Approved turbines to change Binalong landscape

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BINALONG’S landscape is set to undergo a major transformation with the announcement  79 wind turbines have been granted final approval this morning.

Epuron’s Yass Valley Wind Farm proposal has been given the green light by the New South Wales Department of Planning, although their original plans were reduced down to 79 turbines located in the Coppabella precinct.

Epuron’s original proposal was for 152 turbines located across three distinct precincts and transmission infrastructure in a fourth.

The number of turbines was subsequently reduced to 124 turbines.

The revised assessment report for the project states, “The impacts of the western part of the project comprising 79 turbines [the Coppabella precinct] can be effectively managed to achieve acceptable environmental and amenity outcomes for the local community, and should be approved, subject to conditions”.

“However, due to the significant landscape and visual impacts of the eastern part of the project, the Marilba and Conroy’s Gap Extension precincts should not be approved.”

The report also states affected landowners in the Coppabella precinct have come to an agreement with Epuron, and that it “would not result in any significant impacts on threatened species or ecological communities”.

The Yass Valley Wind Farm, located north of the Hume Highway and 35 km west of Yass, spans the Coppabella ridges. Epuron argues it provides an excellent wind resource and nearby grid connection, although reducing the number of turbines has caused a 36 per cent reduction in projected gas emission benefits.

“This wind farm has the potential to be a key contributor to the energy supply of NSW and will assist significantly in the reduction of the state’s emissions,” Epuron representatives said.

“We again thank the community, particularly the involved landowners and local business and community leaders, for their ongoing support, and patience, which has been rewarded by this approval.”

Yass and Harden councils will each receive $2500 per year for each turbine, and the farm is expected to create 34 new jobs once constructed.

“Epuron looks forward to the Yass Valley Wind Farm progressing to construction as swiftly as possible to capture the full benefits such projects can bring to regional communities.”

It will generate  623 gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean electricity per annum, enough power for 85,300 homes.

The department also determined there was insufficient justification for building the 330Kv Connection precinct, although they did admit that a new application or a modification could be made in the near future for a 330Kv transmission line after the construction of turbines in the Coppabella precinct.

The Coppabella precinct straddles both the Yass Valley and Harden Shire Councils and the department recommended Epuron enter into a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) with both councils.

See Scoop’s initial story here.


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