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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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Departmental Media Release

Department approves Sapphire Wind Farm modification application

  • Date: 06.07.2016
  • Type: Departmental Media Release
  • Author: Department of Planning and Environment

The Department of Planning and Environment has approved proposed changes to the Sapphire Wind Farm near Glen Innes, with conditions responding directly to issues raised by the community and Government agencies during consultation.


Wind Prospect CWP Pty Ltd’s application involves a number of changes to the approved Sapphire Wind Farm, including:

  • reducing the number of wind turbines from 159 to 109
  • increasing the maximum wind turbine tip height from 157 to 200 metres
  • increasing the maximum rotor diameter from 126 to 140 metres
  • reducing the number of transmission lines
  • minor changes to internal road network and electrical design.


The modification application was publicly exhibited during March 2016.


The Department received 17 submissions, including seven from government agencies, eight from the general public and two from special interest groups. Six community submissions objected to the modification.


Key issues identified during consultation include visual and noise impacts on nearby residents, and aviation impacts on the Glen Innes Aerodrome as a result of the larger turbines.


These issues have been assessed by the Department and strict conditions have been applied in response, including:

  • voluntary acquisition rights, or the option to enter into an agreement with the applicant, for those residences predicted to experience high visual impacts
  • strict noise limits updated to reflect current NSW Government policy
  • a requirement for further consultation to be undertaken with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to confirm aviation hazard lighting requirements.


“The applicant’s change in plans is in response to the availability of new wind energy technology”, a spokesperson said.


“New turbine designs have increased in size and improved efficiency, which has prompted the applicant to significantly reduce the number of proposed turbines while generating the same amount of energy.


“Overall, the changes will reduce the impacts of the project, whilst allowing the economic and environmental benefits of the approved project to be realised.”


The project has a capital investment value of more than $400 million with the potential to create 250 construction jobs and generate 300 megawatts of clean energy for NSW consumers, enough to power around 130,000 homes every year.

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