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Proposed Mt Emerald wind farm project in question – ‘right project, wrong place’

The Wildlife Protection Society of Queensland and the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre both said they welcomed renewable energy initiatives.

But they question whether the Great Dividing Range between Mareeba and Atherton is the best place for the 75-turbine project costing $520 million.

Wildlife Queensland said it was the “right project in the wrong place” and Cafnec said the proposed location was “not an ideal location” for any large scale development.

Their criticism of the site comes after wind farm developer and operator, Ratch Australia, lodged an application with the Commonwealth Government under the Environmental Protection and Bio-diversity Conservation Act because of the potential impact on threatened species.

Among animals found on the 2400ha site are the endangered northern quoll and varieties of bats and birds.

Ratch has submitted a planning application with the Tablelands Regional Council.

In its December newsletter Wildlife Queensland said it supported sustainable, renewable, alternative energy supplies to fossil fuel driven sources.

However, Wildlife Queensland added that the proposed location posed significant threats to environmental, landscape and aesthetic values.

“This is the dilemma. Although Wildlife Queensland is a supporter of alternative green energy, it is difficult to support this project because of the potential threat,” Wildlife Queensland said.

Wildlife Queensland said it would be in a more informed position once it had had the opportunity to study and consider the EPBC referral.

Cafnec said that the Mt Emerald wind farm was aimed at improving sustainable energy supplies.

“Cafnec would argue that the proposed site is not an ideal location for any large scale development,” it said in its December issue of Ecotone.