Planning Permit Amendment

Proposed Changes

 

An amendment application has been lodged in 2021 for the following:

  • To seek approval on a modified site plan for turbines and all associated infrastructure that complies with the Brolga Breeding Buffer permit condition.
  • To slightly amend the Brolga Monitoring and Compensation Plan condition, so that it will be more straight forward for GPWFM to facilitate successful delivery during the plan’s implementation.
  • To improve clarity on a permit condition relating to surface water levels during flood events.
  • To seek an approval for the increase in the size of the turbine rotor diameter from 150m to 165m to allow more current turbine technology to be installed. The tip height will not change from 230 metres as currently permitted.

 

Executive Summary

 

Layout

 

Golden Plains Wind Farm Management (GPWFM) has prepared a revised Project layout that comprises 215 Wind Turbine Generators (WTGs) and associated ancillary infrastructure. The 215 WTG layout incorporates the required removal of turbines from the buffer zones around Brolga breeding wetlands. The layout has also been subject to ongoing refinements to ensure impacts on flora and fauna and cultural heritage are minimised, for example by realigning tracks and cabling to pass around rather than through sensitive areas.

The location and configuration of supporting infrastructure such as the Terminal Station on Geggies Road and the overhead transmission line through the site have also been refined to minimise impacts. The Terminal Station has been relocated approximately 800m to the east to provide greater separation from Geggies Road, and to avoid impacts on nearby wetland dependent vegetation. The internal transmission line generally follows the same alignment from south-east to north-west, but has been relocated to a more central location within the site. Finally, the number of Collector Stations proposed has been consolidated from four to three, with the relocation on two of the Collector Stations to more central locations within the site.

Rotor Diameter

 

An amendment to increase the turbine rotor from 150M to 165M (with no increase to tip height) is now being sought because GPWFM did not seek a restriction on rotor size during the initial planning application.  GPWFM submitted the largest commercially available suitable wind turbine model at the time of application for its expert studies and applied for a planning permit on that basis. The Minister of Planning subsequently limited the rotor size based on the turbine model that was assessed. Since the Project received its Planning Permit, wind turbine technology has progressed at a rapid pace. The latest generation of machines with larger rotors will allow the Project to generate approximately 10 -14% more electricity without increasing the overall height of the turbines.

Brolga Monitoring and Compensation Plan (BMCP)

 

The Project is required to implement a Wetland Enhancement Program to provide new breeding habitat for Brolga that will support the wind farm’s requirement to achieve a zero-net impact to the Brolga Population. Selection of sites that are suitable for enhancement rely on lengthy, detailed investigations including vegetation surveys, catchment modelling and on-site trials that would be difficult to have completed in the required timeframes without compromising the quality of the investigations and site selection. GPWFM is proposing to amend the relevant permit conditions to allow a longer, more detailed site investigation process, which will in turn allow selection of the most suitable sites for enhancement.

Surface Water (Condition 68)

The Project is seeking an administrative correction to Condition 68 of the Permit. The condition does not currently refer to a specific flood event when referencing flood depths, and GPWFM is therefore unable to design access tracks to maintain the required depth. GPWFM has consulted the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority who has advised that the condition should reference a 1% AEP (or ‘1 in 100 year’) flood event. The amendment to this condition is to add a reference a 1 in 100-year flood event for clarification purposes only.

 

Application to Amend Planning Permit

Visual Representation

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Click buttons below to see visual representaion of turbine

Glenfine Road

Potters Road

Near Rokewood Common, Gibb Street, Rokewood

Cressy-Shelford Road

Boyles Road

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Assessments by Disciplines

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage 

Impacts on known Aboriginal places

The 215 WTG layout’s potential impacts on Aboriginal Cultural Heritage will be assessed and managed through an amendment to the Project’s Cultural Heritage Management Plan. The amended CHMP has been prepared in consultation with Aboriginal Victoria and the Registered Aboriginal Parties for the region. 

The 215 WTG layout’s avoidance rate (that is, the proportion of known Aboriginal places avoided by the Project layout) remains almost unchanged at 90.7% under the 215 WTG layout, compared with 90.6% under the 228 WTG layout that was presented in the EES. 

Avation

Overall Aviation Impact 

The overall impact of the 215 WTG layout on general aviation activities near the site is the same as that assessed under the EES given the site boundary and overall height of WTGs remains unchanged.

