Bigger is better at Lal Lal wind farm

Developers of the Lal Lal wind farm near Ballarat, Victoria, are planning to construct even larger turbines for the project if changes can be approved.

Plans currently include turbines with a height of 130m, however, WestWind Energy has said it will apply to alter the height to 161m.

The plans originally included 64 turbines between Yendon and Elaine, but if the amended plans are approved the number will be reduced to 60.

“In essence, what has happened is turbine technology has moved in the last five years to larger rotors but only slightly bigger generator size,” Westwind managing director Tobi Geiger said.

“I can tell you honestly, if you were 2km away and you saw a 161m high turbine and then you drove further and saw a 130m turbine from 2km away you wouldn’t notice any difference. It is only when you see them right beside each other you see the difference. We think the visual impact is minimal and probably offset by having a few less turbines.”

The plans have sparked calls by local residents for tighter noise controls, arguing the new turbine blade sweep area would increase by a 76 per cent.

But Westwind managing director Tobi Geiger argued bigger turbines means more energy would be generated, with less noise.

“It should be noted larger wind turbines are not noisier just because they are larger,” he said.

“In fact in the last couple of years, we have seen significant improvements to wind turbine blade aerodynamics compared to the technology that was available when Lal Lal was first approved.”