Ryan Corner wind farm transmission line takes ‘wandering route’ with Global Power Generation not planning review
11th November, 2020
By Jackson Graham, The Warnambool Standard
A transmission line for the Ryan Corner wind farm planned years ago that takes a “wandering route” through farmland has surprised a family as talk of construction returns.
Developer Global Power Generation (GPG) said it struck a power deal in September with federal government-owned Snowy Hydro, enabling the 52-turbine project near Port Fairy to go ahead next year. The project first received a planning permit in 2008.
The plans include a 24-kilometre overhead transmission line to connect the wind farm with a substation to the north at Tarrone.
Landholders agreed to a route for the line in 2013 when an easement was included on land titles, but some came to believe it unlikely the line would be built after plans stalled for years.
Developers had mapped a zigzagging route after negotiating with landholders and intending to connect the line to a smaller wind farm proposed near Tarrone, but plans for that wind project have stalled too.
Tarrone grazier Alice Glare said the proposed transmission line would cover 6.2 kilometres on her family’s property.
“In the last 10 years we have bought our neighbours’ properties to the south and north. And those agreements came with the land,” she said.
“We hadn’t heard anything about the project for years and years, and thought it had just died.”
The family is now concerned the route, some through lava-flow terrain, could increase fire-risk, harm native vegetation and limit aerial spraying on the farm. Ms Glare said she believed the whole transmission line could reduce by 10 kilometres if it took a more direct route and used land already owned by GPG.
“It takes such a wandering route,” she said.
But a GPG spokesman told The Standard there were no current plans to review the transmission line route.
“I don’t think there is a possibility for that at this stage,” he said.
“There are a number of constraints we are taking into account when we designed this route. That was what was agreed at the time.”
The state government from last year began requiring planning approval for new power lines connecting to large-scale generation facilities.
Ms Glare said she suspected GPG did not want to review the route because it could require further approvals.
“Projects that were approved a long time ago (are) more attractive to be built even though they probably don’t meet the expectation of our community in terms of how long the lines are,” she said.
GPG’s spokesman declined to comment on whether further planning approvals were a deterrence to reconsidering a more direct route for the line. He said the company would be working “working more closely with the landholders about their individual needs” in coming months, with the project due to commence before April 2021.
Ms Glare said she was “not against wind energy if well planned with communities” but added there had been a shift in attitude after communities felt their concerns were being “dismissed”.
“I think community sentiment has really changed in the past decade since these plans were made,” she said.