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RES - Renewable Energy Systems
RES - Renewable Energy Systems
RES - Renewable Energy Systems

PROJECT UPDATE

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - September 2014

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Project Update

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) are currently awaiting the Federal Government's announcment on their plans for the Federal Renewable Energy Target (RET) before finalising the EES for the proposed project.  The RET review panel submitted thier recommedations to the Federal Government on 15 August 2014 (found at the link: https://retreview.dpmc.gov.au/ret-review-report-0) and an announcement on the Federal Government’s plans are to be made shortly.

In the meantime RES will continue to undertake assessments across the proposed project site to ensure that the development will have limited impacts on the local environment.

Penshurst Information Centre

From the Thursday 2nd October 2014 the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street will be open for appointments only between the hours of 11am - 3pm.

To make an appointment please could you call Simon Kerrison on 0450 699 902 or email: simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com

Appointments will need to be received and confirmed by RES at least 2 business days prior to the proposed appointment date.

Information on the Wind Farm Project

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - February 2014

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Project Update

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) are currently awaiting the outcome of the Federal Renewable Energy Target (RET) before finalising the EES for the proposed project.  The RET review is due to be finished by the end of July 2014 with an announcement on the Federal Government’s plans for the RET to be announced shortly afterwards. RES will then provide details on our plans for the project.

In the meantime RES will continue to undertake assessments across the proposed project site to ensure that the development will have limited impacts on the local environment.

Information on the Wind Farm Project

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 11:00 - 15:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

 

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - December 2013

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Project Update

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) are continuing to undertake engineering assessments across the proposed wind farm site to ensure that the revised wind farm layout will have limited impact on the surrounding environment.  RES hopes to finalise the revised layout early in the New Year and will then present this to the local community for comments.

Information on the Wind Farm Project

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 11:00 - 15:00 on the first Thursday of *every month.

*PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PENSHURST SHOP WILL BE NOT OPEN ON THURSDAY 2ND JANUARY.  IT WILL OPEN AGAIN ON THURSDAY 6TH FEBRUARY.

Christmas Wishes

RES would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - November 2013

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) rules that there is no scientific evidence linking wind turbines with bad health impacts.

Cherry Tree Wind Farm in central Victoria recently received a planning consent from VCAT after it ruled that there was no scientific evidence linking wind turbines with significant health impacts.

The tribunal's decision relied on advice from the NSW and Victorian health departments, which clearly states that noise below the hearing threshold cannot affect people's health.

More information on this decision can be found at the below link: https://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/cherry_tree_wind_farm_pty_ltd_v_mitchell_shire_council_decision.pdf

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Project Update

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) are currently undertaking engineering assessments across the proposed wind farm site to allow the wind farm layout re-design to be completed in early 2014.  Following the redesign RES will present the revised plans to the local community for their feedback prior to submitting the planning permit applications for the project to the responsible authority/ies.

Information on the Wind Farm Project

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 11:00 - 15:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - October 2013

The Way the Wind Blows - Waubra Residents Tell Their Stories

Local independent Castlemaine filmmaker Neil Barrett recently published a series of videos which interviewed some of Waubra Wind Farm's host landowners and its neighbours to discuss what impact the project is having on their lives.  From watching these videos you will notice that the large majority of people living within close proximity of the wind farm live and work happily with wind turbines.  This is a consistent response RES also receives from host and adjacent landowners at our wind farms projects worldwide.

These videos are viewable at

http://www.vicwind.org.au/waubra-videos

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Project Schedule

As advised in previous project updates, RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) were looking to finalise the Penshurst Wind Farm layout re-design by the end of this month, with the aim of holding a Public Open Day in Penshurst to present the revised layout to the local community by the end of this year.  Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances the layout update will now not be complete until early next year.  As such, the proposed Open Day has been postponed until early 2014.  RES will advise the community once the layout revision has been completed.

Southern Bent-wing Bat (SBWB) Assessment

RES recently received advice from the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI) that they and the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities are comfortable that sufficient data has been collected on the relevant SBWB population and its site utilisation across the project site, to now allow RES to now undertake an impact assessment on the species.  RES will look to undertake this once the wind farm layout has been redesigned early in 2014 and will advise the community on the outcome of this assessment.

EES Scoping Requirements

As advised last month, RES sent a request to the DTPLI to include a temporary onsite quarry as part of the project for the EES Assessment.  RES received written advice from the Minister for Planning on the 16th September 2013 that this variation request has been accepted and a revised edition of the EES Scoping Requirements has been approved.  This document can be viewed at:

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/environment-assessment/projects/penshurst-wind-farm.

Information on the Wind Farm Project

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 11:00 - 15:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

 

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - September 2013

Infrasound released by heartbeat can be higher than wind turbines

The Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants (AAAC) has recently released the findings of an investigation into the infrasound levels emitted by wind turbines, which has refuted claims that the frequencies generated by wind turbines can make people sick.

The report concluded that the levels of frequencies found near wind farms are below the threshold of currently accepted limits and that people themselves generate infrasound through their own heartbeat, which can be substantially higher than external noise source, such as wind turbines.

More information on this report can be found on the ABC news website:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-16/windfarm-results/4959556

 

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Southern Bent-wing Bat (SBWB) Assessment

 

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) recently submitted their targeted SBWB report to the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI) for their review and an external 'peer' review by a SBWB expert.

Throughout the 6 months of onsite monitoring RES recorded only 1 confirmed SBWB call across the whole site, which reinforces RES' view that the proposed project will have minimal impact on the critically endangered species.

RES will advise the community on the outcome of the DTPLI and external 'peer' review of the report in due course.

Temporary Onsite Quarry

 

Following advice from the local community and local councils RES are proposing to include a temporary onsite quarry as part of the proposed development.  Its is proposed that RES will utilise this quarry to source the majority of the material required for the onsite access tracks associated with the project.  It is anticipated that by sourcing the access track material from the onsite quarry, vehicle numbers utilising the local roads during peak construction could reduce by up to 80 a day.

Project Variation

In August 2013, RES submitted a project variation request to the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) to include the temporary quarry in the 'proposed action' for their assessment of the project. This request was subsequently accepted by a delegate of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Water.

RES has also submitted a similar variation request to DTPLI for a quarry to be assessed within the EES for the project. RES are currently awaiting a formal response to this request.

It is anticipated that RES will submit a draft work plan for the temporary onsite quarry to be publically exhibited at the same time as the Penshurst Wind EES and the associated planning permit applications.

Information on the Wind Farm Project

 

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 11:00 - 15:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

 

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - July/ August 2013

August Windy Enough to light up 155,000 homes for a whole year

August broke records for wind power across the country with South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales all hitting new highs for the month.

Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh said South Australia's wind farms provided the equivalent of just under 40 per cent of the state's power for the whole period. "South Australia's wind farms produced the lion's share of the country's wind power in August, but the new Macarthur Wind Farm in western Victoria is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and provided a huge clean energy boost.

"The energy from all the wind farms in South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales would be enough to power 155,000 Australian homes for a whole year. To look at it another way, this is enough to power the Sydney Opera House for the next 57 years.

"These recent statistics add to results published by the Australian Energy Market Operator last week which showed that more than a quarter of South Australia's power came from wind power over the last financial year.

"Australia's Renewable Energy Target is supporting projects that generate jobs and investment as well as clean energy," he said.

This analysis was provided by consultancy and software firm IES using data sourced from the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Southern Bent-wing Bat (SBWB) Assessment

Following extensive onsite assessments RES are currently finalising its SBWB assessment report which will be submitted to the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure within the next few weeks for review.  Once this document has been reviewed RES will look to complete all other onsite assessments prior to holding an Open Day in Penshurst by the end of the year.  RES will inform the community on the date of the Open Day in due course.

