The NSW Government has approved the development of a new wind farm in the Upper Hunter region which is set to deliver 800 new jobs and significantly boost the local economy.
NSW Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said the Liverpool Range Wind Farm, to be be developed on the east of Coolah and northwest of Cassilis, would generate enormous amounts of power and provide financial stimulus for the local community.
“This $643 million wind farm will generate almost one gigawatt of power, enough to power nearly 500,000 homes, and supports NSW’s Renewable Energy Action Plan of reducing greenhouse gases,” Mr Roberts said.
“It will also offer community funding contributions of up to $800,000 a year through a voluntary planning agreement with Warrumbungle and Upper Hunter Shire Councils.”
Mr Roberts said local communities had a major say in the project since the department’s public exhibition of the environmental impact statement and the response to submissions report.
“The key issues raised in submissions included noise and visual impacts, biodiversity and the impacts of construction traffic on the local and regional road network,” Mr Roberts said.
“The consultation has resulted in changes to the project that have led to better outcomes for the community and the environment.”
Changes included cutting 16 turbines to reduce the total number of turbines to 272, increasing setbacks of turbines from property boundaries, changing the alignment of the electricity transmission line to reduce clearing of native vegetation, and reducing the number of proposed substations from six to four.
Epuron, the company developing the wind farm, has also agreed to road upgrades with both Roads and Maritime Services and the local councils, which includes 143km of regional and local roads.
Other conditions include strict noise criteria, visual screening for nearby residents and biodiversity offsets to compensate for clearing of native vegetation.
The wind farm, which spans 36km from north to south and 20km east to west, will become one of the largest in Australia, and will take three years to build.