A CHANGE in the proposed Hills of Gold Wind Farm Project near Tamworth has attracted criticism from a local activist group.
The Hills of Gold Preservation Society is still against the proposed farm, which was slated to have more than 90 turbines near Nundle.
However, a change in the Wind Energy Partners' project outline has indicated the farm would potentially only host 78 turbines.
Wind Energy Partners managing director Jamie Chivers said the decrease in turbines was done after consultation with residents and would reduce potential impacts to flora and fauna.
"The updated layout has been the result of site visits by a number of technical specialists, including wind turbine companies, wind engineers, biodiversity specialists, heritage consultants amongst others," Mr Chivers said.
"The results of these site visits informed design of the proposed layout.
"We look forward to learning more from the community and discussing the updated layout with neighbours for further input."
However, the decrease in turbines has not swayed Hills of Gold Preservation Society president John Krsulja, who said "one turbine on the Hills of Gold was too many".
"That's the way a good majority of the community feels," Mr Krsulja told the Leader.
"You can actually see the development corridor now from the road as you come into Nundle, because the area that has been cleared is all green.
"It's on a slope similar to what you would see on a sky slope and it makes me just wonder how they intend to build a wind farm there.
"The other thing this makes me question is whether an engineer has even set foot on the proposed area yet."
As well as a decrease in turbines, Wind Energy Partners has also announced a new neighbour benefit sharing program, which would offer surrounding residents annual financial benefits from the farm.
The company predicts the program could provide annual payments ranging from $1,500 to $6,000, with individual agreements for residences, where required.
Although all neighbours within 5km of the project are eligible for the voluntary program, neighbours can elect not to be involved.
Landholders who will have turbines constructed on their property are not eligible.
"It has been proven to be inadequate compensation for the loss that the surrounding landholders, who either are not part of the project or don't wish to be part of the project, will suffer over the life of the project," Mr Krsulja said.
"We are talking of payments of $1,500 to $6,000 annually, where some of these properties are valued in the millions and tens of millions.
"The losses for people looking to develop their properties is huge, because not everyone wants to live underneath, or surrounded by wind turbines.
"We're not saying we are against renewable energy, we are saying we are against this particular proposed wind farm project."
More information regarding the project is expected to be released in August, while the project's development application is expected to be submitted in November.