New solar project for Mulwala

By Country News

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has approved a $119million solar farm project in Mulwala.

The department’s approval of the 140MW solar project, just outside Mulwala on the NSW/Victorian border, adds to the growing hub of solar energy projects in the Riverina.

Resource and energy assessments director Clay Preshaw said the multi-million-dollar solar farm would power more than 52000 homes, boost the economies of nearby communities and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

‘‘The short-term benefits would be an increased workforce of about 130 construction jobs during building and ongoing maintenance jobs afterwards,’’ he said.

There were only two public objections to the proposal. One community member raised concerns regarding land-use compatibility, while a special interest group commented on the visual impacts as well as land-use compatibility.

Mr Preshaw said the project approval followed the release of a new Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline developed by the department and designed to lead applicants and the community through the assessment process for state-significant solar farm proposals.

He said the guideline aimed to provide ‘‘clear and consistent guidance to the community, applicants, industry and regulators on the environmental and social impacts of state-significant solar energy projects, encouraging early and continued consultation, and suitable site selection’’.