Elgin gets go-ahead for Glanmire solar and storage project


British renewables developer Elgin Energy is proposing to build the 60 MW Glanmire Solar Farm and associated 60 MW / 120 MWh battery on agricultural land about 10 kilometres east of Bathurst. The project would connect to the grid via a nearby existing transmission line operated by Essential Energy.

The New South Wales (NSW) Department of Planning, Industry and Environment finalised its assessment of the project in November last year but the project was referred to the Independent Planning Commission because it received at least 50 submissions objecting to the proposal when it was placed on public exhibition.

The Commission has now granted development consent for the $152 million (USD 99.8 million) solar and energy storage project, subject to strict conditions imposed to mitigate a number of the issues raised the community.

These include revising the design of the solar installation to increase minimum setbacks to 30 metres from the western and eastern boundaries of the site and update its landscaping plan to help shield the project – which is to comprise approximately 128,000 solar panels – from sight.

Elgin must also maintain the site’s agricultural land capability to maximise current and future opportunities for dual land use, including grazing and cropping.

The Commission said Elgin must also “engage appropriately with the local council and community during construction and operation and completely rehabilitate the site at the end of the project.”

Elgin has already entered into a voluntary agreement with the Bathurst Regional Council to make an $18,000 annual contribution for the life of the project to help fund community enhancement projects.

While imposing new conditions, the Commission highlighted that the proposed site is “suitable for renewable energy development, given its topography, solar resources, avoidance of major environmental constraints, access to the regional road network, and its proximity to existing and planned electricity transmission networks.”

In its ruling, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said the project would assist in transitioning the electricity sector from coal and gas-fired power stations to low emissions sources.

Once operational, the project is expected to generate more than 132,400 MWh of clean electricity annually, enough to power approximately 23,000 homes.

The project is expected to generate up to 150 jobs during the construction phase.

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