Battery storage facilities no longer require development approval in South Australia, provided that they are endorsed by a State Agency and constructed on a site that has been notified in the Government Gazette by the Planning Minister. Battery storage projects still require certification as to compliance with the Building Rules. A limited exemption is also in place for State-sponsored temporary electricity generation plants of more than 50MW capacity that are constructed for the purposes of supporting the security or reliability of South Australia’s power system.
Amendments to the Development Regulations made on 22 June 2017 have exempted certain battery storage facilities from the requirement to obtain development approval under the Development Act 1993 (SA) where they are State Agency developments.
In order to qualify as a State Agency development, a project must be undertaken by a State Agency (being a State Government department or instrumentality), in partnership with a State Agency, or with the express endorsement of a State Agency for the purposes of section 49 of the Development Act.
The exemption applies to State Agency developments that involve the construction, reconstruction or alteration of a battery storage facility (with total capacity of more than 25MW) for the purposes of supporting the security or reliability of South Australia’s power system.
Development pursuant to the exemption may only be undertaken on a site identified by the Planning Minister in a notice published in the Government Gazette.
The exemption also applies to infrastructure, structures, equipment and works associated with the battery storage facility, including powerlines, poles and fences and roads or other means of access to the development site.
Exempt projects will still need to be certified as complying with the Building Rules. However, no development application will be required, and no planning assessment will be undertaken. As such, the exemption removes risks of refusal and of a third party appeal.
If the exemption does not apply to a proposed storage facility, the facility must be assessed for development plan consent via the s49 ‘Crown Development’ assessment pathway (if State-sponsored) or via the general scheme, Major Development (s46), or Electricity Infrastructure Development (s49A) processes. The usual requirements for public notification and assessment will then apply.
Temporary Electricity Generation Plant
The Development Regulations have also been amended to exempt a temporary electricity generation plant from the requirement to obtain development approval if:
- the plant has capacity of more than 50MW; and
- the development is for the purposes of supporting the security or reliability of the State’s power system; and
- the development is undertaken by a State Agency or with express endorsement by a State Agency for the purposes of section 49 of the Development Act; and
- the development is certified as complying with the Building Rules; and
- the development is undertaken at a site identified by the Planning Minister by notice published in the Gazette; and
- the development is undertaken before 1 July 2020.
As for the battery storage exemption discussed above, the exemption also applies to infrastructure, structures, equipment and works associated with the temporary generation plant. This will include powerlines, poles and fences, fuel supply infrastructure and roads or other means of access to the development site.