NSW approves 1,000MW Liverpool Range wind farm in New England | RenewEconomy

NSW approves 1,000MW Liverpool Range wind farm in New England

The New South Wales state government has given planning approval for the Liverpool Range wind farm, which at more than 1,000MW could be the biggest in the country.

The new German policy aims to control – and curtail – the amount of renewables (Photo by Eclipse, edited, CC BY-SA 3.0)

The New South Wales state government has given planning approval for the Liverpool Range wind farm, which at more than 1,000MW could be the biggest in the country.

The wind project is being developed Australian renewable energy company Epuron and the planning permission allows for 267 turbines on 25 different properties between the villages of Coolah and Cassilis east of Mudgee.

Depending on the final choice of wind turbine, the project could exceed 1,000MW. It will stretch 36km from north to south and 20km east to west in the heart of the New England Tablelands, and part of it will be within the electorate of former National leader Barnaby Joyce.

The Liverpool Plains area to the north is one of the richest farming regions in Australia, but unlike the hotly-contested Shenhua coal mine north of the project, the wind farm will not get in the way of farming activities.

Epuron has been working on the project for seven years, and received its planning approval just over a week ago. All going well, and subject to the delivery of the project to an un-named, but identified buyer, construction could begin within a year.

Epuron says the Liverpool Range wind project would be a key part of the transition to renewable energy as more coal fired power stations closed down, reducing emissions and saving significant quantities of water now used in coal generators.

“I think we will start to see people talking more about power rather than renewables, and over the next coulee of years, most of that power will come from renewables,” says Epuron executive director Martin Poole.

NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said the project would create 800 jobs and provide a significant economic boost to the local community. It was approved after changes were made to take into account concerns about noise and visual impacts, biodiversity, and construction traffic.

The number of turbines was cut by 16, some required increasing setbacks, and the number of proposed substations was reduced from six to four.

Poole said the project was agreed after consultations with a local community consultative committee that included landowners, neighbours and local businesses and local councils.

A Community Enhancement Fund will provide $800,000 per year (based on $3,000 per wind turbine built), the water saved from not burning coal would amount to 6,000 Olympic sized swimming pools a year, and emissions saved would be 2.4 million tonnes a year.

“Epuron thanks the community for coming on board with this wind farm,” Poole said.

“After almost 15 years working on wind and solar projects around Australia, Epuron continues to be committed to the clean, new energy system that Australians, and importantly our children, expect and demand.”

Poole told RenewEconomy that the Liverpool Range project would go ahead with “any reasonable policy outcome.” He noted that the ongoing uncertainty over the last 10 years has made it difficult “for all sorts of power projects”.


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  1. Chris Jones 3 years ago

    I was up that way a few months ago. Lovely countryside especially towards the Goulburn River NP. The big exception though is the ugly Moolarben Coal mine near Ulan.

    • james gribson 3 years ago

      Does the coal mine stretch over 700 square kilometers mate?

      • caffdan 3 years ago

        James. Wind turbines do not preclude other uses for the land. Coal mines are terminal for extracting economic value from that land forever more. Not to mention the changed ground water regimes starving surrounding farms from reliable aquifer water. Do you live next to a coal mine? I thought not.

        • james gribson 3 years ago

          Well, it only really makes sense to compare a wind farm to a coal power station, not a coal mine, or else you’d have to take in to account all the mines that are used to make the wind turbines.

          By that metric, a wind farm takes over 1,000 times more area than a coal power station does. That’s a massive desecration of viewsheds. A coal power station is ugly but I’ve never even seen one despite them being dotted all over Australia, because they take up hardly any land.

          When we destroy so much value under the auspices of protecting rural character (like preventing homes from being built on lots, punitive prohibitions of subdivisions, etc) it has to be said it’s pretty weird that we’re happy to just totally desecrate a natural viewshed when that’s done by a wind farm. They might look ‘cool’ to some people but I prefer the natural environment.

