The Victorian Labor Government is planning for a rapid uptake of large-scale renewable energy, with a particular focus on connecting wind and solar to the grid.

Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, has made changes to state planning rules to ensure planning permits will now be required for the power lines that connect new large-scale electricity generators to the energy network.

Prior to this change there was no requirement for a planning permit to build power lines that operate at less than 220,000 volts.

Concerns were also raised that there was no public involvement in the process for deciding power line routes, and that development of power lines was occurring in an unregulated manner.

The change means new power lines that are required to connect a wind or solar farm into the grid will go through a thorough and transparent planning assessment process to ensure the views of the community are heard and potential impacts are mitigated.

These changes bring Victorian regulation into line with other states and will only apply to new planning permit applications for electricity generators, not retrospectively to existing planning permits.

Mr Wynne said, “There has been considerable growth in renewable energy across Victoria so we’re making sure the planning processes are in place to ensure new developments are safe, well thought out and respect the needs of nearby communities.

“This change will ensure that developers take into account visual aspects and traffic safety issues, while also ensuring the public have the chance to make submissions as part of the permit application process.”

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “This is a necessary move to support the massive renewable energy boom in Victoria, which will see our energy network transformed in the coming years.

“By putting the planning mechanisms in place now we can make sure our new solar and wind farms have the right infrastructure in place before they start their important job of feeding power back into Victoria’s energy grid.”

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