Wind farm guidelines bring renewable future into view for NSW

Draft wind farm guidelines released by the New South Wales Government will speed up approvals and help the industry to deliver the 2020 Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Council said today.

CEC chief executive Kane Thornton said the new guidelines contained significant positives that will help to unlock a renewable energy future for New South Wales – as well as jobs and investment for regional areas of the state.

“It is great to see the government moving forward from the existing draft guidelines which had been released back in 2011. This will provide much-needed certainty for both the industry and for the community, and help to speed up approval timeframes, which have stretched out into three or more years for some projects,” Mr Thornton said.

“The NSW Government has also moved to align the planning assessment wind farms with other infrastructure in most respects, which is appropriate for the scale of the developments being considered.”

The guidelines have an unprecedented focus on the appearance of wind turbines, which is not a consideration when building most other types of infrastructure.

“Like any infrastructure project, a wind farm creates major economic benefits for the local area. Under the national RET, dozens of renewable energy projects will be built across the country, and it is great to see the NSW Government recognising the benefits of wind farms for the state,” Mr Thornton said.

The clean energy industry has urged the NSW Government to continue championing renewable energy projects and the role wind farms have in transforming Australia’s electricity system.

“The Clean Energy Council continues to remind all our members of the importance of working in good faith with local communities, treating all community members with respect and ensuring the benefits of wind farms are shared with those living in proximity to the projects,” Mr Thornton said.