Skip to main content

State Significant Development

Determination

Gunnedah Solar Farm

Gunnedah Shire

Current Status: Determination

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 150 MW solar farm and associated infrastructure.

Attachments & Resources

Application (1)

Development Application.html

SEARS (2)

Scoping Report
SEARs

EIS (13)

EIS Main Report
Appendix A - SEARs
Appendix B - SEARs Table
Appendix C - Visual Report
Appendix D - Biodiversity Assessment Reports
Appendix E - Aboriginal Heritage Impact Assessment
Appendix F - Bush Fire Risk Assessment
Appendix G - Land Management Plan
Appendix H - Noise Impact Assessment
Appendix I - Traffic Impact Assessment
Appendix J - Flood Report
Appendix K - Soil Logs and Laboratory Results
Appendix L - Consultation Supporting Materials

Response to Submissions (8)

Submissions Report
Appendix A - Additional Consultation Evidence
Appendix B - Revised Mitigation Measures
Appendix C - Updated Flood Modelling
Appendix D - Updated Traffic Impact Assessment
Appendix E - Orange Grove Road Site Access Alignment Plan
Appendix F - Updated Subdivision Plan
Appendix G - Updated LUCRA

Additional Information (4)

Water Levels at Fence Boundary
Fence Configuration 5 Memo
Fence Configuration 5 Figures
Constraints Map, 17 September 2018

Recommendation (2)

Recommended Conditions
Department's Assessment Report

Determination (2)

Commission's Statement of Reasons
Development Consent

Approved Documents

Management Plans and Strategies (16)

Enviromental Management Strategy
EMS Appendix B - Communtiy Engagement Plan
Approval of Plan Strategy or Study_16082021_085743
Environmental Management Strategy - Approval
Amended Landscape Proposal
Landscaping Plan
Chance Finds Protocol
Chance Finds Protocol - BCD Approval
Landscaping Plan - Approval
Traffic Management Plan
Traffic Management Plan - Approval
Water Management Plan (Phase 1)
Water Management Plan (Phase 1) - Approval
Water Management Plan (Phase 2)
WMP - Response to RFI 21/09/2020
Water Management Plan (Phase 2) - Approval

Reports (1)

Site Layout (Rev.15A.1)

Independent Reviews and Audits (1)

SSD8658 Post Approval Audit Report Rev2

Note: Only documents approved by the Department after November 2019 will be published above. Any documents approved before this time can be viewed on the Applicant's website.

Complaints

Want to lodge a compliance complaint about this project?

Make a Complaint

Enforcements

There are no enforcements for this project.

Inspections

26/11/2020

3/12/2020

17/2/2021

14/03/2022

Note: Only enforcements and inspections undertaken by the Department from March 2020 will be shown above.

Submissions

Filters
Showing 1 - 20 of 63 submissions
Janice Mammen
Object
Orange Grove , New South Wales
Message
As this Solar Farm is going to be located in a floodway that is only 1km
away from our property this will impact us directly by restricted
access to and from our farm to town.
This will also move more flood water towards our house/property which
impacts the safety of our family, livestock & property.

