It’s the massacre of Australian wildlife no-one wants to talk about.
But the reality is for every wind turbine that’s built in Australia, there’s a grim body count that follows.
It’s almost a contradiction in terms; wind is at the centre of Australia’s optimistic goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
But the unique wildlife Australians hope to protect by reducing emission and thereby slowing global warming, including wedge-tail eagles, falcons, magpies and other birds and animals, are falling victim to wind farms throughout the nation every day.
Meanwhile, other wind farms are being built in prime koala habitat, meaning some will starve and die.
The detail comes from the reports of billionaire Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest’s Squadron Energy, the biggest provider of renewables in Australia, in which wild farm operators must provide the ‘carcass reports’ of dead wildlife.
Squadron has a portfolio of 11 wind farms throughout Victoria and NSW, as well as the Clarke Creek site in Queensland, which is up to the second stage of development.
And while the company has repeatedly expressed a commitment to protecting wildlife, compulsory carcass reports posted by each wind farm during the early stages of development indicate that is not always possible.
The reality is for every wind turbine that’s built in Australia, there’s a grim body count that follows
Squadron has a portfolio of 11 wind farms throughout Victoria and New South Wales , as well as the Clarke Creek site in Queensland (pictured), which is up to the second stage of development
The carcasses of noble wedge-tailed eagles (pictured) and falcons have been found near wind turbines
A biodiversity management plan for Clarke Creek notes the project may result in the destruction of up to 1,513 hectares of koala habitat.
In addition to habitat loss, there have already been mass bird and bat casualties on these wind farms due to collisions with turbine blades and throughout vegetation clearing processes, and that number is only expected to rise further.
Bango Wind Farm in south-west NSW detailed a carcass count from September 2022 to August 2023, during which six wedge-tailed eagles, one peregrine falcon, six magpies and 10 dead bats were found.
And at Crudine Ridge Wind Farm, in northwest NSW, 19 dead bats were found, along with five wedge-tailed eagles, two falcons and five kestrels.
Clarke Creek also had a ‘fauna euthanasia’ clause, which vividly detailed how ‘blunt force trauma’ should be administered to injured koalas which could not be saved.
Squadron Energy said in a statement they have ‘a zero-harm policy for native animals and holds itself to the highest environmental standards.
‘No koala has been injured or killed during construction of the Clarke Creek Wind Farm and clearing for stage one is 60 per cent complete.
Billionaire Andrew ‘ Twiggy ‘ Forrest is Australia’s largest owner of renewable power projects – Squadron Energy
‘We have experienced wildlife officers on site who conduct assessments 24 hours before work starts and monitor and supervise work as it occurs, to prevent injury to fauna. They are qualified to respond to fauna encounters and relocate animals if required.
‘In the unlikely event of injury—any animals encountered must be assessed for injury to determine whether the animal requires further treatment and care by a vet or wildlife carer.’
The biodiversity management report details how ‘euthanasia’ should be carried out using ‘blunt force trauma’ when a dying animal can’t be saved.
‘This is a hard, sharp blow to the base of the back of the skull with a blunt metal or heavy wooden bar,’ the report stated.
The report was written prior to March 2022, when Mr Forrest’s Squadron Energy acquired the project, and was signed off by the then Coalition government, under Scott Morrison.
Australians were horrified by revelations that Clarke Creek also had a ‘fauna euthanasia’ clause which vividly detailed how ‘blunt force trauma’ should be administered to injured koalas which could not be saved
Bango Wind Farm in south-west NSW detailed a carcass count from September 2022 to August 2023, during which six wedge-tailed eagles (stock image pictured), one peregrine falcon, six magpies and 10 bat species’ corpses were found
Michelle Landry, the Liberal Party MP for Central Queensland electorate Capricornia, said she was ‘horrified’ by the Clarke Creek Wind Farm proposal.
‘203 animal species have been identified in the region where these wind farms are being constructed. It is prime habitat for Koalas, Greater Gliders and Squatter Pigeon.’
She described the fauna euthanasia clause as ‘absolutely sickening’.
Ms Landry said local grazier Glen Kelly warned ‘there is going to be dozens upon dozens of animals killed and maimed in this process’.
‘There is areas in the region where there is cleared land. Why is this not used instead of knocking down the habitat of our native animals?,’ he argued.
Squadron has committed to providing a third of the clean energy the Labor government needs to hit the targeted 82 per cent renewables on the grid by 2030.
Australia has committed to growing its renewable energy sector, with more than 300 wind farm projects currently operating, under construction or proposed throughout the nation, according to the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner.
Meanwhile the Coalition advocates an ‘all of the above’ approach which would combine the use of small doses of nuclear alongside renewable energy, to keep prices down.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton is expected to take a nuclear energy policy to the next election.
Just last week, Energy Minister Chris Bowen slammed the nuclear proposal as ‘a fantasy wrapped in a delusion, accompanied by a pipe dream’.
He said nuclear energy ‘would not move the dial at all’ on transitioning to renewables and described the support from the Coalition as ‘an attempt at a distraction’.