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State Significant Development

Assessment

Blind Creek Solar Farm

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional

Current Status: More Information Required

Interact with the stages for their names

  1. SEARs
  2. Prepare EIS
  3. Exhibition
  4. Collate Submissions
  5. Response to Submissions
  6. Assessment
  7. Recommendation
  8. Determination

Development of a 350 MW solar farm with battery storage and associated infrastructure.

Attachments & Resources

Notice of Exhibition (1)

Updated Notice of Exhibition

Request for SEARs (1)

Scoping Report

SEARs (1)

Issued SEARs

EIS (15)

EIS
Appendix A - SEARs
Appendix B - Proposed Maps and Drawings
Appendix D - Consultation
Appendix E - Visual Impact Assessment
Appendix F - Reflective Glare Assessment
Appendix G - Biodiversity Development Assessment Report
Appendix H - Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment
Appendix I - Hydrological and Hydraulic Analysis
Appendix J - Noise and Vibration Assessment
Appendix K - Traffic Impact Assessment
Appendix L - Statement Of Heritage Impact
Appendix M - Social Impact Assessment
Appendix N - Preliminary Hazard Analysis
Appendix O - Background Search Results

Response to Submissions (19)

Submissions Report
Appendix C Addendum ACHAR
Appendix D Crown Lands Consultation
Appendix E Glint & Glare Assessment
Appendix F Updated BDAR
Appendix G Updated VIA
Appendix H Updated PHA
Appendix I Updated TIA
Appendix I Updated BAR treatment
Amendment Report
AR Appendix A Updated Project Decription
AR Appendix D Engagement
AR Appendix E.1 Updated BDAR
AR Appendix E.2 Updated VIA
AR Appendix E.3 Glint and glare memo
AR Appendix E.4 TIA and BAR treatment
AR Appendix E.5 Disturbance Report - Tarago Road
AR Appendix E.6 Addendum ACHA
AR Appendix E.7 Addendum Noise Report

Agency Advice (24)

RFS RTS comments
EPA
Fire and Rescue
DPI Fisheries
Crown Lands
WaterNSW
Biodiversity, Conservation and Science Directorate (BCD)
DPE Water
MEG GSNSW
Heritage NSW ACH
DPI Agriculture
TfNSW
FRNSW RTS comments
MEG RTS comments
HNSW ACH RTS comments
Goulburn Mulwaree Council RTS Submission
TfNSW RTS comments
BCD RTS comments
DPE Water RTS comments
DPI Fisheries RTS comments
Transgrid RTS comments
Crown Lands RTS comments
QP Council RTS submission
DPI Ag RTS comments

Amendments (2)

Amendment Report Acceptance Letter
Amendment Report Letter

Submissions

Filters
Showing 1 - 20 of 46 submissions
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council
Comment
QUEANBEYAN , New South Wales
Message
Attachments
Name Withheld
Support
LAKE GEORGE , New South Wales
Message
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Blind Creek Solar Farm Project (BCSF).
This submission applies to the BCSF Reflective Glare Assessment report only, which is based on the location of our residence. The following statements do not diminish the comments or concerns of other residents on Lake Road who may have submitted comments for their location.
Our residence as stated is located on Lake Road, on the west side of Lake George with a clear and open view of the proposed solar farm to the east, across the lake.
Initially, we were concerned about the potential for sun reflections and glare from this development so we contacted BCSF and obtained a copy of the Reflective Glare Assessment report dated 6 August 2021.
The report found that for our residence there was the potential for glare during project construction, but once completed no glare was expected during routine system operation, although glare was possible during system maintenance.
We also noted a number of small errors and one omission from the abovementioned report. These were bought to the attention of BCSF and were verified and quickly corrected and a new report was issued on 29 March 2022.
The report identified a course of action that will avoid glare during construction and system maintenance. We, therefore, understand as a matter of course that these measures would be undertaken by BCSF and that they would be a condition of project approval. We also would expect in line with this a complaints process would be implemented to ensure ongoing compliance with these measures.
If the abovementioned course of action is followed by BCSF, we have no objection and support the project.
Tom Gordan
Support
Bungendore , New South Wales
Message
To Whom this applies

Re : Blind Creek Solar Farm – Supporting their Submission.

The NSW State Govt portal to receive submissions is not responding and not allowing submissions at 4;45 pm 7/7/2022

We are adjacent neighbours on the eastern great dividing range 5 km from the site.
We have no worries about this DA and encourage support and approval of their application.