Also increased dust, noise and disruption to local traffic is also a
concern.
Name Withheld
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
The Solar Farm proposal is going to be located in a floodway with water
coming from the Namoi River and surrounding catchment that is only 1km
away from our property. This will impact us directly by restricted
access to and from our farm to town. This will also move more flood
water towards our house/property which impacts the safety of our
family, livestock & property due to the change in water levels.
The flooding will also influence how long floodwater takes to move
downstream which may also influence flooding from the Mooki River,
Rangari Creek and further downstream Cox's Creek.
Also increased dust, noise and disruption to local traffic.
Kintyre Angus
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
The mixed farming property I manage is down stream of the Solar Farm
proposal which is going to be located in a floodway with water coming
from the Namoi River and surrounding catchment and this flood water
moves through section of our properties in different ways depending on
the flood event. The flooding will also influence how long floodwater
takes to move downstream which may also influence flooding from the
Mooki River, Rangari Creek and further downstream Cox's Creek.
This will impact us directly by restricted access to and from our farm
to town. This will also move more flood water towards our
house/property which impacts the safety of our family, livestock &
property due to the change in water levels.
We are deeply concerned for landholder's upstream closer to the
proposed development. Also, increased dust, noise and disruption to
local traffic.
Julie Glover
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
I object to the proposed solar farm on the basis of risk of increased
flooding to the surrounding region. This farm is to be surrounded by a
chain wire fence which is likely to block with debris and silt in the
event of a flood, creating a 2.2km barrier to the passage of
floodwater down a fairly major floodway. (Executive Summary, Flood
Impact Assessment) This is effectively a 40% blockage.*
The flood modelling which has been done to date is not accurate.
Section 7 outlines improvements which could have been made to the
modelling. They have used the 1984 flood as a template. This has never
been considered locally to be one of the big floods. They have used
river gauges which do not relate directly to the subject area. The
discussion on Gunnedah flood levels is flawed because there is another
river (the Mooki) which enters the Namoi River between the Orange
Grove locality and the township, and the staggering or otherwise of
the peaks of these two rivers is unrelatable to the local experience.
In the 1998 floods, the first was very high in Gunnedah but moderate
in the farm locality, and yet the last flood was minor in town but had
a huge impact in the Orange Grove area, largely because Keepit Dam was
full and releases from that, on top of the flow from the Peel River,
kept the locality at a flood peak for 5 days - the highest we have
seen in our 24 years in the area.
Unless the proponents are prepared to proceed without a fence, I do
not believe permission should be given to allow this project to
proceed until more accurate flood studies have been done.
(*Estimated width of flow in a major flood - 5.5km between the Orange
Grove Road and the base of the Kelvin Hills. Width of fence facing and
blocking the flow - 2.2 km. Farm design not yet developed, so unable
to actually estimate any beneficial effect of the proposed laneways
through)
Jeff Beckett
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
The site is totally inappropriate for a $200 Million dollar development.

Not only is it flood prone land, it is sited on a significant floodway
from the Namoi River.

Considering the flood risk, the flood impact assessment is a total
farce, using +/- 8m. topography data to model 10cm. impacts.

The vague comments about adjacent flood diversion channels do not have
any engineering support about potential erosion up or downstream of
any excavated channel. Upstream erosion caused by increased flow
velocities could cut across Orange Grove Road.

The impact assessment of a flood on the cyclone wire security fence is
also a total farce with no supporting technical evidence. Blockage by
debris in a moderate flood would most likely flatten it.

There is no realistic scheduling of the stated 50 B-Double trucks per
hour along minor rural roads for the proposed 1 year of construction
other than a vague statement about avoiding school bus times for at
least 4 bus services twice a day.

The proposed site and the development application are an inadequate
and opportunistic attempt to be 1st to locate a development as close
as possible to the Redbank Substation on the opposite side of the
Namoi River.
Ruth Payne
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
I do not believe Pitt & Sherry's flood modelling has been accurate. By
not making use of the research that went into the 2005 Carroll to
Boggabri Flood Management Plan they have not correctly identified the
high volume and velocity breakout on the Orange Grove Rd. This plan
shows much higher levels and greater water velocity than used by the
consultants.
The suggested fencing does not allow flood waters through the Solar
Farm appropriately. A chain mesh security fence in a flood situation
would be mostly blocked by debris. This will back up water onto
upsteam properties. A proper floodway system is needed without fences.
I am also concerned at the level of noise during construction, in
particular the noise of ten pile drivers. Although the EIS says
neighbours were advised of noise testing to take place, I did not
receive this notification, and nor did anyone else I have spoken to.
No noise measurements can have been taken on these properties - they
must have just been done on the proposed farm. There is little
vegetation between the construction zone and the sensitive receptors,
and the ground is flat so there is not much to reduce noise.
Lyn Sanson
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
I do not believe the flood modelling has been accurate, as suggested in
Section 7 of the Flood Impact Assessment. There has not been any
consideration of the impact on the land on the southern side of the
river in a flood event.
The Carroll to Boggabri floodplain study done in 2005 showed much
higher flood levels than this EIS has used and greater water velocity.
This study was ground proofed by interviewing landholders and checking
their recorded flood levels.
The chain fence is going to trap debris and force water onto
neighbouring farmland in a flood event.
Whilst we need solar farms, they should not be allowed in a floodway
due to the potential damaging effect on neighbouring infrastructure in
flood events.
Katrina Duncan
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
As a concerned community member I am opposed to this project going ahead.
Not only will it impose on nearby properties but it will also affect
many more in the area during flooding as it will change the direction
of the water flow and raise water levels. This is not the right
location for such a project and it should be reconsidered before
causing a major impact on the local residents and the environment.
Elise Palzer
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
Dear DPE,

Thankyou for the opportunity to make a submission regarding the
Gunnedah Solar Farm - Environmental Impact Statement Application No.
8658.

