Environment group Friends of the Earth have welcomed news of a large-scale wind and battery hub proposed for a timber plantation in southwest Victoria, saying it could be a key plank of Victoria's efforts on climate change.
“After a confronting summer in which the community has witnessed serious climate impacts including drought, bushfires and flood," said Friends of the Earth's renewable energy spokesperson Pat Simons, "the need to transition away from coal and gas is urgent.”
If the Kentbruck Greenpower Hub gets the green light, the wind and battery storage project could be one of the largest in the country, with a generation capacity totalling 900 megawatts, helping to firm up the power grid while cutting pollution.
The proposal represents a significant economic opportunity to southwest Victoria which is already home to Australia's top wind tower manufacturer, Keppel Prince in Portland.
“A key question for the local community is how can Portland and Western Victoria best seize the economic opportunities the Kentbruck wind and battery hub represents as the energy system shifts away from coal and gas,” said Simons.
Given the scale of the proposal, Friends of the Earth will be paying close attention to the Kentbruck Green Power Hub, the way benefits are shared among the broader community, how any ecological impacts are mitigated and the opportunities for domestic manufacturing.