The Queensland Government says “two windfarms and up to 400 jobs in the Southern Downs are a step closer to reality with the State Assessment and Referral Agency giving the green light”.
Deputy Premier and Planning Minister Steven Miles said today – Wednesday 21 April – that Spanish-owned global corporaton Acciona “received approval to build the $1.96 billion MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct (the Precinct) at Cement Mills, approximately 40 kilometres south-west of Warwick”.
The 40,000-hectare site – made up of privately-owned land leased by Acciona – straddles both the Southern Downs and Goondiwindi council areas. Neither council had a formal say in the approval of the wind farm, with applications for wind farms in Queensland decided solely by the state government.
“Soon there will be 180 wind turbines in the Darling Downs South West region propelling up to 1026 megawatts of energy into Queensland’s electricity network,” Mr Miles said today.
“Once operational the MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct is expected to generate enough renewable electricity to supply about 700,000 Queensland homes.
“The MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct is set to provide up to 400 local jobs during construction, with an additional 240 jobs for the construction of the 64km transmission line, and 14 fulltime jobs once in operation.
“Acciona also expects its local spend during construction to exceed $500 million, which is great news for the Southern Downs, Goondiwindi, and Toowoomba communities.”
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the project would deliver jobs for Queenslanders.
“I’m pleased that Acciona have committed to our Government’s Buy Queensland approach to use a local workforce and suppliers on this $1.96 billion project,” he said.
“This will deliver significant economic benefits for the Darling Downs and beyond, and more renewable megawatts as the state works to reach its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.
“The commitment to a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 has already enabled more than $9.9 billion of investment since December 2016 and created 7,000 construction jobs.
Mr de Brenni said the 103 megawatt Karara Wind Farm, which forms part of the MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct, will be owned and operated by the Government-owned energy generator, CleanCo Queensland.
“This will be a central energy generator for CleanCo and will significantly bolster its portfolio of low-emission energy assets – owned by Queensland, for Queensland.”
In addition to owning and operating the Karara Wind Farm, CleanCo will also purchase 400 megawatts of renewable energy per year from the MacIntyre Wind Farm.
CleanCo CEO Dr Maia Schweizer said the approval is a significant step forward for the project.
“CleanCo is proud to be partnering with Acciona to deliver such a significant project in Queensland’s renewable energy landscape,” Dr Schweizer said.
“With this project we are harnessing wind with a profile that perfectly complements solar energy – that allows us to provide reliable, affordable low-emissions energy to our large commercial and industrial customers using our unique portfolio, and is an important step toward unlocking Queensland’s potential to generate and use globally competitive clean energy.”
Acciona’s Australian Managing Director for Energy, Brett Wickham said the 36,000-hectare MacIntyre windfarm represents the company’s largest ever wind farm.
“We are excited to be moving forward with this project and are proud to support the Queensland Government’s decarbonisation strategy.
“The Precinct will avoid the emission of nearly 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.”
Part of the Precinct will be developed in partnership with Queensland’s own Ark Energy Corporation. Ark Energy, a subsidiary of Korea Zinc Co. and the Australian vehicle for its clean energy business, has taken a 30 per cent stake in the 923 megawatt MacIntyre Wind Farm exercisable at Final Investment Decision.
The approved development of the Precinct includes the 162 turbine MacIntyre project, the smaller 18 turbine Karara project and 64km overhead transmission line to the Powerlink network near Millmerran.
Acciona expects to start construction on the MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct in the second half of this year and be fully operational by 2024.