New windfarm guidelines released by the NSW Government are an important step in the state’s journey to generating 100 per cent renewable energy.
“We welcome these new guidelines because they will help stimulate investment in renewables, generate much-needed jobs in regional areas, and reduce our carbon pollution,” Nature Conservation Council Campaigns Director Daisy Barham said.
“For too long, NSW has missed out on the jobs boom from renewables.
“By adopting a more progressive approach to wind farm planning assessment, the government is acting to help close the gap on other states that have a much better record on renewables.
“The 2015 Renewable Energy Action Plan Annual Report shows only 1.4% of electricity in NSW comes from wind. 
“The NSW Government must do everything it can to accelerate the shift to renewables.
“That includes setting a clear renewable energy target and developing a plan to close the state’s coal-fired power plants.
“Inexplicably, the NSW Government does not have a plan to manage this transition in a swift, orderly and just manner.
“The government needs to develop a clean energy transition plan as a matter of urgency with input from all the key stakeholder, including workers in the energy sector.”
Ms Barham said positive elements of the New Wind Energy Framework included:
- an increased emphasis on community engagement and consultation;
- a shift away from arbitrary, strict buffer zones; and
- confirmation that wind turbines do not cause adverse impacts on health.
She said, however, the new framework puts too much emphasis on assessment of the visual impacts of wind turbines.