Inverleigh Wind Farm

Over the last 6 years Hansen has been involved in planning permit applications for a renewable energy facility in western Victoria, comprising a co-located wind and solar farm consisting of 16 turbines and 55,000 solar panels. Together, the wind and solar farms could produce in the order of 80 to 87MW of electricity, saving an estimate of up to 220,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year.

The Hansen team assisted the Ministerial Panel through expert evidence in the fields of town planning and landscape and visual impact assessment. Upon review of the Inverleigh Wind and Solar Farm Panel Report, we note that the Panel considered a broad range of issues including; the relevant planning framework, landscape and visual assessment impacts, amenity, cultural heritage sensitivity, noise, shadow flicker, flora and fauna impacts and aviation safety. On balance, the Panel considered that permits should be granted for both the wind farm and the solar farm.

Particular findings and takeways include:

  • That renewable energy projects have strong policy support.
  • The Panel was satisfied that using and developing the site for a wind and solar farm can, subject to appropriate conditions, harmoniously achieve agricultural production and renewable energy policy objectives.
  • The project is likely to have an overall positive effect on the environment.
  • The LVIA assessments, recommending landscape mitigation beyond 2km of turbines.
  • The project will make some contribution toward achieving the State’s renewable energy targets, and reducing greenhouse gases.
  • The project is unlikely to significantly impact listed and threatened flora and fauna species, native vegetation or local water or soil quality.
  • The Panel is satisfied that the noise modelling undertaken to date demonstrates that the project can meet the noise limits set out in the New Zealand Standard.
  • The project will impact on the use of the private landing strip at the Gnarwarre airfield. However, the Panel does not consider that these impacts are unreasonable.
  • While the project will impact on local traffic, particularly during construction and decommissioning, those impacts can be appropriately managed through permit conditions.
  • Based on the shadow flicker assessment provided with the application, no non-stakeholder dwellings will be exposed to shadow flicker.
  • Blade glint should not be an issue provided the blades are coated with a non-reflective finish.
  • The Panel does not consider that the construction of the wind or solar farm would lead to increased risk of fire on the site.

The approval of this project is especially welcome and important, as it sees the provision of more sources of renewable energy in Victoria.

You can read more about the project here