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$120-million Southern Tablelands solar farm receives IPC nod

Posted: 19.02.2021

The state’s Independent Planning Commission has today conditionally approved a new multimillion-dollar solar farm near the NSW-ACT border.

The $120-million Springdale Solar Farm Project, 7km northwest of Sutton village, would contribute 100 megawatts of energy to the National Electricity Market – that’s enough electricity to power 37,000 homes. 

The Department of Planning, Industry & Environment finalised its whole-of-government assessment of the Project in November last year. The state significant development application came to the Commission for determination because more than 50 ‘unique’ public objections were received.

Commissioners Zada Lipman (Panel Chair) and Andrew Hutton were appointed to determine the application. They met with the Applicant, Department and Yass Valley Shire Council and inspected the site and surrounding areas. 

A Public Meeting was held electronically late last month to hear to the community’s concerns which focused on  land use compatibility;  visual impacts; biodiversity; traffic impacts; land values; economic impacts; and renewable energy. 

After carefully considering all the evidence, the Commission has today (19 February 2021) determined to approve the Springdale Solar Farm Project, subject to strict conditions. 

Conditions include setback and vegetation screening requirements to minimise visual impacts on nearby residents; the establishment and management of a 60-hectare Golden Sun Moth conservation area; and measures to protect the habitat of the Superb Parrot and the Legless Lizard. 

“The Commission finds that on balance… the impacts are acceptable and capable of being appropriately mitigated through the measures required under the conditions of consent imposed by the Commission,” its Statement of Reasons for Decisions reads. “The Commission is of the view that the Project is in the public interest.”

It added, “[T]he Commission has determined that the Application should be granted consent subject to conditions which have been designed to:  

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