"REAL concerns" with the NSW plan for a renewable energy transition have been raised by a former mayor in the region, who says prime farmland should not be compromised.
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The NSW Government says its policies to encourage private sector production of green power will halve emissions by 2030 and ensure net-zero by 2050.
But Orange's Reg Kidd believes regional centres require more community consultation, guarantees for affordability, and a focus on protecting good agricultural soils.
"It's funny how a lot of this is driven by people living in Sydney ... but the expectation is putting the generation out in rural areas where we live," he said.
"If we said do this in Ku-ring-gai National Park or put wind turbines on Cronulla Beach or Bondi Beach, they'd say 'nah, nah, nah, we can't do that'.
"The opposite happens in regional areas. It's like regional communities are carrying the burden."
A wind farm is already located in the Wellington region while two more for the region are also set to be constructed.
Elsewhere in the Central West, proposed solar farms to Bathurst's north and east have been vehemently opposed by nearby residents in recent years.
In the case of the proposed solar farm at Glanmire, Deputy Premier and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said last July that he "continued to share the community's concern in relation to the proposed solar farm project ... and its impact on prime agricultural land" and he would "continue to advocate on their behalf".
In Orange, meanwhile, a privately-funded solar farm is in the early stages of construction just off the Mitchell Highway, about 10 minutes outside the city.
Meanwhile, there is a wind farm development at Flyers Creek, south of Orange, and a wind farm development proposed for south of Oberon.
As such renewable energy projects become more common, Mr Kidd said residents need to be consulted on the potential impacts.
"They keep saying that there's going to be genuine engagement and consultation ... but sometimes I think it's more lip service.
"They don't really listen or actually give people the opportunity to have that input.
"I think it's really critical that that's part of the equation. It has to be ... because these are quick, dramatic changes."
Mr Kidd said safeguards to ensure renewable power costs remain low in all regional areas would be welcomed.
"It's important to make sure it's going to be affordable into the future and [show] how it's going to be maintained," he said.
He said ensuring solar and wind developments do not encroach on finite farming land is also important for the wellbeing of regional communities.
"Australia has got precious few good agricultural and horticultural soils. If we look at what's happened in Sydney near Windsor, that used to be the food bowl ... it's all housing now.
"I know people say 'well, you can farm under [solar panels and wind turbines]', but quite often you can't.
"If we're serious about this, why not look at land that doesn't have good production?"
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