A wind energy project planned for New South Wales’ Yass Valley has won state government planning approval, some seven years after it was first proposed and at nearly half its original size.
Approval was granted to Australian renewables group Epuron to build 79 turbines of the Yass Valley Wind Farm – it was originally proposed at 150 turbines, and then refined to 124 – in the project’s Coppabella precinct, a series of ridges chosen for their excellent wind resource and nearby grid connection.
After what it described as a “lengthy journey through the planning process,” Epuron said on Thursday that it looked forward to getting started on construction of the turbines as soon as possible, to capture the full benefits it would bring to the regional community.
“This approval … will deliver clean renewable electricity and significant greenhouse gas reductions, although the reduction in number of turbines from 124 reduces the available benefits of the full wind farm by approximately 36%,” the company said in a statement.
“Emissions in NSW from stationary energy will continue to be significant while its electricity generation is over 80 per cent fuelled by coal,” said Epuron executive director Martin Poole.
“NSW must start to proactively capture the important jobs and investment from large scale wind energy projects which to date have mainly been secured by other states.”
Epuron said the approved 79 wind turbines of the Yass Valley Wind Farm would generate 623GWh of electricity a year, enough to power 85,300 homes. T
he wind farm’s construction and maintenance is also expected to bring jobs into the region and provide local community benefits via a fund of $2,500 per wind turbine, or up to $197,000 a year if all turbines are built.
“Planning Minster Rob Stokes famously said when he was Environment Minister: ‘When it comes to clean energy (NSW) can be Australia’s answer to California.’ And Epuron believes he was right,” said Poole.
“Political will and a stable investment landscape can deliver a new energy order for the State. It is now time for the NSW Government to detail exactly how this will be achieved,” he added.