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Tablelands wind farm approval delayed until December

A delay in the approval process for the Mt Emerald wind farm will provide greater certainty the $380 million project won’t negatively impact the Tableland site.

The Federal Government has extended its assessment time frame for the environmental approval of the proposed farm, to allow for further technical analysis and consultation by the Department of Environment.

The department was due to make a decision about the alternative energy project last month, but that has now been pushed back to December.

The wind farm, to be built at Walkamin, includes up to 63 turbines to potentially generate enough electricity to power 75,000 homes.

The development is a joint venture between Ratch Australia and local property developer Port Bajool.

It was granted state planning approval in April.

Ratch business development general manager Anil Nangia said federal environmental approval was the final hurdle in the planning process.

“The Mt Emerald Wind Project has involved more than four years of consultation with regulatory authorities and local communities, and has involved detailed research with over 8000 man hours of on-site field work.” he said.

“In addition to our comprehensive EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) submission, Ratch has since conducted additional studies requested by the Department of Environment and we are currently working together to provide greater certainty that a large-scale wind farm can be built without major disturbances to the local environment.”

He said the project would significantly boost Queensland’s renewable energy ­credentials.

“Of the 3500 mW of wind generation capacity currently in the country, Queensland only supplies around 12mW, from Ravenshoe and Thursday Island,’’ he said. “Our vision to deliver this project and cleaner energy future for Queensland is very much aligned with the State Government, which is vigorously pursuing plans to generate 50 per cent of the State’s electricity from renewable energy by 2030.”

The project has faced stiff local opposition for about four years from residents concerned about potential adverse health and environmental effects from the turbines.