In a statement on 26 March 2020, Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad announced that state-owned generator CleanCo are set to build a wind farm near Warwick as part of a huge new precinct that will generate 400 jobs and provide enough renewable energy to power 700,000 homes.
Once completed, this wind farm will be the first new renewable energy generation in Queensland in 20 years.
The wind farm
CleanCo’s publicly owned 100 megawatt wind farm will be part of the renewable energy giant ACCIONA’s MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct on the Southern Downs. This precinct will consist of 180 turbines and provide more than one gigawatt of new renewable energy to Queensland’s electricity network.
On top of the 100 megawatts generated from its 18 turbines, CleanCo will also buy another 400 megawatts of new renewable energy from ACCIONA on behalf of Queenslanders.
The wind farm will be located on 36,000 hectares of leased land approximately 50km south-west of Warwick. This site is currently used for sheep farming and was chosen due to its exposure to consistent winds across the land.
“As one of the largest onshore wind farms in the southern hemisphere, the MacIntyre Precinct will have far-reaching and long-lasting social and economic benefits locally, and for the whole state,” Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said.
This wind farm precinct will help reduce carbon emissions by providing sustainable and renewable energy on a large scale – enough to power 700,000 Queensland homes.
With an operating life of more than 30 years, this project is expected to generate 400 jobs in regional Queensland between its construction and ongoing operational work.
During construction, it is estimated that the local spend in the Southern Downs and Darling Downs will be more than $500 million, providing significant economic activity in these areas.
Further, a community enhancement program will be established as part of the project to deliver added value to the region.
The MacIntyre wind farm is currently in its development phase.
ACCIONA plans to submit a development application in mid-2020 to the State Assessment and Referral Agency seeking a development permit to allow for the construction and eventual operation of the wind farm.
Construction is expected to begin in mid-2021 and will take 18 to 24 months to complete, with the first power generation anticipated in mid-2022 and the complex fully operational by 2024.
Construction will include the 180-turbine wind farm as well as ancillary infrastructure such as an on-site substation, overhead transmission line and potential for energy storage.
State-owned enterprise Powerlink has already commenced work on the 64km overhead transmission line required to connect the MacIntyre Precinct to Queensland’s energy grid, a task that will support up to 240 jobs.
Holding Redlich’s Renewable Energy Group has extensively represented stakeholders across all aspects of the renewable energy sector – including wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric infrastructure, and within regulatory, commercial and technical framework which underpins the development of renewable projects. For more details about our experience and expertise, please click here.
Authors: Gerard Timbs & Lucy Kaiser
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Published by Gerard Timbs, Lucy Kaiser