The NSW government is introducing new draft wind farm guidelines – finally updating those released back in 2011.
While the draft guidelines didn’t appear to be available at the time of writing, The Australian reports each wind farm development will be assessed on its own circumstances; rather than blanket regulations excluding turbines being situated at a certain distance from residences.
However, in an extreme example given, a 160m tall turbine to be constructed within three kilometres of a high significance “visual influence zone” may not get the green light.
The Clean Energy Council seems generally upbeat about the new draft guidelines, saying they would accelerate development.
“This will provide much-needed certainty for both the industry and for the community, and help to speed up approval timeframes, which have stretched out into three or more years for some projects,” said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton.
While still having some reservations about various aspects, the CEC said it welcomed the manner in which the New South Wales State Government had been engaging the industry and that the sector looked forward to unleashing the good that more wind farms will bring.
“Like any infrastructure project, a wind farm creates major economic benefits for the local area. Under the national RET, dozens of renewable energy projects will be built across the country, and it is great to see the NSW Government recognising the benefits of wind farms for the state,” stated Mr. Thornton.
The CEC states it will continue to work closely with the government on the guidelines framework during the public exhibition period this month.
On a somewhat related note, Gullen Range Wind Farm in New South Wales’ Southern Tablelands, will soon be incorporating a renewable energy technology we’re particularly partial to – solar power. 40,000 solar panels will be added to the facility, making it Australia’s first large-scale hybrid wind and solar farm.
Gullen Range Wind farm opened in 2013 with one 1.5MW and seven 2.5MW wind turbines. Today it consists of 73 turbines, with a maximum combined output of 165.5MW. Electricity generated by the facility is enough to provide the power needs of 60,000 homes. By 2020, it will have avoided more than 3 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.
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