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AGL holds breath for wind deal

Saturday, 26th October, 2013

AGL’s manager of power development Neil Cooke (left) with general manager of power development Scott Thomas.PICTURE: Darrin Manuel AGL’s manager of power development Neil Cooke (left) with general manager of power development Scott Thomas.PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By By Erica Visser

The proposed Silverton wind farm remains AGL’s top project despite being delayed, the energy company said yesterday.

The company put the $500 million plans on ice in July over concerns that an incoming Coalition Government would cut support for renewable energy.

The Government is expected to soon begin reviewing its Renewable Energy Target, which currently ensures that 20 per cent of the country’s electricity is from sources such as wind and solar.

The deadline for the review, which is conducted every two years, is December 2014.

AGL will then decide if the project is still viable.

In the meantime, the company appears confident that the Silverton project would go ahead and met with Silverton locals on Thursday night to discuss current matters.

AGL sent out 42 surveys to the town’s residents to assess their feelings about the delay but said that only eight were returned.

“The result we got back from the eight surveys was that there were no real concerns with delaying the project,” AGL’s general manager of power development Scott Thomas said.

“There was some support around the economic development side of things.

“Something we’d really like to get across is that we still see the wind farm as one of our premium wind sites.

“We’ve got a portfolio of future developments and this sits right at the top.”

Mr Thomas said that AGL had resolved to form a sub-committee for traffic management which would include local input.

Previously, there were concerns over a City Council decision to allow AGL access to 1.4 kilometres of the Willyama Common for a bypass route from the Barrier Highway to Silverton Road.

AGL is also working on continuing the quest for approval to extract sand from nearby quarries for the project’s construction.

“The main reason for the consultation at the moment is continuing any dialogue. We spoke about traffic management plans, development approval and how the community feels about the delays.”

Meanwhile, plans to start construction of a nearby solar project was on schedule, with Mr Thomas appearing optimistic about the project.

“Construction will start in July 2014 at Nyngan and then roll on to Broken Hill in early December. It will go for 18 months,” he said.

“Planning and design has started already. There will be about 150-odd construction jobs, plus civil works, etcetera.”

The project will be situated on the 600 hectare Rob Day Station.

In a bid to show its commitment to the local community, AGL has sponsored tomorrow’s Sunday Fun Day at Silverton where two community officers will be available for a chat.

“You’ll be seeing a lot more of us from now on,” Mr Thomas said.

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