A RENEWABLE energy developer will give the Jung district about $53,000 a year if the construction of a new wind farm goes ahead.
The Wimmera Plains Wind Farm was announced in December as initially only having two turbines. It will be built by BayWa Renewable Energy and will have 53 turbines with a capacity of 263 megawatts.
ABayWa will initiate a community reference group as part of the development made up of residents who will guide the distribution of a proposed annual community fund which is equivalent to $1000 per wind turbine, or $53,000 per annum.
In a statement given to Jung residents, BayWa r.e. head of development Peter Lausberg said it was important the community benefited from the wind farm.
"The landowners hosting the turbines are all paid for substations, wind turbines and hardstands on their land," he said.
Dwelling owners within two kilometres of the wind farm will receive $1500 per annum for each wind turbine that is closer than two kilometres to their house.
Dwelling owners within 3.6 kilometres of a wind turbine will receive a rooftop solar panel system of five kilowatts.
"If neither of these options are appropriate we will pay to residents the equivalent value for the five kilowatt system being $5500. A five kilowatts solar system will supply the approximate equivalent of the average household requirement of free green electricity for the life of the wind farm," Mr Lausberg said.
He said the company was still in the pre-planning application consultation stage.
"Based on initial feedback from the community, the council and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, BayWa r.e. is currently proceeding with further expert reports to inform a planning application," he said.
"Expert reports are being conducted for planning and consultation; landscape and visual; flora and fauna; acoustics; traffic management; aeronautical; geotechnical; heritage; and electromagnetic interference.
"We expect to lodge a planning permit application in early 2020 subject to the timing and findings of expert assessments."
He said construction would be expected to take between one to two years. Construction and commissioning staff is estimated to be between 40 to 60 people, while the farm would require between 10 to 12 full time staff.
The farm will be bounded by Kalkee East Road to the north, Dogwood Road to the west, Greenhills Road to the south and Jung Wheat Road to the east.
It has a lifetime expectancy of 25 years, after which it can be re-powered or decommissioned.
Jung resident and Patchwork Jungle owner Terry O'Donnell said the community was pleased with the consultation process.
"BayWa has been in constant contact with us from the outset. It's great that they have come to the community at the start and asking us what we thought, rather than planning everything and then telling us," he said.
"This will be a huge benefit for a community that feels like it's being diminished. It allows us to look at doing things that have maybe flown under the radar."
Mr O'Donnell said the community had already thought about ways it would spend the money.
"We're still in the Horsham council area and will still be looked after by them, but the council won't be able to dictate what we spend the money on," he said.
"Some ideas we've thought about so far include maybe getting silo art in the town, which can cost about $100,000.
"We also need water treatment improvements which is very costly. At the moment the water isn't potable so we would look at putting filters on every house to make sure they have clean, drinking water.
"Our community hall also needs ongoing repairs. It will be great to revitalise that history."
BayWa also plans to construct wind farms at Diapur, which is between Kaniva and Nhill, and at Yawong, north of St Arnaud.
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