Information on the Wind Farm Project

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 11:00 - 15:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

 

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - June 2013

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Environmental Assessments

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) are reaching the conclusion of all environmental assessments required for the Penshurst Wind Farm EES.

It is anticipated that the majority of the 'onsite' assessments will be completed by the end of July 2013.  Following this, RES will then work on updating the wind farm layout with the aim of presenting this to the local community in October 2013.

RES will continue to keep you updated on the status of this schedule over the next few months and will advise the community of any delays.

Social Perception Assessment on Landscape Values

On 21st May 2013 our social consultant's Pax Populus undertook a 'focus group' workshop in the Volcano Centre, Penshurst, to gauge community attitudes towards the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm, particularly in relation to the Landscape Values of the area.

The outcomes of this workshop will feed into our wind farm layout design, which as advised above, is due to be undertaken over the next few months.  Further community studies on Landscape Values may also be undertaken in the area following the layout update, and prior to RES submitting the project into planning (scheduled for the first quarter of 2014).

The outcomes of the workshop will be documented within our EES which is scheduled to be available for public comment in the first quarter of 2014.

New Wind Farm Poll reveals 70% support for Wind Power

As published in the Ballarat Courier recently, a new study undertaken by Essential Research, who are an independent market research company, has indicated again that there is a high level of public support for wind power in Australia.  This study indicated that 76% of the respondents supported building wind farms in Australia to produce renewable energy.

This report can be found at the below link.

http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/1552931/new-poll-reveals-70-percent-support-for-wind-farms/

Information on the Wind Farm Project & change in Opening Times for the Penshurst Information Centre

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607 or email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com.

Please also feel free to visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst which from the 4th July 2013 will open between the hours of 11am - 3pm on the first Thursday of every month.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - May 2013

Victorian Department of Health - Wind Farms, sound and health booklets

On the 1st May 2013 the Victorian Department of Health released two information booklets on wind farms, sound and health.  These documents are available to download at the following webpage:

http://www.health.vic.gov.au/environment/windfarms.htm

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) would strongly recommend anybody with queries regarding wind turbines and health to read these booklets.  The Department of Health are a Government body and are impartial in the wind farm debate.

In summary these documents, like numerous recent peer reviewed scientific studies reviewing wind farms and health, concluded three key points:

  • "the current evidence does not support claims that inaudible sounds (from wind turbines) can have direct physiological effects"
  • "Recent research indicates that an expectation of symptoms (due to noise omitted by wind turbines) may lead to increased reporting of health complaints associated with wind turbines"
  • "There are many sources of infrasound (the reported cause of the alleged 'wind turbine syndrome' by wind farm objectors) in the environment and it is even produced by the human body, at much greater levels than infrasound from external sources such as wind farms.  Humans have been exposed to high levels of infrasound throughout our evolution, with no apparent effects".

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Southern Bent-wing Bat (SBWB) Assessment

RES are reaching the conclusion of the SBWB assessment across the proposed wind farm site.  It is anticipated that the data collection for this assessment will be complete by the end of May 2013 and RES will then aim to meet with key statutory bodies to discuss the results of this assessment in June.  Following this meeting, RES will look to modify the current wind farm layout (taking into consideration the results of the SBWB assessment and other assessments conducted over the past 24 months) and will present this to the wider community at our next Penshurst Wind Farm Open Day which is scheduled for Spring 2013.

Information on the Wind Farm Project

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - April 2013

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

As advised in previous project updates, RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) are continuing to monitor for Southern Bent-wing Bats across the proposed wind farm site.  RES are hoping to conclude this assessment by June this year and will then subsequently hold a Community Open Day in Penshurst to inform the community on the results of this assessment, and other assessments conducted across the site over the past 2 years.  RES will advise the community of the date of this event in due course.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or queries about the proposed project, or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607 or email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com.  Or visit the Penshurst Wind Farm Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

Wind Farms and Health Impacts

Over the past few weeks there have been two important scientific papers which have been released which have covered the topic of wind turbines and health.  Both these papers have suggested that the 'wind turbine syndrome' is a psychological phenomenon caused by the suggestion that turbines make people sick, rather than the turbines themselves causing symptoms.  These papers are discussed below:

Can Expectations Produce Symptoms from Infrasound associated with Wind Turbines? Fiona Crichton et al, University of Auckland, March 2013.

A landmark study by  Fiona Crichton at the University of Auckland recently showed that propaganda linking the low levels of noise from wind to sickness is a strong cause of anxiety related symptoms which has been labelled 'Wind Turbine Syndrome'.

The findings backed up previous  reports in Australia which indicate that increased concern about health risk associated with exposure to environmental hazards is associated with elevated symptom reporting, even when no objective health risk is presented.

This suggests psychological expectations could explain the link between wind turbine exposure and health complaints.

This study can be found at the following website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23477573

Spatio-temporal differences in the history of health and noise complaints about Australian wind farms: evidence for the psychogenic, "communicated disease" hypothesis - Simon Chapman et al, University of Sydney, March 2013

This Study undertaken by Prof. Simon Chapman has found that "wind turbine sickness" is far more prevalent where anti-wind farm lobbyists have been active and it appears to be a psychological phenomenon caused by the suggestion that turbines make people sick.  This is due to the nocebo effect where the belief something would cause an illness created the perception of illness.

This study can be found at the following website:  http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/8977/4/Complaints%20FINAL.pdf

For more information on this topic please do not hesitate to contact RES.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - March 2013

Wind Farm and Property Prices

Over the past month RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) has noted that there have been a number of media articles discussing the effect of wind farms on property prices.

Over the past 10 years numerous studies have been undertaken in Australia and internationally to determine whether wind farms impact on the property prices of neighbouring landholdings.  The results of some of the key studies undertaken in Australia are shown below:

Preliminary Assessment of the Impact of Wind Farms on surrounding land values in Australia - NSW Department of Lands, August 2009

http://www.lpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/117621/t0L51WT8.pdf

This report found that wind farms do not appear to have negatively affected property values in most cases.  The report also found that there were no reductions in sale price for rural properties or residential properties located in nearby townships with views of the wind farm.

Land Value Impact of Wind Farm Development - Crookwell NSW - Henderson & Horning Pty Ltd, February 2006

 

http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/asp/pdf/07_0118_gullen_ea_att_3_7_landvalueassessment.pdf

This report studied 78 property sales over 15 years around the Crookwell wind farm in NSW and found "There was no measurable reduction in values of properties that have a line of sight to the Crookwell 1 Wind Farm".

Also the Pyrenees Council outlined in their August 2012 Council Meeting Minutes that the property prices in Waubra, which is located adjacent to the operational 128 wind turbine Waubra Wind Farm, have increased by over 10% over the past 2 years, which is the highest property value rise in Pyrenees Shire over this period. The minutes to this meeting can be found at the below link.

http://www.pyrenees.vic.gov.au/Your_Council/Councillors/Council_Meetings/21082012

Penshurst Wind Farm

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

As advised in our February 2013 update RES are currently monitoring for Southern Bent-wing Bat activity levels across the proposed wind farm site and will advise of the results of this assessment once completed.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607 or email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com.

Please also be aware that the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst will be open this month on Thursday 14th March 2013 between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00 instead of Thursday 7th March 2013.  Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - February 2013

South Australian EPA says no issue with inaudible wind farm noise

A report released by the South Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has finally put to rest a common myth about wind farms - that they create dangerous levels of infrasound, or sound too low for humans to hear, that can be harmful to people who live near wind turbines.

