Around half the turbines proposed for the Rugby Wind Farm have been scrapped due to planning restrictions and community consultation.
Wind energy companies Windlab Systems and Repower said the project had to be changed to fit in with the NSW draft planning guidelines and to keep the community happy.
The companies’ new proposal is for 52 turbines to be built between Boorowa and Rugby instead of the original plan for 90.
Repower spokeswoman Dominique La Fontaine said the two kilometre setback requirement in the NSW guideline was a contributing factor.
There are still 10 homes proposed within 2kms of turbines, all have agreed to host the turbines. The closest home is approximately 1km from an involved landowner.
Ms La Fontaine said land owners have “missed out” due to the changes. Seven landowners won’t have turbines on their property and further five landowners will have reduced turbine numbers.
She said this was disappointing as it was the landowners that approached Windlab Systems in 2008 to put a wind farm in the area.
Mike Inkster from the Boorowa District Landscape Guardians (BDLG) said the group welcomed the fact that turbine numbers were to be reduced.
However, he said he was still worried the remaining turbines could be much larger to compensate.
“They haven’t declared that they have selected a particular turbine,” Mr Inkster said.
The BDLG said host landholders were aware of reductions in turbine numbers in December last year, before draft guidelines were released and before most neighbouring landholders were consulted with.
“This clearly highlights that they did not do the necessary planning or community consultation required in their preliminary dealings with the community,” Sam McGuiness, a member of the BDLG said.
“We have asked them to three public meetings to answer questions from the community and three times they refused to do so.”
Chris Judd managing director of Repower Australia said, if approved, the farm would put $95 million into the region over the life of the wind farm.
“This includes reliable on-farm income for local landowners who host turbines on their property; income that will flow into the region for the next 25 years,” Mr Judd said.
Mr Inkster said he was sceptical the farm would reach the 25-year lifespan as he said one of the company’s share prices had been in “free fall” for most of the last 12 months.
Mr Judd said the community would also benefit from over $3.6 million allocated to projects through a Community Benefits Package over the life of the wind farm.
He said there would be up to 90 jobs during construction and around 12 full-time operational jobs associated with the project.