Three new solar farms are to be built in the Shepparton region following the Victorian Government’s approval.
Victorian Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, approved permits for the Tatura East, Tallygaroopna and Lemnos solar farms, subject to conditions.
Combined, the three farms will consist of more than 650,000 solar panels and generate 175MW of renewable energy into the power grid.
The approvals come after a thorough and independent planning panel process that included community consultation.
The Minister deferred his decisions for the three solar farms until further strategic work was undertaken on the future use and management of irrigation infrastructure in the GMID and consultation was completed on the now released Solar Guidelines.
In July 2019, the Victorian Government released new planning guidelines for large-scale solar farms to help ensure Victoria’s transition to a clean energy future is planned properly.
The guidelines will provide more confidence to the solar sector and encourage greater investment, as part of Victoria’s renewable energy boom and give certainty for councils and developers as to what’s required to achieve acceptable outcomes for land, communities and the environment.
As the guidelines are yet to be incorporated into the planning scheme, the permits were required to be assessed against the current planning framework.
The new changes will promote investment in the right places while preventing inappropriate development not aligned with water corporation assets and future plans.
There are now measures in place to ensure irrigation infrastructure priorities are a key factor in application assessments in future.
Minister Wynne said that the permits were approved after a thorough review by independent experts and consultation with the community.
“We’ve done the work to address local concerns and made sure all potential impacts on irrigation farmland and the district more broadly were considered in the decision.”
Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “This is yet another example of how Victoria is leading the nation in transitioning towards a clean energy future while delivering jobs and investment in regional Victoria.”