The Victorian Government has developed the Solar Energy Facilities - Design and Development Guideline to support the siting, design and assessment of large-scale solar energy facilities in Victoria.
The guideline provides information and direction about the policy, legislative and statutory planning requirements related to the siting and design of solar energy facilities across Victoria.
The guideline ensures new solar energy facilities are built in the right locations, meaning they are easily accessible to the electricity transmission network; they avoid or minimise impacts on their local environments; and that issues such as impacts on productive agricultural areas and irrigated areas or impacts on sensitive uses within their proximity are considered.
Amendments to the Victoria Planning Provisions
Amendment VC161 amended the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes on 17 September 2019 to implement a range of reforms.
The Victorian Government is committed to supporting renewable energy development through the planning framework. Amendment VC161 implements this commitment by:
- Introducing the Solar Energy Facilities Design and Development Guideline as a decision guideline for planning permit applications for renewable energy facilities (other than wind energy facilities). The Guideline describes:
- The planning permit application and assessment process for solar energy facilities.
- The policy considerations and legislative requirements for the siting and design of solar energy facilities.
- A best-practice approach to the site selection, design, construction, operation and decommissioning of a solar energy facility.
- Specifying the Minister for Planning as the responsible authority for all renewable energy facilities and associated utility infrastructure above 1 megawatt generation capacity to reduce burden on councils and provide for consistent decision-making.
- Introducing a new state policy on irrigation districts and specifying the Secretary of the department administering the Water Act 1989 as a recommending referral authority for renewable energy facilities within irrigation districts, to ensure the siting and design of these facilities minimises its impact on the agricultural use and productivity of declared irrigation areas.
The process of identifying a suitable location, designing a facility to meet local circumstances and progressing a planning permit application will require a range of government departments and agencies to be involved at any given time.
The department invites proponents to discuss the selection of a site and the preparation of an application by calling 1800 789 386 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning permit conditions
Model planning permit conditions for solar energy facilities have been developed to assist all parties involved in permit applications. The model permit conditions should be used as a guide only and should be adapted depending on the individual circumstances of each proposal.
The Guideline has been prepared with the benefit of a range of submissions received on a draft version which was placed on public exhibition between October 2018 and March 2019. A total of 54 submissions were received from a variety of key stakeholders and informed the Guideline’s development.
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Page last updated: 17/09/19