And generate 25 permanent jobs
A $350-MILLION wind farm north-east of Colac will create 200 jobs during construction and 25 permanent positions when complete.
Acciona Energy has lodged a development plan with the State Government for a 63-turbine wind farm at Mount Gellibrand.
The wind farm would create enough electricity for 80,000 to 90,000 homes from
Acciona Energy generation director Brett Wickham said the company bought the wind farm project with a planning permit from a developer in 2008.
He said the original plan was for a maximum of 116 turbines, with tip heights up to 150 metres.
“We’ve gone with only 63 turbines but with the original tip heights, I guess because fundamentally it reduces the visual and amenity impact and the overall cost and makes it a win-win for us,” Mr Wickham said.
“There will be about 200-plus jobs during construction and another 25 full-time staff to run the wind farm.”
He said it was Acciona’s policy to employ ”local” contractors when possible and employees from outside the region would spend money in the Colac district during the duration of the project.
“We’re looking at commencing construction in 2011 but it’s a pretty large project and it will probably take three years to be completed,” Mr Wickham said.
Colac Otway Shire mayor Brian Crook said the construction phase would “be terrific because they will be looking for lots of local tradies”.
“Twenty-five permanent jobs is very significant and in terms of green power feeding into the grid, that’s tremendous,” Cr Crook said.
Tim Gore, who owns land at Ombersley on the windfarm site, said it had been a long wait for a wind farm and it “would be great to finally see it constructed”.
Mr Gore said he had discussed wind farm opportunities with a previous developer in 2002 and later entered into an agreement to lease his land.
“There’ll be a 25-year lease, with a 25-year option and it starts when civil works start,” he said.
Mr Gore’s 404-hectare property will have 10 turbines, with the other 53 turbines spread across seven neighbouring farms.
“It will supplement our income and be quite lucrative,” he said.
“And it’s not every day 25 permanent jobs roll into Mooleric Road.”
“I don’t think wind farms are for everywhere, particularly coastal or residential areas,” Mr Gore said.
“But this is a great site; the topography is a slight incline and you get a steady regular wind.”