Wind farm faces uncertain future
Friday, 15th May, 2015
By Erica Visser
AGL says the fate of its mothballed Silverton wind farm project remains up in the air following a bipartisan agreement on a new renewable energy target (RET).
The energy company put the $550 million project on hold indefinitely citing concerns a newly-elected Abbott Government would severely cut or even scrap the RET scheme.
Lengthy debate ensued until an in-principle agreement was reached last week on a compromised target of 33,000 gigawatt hours, however Labor has already since threatened to pull its support.
An AGL spokeswoman said that it was too soon to decide on whether to go ahead with the Silverton project, for which approval would remain valid for another year.
“While there has been in-principle agreement on the RET, it is still not finalised,” she said.
“AGL is looking for certainty around policy before any decisions are made about potential projects.”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the project, AGL representatives have consistently met with Silverton residents who tended to be apprehensive about the prospect of wind turbines in their own backyard.
One of these residents, Silverton Hotel owner Peter Price, said AGL had cancelled the latest scheduled meeting for the Community Consultative Committee.
“They’ve got no news to pass onto us whilst it’s at a stalemate. The whole project revolves around the RET, it’s pretty simple,” Mr Price said.
“A lot of the hype and emotion (from residents) has died down whilst it’s fallen off the radar but that could be reunited pretty quick if it was a positive decision to proceed with it.
“I feel there’s a lot more that’s come out about the wind farms recently; solar power has taken a bit of a front seat.”
Mr Price said that the project’s uncertain status had taken its toll on Silverton residents who were relieved a February 2016 deadline for a decision was fast approaching.
“We’re all just sick and tired of the talk and speculation about it so I’m looking forward to D-day.”