White Rock Wind Farm obtained Project Approval, in July 2012, under the provisions of the now repealed, Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979. The Project Approval sets out conditions that must be complied with in undertaking the development. The conditions cover construction, operation, decommissioning, and administrative matters.
Key stages in the initial project approval process were:
- Project Application, 10 September 2010
- Environmental Assessment, April 2011
- Public exhibition of the Application and Environmental Assessment
- Submissions Report, November 2011
- Director-Generals Assessment Report, July 2012
- Ministers Project Approval, 10 July 2012
To enable optimum development, efficient operation and competitively priced power to be provided into the National Electricity Market, six modifications to the Development Approval have been submitted to the NSW DPE.
When necessary, modified design proposed have been developed in parallel with further environmental assessments to minimise any increase in environmental impacts.
The associated documents relating to the modification applications can be found on the NSW Department of Planning and Environment Major Project Register.
Section 138 consent for work in a road reserve
Section 138 consents were obtained from the respective Councils regarding work within the road reserve along Ilparran Road, Maybole Road and Kelleys Road. These works related to limited road widening activities and vegetation trimming to allow the safe delivery of oversize turbine components. All works for Stage 1 have been completed.
Environmental Protection Licence
The project is required to hold an Environmental Protection Licence (EPL) during construction and operation. EPLs are issued under provisions of the Protection of the Environment Operations (POEO) Act, 1997. Wind farms that have a capacity to generate more than 30 megawatts of electrical power are listed as scheduled activities in Clause 17 of Schedule 1 of the POEO Act, 1997 and must obtain an EPL.
On 27 April 2016, the Environment Protection Authority issued EPL 20665 in respect of the development works associated with construction of Stage 1 of the wind farm. A number of License Variations have been made by the EPA with the most recent issued by the EPA on 4 September 2017. EPL 20665, as varied (including the notice of variation), can be viewed here.
Works Authorisation Deed
A Works Authorisation Deed has been established with NSW Roads and Maritime Services in respect of works on the Gwydir Highway west of Matheson NSW to upgrade the entry to wind farm site from the highway. These works have been completed and accepted by Roads and Maritime Services.
Other Approvals and Licenses
The project was assessed under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. A referral was lodged with the Federal Government and the project was declared as “Not a Controlled Action” meaning that no further approval was required under the EPBC Act. A further referral under the EPBC Act has been lodged in respect of Stage 2 and Mod 6.
Licences have been obtained for activities on Crown Land that are located within the Project Area or where the site access track is located. Water access licences and allocations were also arranged for the temporary water supplies for construction purposes.
Approval has been obtained from Council to operate septic systems associated with the toilet facilities at both the Operations and Maintenance Compounds and also at the Substation.