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Approval has been given for Australia's biggest wind farm to be built near Broken Hill in New South Wales. Almost 600 turbines will generate enough electricity for more than 400,000 homes.

A forest of giant turbines will emerge from the red dust of the Australian outback near the isolated town famous for its lead and zinc mining. The scheme, one of the world's largest onshore wind farms, will eventually cover more than 32,000 hectares.

Planning permission has been granted for the first phase of development.Donna Bolton, the project manager for the Silverton Wind Farm, says it will make a significant contribution to the energy requirements of Australia's most populous state. "It is a monster wind farm. It is fabulous in scale," she said. "The entire thing will provide enough electricity for 4.5% of New South Wales' electrical needs and it is about 430,000 homes for the entire project.

"Wind power for Australia is fantastic because it is going to be out of the cities, it is going to be where the jobs are needed, it is good for the environment, it is good for the local economies. It is a really significant part of the answer," she said.

Wind farms can be costly to maintain and the noise they generate can upset local residents. The New South Wales government, though, has big plans for this type of green power. Officials have said that a series of wind projects across the state would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by six million tonnes every year.

Australia is one of the world's worst per capita polluters thanks to a reliance on cheap supplies of coal. The federal government intends to ease the country's dependence on fossil fuels. It wants 20% of Australia's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.

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