Two wind farms proposed near Yass have been given a kick-along, with recent buyers keen to see construction start early next year.
Wind company Epuron announced late last week it was buying the Yass Valley and the Conroys Gap wind farms back from Origin Energy.
Epuron sold the two projects to Origin in 2001 and 2010 but said it wanted to get back into the market because demand was growing again.
“From Epuron’s perspective they are both very good projects,” Andrew Wilson, project manager for the two farms, said.
Mike Inkster from the Boorowa District Landscape Guardians (BDLG) said it was likely Epuron would onsell the project to foreign wind energy companies.
He said the company made no secret of the fact it would sell projects rather than develop them itself.
“The only buyers are the Chinese companies… and they’re buying them for the renewable energy targets,” Mr Inkster said.
Epuron said the demand for such projects was being driven by these targets.
“While new construction under this target stalled for a number of years, demand for the new projects is again growing strongly which should support construction of these wind farms,” the company said.
Epuron has ordered wind turbines for the Conroys Gap project, where 15 turbines have been approved. It is starting the approval process for connecting with the power grid.
Mr Wilson said construction could start by early next year but certainly within a couple of years.
The Yass Valley project, which includes up to 152 turbines, still has several steps to go through before turbines can be ordered.
Mr Inkster said there were around 450 turbines proposed for around the area and, once constructed, a huge number of residents would be able to see the 120 to 155 metre-tall structures.
“They can be seen from a great distance away and [many residents] will have at least visibility of these structures, especially if they’re flashing red at night,” Mr Inkster said.
The company is preparing a response to submissions from the community and government agencies.
It plans to establish a committee to consult with the community.
“There hasn’t been a lot of contact and feedback from the community. That’s definitely going to be our focus over the next couple of months,” Mr Wilson said.
The project manager said the committee would include representatives from the region and anybody could put their name down for the group.
“Hopefully what that does is give the people who live in the area a local contact they can talk to at any time.”
Charlie Arnott, chair of the BDLG was sceptical a consultation committee would provide the best point of contact for the neighbours.
He said committees set up for the Rye Park and Rugby wind farms had “proven to be pretty useless efforts of consultation”.
He said the sale threw things into limbo again and people around the Coppabella and Conroy’s Gap area would be worried.
“People are now going to be even more nervous about their future,” he said. “There’s going to be very little subdivision activity.”
Mr Wilson said anecdotal evidence from the Yass Valley farm submissions proved the majority of people were keen for it to happen sooner rather than later.
He said people were starting to get frustrated because it hadn’t got off the ground yet.
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