Questions and Answers
We are working to meet with every member of the local community.
In addition to these meetings, Fera will hold community sessions every 3 months, and are seeking nominations for community members to create a Community Consultation Committee (CCC). This committee will be provided with funds each year and be responsible for reviewing project submissions from the wider community. The allocation of the annual funding will also be controlled by the CCC.
Fera has also commenced meetings with local service providers, local government, and stakeholders in the project area to understand them. Fera are committed to purchasing local and employing local so that the project’s delivery and operation provide the maximum benefit to the community.
Fera will issue regular newsletters and encourage everyone in the community to make contact and register for the newsletter distribution.
If you wish to organise a time to meet and discuss the project, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0481234229.
Fera understands that the Wind Farm project is a concern to some members of the community. Community is very important to Fera and we are committed to making sure that everyone is fully informed about the project and that there are many channels of communication between the community and Fera, ensuring that everyone’s view is heard and understood.
The project is at an early stage and for the next 18 months Fera’s team are working to investigate all aspects of the project.
The project is in one of Victoria’s strong wind resource areas and is also close to the main grid.
The Victorian Government Renewable Energy Targets are:
- 2025 – 40% renewable energy
- 2035 – 95% renewable energy
To achieve these targets Wind and Solar energy will be the major contributors.
The project has the potential to create renewable energy for more than 400,000 homes and reduce Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2,000,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.
The community is made up of different groups of people.
- The local community including landholders and people who live in the local area, close to the project.
- People and companies who live in the towns near the project.
- People who live in the region and ultimately, the Victoria Community.
The views on the project for the local community vary from strong support to strong opposition. The local towns and wider Victorian community have strong support for renewable energy and the transition to sustainable forms of energy production.
The main questions of concern raised at the community sessions on February 25, 2023, were:
- The size of the project and its visual impact?
- What is being offered to the people who live next door to the turbines and the wider community?
- Impact to land value?
- Social and Community impacts?
- Impact to the environment?
- Impact on firefighting of bush fires?
- Impact on Cultural Heritage?
- Perceived Health Impacts?
- Noise Impacts?
All of the above issues will be covered in the questions and answers below.
Please contact us at email@example.com or on 0481234229 to discuss any questions you have on the project.
Fera is committed to the Seymour project and we do not make this commitment lightly. In committing to the project Fera commits to ensuring the project is investigated and sensitively designed. Fera is a company that is based entirely on renewable energy. A company that builds, owns, and operates, renewable energy projects. With the exception of 2 projects built with a partner who subsequently bought out the rest of the investors, Fera owns, maintains, and operates, all its wind projects.
As with previous projects Fera plans to investigate and develop the Seymour wind farm project. Fera will then build, maintain, and operate the project and many years into the future, be responsible for the decommissioning process.
In addition to the upgrade of local roads, local employment, and the environmental benefits to the Victorian community, revenue from the project will be set aside to ensure those community members who are adjacent to or nearby the project infrastructure benefit from the project.
Fera is committed to ensuring the project delivers strong legacy programs and benefits to the community.
This program will be funded directly from the project and is valued at $500,000 per annum.
A number of projects have been identified:
- The upgrade of telecommunication network through the project area. The Tarcombe Valley and surrounding areas are currently poorly serviced by the existing phone network. Fera proposes to provide additional infrastructure to ensure mobile phones and data are available across the entire project area.
- The provision of an electric vehicle charge network that would be free to the local community.
- Households located close to the project infrastructure will be eligible for grants to provide solar power or other household projects. We are also investigating providing either a direct energy subsidy ($1,000 -2,000 per annum) or free energy for local homes during peak energy production periods.
The balance of the funds will be made available to the Community Consultation Committee (CCC).
An Urbis report was highlighted to question the impact of wind farm projects on farm values.
The report was commission by the NSW Government in July 2016. The title of the report is “Review of the Impact of Wind Farms on Property Values”.
This study follows on from the 2009 NSW Valuer-General’s assessment of the impact of wind farms on property values. The current study included:
- A literature review of existing reports and papers on the impact of wind farms on property values, both in Australia and overseas.
- Preparation of six case studies in NSW and Victoria, including analysis of sales data of properties near wind farms over the past 15 years to identify any differences between wind farm impacted properties and the broader property sales market.
