Queensland’s Wind Farm Code under review

Line of wind turbines against beautiful blue and orange sky
Image: Nathan Rodriguez

The Queensland Government is reviewing the regulatory framework for wind farms in the state.

The review of the Wind Farm Code (State Code 23) and its accompanying guidelines will aim to build greater community and industry confidence in clean energy projects.

State Code 23 already includes requirements aimed at ensuring 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.

This is an opportunity to improve planning to manage possible adverse impacts on the natural environment, transport networks and noise levels. The proposed changes are open for community consultation from August 7 until September 4.

Related article: Industry blindsided by wind farm planning restrictions

The review is supported by the Queensland Conservation Council.

Queensland Conservation Council energy strategist Clare Silcock is a renewable energy engineer with 10 years experience in electricity market modelling, zero carbon transition planning and community energy development in London and Brisbane.

She said, “We can have both renewable energy and thriving biodiversity in Queensland. Making sure our planning frameworks deliver renewable energy and protect Queensland’s unique nature is the only way that we can reach a safe climate future. Better community engagement needs to be written into the planning frameworks so that all projects can deliver long-term benefits for Queenslanders.”

In Victoria, however, the Clean Energy Council said industry had been blindsided by planning restrictions imposed on the construction of Willatook Wind Farm, which set a “disastrous precedent” for future renewable energy development. that would jeopardise the state’s renewable energy and climate goals.

Related article: Queensland Budget allocates $19b for renewables transition

Victorian Planning Minister Sonya Kilkenny released recommendations that included widened turbine-free buffer zones for endangered brolga and bats, which would reduce the number of turbines and the farm’s energy output, along with a five-month moratorium on construction throughout the brolga breeding season.

“Industry are conscious of the importance of minimising the environmental impacts of clean energy projects, but without reform to approvals processes for these projects, we cannot effectively address the climate crisis that is threatening every single species and ecosystem on the planet,” Clean Energy Council director of energy generation and storage Dr Nicholas Aberle said.

“The Clean Energy Council are in ongoing discussions with the Victorian Government to discuss how these challenges can be solved, so that this unfortunate outcome does not occur again, with little or no forewarning.”

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