Wind energy and high voltage power lines

Moyne Shire is the major location for wind farm development in Victoria. This is due to the strong and steady winds, low population density and the location of electricity infrastructure such as large transmission lines and terminal stations.

Wind turbines operate on a simple principle. The energy in the wind turns propeller-like blades on a rotor. The rotor connects to the main shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity.  

Council’s current position is to oppose further development of wind farms in the Shire unless the State government implements key recommendations of the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner.

Further information about wind energy can be found here

Wind farm projects

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Wind farm planning and development

The Victorian Minister for Planning issues planning permits for wind energy facilities, more commonly known as wind farms. Permit applications are assessed using the Policy and Planning Guidelines for the Development of Wind Energy Facilities in Victoria 

Once a permit is granted the developer is required to prepare a range of plans which the Minister will endorse as part of the permit. Plans are required for managing possible impacts such as traffic, road damage, noise, shadow & flicker, television reception, environmental impacts, including soil, water, native vegetation, flora and fauna. Each wind farm is also required to have a complaints management process and register and an emergency response plan.

When the Minister has endorsed all required plans, the developer can start construction of the wind farm. Construction can take up to 2 years. A project typically includes a series of wind turbines, one or more substations, a temporary construction compound, wind monitoring equipment, access tracks, underground cabling connecting the turbines to the onsite substations and a high voltage power line connecting the wind farm to the electricity grid. A larger facility may also include a quarry, concrete batching plants during construction, and an operations and maintenance facility.

When construction is complete, the wind farm can commence operation when it is given approval from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). The wind farm can operate for around 25 years before it is decommissioned or reconditioned.

DELWP Wind Farm Planning

High voltage power lines

Wind and solar farms in Moyne Shire require new high voltage power lines to connect to the existing electricity network. These lines transfer high voltage electricity from the energy generation facilities to the existing network via substations or terminal stations that step down the electricity into lower voltage levels for everyday use. The siting and construction of these lines can have impacts on the environment and community.  Developers and contractors involved in building new power lines should engage with communities throughout the design and construction process.

Most high voltage power lines are constructed overhead with conductors supported on steel towers. High voltage power lines can be placed underground; however, this is more costly. Moyne Shire Council’s current position is to encourage all wind farm developers to place power lines underground where possible or to share power lines with other wind farm projects. 

Under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, a planning permit is required for power lines and substations to connect an energy generator to the existing electricity network. This only applies to new generators and does not apply to generators that already had planning approval on or before 15 March 2019. In addition, a planning permit may be required for associated works such as removal of native vegetation or altering access to a major road. Other approvals may also be necessary under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 or the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.