The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has given the green light to two modification applications for the approved Glen Innes Wind Farm, located approximately 12 kilometres west of Glen Innes.
The application involved increasing the height of the turbines by 20 metres, from 130 to 150 metres, moving the location of two of the 25 approved turbines and extending the project approval by an additional 12 months to allow sufficient time for the detailed design of the wind farm to be completed.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said he was delighted to see the second of three windfarm projects between Glen Innes and Inverell, move closer to construction.
“I am a strong advocate of renewables in the region we have huge potential for renewables in our region and this project, combined with the larger White Rock (GoldWind) windfarm nearby, is very exciting for Glen Innes and our region,” he said.
“With these modifications now approved I’m looking forward to seeing construction getting underway within the next 12 months.”
Mr Marshall said that under the modified conditions, Glen Innes Windpower will have until January 31 next year to begin construction on the site.
“The proposals were on exhibition for feedback in early 2014, and the Department received 12 submissions from the community on each of the applications,” he said.
“The submissions focused on noise and visual impacts, which were carefully considered in the assessment.
“In approving the applications, the Department has updated the conditions to require the OneWind, the owners of the Glen Innes Wind Farm, to comply with strict noise limits and undertake detailed monitoring to demonstrate compliance with these limits.”
OneWind Chief Operating Officer Dr Paul Stangroom said the modifications will enable them to put wind turbines with the latest technology on the project and maximise the output and efficiency of the development.
“The time allowance means we have enough time to put relevant contracts and agreements in place to get the project into construction in good time,” he said.
“The conditions relating to noise and visual impact are important, and we will work hard to ensure we meet them fully.
“We have a number of remaining development steps to go through, but we will be in the area more and more to work with council and the community as this project moves forward.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Planning and Environment said due to the increased size of the turbines, they have increased the visual mitigation zone from three to four kilometres.
“This gives people living up to four kilometres from the wind farm the right to request additional screening to reduce the visual impacts at their home,” they said.
“The site will also be subject to on-going audits and site inspections by the Department’s compliance officers to ensure the company is adhering to its consent conditions.”
The Department can issue the highest on-the-spot fines in the country for breaches of conditions. Companies can also be prosecuted in court for breaching conditions, with the most severe breaches attracting fines of up to $5 million.
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