Lotus Creek Wind Farm faced significant ecological constraints and potential approval issues. However, a collaborative approach and early identification of risks allowed for design modifications and communication with regulators to ensure project approval.
NGH was engaged by Epuron Pty Ltd (Epuron) to assist with the development of the Lotus Creek Wind Farm, a large-scale renewable energy project in the Isaac Regional Council Local Government Area, approximately 175 km north-west of Rockhampton, Queensland. The project involved the installation and operation of up to 55 wind turbines generators, which would require a combined development application for a material change of use and operational works, including vegetation clearing.
We provided renewable energy development planning and approvals, biodiversity and heritage services for the project, including the preparation of an EPBC referral for Matters of National Environmental Significance, and the review and provision of advice for Cultural Heritage Management Plans.
Minimising impacts by design
The site presented significant ecological constraints, which required extensive design considerations and modifications to minimise impacts. We identified that the initial project design may not receive EPBC Act approval due to potential unacceptable impacts.
The project site is located on State-owned land, which added complexities regarding landowner consent requirements. We took a collaborative approach with our client and identified key risks early in the process. The team provided recommendations to minimise risks to project approval and facilitated open and regular communication with regulators.
Our provided advice on project layout and design to assist the client in meeting required planning performance outcomes.
The original proposed layout was deemed “clearly unacceptable” following the first referral. Subsequently, when our team began working with our client, we helped update the project layout and found ways to minimise impacts.
Consultations were conducted with the Commonwealth Government, resulting in the project becoming a controlled action. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) provided positive feedback about the way the project responded to ecological values and Commonwealth comments.
The project is ongoing, and we continue to provide key support to ensure project approval is obtained. The collaborative approach with the client, open communication with regulators, and consultations with industry colleagues are vital in ensuring the success of the project.
Our extensive expertise in ecological and heritage services and dedication to delivering innovative solutions were instrumental in achieving positive outcomes for the Lotus Creek Wind Farm.
Contact Nick to learn more about developing plans for large-scale renewable energy projects