My Property is
‘Birkenburn’ and is at 3582 kings Highway , Bungendore.

Our farm will overlook this development and we have no issues with the size. location and visual addition to the landscape.

Farmers like this family should be supported in doing environmentally conscious development to help solve the ever growing energy crisis and reliance on coal and oil continually adding to the world crisis of climate change.

We are also pleased the project includes consideration of indigenous cultural heritage on the edge of Lake George with an learning zone.
Thomas Sinkovits
Support
BYWONG , New South Wales
Message
The Blind Creek Solar Farm development has been driven by close community consultation and has my strong support as a resident close to the site.
At all stages, residents whose property overlooks the proposed site were asked for their opinion about the development with several contacts made in person, by phone or email.
This responsible consultative process gave us the opportunity to voice our opinion about the Solar Farm.
I am in favour and support the proposal which makes a lot of sense as renewable energy is crucial to Australia's energy future and needs. The site is well located close to the major power lines and network that passes close by. This means no new power lines or poles are needed.
Accordingly I hereby support the application.
Sincerely,
Tom Sinkovits OAM
Name Withheld
Support
PADDINGTON , New South Wales
Message
We support this project for several reasons.
We believe in renewable energy and in particular, solar power. The Blind Creek Solar Farm is a future -focused solution to our Australian energy needs and carbon targets.
We know they reduce carbon emissions. Solar farms create clean energy that doesn’t harm the environment and no such large-scale harm has ever been connected to solar farms.
In Bungendore which is a traditional farming area, animals farming and the solar farm can coexist. The land where blind creek solar farm will be constructed will provide a better habitat for animals and plants and sheep and cows will be able to graze between the rows of panels.
Will Jeffreys
Support
LAKE GEORGE , New South Wales
Message
My wife Margaret and I live with our family at 565 Lake Road, Bungendore.

Our house would be one of the closest to the proposed solar farm situated directly to the west across Lake George & thus looking directly at the proposed solar farm.

During the last 18 months we have attended several meetings / presentations made by the proponents whereby the project has been explained to us in detail. I have also had a number of private phone calls with them answering questions I have had to the best of their ability.

We have been impressed at the consultation carried out by the solar farm team. Also impressive is the willingness and commitments by the proponent to take on suggestions made by us and fellow residents along Lake Road that will decrease visibility of the project from Lake Road houses.

The commitments by the solar farm proponents have made after questions i have raised include the below :

• Retraction from Lake George’s edge by 1000m
• Allowing us input into the Tree planting along Butmaroo Creek to provide visual screening
• Allowing us input into the Tree planting on the western side of the project to provide visual screening.
• Avoid placing panels above the flat area (above 691 m) on the proposed land & thus will greatly reduce the visual impact from our house so we are not looking up at the panels. I appreciate this commitment is not illustrated in the EIS as it was requested by me and another Lake Road resident just prior to lodgements. The proponents have assured us that this commitment will be identified to the Department of Planning during the approval submissions process. They have also informed me that their investment partner Octopus are aware and have agreed to these elements.

Considering our elevation and distance from the project and assuming all the above is implemented we are satisfied that the visual impact from the project will be minimal.

We are supportive of the agri-solar farming aspects of the project - The ability of the project to maintain agricultural activities alongside and under the solar panels.

Whilst I would prefer the land for the proposed solar farm to remain in its current natural state it is very hard to argue against these type of projects / developments given the current issues around power supply in Australia. The fact we need to promote more commercial renewable energy projects in this country means projects like this need to be supported.

Will Jeffreys
565 Lake road
Lake George NSW 2621
Peter Sharp
Support
BYWONG , New South Wales
Message
I write this submission to support the Blind Creek Solar Farm Major Project. I have followed this project since moving into the area a few years ago. I have attended the on-site day were I met some of the proposer personnel, and attended (on-line due to Covid restrictions) an excellent information session, where I submitted a question and received an excellent answer/response from the proposers.

I support the proposal for a number of reasons;
1. The clearly exemplary efforts the proposers have gone to in discovering and then minimising the environmental effects, the effects on neighbours, and on both indigenous and more recent heritage effects.
2. The proposal to combine solar power generation with agricultural production - there is now good evidence that in many situations, one can actually gain increased production due to the effects of the panels on the microclimate of the animals involved, in this case prime lambs.
3. The proposal has possible battery storage as part of the development. This seems essential now to overcoming the current problems with power supply in Eastern Australia. (Perhaps the NSW Government should consider making a certain level of storage based on array size mandatory for solar developments?)
4. The proposal site seems ideal; close (but not too close) to a population centre (for workers), very close to a major power transmission line (fewer new infrastructure requirements), and located in an "energy" precinct (the Lake George wind farms)
5. The proponents have a deep commitment to spreading the benefits to the local area and population; sourcing labour, supplies and services from the Bungendore region as much as possible.

