📍 Power scheme proposes to clear World Heritage Daintree Rainforest
📍The millions of dollars this will cost is better spent on standalone solar and battery systems
The proposed power grid for north of the Daintree intends to run the cable underground on an unformed Douglas Shire Council road reserve. This road reserve is covered with kilometres of high-value rainforest along its route. Laying the underground cable will require clearing the World Heritage-listed rainforest along this reserve as well as requiring extensive earthworks due to the very steep terrain so the cable laying machinery can get access.
The road reserve was created around 1899 however was never used. In 1954 the Douglas Shire Council started the construction of the current road over the Alexandra Range to Baileys Creek. They had use a different route as the road reserve was too steep and impractical to use. Consequently the road reserve has remained as lines on a map.
As can seen from the image above, this proposed route goes through kilometres of high value World Heritage-listed rainforest that would need to be cleared. The steep terrain will require extensive earthworks so that machinery can be operated safely without tipping over. This clearing of irreplaceable high conservation value biodiversity will leave a massive scar through the Daintree Rainforest.
The cost of the clearing, massive earthworks and laying kilometres of cable will be millions of dollars. This prohibitive cost of clearing and earthworks would need to be budgeted for in the ‘business plan’ for the project. That cost in itself, even without the environmental destruction being taken into consideration, is entirely unsustainable. The money would be better used as Federal Government grants to assist the existing residents to upgrade their standalone solar and battery systems. This would ensure that the overwhelming majority of residents would be able to meet their power needs all year without using back-up generators.
[FEATURED IMAGE credit Google Images]
Some of the comments by the pro-development brigade are a gross misrepresentation of the truth. They are not direct drilling the cable for kilometres under the Alexandra Range. The proposed direct drilling is only for the 300 metres Wet Tropics World Heritage section in the map above. Kilometres of road reserve through the high diversity Daintree rainforest in the National Park leading up to this section will need to be cleared and have extensive earthworks for machinery to lay the cable underground along the reserve and to get the drilling machinery up the very steep slopes to the Wet Tropics World Heritage section to bore the hole under it.