New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced the third wave of projects to have their assessments fast-tracked as part of the state’s Planning System Acceleration Program, an effort to boost the economy and in response to the impacts of Covid-19. Among the projects is the 72MW (DC)/ 60MW (AC) Yanco Solar Farm.
The $99.3 million project, located in Yanco on the outskirts of Leeton in the NSW Riverina region, is already classified as a State Significant Development (SSD) and requires no further assessments after the exhibition and amendment of its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Response to Submissions Report (RTS).
Fast-tracking, explained NSW Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes, basically means that “shovel-ready projects can get underway and the construction pipeline can continue to grow.”
So now, Yanco Solar Farm’s developer, German large-scale solar outfit, ib vogt GmbH, can begin to dig in its single-axis tracker solar panels and the 57 MW of accompanying battery storage. The nearby Yanco TransGrid Substation provides easy access to the grid.
Interestingly, ib vogt GmbH has cited recent developments in PV technology for its decision to use PV modules of a higher watt rating than first proposed. While the project’s capacity will remain the same, this means the the quantity of solar panels required for the install has been reduced from 20,500 to 17,000, a reduction of approximately 17%.
“By fast-tracking assessments,” said Berejiklian, “we will keep people in jobs and keep the construction industry moving as we ride out the Covid-19 pandemic and set out sights on economic recovery.”
Yanco Solar Farm is the only solar project to be fast-tracked among the first three tranches released by the NSW Government. However, other renewable energy and grid infrastructure projects have been included such as Snowy 2.0 Main Works and TransGrid’s “Powering Sydney’s Future”.
The Planning System Acceleration Program’s fast-tracking of a project does not necessarily mean the project is guaranteed a green light, but it is certainly a good sign for the ib vogt GmbH as the German outfit is keen to get cracking on the construction phase expected to take 10 months.