Birdlife at wind farm risk

July 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Acciona Energy’s director of engineering, construction and operations Brett Wickham conceded initial studies had been undertaken during drought, but more detailed studies were undertaken as a requirement of the planning permit at Mt Gellibrand.

“These studies were conducted in close consultation with the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) from mid-2010 to mid-2011, in a period of significantly above-average rainfall.”

Mr Wickham said surveys targeting brolga activity had also been undertaken. “Protecting native flora and fauna is a key planning, regulatory and operational requirement for the Mt Gellibrand Wind Farm, and Acciona Energy takes its responsibilities very seriously.”

He said protocols would be put in place during construction to ensure ground disturbance was tightly controlled in sensitive areas and potential hazards to native flora and fauna were managed and ongoing surveys would monitor brolga activity and behaviour during the first five years of operation. “This will commence in the first available wet or intermediate year following commissioning.

“If unacceptable risks are identified in these surveys an adaptive management will be implemented in consultation with DSE,” he said.

A spokesman for Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources Michael O’Brien said calls by the Burnett family to reconsider the license for Mt Gellibrand wind farm would not be responded to.

“This project received a permit form the previous Labor Government by way of the ministerial approval of Justin Madden. The Victorian Coalition Government cannot undo the permit that Justin Madden granted,” they said.

“The Coalition Government introduced changes to the wind energy facility provisions in order to implement State Government policy commitments, and remains committed to renewable energy,” they said.

There are currently permits for more than 1100 turbines in Victoria (valued of $3 billion). These permits are in addition to more than 250 wind turbines already in operation and a further 170 turbines under construction.

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