The $380 million project is subject to 35 strict conditions to minimise its environmental impact. Six involve management of the bare-rumped sheathtail bat.
THE developers of Queensland’s largest wind farm on the Tablelands will look at installing a specialised radar to prevent a critically endangered species of bat colliding with turbine blades.
Joint venture partners Ratch Australia and Port Bajool have been granted final approval from the Federal Government to construct 63 turbines at Mt Emerald, near Walkamin.
The $380 million project is subject to 35 strict conditions to minimise its environmental impact. Six involve management of the bare-rumped sheathtail bat and the spectacled flying fox.
The developers have been ordered to evaluate the effectiveness of several management measures to mitigate the impacts of turbine collision on the two protected species.
The measures under review include changing the turbine’s cut-in speed (the wind speed at which turbines start generating electricity to the power grid) and installation of avian radar systems.
Ratch project director Terry Johannesen said the company would be examining several commercial systems to deter bat-strikes.
“We’ll look at whether there are commercially viable options out there,’’ he said.
“If there are, we will be trialling them.
“If there aren’t, we’ll look at other options for coming up to figure out where those species are and what’s their usage of the site.”
Spectacled flying foxes, a vulnerable species, eat fruit, while bare-rumped sheathtail bats are insectivores, and are critically endangered across the whole of Australia.
Tolga Bat Hospital co-ordinator Jenny Maclean said while there had been much work carried out overseas about mitigating the risk of flying fox strikes at wind farms, it would be difficult to determine whether there was any danger to the much smaller sheathtail bats.
“It’s pretty rough country,’’ Ms Maclean said.
“You wouldn’t necessarily find little insect-eating bats that were hit but you would probably find a flying fox.
“As long as they’re using best science, there’s been a lot of work done on how to reduce the toll on wind farms to birds and bats,” she said.