3rd June 2020
The Australian Wind Alliance supports the proposed modification to Rye Park Wind Farm MOD 1 - Tip Height Increase
The Australian Wind Alliance has participated in the planning process for this project since our first submission to the Response to Submissions in June 2016. Our representative, Charlie Prell, spoke to the then Planning Assessment Commission hearing in March 2017, alongside several of our members and supporters, speaking in support of the project.
We note that over that time the number of turbines in the project has been reduced from 126 to 109. The then Department of Planning and Environment recommended a further reduction to 84, though 8 of these turbines were reinstated by the Planning Assessment Commission, along the lines of the arguments we were making against what we saw as the Department’s overzealous application of the visual amenity sections of the NSW Wind Farm Guidelines. The current modification request would see a project of just 80 turbines which is four less than the Department recommended to the PAC in 2017.
The central reasons for our support to date have not changed and we support the modified project as outlined in this application for a number of reasons:
- The increased tip height will allow for a total generation capacity of well over 300 megawatts and an increase in generation output by a third on the approved project, even allowing for the reduction in turbines. This will be a substantial contribution to NSW’s clean energy supply and contribute to the first priority action in the NSW Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030 - Drive uptake of proven emissions reduction technologies that grow the economy, create new jobs or reduce the cost of living.
- As we outlined in our previous submissions, there is considerable community support for the project in the surrounding community and among businesses in neighbouring Yass and Boorowa who anticipate the economic benefits the project will bring to the region. While repeated delays to the project have tested the patience of locals, our understanding is that this underlying community support remains.
- The benefits to the community remain substantial. Lease payments to a large group of landholders, financial agreements with neighboring property owners and a community fund of $230,000 per annum for the life of the project are all significant, long term contributions. 250 construction jobs and 10 ongoing jobs will also be a meaningful boost to the area.
- We note that visual, noise and shadow flicker amenity impacts remain largely unchanged.
- While the amount of native vegetation planned to be removed has increased in comparison with the approved project, the limits for habitats subject to state instruments have been observed and in some instances improved. While some areas remain to be finalised under the federal EPBC Act, this shouldn’t stand in the way of approval at the state level.