives a permit.
“It’s good that they’re looking at having an onsite quarry but it’s all speculation. They don’t yet have an application and they might not even get one,” Cr Doukas said.
The wind farm covers ground in both Moyne and Southern Grampians shires, who will share $1.1 million in rates during the first year of the wind farm.
Landowners with a stake in the wind farm will be paid around $65 million.
Since 2010 there has been vocal opposition from a number of Penshurst locals, including the Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians who want to see the turbines scrapped.
Most recently they said the wind farm will damage volcanic landscape features identified in the South West Landscape Assessment Study.
Once operational the Penshurst wind farm will employ 40 full-time workers while supporting 115 indirect jobs over its 25-year life span.