The EPA's report found that the level of infrasound from wind turbines is insignificant and no different to any other source of noise, and that the worst contributors to household infrasound are air-conditioners, traffic and noise generated by people.

The EPA's study concluded that the level of infrasound at houses near wind turbines was no greater than in other urban and rural environments, and stated that "the contribution of wind turbines to the measured infrasound levels is insignificant in comparison with the background level of infrasound in the environment".

Infrasound is sound that is lower than 20 cycles per second (Hertz), and cannot be detected by normal human hearing. Some anti-wind farm campaigners have argued that wind turbines generate levels of infrasound that cause health effects in people living close by.

This latest report comes on top of the findings of a South Australian Senate committee on wind farms and excessive noise, which said in a report in November last year that "there is no evidence to suggest that inaudible infrasound (either from wind turbines or other sources) is creating health problems".

The EPA report can be found at http://www.epa.sa.gov.au/xstd_files/Noise/Report/infrasound.pdf

Penshurst Wind Farm Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Southern Bent-wing Bat (SBWB) Assessment

In January RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) installed the last two masts on the proposed wind farm site for the late summer/ autumn 2013 Southern Bent-wing Bat Assessment.

Over the next 4 months RES will utilise the bat monitoring equipment installed on the 6 masts located on the proposed site to ascertain the sites SBWB activity level and to determine whether the species fly above 20 metres at height, which is the area of most risk to this bat species.  Upon collecting this data and the completion of the survey RES will determine the level of risk the proposed wind farm would pose on the species and will look to adapt the wind farm layout accordingly.

RES will inform the community on the results of this assessment once the data collection and analysis has been completed.

Wind Farm Layout Revision

RES are currently finalising all other environmental and engineering assessments across the proposed wind farm and external grid route site, with the aim of completing these within the next few months.  Following this, RES will update the proposed wind farm and grid route layout which will be presented at our 3rd Community Open Day in Penshurst in June or July this year.  RES will advise on the date for this event within the next few months.

Information on the Wind Farm Project

If you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - January 2013

Environment Effects Statement Update

Southern Bent-wing Bat (SBWB) Assessment

During December, RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) successfully installed one further mast on the proposed wind farm site for the SBWB Assessment.  The remaining two masts for the assessment are due to be installed in mid-late January to ensure the assessment captures the critical late Summer/ Autumn period when a higher population of SBWB should be present in the region.

As advised in the October/ November update, RES will keep the local community informed on the progress and results of this survey.

Information on the Wind Farm Project

If you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - November/ December 2012

Environmental Effects Statement (EES) Update

Southern Bent-wing Bat (SBWB) Assessment

As advised in our September/October 2012 updates, RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) are installing 6 masts across the wind farm site to determine whether the SBWB fly at wind turbine blade swept heights.  This survey will assist us in understanding what impact the proposed development may have on this species.

To date, we have fully installed 3 of the 6 masts onsite and they are currently collecting data across the site.  RES hope to install and commission the three additional masts by the end of this year with the aim of having all masts collecting data from the beginning of January 2013.

RES will then collect SBWB data throughout late Summer and Spring when it is anticipated that the highest population of the bats will be present within the region.  Upon completion of this survey, RES will advise the local community of the results of this assessment.

EES Process Update

Early in the New Year, RES hopes to finalise the majority of all the required environmental, engineering and technical assessments across the wind farm site.  Upon this, we would look to update the current wind farm layout with constraints which we have identified over the past 2 years.  Following the layout update, we will hold another Community Open Day in Penshurst to present our revised plans and to discuss the results of our various assessments.

Australian Senate Committee on Wind Farm Noise

Earlier this month the Senate Environment and Communication Legislation Committee released a report which once again found no link between health effects and noise from wind turbines.

This report was commissioned following Senators John Madigan and Nick Xenophon proposing a bill to the Senate which would limit the noise levels omitted from wind turbines.

In this report the Senate concluded:

"The committee concludes that, while it is possible that the human body may detect infrasound in several ways, there is no evidence to suggest that inaudible infrasound (either from wind turbines or other sources) is creating health problems. In contrast,  there is an established literature confirming the existence of psychogenic, or "nocebo", effects in general, and at least one study suggesting they may be responsible for symptoms in some wind turbine cases."

This report can be found at:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=clac_ctte/impact_rural_wind_farms/report/c01.htm

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

Lastly, RES would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - October 2012

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Southern Bent-wing Bat (SBWB) Assessment

Over the past 4 weeks RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) has installed two of the four further masts which are being installed on the proposed wind farm site, for the EES Southern Bent-wing Bat Assessment.  These 50m masts have been erected to the east of Stonefield Lane (approximately 7km south of the junction with Penshurst-Warrnambool Road) and to the west of Gazette Lane within the Gazette property.

RES are hoping to erect the 2 further masts, and install the monitoring equipment on the two existing masts, by the end of October 2012 to ensure that the survey captures the 2012 spring season.

As mentioned in September 2012 project update, RES will endeavor to keep the community informed on the progress and results of this assessment.

'It's a myth that wind turbines don't reduce carbon Emissions' - Guardian Newspaper, 26 September 2012

On the 26 September 2012, the Guardian Newspaper in the United Kingdom (UK) released a review on data they had obtained from the UK National Grid which conclusively proved that 'the assertion that wind turbines do not reduce carbon emissions is a myth'.

The essence of the wind skeptics' case, particularly in the UK (and elsewhere), is that a scaling up in wind power will have to be 'backed up' by a massive investment in gas fired stations, which would result in no carbon savings from the generation of electricity from wind turbines.  If this was the case, the recent windy conditions in the UK would have seen a considerable use of Gas power stations as wind power input into the grid ramped up and down.

On the contrary, this review showed that there was a strong correlation between the windiness and a reduction in gas power generation during this period.

Further details on this report and its discussion can be read at the following website link - http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/sep/26/myth-wind-turbines-carbon-emissions

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - September 2012

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Southern Bent-wing Bat Assessment

As discussed in last month's project update RES are now in the process of commencing further Southern Bent-wing Bat surveys across the proposed wind farm site.  This further assessment entails potentially assessing whether the bats fly at wind turbine blade swept height which is zone of greatest impact to bats from wind turbines.

To assess whether the bats fly at blade swept height, RES are installing microphones at 50m height on the two existing wind monitoring masts on the proposed wind farm site, which will record bat calls up to 80m above ground level.  To record a larger data set for this assessment, RES are also going to install a further 4 masts across the wind farm site this month.  All four of these masts will also have the bat recording devices attached at 50m height.  Two of these masts will also have wind monitoring equipment attached to the structures which will record wind speed and direction across the site.

RES will endeavor to keep the community informed on the progress and results of this assessment over the next few months.

Brolga

RES would like to thank those members in the community who have passed on sited Brolga records in the area over the past few weeks. This information will be considered when we update the wind farm layout in the near future.

Please be aware that Brolga's could be nesting in the Penshurst region for at least the next 8 weeks,  so any further additional records from members of the community during this period would be much appreciated.  If possible, please could any new records be forwarded onto Simon Kerrison at either simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or PO Box 1274, Crows Nest NSW 1585.

Wind Power Revs Up

The recent windy weather across South Australia and Victoria highlighted the potential of wind energy in Australia.  The Clean Energy Council advised that data from the Australian Energy Market Operator showed that 55 percent of all electricity used by South Australians last Tuesday was generated by wind power, whilst on Monday wind power briefly provided 85 per cent of the total.

Whilst in Victoria, last month Australia's largest wind farm, Waubra near Ballarat, generated its highest output since it began operating 3 years ago, sending enough electricity into the national grid to power 140,000 homes, or Ballarat and Geelong combined.

