FAQ

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THE PROJECT

The Project is located at Piambong in the Central West New South Wales Region, approximately 20 kilometers north west of Mudgee and about 20 kilometers south east of Gulgong.

The Project will consist of between 75-85 wind turbine locations with a combined maximum capacity of up to 550 MW.

The Project will likely utilise Vestas V 162-6.8 MW or larger turbines. These turbines will have a hub height of around 150m and a maximum blade tip height of up to 230m.

The proposed Project will include one new main transmission line.  The Project would connect into either the existing 330kV transmission line or into the proposed new infrastructure to be developed and built by EnergyCo.

Within the wind farm, the turbines will be connected to each other and to the substations primarily via underground 33kV cabling. The cabling will generally run adjacent to the proposed new access tracks. Several short sections of overhead 330 kV line will also be constructed near Project substations.

WIND ENERGY

The Project is not dependent on government subsidies for construction or operation.

Wind farms are considered to be one of the cheapest form of new electricity generation, along with solar energy, and can produce energy at a significantly lower cost than fossil fuel generation.

PROJECT IMPACTS

The proposed development must satisfy the very stringent biodiversity impact assessment requirements of both the NSW Government (via the Environmental Impact Statement – the EIS) and the Federal Government (through the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act).

As part of Project development, we will engage specialist consultants to undertake detailed flora and fauna surveys of the site. Both desktop and field surveys will be conducted to establish the ecological attributes of the land. Field surveys will be conducted across wet and dry seasons.

Piambong Wind Farm will seek to minimise the impact to local flora and fauna by designing the project to avoid areas of high conservation significance. During construction, we will adopt best practice control measures to minimise impacts to biodiversity. 

The findings of the biodiversity assessment and proposed mitigation measures will be presented in the EIS.

Several studies commissioned by the NSW and Victorian governments have examined potential impacts of wind farms on property values and have found no evidence that wind farms lower rural property values, including the Assessment of the Impact of Wind Farms on Surrounding Land Values in Australia (Preston Rowe Paterson, 2013) available here.

The majority of wind farms are developed on agricultural land and wind turbines are very much compatible with existing farming operations. Turbines occupy only a small amount of land, and landowners can continue normal grazing or cropping activities. Livestock has often been seen using turbine towers for shade and shelter from wind and rain. The income provided to landowners hosting wind farm infrastructure can help make farms more resilient to the impacts of droughts, fires and commodity price fluctuations.

Vestas will consult with local Aboriginal groups and other local stakeholders during Project development and design. Vestas will also engage a specialist consultant to assess potential impacts related to cultural heritage and how to mitigate these impacts. At all times, the project will be developed in compliance with laws regarding the protection of cultural heritage.

PROJECT BENEFITS

The Project will deliver significant benefits to the region and local communities, including:

  • Significant investment in the Central West New South Wales Region
  • Opportunities for local contractors and businesses
  • Up to 400 new jobs expected to be created during construction
  • Around 15 long-term service and maintenance jobs created during Project operation
  • Development of new skilled labour in the region within the growing renewable energy industry

As development progresses, Vestas will also gather input from the local community and stakeholders to best understand the needs and appropriate structure for a community benefit fund to be associated with this Project.

The Project will create up to 400 new jobs during construction. Around 15 long-term service and maintenance jobs will be created during Project operation. Construction and operation of the Project will require a range of skills including engineering, trades (electrical, mechanical, construction), transport, building material providers, equipment operators, consultants and administrative staff.

Piambong Wind Farm plans to work in partnership with the local community to design a community benefits fund that delivers tangible and positive results. This scheme is intended to last for the life of the Project. Further details will be provided as the Project develops.

PROJECT CONSTRUCTION

We expect to begin construction in 2026, subject to development consent and grid connection approval. Construction will probably take approximately 30 months to complete, with the turbines erected over a 12-month period followed by testing and commissioning.

We understand that water is a critically important issue for the Central West New South Wales community. During construction, water will be required for concrete batching and potentially for dust suppression. Vestas will source water from local supplies, subject to availability and within the constraints of the development consent for the project.

Once the wind farm is constructed, water will only be required to meet domestic/personal requirements for maintenance staff.

Vestas will survey local and regional roads during Project development to identify a suitable transport route to the Project site.

To minimise impacts on the local community, we will use major roads to access the construction site whenever possible. We will engage with Council, local stakeholders, and the broader community to solicit feedback about proposed route options. The final proposed route, and any required road upgrades, will be described in the Development Application to be submitted for assessment and approval.

We will also work with road authorities and local councils to prepare a Traffic Management Plan before construction, describing how we will manage traffic and transport to ensure efficient and safe movements.

PROJECT OPERATIONS

Numerous reviews of research literature conducted by leading health and research organisations worldwide, including Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), have concluded there is no published evidence to link wind turbines with adverse health effects.

Wind turbine movement creates sound; however, people generally find they can have a conversation at the wind turbine base without having to raise their voices.

The noise generated by a wind turbine will depend on wind speed, wind direction, topography, vegetation, and the distance from the turbine.

PROJECT DECOMMISSIONING

The wind farm will have a design life of 30 years. At the end of this period, it may be possible to replace some equipment and extend the Project for a further operating period, though this would require a new development approval.

The Project will be decommissioned at the end of the wind farm's life.  Decommissioning of wind farm infrastructure at the end of Project life will be a legal condition of the development consent. In addition, contracts with landowners also require that wind turbines and other infrastructure are removed at the end of the lease term.

The wind farm owner will be fully responsible for plant decommissioning, including removing the wind farm infrastructure and rehabilitating the site in compliance with the conditions of development consent.

At the end of its operational life, the wind farm will be deconstructed in accordance with the Department guidelines and supporting planning guideline. Decommissioning will involve de-energising, disconnecting, dismantling, demolishing and removing the wind turbines and other operational infrastructure (e.g. maintenance buildings, substations and power lines). We will also rehabilitate roads and fencing in consultation with host landowners.

The typical Vestas wind turbine is around 88% recyclable. This includes the steel which forms the tower and the aluminium and copper used in electrical equipment within the turbine. Vestas has announced a goal of achieving zero-waste wind turbines by 2040.

Blades are constructed of carbon and glass fibre composites, polyurethane foam and epoxy adhesives. Turbine blades are the most challenging component to recycle, but there are already a number of technologies available for recycling of blades, and no turbine blades will be disposed in the local landfill. Vestas recently unveiled a revolutionary circularity solution to end landfill of turbine blades. Read more here.

Vestas has committed to not landfill any blades in Europe by 2025, which means we are now upscaling and investing in existing and new recycling solutions that will benefit other regions as well, including Australia.

We visit the region regularly and hold drop-in sessions, usually in Mudgee and Gulgong. We advertise these in local media, on our website and through our newsletters. You can provide feedback at any time by either completing our online survey Piambong Wind Farm Community survey (surveymonkey.com), sending us an email info@piambongwindfarm.com.au or calling us on 1800 719 687.