WORK is now under way on the Berrybank Wind Farm, with the first sod turned on the 43-turbine project on Friday.
Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosia, member for Buninyong Michaela Settle, Corangamite Shire mayor Neil Trotter and Golden Plains Shire mayor Owan Sharkey were onsite to officially launch the project which is expected to generate enough energy to power around 138,000 homes.
Mr Andrews said the $276 million project, to be built by Global Power Generation (Naturgy Energy Group), will boost renewable energy supply, as Victoria moves towards the Labor Government’s renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030.
“The 180-megawatt wind farm will provide a major boost to the local economy, delivering 213 construction jobs and 24 apprenticeships, with wind turbine assembly set to recommence in Australia for the first time in ten years,” he said.
“The brand-new Vestas Renewable Energy Hub on the former Ford site in Geelong will build the turbines for the project, which will be underpinned by 64 per cent local content under the Labor Government’s Victorian Industry Participation Policy.”
To support ongoing turbine maintenance, wind turbine technician training will also be delivered at Ballarat’s Federation University as part of the Ballarat Renewable Training Centre.
Mr Andrews said the Berrybank Wind Farm was made possible through the Labor Government’s Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) reverse auction, which will see more than 900 MW of new clean energy developed – almost 45 percent more generation capacity than anticipated – helping to drive down energy prices for Victorian families.
Together, the projects approved under the reverse auction will generate over $1.1 billion in economic investment and create more than 900 jobs, including 270 apprenticeships and traineeships in regional Victoria.
The VRET 2025 target of 40 per cent is expected to drive around $7.2 billion of investment and create more than 10,000 jobs.
“Victoria is the renewable energy capital of our nation and thanks to this investment, we’ve put Western Vitoria right at the centre – this is great for jobs and great four our state,’ Mr Andrews said.
“Whether it’s the VRET or our Solar Homes Program, we’re driving down the energy costs for families, supporting local businesses and creating thousands of jobs.”
The Berrybank Wind Farm is expected to start operations in late 2020.
Cr Trotter said the wind farm would have flow-on economic effects for both the Corangamite and Golden Plains shires, including increased trade for local businesses.
He also highlighted the wind farm’s previous commitment to provide $1.5 million to support 15 community projects in the Corangamite Shire.
“It’s great to see Global Power Generation demonstrating corporate citizenship and inveting in the future of our shire,” Cr Trotter said.
“In addition, council and Global Power Generation are working to establish a community development fund which will provide $48,000 a year for community groups.
Council will call for grant applications on an annual basis from 2021 with a committee now being formed to oversee the allocations.
Cr Trotter said a community engagement committee has also been established to provide open discussion between the developer, the community, Corangamite Shire and Golden Plains Shire during construction and once the wind farm is operating.