Frequently Asked Questions - Modification Application
The Project is being proposed by Rye Park Renewable Energy Pty Ltd (the Applicant), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tilt Renewables Limited.
The Proposed Modifications are required to enable the Project to utilise improvements in wind energy technology to enable significantly more renewable energy production to be achieved with fewer, larger wind turbines, and to reflect the outcomes of the ongoing design optimisation and assessment carried out as the Project progresses towards construction.
Greater efficiency will be the result of optimised cabling and transmission line infrastructure, minimising electrical losses and maximising the generation capacity of the Project. Subsequent benefits as a result of this include:
- Reduction of transmission losses
- Minimisation of resource use and waste generation
- Reduced project cost and timelines
- Reduced haulage requirements
The Proposed Modifications being sought in the Modification Application include:
- Removal of 12 wind turbines to reduce the Project to a maximum of 80 wind turbines
- Increase to the wind turbine envelope to a maximum tip height of 200m to enable the use of newer and more efficient wind turbine models
- Revisions to the Development Corridor to accommodate revised Indicative Development Footprints including the reduced wind turbine numbers, optimised design assumptions including changes to the wind turbine foundations and hardstands, internal access tracks, 33 kV connection infrastructure, collector substations, transmission line and connection infrastructure, and supporting infrastructure. Optimisation of other infrastructure, including operation and maintenance facilities, construction compounds, and temporary concrete batch plants
- Selection of the Preferred Transport Route for heavy and over-dimensional vehicles to enable the consideration of ground disturbance and associated vegetation removal which will be required to accommodate the proposed upgrades of the local Council roads. Several options for the transportation of heavy and over-dimensional vehicles from port facilities are under consideration
The NSW Government Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) or the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) is responsible for considering the modification application and approval, including determining any conditions. The Commonwealth Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) is responsible for the EPBC approval.
The project is already approved but the proposed modification will help ensure that the project is competitive in the current and future energy market and is better able to service the state’s growing energy needs.
The existing Development Consent was granted in May 2017 and EPBC approval granted in December 2017. New changes have been identified after approvals were obtained due to:
- New information: we have undertaken further technical studies, detailed design and construction planning, giving us a clearer picture of how the wind farm could look and operate
- Advancements in turbine technology: new and far more efficient turbines have come onto the market since the project was approved.
The existing Development Consent remains in place regardless of whether or not the modification is approved. This existing Development Consent allows the project to be built subject to specific conditions.
An increase in generation capacity would mean a better financial outcome for Tilt Renewables, but it’s not the only driver for us – we also want to have a positive environmental and social impact. This project has been a long time in the making – we’ve invested a lot in it to date and expect to invest much more – upwards of $700 million – so of course we want it to be the best possible project it can be.
You are able to make a formal submission to DPIE as part of its formal public exhibition process, via their Major Projects website.
A turbine hasn’t yet been selected however all environmental assessments that have been conducted have used indicative worst-case turbine dimensions or specifications for that particular potential impact (i.e. the noisiest turbine for the noise assessment). This is to ensure the final turbine selected will be within the parameters of what has been assessed as part of the regulatory approvals for the wind farm.
By using the more efficient turbine models the Project has the potential to generate more renewable electricity from the same project footprint, ultimately resulting in a lower cost of energy from the Project with clear benefits to the end user and energy consumer
Note: The Modified Project has increase of approximately 35% total generation capacity compared to the Approved Project, with a reduction in the number of wind turbines of 13% (92 down to 80).
The appearance of the turbines would remain similar. An exact turbine model is yet to be selected.
The changes being proposed are consistent with other recently approved wind farms including the nearby Bango Wind Farm which has an approved turbine tip height of 200 metres. Some new wind farms are being proposed with a tip height of 200-250 metres.
The increase in blade tip height and rotor diameter would not mean any significant change in noise. We are not proposing any change to conditions in the existing Development Consent relating to noise. We will still need to ensure noise remains below limits previously set out in the Development Consent.
With larger machines it is possible that shadow flicker effects will extend further from the wind turbines. However, the Development Consent has requirements for shadow flicker to not exceed 30 hours per annum at nearby non-participant dwellings. This has not changed as part of the proposed modification.
We have tried to minimise any new impacts as much as possible by positioning infrastructure away from important vegetation and reducing the amount of ancillary infrastructure required on-site.
Changes proposed as part of the project will not have any significant increase in environmental impact (e.g. visual, noise, shadow flicker) to the local community from what is currently allowed under the Development Consent.
Despite the increase in the height of the turbines and the rotor swept area, the specialist ecological assessments identified that it’s unlikely the modification will increase the risk of blade strike or adverse impacts to bird and bat species listed under State and Commonwealth legislation.
We undertook a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) to assess the likely impacts of the Modified Project on biodiversity due to the modified development footprint of the wind farm and inclusion of the public road upgrades.
