Wooroora Station Wind Farm

Caring for the environment

Australia's electricity market is in transition to cleaner, renewable sources of energy as a necessary strategy to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Increasing renewable energy capacity and protecting local wildlife are both critically important and compatible objectives, it just requires careful planning and management.

The site was in a long held cattle grazing property already disturbed with access tracks, and containing a substation and high voltage powerline with capacity.

Based on more than 4,000 hours of ecology and survey work, and 3,000 hours of consultation with ecology stakeholders and the community, the project's design changed significantly over time to reduce environmental impacts to very low levels.

The final design with 42 wind turbines completely avoided most sensitive habitat areas including patches of intact wet sclerophyll forest contiguous with the world heritage area and all known magnificent brood frog habitat, and included a precautionary 1 km buffer to the wet tropics boundary.

Nature positive plan

The proposal included a suite of commitments to significantly improve potential habitat for protected species on private land adjacent to the world heritage area.

  • Rehabilitation of minimum 70% of the initial disturbance, focused on habitat for key species.
  • Salvage and relocation of denning hollows, with nest boxes and net bridges.
  • First Nations-led integrated pest management and fire management programs to manage widespread feral pests (pigs, dogs, cats) and invasive weeds (Lantana camara, Candy leaf, Siam weed).
  • 1,255 hectares of protected magnificent brood frog reserves and $250,000 for research to improve knowledge of the species.
  • Environmental offset management areas up to 24 times the size of the initial disturbance – to protect key patches of wet sclerophyll, improve connectivity between Koombooloomba National Park and Yourka Reserve Nature Refuge, and improve potential habitat for magnificent brood frog, northern greater glider, spectacled flying-fox, masked owl and koala.

After rehabilitation of the temporary construction disturbance the wind farm would have had an operational footprint of approximately 57.6 hectares.

Environmental assessment

The proposal was subject to a rigorous and comprehensive environmental assessment process by both the state and federal governments. Ecological assessment requirements for the Queensland Government are prescribed in State code 23: Wind farm development . The Australian Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water was due to assess the proposal through its Public Environment Report.

In April 2024 the proposal was withdrawn from the federal environmental assessment process.