Woodend wind farm tests under way

A community wind farm project, rejected by the former Liberal state government, is a step closer to being realised.

Information about wind frequency and speeds will be collected over the next 12 months then used by the Woodend Integrated Sustainable Energy (WISE) group to prepare a business case for investment in three turbines about six kilometres south of the town.

Wiring and anemometers were installed after a solid day spent digging through rock at the proposed site, deep within a pine forest managed by Hancock Victorian Plantations.

WISE hopes the turbines will be able to power as many as 4000 homes within three to five years.

Group spokesman Barry Mann said members were excited the project was taking shape after almost five years of delays caused by the former Liberal state government’s controversial wind farm bans.

‘‘The equipment will monitor speeds there … that will be our bankable info, which we will take to potential investors and the community,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re confident it’s the right site.’’

Mr Mann said a range of private and community investment options would be explored. Talks with a number of financial institutions and energy providers are ongoing.

‘‘Funding won’t be an issue,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s more a matter of how big we make it and what kind of partners and benefits we can get for the community.’’