The 80-turbine Dundonnell wind farm near Mortlake has acknowleged community concern about the multiplicity of wind farm transmission lines and agreed to share part of its transmission infrastructure with another wind farm proposed for near the town.
The developer of the $560 million Dundonnell wind farm, Tilt Renewables, said it had reached an agreement for 15 kilometres of the 38km transmission line from its Dundonnell site to be a shared transmission line.
Shared transmission infrastructure will cost more than building a line for a single wind farm.
The Dundonnell wind farm, which is scheduled for construction from mid next year, is located 23kms northeast of Mortlake.
Another 87-turbine wind farm, the Mount Fyans project, has been proposed by Tasmanian-based company Woolnorth, for 5kms north of Mortlake on the Mortlake-Ararat Road but has yet to receive planning approval.
Tilt Renewables chief executive Deion Campbell it had worked closely with Woolnorth and electricity distributor AusNet Services to create a network solution that would reduce the amount of transmission line infrastructure.
“As it’s very rare for the industry to work together like this, it took a lot of work to establish a technical and commercial framework to make this happen,” Mr Campbell said.
Tilt’s transmission lines from the 15-turbine Salt Creek wind farm it opened near Mortlake this year created consternation with some community members and politicians saying the large pylons were obtrusive and unsafe.
Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said many pylons for the 51km transmission line from the Salt Creek wind farm to the electricity grid at Terang had been placed too close to roads and were a traffic accident risk.
Tilt said the Dundonnell wind farm started as an idea more than nine years ago when a group of local farmers engaged with developers to create a wind farm on their properties.
One of the initiators of the project, Dundonnell farmer Will Lynch, said the farmers “wanted to do more with our land in a way that was sustainable and good for the environment.”
When complete, Dundonnell has the potential to generate power for about 245,000 homes, or more than enough power for all of Ballarat, Warrnambool and Geelong.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.