I object to this development based upon the following:

1. Flood impact of the proposed development upon adjacent properties.

The accuracy and integrity of the data used by the proponent in
developing the flood model is in doubt, including many omissions
regarding existing features on the landscape.

Considering the risk to adjacent businesses and residences, it is
hoped that an independent flood study will be carried out.


2. Use of aricultural land at a time when we face population booms and
threats to global food security

In an era where we face population booms and threats to global food
security, there is widespread concern regarding the long-term
alienation of agricultural land in favour of solar power generation
(which apparently generates less than 6% of our energy requirements).


3. Visual impact

I would like to know what visual impact the development will have on
my property which is located close to the proposed development.

Also, will there be glint or glare at certain times of the day? Will
there be a night lighting impact?


4. Construction phase of the development

I am concerned that the existing Orange Grove Rd is too narrow and not
in sufficient condition to cope with the construction traffic.

Also, I am concerned about the safety of the children using the school
bus service along Orange Grove Rd during construction.


Proposed DA conditions:

In the event that this development does proceed, I would like the
following DA conditions included:

1. Tree screening along the Orange Grove Rd to obscure visual impact;

2. Measures to ensure the safety of the school bus service, and the
children using it;

3. Following construction, that any unacceptable glint, glare, noise,
lighting or other unforeseen impacts which arise during the operation
of the solar farm are mitigated to the satisfaction of those impacted.
Damien Glover
Object
Lindfield , New South Wales
Message
My objection to the proposal is that the Solar Farm is to be positioned
in a major floodway. Our family have suffered many floods and I have
helped through the rebuilding of damaged fences and other
infrastructure on several occasions. It is evident from Figure SY17199
-7111 that our front fences will be at even greater risk than in the
past - and this is assessed using much lower volume and velocity
figures than stated in the Carroll to Boggabri Flood Management Plan
(2006). This study showed that at times this floodway carries more
water than the river itself.
This study has concentrated on the effect on houses on the
neighbouring properties, with no regard for vital infrastructure,
local erosion and pastures. We all know that every flood is a bit
different, and that simple things as a heavy cover of grass or crops
or a small mound of gravel along a road can change the direction of
flows - what will be the effect of a permanent 2km long chain wire
fence rendered impenetrable by debris? We were assured that the EIS
would show all the effects of the solar farm in a flood, and yet it
seems even the proponents are not convinced by their own study
(Appendix J section 7 - both Terrain and Hydrology).
Given that the Flood Study has a low level of accuracy, and that the
effects on surrounding farms are likely to be far more severe than
this study shows, I do not think this proposal should be allowed to go
ahead on this site.
Judy Chaffey
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing to lodge my objection to the Gunnedah Solar Farm in the
form that the plans currently stand.
I am firmly in support of renewable energy and would be pleased to see
solar farms developed locally, however I disagree strongly with the
flood modelling shown in the EIS.
I grew up at the property "Glenhaven" which is across the Namoi River
due south of the proposed solar farm and have many recollections of
deep flood water running over the property... which is not accurately
represented in the modelling.
Our family now lives at "Fairview" which is due south of the proposed
solar farm across the highway from "Glenhaven"... which we now also
own. After growing up at "Glenhaven" in the 1980's I also remember the
significant change in flood water flow and heights due to the
construction of the Noggabri Sub-station in a major floodway. Hence, I
have great reservations about any construction on a flood plain that
will inevitably alter flood flow and heights.
David MacPherson
Comment
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
I am not opposed to solar farms, but I have concerns about the solar farm
related to the EIS Application Number 8658
Section 7 of the Flood Impact Assessment, in my view, does not reflect
an accurate modelling. Aerial photos taken at the time of major
flooding show very little dry land above the flood waters, suggesting
the proposed solar farm will experience huge amounts of water flowing
through the proposed site, and therefore affecting country downstream
of the farm.
The 2005 Carroll to Boggabri floodplain study does not reflect the
same levels as this EIS has used. The 2005 levels are much higher,
which would mean a greater water velocity, hence more damage.
I wonder how many landholders records have been checked - local
landholders are your greatest source of past flooding events.
The fence would cause enormous problems in a big flood event.
I am opposed to the solar farm being erected on prime agricultural
land
Leigh MacPherson
Comment
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
I am a supporter of Solar Farms in principal, but have several concerns
re the proposed solar farm on Myalla, Gunnedah
I have attended local meetings re the intended development and have
doubts about the accuracy of the EIS research on the flood levels of
the intended site. The Carroll to Boggabri floodplain study undertaken
in 2005 shower higher flood levels than the EIS study. Photos of
previous floods showed very little dry land at the height of the flood
The proposed fence surrounding the farm would catch all manner of
debris in a flood and impede the flow of water, pushing it in
different, and unforseen, directions, causing erosion on neighbouring
farms
The farm shouldn't be built on prime agricultural land for obvious
reasons
I would like to know how the solar farm will benefit the Gunnedah
community, given how much support the mining companys have given the
town and district.
Katie Avard
Object
Kelvin , New South Wales
Message
To the NSW Department of Planning and Environment,