We found that a total of 542.1 ha and 32.62 ha of vegetation (inclusive of non-native vegetation) is proposed to be removed associated with the development of the wind farm and development of the public road upgrades respectively. For the wind farm, this is 285.3 ha more than the Approved Project.
Although the development footprints have increased in size compared with the Approved Project, numerous measures such as modifying ancillary infrastructure were employed to avoid significant biodiversity values. As a result, compared with the Approved Project, the Modified Project has a:
- Reduction of 10.71ha of White Box Yellow Box Blakely’s Red Gum Woodland, and
- Reduced impact on habitat for striped legless lizard, superb parrot, and golden sun moth.
The Modified Project has an increased impact on matters listed within the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Approval. Discussions with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) are in progress to assess this.
We’ll be obtaining the required biodiversity credits to offset impacts to the likely affected plant community types and threatened species. Furthermore, to ensure biodiversity impacts are managed and further minimised a Biodiversity Management Plan will be prepared in accordance with the existing conditions of the Development Consent. A specific Roadside Vegetation Management Plan will also be prepared in accordance with the conditions of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) Approval.
The NSW State Government – Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), particularly the Biodiversity Conservation Division (BCD). Tilt Renewables must maintain compliance with any approved limits on vegetation removal.
Some access tracks are being removed due to the reduction in turbines. We have updated our assumptions to allow for all remaining access tracks to be wider than previously estimated to ensure sufficient width for construction vehicles and oversize trucks. This involves recalculating potential site disturbance and vegetation removal figures based on wider access tracks.
The temporary disturbance for access tracks were previously estimated at an average of around 12m widths. Following detailed design, we are now looking at an average of approx. 30 metres temporary disturbance only. Permanent disturbance will be 5.5 metres.
The Development Consent currently identified an option for heavy and over-dimensional vehicles to be transported from Port Kembla. As part of the Modified Project, we are considering two additional route options (both from the Port of Newcastle). This is to allow greater flexibility with the final selection of wind turbine, as different suppliers have different preferences for ports.
This depends on which route is selected, however please refer to Appendix C.1 – Road Upgrade Schedule, of the Modification Application Report.
We will work with the relevant council/s and the turbine manufacturer and transporter to understand requirements for the preferred route, the extent of upgrade required and to identify pinch points where widening may be required. As we do this work, we will talk with residents along the routes being explored so that any concerns can be raised and considered.
The preferred route includes the following roads:
- Dalton Road (Rye Park)
- Yass Street (Rye Park)
- Rye Park Road (Boorowa / Rye Park)
- Gunning Road (Rye Park)
- Grassy Creek Road (Rye Park)
- Long Street (Boorowa)
- Dillion Street (Boorowa)
- Trucking Yard Road (Boorowa)
Only the roads that we intend to use for heavy vehicles will be upgraded to the standard required for heavy and over-dimensional vehicles.
Which roads will be used by light vehicles such as workers utes and 4WD – will they be restricted to certain roads?
The Development Consent sets out restrictions for each road. In planning for construction, we will develop a Traffic Management Plan (TMP) which will consider the management of all traffic to and from the site, including company light vehicles.
Approved roads run through the towns Boorowa and Rye Park – are we going to have lots of truck traffic and how will this be managed?
Construction of a wind farm does generate a lot of truck traffic so there would be a noticeable increase at times. After a route is selected, and closer to construction starting, a Transport Management Plan (TMP) will be developed to ensure all construction traffic (not just heavy vehicles) is well managed.
We would like to receive your input to inform the TMP so that we understand, document and manage concerns. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The wind farm would connect to the National Electricity Market via TransGrid’s 330KV Yass to Gullen Range Line via a new 330kV connection substation.
Do you have approval from AEMO to increase the MW output of the Rye Park Wind Farm? Can the transmission network cope with the extra output?
We have a connection agreement application currently being considered by AEMO and TransGrid. An amendment to this agreement may be required if the modification is approved. AEMO and TransGrid will assess the ability of the transmission network to handle the extra output, although we don’t foresee any issues.
No changes are proposed to conditions in the Development Consent relating to operations, such as those for noise and shadow flicker.
Frequently Asked Questions - General Project
We are committed to sharing the benefits of the Rye Park Wind Farm with the local community and invite you to share your ideas on how we could contribute to meaningful projects that have positive and lasting benefits for many.
On other projects we have provided sponsorships, education programs, training and employment schemes – but all communities are different, so we don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach.
Your feedback will help inform a Benefit Sharing Plan, which is in addition to the already committed Community Enhancement Fund and Neighbour Agreements, for the local community. Please submit any ideas via email: email@example.com
- Community Enhancement Fund
Tilt Renewables has an agreement with local councils to provide $2500 per constructed turbine per year to a community fund. The proposed modification will reduce the number of turbines at Rye Park Wind Farm, but we don’t want this to reduce financial support for the community – so we are committing to providing community funding for 92 turbines.
