Mortlake South wind farm back on the agenda

THE Mortlake South wind farm is back on the agenda, with Acciona Energy looking to amend its plans for the project.

The company put plans for a number of wind farms on hold, include Mortlake South, back in 2014 in the wake of a review of the Renewable Energy Target by the then Abbott Government.

Acciona Energy’s senior manager of projects Iain Lawrie addressed last month’s Moyne Shire meeting to assure the council the wind farm was back on track.

“There have been a lot of challenges in the renewable energy industry in the last few years but that’s coming to an end,” Mr Lawrie told the meeting.

The $200 million project was initially approved by the state government in 2013.

It was expected to feature 51 turbines and be able to supply electricity to up to 41,000 homes a year.

However delays in the Mortlake South wind farm coupled with advances in turbine technology mean the plans needed to be amended, Mr Lawrie said.

He said the existing plans weren’t as efficient as they could be and Acciona would be holding more community consultation ahead of submitting an amended planning permit.

Mr Lawrie said “taller towers” combined with “newer technology” would be more efficient, meaning fewer turbines would need to be erected, taking the number from 51 down to the “low to mid 40s”, he estimated.

This in turn would the size of the wind farm while still producing the same amount of energy, he said.

Acciona Energy held a small barbecue in Mortlake in December as part of its community consultation process, but Moyne Shire councillors criticised the company for a lack of publicity around the event.

Mr Lawrie said there would be “a number of engagement processes” within the Mortlake community.

“We’re investigating opening a shop front in Mortlake a couple of days a week to have a base and a place where we can have people drop in and ask questions,” he told the Moyne Shire meeting.

The Mortlake South wind farm will be built near The Sisters along the Framlingham-Mortlake and Terang-Mortlake roads.

Acciona Energy has spruiked the employment benefits the project will bring to the district, estimating it would include up to 100 local construction jobs and approximately 10 permanent jobs on-site.

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