Enormous White Rock wind farm upgrade could create 200 Glen Innes jobs

A $300 million extension to the Glen Innes White Rock wind farm would more than double its capacity and create 200 jobs.
A $300 million extension to the Glen Innes White Rock wind farm would more than double its capacity and create 200 jobs.

A $300 million extension to the Glen Innes White Rock wind farm would more than double its capacity and create 200 jobs if approved by the Independent Planning Commission, according to the company.

Development manager Adrian Maddocks said he is "very confident" they will get the go ahead for the project, which could be underway next year.

Speaking to the IPC at a public meeting in Glen Innes on Friday, he said White Rock are planning to use the "latest wind turbine technology" with blades up to 200 metres tall.

"We'll be looking at turbines in the four and a half megawatt capacity whereas the existing stage one uses two and a half megawatts turbines.

"it allows us to relocate turbines into more appropriate locations, both due to sort of community impacts and ecological impacts and allows us to expand the existing substation to take the additional power.

"With stage two being approximately 48 turbines we'll produce probably more power than the existing 70 turbines of stage one by using those bigger machines."

The existing wind farm powers approximately 105,000 NSW homes with renewable energy each year.

Because of the updated technology, White Rock needs to apply for a modification of an already-approved planning agreement. The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has already recommended approval.

If they get final sign-off before Christmas he said they would aim for construction to start in the back half of 2020, with the first blade to spin about 18 months later.

The White Rock community fund, which issues $179,000 in grants to local causes, would be pumped up by an additional $120,000 per year.

The mega project would also add about five new jobs. White Rock wind farm already employs 12 people. Some 200 people would be employed during the construction phase.

Almost all of the 50 submissions to the planning application were in opposition, but just one opponent actually fronted up to the public consultation in Glen Innes on Friday.

Farmer Allan Fletcher said he opposed building turbines on the property of another farmer who had opposed the construction of an earlier wind farm on the property of Mr Fletcher.

Community centre President Michael McNamara, who supports the project, said he wanted more money to flow on to the general community of Glen Innes.

In one of the written submissions, John Fern claimed the 200 metre tall turbines would be too loud for anyone but Helen Keller. Mr Fern is from Goulburn.

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