Thursday, 11 August 2016
AS the Northern Tablelands electorate becomes a favoured region for development of wind power, local State MP Adam Marshall is calling on the community to contribute to the consultation phase of the NSW Government’s new wind energy planning framework.
“Wind energy has attracted its share of controversy, which has delayed or halted investment in this exciting technology,” Mr Marshall said.
“With its new policy framework, the NSW Government aims to put greater certainty and consistency around renewable energy development in order to attract investment while balancing the needs of the community.”
The framework has been developed to address flaws in the draft 2011 wind farm guidelines, which among other things have resulted in long delays in assessing projects.
In one case, a wind farm proposal took more than 2,500 days to be determined. The average determination times for wind projects in the past five years has been more than 1,000 days – “a crippling imposition for developers, and a real blockage to getting the benefits of this technology into our rural communities,” Mr Marshall said.
The policy incorporates new technical bulletins that frame the objectives behind revised standards for visual impact and noise. The new noise criteria adopts South Australia’s stricter standards on base noise limits.
Mr Marshall urges those in his electorate with a contribution to make to engage in the consultation process, which runs through until September 16.
“With new wind farms pumping millions of dollars of investment and new jobs into the Glen Innes and Inverell communities, it is vital that we get wind farm development policy right, and right for the long term,” Mr Marshall said.
“We need to get an appropriate balance in this framework, and this frontline electorate’s input and insights will make a valuable contribution to this process.”
The new policy framework encourages proponents to engage early with the community to address key impacts, to ensure a robust assessment of key issues.
The proposed new framework can be viewed at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Have-Your-Say. Submissions can be made online or via post: Department of Planning and Environment, Attention: Director, Industry and Infrastructure Policy, GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001
Submissions close on 16 September 2016.
Two of the State’s biggest wind farms are being built in the Northern Tablelands electorate.
The $400 million, 175-megawatt White Rock Wind Farm, currently under construction west of Glen Innes, will initially have 70, 2.5-megawatt turbines, but planning approval has been granted for 119 turbines. It will be capable of powering about 75,000 homes, and for a brief time after completion, will be the State’s largest wind farm.
Wind Prospect’s Sapphire Wind Farm, near Inverell, is a $400 million-plus project. The company will start work in late 2016 to install 109 large turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 140 metres, jointly capable of powering about 130,000 homes. When complete, Sapphire Wind Farm will overtake White Rock as the largest wind farm in the State.