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NSW Department of Planning rejects wind farm’s application for Tarago project

Proponents of a $400 million wind farm near Tarago have not consulted neighbouring landholders sufficiently, nor assessed visual and noise impacts of the proposed turbines, says the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

The department has not accepted the application for the Jupiter Wind Farm near Tarago, and has advised the proponent its environmental impact statement is not suitable for public exhibition.

Five kilometres south-east of Tarago, Australian-Spanish joint venture EPYC proposed 100 wind turbines across a 12,000 hectare stretch of land, hosted by 25 landholders, which has angered other residents who formed a strong protest group.

The department has reviewed the EIS and found that the proponent has not adequately assessed the visual and noise impacts of the project, as required by government guidelines;

– Not undertaken sufficient consultation with local residents about measures to reduce impacts of the wind farm, particularly in regard to visual impacts; and

– Not fully considered the compatibility of the project with local planning controls and the emerging rural-residential nature of the area.

A planning spokesman said that information presented to the community regarding impacts of state significant developments like wind farms needed to be of the highest quality.

“The community has a legitimate interest in major development in their area. That is why the company was required to consult with the community, especially its nearest neighbours, about the impacts of its proposal,” he said.

“The department has informed the company that it has not met its requirements and that more work needs to be done on these issues before any application could go on public exhibition.”

EPYC project manager Ibrahim Eid said on Thursday he was travelling, had not seen the NSW Planning Department’s press release and could not comment.

Generating 350 Megawatts, the 110 metre-high turbines would support 63-metre-wide blades. EPYC says the generators would help cut greenhouse gas emissions of 500,000 tonnes annually as well as potentially generate enough clean energy to power about 150,000 homes.

Three other wind farms and a solar farm are operating or are approved in the area.

The “Residents Against Jupiter Wind Turbines” group formed to represent landholders in the Tarago, Boro and Mt Fairy districts,have lobbied Palerang and Goulburn councils, the NSW government and protested outside the ACT Legislative Assembly.