The Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) has recommended that the application of the Crookwell 3 Wind Farm is refused due to significant visual impacts on the landscape and residents.
The project was given approval by the DPE in 2015, however, the planning has changed with new information and insight, a spokesperson said.
Seventeen of the proposed 23 turbines were less than 2.1 kilometres from residences, with some as close as 1.1 kilometre. This is inconsistent with the rules of wind farm development in the NSW Wind Energy Framework introduced by the government in 2016.
“The proposal is also inconsistent with local planning controls, which classify more than two-thirds of the proposed site as an environmental management zone.
“Overall, our assessment concluded the site is fundamentally not suitable for a large-scale wind farm,” executive director of resource assessments, Mike Young said.
Crookwell 3 will now be referred to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) for the final decision.
The project for 23 turbines up to 157 metres in height was about five kilometres from Crookwell.
“The proposal is right next door to the Crookwell 2 Wind Farm, built by the same proponent.
“Some people would be able to see five wind farms from their front door. An independent visual expert advised there would be significant visual impacts on up to 27 residences.
“We considered this project on its merits and our recommendation to refuse it draws on extensive community consultation and advice from an independent visual expert," Mr Young said.
“When it comes to visual impact, lots of factors need to be considered from wind farm distance to residential areas to distracting blade glint and turbine flicker.
“We acknowledge the proponent has made changes to reduce impacts and has reached an agreement with a number of landowners.
“This refusal does not reflect the renewable industry.
“There’s strong support for renewable energy in NSW and the government is backing the industry’s development including with guidance on the assessment of impacts, community engagement and more.”
The project was a development of Union Fenosa Wind Australia. More to come.