Critically endangered orange-bellied parrots might be put at risk by a planned Circular Head wind farm, the federal Environment Department has been told.
“ … the proposed development may have a significant impact on the orange-bellied parrot, considering the potential for collision with wind turbines,” documents provided to the department by Jims Plain wind farm proponent UPC Renewables said.
“There have been two sightings of this species within 5 kilometres of the project area and none within 1 kilometre.”
The documents said there was potential for the parrots to fly over the site during migration.
“Potential operational impacts include collision with wind turbines and overhead transmission lines.”
The wild population of the parrots was put at just 14 earlier this year.
They breed in Tasmania’s South-West in summer and migrate up the West Coast towards the mainland for winter.
The documents said they were usually found within 5 kilometres of the coast when migrating, and the project was just outside the migration pathway at about 10 kilometres from the North-West and the West coasts.
Jim’s Plain is the smaller of two significant Circular Head wind farms being worked towards by UPC, expected to cost $1.2-1.8 billion in total
The other will be on Robbins Island, off the Circular Head coast.
Jim’s Plain was expected earlier this year to be investment ready by 2018, and Robbins Island was targeted to be ready for investment by early 2019, with the latter expected to provide about 250 construction jobs and more than 50 ongoing jobs.
The Jim’s Plain development would involve up to 40 wind turbine generators, overhead transmission infrastructure and a substation, among other things.
It would be expected to have an operating life of 25-30 years.
The documents said it was at a distance from possible conflicting land uses, and about 6 kilometres from the nearest dwelling.
They estimated construction would take about 18 months from the start of 2020.
Assessment would be expected to be done at state level, possibly involving Commonwealth conditions.
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