A significant outcome of the feasibility study and survey was that over 100 landholders offered to host wind turbines on their properties. This portrays the enthusiasm of many landholders in New England to see this project proceed and to be directly involved where possible.
See below for the process NEW has been through to date to find a suitable site for the community windfarm, as well as details of the latest wind monitoring project to assist with site consolidation.
Current site consolidation
Currently, NEW is working on a new phase of wind monitoring work funded by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. This sodar project is detailed here.
Previous site consolidation
A thorough assessment of the 100+ offered sites reduced the list to those fitting the criteria for good wind sites as well as reflecting community recommendations. A list of around 10 final sites was determined as suitable for further investigation. Advice was sought from Essential Energy on matters of grid capacity, connection options and costs involved in connection infrastructure.
On the advice of Essential Energy, the Woodville East site, as originally offered by Richard Maclean, appeared to be the most feasible site on which to carry out wind monitoring to further determine viability. The site lies along a ridgeline between Donald Road and Herbert Park Roads, about 20 km to the northeast of Armidale.
A letter to residents in the vicinity of the proposed wind farm site was sent out in early October 2012. This includes a map of site and many details relating to wind energy in general as well as next steps for the specific site. This letter may be read here.
An investigation of grid connection corridors and options was undertaken to ensure that cost of connection to the grid would not be too high in relation to the capacity of the proposed wind farm. This grid connection study recently (May 2013) showed that the Woodville East site would not be viable, due to the very high costs of connection to the grid, either through Essential Energy network or into Transgrid.