Where is the project?The project site is located approximately 6km northwest of Ravenshoe and extends northwest towards Kaban. The project site covers an approximately 450-hectare area. Below is the preliminary concept design that Neoen presented at our Community Open Day held in Ravenshoe. The proposed main access to the project site is located on the eastern side of the project via Condon Road and Hollands Road
Who will assess the project?The Development Application for the project will be assessed by the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA), who will assess whether the project complies with the Queensland Wind Farm State Code. The State Code provides assessment criteria for issues including electromagnetic interference, shadow flicker, flora and fauna, traffic and access, visual impact and noise.
Has Neoen consulted with aviation authorities?Neoen consults with aviation authorities across all of our projects to identify and avoid any risks to air operations. As the turbines proposed for the Kaban site have a tip height of over 150m, Neoen is required under the Queensland Wind Farm State Code to consult with a number of aviation authorities. Neoen has consulted with Airservices Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Department of Defence and the Royal Flying Doctor Service in relation to the Kaban project.
How long is the community engagement process open for?As an owner and operator of our projects, Neoen continues to consult with communities throughout the development, construction and operation stages of our projects. Local residents can provide feedback to the project team via a number of ways:
Do wind farms cause property values to decrease?Studies into the potential impact of wind farm developments on property prices, including by the NSW Valuer-General (2009) and Urbis (2016), have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to suggest that wind farms can be linked to adverse impacts on property prices.
Do wind turbines affect animals?Neoen built and operates the Hornsdale Wind Farm across numerous properties near Jamestown in South Australia. Stock including sheep and cattle take a couple of days to get used to wind turbines, then are very comfortable with them – they rub up against turbines and use the shade from the towers during summer. The farmers at Hornsdale have not reported any ill effects from the project on other animals such as horses and dogs. Wind turbines pose a low threat to birds, as very few birds fly at blade height.
Are there any health risks associated with wind farms?There are nearly 200,000 wind turbines across sites all over the world – many of them close to people’s houses. Some 17 reviews of research literature conducted by leading health and research organisations from all over the world, including the World Health Organisation, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Centre, the UK Health Protection Agency and the US National Research Council, have concluded that there is no published evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects.
Will cultural heritage be impacted by the project?At all times, Neoen will comply with Queensland legislation, including laws regarding the protection of cultural heritage. Neoen has conducted a cultural heritage assessment, and will also consult with local Aboriginal groups to ensure that cultural heritage is protected.
Will there be an impact on flora and fauna?On all of its projects, Neoen aims to minimise the impact on local flora and fauna by designing its projects to avoid areas of high conservation significance, and adopting control measures during our construction process. Neoen engaged specialist consultants to undertake detailed flora and fauna surveys of the Kaban site in December 2016 and January 2017 to determine the ecological attributes of the land, and prepare a flora and fauna assessment. The flora assessment recorded a range of species, vegetation communities and habitat values. Neoen has designed the project layout to avoid ‘of concern’ regional ecosystems, and has changed the project design to limit the amount of vegetation clearing required. This has been achieved by moving proposed cables to run alongside access tracks. Additionally, wind turbines will be micro-sited to minimise the amount of clearing required. The fauna assessment found that the project is likely to have a low risk of potential impact to birds and bats recorded in the study area. The assessment recorded four conservation significant fauna species in the vicinity of the project site, including the ghost bat, greater glider, magnificent brood frog and the spectacled flying fox. The current design has been designed to avoid fauna habitat as much as possible. During the detailed design, wind turbines will be micro-sited to minimise the potential impact on fauna habitat. Other mitigation measures include preparing management plans, identifying “no-go zones” within the project site and conducting pre-clearance surveys.
Will noise affect local residents?Neoen has engaged an expert noise consultant to conduct background noise monitoring and prepare a noise impact assessment. At all times, Neoen will comply with the requirements in the Queensland Wind Farm State Code and its planning guideline. This includes the acoustic criteria for host and non-host lots:
- On host properties, the outdoor night-time acoustic level will not exceed 45dB(A) or the background noise by more than 5dB(A);
- On non-host properties, the outdoor night-time acoustic level will not exceed 35dB(A) or the background noise by more than 5dB(A). The outdoor day-time acoustic level will not exceed 37dB(A) or the background noise by more than 5dB(A).
Who will pay for any road upgrades required?Neoen will commit to paying for any upgrades to government or Tablelands Regional Council roads required for transporting wind turbine components to the site. Neoen will also pay for any electrical transmission upgrades necessary to connect and operate the project in the Queensland electricity grid.
How will the project benefit the local community?
- Represents a total investment of $300m: approximately half of this investment will cover Queensland goods and services, adding $150m of value directly to the Queensland economy.
- Has committed to establishing a Community Fund to fund local projects and initiatives over the 30-year life span of the project. Neoen welcomes feedback from the community on how the fund should be administered, which towns should be involved and what issues are important. Please share your thoughts with us via email@example.com or by completing the community feedback form on the project website.
- Has the ability to reduce power prices in Queensland. Renewable projects like Kaban are the cheapest means of generating electricity.
How many jobs will the project create?The project is anticipated to generate 150 jobs during construction and 5 permanent positions. Neoen’s aim is to maximise the amount of local labour on the project. Already, we have had an enthusiastic response from local businesses and individuals interested in employment opportunities. The project will require a range of capabilities including in engineering, trades (electrical, mechanical, construction), transport, building material providers, administration, heavy vehicle operators and environmental consultants. We encourage local residents interested in being involved in the project to contact the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the size of the project we will select an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor as the head contractor. Once we select our EPC contractor, we will organise meetings with local contractors to discuss employment opportunities on the project.
What will be the life cycle of the wind farm?It is anticipated that the wind farm will operate for 25-30 years. At the end of this period, Neoen may replace some of the equipment and extend the project for a further period. Regardless of whether the project life is extended or not, at the end of the project life Neoen will be responsible for removing all infrastructure and rehabilitating the project site.
When will the project be constructed and how long will it take to build it?Neoen anticipates that construction will begin in late 2018 and take place over a 12 to 18-month period. A Construction Environment Management Plan (CEMP) will be prepared prior to construction, which will include measures to manage issues such as dust, erosion and fire risk.
How do wind turbines work?Wind turbines are designed to convert wind into mechanical energy by rotating the turbine blades. The mechanical energy is converted into electricity via a generator in the nacelle, which can be sent directly to the grid. The power generated by the turbine is proportional to the wind speed cubed. As an example, a wind turbine in a 8m/s wind will produce about 8 times as much electricity as a wind turbine in a 4m/s wind. This means that the correct placement of turbines in high and consistent wind areas is very important to achieve the lowest cost power generation for consumers. In this respect, Kaban has one of the best wind resources in Queensland and will make a meaningful contribution to lower power bills across the state once in operation.
How tall will the wind turbines be?The wind turbines used at the site will have a maximum tip height of 240m and a maximum rotor diameter of 170m. Current wind turbines on the market have a tip height of approximately 210m. Turbines of these heights are industry standard and are currently being permitted and installed at many wind farms across Australia. Neoen is seeking approval for turbines up to 240m to allow for advances in wind turbine technology over the next 12-18 months. Generally speaking, larger turbines generate more energy, are spaced further apart and have lower rotational speeds than smaller turbines. Wind turbines planned for Kaban will comply with all provisions of the Queensland Wind Farm State Code and all State and National laws. The State Code is freely available to the public and can be downloaded at https://www.dilgp.qld.gov.au/planning/land-use-planning/wind-farm-state-code.html