The controversial Nundle wind project has been delayed again, after proponent Engie put off a formal response to widespread opposition to the scheme to "late 2021".
The company was due to respond by Friday, 268 days after public submissions into the Hills of Gold wind farm were published in February.
The planning holdup is set to delay construction of the major wind project for months, the company conceded.
Opponent and Nundle business owner Megan Trousdale has lost count of the number of times the company has asked for and received a delay by the Department of Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE).
It was initially expected to release the document in April.
"I've stopped expecting now, we'll see it when we see it," she said.
"What is concerning is that they're putting the cart before the horse. and they're organising seven days of information hubs. ... and yet the community don't have the actual response to submissions to read and analyse the detail and then form questions."
In the meantime, the Nundle community is left without certainty about its future and the company is organising a "public relations offensive," she said.
"We want to read the detail so that the community has some idea of what shape this proposal is taking and what are the environmental impacts and when we don't have that detail we just have uncertainty," she said.
She said the repeated delays showed the project had "numerous unresolved issues".
ENGIE General Manager of Asset Development Andrew Kerley said the company remains committed to the project.
"While we are eager to see the project proceed as quickly as possible, with more than 600 submissions received during the public exhibition period earlier this year, a considerable amount of further studies and engagement have been required," he said.
"While we are nearing the final stages of this work, some aspects are still being addressed, delaying our lodgement of the response to submissions, now likely toward the end of 2021.
"This length of time is not unusual for a project of this significance, with the Response to Submissions period taking anywhere between six months and three years on other projects in NSW."
Mr Kerley conceded that the planning holdup would delay construction, which was due to start in the first quarter of 2022, to "the second half of 2022".
In a letter sent after the release of public submissions into the project, DPIE requested the company response "as soon as is reasonably practical".
Asked why the company had been permitted to repeatedly delay the response, a spokesperson from DPIE said there is no statutory requirement for an applicant to submit the response within a certain timeframe.
"The applicant has asked for more time to address the matters raised in more than 600 submissions. This is not uncommon for an application of this scale and nature," they said.
Some 67 per cent of submissions about the project opposed it.
Just 36 per cent backed the idea.
French multinational ENGIE, which announced they had purchased the project in early November last year, plans to build as many as 70 turbines on the Hills of Gold about 5km south of Hanging Rock, near Nundle.
If approved and built the project would produce as much as 420 megawatts of battery-firmed clean power, enough electricity to juice 185,000 homes.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
- Bookmark northerndailyleader.com.au
- Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
- Follow us on Twitter
- Follow us on Instagram
- Follow us on Google News