The Independent Planning Commission (IPC) of New South Wales has approved a 200 MW solar farm and associated 300 MW lithium-ion battery storage project.
The array will be constructed on a 149-hectare site about 16 km south of Bonshaw, near Inverell. It will feature a network of PV modules in single-axis tracking mounts, all connected to the existing 330 kV Transgrid Dumaresq substation.
The AUD 238 million (US$176.8 million) solar farm, which is being developed by GAIA Australia, will have the capacity to generate energy for an estimated 70,000 homes. Rated a “State Significant” development, the project was referred to the IPC for determination because “the applicant made a reportable political donations disclosure,” the commission said.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment finalised its whole-of-government assessment of the project in November and on Thursday IPC commissioner John Hann approved the development, subject to certain conditions. In the development consent, the IPC imposed a condition requiring GAIA to rehabilitate the site when operations cease.
“The commission agrees with the department’s assessment … and agrees that the project is in accordance with the (Environmental Planning and Assessment) Act and is in the public interest,” Hann wrote.
GAIA expects the project will to operations in mid-2022. It will deliver 200 MW of renewable energy to the National Electricity Market (NEM), or 420 GWh per annum.
“The project will support the Commonwealth and NSW governments in achieving their respective renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets,” GAIA said.
The approval of the Bonshaw project follows the recent approval of the 65 MW Tamworth Solar Farm and integrated 19 MW battery storage system.
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