The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by UPC Robbins Island Pty Ltd for the Jim's Plain Renewable Energy Park in Circular Head Council area.
The project involves construction and operation of up to 31 wind turbines with a generating capacity of 200 megawatts (MW) and a solar array with a generating capacity of up to 40 MW of electricity. It also involves construction of ancillary infrastructure such as a substation, roads and underground cabling.
The Chair of the EPA Board, Mr Warren Jones, said that the Board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The Board requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by Circular Head Council.
“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly management of threatened fauna species, including avifauna and roadkill impacts to terrestrial fauna," said Mr Jones.
“Conditions have been imposed to ensure appropriate management practices are in place during the construction and operation of the wind farm to reduce the risk of impact to threatened fauna," he said.
Nine representations were received in relation to the permit application, raising issues such as the absence of information on the transmission of electricity from the Jim's Plain site, impacts from traffic generation during construction, and impacts to the visual amenity. The proposal was referred to the Board in July 2019 and public consultation was open for a 53 day period from 7 December 2019.
The proposal was considered by the Board in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).
The functions of the Board are to administer and enforce the provisions of EMPCA, to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives and, in particular, to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania.
The Board undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of EMPCA.
The Board's environmental assessment report, including the environmental conditions, has been have been forwarded to the Circular Head Council for review of planning issues prior to making a decision as to whether a permit is to be granted.
The decision by the EPA Board can be viewed on the EPA website here.