Caring for the environment

Australia's electricity market is in transition to cleaner, renewable sources of energy as a necessary strategy to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Increasing renewable energy capacity and protecting local wildlife are both critically important and compatible objectives, it just requires careful planning and management, and the right approach.

This part of northern Queensland is blessed with national parks and wilderness, and avoiding and minimising impacts to local flora and fauna is a priority. The site is in two long held cattle grazing properties that include existing disturbed areas and access tracks that the project can utilise.

The project has been designed to avoid all direct impacts to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area to the north, and is about 1 km from the nearest areas of rainforest. Work to minimise the disturbance footprint is ongoing.

Ecological assessment

The proposal is subject to a rigorous and comprehensive environmental assessment process under both the state and federal governments.

Ecological assessment requirements for the Queensland Government's State Assessment and Referral Agency are prescribed in State code 23: Wind farm development .

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has determined the proposal to be a ‘controlled action’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and will assess the proposal through a Public Environment Report (PER), a multi-step process that encourages community participation. Epuron is due to submit a draft PER by Q2 2022, and after it has been accepted it will be placed on public exhibition.

The ecological assessment work has been done by teams of independent ecology specialists and included regional ecosystem mapping, field studies and surveys across multiple seasons and targeted investigations for key species. Locally based ecologists from Ravenshoe and Malanda have also been involved in ecological survey work at the site.

As the work has been done the project design has been refined and modified accordingly in consultation with ecological experts and key stakeholders. Epuron is committed to working closely with its ecology consultants and environmental scientists to develop strategies for a net positive outcome for the area’s biodiversity over the longer term.