Planning win for energy park bid

R-L: Bruce Mildenhall, Lisa Chesters MP, Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Barry Man, Mary-Anne Thomas MP, Al Reid, Mayor Janet Pearce, David Gormley-O’Brien, Councillor Jennifer Anderson and Ralf Thesing. (Supplied)

By Jessica Micallef

A community energy park is a step closer to reality.

The state government has given the green light for the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group to begin planning for a wind energy facility near Woodend.

Community energy park spokesman Alan Reid said the project had been a long time coming after being envisioned by locals 10 years ago. He said the idea was for a renewable energy park that could produce enough electricity to meet Macedon Ranges consumption requirements.

It is hoped the park will help reduce local carbon emissions and provide an income source for residents and funding for local sustainability projects, while increasing energy security for the region.

Mr Reid said the energy park would be located six to seven kilometres south of Woodend.

“The great thing about the site is it doesn’t have conservation value,” he said.

“There’s no neighbours close … the closet neighbour is over a kilometre away. [The park] could have up to eight turbines … 24,000 solar panels and two mega watts of battery storage.”

Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas and Energy, Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio attended the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Festival earlier this month to make the planning go-ahead announcement.

“This is a big step forward for the Macedon community energy park project,” Ms Thomas said. “The determination and commitment of the local Macedon community is to be applauded.

“The people of Macedon are passionate about embracing clean energy.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said: “Across the state, groups like this are helping their communities transition towards a fairer and more sustainable energy system and I want to commend the Macedon Ranges for taking ownership of climate change in a very practical way.”