Talks may pave way to move solar farm
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Talks may pave way to move solar farm

Uriarra Village residents have been given their best hope yet of moving the proposed site of a solar farm, with the developer saying he will speak to the government about ways a switch could be achieved.

The major shift in rhetoric from Elementus Energy - the parent company of OneSun Capital, builders of the 26,100-panel farm - follows a meeting between managing director Ashleigh Antflick and more than 70 Uriarra Village residents at the weekend.

At the meeting - facilitated by Greens minister Shane Rattenbury - Mr Antflick said he would meet Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell to discuss any pathway to switching the site, but gave no promises a move would occur.

''As I said [at the meeting], I don't know of and expect there would be significant barriers to a pathway by which we could move the proposed site, but if there was a pathway I would consider it,'' Mr Antflick said.

''I would like to put on the record my thanks to everyone who has taken the time to provide their feedback to us, including those who have told me directly they do support the proposed location, and those who don't.''

Last month, Mr Antflick said there was ''no such thing as simply moving the site''. ''This whole piece of rhetoric is some of the bloody-mindedness [from residents] we are talking about - it's a simple tag line, [but] switch the site isn't an informed view.''

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Uriarra Village executive committee member David Fintan said the whole community was very happy to hear the developer say he could consider switching the site.

''We feel like we are finally being heard, after all our hard work progress is being made to achieve a win-win by shifting the site,'' Mr Fintan said.

''Uriarra Village as a whole supports the [ACT government's] renewable energy targets, and ensuring these large-scale developments which will likely be around for 20 or 30 years are well planned and take into consideration more than just zoning and developer's best price.''

Under the relevant notifiable instrument presented to the Legislative Assembly by Mr Corbell on August 28, OneSun Capital will be entitled to a feed-in tariff support payment worth a maximum $2.3 million annually if it is able to build its farm and provide the renewable energy it has planned.

One of the requirements was that the solar farm ''must be located on block 76 Coree'', rural land the company had sub-leased.

Mr Corbell said on Friday there had been no proposal to vary the deed of entitlement, and changes might create serious risks.

''While there are mechanisms for the deed of entitlement to be varied, subject to ministerial consideration, any proposed variation may raise significant probity and other risks, such as the cost to electricity consumers,'' he said.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher told ABC Radio the ACT government would "look into" developing best practice guidelines or making policy changes regarding site selection for solar farms.