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Commissioner’s Observations and Recommendations (updated 2020)

The following is an extract of the Commissioner’s 2020 Annual Report which includes a number of observations and recommendations for consideration in relation to the governance, development and operation of wind farm projects.

  1. Host Landowner Negotiations
  2. Neighbour Consultation and Agreements
  3. Community Engagement
  4. Planning Permits – Time Limits and Scope Changes
  5. Governance and Compliance of Standards and Permit Conditions
  6. Use and selection of Experts
  7. Complaint Handling and Emergency Procedures
  8. Site Selection
  9. Health Matters

Glossary

Updated observations and recommendations - 2020

In previous Annual Reports, the Commissioner made a number of observations and recommendations regarding the large-scale renewable energy industry. These were derived largely based on direct experiences from handling complaints received, extensive site visits and engagement with a wide range of relevant stakeholders. These observations and recommendations covered many topics, including areas for potential improvement in the planning, governance and operation of the industry.

Our Office continues to receive feedback from stakeholders on these observations and recommendations. Much of the feedback has been very supportive and aligned with the recommendations. Constructive feedback was also received suggesting further refinements and clarifications. Further, many of the recommendations have been duly considered by the relevant stakeholders and numerous recommendations have now been implemented as a result.

The following sections are updates to our 2019 report’s observations and recommendations, including additional observations since that report was published. These updates are based on our experiences from handling new complaints, further site visits and stakeholder meetings, as well as incorporating feedback received on our 2019 report.  

For consistency, the following sections have utilised the same topic areas and numbering system employed in the 2019 report for ease of reference.

The recommendations detailed below are intended for consideration by the relevant stakeholders. The Commissioner has no formal powers to mandate the implementation of these recommendations. However, the Commissioner looks forward to the ongoing acceptance and adoption of the recommendations in the spirit of continuous improvement within the large-scale renewable energy industry.

Finally, as noted in previous annual reports, the large-scale renewable energy industry is still relatively new in Australia, with the first major wind farm developments commencing in the early 2000’s and large-scale solar projects commencing in the last decade. However, these industries have developed rapidly, with a significant acceleration in new projects in the past few years. Opportunities still continue to exist for further improvement in the governance and operation of the industry, such as work place safety, but nevertheless, substantial progress has been made against these recommendations in recent times.

The updated observations and recommendations are also available on the Commissioner’s website.