New wind farm guidelines for NSW

The New South Wales government has released new wind energy framework to encourage opportunities to harness clean energy.

The new framework, released on Monday, has been designed to help local communities engage earlier and more effectively with wind energy projects planned for their area.

It will address delays in assessments for wind energy projects, which on average have taken more than 1000 days to be determined.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the new framework would benefit everyone involved when new wind energy projects are planned.

“Energy projects are a really important way to boost regional jobs and investment, but we also need to carefully manage impacts on nearby residents,” Mr Stokes said.

“This new framework will give clear guidance to industry, and establish processes to identify potential issues early, which will promote better project design.”

Clean Energy Council director of large-scale energy Alicia Webb said it is clear the New South Wales Government recognises the opportunity wind energy can bring to NSW.

“It is obvious the government has developed a deeper understanding of the issues at play and has a much more sophisticated approach to assessing wind farm projects compared to the beginning of the decade,” Ms Webb said.

“While there are some elements of the guidelines – such as an overly complex approach to assessing the appearance of wind farms – that are not consistent with approaches adopted across other states of Australia, it is important these guidelines are finalised after being in draft form for five years.

“Many elements of the draft guidelines had already been adopted by the wind industry in recent years, resulting in an ever-evolving and more sophisticated approach to community engagement and project planning and design.

“This is good news for regional economies and job creation in rural communities, particularly while wind farms are being constructed.”

The framework has been finalised after going on public exhibition in August, and undergoing extensive consultation with community groups, industry, environmental groups, councils, other states and the National Wind Farm Commissioner.