Opportunities and challenges for wind development in Tasmania
Epuron’s GM Tasmania highlights opportunities and challenges for Tasmania
Speaking at the Tasmanian Energy Development Conference in Devonport today Epuron’s General Manager Development for Tasmania Donna Bolton highlighted the unique challenges and opportunities for wind energy proponents as the State transitions to clean energy and works towards its world-leading renewable energy target.
Epuron is a leading project developer of utility-scale wind farms with 11 prospective wind farms in the planning process, including four in Tasmania with a combined potential capacity of approximately 800 megawatts.
The Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated System Plan requires 26-50 Gigawatts (GW) of new grid-scale renewables over the next 20 years. Tasmania’s natural resources and scope for growth in renewables, particularly wind and storage, make it uniquely positioned to take advantage of this opportunity and critical to the transition of Australia’s national energy market.
Ms Bolton noted the need for good community engagement with the growing number of new projects in Tasmania generating concern from nearby communities. Typical concerns include protecting ecology, potential noise disturbance and visual changes in scenic areas.
"We have to involve local communities in the process, listen to them carefully, acknowledge their concerns, adjust projects where practicable and find as many ways as possible for them to benefit from projects. We need to end up with a viable project that is going to sit comfortably within the community,” she said.
Ms Bolton said that community engagement during the development phase requires ensuring communities are properly informed and addressing their concerns through the planning process.
“We want to enable members of local communities to form views based on accurate information and help them to see the importance, value and opportunities of projects, not only for them, but also for Tasmania and Australia. We have to take them on the journey.”
Epuron’s Tasmanian projects in development include the Western Plains Wind Farm near Stanley, the St Patricks Plains Wind Farm in the Central Highlands, and the Guildford Wind Farm and Hellyer Wind Farm located adjacent to each other in the north west, south of Burnie.