- A synthesis of the findings from the literature review and data analysis phases to pinpoint key drivers that may impact the value of land around wind farm developments.
Whist the study found there was insufficient sales to provide definitive answer to the question the study was based on the best available data and traditional valuation sales analysis techniques to compare the change in values around wind farms over time.
“In our professional opinion, appropriately located wind farms within rural areas, removed from higher density residential areas, are unlikely to have a measurable negative impact on surrounding land values.”
“Based on the outcome of these research techniques, it is our expert opinion that windfarms may not significantly impact rural properties used for agricultural purposes.”
Further the report referenced a study by Hoen (2009 & 2013) which overcame the typical lack of sales transactions by collecting some 50,000 home sales across 27 counties.
This included sales that were within 10 miles and one miles of a turbine, with data from periods before the wind farms were announced and after construction was completed.
Hoen (2009 & 2013) found no statistical evidence that property values near wind turbines were affected.
Other studies found mixed results, with Heintzelman and Tuttle (2012) finding while testing across three different US states, that in some instances there was a negative relationship between proximity to wind turbines and property values; however, it was not consistent and there was no identifiable factor driving the difference.
The lack of consistency between the results may point to a qualitative factor associated with the wind farm itself, or a difference in consumer preferences between states when it comes to co-location with wind farms. This would make it difficult to draw conclusive implications about compensating all landholders in close proximity to wind farms.
A similar hedonic price analysis conducted in Germany by Sunak and Madlener (2014) found that the asking prices for properties whose view was strongly affected by the construction of wind turbines decreased by 10–17%, while properties with a minor or marginal view experienced no price effect.
The impact of visual amenity is complex however, with the angle of view, distance and size of the wind farm all playing a part in the potential negative impact on a property’s amenity.
In the Australian context, in 2009 the NSW Valuer-General commissioned an analysis of the impact of wind farm development on rural land in NSW and Victoria (2009 NSW Valuer-General’s assessment of the impact of wind farms on property values, a precursor to this current study).
The 2009 NSW Valuer-General’s assessment of the impact of wind farms on property values compared the sale prices of properties that transacted before and after the development of a wind farm, taking into consideration the percentage movement of the property market in the local area.
The matched pair method compared properties within view of the wind farm with comparable properties that were not visually impacted. If a property located within view of a wind farm sold for less than a comparable property, it was said to be impacted by the wind farm.
The study did not conduct a hedonic analysis like many of the international studies because:
- the sample of comparable sales transactions was limited.
- wind farm development occurred on rural land, with low population density.
- there was significant variation in property characteristics (view from the dwelling, lot size, improvements, etc.) and the level of visual impact.
- the complex array of factors that impact property prices was difficult to capture.
Similar limitations have also impacted this current study by Urbis, despite the time that has passed and the increase in the number of wind farms between the 2009 study and 2016.
The 2009 NSW Valuer-General’s assessment of the impact of wind farms on property values reviewed 45 property transactions within eight study areas. Of these only five were identified as potentially being adversely affected by their view of a wind farm: a small impact was observed for one township property, and potential impacts were observed on four out of 13 lifestyle properties. There were no observed impacts on the 12 rural properties analysed.
The 2009 study found that properties in rural/agricultural areas appeared to be the least affected by wind farm development, with no reductions found near any of the eight wind farms investigated.
The only properties where a possible effect was observed were lifestyle properties in Victoria within 500 metres of a wind farm, some of which were found to have lower than expected land values.
One of the leading global manufacturers of wind turbines, Vestas, researched this issue.
Vestas’ study was based on a 100MW wind farm using 6.2MW turbines. The study estimated that the carbon payback period was 6.5 months.
As the turbines increase in size each project requires fewer turbines and associated infrastructure. This is expected to further reduce the carbon payback period in future projects.
In the same study, Vestas calculated, for the same project, a figure of 313 tonnes of CO2 produced per MW during construction, and 430 tonnes of CO2 produced per MW once completely installed.
A percentage of the CO2 installation figure accounts for the transport distances for each major component based on the average delivery distance of each component over 2021.
Shown below are the average transport distances provided by Vestas.
