The NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has granted approval for Ark Energy’s $569 million Bowmans Creek Wind Farm, situated approximately 10km east of Muswellbrook in the Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).
Initially proposed with 60 wind turbines, the project was subsequently scaled down to 56 in response to community concerns, with a generation capacity of 347 megawatts (MW).
Following over 50 objections during the public exhibition of its environmental impact statement (EIS) in 2022, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) conducted a comprehensive assessment, referring it to the IPC for determination in November 2023. The DPE recommended development consent subject to conditions, considering environmental, social, and economic impacts, along with public interest.
The Commission Panel, chaired by Professor Alice Clark and including Richard Pearson and Adrian Pilton, conducted a thorough evaluation, including site inspections, public meetings, and community submissions. In its Statement of Reasons, the Commission noted the project’s suitability for renewable energy development, given its location in the Hunter-Central Coast REZ and proximity to existing infrastructure.
According to the Statement of Reasons, issued by the Commission Panel, the proposed site is “is suitable for renewable energy development given its location within the Hunter-Central Coast REZ, proximity to existing electricity transmission networks, topography, wind resources, access to the regional road network, and avoidance of major environmental constraints”.
Ark Energy’s Head of Development Martin Poole welcomed the approval, describing it as an exciting achievement for the company and the state of NSW.
“We first introduced this project to the local community in 2018 and have been progressing it through the NSW planning process over the past five years,” Poole said.
“We listened to the community to iterate the design and address concerns, and we’re thrilled that Bowmans Creek Wind Farm has been approved. We look forward to this important project contributing to the state’s renewable energy targets and helping to drive down wholesale electricity prices.”
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