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Australia

Still hope for Bald Hills 104 MW in Victoria

Wind Power Pty's planned 104 MW Bald Hills wind farm in Victoria's South Gippsland could still see the light of day. Federal environment minister Ian Campbell is reconsidering his controversial decision in April to block the development. Campbell overturned state government approval for the 52 turbine project, citing a report which identified a potential threat to the endangered orange-bellied parrot. Wind Power Pty launched a federal court battle challenging the decision. Victoria's National Party, however, is urging the minister to uphold his opposition. The party's leader, Peter Ryan, says if it proceeds it opens up agricultural land for industrial purposes and would be a blight on the landscape in a tourist area. "I'm not against wind farms when the local community supports them but placing these giant turbines on prime coastal land and alongside an important wetland defies common sense," he says. "Bald Hills is the wrong place for a wind farm." Wind Power Pty's Andrew Newbold says the company is prepared to modify its proposal and consider moving turbines further away from the coastline. Meanwhile, the company has scrapped plans for a 14 turbine wind farm at Bo Beep, 12 kilometres west of Ballarat in Victoria, on commercial grounds. A feasibility study shows residential growth would limit the project to four turbines at most, which is economically viable.

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