January 17, 2024

Accelerating Development Approvals for BESS and solar

Rapid development approvals for BESS and solar farms - principles and case studies by Enhar, plus a de-risking tool you can download.

Developing large scale battery and solar farm projects takes time and a key challenge is how to speed up the path to 'ready to build'. Development approval timescales vary greatly and depends on which jurisdiction and how you approach the application process, assessments & government engagement.

Having secured Land and Development Approvals for 3 x 20MW BESS project, 1 x 100MW BESS, Enhar presented a webinar on November 2023 to share key insights with attendees, who learned useful summaries of best practices for managing timeframes in their Development Approvals of large scale solar farms and battery projects, including:

  • How to get their project ready to the 'ready to build' stage on time and on budget.
  • How to avoid costly mistakes in their development approval process.
  • Typical development approval timelines and factors that affect them.

In case you missed it, we have released entire webinar for your viewing here.

Click here to read the Slides: Best practice by Blessing and here for Case Studies and practical applications by Demian.

To use the Enhar Development Approval timeline risk management tool to manage your project timeline, we have released it for free. It is available at this link: https://www.enhar.com.au/development-approvals-checklist

If you would like expert help to tighten your timeline for a solar farm or BESS project, a 'DA timeline risk assessment' by Enhar is a good starting point and we can deliver turnkey development approvals assistance from there:

You can contact either Demian Natakhan or Blessing with the below details:

Demian: demian@enhar.com.au / 0468 309 863

Blessing: blessing@enhar.com.au / 0402 160 159

Lessons Learned:  Enhar secures Land and Development Approvals for 3 x 20MW BESS project, 1 x 100MW BESS

During 2020-23, Enhar secured land and permits for several BESS projects including four in South Australia. Here’s some lessons we learned.

Lesson 1: South Australia is faster to secure Development Approvals than VIC and NSW.

  • The planning system in South Australia is less onerous hence lower cost and faster to obtain Development Approvals (DA) than jurisdictions with more complex requirements.
  • In SA, only go through Crown Sponsorship route if essential due to zoning
  • Enhar project timeline example show why: 

Lesson 2: Councils impose some requirements which State Planning Authorities miss 

  • Local Councils may not be the Development Approval authority however their approval for matters they are concerned about is essential before Development Approval will be granted
  • Submitting Development Applications with stormwater designs pre-approved by the local council really helps to avoid delays for example 
  • Deferring stormwater plans as a condition of a DA is counter productive since design changes post Development Approval are harder to implement and has more consequences - better to design it in at the early stage pre lodgement of the DA

Lesson 3: NSW Scoping Reports need significant detail, beyond basic guidelines

  • include community engagement visits to neighbours in the initial scope, DPIE insist on this.

Lesson 4: Family landowners are easier to negotiate with than corporate landowners

  • Family owned land is a darn sight easier to deal with than corporates who have remote head office stakeholders.
  • Even if a battery lease would benefit a company locally, it may be small fry compared to national company strategic objectives hence never get given enough priority to go ahead

Enhar helps Australian Solar Farm and Battery Project developers with a comprehensive list of services including land aquisition, permits, grid and engineering services: https://www.enhar.com.au/utility

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