Renewable energy is energy that comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind and rain that are renewable (naturally replenished).
The NSW Government has introduced a tiered approvals regime for renewable energy systems, to ensure the level of assessment is appropriately tailored to the scale and type of the system. Renewable energy proposals are considered under different parts of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 as outlined below.
Large-scale renewable energy proposals
Under State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011, electricity generating works including renewable energy proposals such as wind or solar farms with a capital cost of more than $30 million (or $10 million in an environmentally sensitive area) are considered as State Significant Development under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
Small-scale renewable energy proposals
Under State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 (“Infrastructure SEPP”), there are a range of assessment pathways for small-scale renewable energy proposals, which are tailored to the size, location and level of environmental impact of the proposal.
Small-scale renewable energy systems covered by the Infrastructure SEPP include photovoltaic systems, solar hot water systems, solar air heating systems, small wind turbine systems and wind monitoring towers. Additional provisions may be included in the relevant local council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and/or Development Control Plan (DCP).
Contact us for further information.
- Major Project Register – assessment documentation for major projects approved or under assessment (eg search under 'wind' or 'solar')
- Renewable energy resources of NSW map – NSW Division of Resource and Geosciences
- National Wind Farm Commissioner – including large-scale solar and storage
- Energy NSW Hub
The NSW government supports the development of the hydrogen industry and recognises its potential as a clean, renewable and reliable source of green energy, alternate fuel and industrial feedstock.
In October 2021 the NSW Government released the NSW Hydrogen Strategy. The strategy aims to support investment and lower hydrogen production costs to enable a rapid expansion of a new hydrogen industry.
Adopting hydrogen technologies will help meet the NSW Government’s commitment for net zero emissions by 2050.
The Hydrogen Guideline (PDF, 727 KB) supports the implementation of the NSW Hydrogen Strategy. It provides industry, regulators and the community with information on how the planning system can facilitate the development of the hydrogen sector in NSW.
The transformation of the global energy sector is a huge opportunity for Australia. Renewables are now the cheapest form of new energy generation, and technology is becoming increasingly available to support large-scale energy storage.
The NSW Government supports the development of a sustainable solar energy industry in the state. Solar energy will help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, cut air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and give the people of NSW a reliable and affordable energy supply.
Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline
The Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline gives the community, industry and regulators certainty about the planning framework for the assessment and approval of such projects.
The guideline gives advice on a range of assessment matters including the visual impacts of projects and agricultural land use. It ensures the assessment of projects continues to be transparent, consistent and supported by the best available information.
We revised the guideline in 2022 based on extensive consultation. To find out more or to read the submissions, please visit our NSW Planning Portal.
The technical supplement offers guidance and tools for assessing, evaluating and mitigating the landscape and visual impacts of projects.
Our framework makes assessments and decision-making for wind energy projects clear, consistent and transparent.