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Alberton Wind Farm



Project Summary


Location: Wellington Shire, Victoria

Stage: Permitting

Possible Size: 34 Turbines

The Alberton Wind Farm site lies on privately owned land wholly within the Wellington Shire, Victoria.

The site was identified in 2008 by approach from interested landowners, however, due to lack of policy support for renewables, the project did not proceed further until 2014.

Project planning is currently under development with a Planning Permit Application having been submitted with the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning in September 2017.

Subject to planning approval the project would be constructed and commissioned over a period of twelve to eighteen months.


Project feasibility and assessment

A Meteorological Mast of 80m was on site for fourteen months to January 2016 to confirm the wind resource.
The following specialist assessments have been undertaken to confirm the suitability of the location and determine the most apporpriate locations to site turbines:


  • Aviation Safety
  • Flora & Fauna
  • Visual Amenity
  • Cultural & Heritage
  • Geotechnical Conditions
  • EMI Impacts
  • Noise
  • Grid Capacity
  • Transport Management Plan
  • Shadow Flicker

Proposed Project Layout

The Project provides for a maximum development footprint of:
  • 34 turbines with a maximum overall tip height of 200 metres;
  • Turbine hardstands
  • Use of existing and new access tracks
  • Underground and some overhead power cabling; and
  • A temporary works compound.
The Project is expected to generate 460 gigawatt hours of clean energy per year, enough for approximately 45,000 Victorian households, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 390,000 tonnes annually.
The Project has the potential to create around 115 jobs in the construction phase and 12 ongoing roles throughout its 20-30 year operation.
Once operational, a Community Fund of $80,000 per year will be set up that will support local community groups and events.
If you have any questions or feedback please Contact us

Community Benefit

The project has the potential to create around 115 jobs in the construction phase and 12 ongoing roles throughout its 20-30-year operation. Jobs will include Transport Services, Construction Services and Ancillary Services such as accommodation, meals and entertainment.

We invite any local businesses who would be interested in tendering for work on the wind farm should planning approval be received to register with us by sending a statement of capability via our Contact Us page

Subject to project approval, and once operational, a Community Fund of up to $80,000 per year (over 20 years) will be set up that will support local community groups and events (click here for further information).

Stakeholder Consultation

A program of stakeholder consultation has been undertaken within the Project's proposed location of the Wellington Shire.
Initially commencing in 2008, it was reignited in 2014 and has included:
  • 2008 - Meetings with potential host land owners were instigated by residents and held to identify interested parties
    - Wellington Shire Council Planning Department were contacted to ensure support for the project at local government level
    - After Government policy changes at a State and Federal level were made, the project was put on hold

  • 2014 - one on one meetings with potential host landowners and neighbours were held to identify the possible project area and gauge support from residents
    - a group information session was held on 4 July for residents to attend to introduce Synergy Wind and outline the planning permit process and requirements
    - further one on one and phone meetings were held with residents that were identified by the group meeting held in July 2014 or who contacted Synergy as a result of the meeting

  • 2015 Wellington Shire Council and the RAAF were contacted and notified of an 80 meteorological mast that was installed in early 2015 to confirm the wind resource.
    - after sufficient wind measurement and specialist assessments had taken place, individual meetings were held with participant landowners to agree potential turbine locations
    - once a draft layout was achieved, potential wind farm neighbours were contacted individually and two group meetings were held to provide specialist information on hand and seek input on the layout. One meeting was held in December 2015 and one in January 2016

  • 2016 - In March a meeting was held with participating landowners to confirm the agreed layout and next steps
    - Further, more detailed studies of Flora and Fauna and Cultural Heritage took place with a site visit by the RAP of the Gurnaikurnai taking place in June
    - In August, a meeting was held with Dept of Environment (Commonwealth), Brett Lane and Associates (ecological consultant) and Beverage Williams (planning consultant) regarding requirements for an EPBC referral
    - In October, a meeting was held with CASA to identify requirements.
    - In November a meeting was held in Traralgon with representatives from DELWP (Planning, Energy, Environment, Regional), Climate Change Group, Regional Development, VicRoads, Parks Victoria, Wellington Shire to provide information on the work undertaken to date and seek input on any issues identified
    - In December a site visit took place with representatives from DELWP and Wellington Shire Council officers in attendance
    - later in December a Referral of project under Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) took place.
    See: http://epbcnotices.environment.gov.au/publicnoticesreferrals/

