Underground dig for wind farm

Construction launched: The Mortlake South Wind Farm project officially began last week, with landowner Pat Meade (from left), Moyne Shire chief executive officer Bill Millard, Corangamite Shire mayor Neil Trotter, Moyne Shire mayor Mick Wolfe, State Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, ACCIONA Energy construction manager Aurora Perez and managing director Brett Wickham celebrating the turning of the first sod.

FOLLOWING extensive community consultation, ACCIONA Energy has announced transmission lines between the Mortlake South Wind Farm and the Terang substation would be installed underground.

State Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio was on hand to officially launch the construction of the 35 turbine and 157.5 megawatt project last Friday.

While the exact route is yet-to-be-finalised, the 220 kilovolt transmission line would run about 15 kilometres from the wind farm to the Terang substation.

The route would be based on a range of factors, such as environmental, cultural heritage and engineering considerations with a focus on minimising the impact on ongoing amenity for the region.

Ms D’Ambrosio said the project would deliver a number of benefits to the region, including the creation of 90 jobs during construction and 34 jobs post-construction.

“This wind farm will create local jobs, reduce greenhouse emissions and generate enough energy to power more than 115,000 homes – boosting energy supply and bringing down prices,” she said.

“Our energy targets have been the catalyst for unprecedented renewable energy investment and jobs growth in regional Victoria.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said lessening the impact on visual amenity for the region would be a positive aspect of the project.

“We hope that will go a long way to getting the project off to a good start,” she said.

“There is a win here for everyone.”

Ms D’Ambrosio also praised the project for including a battery storage facility.

“Storage is also a very important part of our future,” she said.

ACCIONA Energy Australia managing director Brett Wickham said the decision to install the project’s transmission line underground was the result of months of community consultation.

“It’s more expensive, but it’s the right thing to do for this project,” he said.

“We examined various options, and of course we are fully aware that existing above-ground transmission lines have caused some angst locally.

“As our approach is to invest in local areas for the long term and work co-operatively with communities, we felt this decision would be the most appropriate local solution for these specific circumstances. I’d like to thank the local community for their ongoing co-operation, and we will provide more updates as the proposal develops.”

The Mortlake South project was one of six successful applicants in last year’s Victorian Renewable Energy Target reverse auction, contributing to the state’s Renewable Energy Target of 50 per cent before 2030.

Construction of the site compound on Tapps Lane began recently and also included a number of road upgrades.

Construction has been slated for July 2020, ahead of commercial operation to start in August 2020.

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