Mount Emerald Wind Farm
Mt Emerald Wind Farm is a ‘greenfield wind farm development’ meaning that the land upon which the wind farm is located has had no previous commercial land-use.
Development has been approved for up to 63 turbines at this site – however only 53 are to be constructed. A reduction in the number of turbines from the original proposed 75, is a result of:
- community consultation and site assessment;
- discussion with government and other key stakeholders;
- to locate the turbines to avoid quoll habitat, and move some turbines from prominent ridgelines to reduce the visual and cultural heritage impact of the site works.
Project at a Glance
- Estimated Construction Cost ~ $380 – $400 Million.
- Estimated Annual Generation will be 500-600 GWh per annum, which will generate electricity to power the average use of 75,000 – 90,000 homes (1/3 of homes in FNQ)
- Approximately 40km of new site roads will be required to bring the turbines to site safely, and to connect the turbines once constructed.
- To enable connection to the existing 275kV NEM Powerlink Transmission line, which traverses the site, a new 33/275kV substation and switching yard will be constructed. Adjacent to the sub-station, a dedicated on-site O&M compound and control room will also be built for RATCH operational staff.
The land comprises 2400Ha, whose orientation and elevation make it ideal as a wind farm.
- It has an excellent wind resource
- There are relatively few residences near the site
- It is close to the electricity grid, reducing the length of the transmission line
- EIS studies show minimal environmental and social impact
The site land is a rough plateau (elevation 900m) elevated approx 300m above the surrounding plains and is comprised of sparse natural scrubland with some rocky outcrops. The property is currently not used for any particular activity. The surrounding land is predominantly used for agriculture and grazing. The local landmark, Mt Emerald (elevation 1122m) is roughly 2km from the southern boundary of the site.
Environmental Approval Documents
The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed Mount Emerald Wind Farm (numbered EPBC 2011/6628 by the Australian Government Department of the Environment) has now been finalised. In accordance with Section 103(3) of the EPBC Act, a draft EIS was released for public comment from 28 May 2014 and 2 July 2014. The period for comment is now closed.
The EIS has been finalised taking account of the comments received. The proposed action is a controlled action under the EPBC Act. The controlling provisions are:
• Listed threatened species and ecological communities (section 18 & 18A)
• Listed migratory species (s20 & s20A)
• World heritage properties (sections 12 & 15A)
• National Heritage places (sections 15B & 15C)
Should assistance be required to view the above documentation please contact RATCH-Australia Corporation Limited via the details above.
Development Application Approval Documents
Development Approval conditions have been developed by the Queensland and Commonwealth governments after review of the EIS submitted in 2015.
Ongoing environmental monitoring, during and after construction, will ensure compliance to approval conditions and the commitments made by RATCH Australia to protect the area and its environmental and social values. To complement these measures, a large offset block has been purchased by RATCH Australia Corporation immediately adjacent to the site and permanently protected as part of the Approval process.
The Offset Block is chosen to protect an area much larger than the area likely to be disturbed during construction of the wind farm. It is chosen according to defined criteria, including that it has similar vegetation and habitat to the area to be impacted by construction of the turbine pads and access roads; and can provide an alternative habitat for fauna during and after construction. The area will be protected into the future to maintain its integrity as an undisturbed area of similar land to the wind farm site.
Other DA documentation, available for download:
Local procurement has commenced, with: • Koppens and Mareeba Crane Hire constructing the concrete culvert to protect the irrigation channel during December 2016. • A new vehicle purchased from Mareeba Toyota, January 2017 • Contracting of the MBarBarrum Aboriginal Corporation to undertake Cultural Heritage surveys and assist with environmental surveys during the entire construction period.…
Project and Compliance Updates
Early works commenced February 14th on the transport depot laydown area at the base of the site. All pre-start UXO, Cultural Heritage and Environmental surveys have been conducted to verify the site is ‘ready to go’. Flagging of works area has occurred to limit the extent of clearing, in preparation for pad establishment. Letters of…