Power to community – Woodend wind energy project gets go ahead

A community wind energy facility at Woodend has been given the go ahead following the state government’s approval of a planning scheme amendment to facilitate the project.
The Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group is developing the community energy park project, which is expected to include wind turbines, solar panels and battery storage.
The project will help reduce local carbon emissions and provide a source of income for residents and local sustainability projects, while increasing energy security for the region.
Community Energy Park spokesman Al Reid said it gave the whole shire the opportunity to generate enough clean energy to meet its domestic needs.
“It’s a very exciting moment for us because we have been trying to get this project off the ground for 10 years now – through several changes of government – so to finally get the green light to commence the consultation and planning stage is a huge relief,” Mr Reid said.
“Our group feels that if a community has the opportunity to generate enough clean energy to meet its own needs, then it has a moral obligation to do that.
“We shouldn’t rely on importing dirty energy produced in another region if we have the ability to generate clean energy in our own backyard.”
Mr Reid said it would likely take a couple of years of finance raising and planning before the project would be ready to launch.
“We’re probably looking at some time in 2021 for a launch,” he said.
Details of the project can now be finalised and will be subject to a detailed design, assessment and review via the planning permit application process, which includes community consultation.
The amendment to the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme is necessary to allow an application to be made to develop a wind farm on the site, as the current zoning prohibits a wind energy facility.
The state government’s ambitious renewable energy policies will ensure that 25 per cent of Victoria’s electricity generation comes from renewable sources by 2020 and create 11,000 energy sector jobs by 2025.

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