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Queensland snatches huge wind farm project, bringing 400 jobs

Business

The Government-owned CleanCo has stitched together a deal for a massive wind farm near Warwick that will deliver enough electricity for 700,000 houses.

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In a two-part deal, CleanCo will develop the state’s first renewable energy project in 20 years that will create 1 gigawatt of generation, 400 construction jobs and a local spend in the Warwick district of $500 million.

The second part of the deal includes CleanCo buying 400 megawatts of generation from the neighbouring Acciona wind farm.

CleanCo has yet to release the cost of its part of the project, but it will be from the $250 million it was granted in the last Budget in the Renewables 400 project, a scheme that has been delayed for several years while CleanCo is established.

The deal adds to growing list of renewable projects in Queensland, some stalled by issues with connecting to the grid. A renewable battery was announced earlier this year in nearby Chinchilla, but one has not been included in this project.

CleanCo’s generator will consist of 18 turbines with a capacity of up to 100 megawatts. Acciona was due to announce its details to the Spanish stock exchange today but it has planned for a 540MW wind farm with up to 120 turbines. The CleanCo deal for 400MW will mean a significant boost to that. About 200 turbines are now anticipated and the overall generation of the McIntyre Wind Farm precinct is expected to be 1 gigawatt.

The wind farm will be over a vast area of mostly state-owned land that has been used for sheep farming, which will be able to continue.

Early works are expected to start later this year, with construction scheduled to run from mid-2021 to 2024, with the precinct generating its first power from mid-2022.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad the entire focus of the Queensland Government is on protecting Queenslanders’ health, jobs and businesses over the next few months.

“But when we move into the recovery phase, we need shovel-ready projects that will support more jobs in more industries, especially in regional Queensland.

“This is what CleanCo is all about – building, owning and operating a wind farm of 18 turbines with the capacity to generate up to 100 megawatts of new renewable energy,” Trad said.

“On behalf of Queenslanders, CleanCo will also buy another 400 megawatts of new renewable energy from ACCIONA. The company will also deliver another 500 MW into the grid.

“CleanCo’s involvement in the MacIntyre Precinct has nearly doubled the size and capacity of the wind farm, with Queenslanders set to benefit from the addition of more than one gigawatt of new renewable energy to our electricity network—the equivalent to powering almost 700,000 homes.”

Minister for Energy Anthony Lynham said the project would mean jobs and business opportunities across the Southern Downs and Darling Downs.

“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,” Lynham said.

“The local spend on the Downs is forecast to be more than $500 million during construction,

“That’s jobs and business flowing into the southwest from later this year when early works start.”

Lynham said the 1026MW wind farm project was expected to be progressively connected to the statewide energy grid from 2022, with 64km of new powerlines connecting the wind farm to Queensland’s electricity network at Millmerran.

“State-owned Powerlink has already commenced working on the connection of the project to the grid, which on its own will support up to 240 jobs.”

ACCIONA Australia Energy managing director Brett Wickham said the company would not only generate up to 400 jobs over its lifetime but also deliver a Community Enhancement Program to deliver added value to the local community.

“The project is scheduled to begin construction in mid-2021, with a gradual start-up in phases to ensure connection to the grid with full technical guarantees for the state’s electricity system,” he said.

The entire MacIntyre complex will be operational in 2024.

 

 

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