Bright future for solar power in NSW
Revised guidelines to make the assessment of large-scale solar energy projects clearer have been released today by the NSW Government.
Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean said solar farms will play a critical role in the modern electricity system the NSW Government is building.
“NSW has some of the best renewable energy resources anywhere in the world,” Mr Kean said.
“Harnessing their power will help us deliver cleaner and cheaper electricity to households and businesses across the State, slashing energy bills and boosting industry.
“These guidelines will provide investors with the certainty they need to mobilise private capital and deliver the energy infrastructure of the 21st century.
Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes Anthony Roberts said the revised Large-Scale Solar Energy Guidelines would ensure solar farms are built in the right areas to benefit the community.
“There are 83 projects that have been approved or are in the planning pipeline, with a combined capacity to power 7 million homes,” Mr Roberts said.
“That’s on top of the 18 large-scale solar energy farms, worth more than $30 million, which are operational.
“As solar energy becomes more and more common, it’s becoming increasingly important that solar farms are well-designed and in appropriate locations.
“Our revised guidelines help deal with emerging concerns and issues, and assist applicants and the community to better understand the planning and engagement process - from choosing a site, to decommissioning a project and rehabilitating the land.”
The guidelines have been updated to include guidance on key issues, including visual impacts, the use of agricultural land and community benefit sharing. This follows changes to planning rules late last year, aimed at protecting the character and future growth potential of regional cities from renewable projects.