Wind turbines on hills near Ararat in Victoria. Picture: News Corp
Wind turbines on hills near Ararat in Victoria. Picture: News Corp

Documents released for $250m CQ wind farm

Proponents of a ridge-top wind farm near Biloela say their project will have "no significant" impact on the environment.

Environmental documents for the Banana Range Wind Farm have been lodged with the Federal Government, listing two vulnerable species.

A single greater glider and the white-throated needletail bird were spotted in the project area on the Banana Range, 20km west of Biloela, during animal surveys.

The Corben's long-eared bat was also thought to be present but its call is hard to distinguish.

Another 166 non-threatened species including 18 mammals, 13 types of microbat, eight butterfly species and 117 varieties of bird were also recorded.

The submission to the Department of Environment reveals the greater glider, in particular, would be affected by land-clearing.

However project proponent Lacour said impacts would be mitigated through a management plan to limit the removal of trees with hollows and install nesting boxes.

Lacour is proposing a $250million to $350 million wind farm with up to 51 turbines producing 180MW - enough to power about 120,000 homes.

The site has been chosen for its cost-saving proximity to Powerlink transmission lines and distance from residences.

Lacour director James Townsend said three landholders had agreed to host turbines on properties which have been heavily grazed and cleared over the years.

Another four landholders border the wind farm. Mr Townsend said all residents within 5km had been consulted and were "generally supportive".

He said no homes would be within 2.5km of a turbine (the State Government minimum requirement is 1.5km).

Mr Townsend said a number of steps were being undertaken simultaneously as the company sought approvals before it hoped to begin construction in late 2020.

Applications were lodged in July with the State Government for a material change of use and land clearing followed by environment paperwork submitted to the Federal Government in late August.

"We are not sure which way they will go but we are confident there will be no significant impact on species," Mr Townsend said.

"I don't think there is any reason to reject it but they can always ask for more information."

Mr Townsend said feasibility studies into economics and resources were also continuing and wind tests would be ramped up over the next year.

A shop front would be established in Biloela to continue informing the community, he said.

Two public exhibitions will be held on September 24 in Biloela and September 25 in Banana.

More information can be found at www.bananarangewindfarm.com.au

BANANA RANGE WIND FARM FACTS

Turbines: 51

Power output: 180MW (enough each year to power 120,000 homes)

Host landholders: 3

Neighbouring landholders: 4

Turbine blade length: up to 250m

Turbine Height: up to 170m

Construction start: December 2020

Project life: December 2060.



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