Funding for any unbuilt turbines could be added to the council administered community fund or directed toward other local initiatives. We will consult with the community on their preferred approach.
- Neighbour agreements
We are currently offering voluntary Neighbour Agreements to landowners whose property neighbours the wind farm. These agreements provide an opportunity for landowners close to the wind farm to share in the financial benefits of the development.
The agreements are in addition to our other benefit sharing initiatives and are part of our commitment to contribute positively to the broader community.
The neighbour agreements do not prevent people from making a submission on the project, nor do they remove the need for us to comply with conditions of the development consent for the wind farm.
Additionally, the Project will provide full time employment for up to 250 staff during construction and up to 10 ongoing regional jobs during its operational life providing increased employment opportunities.
The Project will also result in a direct injection of approximately $2-$3 million per annum to the local community through payments to landholders, permanent staff and benefit sharing plan contributions providing better diversification of income and a drought proof and post retirement income for farmers and shared benefits.
Why are payments to the Community Enhancement Fund based on turbines rather than MW? Other developments have committed to funding by MW, will you?
Community Enhancement Fund contributions of $2500 per built turbine is a requirement set out in our Development Consent and agreements with local council have already been established based on this.
We are committing to providing community funding for 92 turbines. The funding for any unbuilt turbines could be added to the council administered Community Enhancement Fund or directed toward other local initiatives that are important to your community.
We are looking at the best way to contribute meaningfully to your community, so we’d really love to hear your views on what’s important and what local projects or issues would benefit from our involvement.
Wind farms capture the energy of the wind – a renewable resource with no emissions thus making it ‘clean energy’. This energy is harnessed, converted and distributed into the National Electricity Market (NEM).
While it’s true that greenhouse gas emissions are produced when wind turbines are manufactured, built, maintained and decommissioned, the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from wind technology is considerably lower than emissions from technologies powered by combustion-based natural gas and coal.
Associated Residences are classified as either being a ‘host’ agreement if a landowner has a lease or infrastructure agreement in relation to their property or a participating ‘neighbour’ agreement where the residence is within proximity of the Project and there is an agreement in relation to potential impacts from the wind farm (e.g. noise, visual or shadow flicker).
Wind farm construction creates hundreds of direct jobs on site and thousands of jobs in businesses that supply the project. The types of jobs created include:
- Domestic scale electricians
- Transport operators
- Competent machine operators
- General labourers
- Concrete businesses
Construction also provides an economic boost for regional communities by increasing demand for local goods and services, such as accommodation, hotels, restaurants and cafes.
We are committed to employing local people and buying local wherever possible.
Keep an eye on our website to find the latest updates or subscribe to our e-news list to receive updates via email or post. More information will be available close to construction, after contractors and suppliers are appointed.
To register interest in providing goods or services for the project complete the Goods and Services Register on our website www.ryeparkwf.com.au
The Rye Park Wind Farm project will bring local economic benefits, jobs and provide long-term financial support for the community and involved landowners – providing a drought proof and post-retirement income for farmers. More broadly, it will contribute to the de-carbonisation and security of Australia’s energy supply.
For the Modified Project, the community has identified water supply as a key matter of consideration, with the region being under drought conditions in recent years. Based on our recent experience constructing two wind farms in Victoria, we’ve estimated 118.4 ML of water will be required during construction.
For water supply, we’ve been investigating the available water associated with the Yass Catchment Water Source Aquifer Water Access Licenses, Birrnjuck Dam and Yass Dam. As water for construction will be over an 18 - 24 month period, it is unlikely that use of these water storages would restrict or reduce community access to water.
Given the current drought conditions, we’ve commenced investigations into alternative water supplies in consultation with a local hydrologist. Alternatives include the extraction of groundwater under a water access license and/or trading of groundwater access rights from existing water access licenses. This will be investigated further as the detailed design progresses to allow greater flexibility in the selection of water supply sources.
We hold social licence to operate in high regard and therefore will be looking to implement the strategy with the least impact on community water supplies.
We acknowledge that the community has strong local knowledge of the land, and we recognise that there will be challenges regarding the management of land through the construction of the wind farm.
For example, erosion will be managed through improvements in the detailed design of the site and through the implementation of construction measures tailored to the landscape.
In addition, we hope to employ skilled and knowledgeable locals to support site preparation and construction efforts of the project. We encourage businesses to register their interest in working on the project via the project website, under our Goods and Services Register.
The summer of 2019-2020 was unprecedented in Australia for bushfires, particularly in NSW. Fire safety is a high priority for us from site development right through to construction and operation. A wind farm should not be considered a hindrance to firefighting. Accordingly, a variety of preventative and reactive controls will be in place.
Compared with the Approved Project, the Modified Project does not differ in terms of ignition risks or management strategies to combat fire. However, we’ll be consulting further with key fire authorities and will prepare specific management plans for the Project to manage fire risks.