May 15th, 2021Concern over transmission lines
Mayor Cr Lesley Hewitt said the council shared concerns with the community that the transmission lines would have a negative impact on the region’s landscape, heritage and farmland.
“We are of course very supportive of renewable energy, and the importance of transmitting it to the electricity grid. However, we are strongly advocating for the appropriate placement of powerlines (undergrounding being our preference) and of the terminal station location,” she said.
The WVTN project proposes to build 190km of overhead transmission lines between Bulgana, north of Ararat, and Sydenham, in north-west Melbourne.
Meanwhile, the Western Victoria Economic and Cultural Group will hold a Community Information and Support Day on Sunday, May 30 at Newlyn Recreation Reserve.
The group was formed to try to hold AusNet Services, the company contracted to build the transmission lines, to account to consider alternatives to the above-ground towers and to conduct an adequate community consultation process.
“(The) 380 towers – each 75 metres tall – (will run) through one of the most pristine, historically significant and productive pieces of regional Australia, crippling the local farming and tourism industries.
“Australia prides itself on being leaders in innovation and technology however this project is using old and inefficient technology to connect renewable energy from wind farms in regional Victoria to Melbourne.”
The group also says the towers will impact on tourism in the region.
“Two of the top drivers of international and domestic visitation are natural, unspoilt landscapes and food and wine. The region is widely known for its local produce and is a destination for foodies, boasting a UNESCO world heritage gastronomy listing.
“We are fully supportive of renewable energy, we just cannot see the logic in putting in an inefficient, wasteful technology to generate renewable energy when there are modern alternatives that will not risk the local economy and community.”
A Western Victoria Transmission Network Project report says the network is critical infrastructure required to unlock the renewable energy potential and economic development of western Victoria.
The project entered the environmental assessment and project approvals phase in 2020 and that will continue through 2021 with construction planned to be completed in 2025.
Words & images: Donna Kelly