Solar farms approved

May 31, 2018

The Currawarra and Tarleigh Park Solar Farm developments have been given planning consent by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

The Currawarra and Tarleigh Park Solar Farm developments have been given planning consent by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

Both projects include battery storage as part of the consent.

The consent documents, which signal the start of the real work by RES Australia, were signed last Friday after an approvals process which started nearly a year ago.

It included a month-long public exhibition period from November during which a total of 35 objections were received — 20 for Tarleigh Park and 15 for Currawarra.

Most of the objections highlighted issues around using prime irrigated land, instead of dryland, for the solar farms.

No submissions supporting the project were recorded by the Department of Planning and Environment.

One of the initial objectors to the proposals announced in April last year was Deniliquin’s Chris Doherty, whose property ‘Bindi’ neighbours one of the sites.

Mr Doherty said he has now ‘‘come to terms’’ with the developments, praising RES Australia’s willingness to listen to concerns and offer solutions as necessary.

‘‘Our family is pro renewable energy if it’s in the right place, and RES have been very good at communicating with us,’’ Mr Doherty said.

‘‘In terms of tree lines and other things impacting us as the neighbour, they have done what they can to make life as easy as possible.

‘‘We’re now more confident they are going to do a good job.

‘‘For a company of that size to work with the small blokes, it means they are a company that really does care.’’

RES Australia chief executive officer Matt Rebbeck reaffirmed the company would continue to work with the community in the development phase of the projects.

‘‘Receiving planning consent for these solar farms represents another significant achievement for RES’s solar development activities in Australia,’’ he said.

‘‘We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with the local community and moving the projects into the next phase.’’

Mr Rebbeck said RES is committed to supporting the host communities where the projects are located and has offered to establish a community benefit fund.

The fund will be managed locally and used to support local projects, community groups and organisations over the project lifetime.

Currawarra Solar Farm is located 25km north east of Deniliquin at Mayrung.

When fully constructed the solar farm will generate up to 195MW, and construction is expected to take 18 months.

With 670,000 solar panels, the solar farm will produce enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of about 79,000 NSW homes.

Tarleigh Park Solar Farm is located 23km south east of Deniliquin at Blighty and will generate up to 90MW.

It is expected that construction will take 12 months.

Its 290,000 solar panels will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of about 37,000 households.

The projects are named after the privately owned properties where they are to be built, both of which are owned by Macdonald Agriculture.

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