People living within 2km of proposed wind farms will have the right to veto them, under a NSW Government proposal.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard says NSW remains committed to being part of the Federal Government’s 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020, despite proposing what he has described as the world’s toughest wind-farm guidelines.
Under the proposal, a company wanting to set up a wind farm in an area where landowner consent has not been given will have to go to an independent regional planning panel if there is community opposition.
“That means 100 per cent of neighbours have to be happy within that 2km zone,” Mr Hazzard said.
Mr Hazzard said he hoped the idea would find a balance between residents living near wind turbines and supporters of renewable energy.
“Today I am announcing that the NSW coalition Government is putting out for public discussion some of the toughest wind-farm guidelines in the country, possibly the world,” he said.
The Victorian Government this year gave residents within a 2km radius a right of veto over wind turbines.
But Mr Hazzard said the NSW proposal was different to Victoria’s and that wind-farm proponents would get a bigger say.
People wishing to write submissions to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure have until March 14.
Across NSW, there are 17 applications to build wind farms, including 13 that are yet to be shown to the public.
The NSW Greens said the proposal would kill off the wind-generation sector in favour of coal seam gas as a solution to the state’s future energy needs.
“If this draft plan becomes law, the Government has effectively chosen a destructive coal seam gas future for NSW, over the clean, green and jobs-rich wind-energy sector,” Greens planning spokesman David Shoebridge said.
“NSW is abandoning the most cost-effective option for reducing its carbon footprint, which in effect means it is giving the green light for coal seam gas projects across the state.”