The site contains two existing dry water courses that during high rain events transport water across the site and provide natural drainage. They will be protected during construction and operation through strategies such as buffer zones and best practice sediment and erosion control.
Most of the water onsite will be provided by these natural sources. Rainwater tanks will be installed for bushfire management and ancillary use.
Flora and Fauna
Ecological assessments were completed as part of the development approval and design stages to identify ecologically significant flora and fauna, and establish protection and mitigation strategies.
Several significant fauna species potentially occupy the area. As such, the retention of large remnant woodland habitats is maximised through the design, and other best practices.
The wider property where Columboola Solar Farm is located has a healthy community of Acacia harpophylla, commonly known as Brigalow, along the northern section of the property that will be retained.
No specific endangered species are being directly disturbed. The presence of some protected species in the general area, albeit not seen on site to date, will be managed during clearing and site establishment.
A Bushfire Management Plan was completed to assess the risk to the site with assistance from the local Rural Fire Services.
Bushfire mitigation strategies include a bespoke 5000L tank for fire fighting, ongoing vegetation management within the Columboola Solar Farm and the creation of buffer zones – fire breaks and access tracks around the solar farm and main vegetated areas surrounding the site.
The visual impact of the solar farm on the surrounding environment is minimal given the generally flat grading of the site’s topography, and the low profile of the solar panels.
There are no sensitive receptors (dwellings or scenic views) in the visual region of the project.
The Columboola Solar Farm land is surrounded by large industrial operators including operating coal mines and numerous coal seam gas well pads and a gas-fired power station. It is also very close to the Powerlink Columboola Substation which has multiple transmission lines radiating in from the surrounding areas.