Walcha, New South Wales
The Winterbourne Wind Farm development is located to the north and east of Walcha in the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, approximately 425 kilometres by road from Sydney. The proposed development area is roughly bounded by Thunderbolts Way and the Oxley Highway to the west, the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park to the south and east, and the Salisbury Plains to the north.
The proposed project area extends over approximately 24,400 hectares, of which less than 1,000 hectares is expected to be disturbed during construction. The project area is located at approximately 1,100m-1,300m elevation and is comprised of hills and ridgelines rising out of the Walcha Plateau.
The project will be constructed primarily on freehold land within the Walcha and Uralla Local Government Areas. Land to be used for the project will be secured under lease arrangements with local landholders.
New England Renewable Energy Zone
The Walcha area was selected because it is one of the best wind resource areas in NSW, and is within the proposed New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ). The New England REZ is being implemented by the NSW Government, and involves a coordinated effort to plan new transmission lines to best accommodate new renewable energy projects.
The proposed project site is in relatively close proximity to the existing transmission network operated by TransGrid. The Winterbourne Wind Farm project will include approximately 57km of new 330kV transmission line which will tie into the existing TransGrid network via a new 330kV switchyard which is proposed to be constructed approximately 7km south of Uralla, NSW.
Excellent Wind Resource
Wind resource monitoring conducted at the site since 2009 indicates that wind speeds are high and consistent, making the wind farm project viable in this location.
The proposed project area has many low peaks and ridgelines which provide suitable locations for the construction of wind turbines. There are good existing access roads to and within the site, allowing for transport of turbine blades, towers, and electrical equipment and movement of construction vehicles within the project area. However, some existing roads and infrastructure may need to be upgraded, and several new access roads will be constructed within the site as part of the proposed project.
Though the population density is relatively low, there are several existing residences within the project area, and the proposed wind farm will be designed to minimize potential visual and noise impacts to landowners and tenants in the area. Much of the project area is currently used for livestock grazing and has been cleared of trees and other vegetation, meaning the potential for impacts to flora and fauna is greatly reduced.
Strong Supportive Community
Importantly, the project landowners and local Councils have been supportive of the proposed project, and will benefit from implementation of the project through an innovative ownership model and revenue sharing arrangement. WinterbourneWind will continue to engage with the local community and relevant local, state and federal stakeholders during project development to ensure the proposed project addresses community concerns and meets with community expectations.