First wind farm inside an Australian forest plantation

Thursday 6 Apr 2023

The Latrobe Valley’s first wind farm has been approved, in a sign of Victoria’s transition away from coal-fired power. The 33-turbine Delburn Wind Farm will be the first such project built in a tree plantation in Australia. The privately owned site south of Morwell overlooks the retired Hazelwood coal-fired power station and mine, which closed five years ago.

The location was chosen because high-voltage transmission lines that were built for the power station run through the Latrobe Valley. Delburn’s turbines will tower up to 250 metres at the tip of the blades. The project is expected to create up to 186 full-time-equivalent jobs during construction – with 24 ongoing jobs over the 30-year life of the project – and power an estimated 135,000 Victorian homes with renewable energy.

Delburn’s backers say there is enough wind in the area to generate electricity, and because the weather in Gippsland is different from other wind farm locations in the north and west of the state, the region will generate electricity at different times of the day. Environmentalists have welcomed the approval, saying the operational wind farm will avoid an estimated 590,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

The wind farm is a joint venture between Cubico Sustainable Investments and OSMI Australia. Building wind farms in plantations or forests is a design approach that has been used in Europe for more than 10 years, but Delburn will be the first major one in Australia.

A 226-turbine plantation-based wind farm known as Forest Wind has been approved in Queensland and a large plantation-based project is proposed as part of the Kentbruck Green Power Hub in Victoria’s south-west. A smaller project is under development in the Macedon Ranges south of Woodend.

Source: The Age

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