Where is the NSW wind industry policy? O'Farrell's planning regime one year overdue

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The NSW Opposition has called on the O’Farrell Government to end the uncertainty and finally announce its guidelines for wind farms - 16 months after they announced draft rules for the industry.

In December 2011, the O'Farrell Government released its draft Planning Guidelines – Wind Farms, which the Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard described at the time as “the strictest guidelines that exist in Australia”. 

“Sixteen months on, the wind farm draft guidelines remain just that – a draft. They are yet to be finalised or used in any environmental planning instrument,” said Luke Foley, Shadow Minister for Planning.

“The draft states that ‘It is intended that the wind farm guidelines could be in place by the middle of 2012’. However, we are now approaching the middle of 2013, and there has been nothing further announced.

“This is causing intolerable uncertainty for the industry. There is $3 billion in investment opportunities at stake here.

"NSW has a 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target and wind is the cheapest form of large scale renewable energy to help meet this goal.

“The Australian Energy Market Operator has reported that investment interest is focused on supplying renewable energy such as wind during periods of peak demand on the hottest and coldest days of the year.

“The wind industry in NSW has the potential to generate 3000 megawatts of wind energy to help future needs. But the NSW Government’s draft guidelines for new wind farm developments were designed to destroy the expansion of the wind industry in this state.

“The O'Farrell Government's draft plan to set a two kilometre exclusion zone between homes and wind turbines would decimate the wind industry and see NSW miss out on $3 billion in investment opportunities.

"Instead of shutting down the wind industry, the O'Farrell Government should have come up with a sensible and workable planning regime for the development of the wind industry in NSW long before now,” said Mr Foley.