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Introduction of Solar Energy Facility guidelines

Edward Mahony

Amendment VC161 was gazetted on 17 September 2019 to the Planning Schemes which introduces new requirements for renewable energy facilities and amends the responsible authority for solar energy facilities with an installed capacity of one megawatt or greater from municipal Councils to the Minister.

The Amendment also introduces the Solar Energy Facilities Design and Development Guidelines (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, August 2019) (the Guideline) as a reference document to provide guidance on application requirements and assessment process, best practice site selection, design, construction, operation and decommissioning of solar energy facilities.

A new state policy on irrigation districts has been introduced and the Secretary of the Department administering the Water Act 1989 is now identified as a recommending referral authority for applications for renewable energy facilities within irrigation districts declared under Part 6A of the Water Act 1989.

The Minister states that the amendment is expected ‘to reduce burden on Councils and provide for consistent decision-making [and] to generate positive economic benefits by ensuring energy supply remains affordable, as more consumers and communities gain greater control over the energy they use, generate and store.

Edward Mahony

Senior Associate
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