          • Andy Bowe 3 years ago

            Sad, so as long as you dont see coal mines or Power thermal plants all good? It is sadly better for the world if our “viewshed” (interesting invention) is altered with wind and PV than our atmosphere, ground water, health with less visible coal and mines and power stations.

          • james gribson 3 years ago

            I think the whole wind farm thing just shows the power of ideology. The same people who would cry bloody murder over a new highway being built, or declare themselves someone who votes on an issue like natural beauty, are quite happy to see 700 square kilometers of landscape covered by thousands of ultra-large industrial wind turbines.

            Now when you see China flooding a forest for a new mega dam, or building a new industrial city on a heritage area, you can instead of being outraged understand that you’re basically the same as them with a slightly different value judgement as to what is worth destroying the environment for.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            “700 square kilometers of landscape covered by thousands of ultra-large industrial wind turbines”

            Nah it isn’t, H.G. Wells.

            It’s only 267 turbines in those 700 square kilometers.

          • RobertO 3 years ago

            Hi Ren Stimpy, You just cannot please some people, it’s less than 1 WTG for every 2 sq. Km. think of the Rural Fire Service, it’s about 50 Km of fire breaks(most farms have internal tracks and some have single lane roads but generally Wind Farms improve those internal tracks to wide single roads, think of all that water were not going to use (6000 Olympic swimming pools), think of all the community benefits that $800,000 will bring, think of all the farmers whom will have an income external to their normal income which may mean they can both stay on the land and some will even employ farm hands to help them (It “Farming the Wind”).

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            The 267 turbines will be bunched together in groups of 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 10’s and 20’s on 25 different properties, so in most of those 700sq kilometers there won’t be a wind turbine within sight.

          • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

            Yes so do I, but when a coal mine shuts, you are left with a huge hole in the ground, huge heaps of tailings, contaminated water dams and destroyed landscape FOREVER.
            When a coal power station shuts, you are still left with the above FOREVER.
            If a wind turbine fails, it just falls down.

          • Coley 3 years ago

            Where I live (North east UK) one great big grotty power station and lots of deep mines have been repaced by numerous wind farms, its curious but they don’t actually spoil the view, whereas the previous heavy industry certainly did.

          • Hettie 3 years ago

            If you have never seen a coal fired power station, you have never travelled the New England Highway through the Hunter Valley, where the Liddell station and surrounding mines are in full view of the road.
            The same highway runs through the Liverpool Ranges, very hilly country, unsuitable for arable farming but good grazing land. The sheep have no objections to wind turbines. The farmers get paid a ground rent. The turbines have their own almost stork like beauty. White winged structures rising above the grasslands, powering the community with no pollution, no use of precious water, just clean power.
            If a turbine fails, it can be repaired or replaced without shutting down the whole wind farm.
            I strongly suggest that if you prefer the look of coal mines and the coal dust haze of their surroundings, that you go and live in Lithgow or Musswelbrook, where you can enjoy those pleasures daily.
            You will also enjoy a high risk of chronic respiratory disease, heart disease, cancer, and such good things.
            Until then, be a good lad, and bugger off to troll elsewhere.

          • Joe 3 years ago

            Dr Hettie has spoken. Top shelf!

          • Hettie 3 years ago

            LOL. Not Dr, Nurse.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            LOL, You stole my thunder.

          • David Osmond 3 years ago

            there is a difference. A coal power station needs a coal mine for its on-going fuel requirements. The wind farm doesn’t need such a mine. It’s fair enough to compare the material requirements to build the wind farm with the material requirements build a coal power station, but these are one-off requirements. For on-going operations, it is fair to compare the size of a wind farm with the size of a coal power station and the coal mine supplying the coal.

          • Joe 3 years ago

            Lets not forget that the Abbott and the Hockey famously opined the ‘visual beauty’ of Wind Turbines. Strange how they were so silent in regard to the ‘visual beauty’ of coal mines and coal power stations.

          • neroden 3 years ago

            We don’t “use mines to make the wind turbines”. Don’t be an idiot. They can be, and are, made from recycled steel.

