Good News – the Delburn wind farm approved

The Victorian planning minister has just approved the thirty-three wind generator Delburn wind farm. The ‘farm’ is situated in pine plantations to the south west of Morwell and is adjacent to the Valley infrastructure. It would be difficult to find a site in Victoria more suited to the ‘just transition’ to renewable energy with the advantages of Delburn. In terms of local flora and fauna the pine plantations are a ‘desert’ and the environmental effects of the wind farm close to zero. Also the generators are remote from farmland and are ideally located to support employment in the Valley.

The project developers noted “Local business procurement and employment opportunities are a key focus of the project” and the “economic analysis of the project estimates that the Delburn Wind Farm will create up to 186 FTE direct and indirect jobs during the two-year construction period and approximately 24 direct and indirect new, on-going jobs during the 30-year operating life. Wherever possible OSMI is committed to maximising local procurement and employment opportunities.”

An article by Rio Davis on the ABC noted that the battery aspect of the project was not approved but this was only a small part of the project. Batteries can be built fairly quickly and a number are already proposed for the Valley. Of more interest in this article is the opposition of Gippsland South MP Danny O’Brien to the project. It would seem that Mr O’Brien opposes any land based wind generators, in spite of the advantages of the Delburn project, though it will affect a handful, or less, of his potential voters.

On the plus side O’Brien stated that he fully supported offshore wind. “In my view, given Gippsland’s relatively densely populated landscape, the right location for wind farms is offshore, where I strongly support proposed facilities such as the Star of the South.” This is more good news but it is clear that O’Brien, and the conservative side of politics in general, is yet to comprehend the urgency of the climate emergency.

The Delburn wind project is good news. Hopefully it and other similar local projects like the Gippsland Renewable Energy Park and the offshore wind projects will get strong local and political support and where possible proceeded with as quickly as possible.