In an attempt to strive towards clean energy projects and community and industry confidence, the Queensland Government is reviewing the Wind Farm Code (State Code 23) and the relevant guidelines to implement more wind farms throughout the state.
State Code 23 already includes requirements aimed at ensuring that wind farms are designed and operated to minimise adverse impacts on the natural environment, ecological processes, visual amenity, air services, transport networks and noise levels.
The Wind Farm Code and accompanying guidelines will be reviewed to:
- Better protect areas of high ecological and biodiversity value
- Protect the Great Barrier Reef from the impact of construction
- Identify and assess viable haulage routes upfront
- Bring acoustic criteria into line with current best practice approaches
- Highlight rehabilitation requirements and expectations
- Require proponents to investigate the impact their construction will have on local workforces and accommodation
The State Code guideline will be amended to reflect these changes and to provide clarity on how to frame and support applications, to align with the code.
Under Queensland’s current planning laws, the State Government already assesses all wind farm applications through its State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA).
SARA has assessed and approved a number of wind farms in Queensland in recent years, but the rollout of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan means more opportunities are being presented than ever before.
The proposed changes will be open for community consultation from Monday 7 August until Monday 4 September.
Queensland Deputy Premier, Steven Miles, said that the state is leading the renewable energy revolution and wind farms are helping power this transformation.
“Queensland has some of the world’s best wind resources that can be harnessed to power hundreds of thousands of homes with cleaner and cheaper energy,” Mr Miles said.
“Our Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan will unlock more investment and economic growth and generate more good jobs in our regions than ever before.
“To support this progress, we need clear and predictable regulatory frameworks.”
Mr Miles said that the Queensland Government committed to a review of the planning framework for renewable energy development and is delivering on it.
“We have listened to the community, and worked with other government agencies, local councils and stakeholders to establish the issues to be addressed in the review.
“Wind farms in Queensland already undergo a thorough assessment process.
“This review is designed to strengthen those protections for communities and the environment, while creating certainty and clarity for industry with clearer benchmarks for managing environmental and construction impacts.”
Queensland Minister for Energy and Renewables, Mick de Brenni, said that the State Government wants to strike the right balance as the clean energy transformation continues.
“It’s a necessary step to build certainty and confidence of the community, industry and investors in clean energy projects,” Mr de Brenni said.
“Improving co-existence of renewable energy projects with other land uses, in particular those with strong environmental and agricultural values will benefit all parties.”