2017 In January, the EPBC referral was published for public comment and a decision was received in March that the project was considered a "Controlled Action" and would require further environmental assessment, in bilateral agreement with the State Government.
- Presentation to the LaTrobe Valley Authority New Energy Round Table event in Churchill on 2 June 2017.
- Media releases were issued regarding the project to local and State based media outlets to announce the project and the upcoming community display period
- Public display of project information at the Yarram Hub, August 21 -25. Additionally, all specialist reports were made available via the Synergy Wind website for reading and download.
- Drop in day : Friday, 25 August
- In September a Planning Permit application was lodged with DELWP / Minister for Planning. A briefing was held for the Wellington Shire Council to provide an update on the project, community response and seek any feedback
- In November an Environmental Effects referral was lodged with DELWP. Further details, including the decision by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning regarding the EES Referral, can be found at https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/environment-assessment/ees-referrals-from-2013#Alberton
-2018 - Finalisation of a Voluntary CHMP is underway along with completing the requirements under the EES and EPBC Referrals.

Permitting

Planning Application: the Planning application for the Alberton Wind Farm was formally submitted to the Victorian State Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in September 2017 and is currently awaiting completion of the requirements under the EPBCAct Bilateral Agreement 2014 before progressing through the Planning Application Process.



News & Information



FAQ - Alberton

Why was the Alberton site chosen?
The proposed location of the Alberton Wind Farm was initially identified following an approach from interested landowners. It has a good, steady wind resource and access to the electricity grid via the 66kv cable that runs through the project site.
The area it is predominantly within the Farming Zone, as defined by the Wellington Planning Scheme, and is not within five kilometres of a residential zone, a business zone or a special purpose zone.
The proposed land use as a wind energy facility is in line with the objectives of the Rural Policy in that such use is compatible with its sustainable use for ongoing agricultural production.
It is also in line with the requirements of the State Resources Overlay which applies to the Gippsland Brown Coalfields in that it would not inhibit the eventual development and use of the coal, should that be required.

Who has been consulted?
A formal and informal program of consultation has been ongoing since 2014.
Following the initial approach from local landowners interested in hosting a wind farm, Synergy was introduced to neighbouring landowners and residents and the project grew organically from there.
Synergy spoke and met with as many people as possible in the surrounding area, either face-to-face or by phone during 2014.
Group meetings were held with those residents and landowners immediately surrounding the proposed site in late 2015/early 2016. A Q&A session and 4-day information display was also held for the broader Wellington Shire community in August 2017.

What sort of assessments have been undertaken for the project?
Extensive surveys and assessments have been undertaken including:
  • Flora and fauna reports
  • Landscape and visual impact assessment
  • Aviation Impact assessment
  • Investigation of possible impacts on broadcasting and radiocommunication services
  • Cultural Heritage Assessment
  • Geotechnical Investigation
  • Noise Assessment
  • Shadow Flicker and Blade Glint Assessment
  • Preliminary Transport Management Plan
All the above documentation is available for viewing at https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/environment-assessment/ees-referrals-from-2013

What environmental impact will the project have?
The proposed project has undergone a detailed environmental analysis - including a review of native vegetation and flora, fauna, water environments, cultural heritage and greenhouse gas emissions.
The project is not expected to have a significant impact on the environment during operation.
There will be some impact during construction including an increase in traffic volumes, and some dust from construction activities.
Further details regarding the environmental analysis, including the decision by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning regarding the EES Referral, can be found at https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/environment-assessment/ees-referrals-from-2013#Alberton