With Australia being located a further distance for turbine travel our estimate is that the resultant CO2 will be 450 tonnes per MW. If the project is 600MW this equates to 270,000 tonnes of CO2. Based on the project at this size resulting in a reduction of 2,000,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum they carbon payback is 3 – 4 months.
The renewable energy zones were created to highlight areas where there is capacity in the local grid to connect renewable energy projects. They were created 3 years ago.
With the Seymour Wind project located very close to the main grid transmission lines between Melbourne and Sydney, an entirely new link will be created for the project. This link will be sized to match the project and ensure that energy created by the project has the best possible access to the grid.
The project submitted a preliminary request to AEMO (the Australian Energy Market regulator). AEMO provided feedback on the project and supported the proposed connection to the grid.
Biodiversity is a very important part of the project. Fera and its expert employees have more than 20 years’ experience in sensitively locating projects. In addition to inhouse experts, Fera have contracted Biosis, a leading Australian firm, to work with us to ensure flora and fauna are not impacted by the project.
The impact of the project on any species in the area is protected by the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. As a key part of the projects inception and development, detailed studies will be performed to ensure minimal or no impacts on flora and fauna. All findings will be made public to ensure total transparency. Furthermore, positive impacts will also be assessed to ensure that the project has a net benefit to flora and fauna in the area.
Roadside vegetation will be studied in detail, route specialists have been engaged to ensure routes chosen for the transport of turbine blades do not require any major disruption to the roadside fauna.
Modern turbines are larger, have higher production, have fewer revolutions per minute and are quieter during operation.
Manufacturer warranty for current turbines is 30 years. Industry expectations however, are that turbines will still be operational in 40+ years.
Contracts with all landowners and the planning proposal for the project ensures that provision is made for the turbines and associated infrastructure to be removed to a level of 0.5m below ground. Money is placed in a fund to ensure that funds are available for the turbine and tower removal, importantly 100% of the turbines and towers will be recycled at the end of their productive life.
Once the transport route is determined, Fera will be responsible for any required road upgrades to ensure the components of the wind farm can be transported to their locations. Following the upgrades, the local roads will be maintained by council and the internal paths / roads will be maintained by Fera. Particular attention and planning goes into the route selection to ensure any changes are planned to minimize the impact to the roadside flora and fauna.
The improvement of local roads, performed during the construction phase of the project, will greatly increase accessibility for emergency vehicles for fire management. The efficiency of major evacuation will also be increased due to the greater quality of the road network. Improved telecommunications will further improve the response to bushfires and any emergency within the area.
In the case of a fire, wind turbines are halted, reducing the likelihood of collisions with flying vehicles and increasing the feasibility of aerial firefighting. Each wind turbine is surrounded by large amounts of open space, meaning aerial firefighting will not be performed in extreme proximity to the turbines.
Following the most recent test of bushfire response in the area of the Waterloo wind farm, the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) stated that the wind farm posed no hinderance in containing the fire. Indicating that with access roads acting as fire breaks, the situation was not able to grow by passing several ridges, preventing a much larger incident. The CFS also commented that with the turbine blades halted, and strong wind conditions, the turbines were easily identified and did not pose a flight risk, siting however, that guy-wires on met masts should include aerial friendly identification as they were more difficult to identify.
Read more: https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/news/in-case-of-fire-a-real-life-experience-at-a-wind-farm-site
Consultations with the traditional owners of the lands have begun. Cultural heritage is an important part of the project. In the biodiversity study, Biosis is also working with the local Taungurung Land Council.
Fera is committed to ensuring cultural values and heritage are not impacted by the project and hopes that the process reinforces the connection between the communities.
council and government
Fera is funding all studies and works associated with the Seymour wind project. The project is not reliant on government funding to proceed.
No, farm rates will continue to be rated as agricultural land.
Fera will pay rates to each council based for the leased land used for energy production.
All aspects of the project will be assessed over the coming years. These include the studies highlighted on the website and throughout these Q&A topics.
Fera is committed to making a strong contribution to Victoria’s transition to renewable energy with the Seymour project. This includes environmental, cultural, social, health, and economic benefits to the Victorian and local communities.
As with all major infrastructure projects these elements are critical to a successful project.