Queensland’s renewable energy uptake is continuing to grow, with the State Government announcing $192.5 million for the Wambo wind farm near Dalby, and Australia’s biggest wind farm yet, the MacIntyre Wind Precinct, now underway – with Powerlink signing an agreement to connect the Precinct to the grid.
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said, “Investing in renewables provides cheaper and cleaner energy.
“It powers more jobs, it creates more industries and it supercharges our resources sector with the demand for new minerals.
“This is part of our commitment to achieving 50 per cent of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
“Our Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund has done exactly as its name suggests – it’s delivering jobs for Queenslanders.”
Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick, said this was a smart investment decision for the state.
“Access to affordable, reliable energy will underpin Queensland’s economic recovery from COVID 19,” Mr Dick said.
“We’re providing Queensland businesses with the certainty they need that cheaper, cleaner renewable energy will be available as they expand and grow.”
Australia’s biggest wind farm
The MacIntyre Wind Precinct is a 1GW wind farm near Warwick that will be the biggest in Australia once completed.
Queensland’s publicly-owned transmission company Powerlink has signed an agreement to connect the MacIntyre Wind Precinct to the grid.
“Queensland has long been Australia’s energy powerhouse and this $170 million agreement ensures that will continue to be the case,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The site has been selected because of its consistent winds, especially in the evening, and its proximity to existing transmission lines.”
Mr Dick said Queensland’s publicly-owned energy companies made it possible to get the project underway faster.
“This project will bring more affordable renewable power to Queensland,” Mr Dick said.
“The MacIntyre Wind Precinct will consist of two wind farms.
“The 102MW Karara Wind Farm will be built, owned and operated by our renewable generator, CleanCo.
“And CleanCo has signed a power offtake agreement for Acciona’s neighbouring 923MW MacIntyre Wind Farm.
“This agreement with Powerlink unlocks $2 billion of investment in Queensland, 400 construction jobs on the wind farms, and another 220 jobs building Powerlink’s transmission lines.”
Queensland Minister for Energy, Mick de Brenni, said the MacIntyre Wind Precinct would anchor Queensland’s Southern Renewable Energy Zone.
“This further reinforces our position as the nation’s renewable energy superpower with this REZ unlocking up to 1500MW of hosting capacity,” Mr de Brenni said.
“The precinct is well positioned in an area of high and consistent wind resource, with a total of 180 turbines to be built across both wind farms.
“When complete, it will provide enough power to meet the energy needs of 700,000 homes.”
Powerlink Chief Executive, Paul Simshauser, said finalising the agreement with Acciona Energía and CleanCo to connect the massive project to the existing transmission network near Millmerran was an enormous feat.
“At more than 1000MW, this is the first time we’ve connected a project of this scale to our network here in Queensland,” Mr Simshauser said.
“We will be constructing 65km of brand new transmission line and building two new switching stations, so our priority will be on working closely with local communities to ensure they see long-term benefits from this connection work.”
Acciona Energía Managing Director, Brett Wickham, said approval of the transmission lines was a major step forward in bringing the project to life.
“We’re really proud the project is getting underway and the jobs and investment this will bring to the region,” Mr Wickham said.
CleanCo Chair Jacqui Walters, said that the agreement is an important milestone for CleanCo as it grows its portfolio of built, owned and operated projects.
Interim CEO, Darryl Rowell, said that progressing Karara and MacIntyre Wind Farms further enables CleanCo to supply businesses in Queensland with clean and reliable energy.
“CleanCo is really excited to be building the Karara Wind Farm and supporting our customers to meet their own decarbonisation objectives,” Mr Rowell said.
Construction on the MacIntyre Wind Precinct will start in Q2 2022.
The Wambo wind farm
The Wambo wind farm is set to deliver more than 200 jobs and 252M of clean energy to Queensland.
Mr de Brenni said the Buy Queensland procurement approach would ensure Wambo provides decent, secure jobs for Queenslanders.
“Queenslanders, through our publicly owned energy company Stanwell, will own 50 per cent of the 252MW wind farm,” Mr de Brenni said.
“Across Queensland’s Renewable Energy Zones we are ensuring that communities are at the forefront of planning, giving locals more say on renewable energy developments.
“Progression of our projects will be conditioned on accessing local supply chains, employing locals, including apprentices and trainees.
“They’ll work with local business, supporting indigenous employment.”
Stanwell Chief Executive Officer, Michael O’Rourke, said the project would potentially be a joint venture with global renewable developer Cubico.
“Queenslanders could potentially own 100 per cent of the energy produced from this project – 50 per cent through joint ownership and the other 50 per cent through a power purchase agreement,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“We are looking to potentially operate and maintain the project once it’s built, so there may be new positions as well as opportunities for existing Stanwell employees to gain skills and experience in renewables.”