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Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Development across the Renewable Energy Zone continues at quite a pace with two more solar farms taking the next steps in the development process.

The Bendemeer Solar Farm, which is a 210MW solar farm proposed to be built just east of Bendemeer on the Oxley Highway within the Tamworth Regional Council area, has received what’s referred to as SEARs – the planning secretary’s environmental assessment requirements. This means this project can now progress to preparing the all-important Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

This $450m solar project is part of the larger Bendemeer Renewable Energy Hub worth $1.2b and creating 557 jobs. The project must engage in significant consultation in the next step, so locals are likely to hear more about this project soon. The next community information session is being held at the Bendemeer Hotel on April 22.

The Salisbury Solar Project, a proposed 450MW capacity farm with a 100MW battery (considerably reduced from earlier proposals of up to 900MW which was criticised for overdevelopment), is also currently preparing their EIS. This project which endured a long delay courtesy of Covid-19 and other issues, has resumed actively working on the development. They currently have a survey out to gauge public support as part of their consultation, with the EIS expected to be finalised late in the year. Click this link to go direct to the survey.

The Salisbury solar farm is planned to be built 10km south of Uralla on Thunderbolt’s Way. It is part of a suite of proposals from Walcha Energy, who are also proposing the Ruby Hills wind project and pumped hydro at Dungowan Dam.

The Thunderbolt Solar Farm at Kentucky – which would have been fairly close to both the Salisbury and Bendemeer farms but on the New England Highway on the other side of Kentucky – was withdrawn three days before Christmas last year by the developer Neoen, citing uncertainty in the large-scale solar power price. However, work on the Thunderbolt energy hub and wind farm proposed for that site continues.

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