Bick & Steele: Expert renewable energy lawyers


The planning approval pathway for large renewable energy (wind and solar) projects is guided by the provisions of the State Environment Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011 (SRD SEPP).

In this context, a project is 'large' if it has a Capital Investment Value (CIV) of more than $30M ($10M in environmentally sensitive areas).

The SRD SEPP categorises large renewable energy projects as 'State Significant Development' (SSD). While the Minister for Planning is nominally the consent authority for SSD, these projects are invariably determined by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) under delegation.

The SSD assessment and approval process is intended to 'roll up' a number of subsidiary approvals typically required for large scale development and provides that such approvals are either not required for approved SSD projects or cannot be refused if necessary to carry out an approved SSD project.

SSD projects are assessed under an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which must be prepared in accordance with the 'Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements' (SEARs). For Wind Projects, the SEARs will require consideration of the requirements of the Wind Energy Guideline.

Where a project is likely to have a significant impact on a 'Matter of National Environmental Significance' approval from the Commonwealth government will be required under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Smaller scale wind and solar projects which do not meet the CIV threshold for SSD, may be assessed and approved under one of the 'ordinary' planning approval pathways made available under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 (ISEPP).

How we can help

Based in Sydney, we assist clients across NSW to resolve complex legal issues arising with respect to renewable energy projects. At Bick & Steele, we can help you by:

  • advising you on the assessment and approval process under the SRD SEPP, the ISEPP, and the EPBC Act;

  • providing a legal review of the planning approval strategy and key assessment documents;

  • advising you on the planning approval modification process;

  • drafting and negotiating neighbour agreements;

  • representing you before the IPC; and

  • acting for you in relation to any legal challenge brought in respect of a wind or solar project.

Our experience

Examples of projects with respect to which our Directors have demonstrated their experience advising on these matters can be found here.

Contact us

To see how we can help you, please contact us.