THE second largest wind farm in NSW has been given approval by the NSW Government and is now awaiting Federal Government approval. The $700 million, 270 megawatt facility, will be located near Nimmitabel on the far south coast and is to be constructed by Boco Rock Wind Farm Pty Ltd.
Planning Minister, Tony Kelly, said the wind farm will have the potential to power up to 120,000 homes each year once fully operational, expected to be in 2013. The company hopes to begin producing electricity in 2012.
Mr Kelly said the wind farm will be constructed using one of two possible layouts, 122 turbines or 104 turbines. "The facility will be located in a sparsely populated area in the high altitude plateau of the Monaro Plains, around 50 kilometres east of Kosciuszko National Park," Mr Kelly said, adding that there are only two non-involved houses located within a three kilometre radius of the nearest wind turbine.
The project will require Federal Government approval due to potential flora and fauna impacts and Mr Kelly said he expected that process to be completed soon.
The wind farm was assessed under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act – the NSW Government’s major projects assessment system.
A total of 73 conditions have been imposed on the project, including requirements that Boco Rock:
- Permanently protect 750 hectares of natural temperate grasslands, to offset the disturbance to vegetation as a result of the wind farm's construction and operation;
- Provide screen planting at some residences to block views of the turbines;
- Give annual contributions of $2,500 per turbine per year to the local community to fund projects such as infrastructure upgrades and tourist development; and
- Implement strict monitoring measures to ensure projected low levels of noise are maintained.