Sixteen months of debate over the development of a $700 million wind farm at Palmer has come to an end in the Environment, Resources and Development (ERD) court and key stakeholders now await the final decision.
Tilt Renewables Australia, formally named Trustpower, is the company behind the proposal, with the vision to become the leading developer and owner of renewable generation in Australia and New Zealand.
The company said the 30 kilometre-long site between Palmer, Tungkillo and Sanderston, on roughly 10,000 hectares, was selected due to its wind energy potential and proximity to the Tungkillo substation.
After the company’s development application was approved by Mid Murray Council’s Development Assessment Panel (DAP) in December of 2015, four appellants stepped forward to oppose the 103-turbine wind farm in court.
Among them was AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLaughlan who appealed the 375MW renewable energy project to protect his family home at Rosebank, near Mount Pleasant.
However, a media spokesperson for the AFL told The Standard yesterday that Mr McLaughlan’s involvement had concluded.
On March 6, before the final hearing began, landowners, court officials and lawyers toured 18 sites that will be affected.
The trial concluded on April 5 after 17 days of witness statements and cross-examinations.
In a statement, Mid Murray Council’s Manager of Development Services Joel Taggart said experts from recognised fields presented in court over the two and a half weeks.
“Experts in acoustics, psychoacoustics, landscape/visual, flora and fauna, aviation, fire, health, town planning and others were lay witnesses,” he said.
He said written closing submissions were being prepared by all parties, due to be completed by early May.
Council’s Director of Development and Environmental Services Peter Graves said the Palmer Wind Farm was inline with council’s commitment to renewable energy.
Council has negotiated an Infrastructure Deed of Agreement with Tilt Renewables and its legal representatives to ensure it undertakes work at its own cost relating to upgrades and repair work to the road network surrounding the site of the development.
The ERD court is expected to deliver a final decision by August.