$400m Walla Walla Solar Farm in NSW to support 250 construction jobs

Monica Gameng   |   December 2, 2020
Solar panels (cr: Pixabay - PublicDomainPictures)

The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has granted development approval to FRV Services Australia’s $400 million Walla Walla Solar Farm project. 

This approval follows the passing of the State Government’s ‘Renewable Infrastructure Roadmap’ which encourages approximately $32 billion in private clean energy investment. 

Prior to approval, the renewable energy project had several oppositions from concerned locals and from the Greater Hume Shire Council. Some concerns include visual impacts to the surrounding landscape, significant environmental impacts and biodiversity impacts as well as socio-economic impacts. 

After a thorough assessment and taking the feedback from the local community into consideration, the IPC has granted development consent to the project, but is subject to a number of conditions that the developer has to fulfill. 

“The Commission agrees with the Department’s Assessment... and is of the view that the Project is in accordance with the [Environmental Planning and Assessment] Act and is in the public interest. 

“The Commission has determined that the Application should be granted consent subject to conditions which have been designed to prevent, minimise and/or offset adverse environmental impacts; set standards and performance measures for acceptable environmental performance; outline how the land can be returned to its current use following decommissioning and rehabilitation of the site; require regular monitoring and reporting; and provide for the on-going environmental management of the development,” the Commission concluded. 

WallaWalla_Map_V4-01-e1568961282854Project location (source: Walla Walla Solar Farm)

The Walla Walla Solar Farm is going to be built on private land located about 4 kilometres north east of Walla Walla and approximately 40 kilometres north of Albury. 

The new large-scale solar farm will comprise of about 900,000 solar panels with a total capacity of 300MW(ac), which is enough to power up to 90,000 New South Wales homes and businesses. 

“Walla Walla Solar Farm is a State Significant project by definition and we are very pleased we will now be able to proceed to private financing and construction given its potential to help NSW deliver quality new renewable energy infrastructure and transition away from fossil fuels,” FRV Australia Managing Director Carlo Frigerio said. 

The project is expected to support up to 250 jobs during its construction as well as boost local investment in local services including fencing, civil works, land management, hospitality and accommodation. 

In addition, FRV has established local funding plans that is set to provide sustainable returns and benefits to the region through a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) with the Greater Hume Shire Council. 

“We have worked exceptionally hard to ensure plans for Walla Walla Solar Farm reflect a balance and considerate design that will provide a strategically important new source of clean energy for NSW while protecting the amenity of nearby residents,” FRV Australia Head of Project Development Tarek Al Sampaile said. 

Construction on Walla Walla Solar Farm is anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2021, with the new solar farm up and running by late 2022. 

Source: Walla Walla Solar Farm (1, 2); NSW Government – Major ProjectsRenew EconomyEnergy Magazine; ABC NewsPV Magazine Australia 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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