SECTION 1: The Jupiter Wind Farm
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THE JUPITER WIND FARM?
An environmental specialist consultant has been undertaking a series of environmental studies in accordance with the Director General’s Requirements (DGR) and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s (DP&E) Draft Wind Farm Guidelines. These studies are an essential component in the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be lodged with the Development Application.
The Jupiter Wind Farm has been recognised as a State Significant Development. It will have the potential to generate up to 350 megawatts of electricity, which is enough clean energy to power up approximately 150,000 homes.
EPYC is working hard to review the results and compile the detailed EIS. Once the EIS is completed, it will be lodged with the DP&E and go on public exhibition.
The updates outlined below are a result of ongoing assessments and careful consideration by the project team:
- The original project investigation area covered approximately 12,000 hectares. This has now been reduced to approximately 5,000 hectares.
- Originally there were 97 turbines considered for the Jupiter Wind Farm. This number has been revised a number of times throughout the assessment period and the final number of wind turbines proposed is 88.
- A map showing the preliminary locations of the 95 turbines was released in September 2014 and was included in our third newsletter.
- A revised map of the 88 turbine locations was provided during the 2nd information session in December 2014.
- Copies of all the five newsletters to date and all materials provided at the information sessions are available here.
- The Community Consultative Committee (CCC) has been established with the first CCC meeting held in August 2015.
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS IN THE CONSULTATION PROCESS?
We are continuing to consult with and inform the community about the progress of the Jupiter Wind Farm, a process that commenced in March 2012. We have met with land holders in the area and other stakeholders regularly since this time. Five newsletters have been distributed to the community and made available on our website and two community information sessions have been organised so far. Regular newsletter updates will continue to form part of the extensive community consultation process.
The feedback we have been collecting from the community and other stakeholders is being considered throughout the development process and assessment studies.
Since August 2015, under the direction of the DP&E, the Community Consultative Committee (CCC) meetings have commenced. These meetings involve community members, representatives of the local councils and representatives of the project team. A number of meetings have been held to date and regular meetings will occur in the future.
We encourage everyone interested in the project to have their say as part of the consultation process. Simply contact one of the CCC members or contact us directly at:
EPYC PTY LTD
PO BOX 1681
North Sydney NSW 2059
Phone: 1300 896 189
Once the DA has been lodged it will go on exhibition for 60 days. The community will again be encouraged to provide feedback at this time.
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (CCC)? WHO IS ON IT?
The CCC is a consultative body representing a broad range of community interests related to the project’s assessment, environmental performance and its ongoing operation.
The purpose of the CCC is to provide a forum for open discussion between the project team, the community, Council and other key stakeholders. The CCC is responsible for keeping the community regularly informed about the progress of the project. Should the project be granted approval to proceed, the CCC will continue to meet during the construction phase and throughout the operational phase of the project.
It is made up of an independent chairperson; seven representatives of the local community and other stakeholders, including at least two representatives of land owners with properties within 2km of a proposed turbine; one representative of each local council; and two to three EPYC representatives. For more information on the CCC refer to the NSW Draft Wind Farm Guidelines-Appendix C.
WHEN WILL LOCALS START SEEING SOME BENEFITS?
We aim to commence construction of the wind farm in 2017/18 and anticipated that the wind farm will be operational in 2018/2019.
There will be numerous benefits to the local area before then. These range from employment for people and local contractors during construction, ongoing employment opportunities during operation, flow on economic benefits for local businesses such as accommodation providers, cafes and hotels, improvements to local roads and infrastructure, and financial investment in the local community and nearby towns and centres.
The establishment of the community enhancement fund will be another important benefit to the local community.
WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR THE COMMUNITY ENHANCEMENT FUND?
One of the benefits from the proposed Jupiter Wind Farm is the establishment of a community enhancement fund (CEF). This fund will be introduced upon completion of construction and aims to provide opportunities for the local community to put towards various community based projects. As part of this process, a committee will be established to oversee the distribution of funds.
SECTION 2: WIND FARMS – Frequently asked questions
HOW ARE THE LOCATIONS FOR WIND TURBINES DECIDED?
The development of wind farms is very complex and there are many technical, environmental, social and economic factors to consider.
In NSW, the Department of Planning and Environment’s (DP&E) Draft Wind Farm Guidelines outlines the various studies that must be undertaken. Independent experts also play an important role.
Wind farms are typically large and are therefore best located in rural areas. Some country areas are recognised specifically as being ideal for wind farms based on the available wind resources.
The key factors that determine the best locations for turbines include the wind regime and the terrain and topography of the land. Sophisticated analytical software is used to determine the optimum locations for turbines.
This software takes into consideration various constraints in order to determine the best locations for turbines on the site. Examples of constraints include areas of heavy vegetation, proximity to residences and proximity to roads.
A combination of these scientific studies and the community consultation that occurs from the outset, through the approval process and beyond, enables the most suitable locations for turbines to be determined.
However, the proposed location of turbines is not finalised until all the assessments have been completed. For instance, a specific assessment may require an adjustment in a turbine location, and this could lead to further studies in other areas to ensure that the new location is suitable.
ARE WIND FARMS COMPATIBLE WITH FARMING?
All around the world, wind farms co-exist with farming operations. Turbines occupy a very small area.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH IMPACTS OF WIND FARMS?
Wind is one of the most important clean energy resources in the world and is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions not only in Australia but worldwide. A cleaner climate can have positive health benefits for people all over the world.
Wind turbines make some noise as they generate energy, so it is necessary to ensure that turbines are placed in suitable locations with consideration of the turbine size, type and the environmental factors. Comprehensive investigation should be conducted to ensure suitable turbine locations.
In March 2014, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) released its official position on wind farms as they relate to health. The Association concluded that there is no evidence that wind farms cause any adverse health effects.