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1.1 What is a wind energy facility?
A wind energy facility is defined in clause 73.03 (Land use terms) of the VPP as:
Land used to generate electricity by wind force. It includes land used for:
a) any turbine, building, or other structure or thing used in or in connection with the generation, of electricity by wind force
b) an anemometer.
It does not include turbines principally used to supply electricity for domestic or rural use of the land.
1.2 Anemometers and electricity grid connections
In clause 73.01 (General terms) of the VPP, an anemometer is defined as a ‘wind measuring device.’ It is used to measure the wind speed and direction at a site.
Under clause 62.02-1 (Buildings and works not requiring a permit) of the VPP, a temporary anemometer may be located on a site for up to three years to monitor the suitability of the wind resource for a potential wind energy facility without requiring a planning permit. At the end of the three-year period, the temporary anemometer must be removed or a planning permit issued for its long-term use.
An anemometer can also be assessed and approved as part of a wind energy facility if it requires a permit.
1.2.2 Electricity grid connections
A wind energy facility requires a transmission or distribution system of power lines, including substations, converter installations, and other works to connect the wind energy facility to the electricity network. While the transmission or distribution system is generally off-site and distant from the wind energy facility, proponents often seek sites close to existing distribution systems.
A planning permit is required to construct any power line or substation connecting the generator to the electricity network if the generator was granted planning approval after the approval date of Amendment VC157 on 15 March 2019. This applies to all energy generation facilities, not just wind energy facilities.
The Minister for Planning is the responsible authority for determining a permit application for:
- A utility installation used to:
- transmit or distribute electricity
- store electricity if the installed capacity is 1 megawatt or greater.
This includes any removal of native vegetation associated with this infrastructure.
A planning permit is not required for power lines and substations associated with a wind energy facility that had a planning permit before the approval date of Amendment VC157 on 15 March 2019.
However, a planning permit may still be required for native vegetation removal associated with this infrastructure, or other requirements of the planning scheme.
A single planning permit application can include the wind energy facility and electricity network connection. This approach is preferred as it enables all aspects of the proposal to be considered by the responsible authority and communities. Refer to Sections 3.2 and 4.3 of these guidelines.
1.3 Characteristics of a wind energy facility
Wind energy facilities are typically located on sites with steady winds throughout the year, good road access, proximity to the electricity grid and the grid’s capacity (existing and planned). They can vary considerably in size and scale depending on the physical features of the land, the wind resources available, and the grid capacity available.
A wind energy facility typically includes:
- a series of wind turbines
- one or more substations
- power lines to connect to the electricity network
- a temporary construction compound
- wind monitoring equipment, which can include an anemometer
- access tracks, and
- underground cabling connecting the wind turbines to the on-site metered output point from the converter station where the generated electricity will enter the distribution system. This includes connections from the wind turbines to the onsite substations (i.e. an electricity generation, transmission and distribution system where voltage is transformed from high to low, or the reverse, using transformers).
A larger facility may also include:
- a quarry
- concrete batching plant(s)
- an operations and maintenance facility
- a battery energy storage system.
Wind turbines in new wind energy facilities are typically large, rotating, three-bladed machines that produce more than 4.0 MW of electrical output. Most wind turbines have a generator and rotor blades mounted on top of a steel tower. The rotor blades rotate horizontally, and the turbine’s total site can be as high as 220 to 250 metres.
Page last updated: 13/09/23