McCullys Gap residents are up in arms about plans to build a large wind farm near Muswellbrook.
Locals received notification via phone this week that one of Australia’s most successful developers, Epuron, is assessing a feasibility study in the region.
The renewable energy company is also involved in the projected Liverpool Range Wind Farm, which involves the construction and operation of up to 272 turbines with a combined output of 979 MW, between the townships of Coolah and Cassilis.
However, it’s the proposal at McCullys Gap that has ruffled feathers.
“I don’t think too many people know about this,” one resident told the Chronicle.
“It was certainly a shock – and we’re not happy.
“It’s been kept very hush-hush.”
Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen admitted he, too, was unaware of the venture.
“If this is the style of communication the residents are dealing with, in relation to information, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the project,” he said.
Muswellbrook Shire Council revealed no development application or pre-lodgement had been filed either.
The Chronicle obtained a copy of the correspondence, emailed to locals, which states “at the early stages, it is difficult to say what the number and size of turbines would be and therefore the output capacity of the project.
“However, as an estimate, we believe there is possibility for 70-80 turbines – and current turbine models that are suitable for the Australian market are between 3-4MW each.
“We are currently conducting wind monitoring on the site and, in the next 12 months, would be looking at further studies to assess the feasibility of the site.
“This would involve biodiversity studies, visual and noise assessments as well as constructability analysis mainly looking at access roads to the proposed sites.
“The design of the project would be iterative and evolve as these studies take place as well as discussions with landowners that want to be part of the project.
“It would then be submitted for planning approval via the NSW Department of Planning once we had done the necessary studies and spoken to all the associated landowners.”
Connection opportunities were also highlighted.
“We are currently investigating a number of powerline options to connect the turbines to the existing transmission network,” the email said.
“There are numerous lines and substations in the area and it is generally regarded as a very strong part of the network due to the existence of Liddell and Bayswater power stations.
“There are options at either the 132kV or 330kV level and so we are exploring both alternatives.
“The ultimate design from a voltage and capacity perspective would depend on how many turbines were installed.
“But, at this stage, we’d be assessing the feasibility based on the maximum case, say 80 turbines at 4MW = 320MW.”
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