Advocacy, Engagement and Information

Information about energy development can often be technical and difficult to understand. The development process is often complex and the community express a wide range of views about the impacts and opportunities that come from energy generation projects. Council has produced 4 story boards to help build a better understanding of energy development and the wind farm planning process in Moyne.

Advocating for Moyne

Council is Advocating for Moyne so that community voices can be heard by all levels of government about energy development, particularly wind farms. Council has ongoing communications with government about a range of energy development issues including wind farm noise, setbacks, transmission lines, traffic & road management and environmental impacts.

On 6 September 2022 Council set a revised position on wind farm development. This change was informed by an extensive consultation process that collated views from a telephone survey of 400 residents and over 100 community and industry submissions. 

MOYNE SHIRE COUNCIL WIND FARM POSITION

Moyne Shire Council strongly recommends that the State Government pause the issuing of all wind farm planning permits in the Shire until strategic land use planning in the South West Renewable Energy Zone (SWREZ) is completed in consultation with Moyne Shire and other affected Councils and communities.

This is supported by ensuring that strategic planning must provide for:

  • Increased wind farm turbine buffers to 5 km from towns and settlements, 2 km from houses and 1 km from neighbouring property boundaries;
  • A methodology developed to consider cumulative impacts of wind farm development and used to assess all future planning permit applications. Assessment should include flora, fauna, vegetation communities, agriculture, emergency management, visual amenity, noise, traffic, road condition and housing availability;
  • An agreed cap on development for Moyne Shire that considers the number, location and density of turbines; distance between individual wind farms; development constraints; and cumulative impacts on residents and the environment;
  • Significant long term economic and social benefits, provided by companies and the State government for local communities and residents, incorporating local decision making. Economic development through the use of local businesses, employment and training during construction and operation of wind farms:
  • Undergrounding of high voltage power lines where technically feasible and where there are no significant environmental or heritage impacts. Where not feasible, high voltage powerlines and infrastructure should be shared between wind farm developments;
  • A decommissioning policy that includes statewide decommissioning guidelines, a strategic plan for reuse and recycling components within the State (preferably in SWREZ) and a standardised system for financial security deposit from companies before construction commences;
  • Assessment to ensure prime agricultural land and food & fibre production in the Shire is not adversely impacted;
  • Processes that ensure significant flora, fauna and vegetation communities are protected from the impacts of development;
  • Wind farm development buffers placed around airstrips and airports, and height thresholds on turbines which will retain current Minimum Safe Altitude (MSA) levels, and not impede on current Obstacle Limitation Surfaces (OLS).

 

Wind Farm Community Research

To help inform Council's revised wind farm position, a random telephone survey of 400 Moyne residents was conducted by JWS Research to understand community views about renewable energy and future construction of wind farms in the Shire. People from a range of age groups and locations across the Shire participated. You can read the Executive Summary(PDF, 593KB)  and the full report(PDF, 425KB) .

Wind Farm Community Engagement Committees

Council generally establishes a Community Engagement Committee (CEC) for each wind farm where there is community interest. CECs consist of community, developer and Council representatives. The general purpose of a Community Engagement Committee is to:

  • assist with the timely and effective flow of information between the community, the developer, Council and relevant stakeholders.
  • establish productive working relationships between the developer, the community, Council and other stakeholders.

The membership and minutes of each Community Engagement Committee are on the individual wind farm webpages. To access these pages click here 

Community Benefit Sharing

All wind farms in Moyne provide financial benefits back to the local community through community grants and other programs. For more information about a program near you go to the wind farm’s website

 

Engagement and Benefit Sharing guidelines for renewable energy

How developers engage with the community when planning, constructing and operating a renewable energy facility is very important.  Working with the community to decide how the community can benefit from the wind farm is a part of early engagement on a project.

There are a number of guidelines that set out best practice engagement for the renewable energy industry. These guidelines can be used by Councils and the community to guide discussions, with a potential developer, about best practice. 

  • Community Engagement and Benefit Sharing for Renewable Energy Development (DELWP) can be found here
  • A Guide to Benefit Sharing Options For Renewable Energy Projects (Clean Energy Council) can be found here
  • Community Engagement Guidelines For Building Powerlines For Renewable Energy Developments (Clean Energy Council) can be found here

Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner

Andrew Dyer is the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner appointed by the Australian Government. The Commissioner’s role is to receive and refer complaints from concerned community residents about wind farms, large-scale solar farms, energy storage facilities and electricity transmission lines. He also promotes best practices for industry and government to adopt, for the planning and operation of these projects.

The Commissioner releases a report annually. Observations and recommendations from the 2020 report can be found here https://www.nwfc.gov.au/observations-and-recommendations

You can make a complaint to the Commissioner via AIEC website https://www.nwfc.gov.au/making-a-complaint