A PROPOSED wind farm in Willatook has been downsized to less than 100 turbines.
Developers are working through the early feasibility stages of the project, which has been halved from its initial proposal of 200 turbines and then down again from another revised figure of 145.
The company behind the project, Wind Prospects, says a mix of two-kilometre setback laws and the introduction of more powerful three-megawatt-plus turbines mean the proposal will require fewer towers and cover less space.
Senior development manager Ben Purcell told The Standard the permit application was still some time away.
“We haven’t entered the planning stage. We’re still working through site assessments and a proposal to put to the community,” Mr Purcell said.
“It’s only at the feasibility stage. We don’t have a schedule.”
He said interest from potential turbine hosts had already been fielded.
“We’re beyond that. We’ve established landowner interest.”
The company will eventually need to file an environmental effects statement (EES) reference with the state planning minister to decide whether the project needs to be examined for specific environmental concerns.
At least two other proposed wind farms in Penshurst and Dundonnell are undergoing rigorous studies to ensure the turbines won’t effect endangered bats or brolgas.
If an EES isn’t needed the minister will hand the matter to Moyne Shire to decide on.
There is strong interest in the wind farm as it will effectively form a complex with two other proposed larger wind farms at Hawkesdale and Penshurst in addition to the 140-turbine wind farm operating in Macarthur.
“This is a project that’s got a lot of potential. There’s a good wind resource and enthusiastic landowners,” Mr Purcell said.