Biggest Wind Farm Project Yet Approved In New South Wales
New South Wales has approved one of the biggest wind farms in all of Australia. The Liverpool Range Wind Farm will be developed by Epuron, a local renewable energy company, and it’s expected to have over one gigawatt of power capacity. While smaller than what was previously announced, it’ll create 800 construction jobs and will power around 380,000 homes.
The Liverpool Range wind project will carry a price tag of nearly $640 million. According to Renew Economy, the project will stretch across the Northern Tablelands “on 25 different properties between the villages of Coolah and Cassillis east of Mudgee.” It’ll be approximately 22 miles from north to south and over 12 miles east to west.
Epuron introduced the concept of the wind farm on a larger scale back in 2011, but was met with some skepticism on the amount of wind turbines that were going to be installed. Other issues included the impacts construction would have on local farming, noise level in the community, and damage to natural habitats.
The energy company slashed 16 turbines, bringing the total down to 267, and would have four substations instead of six, which collect the energy these turbines generate. Along with working out those problems, the company noted added benefits of the wind project such as reducing emissions and cutting back on water use as they transition from coal-fired power plants.
How much can be saved with the addition of this gigantic wind farm? Carbon dioxide emissions would fall by 2.4 million tonnes annually at full capacity, and nearly four trillion gallons of water wouldn’t be used in coal energy generation.
There would also be various upgrades to the community, adding $250 million to the New South Wales economy. A Community Enhancement Fund would give out $3,000 annually per wind turbine, which would be a grant to improve the area around it. This project would also help reach the goal of 20 percent of consumed energy coming from renewable sources by 2020.
“Epuron thanks the community for coming on board with this wind farm,” Martin Poole, executive director of Epuron, said in a press release. "...After almost 15 years working on wind and solar projects around Australia, Epuron continues to be committed to the clean, new energy system that Australians, and importantly our children, expect and demand.”
The Liverpool Range Wind Farm is projected to be completed over the next three years. At the moment, the Macarthur Wind Farm in Victoria is the biggest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere. 420 megawatts are installed on the site and it produces enough energy to satisfy 155,000 Australian homes.