Bowmans Creek Wind Farm approved

IPC approves Bowmans Creek Wind Farm

The NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has today approved Ark Energy's $569 million Bowmans Creek Wind Farm, to be developed approximately 10 km east of Muswellbrook in the Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

The State significant development (SSD-10315) application was lodged in 2021. It originally comprised of 60 wind turbines, and was later reduced in response to community concerns to 56 wind turbines with a generation capacity of 347-megawatts (MW).

After receiving more than 50 unique submissions objecting to the application during the public exhibition of its environmental impact statement (EIS) in 2022, the then NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) completed its whole-of-government assessment of the project in November 2023 then referred it to the IPC for determination.​

DPE recommended that the IPC grant development consent subject to conditions.​ In assessing the merits of the project, DPE considered the environmental, social and economic impacts, submissions on the EIS, relevant environmental planning instruments, suitability of the site, and the public interest.

The Commission Panel, comprising of Professor Alice Clark (Chair), Mr Richard Pearson and Mr Adrian Pilton, met with key stakeholders, conducted a site inspection and locality tour, held a public meeting and received further written submissions from the community.

In its Statement of Reasons for approving the project, the Commission noted the proposed site is “is suitable for renewable energy development given its location within the Hunter-Central Coast REZ, proximity to existing electricity transmission networks, topography, wind resources, access to the regional road network, and avoidance of major environmental constraints.”

Ark Energy's Head of Development Martin Poole said the approval was an exciting achievement for the company and the state of NSW.

“We first introduced this project to the local community in 2018 and have been progressing it through the NSW planning process over the past five years," he said.

"We listened to the community to iterate the design and address concerns, and we're thrilled that Bowmans Creek Wind Farm has been approved. We look forward to this important project contributing to the state's renewable energy targets and helping to drive down wholesale electricity prices."

Conditions of consent include limiting the development to a maximum of 54 turbines, visual impact mitigation measures, noise monitoring, managing traffic and transport in consultation with the local community, and decommissioning and rehabilitation of the site at the end of the project life.

Documentation relating to the assessment and determination is available on the Commission’s website.