PLANNING approval has been granted for a $600 million gas-fired power plant to be built at Tarrone, although no firm start date has been set.
More than 100 construction jobs will be generated by the project, according to Regional Cities and Major Projects Minister Denis Napthine, with some ongoing roles also in play.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy approved land rezoning for the AGL energy development that will be located along Riordans Road, located between Orford and Kirkstall.
Dr Napthine said the project was designed to capitalise on the nearby 500 kilovolt power line and the SEAGas pipeline, which carries natural gas from near Port Campbell to South Australia.
He said the new power station would be an important source of employment for the region.
“This is great news for the south-west economy — a large scale project that will create jobs right around the wider region,” the South West Coast MP said.
“Koroit, Port Fairy, Macarthur and Warrnambool businesses will all benefit from this development.
“When you take this proposed power station into account, alongside all the wind, wave and geothermal energy projects popping up right across the region, the state government is helping to provide a billion-dollar-plus investment in alternate energy.”
Moyne Shire mayor Jim Doukas said while he was pleased AGL had plans to construct a power station in the municipality, he believed the corporation should inject funds into the roads surrounding the site.
“I think AGL are aware that the community expects to see the roads being kept to an acceptable standard given that we’ve had those debates with other operators in the past,” Cr Doukas said.
AGL project manager Jeff Trompf could not confirm how the energy company would invest in the regional network of roads and said the matter was up for discussion.
Mr Trompf said the south-west project would go some way to alleviate the rising cost of electricity to householders right across the state.
Opposition energy spokes-woman Lily D’Ambrosio said Dr Napthine was “playing political games” with the announcement, claiming he had conflicting views on renewable energy.
“Denis Napthine is trying to walk on both sides of the street when it comes to renewable energy,” the Labor MP said.
“There have been no new wind energy projects in the south-west since the Coalition came to office, yet he’s trying to claim credit for them anyway while promoting the (Tarrone) project which hasn’t got off the ground yet.”
Friends of the Earth spokesman Cam Walker claimed local residents had raised concerns about the Tarrone project.
He said they were powerless to prevent construction of the project, in contrast to the two-kilometre setbacks imposed by Spring Street for wind turbines.