A new 272 turbine wind farm near Coolah has been given the green-light by the state government with the promise of powering up to 500,000 homes in NSW.
The $643 million Liverpool Range Wind Farm will take shape over the next three years, bringing 800 new jobs in the Warrumbungle and Upper Hunter regions.
Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said the State Significant Development east of Coolah and northwest of Cassilis would generate enormous amounts of power with large amounts of money poured back into the local community.
“This $643 million wind farm will generate almost one gigawatt of power, enough to power nearly 500,000 homes, and supports NSW’s Renewable Energy Action Plan of reducing greenhouse gases,” Mr Roberts said.
“It will also offer community funding contributions of up to $800,000 a year through a voluntary planning agreement with Warrumbungle and Upper Hunter Shire Councils.”
The initially proposed number of turbines was reduced for the development was reduced following community concern registered during consultation.
“The consultation has resulted in changes to the project that have led to better outcomes for the community and the environment,” Mr Roberts said.
Changes included cutting 16 turbines to reduce the total number of turbines to 272, increasing setbacks of turbines from property boundaries, changing the alignment of the electricity transmission line to reduce clearing of native vegetation, and reducing the number of proposed substations from six to four.
Other conditions include strict noise criteria, visual screening for nearby residents, and biodiversity offsets to compensate for clearing of native vegetation.
Epuron, the company developing the wind farm, has also agreed to road upgrades with both Roads and Maritime Services and the local councils, which includes 143km of regional and local roads.
The wind farm, which spans 36km from north to south and 20km east to west, will become one of the largest in Australia, and will take three years to build.