Planning and Approvals
New South Wales has a robust and thorough planning assessment process that requires extensive environmental assessment, design and community consultation to finalise an application that is acceptable for approval. This process has been designed for the protection of the local community and ecological environment.
The Hills of Gold Wind Farm is a state significant development and will be assessed under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act of 1979 and most recent updates from 2017.
The process for this assessment will include ongoing community consultation as mentioned on our Community Page, as well as regular updates as further design and assessment of the project is completed. We will post all information regarding the project below and it will also be available from the NSW Department of Planning and Major Projects website.
The current planning process requires the following stages to be completed. There will be ongoing opportunities for the community to provide input directly to us or through the planning process once all information about the project is in final form. Information will be provided through this site, through regular newsletter updates and through the Community Consultation Committee once it is formed.
State Significant Development Planning Pathway
Please note that this image has been updated based upon consultation with DPE.
Key Environmental and Social Assessment Areas
Wind farms are a safe and clean form of electricity generation and minimise disturbances to the community when planned correctly. If you have any particularly concerns please check our FAQ and Useful Links section of the website or contact us.
The following provides a short summary of the key areas that are assessed in the Environmental Impact Assessment:
Community Consultation and Local Planning Regulation
These projects are long term projects and it is important that the community is involved in their development. Please see our Community section for more information regarding our plan to keep the Nundle, Hanging Rock and surrounding communities informed as the project progresses.
Landscape and Visual Amenity
Due to the size of wind turbines, they have the potential to alter the visual landscape of the area. As part of our development process, we will be engaging experts to design realistic impressions of what the completed project will look like in order to assess and minimise the impact the project will have on the surrounding area. Where the impacts are considered significant, suitable mitigation measures will be implemented.
Construction and Operational Noise
Like any major development project, large equipment will be required for use in the project. Construction equipment and wind turbines have the potential to generate noise not typically experienced in the region. We will be conducting detailed sound monitoring in order to understand the current levels of noise in the area and determine ways of limiting resultant noise, both from construction activities and operational turbines.
A wind farm has the potential to affect local ecology through behavioural change and habitat loss. Detailed studies are undertaken to determine what flora and fauna is in the area and how this may be affected. The project will include multiple contiguous wildlife corridors in an effort to minimise this impact. We liaise closely with relevant state environmental regulators as well as relevant national bodies such as the Federal Department of the Environment (DoE).
Cultural Heritage Assessment
Australia is a land of important cultural heritage sites. We will consult extensively with local indigenous groups and local communities and perform detailed studies in order to identify local cultural heritage sites and minimise or eliminate any risk of impact by the project.
Hazard and Risk Assessment
The construction of any large project comes with some hazards, both to project employees and residents of the surrounding area. The project is required by the permitting process to develop and submit for approval our site safety plan. We will meet or exceed all local, state and federal guidelines regarding health and safety.
Aviation, TV and Radio
The construction and operation of large turbines has some potential for disruption of local communications infrastructure. Prior to the start of construction, we investigate any potential interference to local aviation, television and radio communication services. In the unlikely event that interference does occur, there are a number of technical fix solutions that can be applied to remedy the problem.
Water and Soil Management
The project is located in a region renowned for the quality of its agricultural land. We will be conscious in the design of the wind farm of the importance of preserving water and soil quality.