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Council has say on solar

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January 07, 2018

The proposed solar farms will use single-axis tracking to maximise energy output.

Any plans to establish solar farms in the Edward River Council region must have limited community impact, according to Mayor Norm Brennan.

Cr Brennan said that is why council has developed a list of development conditions for RES Australia, has proposed two solar farms in the local area — one at the property ‘Tarleigh Park’ at Blighty and the other at ‘Currawarra’ near Deniliquin.

Cr Brennan said as the projects are considered to be of state significance due to their value, all decisions will be subject to NSW Government approval.

He said while council does not have the authority to approve or deny the developments, having input into the process was important.

‘‘We’re trying to look after our community by sending a submission,’’ Cr Brennan said.

‘‘We need to ensure the use of our roads into and out of the properties does not have any impact on the road infrastructure and we want to make sure the hours of operation do not impact on our residents.

‘‘Concerns have also been raised about what will happen with the properties at the end solar farms’ life.

‘‘We want to make sure council is not left with a stranded asset, so we have requested that a clause be included that specifies the land must be returned to its previous state if the company withdraws from the properties.

‘‘The solar farms are being proposed for freehold land so it’s up to the individual what happens on it, but we need to ensure council assets are protected both in the construction and operation phases.’’

Private concerns have also been expressed about using prime irrigated land for the solar farms, instead of dryland.

The Tarleigh Park Solar Farm proposal could power 33,700 homes with capacity for 90 megawatts of renewable energy.

The Currawarra Solar Farm could provide energy for 73,000 households with a larger 195 megawatts of capacity.

Both projects include energy storage facilities consisting of lithium-ion batteries. These are the first major battery storages proposed for a solar farm in the state.

Renewable energy company RES Australia first proposed the solar farm developments in April last year.

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

Environmental impact statements for both projects have been completed and can be viewed at www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au.

Community submissions on the projects closed on December 21 and are being reviewed by the NSW Department of Planning & Environment.

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