In this interview, Daniel Wild contextualises and disseminates the findings of the IPA’s research into land use implications of renewable energy targets on prime agricultural land, conducted as part of the IPA’s Net Zero research program.
All media posted onto the IPA website are directly related to the promotion and dissemination of IPA research.
Below is a transcript of the interview.
A major renewable energy project near Armidale has been given the green light by the Independent Planning Commission. The Oxley Solar Farm must adhere to strict conditions, but one advocacy group believes it’s still a step in the wrong direction.
Approved for construction, it’s all systems go for the Oxley Solar Farm. Late yesterday, the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission conditionally approved the $370 million project Southeast of Armidale. Once built, the 215 megawatt solar farm will be comprised of more than 385,000 solar panels and a 50 megawatt battery capable of powering up 78,000 homes, and in turn, displacing about 382,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. The ticket of approval given due to its location within the New England Renewable Energy Zone, existing resources and proximity to local roads.
Preliminary work is expected to begin by early next year, creating 300 local jobs in the process. That will translate to just five full-time workers once construction wraps up by 2025.
But it hasn’t all been positive with at least 50 official objections to the proposal, forcing a Department of Planning and Environment Assessment in October. As such, developer, Oxley Solar Development, must create onsite vegetation and adhere to strict soil and water management measures.
Wind and solar can play a role on the energy system, but there’s really no social licence to be doing this.
It comes as a new report from the Institute of Public Affairs, found one third of prime agricultural land in Australia, which feature wind turbines, solar panels, and transmission lines. If the federal government is to reach its net-zero, 2050 target. While projects like the Oxley Solar Farm would help reach that goal, the organisation believes it’s undermining farming communities.
If you have these renewable projects, the farmland becomes unproductive. It’s a huge issue for food security.
Energy Minister Chris Bowen and Oxley Solar Development were contacted for comments. Rob Douglas, NBN News.
This transcript from ABC Breakfast Remnark with Stephanie Nitschke from 11 December 2023 has been edited for clarity.