Modification overview

The following information provides a summary of why we have applied for a modification to the approved Rye Park Wind Farm project.

The approved Rye Park Wind Farm (the Project) constitutes an approximate $700 million investment and is located to the west of Rye Park, to the north-west of Yass and south-east of Boorowa, in New South Wales. The Modification Application has been prepared to request the modification to the Project Development Consent State Significant Development (SSD) 6693 (Development Consent) under section 4.55(2) of the Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act).

Development Consent was granted, by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC, now known as the Independent Planning Commission), on 22 May 2017, for the construction, operation and decommissioning of up to 92 wind turbines with a maximum tip height of 157 metres and associated infrastructure. In the years since the original Development Consent were determined, there have been significant advances in wind turbine technology. The application to modify the Development Consent (Modification Application) has been pursued in order to take advantage of these technology changes and to provide greater certainty with regards to the constructability of the Project.

What modifications are being proposed?

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, 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; and
  • 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.

Why have we prepared the Modification Application?

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.

The justification for the Proposed Modifications and the associated benefits can be summarized as follows:

  • 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;
  • Greater efficiency; 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; and
    • Reduced haulage requirements.
  • The Project is strongly aligned with the NSW Government energy and Commonwealth climate policies. The Project will provide 100% emissions free, renewable energy and help NSW with its inevitable transition away from its current reliance on fossil fuels which are continuing to contribute to climate change impacts;
  • The Project will make a significant contribution to the shortfall in generation that will arise with the forecast retirement of Liddell Power Station in the near future and other coal-fired generators over the coming years;
  • 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; and
  • 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.

What assessments does the Modification Application consider, and what did they find?

A detailed assessment of the key impacts of the Proposed Modifications has been undertaken by technical specialists and included as part of the Modification Application.

The assessments focused on the potential change in impacts compared with the Approved Project. The assessments have also taken into consideration the relevant environmental issues identified in the Original Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Response to Submissions (RTS). The following table summarises changes to impacts, mitigation strategies and Development Consent conditions:

The assessments prepared confirm that the Proposed Modification will result in some increased impacts but that most of these impacts may continue to be appropriately managed by the existing mitigation measures under the Development Consent conditions and the statement of commitments.

Environmental Assessments