Victoria has new planning guidelines in place for large scale solar development.
Victorian Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, introduced an amendment to all Victorian planning schemes, implementing the Solar Energy Facilities – Design and Development Guideline.
The Guidelines ensure new solar energy facilities, producing one megawatt or more, are built in appropriate locations which:
- Are easily accessible to the electricity transmission network
- Avoid or minimise impacts on their local environments
- Consider impacts on productive agricultural areas, irrigated areas and areas of environmental importance.
It also includes a range of best-practice approaches to help developers engage with communities and ensure the least possible environmental and social impacts of their proposals.
The Guidelines were shaped by a nine-month development process including extensive consultation with communities, councils and industry and a review of best-practice standards interstate and internationally.
In addition to implementing the Guidelines, the amendment also brings permit assessment for solar facilities in line with large scale wind farms, where the Minister for Planning is the responsible authority.
This consolidated approach will reduce the administrative burden on councils and provide consistent decision making across the state.
Mr Wynne said “We’ve listened to the community and included a best practice approach to consultation, ensuring people can have their say from an early stage, well before a planning permit is lodged.
“The Guidelines brings a consistent approach to assessing the appropriateness of solar developments, giving the renewable energy industry more confidence to invest.”
Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “Victoria is the renewable energy capital of Australia and these guidelines will strengthen market certainty – boost jobs, reduce emissions and drive down energy prices.”