The ongoing push to establish wind turbine projects in the southern New England continues to divide the community.
In the Walcha council area alone, there are plans for six wind energy developments which will include a total of about 660 turbines ranging in height from 230 to 300 metres.
The NSW Department of Planning was in Walcha recently to present its draft energy guidelines to a meeting of about 150 locals who have said they feel none the wiser since.
Damien Timms is the vice president of local protest organisation, Voice for Walcha.
Mr Timms, who moved from Sydney to Walcha in 1997, runs a property of about 800 hectares on the edge of the town, with his wife Simone, as well as a small pasture seed and agronomy consulting business.
He said Walcha's concerns were valid because the small community of 3000 was being asked to carry the energy load for 30 per cent of the state, based on the projects from the Walcha Energy Office alone, with 4000 megawatts of wind generation and 700MW of solar generation planned.
Mr Timms said the group emerged several years ago with the announcement of the Winterbourne EIS which would include 119 turbines in the north-east corner of the local government area, and remained frustrated with the continued lack of information.
He said the group had conducted community surveys, one of which collected 540 responses, about 25pc of the local adult population, of which 80pc had said they were opposed to the projects.
Mr Timms said developers and planners used the phrase "social license" when airing their development proposals.
"One of the big catch-cries over the last 12 months has been that without a social license, a developer will not be granted access to the new grid.
"But when we ask them, 'what does social license mean?', the energy companies run for the hills," Mr Timms said.
Mr Timms said the movement of goal posts was another tribulation for Walcha residents.
"Early last week, a draft map was released, but by the end of the week, with areas that were once unsuitable (for wind turbines) to suitable in five days," he said.
Mr Timms said in November 2022, the Winterbourne environmental impact statement attracted 450 local objections, and locals were only givena short tie frame to respond to the 3500 page statement.
"Just last week, we were told those responses (to the EIS submissions) would come through in the New Year, nearly 12 months later," he said.
Mr Timms said constructing the turbine towers would be another significant hurdle for the community.
"For just one project, they're talking about 4500 oversized, overmass vehicle movements going up the Oxley highway," he said.
"For the Winterbourne project, there's a need for 117 kilometres of an internal farm track. The ridge lines will have to be cleared. Our ridgelines are essentially where all our trees are.
"They still need to identify where they will source the water and gravel for the foundations for the towers. Each foundation will take 900 cubic metres of concrete and about 750 tonnes of reinforcing steel.
"They have made basic errors in their estimates, saying that the rate for a B-double is about $80 an hour. In reality, it's about $400 an hour for B-double hire.
"In Australia, there's just one 400-tonne crane that's needed to erect these turbines. It can't be walked between turbines, and it has to be dismantled and put up again, which takes about 45 truck movements."
He also expressed concern that towns like Armidale and Orange had a 10km buffer zone where turbines could not be constructed. In the Walcha proposals, wind turbines could be as close as six kilometres.
Mr Timms said the deadline for submissions for Department of Planning's draft guidelines for the Walcha project closedat the end of January.