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IPC greenlights more than $1 billion worth of renewables projects in 12 months

Posted: 03.12.2020

The state’s Independent Planning Commission has today conditionally approved a new solar farm for the NSW Riverina Region.

The $168-million Jindera Solar Farm Project, 4km north of Jindera, would contribute 120 megawatts of energy to the National Electricity Market. It will include a battery facility with a capacity of 30MW / 60MWh which will enable the Project to store solar energy for dispatch to the grid outside daylight hours or during times of peak demand.

It takes to $1.573 billion the capital investment value of large-scale renewable energy projects greenlighted by the Commission in 2020, including:

Meanwhile, the $120-million Springdale Solar Farm Project – 7km northwest of Sutton in the Southern Tablelands – is currently before the Commission for determination. It will be the subject of an electronic Public Meeting next month.

The Department of Planning, Industry & Environment finalised its whole-of-government assessment of the Jindera Solar Farm Project in October this year.

The state significant development application came to the Commission for determination because more than 50 ‘unique’ public objections were received.

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

An electronic Public Meeting was held late last month to listen to the community’s views, which centered around compatibility of land use; agricultural impacts; amenity; Aboriginal heritage; economic impacts and employment; heavy vehicle movements during construction; and decommissioning and rehabilitation.

After carefully considering all the evidence, the Commission has today (Tuesday 22 December 2020) determined to approve the Jindera Solar Farm Project, subject to conditions. 

In its Statement of Reasons for Decision, the Commission noted that “the Applicant has made amendments to the Application to reduce and mitigate impacts… in response to concerns raised by the community and Council.”

“The Commission agrees with the Department’s Assessment... and is of the view that the Project is in accordance with the [Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979] and is in the public interest,” it added.

It’s expected the Project will generate up to 200 construction and five ongoing operational jobs, as well as other direct and indirect benefits to the local community.

The 60 conditions imposed by the Commission are designed to:

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