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - August 2012

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Southern Bent-wing Bat Assessment

Over the past 12 months RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) has been liaising with the Victorian Department of Planning & Community Development (DPCD), Victorian Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE) and the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) to determine the level of surveys required for the Southern Bent-wing Bat for the EES.

RES now has an understanding of the design requirements for this survey and are hoping to commence the further assessments on the site at the beginning of September.  It is anticipated that these surveys will conclude in early 2013.

Following the completion of these surveys RES plans to finalise all further assessments on the site and update the wind farm layout accordingly.  RES will then host another 'Public Open Day' in the town to receive feedback on the project prior to submitting the project into planning.

Brolga

Due to the amount of rain received over the past 4 weeks RES has become aware that Brolga's have started to nest in the area.  To ensure that the proposed wind farm project is designed to minimise the impact on this endangered species, RES would appreciate any information from the community on Brolga nesting sites within the region.  Please could this information be sent to one of the following addresses:

Post: RES, PO Box 1274, Crows Nest NSW 1585; or

Email: Simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com

Lastly, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update July 2012

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Over the past 4 weeks RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) has been liaising with the key statutory authorities to agree when key environmental assessments should be conducted on the proposed wind farm site for the EES.  RES hopes to reach an agreement on these matters over the next few weeks and will then inform the community if the timings of the assessments will result in any delay of the proposed project being submitted into planning.

Wind Farm Investment, Employment and Carbon Abatement in Australia

Sinclair Knights Merz recently undertook an independent study on behalf of the Clean Energy Council which presents an updated national and state-based snapshot on wind farm investment, employment and carbon abatement.

This study highlighted the following points:

  • Over $4 billion of investment has been generated by wind power in Australia since the technology started operating;
  • Based on current projects, there is the potential for an additional $17.8 billion investment to be made in local areas surrounding wind farms;
  • The wind industry currently employs just over 1,700 people directly and approximately 5200 jobs in total; and
  • For every 50 MW of capacity (the Penshurst Wind Farm capacity is currently proposed to be 758.2MW), a wind farm results in indirect employment during the construction phase of approximately 160 people locally, 504 state jobs and 795 nation-wide jobs.

This report can be found at the following webpage:

http://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/resourcecentre/reports.html

Penshurst Wind Farm Information Centre

Due to unforeseen circumstances the Penshurst Information Centre did not open on Thursday 5 July 2012, as previously advertised. RES apologises for any inconvenience caused in relation to this.  To compensate for this, RES will be opening the shop this Thursday (12 July 2012) between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00.  We hope to see you there.

Lastly, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com.

 

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - June 2012

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Following the release of the EES Scoping Requirements in April 2012, RES are now in the process of engaging external consultants to undertake further environmental assessments on the proposed wind farm site and the external transmission line route.  Work currently being undertaken includes:

  • Southern Bent Wing-Bat Assessments;
  • Geomorphological Assessments;
  • Review of acoustic work undertaken to date;
  • Initial Catchment Values Assessment;
  • Initial Cultural Landscape Assessment;
  • Agricultural Aviation Assessment; and
  • Cultural Heritage Assessment along the external transmission route.

RES are due to commission further environmental assessments on the proposed wind farm/ external transmission line site over the next few months with the aim of completing all assessments by the end of the year.  Following the completion of these assessments, RES will hold its third Community Open Day in Penshurst which will inform the community on the findings of these assessments and how identified constraints have been accommodated within the wind farm layout.

Wind Turbines and Health Impacts

RES would like to clarify the current status of credible scientific peer reviewed research into wind turbines and health impacts.

In July 2010 the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released a document titled 'Wind Turbines and Health - A rapid review of the evidence'.  For this document the NHMRC reviewed 29 independent national and international reports and papers and came to the conclusion to support the  Statement that 'There are no direct pathological effects from wind farms and that any potential impact on humans can be minimized by following existing planning guidelines'

Recently, there has been media attention suggesting that infrasound and low frequency noise emitted from wind turbines is making people sick.  To date there is no independent peer reviewed scientific evidence that this is the case.  On the contrary there have been over 17 recent reviews of the research literature on wind turbines and health which have concurred with the statement 'to date, no peer reviewed scientific journal articles demonstrate a casual link between people living in proximity to modern wind turbines, the noise (audible, low frequency noise or infrasound) they emit and resulting physiological health effects' (Knopper and Ollson: "Health effects of wind turbines: A review of the literature",  Environmental Health 2011, 10:78).

Despite this, RES fully supports the continuing review into the science of wind turbines and health by the NHMRC.

Community Polling on Wind Farms

Numerous studies have been undertaken in Australia over the past few years which have assessed public opinions on wind farms in regions where they have been built.  Findings of these studies are shown below:

  • NSW Government (Nov 2010) - Community attitudes to wind farms and renewable energy in NSW

In 2010 the NSW Government commission an independent polling company to survey over 2000 residents and 300 businesses in regional areas in NSW on attitudes to wind farms and renewable energy. It is the most comprehensive survey of community attitudes to wind farms and renewable energy in NSW. The research found very strong support for wind farms amongst the NSW Community.  This research found that 81% of those surveyed support wind energy.

( http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/climatechange/10948commattwind.pdf)

  • CSIRO (Nov 2011) - Exploring community acceptance of rural wind farms in Australia: a snapshot.

This study assessed 9 wind farm communities in Australia and found that there is strong community support for the development of wind farms, including support from rural residents who do not seek media attention or political engagement to express their views.

http://www.csiro.au/Organisation-Structure/Flagships/Energy-Transformed-Flagship/Exploring-community-acceptance-of-rural-wind-farms-in-Australia.aspx

  • Pacific Hydro (Jan 2012) - Community Polling at 10 wind farm communities in Australia.

This study involved a telephone survey interviewing 1000 residents in ten wind farm communities across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia

This study found that the level of support for wind farms was 83% overall with just 14% opposed to their development. While there is overwhelming support across all regions, support was higher in Victoria and South Australia than in selected NSW regions.

http://www.pacifichydro.com.au/2012/01/17/communities-say-yes-to-wind farms/?language=en

  • TRU Energy (Feb 2012) - Mid North Community Survey Summary

In March 2011, a formal research study was undertaken by Roaring 40s/TRU Energy to help better understand the views, attitudes and perceptions of the Waterloo Wind Farm from its local community. 358 Mid North residents were surveyed between 3-17 March 2011 via a telephone survey.  Of those people surveyed 70% stated that they support wind power with 18% undecided.

http://www.truenergy.com.au/assets/About_Assets/Docs/TRUenergyMidNorthCommunitySurveySummaryFINAL_ONLINE.pdf

  • Infigen  (May 2012)- Community Perceptions of Wind Farms

A telephone survey of residents and local businesses of Bungendore and Tarago, New South Wales near the constructed Capital Hill Wind Farm was conducted to understand the communities' thoughts on the development. In total 234 surveys were conducted.  This assessment determined that 69% of the respondents would support future wind farm developments in the area.

http://www.infigenenergy.com/Media/docs/Infigen---Capital-Wind-Farm-Business-Community-Research-April-2012-2-4a724e1d-4dfb-4b04-acfa-85984b191aeb-0.pdf

These studies show that wind power is still overwhelmingly supported by local communities in areas where wind farm projects have been built.

