The approval of a commercial wind farm near Glen Innes will give locals a greater understanding of the realities of wind energy, according to the project director of New England Wind.
Developers were recently given the green light by the Department of Planning to develop the $350 million White Rock Wind Farm, which will be situated about 20km west of Glen Innes.
The farm will include 119 turbines that will produce enough energy for 130,000 homes. Construction is expected to begin in early 2014.
New England Wind project director Adam Blakester, who is hoping to build a community wind farm at Herbert Park near Armidale, said the Glen Innes site would provide a practical demonstration of wind energy.
“It’s taken a long time to talk about and explore possibilities regarding wind development on the Northern Tablelands,” he said. “But without any turbines in the area the discussion is very much theoretical.”
Mr Blakester said White Rock would be an ideal destination for study tours once it was operational, meaning locals would not have to travel to the Capital Wind Farm near the ACT border.
“Experiencing it first-hand is different to reading about it in the paper, reading one of our media releases or watching a current affairs program about it,” he said. “Each of those things will have a certain slant on the issue, so it’s better to be able to decide for yourself by visiting one of these wind farms.”
New England Wind has secured the support of about 36 near-neighbours of the proposed Herbert Park site. However, some neighbours have expressed concerns about a lack of consultation about the plans.