I strongly object to the Gunnedah Solar farm on Orange Grove road. As
a `sensitive receiver' located on Tudgey Road, in an elevated position
close to the proposed site I have a number of issues.
Firstly, we have recently purchased our house and 100-acre block,
which we have spent our lives working towards and which is planned to
be our forever home. We paid a premium price for our block
understanding the zoning laws and looking forward to enjoying our
quiet rural lifestyle with few neighbours, and an amazing ever
changing patchwork view of cotton, wheat, canola and grazing cattle.
Now we are faced with overlooking a veritable sea of reflecting,
glaring solar panels as far as the eye can see. It will be a totally
unavoidable eyesore and it makes me feel ill to my stomach picturing
it. Our right to the quiet enjoyment of our property has been
shattered by this proposal, and if it were to go ahead, for my own
mental wellbeing, we could not stay here and would have to sell. We
have spoken to a local land valuer who is familiar with our property
and he has stated that we can expect to lose 10-15% of our property
value if this solar farm goes ahead. Photon have made it clear that
they will not be responsible for any loss in land values if this is to
occur. Photon have admitted that planting trees will not mitigate our
visual impact due to our elevation.

I am also objecting on the grounds of flooding. A flood plain is not
the place for a structure involving a security fence of this height. I
believe the flood modelling that has been done is faulty, and I
suspect that Pitt and Sherry have been paid to get this proposal over
the line and have minimised the impacts of the flood levels to do so.
They have omitted very important flood level information such as the
"Carroll to Boggabri Flood Study" which they cunningly mention but
don't use the flood levels from. Why wasn't more accurate flood
modelling done using LiDar? The technology that was used for the
modelling, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (STRM), is known to be
accurate to 9 metres. This level of accuracy is totally unacceptable
when surrounding neighbours' farms, livestock and very lives may be
impacted. Upon meeting and listening to local farmers who have seen or
have recorded generations of floods in this area, it is worryingly
clear that even a 10 cm change in irrigation bank heights have the
power to considerably change the flow of floodwater, so how can a
2-metre-high chain lock fence filled with flood debris not be
considered a danger when it will most certainly affect the flood
levels to a huge extent?

I also object to the noise during construction. To my knowledge, no
levels were ever measured from our home, and being nestled at the base
of a hill it will be like an echo chamber listening to a pole driver
all day. I have small children who need to sleep during the day and I
also study from home.

I object to prime irrigation farmland being degraded for a project
that is able to so easily go elsewhere, only for the fact it will cost
Photon more money to get the power to the grid. As a supporter of
renewable energy, I urge the State Government to see sense and come up
with a long-term strategic plan and rules for where and how Solar
farms can be placed in NSW, so that we are not sacrificing our
thriving and ever diminishing agricultural land, and can still embrace
Solar in sensible and well thought out locations.

Yours Sincerely,

Katie Avard
Sharon Heagney
Object
Sawtell , New South Wales
Message
To whom it may concern,

I write to submit my objection to the proposed Gunnedah Solar Farm. As
a recently retired farmer, I strongly object to the use of valuable
agricultural land for the sake of renewable energy that can be placed
in any number of less fertile and productive locations.

I also have concerns of the location in a flood plain and the impacts
of diversion of floodwaters to neighbouring properties by a security
fence.

Sharon Heagney
Garry Cook
Object
Sawtell , New South Wales
Message
I wish to submit my objection to the location of the proposed Gunnedah
Solar Farm. Whilst I am strongly in favour of renewable energy, I
don't think it should be at any cost. The location on Orange Grove
Road is highly productive farming land and should be protected by the
State Government. One should not be at the cost of another- there are
plenty of suitable locations for Solar that aren't on land classified
as Primary Production. The issue of the location on the floodplain is
also problematic and needs further investigation.

Kind regards,
Garry Cook
Emily Glover
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
I object to this proposal for the Gunnedah Solar Farm.
Although I have no objection to green energy, I have several issues
with the proposal for Orange Grove Rd.

Firstly, the most significant issue is the potential for increased
damage from floods due to the placement of the security fence in a
major floodway. The increase of 550mm is significant and there are
concerns that the large body of moving water could remove established
pasture, which would allow an increase in local erosion. Additionally,
there will be an increase in the amount of sediment and nutrients
transferred to the land which could impact the quality of the soil,
especially to areas that would be introduced to flooding. You
highlight in your report a concern for the accuracy of terrain data
(appendix J, section 7). I agree that this is a significant oversight
as many features of the land have been ignored which decreases the
precision of your data.

Secondly, I would like to raise my concern for traffic on Orange Grove
Rd and Old Blue Vale Rd. These roads are not designed for B double
semi-trailers and often do not seem wide enough for two cars,
especially with the roads not being lined. Often when driving on this
road with an approaching car, I feel the need to pull over onto the
gravel shoulder. This would become a significant nuisance with large
vehicles and would also increase the amount of danger, as it is easy
to lose control on gravel.

It is for the reasons of flood damage and traffic hazards that I
object the proposal for the Gunnedah Solar Farm.
Kim Avard
Object
GUnnedah , New South Wales
Message
I write to object to the Solar Farm proposed on Orange Grove Road. As a
rural person and lifetime resident of Gunnedah, I strongly object to
the use of prime farming lands for this solar farm. There are many
areas around Gunnedah far more suitable for purpose, and it appears
there has been a huge lack of planning or common sense used in this
decision.

The area is a known flood plain, and we have friends and family who
live in the affected area who have the potential to be impacted hugely
by any change in flood levels caused by the security fence- the
location must be reconsidered.

I also believe the very minimal prospect of jobs at the solar farm
after the construction phase does not offer as much to our community
as it will be taking away in farming jobs for our locals & wages and
profits from farming spent in our town.
George AVard
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
To whom it may concern,

I am writing to share my concerns regarding the proposed Photon Energy
Solar Farm on Orange Grove Road. I have lived in this district all my
life and have seen many floods, major and minor. The unpredictable
nature of the floods and numerous variables which affect them make
planning any projects guesswork.

The current floodplain management legislation prevents any development
that will create a 20cm or greater impact on any surrounding
neighbours, and given the nature of this project, specifically the
chain link fence, I fear that the impacts will be much greater than
20cm.

I also have serious concerns given the nature of this country. This is
highly productive cropping country which has a history of producing
high yielding cereal crops, oil seeds, cotton, and pulses. Given the
limited amount of arable land in Australia, with this versatility, I
feel there will be land much better suited to this type of project and
the location must be reconsidered.

SIncerely,

George Avard
Name Withheld
Object
Gunnedah , New South Wales
Message
I object to the Application by Gunnedah Solar Farm on Orange Grove
Gunnedah. I feel the EIS to be ill informed of vital statistics on
flood flow data on the Namoi floodplain. The EIS itself is flawed by
its own admission on page 74 & 75 of having "incomplete data".
I object to any infrastructure being built on the floodplain with
reason of impact of floodwaters to otherwise negligent
levels,especially with a fence being built around the perimeter. Also
noise levels during construction were not adequately investigated
truthfully In the EIS.
Thank you.

Pagination

Project Details

Application Number
SSD-8658
Assessment Type
State Significant Development
Local Government Areas
Gunnedah Shire
Decision
Approved
Determination Date
Decider
IPC-N

Contact Planner

Name
Natasha Homsey