I know this will not be considered relevant in this formal process on this project, but I will put it in black and white: I know which of the two major projects under consideration in this region I prefer - this Solar Farm, not the Tarago Waste Incinerator.
Name Withheld
Support
TARAGO , New South Wales
Message
I am Yuin indigenous man. I grew up on the property even though the Yuin lands start to the east of this land. My father worked helping manage the livestock, water and fences on the farm. I have maintained a close friendship with the landholders for my whole life.
I have enjoyed working on the cultural heritage study and I learned a great deal about identifying cultural artifacts. I thought the study process was very good. It has helped me get ongoing work in this area. It is my intention to join the Ngambri land council.
I would welcome continued connection and work on this project.
Thanks for your consideration of my submission.
Name Withheld
Support
BUNGENDORE , New South Wales
Message
I support the development application for the Blind Creek Solar Farm and make the following comments.

My husband and I live on a small rural property within approximately 4-5km of the proposed Blind Creek Solar Farm (the Project).

Our property overlooks the land and area identified as VP-01 in the ‘Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment’ (being the intersection with of McDonnell Drive and Tarago Road).

As such, our property faces and has views to the north, including across to the Capital Wind Farm and Lake George. The wind turbines from the Capital Wind Farm are directly in our sight - such that we can easily observe when they are operational (turning or not).

The Applicant’s have adopted an open and consultative approach to this project - in notifying affected landholders including in local publications and social media, holding public ‘Open Days’ to view the site (which I have attended) and being available and responsive to questions I and others have raised about the proposal. The Applicant’s approach to community consultation in respect of this project is commendable.

I acknowledge that the Project covers a significant area of rural agricultural land. I understand that the Applicant proposes to plant significant amounts of vegetation around the proposed site, as a screen to minimise any potential visual impact and as part of rehabilitation of the land around the site.

I do not consider that the project will significant impact on my visual amenity or create visual glare, if at all. Any visual impact will be mitigated by the planted vegetation screen. I note we currently have and live with, a far great visual impact from the Capital Wind Farm turbines than is likely to occur with the solar panels associated with this Project.

This Project has an advantage of being close to existing Transgrid power lines. I understand the electricity generated by the solar panels will be transmitted to the grid via an underground cabling network between the solar panels and substation. As such, there would be no need for the construction of additional overhead power lines to facilitate transmission to the existing grid.

While the construction phase of the Project will inject significant employment benefits for the local Bungendore and surrounding economy, there will be ongoing employment opportunities over the life of the project, resulting in positive long term benefit to the local economy.

The current electricity/energy supply issues (including high prices) highlights the need for innovation and diversification in energy production and particularly in renewable projects.

I support a key aim of this Project - to combine the production of renewable energy into the existing and conveniently located national grid, with existing and innovative agricultural grazing, by professional and very experienced primary producers.
Kate Butler
Support
BUNGENDORE , New South Wales
Message
I am writing in support of the proposed Blind Creek Solar Farm. I have lived in Bungendore with my family for 16 years, and I hope to live here for as long as I can.

As a resident I am excited by this proposal. It is pure common sense that as a region, we invest in renewable energy and do what we can to counter the existential threat caused by the climate crisis. I applaud the farmer-led consortium for initiating this solar farm that has been designed to ensure the production of renewable energy can co-exist with regenerative farming practices and continued food production.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has made clear that a rapid switch to renewable energy is urgently required. AEMO’s 2022 Integrated System Plan predicts that in the period to 2050 the following is required:
• The need to almost double the electricity delivered to homes and businesses (this would allow the electrification of our transport, industry, office and homes, replacing gas, petrol and other fuels)
• The need for coal-fired generation to withdraw faster than announced, with 60% of capacity withdrawn by 2030
• The need for 9 times the utility-scale wind and solar farms
• The need for nearly 5 times the solar PV capacity, and substantial growth in battery storage.

In addition, significant work has been done by local landowners, Bungendore Landcare, Molonglo Conservation Group and NSW Local Land Services (NSW DPI) to enhance native vegetation remnants in our region to prevent the extinction of several bird and plant species, for example, the scarlet robin and black glossy cockatoo. The proposed solar farm with its emphasis on the restoration of bio-diversity will contribute and enhance this important local endeavour.