If you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm or wind energy in general, please do not hesitate to contact RES by phone on: 02 9431 7607, email at simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com or visit the Penshurst Information Centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00 on the first Thursday of every month.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - May 2012

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

On 11 April 2012 the Minister for Planning released the EES Final Scoping Requirements for the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm.  This document outlines the issues which are required to be addressed within the EES documentation.  Key issues which are to be covered include:

  • Biodiversity and Habitat;
  • Brolga;
  • Southern Bent-wing Bat;
  • Matters of National Environmental Significance;
  • Landscape Values;
  • Geological and Geomorphological values;
  • Visual Amenity, including blade glint and shadow Flicker;
  • Noise and vibration;
  • Electromagnetic interference;
  • Social effects;
  • Economic effects;
  • Land use effects;
  • Traffic and roads;
  • Aboriginal Cultural Heritage;
  • Non-Aboriginal Cultural Heritage;
  • Water environs; and
  • Soils.

This document is downloadable on the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) website ( http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/environment-assessment/projects/penshurst-wind-farm) and is available in the Penshurst Wind Farm Information Centre.

Following the release of this document, RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) are now in the process of completing all the requested assessments with the aim of submitting the project into planning in early-mid 2013.

As stated in last month's update, RES hopes to hold its next Community Open Day in Penshurst at the end of this year or the beginning of 2013, once all the requested assessments have been completed and prior to applying for the planning permit applications.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the project, please feel free to visit the Penshurst Information Centre on the first Thursday of every month (between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00) or contact RES on 02 9431 7600.

Penshurst Wind Farm - April 2012 Update

Environmental Effects Statement (EES) Update

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) are currently still awaiting the release of the final Environment Effects Statement (EES) Scoping Requirements for the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm by the Victorian Minister for Planning (Minister).  RES are hoping that this document is released over the next few weeks so they can start to finalise all environmental assessments on the proposed wind farm site as soon as possible.

Southern Bent-wing Bat Surveys

As part of the EES, RES has recently received advice from the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) however, which requests that further Southern Bent-wing Bat surveys are undertaken across the wind farm site this September and potentially in January 2013 also.

Due to this request, it is anticipated that the next Community Open Day in Penshurst will be held either at the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013, once the bat surveys have been completed.  This request has also caused a slip in the project schedule with the planning permit applications for the project now expected to be submitted into either the local councils or to the Minister in early-mid 2013.

RES will endeavor to keep the local community informed on the progress of the Southern Bent-wing Bat surveys and the status of the project schedule.

Penshurst Wind Farm Information Centre

RES would like to thank those people in the community who have visited the Penshurst Wind Farm Information Centre during its opening hours over the past few months.  The information gathered has been much appreciated and will be acted upon, where appropriate, when we update the wind farm layout either at the end of this year or the beginning of 2013.  As a reminder, the Penshurst Wind Farm Information Centre is open on the first Thursday of every month between the hours of 9am - 5pm.  The Information Centre can be found at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst VIC 3289.

Lastly, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm please do not hesitate to contact RES on 02 9431 7600 or feel free to visit our information centre on Thursday 3 May 2012, between the hours of 9am - 5pm.

Penshurst Wind Farm - March 2012 Update

Environmental Effects Statement (EES) Update

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) are currently awaiting the release of the final Environment Effects Statement (EES) Scoping Requirements for the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm by the Victorian Minister for Planning (Minister).  As mentioned in the previous update, once this document has been released by the Minister RES will start work on finalising the EES and the associated planning permit applications, with the aim of applying for planning consent by the end of 2012.

Prior to applying for planning consent, however, RES will hold another Community Open Day in Penshurst to outline revised plans which are currently being developed.  At this event, RES will seek feedback from the community on the revised plans and these comments will be considered prior to submitting the project into planning.

10 km Danger Zone?

RES are aware that an organisation called 'the Waubra Foundation' recently released a statement suggesting that there should be a 10 km exclusion zone between wind turbines and homes based on the Waubra Foundation's own field research on the potential impacts the wind farms may have on human health.

To date, the Waurbra Foundation has not released the results of its field work which has resulted in their claim that a 10 km exclusion zone is required.  On the contrary, there has been numerous peer reviewed scientific papers that have concluded that 'there are no direct pathological effects from wind farms and that any potential impact on humans can be minimized by following existing planning guidelines'.  This statement was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council in their Wind Turbine and Health 'review of the evidence' report in July 2010.

RES supports the recommendation by the Senate Inquiry into the Social & Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms in Australia that Commonwealth Government studies into wind farm noise and health should be conducted.

RES also supports the continuing review into the science of wind turbines and health by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Brolga

As part of the Penshurst Wind Farm EES, RES are currently undertaking an extensive Brolga Assessment within the vicinity of the proposed wind farm site.  As part of this assessment RES are required to obtain any known Brolga records from local landowners and/or the local community.  As such, RES would very much appreciate any Brolga records the local community may know about.

If you are aware of any such records, please could you forward this onto one of the following addresses:

Email: info-australia@res-ltd.com

Post:  PO Box 1274, Crows Nest, NSW 1585

Lastly, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm please do not hesitate to contact RES on 02 9431 7600 or feel free to visit our information centre at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst on Thursday 5th April 2012, between the hours of 09:00 - 17:00.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - January/ February 2012

Environmental Effects Statement (EES) Update

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) would like to inform the local community that the public exhibition of the draft scoping requirements for the Penshurst Wind Farm EES closed on Wednesday 21 December 2011.  RES has been advised by the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) that 10 public submissions were made to this document during this period.  The DPCD are now in the process of reviewing the submissions prior to the Minister for Planning issuing the final scoping requirements for the project.  RES will inform the community once this document has been released.

Once this document has been issued RES will start work on finalising the EES and the associated planning permit applications, with the aim of applying for planning consent for the project by the end of 2012.

Penshurst Wind Farm Information Centre

RES are pleased to announce the opening of its 'Penshurst Wind Farm Information Centre' at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst.  The shop will initially be open on the first Thursday of every month between the hours of 9am - 5pm to give the local community an opportunity to view the current plans of the site, and to ask RES representatives questions about the proposed development.

We hope to see you there at the next opening on Thursday 1 March 2012.

If you would like to view our plans or discuss the proposed development with RES but you are unavailable during the Information Centre's opening hours, however, please contact RES on either 02 9431 7607 or at info-australia@res-ltd.com and we will arrange to meet with you at another time.

'Exploring community acceptance of rural wind farms in Australia: a snapshot' CSIRO 2012

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) recently released a report exploring the community acceptance of rural wind farms in Australia.

This assessment employed a range of methods to gauge the level of support for wind farms, including a literature and information review, a media analysis of newspaper articles, case studies of 9 operating wind farms and semi-structured qualitative interviews with a range of stakeholders associated with wind farms.

The main finding of this report was that there is stronger community support for the development of wind farms than might be otherwise assumed from media coverage.  This includes support from rural residents who do not seek media attention or political engagement to express their view.

The findings are consistent with many other similar assessments including the recent Pacific Hydro polling which indicates overwhelming support for the construction of wind farms.

This assessment involved a telephone survey, conducted by an independent research company, which interviewed residents in 10 wind farm communities across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.  The level of support for wind farms was 83% overall.

The results of both assessments confirm that the majority of regional Australians support wind generation and continue to have positive attitudes towards wind farms in their local communities.

These reports can be found at the following website addresses:

http://www.csiro.au/Organisation-Structure/Flagships/Energy-Transformed-Flagship/Exploring-community-acceptance-of-rural-wind-farms-in-Australia.aspx

http://www.pacifichydro.com.au/2012/01/17/communities-say-yes-to-wind-farms/?language=en

Regards,
RES

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - December 2011

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

On 1 December 2011 the Minister for Planning released the EES draft scoping requirements for the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm for public comment, for a period of 15 business days.  This document sets out the range of environmental matters to be investigated and documented in the EES.

