6 October 2023

Residents invited to have their say on proposed Gunning solar farm

| Sally Hopman
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Gunning sign

The sign welcoming visitors to Gunning in the NSW Southern Tablelands, the small rural village near the proposed site for a new solar energy farm. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Residents of the Upper Lachlan Shire are invited to have their say on the proposed 250-megawatt solar farm and 150-megawatt battery storage system for the rural hamlet of Lade Vale, near Gunning in the NSW Southern Tablelands.

Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar, is behind the project known as the Gunning Solar Farm.

The proposed solar farm site is about 12 km southwest of Gunning. It consists of a large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) generation facility, including battery storage and associated infrastructure.

In a flyer sent to local residents, and to Region, the company said site selection was based on its access to the grid, suitability of terrain, land use, site access, environmental constraints, state and local planning policies, and solar resources.

It described the Gunning facility as playing “an important role in providing stability to the network and reducing the market reliance on fossil fuel generation.

“The proposed project capacity is approximately 250 megawatts, which would generate enough energy for over 76,000 homes.” (This figure is based on an average NSW household electricity consumption of 7.3 megawatts annually.)

“Gunning Solar Farm will create economic benefits to the local region through employment opportunities and promote regional development due to the use of local businesses. It is anticipated the project will complete construction and begin generating energy in late 2026.”

Two community drop-in sessions about the project have been organised for the Gunning Court House, from 5 pm on Thursday 12 October and from 11:30 am on Friday 13 October.

The spokesperson said the sessions were designed for local residents to meet the project’s planning and development team to learn more about the proposal.

READ ALSO Wallaroo solar farm casts shadow on border residents and planning

The sessions have also been designed to coincide with the release of the project’s environmental impact statement (EIS) which will assess the significance of the potential economic, environmental and social impacts associated with the construction and operation of the project.

It is scheduled to go on public exhibition this month on the Department of Planning and the Environment’s website for the community to read and make submissions and has been updated to include early community feedback.

Other issues to be discussed at the drop-in sessions include:

  • Project layout and access route
  • Proposed landscaping
  • Proposed road upgrades – Hume Highway off-ramp and Lade Vale Road
  • EIS executive summary – printed copies will be available to read
  • Visual impact analysis
  • Specialist environmental studies
  • Proposed community and neighbourhood benefit schemes
  • Other benefits – employment, goods and services, how to register your interest
  • Agrisolar (the co-existence of the solar farm and sheep grazing)
  • Approvals and construction timeline
  • Feedback.

Session bookings and more information are available on the website.

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