The Hills of Gold wind farm is a 420MW onshore wind power project proposed to be developed in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
The wind power project was previously undertaken by Wind Energy Partners which was acquired by Engie Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), a subsidiary of French multinational electric utility company Engie, in October 2020.
Engie ANZ is expected to start construction on the £578m ($750m) project by early 2022.
Once operational, the onshore wind farm will generate up to 1,100GWh of clean electricity annually which will be enough to power approximately 185,000 Australian households over an estimated operational life of 25 years.
Location and site details
The Hills of Gold onshore wind farm project is located on the Great Dividing Range from Hanging Rock to Crawney Mountain, near Nundle in New South Wales, Australia.
The wind farm will be developed on a 6,808ha-site located approximately 5km south of Hanging Rock and 8km southeast of Nundle.
The project area lies within three local government areas including the Tamworth Regional Council, Upper Hunter Shire Council, and the Liverpool Plains Shire Council.
Hills of Gold wind farm make-up
The Hills of Gold onshore wind farm will comprise 70 wind turbines of 6MW capacity each. Mounted on underground concrete foundations, the maximum height of the wind turbine will be 230m until the blade tip.
The turbines will be linked to each other through electrical cables and fibre optic communication cabling.
The project also involves the construction of multiple lattice frame masts for monitoring the wind speed and direction.
The infrastructure facilities at the onshore wind farm project involve the construction of access tracks, gravel tracks, gravel areas for crane support, maintenance, and storage shed along with a site office.
The electricity generated by each turbine of the Hills of Gold wind farm will be gathered and transmitted through a 33kV underground inter-array cable network.
The gathered electricity will be stepped up to 330kV at a 33kV/ 330kV substation onsite from where it will be transmitted through an approximately 23km-long overhead line connecting the existing 330kV TransGrid Liddell to Tamworth line network.
Sony Pty was engaged for the noise and vibration impact assessment of the Hills of Gold wind farm project in March 2020.
Moir Landscape Architecture and Someva Renewables were engaged in preparing the photomontages and the site layout as part of the planning phase of the wind farm proposal in April 2020.
NGH Environmental was contracted by Wind Energy Partners for the preparation of the preliminary environmental assessment of the Hills of Gold Energy project in October 2018.
Hills of Gold wind farm project background
Wind Energy Partners announced the Hills of Gold Energy project in 2017. The preliminary environmental assessment report of the Hills of Gold wind farm was submitted to the New South Wales Department of Planning in November 2018.
The initial proposal called for a total of 97 wind turbines mounted on tubular steel towers, which was later revised to 70 wind turbines. The project is in the planning stage with development application preparation and the main environmental impact assessment currently underway.
The Hills of Gold wind power project is expected to boost up to £285.45m ($370m) of economic activities and create approximately 215 direct job opportunities during the construction phase.