Construction of the second 13 MW phase of Stanwell Corporation's Windy Hill wind power plant on the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland is projected to start mid-2001 after final approvals have been granted. These are still pending even though preliminary approval was granted some months ago (Windpower Monthly, April 2000). Approval is now dependent on the results of communication interference monitoring over the next three months. The second phase will add 22 turbines to the existing 20, E40 Enercon turbines. The 12 MW first phase was finished in August. The nearby town of Ravenshoe has mostly embraced the wind farm, despite an ongoing debate in the local press. Between 10-15% of the A$1 million cost of each turbine has been spent locally along with direct employment of locals for construction, maintenance and operation. Ravenshoe has suffered from job losses in the timber and agricultural industries that have supported the town in the past. The novelty factor of the wind plant has led to approximately 10,000 cars a month visiting the viewing area since construction began.
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