Are you a Friend of the Wind Farm?

I was recently up in Nundle, meeting people in the small community just south of Tamworth. There's a wind farm proposed for the area and there are plenty of locals who want to see it go ahead. So much so, they've got signs on their front fences telling everyone they're "Friends of the Wind Farm". Oh, and they're big fans of wind power as well, lol.

The wind farm in question is the Hills of Gold Wind Farm, an exciting 70 turbine, 420 megawatt project, which is going through the planning process right now.

If approved, it could include a 100/400WMh megawatt battery, allowing it to shape the wind farm’s clean energy output to what the grid requires.

But there is a determined group of opponents who, with Barnaby Joyce's blessing, want to see the project stopped.

You can put in a submission to support the approval of the Hills of Gold Wind Farm here

 

Submissions close 5pm, Friday 29th January 2021

 

We’ve put together some information here to help with your submission. 

MAKING YOUR SUBMISSION:

  1. Explain who you are and why you support clean energy 
  2. Include any main reasons you think the project should be supported
  3. Go to the NSW Planning website, go to top right hand corner and hit Make a Submission. (you may need to create an account to make your submission)

WHAT IS BEING PROPOSED

  • 70 turbines, supplying around 420 megawatts of clean wind energy
  • 100/400 MWh megawatt battery

Climate and environment

  • The project is expected to generate enough power for over 185,000 homes, saving 650,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year. The urgency of the climate crisis is increasing, making our transition to clean energy all the more important.
  • The more wind and solar power plants we build in New South Wales, the quicker we can shut down coal plants that are contributing to dangerous climate change. This is proposal is very much in line with the recent passed legislation, committing to power with clean energy.
  • Environmental surveys suggest that the land is predominantly cleared land, used for  grazing cattle, with much of the understorey converted to exotic pastures some time ago. While there are flora and fauna unique to the area and there will be some biodiversity impacts from the project, they will be offset in accordance with the NSW biodiversity offsets system.

Energy

  • The project has the capacity to be ready before the implementation of the first of the state government’s Renewable Energy Zones, at Central West Orana. 
  • A 100 megawatt battery would continue technological improvements that are already seeing wind and solar power plants contribute to grid services and increase the flexibility of their supply to the grid. It would further demonstrate wind farms’ ability to contribute to vital system security and reliability.
  • The project is located in a high wind area and proposes to connect to a strong part of the grid through an existing transmission line between Tamworth and the Liddell power station. Not relying on new transmission or transmission upgrades means the project is more likely to come online earlier.

Community benefits

  • The project is expected to create 216 direct and 430 indirect jobs during the 2.5 year construction period, which could begin in 2021.
  • Experience suggests a wind farm of this size would employ around 12 full-time equivalent jobs to operate the wind farm, though the proponent’s modeling suggests a higher number.
  • An economic boost would be expected to the local economy around Tamworth and Nundle during construction, from work going to local contractors and suppliers. An estimated 80-85% of the economic employment benefits are expected to go to the Tamworth Regional or Newcastle City LGAs.
  • As well as lease payments to farmers and voluntary agreements with neighbouring landholders, a community fund is proposed to pay for community projects over the life of the wind farm. The fund would receive $2,500 per annum per turbine, amounting to $175,000 each year for the 25 to 30 year life of the project. This would have a material impact on the local community’s ability to fund projects of importance to the region.
  • There will significant improvements to the local road network, including proposed upgrade works to Barry Road, Morrisons Gap Road and Head of Peel Road