IPPToday #185: Planning approval secured for Australia's largest wind farm
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The Minister for Planning of the Government of New South Wales, a state in the south-east of Australia, has approved Epuron's plans to construct the Liverpool Range Wind Farm, which will consist of up to 267 wind turbines generating approximately 1,000 MW, making it Australia's largest wind farm.
Liverpool Range will be located between Coolah and Cassilis around 100km north east of Mudgee, and will connect to the Wellington Wollar 330kV power network 30km south of the site. It will take three years to build, requiring an estimated total investment of AUD643 million (US$494 million).
The energy generated by the wind farm will power around 380,000 homes, saving up to 2.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year and over 47 million tonnes over the life of the project. The project will also save the equivalent of over 1.5 million m3 of water per annum which would otherwise be used by coal generation.
Epuron claims that the project will inject up to AUD250 million (US$192.1 million) into the local economy. The company also plans to launch a Community Enhancement Fund of up to AUD800,000 (~US$ 615,000) per annum (based on AUD3,000 (~US$2,300 per wind turbine built) through a voluntary planning agreement with Warrumbungle and Upper Hunter Shire Councils.
This approval brings a lengthy planning process to an end. Epuron first exhibited the Environmental Assessment of the project in August 2014. Responses to public submissions, which included concerns about noise and visual impacts, biodiversity, and the impacts of construction traffic on the local and regional road network, and updated plans were published in June last year.
As part of the revised plans, Epuron has agreed to road upgrades with both Roads and Maritime Services and the local Councils, which includes 143km of regional and local roads.
Liverpool Range Wind Farm will be a major part of the electricity transition in New South Wales as older coal-fired power stations are retired. As reported on this platform, the closure of the 2000 MW Liddell power plant in the state was announced in December, despite strong opposition from the federal government.