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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is calling for community feedback on proposed changes to its guidance on developing large scale solar projects in NSW.

 

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Executive Director of State Policies and Strategic Advice, Felicity Greenway said the State had a sunny future when it came to renewables and it’s important to make sure they’re done well.

 

“There are 14 operational large-scale solar farms in NSW worth more than $30 million, with a further 95 projects at various stages in the planning process,” Ms Greenway said.

 

“With so many in the pipeline, it’s imperative we make sure they’re in the right areas and benefit the community, so we’re updating our large-scale solar energy guidelines to provide clear consistent rules and requirements for these projects.”

 

Updates to the guidelines include providing more guidance on key issues, such as visual impacts and agricultural land.

 

Changes have also been made to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) to protect local character and support the growth of regional cities.

 

“Renewable energy projects are a vital part of our State’s transition to net zero emissions, but with the increasing number of applications cropping up close to existing regional cities, we need to make sure they’re built in the right places,” Ms Greenway said.

 

“We want to safeguard the success of our regional cities by making sure they have room to grow while we support the State’s future energy needs.

 

“That’s why we’ve updated our planning policy that covers infrastructure projects to ensure that solar and wind projects can only be approved if they would not have significant impacts on the future use of land, views, and scenic quality of regional cities.”

 

These changes have been made following community consultation earlier this year, with 96 per cent of submissions either providing feedback or supporting the changes.

 

The updated guideline is now on public exhibition for community and stakeholder feedback until 25 February 2022. To read the guideline and have your say, visit planningportal.nsw.gov.au/solar-guidelines

 

For more information on changes to the ISEPP, visit planningportal.nsw.gov.au/ISEPP-renewable-energy