REGION - A new wind farm could be under construction in the region by the end of the year if plans for a proposed site in the Bulgana area get the community's seal of approval.
Enerfin Energy Company of Australia has announced today the commencement of a community consultation program with a permitting process for the development, construction and operation of its proposed Bulgana Wind Farm project to be submitted to the Northern Grampians Shire by mid year.
Enerfin is currently undertaking a feasibility analysis of the potential to develop and construct the wind farm over an area within the Joel Joel, Joel Joel South, Bulgana and Great Western districts.
The area is predominantly cleared land used for sheep farming, although some properties are also used for cropping. The current feasibility work on the wind farm indicates that the Bulgana Wind Farm development could comprise up to 76 wind turbines positioned across an area extending from Allanvale in the southwest to Joel South in the north east and connecting into the existing electricity transmission line near Vances Crossing Road. It is expected that the wind farm would operate for at least 25 years.
Enerfin is a company invested in the technology, energy and infrastructure sectors and is active in 25 countries with more than 12,000 employees.
The Bulgana Wind Farm would be Enerfin's first wind energy project in the Australian market.
Managing Director of Enerfin, Guillermo Planas said the company was extremely pleased to announce the start of activity in Australia.
"We are confident that the Bulgana Wind Farm Project will be a new milestone in the development of wind energy and contribute to reducing the impacts of greenhouse emission in our environment," he said.
"Depending on the outcome of our final assessments and community engagement program, we anticipate that the Bulgana Wind Farm will have a generation capacity ranging from 120-180MW, representing an investment of approximately $380 million and providing a significant stimulus to business and economic activity in the region."
The developers are calling for proprietors and other members of the Stawell, Ararat and surrounding communities to put forth their views on the proposed Bulgana Wind Farm.
Mr Planas said feedback would allow Enerfin to identify potential improvements or community concerns regarding the defign or other aspects of the proposed farm and will aid the decision making process during project development.
Those directly affected have already been made aware of the proposal, while opinion surveys will be distributed at open days in the coming months.
"We are grateful for the support and welcoming response that Enerfin has received from the involved landowners, project neighbours, the Northern Grampians Shire Council and the State Government, all of whom have been able to appreciate Enerfin's unique approach and core philosophy to delivering wind energy projects," Mr Planas said.
"We believe that Enerfin's long term commitment, combined with our values of respecting communities, technological innovation and creativity, will bring a unique partnership to the people of the Northern Grampians Shire."
A public exhibition will be held on Sunday, May 4 to provide an opportunity for the community to learn more about the proposed project and to provide input to the development process. The location of the public exhibition will be Great Western Public Hall, 103 Main Street and it will be open from 2pm to 6pm.