Plans to build a wind farm of up to 300MW in capacity in Tasmania’s Central Highlands are set to be put to the community, by Sydney-based renewable energy developer Epuron.
The St Patricks Plains Wind Farm proposes installing as many as 80 turbines across rural properties alongside the main transmission corridor between Hobart and Launceston – on ridges currently used for forestry plantations.
It would be a first for Epuron in Tasmania, where the company has been in the process of developing a 12.5MW solar farm in the state’s north-west, but has yet to advance any wind projects there, yet. Elsewhere in Australia the company has delivered 17 successful solar and wind energy developments since 2003.
Local papers reported on Wednesday that Epuron would hold an information session on Sunday at Steppes to introduce their proposed wind farm to the Central Highlands community.
According to the company’s website, the key considerations for St Patricks Plains include impacts to neighbours and sensitive species found on site, and providing appropriate buffer distances from nearby eagle nests and other sensitive species.
The project is just one in a spate of projects currently proposed for Australia’s smallest state, including the potentially massive Robbins Island project, which is facing growing local opposition, including from Greens founder and distinguished environmentalist, Bob Brown.
Objections to the UPC Renewables project – one of two wind energy projects that would total between 600-1000MW in capacity – include the size and visual impact on Tasmanian landscape, a lack of consultation with community, and the threat the turbines pose to bird life.
Epuron is also proposing a wind farm for the same region in Tasmania – the 13 turbine Western Plains Wind Farm – for property north-west of Stanley.
Of the St Patricks project, Epuron says the it could provide enough power to meet Tasmania’s medium-term energy needs and allow the state’s hydro resources to ramp down and save water during windy periods.
“This will support Tasmania becoming the ‘battery of the nation’ due to its ability to easily store hydro power for times when it is most needed,” he company says.
“The site is ideally located as it has strong and consistent wind speeds, a very strong powerline capacity on site, and good buffers to nearby dwellings.”
Epuron says it also plans to establish a community fund to support community initiatives in the local area.