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Renewable Solar Farm panels on display in a field

Woolooga Solar Farm

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RPS’ ecology team has provided biodiversity assessments to support the development of Woolooga Solar Farm.

Challenge

Queensland continues to lead the way in sustainability with another clean energy solar farm in development.

Lightsource bp (LSbp) has secured approximately 650ha of pastoral land in Lower Wonga. Previously used predominantly for grazing, LSbp is building the Woolooga Solar Farm, an installation that will produce approximately 438,000MWh of clean energy each year. This is enough to power 63,158 homes per year and provides an offset of more than 350,400 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, comparable to taking more than 145,950 fuel-burning cars off the road.

Construction of the project began in June 2021, with commercial operation expected in the second half of 2022.

Before construction began, biodiversity management plans and offset management plans were required to be prepared to ensure conservation of the land and protection of vulnerable species, in particular, the grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) and koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) and alignment to the requirements of the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE).

Solution

RPS’ ecology experts have deep industry knowledge and experience supporting sustainable developments that allow, protect, and encourage local biodiversity.

Engaged by LSbp in early 2020, our team has employed a complex range of targeted surveys including on foot and night-spotting with the support of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology and koala and quoll detection dogs, to analyse potential impacts that the project’s development could have on the local biodiversity values.

Examining the land, our team delivered in-depth analysis along with:

  • Preliminary documentation including detailed ecological investigations and assessment of the biodiversity values present within the project's footprint, particularly focussing on the koala and grey-headed flying-fox

  • Biodiversity management plans

  • Peer review and report revisions of sub-consultants’ ecological assessments

  • An offset management plan that included offset calculations and assessments in accordance with the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Offset Policy.

Recommendations included active land management and protective zoning of vegetative areas to mitigate any significant impacts to land and local species. As part of this, an area of approximately 200ha within the project landholding has been designated as an offset site where habitat enhancement and ongoing management measures will be in place for Koalas and Grey-headed Flying foxes.

Construction of the project is expected to be complete in the second half of 2022. With RPS recommendations integrated, Woolooga Solar Farm will provide a healthy environment for local species to co-exist with the more than 400,000 solar panels producing clean sustainable energy.

650   ha

Section of land assessed

438000   MWh

Of clean, renewable electricity produced each year

3

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