Minister moves to approve ACT solar
Controversial ‘call-in powers’ have been used to approve the development of a solar farm in the ACT.
The renewable energy project had been planned for Uriarra Village but opposition from residents buried that idea.
Now, ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman has approved a solar farm at Williamsdale, south of Royalla, by using his call-in powers.
The powers let the Minister “call in” major projects, granting them approval without the normal planning process.
“I made the decision to call in this development application due to my view that this solar farm will provide a substantial public benefit to the Canberra community by producing renewable electricity to power Canberra homes,” Mr Gentleman told reporters after the decision.
The 29 hectare solar farm is set to power 2500 homes once completed.
The approval has a few conditions attached, including a requirement for developer Elementus Energy remove its application to build at Uriarra.
“I've had some concerns about the previous proposal,” he said.
“So part of the conditions for this approval is that the solar farm proposed for the Uriarra site must be removed.”
But Williamsdale residents had previously expressed concern that the new farm would be too close to another at Royalla, and that it was moving ahead without consultation.
The minister’s approval has a condition that measures must be taken to address concerns of Williamsdale residents, including glare, management of native trees, and bushfire safety.
Mr Gentleman said the Government would be getting in touch with Williamsdale residents
“We'll be writing to residents and stakeholders to advise them of the approval process,” he said.
“I certainly think it's a better outcome for Uriarra residents, they'll be pleased to hear the news today I would imagine.”