Pre-empting the commercial need for access to high-quality wind data, the New South Wales (NSW) Sustainable Energy Development Authority and its partners have established a network of 25 monitoring masts across the state. SEDA's private partners in the program have proprietary rights over the wind data for 18 months, after which time it will be used in an atlas of the state's wind resource. The atlas will also identify land use zoning and transmission networks. SEDA's Andrew Williamson says there are an abundance of windy sites in rural areas of NSW, which has a wind friendly planning system and an extensive transmission network. "SEDA estimates the potential for wind capacity in NSW to be well in excess of 1000 MW, so the opportunities here are tremendous," he adds. New South Wales will further strengthen its position as Australia's most progressive wind power state when SEDA this month launches the NSW Wind Energy Handbook at the opening of the state's newest wind farm. The handbook is a guide to appropriate wind farm site selection and is intended for developers, local government, landholders, local communities and investors. In conjunction with the NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, SEDA has also developed guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessments. These initiatives are an Australian first and are expected to assist developers better navigate the state's development approvals processes and mitigate community opposition to avoid costly project delays.
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