Controversial Nundle wind farm shrinks, but will community fund follow?

SHRINKING PROJECT: Nundle business owner Megan Trousdale said the town's controversial wind farm project has shrunk. Pic: PETER HARDIN

SHRINKING PROJECT: Nundle business owner Megan Trousdale said the town's controversial wind farm project has shrunk. Pic: PETER HARDIN

THE Nundle Wind Farm has shrunk, with just 70 turbines now proposed to be constructed outside the small tourism-dependent town.

It's the second downgrade of scope for the controversial Hills of Gold Wind Farm Project in 2020, with an initial 98-turbine scheme dropping to 78 in April.

President of the Nundle Business Tourism and Marketing Group Inc Megan Trousdale said the cuts were announced at the recent community consultative committee for the project.

"I expect that the number of turbines will continue to reduce as it enters the assessment phase," she said.

Proponent Wind Energy Partners must lodge its DA and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by November.

Then the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will undertake further assessment.

"If you look at other wind turbine proposals, the number of turbines often changes during that assessment process; as the department looks at all the environmental impacts."

She said community members who want it canned won't change their mind about the scheme even if it shrinks further.

"Any number of turbines on that range is too many. We believe it's the wrong location for a wind farm."

Mrs Trousdale said the amount of power the project will produce is not likely to change, and therefore the profits earned will likely stay the same.

But, proponent Wind Energy Partners promised to grant $2500 per turbine in the project into a community enhancement fund.

Managing director Jamie Chivers told the meeting that residents should not assume the cut in turbine numbers would mean a cut in the fund, Mrs Trousdale said.

Wind Energy Partners has been contacted for comment for this story.

The company was asked whether it was going to be required to install aviation lighting on the 70 turbines of the project to ward off passing air traffic. The blinking lights are often a source of annoyance for neighbours.

Wind Energy Partners is still holding discussions with the Civil Aviation Authority on the subject, it said.

Managing director Jamie Chivers told ACM in April that the reduction to 78 turbines was done after consultation with residents and would reduce potential impacts to flora and fauna.