The NSW Planning Department now lists the New England region as 'suitable' for renewable wind projects, a backflip on messaging from only a week ago.
The Planning Department issued an advisory on Friday, November 17 saying that a map, released as part of a draft guidelines that deemed all of New England as 'less suitable' and very few areas as 'desirable' has now been changed.
The confusing about-turn which Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall labels a 'blunder' now has the same map ascribing New England as 'suitable' for renewable wind projects.
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Effectively the Department has re-released the map and has changed the three descriptors of "desirable", "suitable" and "Less suitable", to only two descriptors- "highly suitable" and "suitable."
This means the areas mapped within and near the five new renewable energy zones and along the transmission lines that link them are now deemed "suitable". Some small pockets are deemed to be "highly suitable."
"We have updated the 'Suitable areas for wind energy development' map in the draft Wind Energy Guideline to clarify that all of the mapped areas are suitable for wind energy development," the department wrote on Friday.
The draft wind energy guidelines was released by the Minns government to provide the community, industry and regulators with the "key planning considerations" for wind farms including visual, noise and biodiversity impacts.
Renewable energy developers were surprised by the extent of the state that was identified as "less suitable" for wind energy. This description extends over most of two of NSW's five special renewable energy zones, located in New England and the state's south-west.
Adam Marshall called on the government for a 'please explain', saying "It's very clear the left hand of the government does not know what the right hand is doing."
"This massive contradiction leaves our communities even more confused about what the future looks like," said Mr Marshall after the original map was released.
He says that the re-issuing of such an important guideline is 'just plain confusing.'
"It further highlights the miscommunication and dysfunction of the Department and the State Government to manage and control renewable energy projects across our region."
The mixed messaging and the map further erode confidence of developers wanting to step into the industry as well as concerned community members.
"It is critical that we carefully plan a smooth energy transition, developing new renewables in harmony with our local communities.
"I am asking the State Government to 'please explain' this blunder."
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