Hard copies of this document can be obtained from the Penshurst Post Office, Southern Grampians and Moyne Shire Council offices in Hamilton, Port Fairy and Mortlake.  Alternatively, it can also be downloaded from the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) website at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/ees.

Interested parties are invited to submit comments on the document by 5pm on Wednesday, 21 December 2011.

For further information on the draft scoping requirements please contact Moira Lavery from the DPCD on (03) 9223 5368.

Penshurst Wind Farm Information Centre

RES Australia (RES) are pleased to announce that in the New Year it is to set up a wind farm information centre in the town of Penshurst.  This centre will provide information on the proposed development and on wind energy in general.

The information centre will be located at 91B Bell Street, Penshurst, Victoria 3289.

The date of opening is anticipated to be the Thursday, 2 February 2012.

The shop will have a permanent display in the window and will be open on the first Thursday of every month between the hours of 9am - 5pm.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Wind Farms and Health Impacts

A new review of scientific literature on wind turbine sound and human health has again found no direct link between the sound of wind turbines and human physical health.

The review was undertaken by Drs. Loren D. Knopper and Christopher A. Ollson of the Canadian consulting firm Intrinsik Environmental Services Inc and their findings appeared in an article published in the Journal of Environmental Health (Knopper and Ollson: "Health effects of wind turbines: A review of the literature",  Environmental Health 2011, 10:78).

This review outlined again:

"To date; no peer-reviewed articles demonstrate a direct casual link between people living in close proximity to modern wind turbines, the noise they emit and resulting physiological health effects.  If anything, reported health effects are likely attributed to a number of environmental stressors that result in an annoyed/ stressed state in a segment of the population".

This peer reviewed paper can be viewed at the following website:  http://www.ehjournal.net/content/10/1/78.

Christmas Wishes

Lastly, RES would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and we hope you have a great 2012.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - 1st December 2011

Invitation to comment - Draft Scoping Requirements for Environment Effects Statement.

RES Australia Pty Ltd proposes to construct and operate a wind energy facility (with a capacity up to 758.2 megawatts), an electricity transmission line, a connection into the electricity grid and associated infrastructure south of Penshurst in South West Victoria. On 8 March 2011, the Minister for Planning decided that an Environment Effects Statement (EES) under the Environment Effects Act 1978 was required to assess the likely environmental effects of the proposal.

The Australian Government determined on 13 July 2011 that the project was a controlled action and requires assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 because of potential impacts on matters of national environmental significance (listed threatened species and communities [sections 18 and 18A]). The project will be assessed by the Victorian EES process in accordance with the bilateral agreement relating to environmental impact assessment between the Commonwealth and State of Victoria.

The first step in an EES process is establishing the necessary scope of the EES, which is specified in Scoping Requirements. This document sets out the range of environmental matters to be investigated and documented in the EES. Draft Scoping Requirements for this EES have been prepared by the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) and will be available  from Thursday 1 December 2011 for public comment for a period of 15 business  days.

The document can be downloaded from the DPCD website:
www .dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/ees

Alternatively, hard copies of the Draft Scoping Requirements can be obtained from the Department of Transport Library at Level 5, 121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne (please phone (03) 9655 8600 prior to your proposed visit); the DPCD Barwon South West Regional Office at Level 1, 126 Timor Street, Warrnambool; Moyne Shire Council's Macarthur Office, High Street, Macarthur; Mortlake Office, 1 Jamieson Avenue, Mortlake; and Port Fairy Office, Princes Street, Port Fairy; Southern Grampians Shire Council Office, 1 Market Place, Hamilton; and the Penshurst Post Office, 31 Martin Street, Penshurst.

Should assistance be required to view the document, please contact Moira Lavery from the DPCD Environment Assessment Unit on (03) 9223 5368.

Interested persons are invited to submit comments on the Draft Scoping Requirements by 5:00pm  on Wednesday  21 December 2011. Comments received will be considered before the Scoping Requirements are finalised for the project.

Please send comments on the Draft Scoping Requirements to: Environment Assessment Unit

Department of Planning and Community Development
GPO Box 2392
MELBOURNE  VIC  3001
or by email to: environment.assessment@dpcd.vic.gov.au

For further details on the proposed project, please contact RES Australia Pty Ltd on telephone (02) 9431 7600 or by email simon.kerrison@res-ltd.com

Submissions close 5:00pm  on Wednesday  21 December 2011

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - November 2011

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

In October 2011, RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) held its third EES Technical Reference Group (TRG) meeting with key members of the various State Departments involved in the project.  This meeting involved discussing the preliminary results of various assessments completed to date, and it outlined the scope for further required work for the project.

The scope for further work required for the project will be made public within the draft scoping requirements document, which will be released for public comment by the Minister for Planning shortly.

Penshurst Wind Farm Display

RES are currently investigating options to have a permanent wind farm display in the town of Penshurst to offer the community another opportunity to find out more information about the proposed development.

RES will provide more details about this display within the next months update.

As always, if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed development please do not hesitate to contact RES on 02 9431 7600.

Penshurst Wind Farm - October 2011

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

Southern Bent Wing-Bat Assessment

In September 2011, RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) was advised by members of the EES Technical Reference Group that further surveys for the Southern Bent-Wing Bat species are required within the project region for the EES.  These surveys are due to commence in October 2011 and are anticipated to be finalised in early - mid 2012.

Due to the request for these further surveys, it is anticipated that the project will be submitted into planning shortly after the completion of these surveys in mid to late 2012.

EES Draft Scoping Requirements

RES are currently awaiting the public release of the draft scoping requirements for the EES by the Victorian Minister for Planning.  RES will advise when the document has been released into the public domain for comment.

3rd Community Open Day

RES had hoped to hold its 3rd project Open Day in Penshurst before the end of this year to show the local community a revised wind farm layout, which would take into consideration the results of further detailed environmental, engineering and technical assessments which have been conducted on the site since the current layout was designed, and the new wind farm state planning policies.

Unfortunately, due to the request for further Bat surveys, which may also influence the design of the wind farm layout, RES have postponed this event until 2012 once all constraints on the site have been identified and where possible, avoided.

In the meantime, however, please do not hesitate to contact RES if you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed development.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - September 2011

Environment Effects Statement (EES) Update

In August RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) held its second EES Technical Reference Group (TRG) meeting with members of the TRG.  This meeting involved discussing a number of key assessments conducted to date for the project and a site visit around the proposed wind farm.

Members of the TRG are now in the process of reviewing the reports of the key assessments presented at the TRG meeting and will provide feedback on these reports to RES shortly.

In relation to the release of the Draft Scoping Requirements for public comment, the DPCD are now in the process of finalising this document and hope to advertise this in the public domain shortly.

Amendment VC82

On 29 August 2011, the Victorian State Government gazetted Amendment VC82 which amends the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes in Victoria.  This amendment was released to solely implement new policies for wind farm developments in Victoria.

Detailed information on this amendment can be found at the following website: http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/planningapplications/moreinformation/windenergy.

The most relevant policy within this amendment for the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm is that wind turbines for the project will now no longer be allowed within 2 km of an existing dwelling without written consent from the owner.

RES are now in the process of reviewing the impact of this policy on the layout of the proposed wind farm.  Initial analysis undertaken by RES, however, has determined that despite the new policy a wind farm in the region is still viable and RES are still working towards submitting the project into planning in early 2012.

RES hopes to hold its third Community Open Day in Penshurst in the near future to present the impact the new policy will have on the layout on the wind farm, as well as the results of further specialist assessments which have been conducted on the site over the past 9 months.

Penshurst Primary School and St Joseph's Primary School - Codrington Wind Farm Tours

On Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th September 2011 RES are having the pleasure of providing both the Penshurst Primary School and St Josephs Primary School the opportunity to visit the Codrington Wind Farm near Port Fairy through Codrington Wind Farm Tours.

