The fate of an ACT solar farm that was rejected by the local community at its original development site now looks to be secure, after the 11.8MW project was granted planning approval for its new location in Williamsdale.
The OneSun Capital solar project, owned by Elementus Energy, was moved some 60-odd kilometres to a new site on the ACT-NSW border, after plans to build it opposite the rural village of Uriarra met fierce local opposition.
As we reported in August 2014, the ACT government was “swamped” by objections to the Uriarra proposal, mostly from locals who argued the project would damage the character and appeal of the adjacent village, block views, and depress house prices.
The decision to relocate the solar farm to Williamsdale was agreed to by Elementus last March after 18 months of community backlash at Uriarra, and the project was granted approval by ACT planning minister Mick Gentleman on Friday.
“Naturally we are very pleased with this outcome, and delighted that the Minister has personally recognised how significant this project is for the Canberra region”, said Elementus managing director Ashleigh Antflick.
The company said in a statement that the current iteration of the proposed solar farm had undergone a rigorous assessment process, including multiple rounds of community engagement, led by both Elementus and the ACT government.
“The proposal initially required a s.211 determination in relation to environmental impact, and that process also required community consultation,” said Antflick.
“We took on board feedback during this phase of the approval process, and amended our plans to address the concerns raised before lodging our Development Approval application for assessment and public notification.”
“During the DA assessment process we received further feedback from community and agency stakeholders, which has been incorporated into the approved project”, he said.
“We consider this to be a positive outcome for the territory, for renewable energy in the region, and all stakeholders in the project.
‘We are now on well defined pathway, and with the continued input of critical stakeholders such as ActewAGL, we will deliver the project before the end of this year.
“When the solar farm is switched on later in the year, there will be a significant number of people who will be justifiably proud of their combined efforts”, Antflick said.
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