A planning permit has been approved for the Golden Plains Wind Farm in Victoria, which is set to be one of the largest wind farms in the country.

The Golden Plains Wind Farm, about 60km north-west of Geelong, would create hundreds of jobs and generate nearly 3,000GW hours of electricity per year – enough to power more than 400,000 homes.

Once complete, the $1.5 billion project would span up to 17,000 hectares and stop more than three million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere each year.

The planning permit approval follows the conclusion of the Environment Effects Statement (EES) by the Acting Minister for Planning, Lily D’Ambrosio, at the end of 2018. The minister’s assessment of the EES supported the project, subject to increasing the turbine-free buffer area to ensure breeding wetlands used by native birdlife are adequately protected.

The decision reflects advice from an independent expert planning panel and may result in a reduction of up to 47 turbines, from 228 to 181, with the number depending on how the proponent chooses to meet environmental restrictions.

The project must now be considered by the Federal Government for approval.

Proponent WestWind Energy will take around four years to build the project if approved.

The wind farm industry is powering ahead in Victoria with projects under construction at Lal Lal, Moorabool, Murra Warra, Bulgana and Stockyard Hill, delivering thousands of jobs to regional Victoria.

Ms D’Ambrosio said, “This project will create hundreds of local jobs, reduce greenhouse emissions and generate enough electricity to power more than 400,000 homes — boosting supply and putting downward pressure on power prices.”

The State Government has increased Victoria’s Renewable Energy Target to 50 per cent by 2030, putting more clean energy into the grid, increasing investment and driving down energy prices.

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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