Ratch Australia Corporation, the developer of the Mount Emerald Wind Farm near Mareeba in far North Queensland, has chosen its contractor for the project.

Subject to necessary approvals, construction of the $360 million wind farm will be undertaken by Vestas and Downer Group.

Vestas is a global leader in wind energy technology and service solutions, and Downer is a leading Australian engineering and construction company with substantial experience in wind farm project delivery.

Long term operations and maintenance services for the project will also be carried out by Vestas.

The contract announcement follows Ergon Energy’s decision in May 2016 to purchase all of the electricity generated by the wind farm through to the end of 2030.

In addition, the project received approval from both the Queensland and Australian governments in 2015, following four years of on-the-ground studies.

Ratch Business Development Manager, Anthony Yeates, said the EPC tender process had been exhaustive and global in its scale but the preferred tenderer had been selected based on Vestas’ vast experience in wind projects around the world and on Vestas and Downer’s successful track record of project delivery in Australia.

“This is the latest in a number of recent announcements for the project that will hopefully see boots on the ground before Christmas,” Mr Yeates said.

“Vestas has installed more than 50,000 turbines in 75 countries and has considerable experience in all the key disciplines – engineering, transportation, construction and operations and maintenance.”

Vestas and Downer will share responsibility for the entire 180MW project including the supply and construction of more than 50 turbines, a substation, cabling to the grid, civil and electrical works, and wind monitoring equipment.

Mr Yeates confirmed the contractors would provide many opportunities for local workers and suppliers.

“The Vestas and Downer submission clearly demonstrated that their companies very much share Ratch’s commitment to providing clear pathways for local people to participate in the project,” Mr Yeates said.

“Downer, which has an office in Cairns, will largely take responsibility for local purchasing which is likely to include a wide range of products and services from fencing contractors, concreters, welders, electricians, plant and equipment operators, transport contractors and administrators.”

Mr Yeates said employment during the two-year construction phase was expected to peak above 150 while 15 permanent jobs would be created to operate the wind farm.

Power producer Ratch owns a number of wind farms around Australia including the Windy Hill wind farm near Ravenshoe, and has an interest in a number of renewable energy development opportunities.

The Mount Emerald Wind Farm will boost Queensland’s renewable energy credentials significantly.

Of the 3,500MW of wind generation capacity currently in the country, Queensland only supplies around 12MW from wind farms in Ravenshoe and Thursday Island.

“We’re eager to get started. It’s no secret that Australians want more renewable energy, not less, because they are drawn to the benefits of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing air pollution and greater energy security,” Mr Yeates said.

He said workers and suppliers interested in participating in the construction of the project should visit www.downergroup.com.

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