Investec Bank (Australia) and Windlab Systems Pty have moved forward with their plans for the A$180 million (EUR 152 million) 85 MW Oaklands Hills wind farm near Glenthompson in Western Victoria, applying for planning permission from the Victorian state government. The joint venture partners hope to start construction in the second quarter of 2008. The application is for up to 43 turbines and a total capacity of 85 MW. "Discussions are underway with a number of turbine suppliers and we have set a target date for commissioning of third quarter 2009," says Mark Headland of Investec, a private investment bank. "During construction of the wind farm we will make available $50,000 to be spent on local projects and work with the Shire council to identify opportunities to use this money to benefit the Glenthompson community. "Investec believes there is an "exciting future" for the wind market, with its involvement in Oaklands Hills demonstrating "how the bank has stepped up to the plate by putting its own capital in at the high risk development phase," says Headland. "This project represents the first step in what we expect will lead to a portfolio of in excess of 1000 MW of wind projects to be developed across a number of jurisdictions." Investec is pursuing opportunities at sites in Australia and New Zealand, with monitoring underway at several locations, he adds, although he declines to provide further details.