Brown Mountain wind farm project seeks community input

The community is being invited to be part of consultation around development of the proposed Granite Hills Wind Farm.

A wind farm is being proposed for the Steeple Flat region on Brown Mountain. Fairfax file photo

A wind farm is being proposed for the Steeple Flat region on Brown Mountain. Fairfax file photo

Expressions of interest in a community consultative committee are being called for, with the developers behind the project advertising for volunteers across the Bombala and Bega districts.

The committee will include seven community volunteers in ongoing discussions with wind farm representatives, councils and other stakeholders, as well as continuing community relations.

There has already been a good level of interest in the committee, with “quite a number of applications” already received, a Granite Hills spokesman said this week.

“I think the community is very positive – there are always people with concerns about a project of this size, but on this project we are very happy with the way it’s going,” Maxime Descournut said.

The wind farm of 35 turbines, each with a nominal power of 3.45MW, has been proposed to be built at Steeple Flat, 12km south-east of Nimmitabel, at the top of Brown Mountain.

The project is a joint venture between an Australian company Willy Willy and French company Akuo Energy.

Construction is targeted to commence in 2018 with full operation expected towards the end of 2019.

However, not everyone is pleased with the proposal, with its location and potential to disrupt wildlife front of mind for several in the surrounding community.

Mr Descournut acknowledged those concerns have been raised during previous public meetings and said the environmental impact survey currently taking place should provide more answers.

“There are three wind masts on site at the moment with anemometers, but they can also count birds and bats,” he said.

“The turbines are being built with the top tip height around 200 metres and the lowest point for the blades will be around 70 metres. This is higher than where the birds and bats fly.

“But of course these are our assumptions and it all needs to be done by the book with the independent surveys taking place now, and we’re in discussions with Office of Environment and Heritage as well.”

  • Expressions of interest in the community consultative committee close on August 26. For more details on how to register your interest check the classifieds pages of this week’s papers.
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