Plans of one of the world’s largest wind turbine makers to build an 11MW solar PV farm next to the Gullen Range wind farm in the NSW Southern Tablelands have won planning approval.
Chinese giant Goldwind, which co-owns the 165MW Gullen Range wind farm with fellow Chinese company JingNeng, announced plans in February to construct a 10-12MW solar plant on the wind farm site 12km south of Crookwell, subject to the federal government’s final decision on Australia’s renewable energy target.
“We see it as a good opportunity to produce more clean energy and capitalise on the infrastructure that’s there. It will use the same grid connection,” Goldwind senior manager of projects, John Gardner, said at the time.
And Goldwind is not alone in that view. As we have noted here before, numerous developers in Australia are either adding solar to existing wind projects or seriously considering it. CWP is looking to combine wind and solar in a major project near Glen Innes in northern NSW, and the biggest hybrid plant of all – the 1,200MW Kennedy wind and solar project has been proposed for north Queensland.
And a report from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency in March estimated that a total of at least 1GW of large-scale solar could be added to existing Australian wind farms, boosting renewable energy development, generation, and and smoothing its delivery to the grid.
The Goulburn Post reported on Friday that Goldwind’s proposal for 11MW – to be built on land the company already owns on Storriers Lane, 17km from the town and adjacent to the wind farm – had won approval from the southern Regional Planning Panel.
According to the report, the project will include 40,000 ground-mounted solar PV panels covering an area of 25 to 30 hectares.
The approval comes second time lucky for Goldwind, after the panel deferred its decision in April pending more information, including the plant’s exact size, location and layout; details of the vegetation and biodiversity loss; and revised visual analysis and noise report.
Approval also comes subject to conditions, including limits on hours of construction, vehicle movements and planting a tree screen to soften the visual impact on neighbouring properties. The panel also added a condition requiring the operator to keep a complaints register.
As the Goulburn Post reports, three local residents had spoken out against the development at the time of the April deferment. But in a submission to Thursday’s hearing, Upper Lachlan Shire Council agreed to conditional approval.
Chair of the Southern Regional Planning Panel, Allen Grimwood, said the decision was made after hearing community and stakeholder submissions.
“The development will contribute to sustainable energy production, and to the local economy through employment generated through construction and operation. Subject to the conditions we’ve imposed, the panel is satisfied that the impacts of the development will be effectively managed and mitigated,” he said.
Goldwind’s Gardner has said the project will create about 100 jobs and employ local subcontractors during construction.