Top tier firm advises on environmental concerns of $650m wind farm

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Herbert Smith Freehills advised Trustpower on all environmental aspects of the planned Dundonnell Wind Farm in western Victoria.

One key environmental issue for the $650 million clean energy project, which recently received planning approval from the Victorian government, is the design of the wind farm providing for buffers from wetlands used by brolga, a protected bird species in Victoria.

The project which will have up to 96 turbines will see Trustpower working with landowners who support having turbines on their properties.

Trustpower and its expert ecologists also taught local landholders on how to systematically observe and collect data about the species.

“Thousands of hours of data on the brolga flight, breeding and flocking behaviours was sourced by two local landholders and collected and used in the technical impact assessment undertaken by Trustpower’s ecologists,” lead Herbert Smith Freehills partner Tim Power said.

Herbert Smith Freehills senior associate Zachary Tyler and solicitor Jennifer Meek also worked on the project.

The project’s planning approval was given after a publicly-exhibited environmental effects statement (EES) was subjected to an independent public inquiry last October.

“I am thrilled Victoria’s Minister for Planning has approved the Dundonnell Wind Farm. Trustpower and its people worked extremely hard to come up with an outstanding project that will make an important contribution to achieving Victoria’s and Australia’s renewable energy goals,” Power said.

“It is a fantastic example of an energy company partnering with local land owners who wish to have turbines on their property, and enlisting their support to collect important data about the presence and patterns of behaviour of protected bird species.

“I have no doubt this information greatly assisted Trustpower and the Minister in determining that the project’s effects on brolga were acceptable,” he said.

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