Origin gets approval for '471MW' Stockyard Hill project

AUSTRALIA: Retailer Origin Energy has received planning approval for what will become one of the biggest developments in Australia, the Stockyard Hill wind farm.

The project, which will be located near Ballarat, Victoria was initially put forward for planning permission in December last year.

In the initial application it was down to have a capacity of 484MW from 242 turbines, making it the biggest wind farm in Australia.

However, planning minister Justin Madden blocked Origin’s application to build 85 of the turbines as a result of environmental concerns. The project will now go ahead with 157.

It is unclear what the new capacity will be. Madden was quoted as saying it would be 471MW, which would require 3MW turbines. While the original application only allowed for 2MW machines, meaning the project would be 314MW.

There was no confirmation of either figure in Origin’s statement or the Stockyards Hill site. According to a statement from Origin, the company needs to resolve some issues resulting from the permissions process.  

Origin executive general manager major development projects Andrew Stock said: "We will carefully examine the permit conditions set down by the Minister and also the report of the Planning Panel, to understand our obligations and ensure the relevant issues are addressed.

"There are some differences between our final proposal and what was recommended and approved, and we will carefully consider the Panel report to understand its reasoning."

Origin Energy is Australia’s second-largest energy retailer. In May, it acquired Melbourne-based company Wind Power and its 1.5GW wind development pipeline in Victoria, including the Stockyard Hill project.

The biggest wind farm in Australia to have received planning permission is the 420MW Macarthur project, which is also located in Victoria. It became the first major project to purchase Vestas’ latest turbine, the V112 3MW.