Corangamite Shire Council will write to the planning minister opposing the 'ad hoc' nature of a $235 million battery energy storage system proposed for Terang.
Councillors unanimously voted to approve the draft letter addressed to Planning Minister Lizzie Blandthorn at a monthly meeting on Tuesday.
The move comes within proponent Tilt Renewables Pty Ltd's notice period.
The company wants to build 168 battery pack containers and multiple transformers, inverters and a capacitor bank at 500 Dalvui Lane, Terang.
The proposed battery storage system will adjoin the approved ACEnergy facility on the town's edge.
When under construction, the project is expected to create 165 full time equivalent jobs and a further 11 during operations.
While the council acknowledged its "significant infrastructure investment", the submission calls for clarity, strategic planning and improved coordination and direction associated with renewable energy proposals.
"No longer should ad hoc large-scale development occur in the absence of, or without alignment with strategic plans, along with state, regional and local priorities," the letter states.
"Unfortunately, Tilt remains silent in their planning application in relation to the delivery and implementation of any community benefits program. Release of such a program may assist in building a higher level of social licence for the BESS."
Two public drop-in information sessions were held by Tilt in Terang in February.
South-central ward councillor Jo Beard said she was "disappointed" just 10 people were engaged in a previous consultation process.
"I thought that was really quite minimal considering we're looking at an almost $235 million project," she said.
"I was also interested to note the community benefits program - there hasn't even been any acknowledgement of that."
Following the public notice process - ending July 27 - it's unlikely there will be any further engagement on the battery energy storage system before a planning decision is made by the minister.
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Central ward councillor Laurie Hickey clarified the council was not against renewables.
"Corangamite Shire views renewables as a priority, however there needs to be proper regulations and planning around these investments," he said.
"This is a big venture - $235 million. Without proper planning, land use could be used willy-nilly."
Deputy mayor Geraldine Conheady said developers were "taking advantage of" regional communities.
"We are currently experiencing a very ad hoc opportunistic and developer-led approach to renewables in the south-west, leaving our areas and communities open to a range of issues we must highlight to the minister," she said.
"There appears to be almost no long term perspective taken with renewables dramatically changing our rural landscapes.
"Developers are taking advantage of lack of state-wide planning and speculating where they please.
"We need strategic plans which align not just with state but regional and local priorities. There really needs to be far stronger regard for land use planning so the appropriate areas for renewable development can be identified.
"...Renewables planning must be much better than just blocking out a big swathe of land in the state on a map".
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