Tuesday, 12 July 2016
RENEWABLE energy technology is advancing so fast that it is outstripping the infrastructure development process, so I was delighted to learn that the NSW Department of Planning and has approved proposed changes to the Sapphire Wind Farm near Glen Innes.
The changes were made by Wind Prospect CWP because new turbine technology had emerged since it was approved to develop Australia’s biggest wind farm, with 159 turbines.
The approvals mean that Wind Prospect needs to install only 109 turbines for about the same energy generation capacity as its original 159-turbines proposal.
The newly approved turbines will have a rotor diameter 14 metres larger than those initially proposed, taking overall rotor diameter to an impressive 140 metres.
With 40 less turbines than the original proposal, there will be fewer roads and transmission lines.
The Department received 17 submissions on the change, including seven from government agencies, eight from the general public and two from special interest groups. Six community submissions objected to the modification.
On balance, I believe that the development of renewable energy generation in our region is to wholeheartedly welcomed. Why send our money and jobs to the Hunter Valley when we can generate clean energy ourselves?
The project has a capital investment value of more than $400 million with the potential to create 250 construction jobs and generate 300 megawatts of clean energy for NSW consumers, enough to power around 130,000 homes every year.
This project will confirm Northern Tablelands’ status as the renewable energy hub of NSW and the largest net-exporter of renewable energy. The renewables industry is one which will continue to have my wholehearted support and encouragement to expand.