Major new solar farm approved for regional Victoria

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The Victorian Government has released draft planning guidelines for a major new solar farm north of Shepparton, and for the development of large solar farm projects across the state.

Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, announced the approval of the Congupna solar farm proposal, which will produce 30MW of clean energy and create around 110 jobs, enough to power 10,000 homes.

The project will be built on non-irrigated agricultural land and drive around $38 million in capital expenditure.

A decision on the Tallygaroopna, Lemnos and Tatura East solar farm applications has been deferred until further strategic work is completed for the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.

Mr Wynne also released the draft Solar Energy Facilities – Design and Development Guidelines for comment.

The draft guidelines will help inform councils, developers and communities on planning requirements for the large solar farm facilities to ensure they are built in the right locations, are easily accessible to the grid and that proposals give careful consideration to high productivity agricultural areas and sensitive landscapes.

The document was informed by a review of guidelines and best practice standards interstate and internationally.

It also includes a Best Practice Guide for Proponents to help developers engage with communities, and minimise the environmental and social impacts of their proposals.

Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “These new guidelines will provide more certainty to the community, and more confidence to invest in major solar farms like the one at Congupna.”

The Victorian Government is also investing more than $1.3 billion to put solar panels, hot water and batteries on $720,000 homes across the state – driving down energy prices for Victorian households.

The Solar Energy Facilities – Design and Development Guidelines are open for public comment until 30 January 2019 at www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/solar-energy-facilities-design-and-development-draft-guidelines.

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