Who approves a wind farm to be built?
The Victorian Minister for Planning issues planning permits for the use and development of land for a wind energy facility under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
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.
*Before 2013 permits for wind farms under 30 megawatts were issued by Moyne Shire Council.
Who approves a high voltage powerline that is built as part of a wind farm? A planning permit is required for power lines and substations to connect an energy generator (including a wind farm) to the existing electricity network.
This permit is issued by the Victorian Minister for Planning under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
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.
Who makes sure the wind farm company is adhering to the conditions on their planning permit?
Moyne Shire Council is the Responsible Authority for ensuring wind farm developers and operators comply with their planning permit conditions. Council’s Energy Projects Compliance Officer works pro-actively and re-actively (complaints and investigations) ensuring wind farms are meeting their obligations under the planning permit.
What happens if a wind farm company is not complying with these conditions?
When Council identifies non-compliance, it will work with the wind farm company to rectify any problems identified. For the most serious non-compliance breaches, enforcement action is available which includes a ladder of options starting with formal warnings, then fines, VCAT enforcement orders and /or Court prosecution.