What impact will the project have on visual amenity?
The Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment determined that the visual impact of the AWF is likely to be moderate low from most of the publicly accessible locations surrounding the wind farm, and that it:
  • Would have a low visual effect on the rural/coastal townships of Toora, Welshpool and Port Welshpool
  • Would have a low visual effect on the rural/coastal townships Port Albert, Alberton and Yarram
  • Would result in moderate low (albeit short term and transitory impacts) effects on views from the South Gippsland Highway
  • Would result in generally moderate impacts on views from most local roads where fully or partially screened by roadside and/or field boundary tree planting
  • Would not have a significant visual effect from public reserves and recreational areas including any available views from state significant landscape areas such as the Norramunga Marine and Coastal Park and Wilsons Promontory National Park
The wind farm would have potential to result in a range of visual impacts on individual residential dwellings surrounding the site.
Click here for further information on the LVIA.

Will there be any noise from the wind farm?
There will be some noise from the wind farm but is unlikely to be significant.
Compliance with wind energy facility noise guidelines is compulsory.

Do wind turbines present any health risk?
The National Health and Medical Research Council convened the NHMRC Wind Farms and Human Health Reference Group from 1 February 2012 to 31 January 2015 to oversee a comprehensive review of the evidence on the possible health effects of wind farms.
That review includes the following Statement on the evidence:
  • Examining whether wind farm emissions may affect human health is complex, as both the character of the emissions and individual perceptions of them are highly variable.
  • After careful consideration and deliberation, NHMRC concluded that there is currently no consistent evidence that wind farms cause adverse health effects in humans.
    This finding reflects the results and limitations of the direct evidence and also takes into account parallel evidence on the health effects of similar emissions from other sources.
  • Given the poor quality of current evidence and the concern expressed by some members of the community, there is a need for high quality research into possible health effects of wind farms, particularly within 1,500 metres.
    The NHMRC Statement and Information Paper: Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health can be found at: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/eh57.

What approvals are required for the project?
After extensive pre-referral consultation, the plan for the Alberton Wind Farm was referred to the Federal Department of Environment and Energy for review on 23 December 2016. A decision was received on 29 March 2017 that the proposed action was deemed a ""controlled action"" under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC).

The matters of national significance raised by the decision were responded to and submitted with the Environmental Effects Statement(EES) Referral to the Victorian State Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) in November 2017. The Minister for Planning confirmed on 27 December 2017 that an EES is not required for the project.

As a controlled action the project is subject to the Bilateral Assessment Agreement between the state and federal governments which is a formal process undertaken in conjunction with the planning application process (under the state Planning and Environment Act). As part of this process the project will be advertised for public comment, and a notice will be sent to all properties registered within 5km of the proposed project area.

While timing of notification is yet to be confirmed we expect it to occur in March, 2018. At that time the planning application documents will made publicly available at the DELWP offices in Melbourne and Yarram, as well as the Wellington Shire Council. Synergy Wind will also be providing further information sessions for the local community.

Do wind farms affect property values?
While there haven't been broad scale studies into the impact of wind farms on surrounding property values in Australia, a study by Henderson and Horning on the Crookwell Wind Farm found no reduction in land or property values.

The report can be found at: http://www.valuergeneral.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/195315/Preliminary_assessment_impact_of_wind_farms_on_surrounding_land_values_in_Australia.pdf

What benefits are there for the wider community should the project go ahead?
Should the Alberton Wind Farm receive approval and go ahead, a Community Fund will be established for the project to contribute to the community in an ongoing and meaningful way during its operation.
Synergy has committed to providing $80,000 per annum for 20 years to the Community Fund, or $1.6m. Should the project be onsold, this commitment to the Community Fund would be a condition of sale.

The Funds will be administered by the community and could be used to make the area carbon neutral, provide scholarships, upgrade or maintain community assets.

Additionally, the project is expected to generate 460 gigawatt hours of clean energy per year, enough for approximately 45,000 Victorian households, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 390,000 tonnes annually.

The Project also has the potential to create around 115 jobs in the construction phase and 12 ongoing roles throughout its 20-30-year operation. Jobs will include Transport Services, Construction Services and Ancillary Services such as accommodation, meals and entertainment.

A register of personnel and services available locally to assist during the construction and operation of the project is being compiled. If you would like to be listed, please email your resume or statement of capability via the Contact Us section