Community & Business

26 April, 2024

Wind farm withdrawn

OPPONENTS of the Wooroora Station Wind Farm near Ravenshoe are breathing a collective sigh of relief after Ark Energy withdrew its controversial project from the federal assessment process which has been going on for three years.

Art Energy has withdrawn its proposal for the Wooroora Station Wind Farm near Ravenshoe.
Art Energy has withdrawn its proposal for the Wooroora Station Wind Farm near Ravenshoe.

In a statement, Ark Energy said it had withdrawn the wind farm proposal after receiving information from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) that it was likely not to be approved.

The project, formerly known as Chalumbin, has undergone many changes since its inception, with the original proposal involving 200 turbines, which was subsequently reduced to 86 before arriving at the 42-turbines the Federal department was assessing.

The project, which was to be located near to the Wet Tropics World-Heritage area, was referred to the DCCEEW for review in July 2021, having gained development consent by the Queensland Government. But the department has extended the due date for its determination five times – the most recent last week when it announced the decision date would be pushed back to 25 June.

On Friday, Ark Energy made the call to withdraw the project.

According to project lead Damian Vermey, the company had worked hard to put forward a proposal with minimum environmental impacts and industry-leading commitments.

“After consideration we have decided to withdraw the referral. A huge effort has been made to minimise the proposal’s environmental impacts and offer real potential for environmental net gains, but we have to accept the department may have a different view,” he said.

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

“We remain proud of the work done to reduce the proposal’s environmental impacts and the industry-leading commitments it included to achieve conservation benefits and net positive outcomes for the area’s ecology.

State Member for Hill Shane Knuth welcomed the news, saying he “couldn’t believe” the project gained initial approval from the Queensland Government despite being located right next door to World Heritage-listed rainforest.

“I am thankful however that the Fed’s used common sense to force the projects withdrawal,” he said.

“Ravenshoe is already surrounded by two wind farms including Kaban wind farm with 28 turbines at 220m high and Windy Hill wind farm with 20 turbines at 45m high.

“I ask anyone living in South-east Queensland whether they would like their community surrounded by these monstrosities. I doubt anyone would accept it, but the mood seems to be, ‘put them in regional communities so it’s not our problem’.”

A post on the Stop Chalumbin Wind Farm Facebook page welcomed the decision but expressed some uncertainty about what the future holds.

“We are awaiting further information on the specific details surrounding this withdrawal as there is a lot of speculation at the moment. The good - after three years of an epic David vs Goliath battle - for the moment at least we have won. 

“The development proposal can be re-submitted, so sadly this may not be the end of it, but for now a big relief and a sincere thanks to everyone who cared, stood up spread the world and said a collective ‘No’.”


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