Ark Energy withdraws project from EPBC process

Project withdrawn from federal assessment process

Ark Energy has withdrawn the Wooroora Station Wind Farm proposal from the federal environmental assessment process.

The proposal was referred to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) for review under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in July 2021 and had been in the federal environmental assessment process for almost three years. Over that time it had been granted development consent by the Queensland Government, gone through major redesigns to reduce environmental impacts and DCCEEW had extended the due date for its decision five times, the latest extending the date to 25 June 2024.

According to project lead and Acting General Manager Development Queensland Damian Vermey, while Ark Energy had made every effort to minimise environmental impacts including industry-leading environmental commitments, indications from DCCEEW were that ultimately it was unlikely to be approved.

“After consideration we decided to withdraw the referral. A massive effort was made over many years to evolve a proposal that we believed offered significant benefits and environmental net gains, but we acknowledge others may have a different view," he said.

“We remain proud of all the work that was done to minimise environmental impacts as well as the proposal's industry-leading commitments to provide conservation benefits, net positive environmental outcomes, and meaningful benefits for the Traditional Owners and local community.

“We appreciate this outcome is also disappointing for all those supporters who were looking forward to the project, including the Traditional Owners, community members and local businesses.

“We sincerely thank the many stakeholders we have worked with over the course of this project, including environment organisations that helped guide design improvements, and of course all those who showed support for the project.”

The final proposal involved 42 wind turbines with an expected generation capacity of almost 300 megawatts to be located on Wooroora Station, a cattle-grazing property near Ravenshoe in the Atherton Tablelands region of north Queensland. The property, which already contains a substation and high voltage powerlines, is near national parks that form part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area.