Set to become one of the largest onshore wind farms in the world, the MacIntyre Wind Farm precinct has begun work in Queensland in a major boost for the state’s renewable energy and job opportunities.
The 620-worker, $2 billion project is Queensland’s first publicly-owned and operated wind farm and establishes the state’s second Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).
The entire MacIntyre precinct will be operational in 2024.
The 1,026MW precinct consists of two wind farms – the proposed 103MW Karara Wind Farm to be owned and operated by the Queensland Government’s low-emissions generator and retailer CleanCo Queensland, and the 923MW MacIntyre Wind Farm that will be owned and operated by ACCIONA Energy Australia.
Queensland Treasurer, Cameron Dick, said the project represented not just more renewable energy for Queensland, but a major boost for jobs and regional opportunities.
“This project will create 400 project jobs during construction and support a further 220 transmission jobs,” Mr Dick said.
“It will inject more than $500m into the Southern Downs and Darling Downs regional economy during construction and provide renewable, affordable power for businesses across the region well into the future.”
Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said the mega-project was supporting more than 600 construction and transmission jobs.
“We are creating more jobs in more industries,” Mr de Brenni said.
“As well as the 400 wind farm construction and 220 transmission connection jobs, the zero emissions MacIntyre Wind Farm power will fuel decent, secure jobs in energy-intensive industries, in particular nearby manufacturing.”
Mr de Brenni said the mega project was further evidence of the Queensland Government’s long-standing commitment to renewables, which would keep downward pressure on electricity prices.
The MacIntyre Precinct being delivered in partnership with ACCIONA, takes in the MacIntyre Wind Farm, boasting 162 turbines, and the 103MW Karara Wind Farm which will host a further 18 turbines.
“The precinct will be one of the largest wind farms in the southern hemisphere and is a signal to global investors that Queensland is ready to support low emissions, job creating industry, onshore,” Mr de Brenni said.
“With its high-quality wind resources, the Southern Downs QREZ west of Warwick is an ideal location to support the continued expansion of energy-intensive industry in South East Queensland.”
Minister de Brenni said the Queensland Government was also investing more than $2 billion to supercharge renewable energy supply and significant battery storage to produce cheaper, cleaner energy and the decent, secure jobs it would create across Queensland.
CleanCo Chair, Jacqui Walters, said it was a major step with the renewable energy generated by the MacIntyre Precinct helping to support CleanCo to deliver reliable, clean energy solutions at a competitive price for customers helping them thrive in a net zero future.
“With the capacity to supply the equivalent of nearly 700,000 homes, this massive MacIntyre project will substantially boost renewable energy supply in Queensland helping our industries, businesses and communities to achieve their sustainability goals,” Ms Walters said.
“Today represents a major step forward for CleanCo as we celebrate the future offtake of energy from the MacIntyre project and as our Board makes its final decisions on the Karara Wind Farm.“
CleanCo’s power purchase agreement for 400MW from the MacIntyre Wind Farm will contribute to the 1,400MW of new renewable energy it is bringing to market by 2025 to support the energy transformation in Queensland.
ACCIONA Energia, Managing Director, Brett Wickham, said as the largest onshore wind farm in the southern hemisphere, the MacIntyre Precinct is bringing significant social and economic benefits not just to the Downs but to the whole of Queensland.
“I believe MacIntyre is the start of a golden age of renewable energy in Australia. One that takes full advantage of our renewable resources with projects that help drive and develop our regional economies,” Mr Wickham said.
“It is great to be working alongside CleanCo to deliver this major project for Queensland and its residents.”
Goondiwindi Regional Council Mayor, Lawrence Springborg, said “It’s wonderful to see that the Goondiwindi Region is once again the region of choice for innovative, pioneering projects such as the ACCIONA MacIntyre Wind Farm.
“It’s great to see the continued growth and diversification of opportunities in our region, especially in the areas of renewable energy and emerging technologies.
“Council welcomes the MacIntyre project to our region and looks forward to its success. We are eager to see the project support local businesses in the Goondiwindi Region through increased local spending during construction.”
Powerlink Chief Executive, Paul Simshauser, said on-ground work had started this month to deliver two new switching stations and 65km of new transmission line to connect the massive wind precinct to the grid.
“At more than one gigawatt, this is easily Powerlink’s largest connection project to date,” Mr Simshauser said.
“Our Warwick site office is now up and running and we have people on the ground, including a number of local contractors we’ve engaged to support the grid connection work.
“We’re extremely proud of the positive benefits this project will bring to the region in economic growth, opportunities and investment for the longer term.”