Australia's Victoria presents planning guidelines for MW-scale solar
The Gannawarra solar park. Photo by: Wirsol Energy (www.wirsol.com.au).
The Australian state of Victoria this week launched new guidelines outlining the policy, legislative and statutory planning requirements for solar projects bigger than 1 MW.
With this move, the state government wants to make sure that solar photovoltaic (PV) parks “are built in the right locations”. This means they have to be easily accessible to the electricity transmission network, and have zero or limited impact on the local environment, productive agricultural land and irrigated areas. The planning guidelines also contain best-practice approaches to help developers engage with communities and ensure the least possible social impacts of their proposals.
The permit assessment process for large solar parks will now be similar to that for large-scale wind. The Minister for Planning will be the responsible authority.
“The [Solar Energy Facilities - Design and Development Guideline] brings a consistent approach to assessing the appropriateness of solar developments, giving the renewable energy industry more confidence to invest,” said Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning.