The Victorian Government has announced changes to the existing planning framework to ensure the state’s ‘rapid uptake of large-scale renewable energy’.
The changes will require that planning permits are in place for power lines that connect new large-scale electricity generators to the energy network.
Prior to this change there was no requirement for a planning permit to build power lines that operate at less than 220,000 volts.
Concerns were also raised that there was no public involvement in the process for deciding power line routes, and that development of power lines was occurring in an unregulated manner.
The change means where new power lines are required to connect a wind or solar farm into the grid they will go through a thorough and transparent planning assessment process to ensure the views of the community are heard and potential impacts are mitigated.
Minister Wynne said the changes to the planning rules will ensure future projects are well-planned and receptive to the needs of the local community while ensuring large-scale uptake of new renewable energy production.
“There has been considerable growth in renewable energy across Victoria so we’re making sure the planning processes are in place to ensure new developments are safe, well thought out and respect the needs of nearby communities,” Mr Wynne said.
Mr Wynne said that the changes will ensure that developers will be required to consider visual and traffic aspects, and will bring the state regulation into line with the rest of the country.
State Minister for Energy, Lily D’Ambrosio, said that the changes will ensure that the state is well placed to support the ‘massive renewable energy boom in Victoria’.
“By putting the planning mechanisms in place now we can make sure our new solar and wind farms have the right infrastructure in place before they start their important job of feeding power back into Victoria’s energy grid,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.