A 400MW wind farm proposed for the New South Wales central-west Renewable Energy Zone is edging closer to construction, after a development application for the project was lodged with the state government on Wednesday.
Developer CWP Renewables said the 97-turbine Uungula Wind Farm had been in the works for more than 10 years and, pending project approval, was scheduled to begin construction in 2021.
CWP’s Matthew Flower says the lodgement of the development application means the Environmental Impact Statement for the project, proposed for 14km east of Wellington, would be on display for public comment for the next six weeks.
“The project presents opportunities for substantial economic benefits to the local region including the creation of 250 construction jobs, which in turn will additionally support local businesses …(and) other services during the construction period,” he said.
Flower says an economic benefits analysis had identified the project’s construction would support 400 indirect jobs and inject around $5.6 million into the regional economy. The wind farm, once built, would create around 12 full-time equivalent jobs over its lifetime.
“We expect the Uungula Wind Farm to provide a great amount of local benefits to Wellington, and the wider Dubbo region.
“We want to see local faces in the construction workforce, local contractors busy onsite, and in town, more meals being served, more sales in local shops and lower vacancies in accommodation.”
Flower says the size of project – which at 400MW is fairly big in the scheme of current Australian onshore wind farms – has been trimmed back over the past decade in response to community feedback and evolving technological developments.
“The project proposed in 2013 was for up to 249 wind turbines on the hilly country either side of the Cudgegong River.
“Removal of the proposed wind turbines from the eastern side of the Cudgegong substantially reduced the number of residences affected by the project,” he said.
“Further wind turbine removal has occurred around the edges of the currently proposed development based on neighbouring landholder feedback.”
Whether this will be enough to appease any local objectors remains to be seen.
CWP Renewables is a seasoned player in the Australian wind energy market, with projects including Sapphire and Boco Rock in its operation portfolio, and the Crudine Ridge and Bango wind farms under construction.
As with those projects, CWP Renewables would work with Dubbo Regional Council to establish a community benefits fund out of the Uungula project, and potentially a community co-investment scheme, where locals can buy into the wind farm and receive dividends over the course of its operation.
CWP has also been working on plans to build a 600MW solar farm in south-eastern New South Wales, about 15 kilometres south-west of Goulburn.
As we reported here, the Parkesbourne Solar Farm is proposed for a 2000 hectare site that is bisected by the Hume Highway and also happens to be in the Hume electorate of federal energy minister, Angus Taylor.
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