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Springdale Solar Farm EIS submitted to NSW Government

The 120 megawatt (MW) Springdale Solar Farm near Sutton is a step closer to reality after developer Renew Estate submitted its environment impact statement (EIS) to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE).

The submission will be a sufficiency check and, if passed, Renew Estate will formally lodge the EIS.

DPE would then notify Renew Estate about the date for a 30-day public exhibition.

Rosie King, director of engagement at Renew Estate, said there were two key elements of the project that “no other large-scale solar developer has done in Australia before”.

The first is giving the local community the opportunity to invest in the solar farm and receive returns from the sale of renewable energy.

“This investment would provide long-term benefits to the local community. Renew Estate is exploring different models for the community to invest and will allow the community to provide input into the final model through a survey and consultation process,” she said.

The second element is a shared-revenue scheme for residents with dwellings within 1km of the project.

“Renew Estate is committed to sharing the benefits of our solar farm with the immediate neighbours and the wider community,” Ms King said.

A spokesperson for the Sutton Solar Action Group (SSAG), which has in the past expressed its concerns about the proposal, said they have sought details about a number of issues, including the expected construction traffic.

“One of the concerns continually raised with us by the Sutton community is the traffic that will be generated through the construction of the proposed Springdale solar farm,” the spokesperson said.

Yass Valley Council will also review the traffic-impact assessment as part of the EIS.

Director of planning Chris Berry said the developer has been advised about the council’s expectations.

“Key issues for major projects is consistent with that of other projects (e.g. wind farms): road impact, contributions to community enhancement for the community to share in the benefits, importance that residents’ concerns are fully assessed by the consent authority [DPE] and any forum is held locally to allow residents to present concerns to decision makers,” Mr Berry said.

The next community session will be held in tandem with the exhibition period.

“We are hoping it will take place in the next 4–6 weeks,” Ms King said.

The $150 million project is proposed to have a 30-year lifespan and would be on 350 hectares of land currently used for grazing.

Source: Yass Tribune

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