Epuron Take First Steps in Gullen Range Project
Epuron has now submitted a Project Application to the Department of Planning seeking its requirements for the Environmental Assessment of the project.
The Project Application is the first stage of the project approval process. It outlines the project under consideration sufficiently to allow the Department of Planning to specify its requirements in relation to Epuron’s Environmental Assessment. The Project Application can be found on the Department of Planning website.
The Project Application was lodged following a Planning Focus Meeting (PFM) which was held on-site on the 15 August. The PFM is a forum that enables relevant government agencies to provide input to the Department of Planning in formulating the environmental assessment requirements for the proposal. At Gullen Range, the PFM included representatives from the Department of Planning, Upper Lachlan and Goulburn Mulwaree Councils, NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Rural Fire Service, Department of Lands, Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority, and Country Energy.
Preliminary environmental investigations at the site have commenced and include background noise measurements, flora and fauna (including bird and bat) investigations, assessment of aboriginal and European heritage values, visual impact studies and traffic and communications studies. The results of these studies will enable Epuron to detail a more comprehensive proposal (including the number and location of turbines, electricity connections and access roads) that is responsive to the site’s constraints.
Following on from this preliminary work, Epuron will be in a position to develop its initial proposal for presentation to the local community. In particular, the community will be invited to an Open House later this year, as soon as sufficient details on the project have been developed. This Open House will provide details of proposed turbine locations, and results of planning work to date including noise assessment, visual impact assessment and flora and fauna assessments.
The aim of the Open House is to ensure that the community understands the proposal as presented, and to ensure that Epuron can learn any unforseen impacts in relation to the project.
“The choice of this site for development has been the culmination of a long selection process with many years of wind monitoring to support it”, Project Director Simon Davey said. “Our aim through our community consultation and in particular the Open House is to ensure that Epuron develops the best wind farm that it can in this location.”
The Director General of the NSW Department of Planning will shortly prepare its requirements and issue these to Epuron. Once these requirements have been issued, Epuron will commence preparation of the Environmental Assessment which will be lodged together with the Development Application. The final Environmental Assessment will also be placed on public display by EPURON and the Department of Planning who will seek final submissions on the proposal.