NSW wind farm rejected due to “visual impacts”

Dundonnell Crookwell 3

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment has referred the Crookwell 3 Wind Farm to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) for a final decision, advising it should reject the project due to the “significant visual impacts on the landscape and residents”.

Executive Director of Resource Assessments Mike Young said the proposal is for the construction and operation of a new wind farm with 23 turbines up to 157 metres in height approximately five kilometres from Crookwell in the Southern Highlands.

“We considered this project on its merits, and our recommendation to refuse it draws on extensive community consultation and advice from an independent visual expert,” Mr Young said.

Related article: Alinta Energy to build WA’s biggest wind farm

“The proposal is right next door to the Crookwell 2 Wind Farm, built by the same proponent. Some people would be able to see five wind farms from their front door.

“When it comes to visual impact, lots of factors need to be considered – from windfarm distance to residential areas to distracting blade glint and turbine flicker.

“We acknowledge the proponent has made changes to reduce impacts and has reached agreement with a number of landowners, but our independent visual expert has advised there would still be significant visual impacts on up to 27 residences.”

Mr Young said the NSW Wind Energy Framework, introduced by the NSW Government in 2016, set clear and consistent rules for wind farm development.

“The Framework recommends turbines this size should be more than 2.1km from residences, but in this case 17 of the 23 proposed turbines are less than that, with some residences as close as 1.1km.

“The proposal is also inconsistent with local planning controls, which classify more than two-thirds of the proposed site as an environmental management zone. Overall, our assessment concluded the site is fundamentally not suitable for a large-scale wind farm.”

Related article: New wind farm approved for Qld

Renew Economy points out the Crookwell 3 Wind Farm is within Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s electorate, who has previously spoken in opposition to wind farm developments and did not attend the opening of Crookwell 2, despite being the local member and federal minister.

The IPC will review the Department’s assessment before making its final decision. Read the Department’s assessment report and reasons for refusal of the proposed Wind Farm at the Department’s Major Projects website.