Impact on continued safety of airstrip at 1944 Wingeel Road

The 215 WTG layout will have no impact on the continued safe operation of the airstrip at 1944 Wingeel Road. GPWFM has ensured that all WTGs are outside the obstacle free areas outlined by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). This is consistent with the assessment undertaken for the Project’s EES.

Landscape and Visual Impact 

Overall Impact Assessment

While there are some differences between the two layouts, there is no change in the overall visual impact between the Base Case Layout and the 215 WTG Layout.

Viewpoint Analysis 

Viewpoint analysis shows that the visible changes, brought about by the alteration between the Base Case Layout and the 215 WTG Layout are only discernible when one greatly enlarges a small section of the 60° field of view photomontages. GPWFM has provided copies of the photomontages on the Project website.

Distance to Non host dwellings

The changes in distance from residential properties to WTGs are minor and the resultant change in visual impact is assessed as Nil.

Biodiversity

Overall Biodiversity Impact

The Biodiversity Impact Assessment found that the 215 WTG layout will result in a reduced impact on all aspects of biodiversity.

Native Vegetation Impact Assessment 

Overall, the 215 WTG layout will impact on approximately 22.8% less native vegetation than was assessed under the EES. Of particular note is a 10.2% reduction in impacts on Federally-listed flora communities and a 19.5% reduction in impacts on potential habitat for Federally-listed fauna species such as Striped Legless Lizard.

The 228 WTG layout placed three WTGs within DELWP mapped wetlands. In the 215 WTG layout, there are no WTGs within DELWP wetlands.

The 215 WTG layout and realigned internal transmission line avoids all impacts on Baths Swamp and associated Plains Grassy Wetland vegetation. 

The 215 WTG layout including all access tracks, underground cabling and other infrastructure avoids impacts to all recorded threatened flora species including Spiny Rice-flower, Small Milkwort, Trailing Hop-bush and Small Golden Moths.

Bats and Avifauna Impact Assessment

The potential impacts to birds and bats have been reduced as a direct result in the reduction of WTG numbers and the increased minimum ground clearance. 99.44% of all birds observed on site fly below the revised Rotor Swept Area heights.

Brolga Impact Assessment

The annual collision risk for Brolga is reduced for the 215 WTG layout.  

Ground Water

Overall Impact Assessment

The risk profile of the 215 WTG layout is generally comparable with the risk profile of the 228 WTG layout.

Surface Water

Overall Impact Assessment

The overall flood risk of the site has not changed significantly, and in many cases has been improved. The 215 WTG layout will not have any adverse impacts beyond that of the original layout considered in the Environment Effects Statement.

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)

Radiocommunication towers 

No change to impacts on radiocommunications towers.

Fixed point to point links including emergency services

The 215 WTG layout has a reduced impact on fixed point-to-point links including emergency services.

Mobile phones, wireless internet, radio and television coverage

The 215 WTG layout results in comparable impacts on mobile phones, wireless internet, radio and television coverage when compared with the EES layout. All impacts can be appropriately managed through the Signal Strength Survey..

Satellite television and internet 

No change to impacts on satellite television and internet. 

Meteorological radar, trigonometrical stations or citizen’s band (CB) radio 

No change to impacts on meteorological radar, trigonometrical stations or citizen’s band (CB) radio. 

Noise and Vibration  

Overall Impact Assessment

The results of noise modelling for the 215 WTG layout demonstrate that the Project is predicted to achieve compliance with the applicable noise limits determined in accordance with NZS6808:2010, for both candidate turbine models, including the locations where high amenity noise considerations are relevant.

Traffic 

Overall Impact Assessment

The traffic impacts of the 215 WTG layout were determined to be less than those associated with the EES layout, mainly due to the reduction in the number of WTGs.

A reduction in the number of WTGs to be constructed results in a decrease of overall one-way trips required to the site from port by 783, and a decrease in over-size and over-mass (OSOM) vehicle trips to the site by 143.

A comparison between the 228 WTG and the 215 WTG site layouts concluded that the reconfigured and consolidated WTG layout was favourable to decreased traffic movements and thus reduced impact on the local road network.

Shadow Flicker  

Overall Impact Assessment

The 215 WTG layout is compliant with shadow flicker limits at all neighbouring dwellings.