The Crudine Ridge Wind Farm is a 135MW wind energy project situated approximately 45 km south of Mudgee, NSW.
The project consists of up to 37 wind turbines which will reach a maximum height of 160m from foundation to the uppermost blade tip. The project will also comprise access roads, internal electrical reticulation, temporary construction compounds, rock crushing facilities, concrete batching plant(s), a substation, an operations and maintenance facility and approximately 15 km of overhead transmission line.
The project will have a generation capacity of approximately 135 MW and will connect to the existing 132kV TransGrid transmission line approximately 15 km east of the substation site.
The project received approval from the NSW Planning Assessment Commission on May 10, 2016, and from the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Energy on April 4, 2017. Construction was on hold during the upgrade of Aarons Pass Road and now finalised in February 2020 construction has recommenced. With Transmission line construction well underway the preparation for the Wind Turbine sites is continuing. Completion is now expected to be early 2021.
The project will be constructed primarily on freehold land, as well as Crown and Council land across two Local Government Areas (LGAs) Mid-western Regional Council (MWRC) and Bathurst City Council (BCC). Land to be used for the project is secured under lease and licence arrangements. The project will be constructed and operated by Crudine Ridge Wind Farm Pty Ltd (CRWF) with transmission infrastructure owned and operated by the network service provider.
Site Identification and Resource Monitoring
Preliminary Environmental Assessment
Community Consultative Committee established
Environmental Assessment on Public Exhibition
NSW Development Consent
Construction in Progress
Fully Commissioned and Operational
Site Selection and Resource Assessment
A range of factors were considered during the ‘site selection’ phase to evaluate the suitability of the area to support a wind farm. These include:
- Suitable wind resource;
- Ease of connecting to and capacity of the local electricity transmission network;
- Site access and general ground conditions, including slope and geology;
- Proximity to residential properties and the nature of surrounding land uses;
- Availability of turbine sites based on a range of constraints;
- Presence (or absence) of nationally and locally significant areas with regard to environment, landscape, nature conservation, archaeology and cultural heritage; and
- Interest within the community.
Wind resource monitoring commenced at the site in 2008 to record onsite data which, when modelled with long term Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) data from local area, shows wind speeds that are high and consistent making a wind farm project viable in the selected location.
The project site has compatible existing land use being located in a predominantly agricultural area, there is a low population density within and around the project.
Proximity to the electricity transmission network was identified, with the site being approximately 15km west of the high voltage transmission network. The project will connect into the TransGrid 132 kV single circuit overhead transmission line running north-south approximately 15 km east of the project near the Castlereagh Highway. A 132 kV external transmission line will be constructed from the project site to the existing transmission line for energy export to the grid.
The site was also identified as having good road access to the project site with the arterial roads intersecting with a major State highway.
Following a detailed site selection and feasibility analysis, concept plans were developed to commence community consultation and the planning and approvals process.
History of Community Engagement
The project was publicly announced in 2011 when consultation commenced with the local community. A newsletter was released to the local community and the first Public Open Day held in the Pyramul Hall in July 2011. A series of public announcements and newsletters were used to inform the public of the proposed project and regular visits and door knocking was undertaken in the area.
A Community Consultative Committee was established in February 2013 to provide a forum for consultation and information sharing between the project and the local community. Further information on the CCC can be found on the Community page here.
History of Environmental Planning and Assessment
To commence the planning and approvals process, a Preliminary Environmental Assessment was submitted to the NSW Government and a Referral of proposed action was submitted to the Commonwealth Government in 2011. Director Generals Requirements (DGRs) were received from the NSW Government in 2011 under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act).
The project was declared a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) in February 2012 to be assessed by Accredited Assessment. Commonwealth input to the assessment process was provided as supplementary DGRs.
A detailed Environmental Assessment (EA) was undertaken from 2011 to 2013 including detailed technical studies addressing all aspects of environmental, heritage and social impacts required under the DGRs. Independent specialists were contracted to perform baseline studies and conduct impact assessments in accordance with the relevant guidelines.
Technical studies supporting the EA included:
- Noise Impact Assessment
- Ecological Impact Assessment
- Heritage Impact Assessment
- Traffic and Transport Impact Assessment
- Aeronautical Impact Assessment
- Radiocommunications Impact Assessment
- Bushfire Risk Assessment
- Soil and Water Report
- Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment
In March 2014 the project was transitioned to Part 4 of the EP&A Act after Part 3A was repealed, and was subsequently assessed as a State Significant Development. The application was referred to the NSW Planning Assessment Commission on January 4, 2016 as more than 25 objections were received during public exhibition.
The PAC approved the project, issuing the Development Consent on May 10, 2016. The Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Energy approved the project on April 4, 2017.
Publicly available planning and approval documentation can be found here.
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