The tour will provide the pupils the opportunity to drive through the wind farm site, take photos and stand next to a wind turbine tower.  The tour will also provide information about the development of the wind farm as well as educational information on the workings of a wind turbine.

RES will be able to provide further information on this visit in next month's update.

If you have any questions in relation to the development please do not hesitate to contact Simon Kerrison at RES on 02 9431 7607.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - August 2011

Environmental Effects Statement (EES) Update

In the month of July the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) established the Penshurst Wind Farm EES Technical Reference Group (TRG).  The TRG consists of the following government bodies:

  • DPCD;
  • Southern Grampians Shire Council;
  • Moyne Shire Council;
  • Department of Sustainability & Environment;
  • Aboriginal Affairs Victoria;
  • Sustainability Victoria;
  • VicRoads;
  • Environmental Protection Authority;
  • Australian Energy Market Operator; and
  • Department of Primary Industries.

As stated in the previous update (July 2011) the main role of the TRG is to advise RES on the preparation of the EES.

RES and officers of the DPCD met with the members of the TRG on 19 July 2011 to introduce the project to the group and to outline the 'working draft scoping requirements' and the 'draft stakeholder & community engagement plan' for their review and feedback.

The TRG are currently in the process of reviewing these documents before they are released into the public domain.  This is likely to occur in mid August 2011.  RES will advise the local community when these documents are publically available.

4 Corners 'Against the Wind'

On 25 July 2011, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) broadcasted a report on the program 4 Corners called 'Against the Wind' which investigated some of the allegations leveled at wind farms.  The documentary was an independent report on the impacts of wind farms in Australia.

As such, RES highly recommends that anyone interested in the Penshurst Wind Farm should view this program.  It can be viewed online at the following web link:

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2011/s3274758.htm

If you do not have internet facilities and you would like to watch this documentary, please advise RES at the below contact details and we will endeavor to arrange for a copy of the program to be sent to you.

Project Program

RES advised in the March 2011 update that the proposed wind farm planning permit application would be submitted in Spring 2011.  Unfortunately, due to the request of additional surveys, it now appears unlikely that this target will be achieved.

RES are hopeful however that the project will be submitted into planning in early 2012.

Penshurst Wind Farm Update - July 2011

Environmental Effects Statement (EES) Update

Over the past month RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) has been working with the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) to establish the project's EES Technical Reference Group (TRG) membership and to formalise the draft scoping requirements for the project.

The projects TRG membership will be made up of a number Government Agencies (e.g. Department Of Sustainability & Environment and Aboriginal Affairs Victoria) and the local Councils (Southern Grampians Shire Council & Moyne Shire Council).  The main role of the TRG is to advise on the preparation of the EES.

The draft scoping requirements have been initially prepared by the DPCD and they are due to be reviewed and commented upon by the members of the TRG by the end of July.  Once finalised, the document will be issued for public comment for a period of 15 business days.  As stated in the previous update (June 2011), RES will advise the local community where this document will be viewable and how they can comment upon it.

Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) Update

RES submitted the EPBC Act referral to the Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (the Minister) on 15 June 2011.  A response to this referral is due from the Minister on 13 July 2011.

RES have recommended that the project is considered a 'controlled action' under the EPBC Act due to the potential impact the project may have on the Natural Temperate Grassland of the Victorian Volcanic Plain (NTGVVP) and on the Southern Bent-wing Bat population, which are both listed under the EPBC Act  and are situated within the proposed wind farm site.

A 'controlled action' would require the Penshurst Wind Farm to be formally assessed and approved under the EPBC Act.  RES believes that the project becoming a 'controlled action' is a positive outcome as it will allow us the opportunity to robustly identify, assess and minimise the potential impact the wind farm will have on the NTGVVP and the Southern Bent-wing Bat.

RES will advise the local community on the Ministers decision of this referral once received.

For further information, the referral's documentation can be found at the following webpage: http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/index.html

Referral # = 2011/5991.

Senate Inquiry into the Social & Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms

On 23 June 2011, the Commonwealth Senate Committee released their assessment on their inquiry on 'The Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms'.

The report can be found at the link below:
http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/clac_ctte/impact_rural_wind_farms/report/index.htm.

RES welcomed the report as a balanced and reasonable review and fully endorses the Clean Energy Council's response to the inquiry which outlined:

  • Several findings within the report recognised the contribution of wind energy to jobs in regional areas, as well as its contribution to the incomes to farmers.  It reflects opinions polls that consistently show that approximately 80 per cent of Australians support wind energy;
  • The inquiry found nothing to suggest that wind farms directly causes health problems and suggested that symptoms could potentially be related to other factors such as stress; and
  • The inquiry did make a recommendation that Commonwealth Government studies into noise and health should be conducted, and the wind industry welcomes this.  We also support the continuing review into the science of wind turbines and health by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The Clean Energy Councils full response can be found at the link below:  http://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/cec/mediaevents/media-releases/June2011/MR230611-Wind-inquiry.html.

If you have any questions or queries in relation to the Penshurst Wind Farm or Wind Energy in general please do not hesitate to contact RES on 02 9431 7600.

Penshurst Wind Farm - June 2011

Environmental Effects Statement (EES)

On 26 May 2011, RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) submitted the Penshurst Wind Farm EES Draft Study Program to the Department of Planning & Community Development (DPCD) to formally start the EES scoping process.

From the 26 May 2011, the DPCD have a minimum of 20 business days to prepare the draft scoping requirements for the project.  The draft scoping requirements will then be released for public comment by interested parties for at least 15 business days.

The draft scoping requirements will outline the potential assessments RES will be required to complete before the final EES document and the planning permit applications for the proposed wind farm and its associated external transmission line can be submitted.

RES will inform the local community once the draft scoping requirements for the EES have been released for public comment, including details on where to view the document and how to comment upon them.

Lastly, the DPCD has set up a project specific website for the Penshurst Wind Farm which will include details on the progress of the EES for the project.  This website is found at the following website address - http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/environment-assessment/projects/penshurst-wind-farm.

Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

As discussed in the last project update (May 20011), RES are planning to submit an EPBC Referral to the Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (the Minister) to ascertain whether the project requires approval under the EPBC Act.  The document is now due to be submitted to the Minister at the beginning of June 2011.

As stated in the May 2011 update, RES will inform the local community on the decision of this referral, once known.

If you have any questions or queries in relation to the Penshurst Wind Farm, please do not hesitate to contact Simon Kerrison at RES.  Contact details are shown below:

Simon Kerrison
P - (02) 9431 7607
M - 0450 699 902
E -

Penshurst Wind Farm - May 2011

Environmental Effects Statement (EES)

Over the past month RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) has been liaising with the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) in relation to the design of the EES Study Program.  The EES Study Program is a document which will be produced by RES to outline a preliminary list of issues to be investigated within the EES, as requested by the Victorian Minister for Planning.

Upon receipt of the Study Program, the DPCD will commence the scoping process for the EES.  In the first instance this will entail the DPCD defining draft scoping requirements for the EES for public comment. This process is summarised in the April 2011 Project Update.

RES plans to submit the EES Study Program to the DPCD by the end of May 2011 and will advise the local community of the draft scoping requirements for the EES once finalised by the DPCD.  This is anticipated to occur in June 2011.

Stakeholder & Community Engagement Plan

In support of the EES, RES will be adopting a Stakeholder and Community Engagement Plan throughout the EES process to ensure that stakeholders are adequately engaged.  The engagement plan will be reviewed and approved by the DPCD prior to being implemented and will be monitored throughout the EES process to ensure it maintains its objectives.

