THE Hills of Gold Wind Farm proponents aim to reach the next stage of the planning process by early 2020 at the latest, according to Wind Energy Partners’ Jamie Chivers.
The company received the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) late last month for the Nundle-area project.
Mr Chivers said it would now start engaging specialist consultants to address those in its environmental impact statement (EIS).
“The SEARs require detailed assessments across a number of project areas,” Mr Chivers said.
“Our target is to be lodging the EIS in late 2019 or early 2020; however, it will depend on the studies that are carried out.”
The SEARs require Wind Energy Partners to, among other facets, provide assessments of the project’s visual, noise and vibration effects; and its impact on biodiversity, heritage, water and soils.
The document notes that, if the EIS is not lodged withing two years, the proponents “must consult further with the Secretary in relation to [its] preparation”.
The proposal is for a wind farm of up to 97 turbines and 410 megawatts, along with related infrastructure such as roads and tracks, substations, and connection to the Liddell-Tamworth transmission line.
Another SEARs requirement is for a community consultative committee.
“The department is in the process of appointing a chair and we hope that the community consultative committee is established some time early next year, which will provide the community a voice and a channel for us to provide information,” Mr Chivers said.
“We are excited to continue to investigate the project and the benefits it will bring the Tamworth region.
“I think it is an exciting project for the area.”