THE NSW Government last month announced the release of a new wind energy framework, which aims to encourage opportunities to harness clean energy, and ensure the interests of local communities are taken into account during project assessments.
The new framework is designed to help local communities engage earlier and more effectively with wind energy projects planned for their area. It will address delays in assessments for wind energy projects, which on average have taken more than 1000 days to be determined.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the new framework will benefit everyone involved when new wind energy projects are planned.
"Energy projects are a really important way to boost regional jobs and investment, but we also need to carefully manage impacts on nearby residents," Mr Stokes said. "This new framework will give clear guidance to industry, and establish processes to identify potential issues early, which will promote better project design."
Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy Adam Marshall said wind energy was an important part of our future energy mix, and projects needed a robust and effective planning process.
"This new framework will provide greater clarity, consistency and transparency for industry and the community regarding both assessment and decision-making on wind energy projects," Mr Marshall said.
NSW Renewable Energy Advocate Amy Keen said the framework encouraged developers to work with communities.
"I am encouraged to see an increasing number of developers working with local communities to share the benefits of their projects. This new planning framework will address delays and help NSW capture benefits from the wind industry."
The framework has been finalised after going on public exhibition in August, and undergoing extensive consultation with community groups, industry, environmental groups, councils, other states and the National Wind Farm Commissioner.
The new wind energy planning framework is available from the Department of Planning and Environment website at <http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/WindEnergyFramework>.