Another big Tasmanian wind farm proposal has started its journey through the approvals process.
Sydney-headquartered renewable energy company Epuron wants to construct a wind farm comprising up to 80 turbines on privately owned land used for forestry at Guildford.
The project would be on both sides of the Ridgley Hwy, about 5 kilometres east of Waratah.
“The site is dominated by existing plantations and the majority of the proposed infrastructure will be located within these plantation areas to limit the clearance of native vegetation,” Epuron said in its Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act referral documentation sent to the federal Environment Department.
The department has opened the proposal up to public comment until October 14.
At this stage, Epuron said, the proposed turbines would be 160 metres tall, with 90 metre blades taking maximum height to 250 metres.
It said the preferred turbine model was not yet chosen.
“Indeed, technological advances in the wind energy space regularly result in new turbine options becoming available as a project progresses through design and approval processes,” it said.
“Preliminary investigations, including early stage wind monitoring since 2019 and eagle nest searches, have been undertaken and are informing the site layout.
“A minimum 1 kilometre buffer will be applied to all known eagle nest sites.”
The wind farm would link to an existing transmission line to the south or to TasNetworks’ proposed Staverton to Hampshire transmission line.
Epuron said it expected its project would be subject to Waratah-Wynyard Council and state government approval.
The department will decide if the proposal is a controlled action under the EPBC Act.
If it was, it would need federal approval, probably following a bilateral assessment process involving the state Environment Protection Authority.
The council would need to include conditions from the EPA in any approval of the project.
“As the referral is being undertaken early in the process, there is a degree of uncertainty around the ecological values that may occur on site and the potential for significant impact,” Epuron said.
“At this time, the proponent considers impacts to listed threatened species and migratory species may be significant and, therefore, this referral is submitted seeking a controlled action decision.”
It said the project area was known to provide habitat for the (endangered) Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle.
It said a nest search in May identified eight nests in the project area, three of which were found to be derelict.
Ten adult eagles were spotted.
“Further investigations are required and will be undertaken to characterise the use of the site by eagles, understand the potential for impact and determine mitigation measures,” Epuron said.
It said expected the project’s investigation phase could take up to two years of data collection.
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