NSW Proposes Changes To Wind And Solar Power Planning Approvals

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Solar farms and wind turbines in residential areas that meet strict noise limits may soon be able to be approved in New South Wales in just 10 days; or in the case of rural areas, may not require planning approval.
 
In announcing the proposed changes, New South Wales Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, said the new rules would allow families to more easily earn income from their domestic wind and solar systems under the NSW Government’s generous feed-in tariff program; the Solar Bonus Scheme.
 
Under the proposed changes for wind turbines, rapid development approvals would be granted for ground or roof mounted turbines with a generating capacity of up to 10 kW in residential areas. 
 
If in close proximity to neighbours, the turbines will need to meet strict operational noise limits and equipment mounted on buildings must not protrude more than three metres above the existing roof line. 

Small-scale wind turbines less than 25 metres in height, situated well away from neighbouring dwellings and meeting other guidelines, would be allowed without any planning approval in rural areas.
 
For solar farms, 10-day complying development approvals would be granted for ground-mounted solar energy systems no more than 10 metres in height, and occupying an area less than 10,000 sq/m, in rural, industrial and special purpose zones. 

Ground-mounted solar energy systems up to 1,000 sq/m in size which preserve local amenity are allowed without planning approval in rural, industrial and special purpose zones.

Building-mounted solar power systems with a solar panel generation capacity of less than 20kW which meet other planning provisions would be able to proceed without any planning approval. 
 
The two discussion papers covering solar and wind energy approval systems can be downloaded at www.planning.nsw.gov.au.