| 25.12,11. 10:03 AM |
Winds of change hit NSW air farms
December 24, 2011
WIND-FARM builders would have to seek approval from neighbours living within 2km under proposed new rules the state government said would be the toughest in the world.
The government has confirmed its commitment to reach a 20 per cent renewable target by 2020 but it said it would clamp down on assessments for wind turbines.
"That means 100 per cent of neighbours have to be happy within that 2km zone," Planning Minister Brad Hazzard said yesterday.
If wind-farm developers fail to win approval of all neighbours within a 2km radius, they would have to submit their application to a Joint Regional Planning Panel.
Developers would also have to show they had consulted with the community.
There would also be noise restrictions, taking into account low-frequency sounds, tonality and amplitude, the government said.
Even sunlight flickering off turbine blades would have to be taken into account by developers, who would also have to produce computer modelled photos of the visual impacts of proposed turbines.
There was little in the proposed guidelines on examining potential health effects of turbines but it said the Ministry of Health could be called in.
Opposition energy spokesman Luke Foley said the proposals would cost the state $3 billion in lost business.
"The O'Farrell government's decision to enforce the 'most stringent' restrictions on NSW wind farms will effectively shut down the wind industry in NSW," he said.
There are 17 proposals for wind farms in NSW, with the number expected to rise.
The Greens slammed the proposed guidelines.
"If this draft plan becomes law, the government has effectively chosen a destructive coal seam gas future for NSW over the clean, green and jobs-rich wind-energy sector," Greens MP David Shoebridge said.