The much anticipated Environment Impact Statement (EIS) on the state significant Bowmans Creek Wind Farm project was released late last month and the public have until May 11 to make submissions on the proposal.
To be developed by Epuron the $569 million project consists of up to 60 wind turbines capable of producing 336 megawatts of renewable power that will be fed into Transgrid at the Liddell substation.
Located 10kms east of Muswellbrook the project area covers 16,72 hectares of which only three percent would be directly impacted. It will transverse three Local Government Area, Muswellbrook, Singleton and Upper Hunter.
Areas where the turbines will be constructed include Bowmans Creek, Goorangoola, Greenlands, Hebden, McCullys Gap, Muscle Creek and Rouchel Brook.
Described in the EIS as being predominately beef cattle grazing land there has been strong opposition to the project from local landholders who say the 220m turbines will have serious detrimental impacts to their way of life.
Stop The Spin Hunter Valley (STS) is scrutinising the proposal, claiming the region is becoming "a dumping ground for everyone else's energy issues."
In the EIS conclusion it states the Project offers several strategic and long-term benefits to the state of NSW and its people, including to:
. The supply of cost-effective renewable energy that will assist electricity retailers to fulfil their obligations under state and federal renewable energy targets;
. Provide replacement energy generation capacity into the NSW grid that will assist in meeting load demand as a result of retiring thermal generators and assist in providing a clean, reliable generation mix;
. Provide an opportunity for regional investment in the renewable energy sector in the Upper Hunter Valley of NSW as is promoted strategically by the relevant NSW and local government planning Instruments. The Project offers several specific benefits to the environment and local community via the direct injection of funds into the local economy through:
. The provision of jobs in construction and operation;
. Use of local services in both the construction and operation phases; and
. Ongoing landowner payments and financial contributions to the local community being reinjected into the local economy. The Project's social and environmental impacts have been avoided or minimised as far as practicable by implementing all reasonable and feasible management and mitigation measures.
The EIS and accompanying documents will be exhibited until Tuesday May 11, 2021 and are accessible electronically on the Department's website (www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/on-exhibition).