The Willatook Wind Farm project
59 wind turbines
1,300 GWh annual renewable energy generation
Big battery 200MW/400MWh
Short connection to existing transmission network
Willatook Wind Farm
The proposed Willatook Wind Farm and battery storage facility is located in the Moyne Shire in south-western Victoria, approximately 20kms north of Port Fairy and 30kms northwest of Warrnambool.
The project has been in development since 2010, and is currently progressing through the planning approvals process and finalisation of an Environment Effects Statement. If approved, the project will have the capacity to produce enough clean renewable electricity to power up to 200,000 Victorian homes.
The project consists of 59 wind turbines generators, an on-site battery storage facility and associated infrastructure including an on-site quarry, access tracks, underground cabling, overhead lines, a substation and transmission powerline within the site to connect with the existing Tarrone Terminal Station.
Environment Effects Statement
Willatook Wind Farm was referred to the Minister for Planning (the Minister) in October 2018 under the Environment Effects Act 1978. On 27 December 2018, the Minister determined an Environment Effects Statement (EES) was required due to the potential for the project to have significant effects on environmental and social values. Within Victoria, the EES process is the highest level of government assessment.
The EES is an assessment process progressed by the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to provide authoritative advice to statutory decision-makers. Key Victorian decisions are:
- An approved Cultural Heritage Management Plan;
- A planning permit;
- Other possible approvals and consents, as required (eg. authorisation to remove native vegetation);
- Work plan for an on-site quarry.
Wind Prospect has prepared the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) and planning permit applications for the project, which can be viewed here.
Further information on the EES process the Willatook Wind Farm EES are available on DELWP’s website here.
In addition to a strong wind resource, an ideal wind farm site is close to transmission infrastructure and in an area where potential impacts to areas of ecological, landscape or heritage sensitivity can be either avoided or minimised and managed. It is also important that the site is appropriately zoned, has a relatively low density of dwellings in the area, and contains an open and unobstructed landscape with good road access. The detailed assessments undertaken to date indicate that the Willatook area meets these criteria. Located adjacent to the existing Tarrone Terminal Station with an excellent wind resource, the proposed location is very well suited to a wind farm development.
A successful wind farm development also benefits from a supportive local community. Wind Prospect hopes to gain such support throughout the development of this project.
Of the $800 million total cost of the project, an estimated $120 million will be retained in the region including wages, contracts and other services. There will also be benefits to local and regional businesses and service providers, including the
hospitality and accommodation sectors, through the provision of services to the construction workforce.
Ongoing economic stimulus in the region is predicted to be $158 million (calculated over 25 years) via financial returns to Moyne Shire, host landowners, neighbour benefit program payments and local wages. This includes rates to the Moyne Shire
of about $600,000 each year during the project’s operational life.
The project will contribute significantly to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target of 50 per cent by 2030 and provide enough energy to the National Electricity Market to power about 200,000 homes with renewable energy. Provided the electricity generated by the project replaces electricity generated by brown coal, this will save about 1.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
The project’s annual Sponsorship Fund of $20,000 will continue until a decision is made on the project, or the fund is replaced with a Community Benefit Fund.
If construction is approved, a Community Benefit Fund of up to $59,000 per year (based on $1,000 per turbine) will be established. A fund committee, made up of community representatives and a wind farm company representative, will develop
funding guidelines and be responsible for deciding projects or organisations to be funded.
Neighbour Benefit Program
The Neighbour Benefit Sharing Program will ensure the financial benefits of the project are shared with those closest to the project. Community feedback gathered during door knocks, information sessions, the Koroit shopfront and mail outs has
informed the program and resulted in a framework that will benefit neighbours directly. This program will be implemented if the project is approved and construction commences. View the program here.