The Stakeholder & Community Engagement Plan will viewable on the Penshurst Wind Farm webpage on the DPCD website shortly.  RES will advise when this document is online.

Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

Under the EPBC Act, actions that have, or are likely to have, a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance require approval from the Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (the Minister).  The Minister will decide whether assessment and approval is required under the EPBC Act.

There are eight matters of national environmental significance protected under the EPBC Act, which are:

  • World Heritage properties;
  • National heritage places;
  • Wetlands of international importance (listed under the RAMSAR Convention);
  • Listed threatened species and ecological communities;
  • Migratory species protected under international agreements;
  • Commonwealth marine areas;
  • The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park;  and
  • Nuclear actions (including uranium mines).

The proposed Penshurst Wind Farm may potentially have an impact on the EPBC Act listed threatened species and ecological communities situated within the wind farm site.  As such, RES plans to submit an EPBC Referral document to the Minister to determine whether approval is required under the EPBC Act.

RES plans to submit this referral to Minister by the end of May 2011.

RES will advise the local community on the Minister's decision once known.

Penshurst Wind Farm - April 2011

EES Update

In response to the EES referral for the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm, on the 8th March 2011 the Minister for Planning advised RES that an Environmental Effects Statement is required for the project.  The reasoning for this decision is outlined at the following website address:

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/environment-assessment/referrals/referrals2009

This EES process is administered by the Minister for Planning.

This process will provide the analysis of potential effects on the environmental assets of the Penshurst region and will highlight the means of avoiding, minimising and managing adverse effects.

The process has four main stages:

Stage 1 - Scoping the EES;
Stage 2 - Preparing the EES;
Stage 3 - Public Review of the EES; and
Stage 4 - Making an assessment.

RES are currently in Stage 1 of the EES.  This stage is described below.

Scoping the EES

The set of matters to be investigated and documented in the EES is the scope of an EES. The detailed scope for an EES is set out in the 'scoping requirements' issued for each project by the Minister.

To obtain the 'scoping requirements' from the Minister, RES in the first instance,  are having to provide a preliminary list of issues to be investigated within the EES and an associated draft study program.  The draft study program will outline the timeframe for the preliminary list of issues that need to be investigated.

Once submitted, the Minister will review this document and together with advice from relevant agencies and authorities will draft the 'scoping requirements'.  The draft 'scoping requirements' for a project are generally prepared within 20 business days of receiving the preliminary list and draft study program.

The draft scoping requirements will then be released for comment by interested parties for a period of 15 business days.

Usually 15 days after the close of the public comment period the final 'scoping requirements' for the project will be released.

RES are currently drafting a preliminary list of issues to be investigated and an associated study program, with the aim of submitting this to the Minister for Planning shortly.

Once the 'scoping requirements' for the project have been released by the Minister for Planning, RES will inform the public on the scope and the process of Stage 2 (Preparing the EES). Further information on this process can be found at:

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/34657/DSE097_EES_FA.pdf

It is not yet known what impact the requirement of an EES for the project will have on the timeframe for the project.

Currently RES are still targeting to submit the project into planning in spring 2011.  RES will notify the local community if this timeframe changes once the scoping requirements are released.

Penshurst Wind Farm - March 2011

EES Update

As stated in the previous update, last month RES referred the Penshurst Wind Farm project to the Victorian Minister of Planning for advice as to whether an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) is required for the project.    A response by the Planning Minister is now overdue. RES we will notify the community of the decision once it has been made.  Further information on the referral can be found at: http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/environment-assessment/referrals/referrals2009

Further Bat Surveys

Upon reviewing the EES referral, the Department of Sustainability and Environment have indicated that further bat surveys are required on the site, to fully determine the potential impact the proposed wind farm would have on the EPBC listed 'Southern Bent-wing Bat', which is known to fly over the area.

These surveys are due to be undertaken from March to April 2011.

Due to the requested additional surveys, the project development timeframe unfortunately has now slipped, with the aim of the project being submitted into planning in spring 2011.

Updated Victorian Wind Farm Guidelines

On 3rd March 2011, The Minister for Planning released an amendment (VC78) to the Victorian Planning Provisions and all local planning schemes, which the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm project will have to comply with.  Details of this amendment can be found at: http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/planning-applications/More-information-on-permits/wind-energy-facilities

The key policy change of this amendment is that the Minister for Planning will no longer be the responsible authority for determining planning permit applications which have a capacity of greater than 30 MW (such as the Penshurst Wind Farm).  Instead, the local Councils (Southern Grampians Shire and Moyne Shire) will be the responsible authorities.  Due to the fact that the project is within two council boundaries, however, there is still the option that the project will be referred to the Minister for Planning for the planning decision.

As part of the amendment RES will also have to now assess the noise impacts of the proposed wind farm in accordance with the New Zealand Standard NZS 6808:2010, Acoustics - Wind Farm Noise, in place of the existing 1998 standard.  This assessment, however, is not likely to result in major modifications of the proposed wind farm layout.

Lastly, within any future planning permit application for the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm, RES will have to include a plan showing all dwellings within 2km of a proposed wind turbine, and a concept plan showing all associated transmission infrastructure, electricity utility works and access roads associated with the proposed development.  This will have no impact on the proposed development.

Penshurst Wind Farm  Update - February 2011

Environmental Effects Statement Referral

On 2nd February 2011, RES referred the Penshurst Wind Farm project to the Victorian Minister for Planning for a decision on the need for assessment under the Environmental Effects Act 1978.

The Environment Effects Act 1978 states that where a proposed development may have a significant effect on the environment, the developer should refer the project to the Minister for Planning via a 'Referral Form' for advice as to whether an Environment Effects Statement (EES) is required.

The Referral Form, submitted by RES, provides details of the proposed Penshurst Wind Farm and includes supporting preliminary assessments undertaken to date on the site.  This includes flora and fauna assessments, a preliminary landscape and visual assessment, a desktop cultural heritage assessment, initial geomorphological assessment and a study on the geology and hydrology status of the site.

This supporting information will help guide the Victorian Minister of Planning as to whether the project requires an EES.  Typically an EES is only required if the proposed development:

  • may cause significant adverse impacts on the environment at a regional or state level;
  • if there is a need for an integrated assessment of potential environmental effects; or
  • if the normal statutory processes would not provide a sufficiently comprehensive, integrated and transparent assessment.

If an EES is not required, the Penshurst Wind Farm will be assessed under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

The Penshurst Wind Farm EES Referral and supporting documentation can be viewed on the DPCD website (www.dpcd.gov.vic.au).

The Victorian Minister for Planning will normally provide a response to the referral within 20 business days, which will be publically available on the DPCD website.

Meeting with Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians

On Monday 31st January 2011, representatives of RES met with the Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians (SGLG) to discuss their concerns with the proposed wind farm.

RES made the SGLG aware that the project is still in the 'design' process and environmental, engineering and technical assessments are due to be completed within the next few months.

Following the completion of all the assessments, all known constraints will be mapped and the final wind farm layout will be designed.   This design will be distributed around the local community for comment prior to submitting the planning application for the wind farm project.

Penshurst Wind Farm  Update - January 2011

Following the second open day in Penshurst in November 2010, RES are now finalising all the environmental, engineering and technical assessments on the site.  Once these assessments have been completed RES will look to finalise the design of the proposed development.

Within the next few weeks RES are also planning to submit the required Environmental Effects Statement (EES) referral to the Department of Planning and Community Development to determine whether an EES is required or whether the standard planning permit process is adhered to.  Once submitted this will be located on the DPCD website (www.dpcd.viv.gov.au)