Renewable Energy Project – Agricultural Land Use and Impact Study

Renewable Energy Project – Agricultural Land Use and Impact Study

A development application was being prepared for approval to install a 500ha solar array and battery storage project on a parcel of land currently used for grazing cattle in Southeast Queensland. The development application required an Agricultural Land Use and Impact Study Report (the Report) due to the current zoning and land use of the proposed project site.

Jacobs, as project lead, included PeritusAg during the tendering process. Our inclusion provided the agricultural expertise required to conduct the agricultural site inspection and to prepare the Report. Following the site inspection, the proposed project site investigations comprised the following:

• Reviewing current zoning and vegetation management regulations
• Assessing current land use and agricultural output
• Reviewing current and future vegetation and surface water management

A review of the proposed project infrastructure, installation techniques and required landform changes, provided the background required to consider the future vegetation management and available agricultural land use options.

After reviewing the land use options, it was concluded that grazing dorper sheep on the site, following the installation of the solar arrays, would have the following benefits:

• Provide ongoing productive agricultural output.
• Achieve optimal vegetation and native pasture management.
• Permit surface water flows to remain consistent with historical levels.
• Provide an economic return equivalent to historical values.

The Report concluded that based on the solar array installation technique and the adherence of the operator to appropriate biosecurity management strategies, the property could be returned to cattle grazing at the completion of the renewable energy project.

The completion of the Report assisted the project proponents in complying with the requirements of their development application and approvals process. In addition, in recommending switching from grazing cattle to sheep, provided a solution that enabled the land to be used jointly for agricultural and renewable energy production.