          • Glynn Palmer 3 years ago


            Whyalla steel works will get 40% of its electricity needs from a 1GW solar farm. And the other 60% imported will be a mixture of wind, solar, gas and coal sourced from the NEM grid and interstate interconnectors.

          • Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

            At the end of the turbine’s life you have recyclable steel. At the end of the coal mine’s life you have an atmosphere with an excess of greenhouse gases. Using something is very different to combusting something. ‘Renewable’ is not just a word, it’s a strategy for our species survival.

      • Chris Jones 3 years ago

        Well James, I think the site would be less than 4Km squared (bit hard to tell from the road). Of course I didn’t see sheep grazing in the pit or a wheat field right next to the piles of coal.

        Just saying…

      • Bill V 3 years ago

        Go up Porcupine Lookout at Gunnedah in the evening and look west. You will see the coal dust haze. Look at the blue area north east of the wind farm site. That’s Goran Lake. It would be some of the most fertile soil on the planet. Shenhua’s mine will blow coal dust all over it. How much carcinogen do you want in your cornflakes?
        We don’t need coal now, we did 50 or 100 years ago. There’s a new way to get energy, it’s cleaner and cheaper and it doesn’t have the side effects that fossil fuels do.
        It’s just another change, the most adaptable will survive.

        • Hettie 3 years ago

          He appears to have gone.

  2. George Darroch 3 years ago

    Congratulations to the developers, another big milestone for this big project.

  3. john 3 years ago

    Every week another nail in the blinkered thinking of some is being built or approved.
    I hope a large number of the PHES sites start to get approval and built to further the transition from the 1890’s tech. to the 2020’s tech.

    • james gribson 3 years ago

      Hopefully every landscape in Australia eventually has at least 1 wind turbine on every acre of land. Especially national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

      It would be really awesome, progressive and green.

      • Andy Bowe 3 years ago

        Agreed because much better we alter the planets climate and decimate the ecosystem. Unless you wish to return to hunter gather society what are the acceptable options.

        • james gribson 3 years ago

          I agree. It’s the only way we can avoid catastrophic climate change. If it means bulldozing every single tree in Australia to replace them with a wind turbine it will still be worth it.

          • Coley 3 years ago

            You don’t need to ‘bulldoze’ trees to build a wind farm, unlike strip mining.

          • neroden 3 years ago

            Well, it won’t, so don’t be ridiculous. Blocked and reported.

          • Hettie 3 years ago

            Well done, Neroden. Such a stupid troll.

      • David Osmond 3 years ago

        Most studies for 100% renewable electricity for Australia think we’d need 30 to 50 GW of wind. That equates to about 10,000 modern turbines, or about 1 turbine every 800 sq km. That would equate to about 3 in the ACT, or about 90 in Tasmania. Plenty of room to avoid national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

  4. Robert Comerford 3 years ago

    I believe the town is called Cassilis.

  5. Joe 3 years ago

    New England… isn’t that Bananabee Joyce’s patch of country? I can’t wait to see the media ensemble on hand as the Bananabee rolls up with his shiny shovel to do the ceremonial ‘first sodding’ business. He hates the RE, he hates the Wind but he just luvvvvvvv’s the media opportunity!

  6. Ken Dyer 3 years ago

    The Monash Forum will not be happy being upstaged by their LNP COALition colleagues in New South Wales.

    • Andy Bowe 3 years ago

      Agreed, right next to possible coal mine expansions. Wind turbines screaming away with their alleged ultra low sounds…. and apparently destroying our “viewshed”

  7. RobertO 3 years ago

    Hi All, From my engineering point of view it’s (Wind) Farming and it beautiful. When I drive past Liddell it a monstrosity, And by the by the estimated area in terms of total land coverage is less than 4.6% (from 1.8% to 4.6%) of our total land in the NEM area (Solar is less than 0.5%) according to the AEMO ISP. When I drive over the “Blue Mountains” heading for Sydney all you can see on some days is a long thick brown smog. I know what I would choose, clean, clear air (beauty is in the eye of the beholder).

  8. solarguy 3 years ago

    Best thing since canned piss. Great news, let’s hope it’s built soon!

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