A new $350 million wind farm south-west of Gladstone has been approved by the Queensland Government, adding to the big surge in wind power now coming online in the state.

Located in an area known for its strong overnight winds, the Banana Range Wind Farm will produce most of its power when the sun goes down.

Minister for Planning, Cameron Dick, said the new wind farm will boost the total capacity of wind generation approved by the Queensland Government to 2,240MW, enough to power over one million homes.

“The government strongly supports investment in regional projects and the Banana Range Wind Farm, located 20km west of Biloela, will provide a huge boost for the local economy,” Mr Dick said.

“With up to 150 construction jobs and up to 15 ongoing jobs, the Banana Range Wind Farm will not only generate electricity for homes and businesses, but will be an economic energy source for the surrounding region.

“Besides the great environmental benefits for Queensland, investment in projects such as this also creates a flow-on economic effect for local businesses and assists in diversifying the town’s economy.

“The Banana Range Wind Farm will generate around 180MW at capacity, which will power around 120,000 homes – around five times the number of houses in Gladstone.
“The site will be home to 50 turbines, helping us achieve our renewable energy target.”

Currently, the Coopers Gap Wind Farm (located between Dalby and Kingaroy) has 453MW operational, but is still under construction. When completed in 2020 it will produce power for 264,000 homes.

The Mount Emerald Wind Farm, near Mareeba, is completed and operational – producing power for 75,000 homes.

Other wind farm projects include Kennedy Energy Park near Hughenden, with 43MW capacity, and Kaban Green Power Hub in the Tablelands, with 130MW capacity.

Minister for Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, said this project added to the state’s numerous renewable projects, placing further downward pressure on electricity prices and taking Queensland closer to its renewables target of 50 per cent by 2030.

“Queensland has more than 2,370MW of large‑scale renewable energy capacity operating already, and another 250 committed or under construction. Around 18,000MW more of large-scale renewable capacity is currently at earlier stages of development,” Dr Lynham said.

“Together, these projects represent more than $5 billion in capital investment and more than 4,500 constructions jobs in regional Queensland.”

Lacour Energy Director, James Townsend, said the Banana Range Wind Farm is in an area of excellent wind resources, with an existing high-voltage 132kV transmission line running through the project site which will connect the wind farm to the power network.

“The on-site powerline and excellent wind resource means that the project can supply competitively priced electricity,” Mr Townsend said.

“The area is known for its strong nighttime winds, which is when the wind farm will produce the most energy, and this means the project is very complementary to the daytime energy from rooftop solar and the solar farms that have recently been built in Queensland.

“We estimate there will be an injection of $30-40 million into the regional economy during the construction through the employment of local contractors and service providers.

“In addition to the construction of the wind farm, we are also going to provide $100,000 each year to support projects or initiatives in nearby communities through a community benefits fund.”

Construction will begin in 2020 and will take approximately 24 months to complete. The delivery of the Banana Range Wind Farm will not impact on the lifespan of existing generators.

The project is being undertaken by Orange Creek Energy, a subsidiary renewable energy company of Lacour Energy, based in Brisbane.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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