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NSW Government approves Capital Solar Farm near Bungendore

PLANNING approval has been granted for the construction of the Capital Solar Farm near Bungendore and adjacent to the existing Capital Wind Farm, the NSW Government announced last week.

The area is part of the ACT/ NSW Border Area Renewable Energy Precinct, which is one of six precincts established by the NSW Government to help promote renewable energy in the State.

The approval means that the $150 million Capital Solar Farm could potentially become the first operational solar farm in NSW.

It follows the approval of a $300 million commercial solar farm near Nyngan in north-western NSW by the government earlier in the month.

Capital Solar Farm will be constructed on a100 hectare site, approximately 6 kilometres from Bungendore. It involves the construction of up to 32 blocks of solar panels about two to three meters above ground-level.

In optimum conditions, the farm will have up to a 50 megawatt capacity, enough energy to power about 10,000 homes.

This project was proposed by Infigen Suntech Australia in response to the Federal Government's $1.5 billion Solar Flagships Program that aims to support the construction and demonstration of up to four large solar power plants in Australia.

Capital Solar Farm was assessed by the NSW Department of Planning as a major project under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, because it was a solar electricity generation facility with a capital investment value of more than $30 million.

Member for Monaro, Steve Whan, said the approval of the project was a milestone in the state's bid to promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"This will contribute towards the NSW State Plan target to source 20 per cent of the State's electricity from renewable sources by 2020."

The Department has imposed 56 conditions to manage the impact of the proposal including requirements for a landscape plan and biodiversity offset strategy and noise level monitoring.

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