I urge the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to approve the proposed Blind Creek Solar Farm.
Dimity Davy
Support
BUNGENDORE , New South Wales
Message
I've lived in Bungendore since 1960 as a local farmer. I am an original member of the Bungendore Landcare. I've communicated and know the country well having ridden over it with the pony club. I support that they are setting the solar farm back from the lake. Leaving a Cultural Precinct between the lake and the Solar Farm. Its good that they are allowed to fence in Deep Creek and plant it out to help the natural environment in the area. I appreciate the emphasis on the local employment and job creation. Creating financial benefits for the local community and environment. Its great to have the combination of the solar and sheep together with no negative impacts on each other and will run well together. The visual impact will be minimal as power infrastructure is already there to combine it with.
Henry Gundry
Support
Tarago , New South Wales
Message
The Blind Creek Solar Farm, will be beneficial to the broader energy security challenges that exist in the NEM, and Australia's commitment to Net Zero. Complimenting the existing renewable energy activities in the area will be advantageous. The location is ideal with respect to the local topography and remoteness of the Lake George Basin, including the direct access to the High Voltage overhead network in close proximity.

Consideration needs to be given to the current local road network during the construction phase, however alternative access for construction materials via Bungendore (connected to the Federal Highway) should be explored. I am aware that once fully operational, traffic generated for the project will be minimal compared to the existing use of the Tarago/Bungendore Roads.

The fact that the proponent is considering the ongoing use for livestock grazing is a positive outcome to ensure the agricultural integrity of the region is maintained.
Andy Bray
Support
BUNGENDORE , New South Wales
Message
I write in support of this project.

I live around 8km from the project, in Bungendore. I have visited the site a number of times and attended a number of information events so I feel I know the project in some detail. While I have a deal of experience with large scale renewable energy development through my work with advocacy group, RE-Alliance, I am writing in my personal capacity as a nearby resident. I am delighted to see such a well-developed project reach this stage in my area.

For me, the key qualities that recommend the project are:
- the engagement with the surrounding landholders and community has been largely done by the landholders, Dom and Jane Osborne. This is a welcome change from the normal approach where developers look after this aspect of the project. In my observation this has allowed the vast majority of the neighbouring households to understand the project and, where appropriate, join in the benefit sharing options the project made available.
- the co-design of the solar project with the fat lamb operation that will work alongside it is a pioneering project in Australia. There is currently legitimate scepticism from a large part of the farming community that solar farms and traditional farming can co-exist. Existing solar farms that allow grazing amongst panels are, rightly or wrongly, seen more as a way to keep the grass down. The interdependent nature of the solar and grazing components of this project is reflected in the detailed paddock design incorporated in the solar farm layout. The land will genuinely be used for the twin purposes of farming and electricity generation and this, to my understanding, has been incorporated at a contractual level. The successful operation of this project would be a leading example of agrisolar that could then be used as a model for similar operations around the country.
- the indigenous engagement and heritage work has been done with local indigenous people in a respectful and meticulous manner. It will see ongoing and much-needed opportunities for local people to learn about and interact with the indigenous heritage of the area.
- the project expects to pay between $2m - 3.4m to community projects in the local area. At a rate of $330/MW, this is a generous contribution compared to most Australian solar farms.
- construction and operation will create jobs in the local area.
- the land chosen for the solar farm is already cleared farming land, limiting impacts on the local environment.
- at a time when coal plants are closing, the 350 MW plant with a nominal 300MW battery will be a valuable contributor to the state's clean electricity supply.

