The $164 million solar farm proposal near the Bomen Business Park has been approved by the NSW Government.
The decision was made on October 8 and released today by the Department of Planning and Environment – six months after proponent Renew Estate submitted the application.
The project is a 120 megawatt site that is set to support more than 200 construction jobs in the coming year.
When built, the project would provide enough renewable energy to power about 37,000 homes, saving up to 210,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Construction is expected to start shortly and scheduled for operation by the fourth quarter in 2019.
Project coordinator Chris Fitzpatrick said the approval “would go a long way to enhancing the Bomen precinct by providing green energy at the doorstep”.
“It’s a big news day for the city,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
“It’s a $164 million project and they’re few and far especially when it’s private funding.
“It’d be great to see up to 200 contractors next year, to see workers come in to town and contribute to the local economy.”
Asked about the major concern during the assessment, Mr Fitzpatrick said the process for large state-significant projects were “always complicated”.
“Everyone’s views needed to be taken onboard – the prime issue was the land use,” he said.
“It’s zoned for industrial use and it lends itself for that.
“On that basis, considering it is an acceptable use of that land with proper consent, I was confident it’d be approved.”
There were nine objections to the proposal from local community members who raised concerns about visual impacts and land-use compatibility.
In its approval, the DPE cited its reason was based on the following:
- Provision of a range of benefits for the region and state.
- Majority of the project is permissible with development consent under legislation and state government policies.
- Impact on the community and environment is minimal or offset.
- Concerns raised by the community were addressed.
- Project is in the public interest after weighing all relevant considerations.
The Department also considered a 2016 decision by the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel, which granted development consent for a 22 MW solar project over a portion of the Bomen Solar Project site.
In approving that project, the JRPP stated it was a suitable land use given the industrial zoning of the land and that it would have minimal environmental impacts.
Renew Estate director Simon Currie said that “all elements needed for development such as connection, procurement, off take and financing are well advanced”.
“We believe that the Bomen Solar Farm project will play an important role in the development and expansion of the Bomen Business Park,” Mr Currie said.
“The recent announcement about the partnership between the Wagga Wagga City Council and Visy to build the Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub is very exciting and we are committed to the continuing expansion of Bomen as an industrial hub for NSW.”
The DPE’s resource assessment director Clay Preshaw said the project would “support hundreds of construction jobs, many that will be sourced locally over the construction period”
“This is a terrific boost for the local area,” Mr Preshaw said.
“These construction workers will be spending their money locally and this is great news for business operators impacted by the drought.”
Mr Preshaw said this new solar project would increase electricity capacity, cut greenhouse emissions and create jobs for local communities.
“We’re seeing billions of dollars of private investment in renewable energy projects right across NSW and millions are now pouring into the Wagga Wagga area,” he said.
Notice of decision: NSW Government
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