New Zealand to fast-track approval process for solar projects


From pv magazine Australia

UK renewables developer Island Green Power, under the Rangiriri Solar Farm Project and Waerenga Solar Farm Project names, has announced plans to develop two new solar projects on the North Island of New Zealand.

The proposed 180 MWp Waerenga Solar Farm and 130 MWp Rangiriri Solar Farm are expected to respectively generate about 220 GWh and 300 GWh of clean electricity per year. State-owned utility Transpower, the owner and operator of the national grid, has been named joint applicant, as it handles the associated infrastructure.

The projects have been referred to an independent fast-track consenting panel, which provides for an accelerated consenting process for projects with the potential to boost economic activity and contribute to New Zealand’s efforts to speed up the rollout of renewables as it strives to reach net zero by 2050.

Environment Minister David Parker said the Fast-track Consenting Act, introduced to accelerate infrastructure development, lets ministers send projects straight to the independent panel, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

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Parker said the process allows for the panel to consider the consent, a reduced number of parties that can make submissions and a shorter consenting process with the fast-track process reducing consenting time by “an average of 15 months per project saving infrastructure builders time and money.”

“These projects are examples of the type of renewable energy development needed to meet our environmental goals, and increasing generation and supply improves our national energy resilience,” he said. “The permanent fast-track consenting process is a crucial part of our plan to reduce emissions and improve our economic security by increasing domestically generated renewable energy.”

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