I commend this project for the Department's approval.
Andrew Johnston
Object
MOUNT FAIRY , New South Wales
Message
I object to the inappropriate placement of this proposed solar farm in relation to the impact on the established housing in both Buckingham Estate and along the Lake Road and surrounds.
The surrounding housing will be impacted by added traffic and transport vehicles that are associated with such infrastructure during the building phase of this development. Any extra vehicular movements on the already crumbling local roads will significantly impact the local community.
With the current weather patterns the EIS is out of date as the current water storage on Lake George is at an all time high and the records contained in the EIS needs to be updated to include the flora and fauna impacts that will occur if this major development is to be approved.
Carmel Johnston
Object
MOUNT FAIRY , New South Wales
Message
I object to this proposed solar farm, Blind Creek Solar Farm, due to the proponent trying another cash grabbing venture which is wasting both the NSW Government and the local communities time and money to now look at another proposal that may never get off the ground.
The proponent has a number of associated developments and activities that have been previously approved for development but have never been started. That is, approval to extend the already established Capital Wind Farm and approval for Capital Solar Farm. These proposed projects have not been started due to lack of economic gain from such ventures.
I also object to the building of such infrastructure with the lack of battery storage, which turns this project into an intermittent power generator instead of a sustainable source of energy.
I therefore, object to this project and would hope that the NSW Government looks closely at this proposal.
Robert Gordon
Support
MOUNT FAIRY , New South Wales
Message
We are making a submission in support or the Blind Creek Solar farm. I am a 5th generation farmer situated 10km east of the proposed solar farm and my wife Angela works in the village of Bungendore.
The Blind Creek Solar Farm we consider to be a very significant project for the local community, state of NSW and indeed nationally. I am very familiar with the proposed site and consider it to be a most appropriate location for such a development.
A solar farm of this scale, which I understand will generate enough power to meet Canberra's total demand and coupled with 300MW battery storage is an exemplar for renewable energy into the future.
What makes this project even more compelling is the continued land use for grazing sheep, employing regenerative farming practices based on Alan Savory's work and leading innovative Australian and international farming practitioners.
Regards Robert Gordon
The Blind Creek Solar Farm would present manifold benefits to the immediate community of Bungendore and surrounds, not least being employment and its flow on to the village. The creation of approximately 300 jobs in the construction phase of the project and a permanent subsequent workforce to maintain the project will create exciting new revenue opportunities for local businesses in Bungendore. This will be welcomed after years of drought, fire and the lockdowns during the current pandemic, set backs that have had painful impacts on the local community. Beyond this, the Blind Creek project is a beacon of hope for all who realise that renewable energy is our future. There could not be a more timely moment than the present to fully endorse this stupendous undertaking. We have all seen the price many Australians have paid in recent years for the devastating impact of natural disasters: loss of life and property, and more recently the escalating cost of energy. Each and every attempt to mitigate the consequences of climate change via a switch to renewable energy is vital. Indeed, it is impossible to understand how any other competing consideration could come close to it. That this bold and visionary proposal comes from a group of local land owners only strengthens the merits of responsible land use and its powerful role as an exemplar to others. It would be an amazing outcome if other farmers with similarly suitable sites were spurred on to replicate this example. To own land is a privilege, to harness its capacity for others in this way, at this time, is innovation at its best. Civic mindedness must have its moment, and it is now.
Angela Kerley
Name Withheld
Support
BUNGENDORE , New South Wales
Message
I am a long term Bungendore resident and land owner and support the project for the following reasons:
1. the employment and other economic benefits of the project for Bungendore and surrounding districts during construction in particular;
2. the positive contribution it will make to tackling climate change through increasing renewable electricity production for the state of NSW and supporting a transition away from greenhouse gas producing sources of electricity which is also essential for stabilising power supply and keeping downward pressure on electricity prices;
3. the built-in regenerative agricultural benefits of lamb production on degraded farmland and the carbon sequestration project that will be co-located on the site; and
4. the community benefits flowing from the Community Benefits Sharing Scheme that will be established when the project is up and running.

I consider the community engagement and consultation on this project has been exemplary. I also welcome the commitment of the proponents to make indigenous job seekers and graduates aware of employment opportunities with the project during construction.
Tony Hill
Support
MOUNT FAIRY , New South Wales
Message
I am writing as an enthusiastic supporter of the Blind Creek Solar Farm proposal, and a landowner in the Mount Fairy area nearby to the proposed development.

I have reviewed the website for this proposal and parts of the EIS.

The vision for this proposal is amazing: an effective combination of renewable electricity production linked with regenerative agriculture production on the same site. My own discussions with the proponents show me how seriously they are working to achieve this combined approach.

See attached detailed commentary.
Attachments
Eliza Walker
Support
BUNGENDORE , New South Wales
Message
I recently purchased a property in Mount Fairy and I support the environmental aspect of the solar farm and the job opportunities it will create.
Andrew Walker
Support
BUNGENDORE , New South Wales
Message
I have recently purchased a property at Mount Fairy and thoroughly support the solar farm, especially relating to the employment opportunities that it will create for the local community. We attended an open day recently which provided some interesting education about the regenerative impacts of this project.

Pagination

Project Details

Application Number
SSD-13166280
Assessment Type
State Significant Development
Development Type
Electricity Generation - Solar
Local Government Areas
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional

Contact Planner

Name
Kurtis Wathen