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Another blow as Karara wind farm hits turbulence, renewable projects paused


All of a sudden, Queensland’s wind farm sector is in trouble with three major projects hit with significant delays.

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The Government-owned CleanCo was the latest to reveal a setback after delays at the Karara wind farm project in the Southern Downs renewable energy zone. Funds for the project have been reallocated indicating the delays could be significant.

It followed the stalling of Squadron’s massive $3 billion Clarke wind farm, which is now under a management review, while Windlab’s Upper Burdekin project had to scale back its size over environmental concerns and then had Apple scrap its highly publicised offtake agreement. All in the space of three months.

More than 56 turbines were dropped from the Upper Burdekin plan in an attempt to avoid environmental impacts. It would still retain about 80 turbines.

“The development phase of the project has taken significantly longer than originally anticipated, and the project no longer meets the PPA’s milestone requirements,” the company said at the time.

The 103-megawatt Karara, which adjoins the separate $2 billion MacIntyre wind farm precinct, owned by Acciona, was understood to have hit connection delays.

CleanCo said that as a result of delays to the connection process – unrelated to Powerlink or the transmission network – it was “pausing the development of the Karara Wind Farm”.

“The $250m equity allocation will be repurposed towards other renewable energy project investments through the Queensland Government budget process which has allocated $500m for CleanCo to develop a portfolio of renewable energy projects in Central Queensland,” it said.

“CleanCo is continuing to explore alternate development options for the Karara Wind Farm.”

In the recent Budget, CleanCo was given a $171 million down-payment on the $500 million previously announced to support the development phase of new wind and solar projects in Central Queensland.

The Clarke project, owned by Andrew Forrest’s Squadron, has about 1 GW of wind power under construction and Squadron took over the development recently from Windlab, which is 75 per cent owned by Squadron.

“As part of the handover to Squadron Energy, we are briefly pausing work and doing a full project management review before on-site activity increases when component deliveries begin,” Squadron Energy chief executive Jason Willoughby told The Australian recently.




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