NSW Planning and Housing Minister Anthony Roberts last week announced approval of the $643 million Liverpool Range Wind Farm, which will generate almost one gigawatt of electricity – enough to power approximately 500,000 homes.
Mr Roberts said the State Significant Development east of Coolah and northwest of Cassilis would generate enormous amounts of power with large amounts of money would be poured back into the local community.
"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," Mr Roberts said.
"Local communities had a major say in the project since the Department's public exhibition of the Environmental Impact Statement and the Response to Submissions report.
"The key issues raised in submissions included noise and visual impacts, biodiversity, and the impacts of construction traffic on the local and regional road network.
"The consultation has resulted in changes to the project that have led to better outcomes for the community and the environment."
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.
Epuron, the company developing the windfarm, has also agreed to road upgrades with both Roads and Maritime Services and local councils, which includes 143 kilometres of regional and local roads.
Other conditions include strict noise criteria, visual screening for nearby residents, and biodiversity offsets to compensate for clearing of native vegetation.
The wind farm, which spans 36 kilometres from north to south and 20 kilometres east to west, will become one of the largest in Australia, and will take three years to build.
More information is available from the Department of Planning and Environment's Major Projects website at <http://www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=6696>.